Hanna’s May in Reading

May was restless and temperamental. It was a struggle to juggle work and play and emotions and life, which explains the crickets and lack of updates, but I think I did a pretty decent job in terms of squeezing in a bit of reading time.

I went to Manila on the first weekend of the month to visit my best friends, eat good food, fangirl over Marvel’s Daredevil and The Avengers: Age of Ultron, raid Kubi’s bookshelves, and inhale comic books on Free Comic Book Day.

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IMG_2558FCBD haul: Trese by Budjette Tan & Kajo Baldisimo, and Saga by Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples (photographs courtesy of the sister)

While I was there, I found The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman and Chris Rydell on Kubi’s bookshelf and devoured it in one sitting. I also read Lem’s copy of Comic Books 101: The History, Methods and Madness by Chris Ryall and Scott Tipton, as well as Kubi’s Mythspace, Vol. 1 by Paolo Chikiamco.

As for this month’s YA fix, Jandy Nelson’s I’ll Give You the Sun was a heartbreakingly beautiful read, while Sarah Dessen’s Saint Anything surprisingly had more depth and less of the romance that has become a staple in her novels.

Among the books I borrowed from Kubi is a slim novel called Light Boxes by Shane Jones, which kept me company on an uneventful summer afternoon. I’ve also been on a Harry Potter fix lately – a direct result of a spontaneous movie marathon of all eight films. I’ve been re-reading the novels as well, and I’ve just finished Prisoner of Azkaban, which still managed to make me burst into quiet sobs.

Anyhoo, the latest issue of Lumberjanes (#14) was still a riot, while Saga #28 could only be described as holy fuck.

My Civil War reading mission is still going swimmingly, thank you very much, although I read most of them on the last day of May because I wanted to take my mind off the harrowing Outlander season finale. I’ve also crossed out a few more items from my Eclectic Reader’s Challenge reading list, such as Jim Butcher’s Storm Front and Matthew Quick’s Boy21.

But my favorite May read is Emily St. John Mandel’s spectacular Station Eleven, which was dark and wonderful and eerie and touching. It also made me miss my Shakespeare class and being involved in theater productions. I wish I could articulate my feelings about this book, but I can’t at the moment. It’s frustrating, but I’m in the middle of attempting to finish my writing projects and that takes up most of my time these days.

That’s it for now, duckies. Happy reading!

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Hanna’s May in Reading

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

It’s Monday! What are you reading? is a weekly meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey. It’s a fun way to keep track of current reads and to find out what other people have been reading. There is a linky thing at the end of the post, so go forth, visit new reading blogs, and add to your to-read list!

monday reads

HANNA:

Salutations, fellow rabid readers! It’s been ages since the last Monday post, but we promise we’ve been reading!

September churned out two book reviews: one for V.E. Schwab’s Vicious, and the other for Christopher Moore’s Sacré Bleu: A Comedy d’ArtI also wrote a rather lengthy book loot post, which was a visual representation of my lack of self-restraint.

loot

As for my recent acquisitions, I finally have my own copy of Jessica Zafra’s Womenagerie and the hardcover edition of The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis. The most important decision I made yesterday was to grab the Starz tie-in edition of Outlander by Diana Gabaldon because I want Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe in close proximity.

library

flowers

In other news, I borrowed the littlest sister’s copy of Sophie Divry’s The Library of Unrequited Love and I am fascinated. I am also enthralled by William Lychack’s lovely collection of short stories entitled The Architect of Flowers, which was a gift from the sister’s boyfriend. The title story is my favorite one so far.

Lately I’ve had the sudden urge to brush up on my history, which is why I’ve been devouring Robert Lacey’s Great Tales from English History: The Truth About King Arthur, Lady Godiva, Richard the Lionheart, and More.

My TBR pile is still of gargantuan proportions, and I fear for the current state of my bookshelf.

KUBI:

How now, wordlings? Still, I trudge. Thesis writing continues to rule my existence. I haven’t been a very good reader lately what with the attention span excusing itself at the end of the day. Buy when I’m not being catatonic, I do manage to squeeze in the odd book. I recently read Hiroshi Sakurazaka’s All You Need is Kill, which was the inspiration for the secret (just to me?) sci-fi hit Edge of Tomorrow. I’d heard good things about the film and didn’t know it was a book until I saw photos of the movie tie-in edition. I was intrigued so I did a back-to-back reading/ viewing. They were both spectacularly entertaining and I have not been able to shut up about either. So yes: read/ watch Edge of Tomorrow.

I also just read The Serpent of Venice, Christopher Moore’s follow up to his Fool, which I loveThe Serpent of Venice is an amalgam of Edgar Allan Poe’s The Cask of Amontillado and William Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice and Othello. It was a feat but Moore somehow got it all to work. Plotting and conniving ensue, the odd wank is thrown in, and there is always a bloody ghost! It’s so irreverent and unhinged, it’s a bit of a shock to read Moore’s afterword where he talks lovingly and quite calmly about the source materials and how he stitched them together to bring his lively abomination (his word, not mine) to life.

Anyway, getting to the point. There are a few books on my nightstand these days. Reading time is precious so I’m wading into as many pools as I can (does that even make sense?).

The Bone Clocks is in stores, so I unearthed David Mitchell’s number9dream from the bowels of my bookcase. I’ve always gotten the impression that his books have a bit of a fantasy flavor so I’ve resolved to finally get my Mitchell on.

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I also have my toes in Scott Lynch’s Red Seas Under Red Skies, the sequel to The Lies of Locke Lamora (read it now if you haven’t). I also have Outlander by Diana Gabaldon because, gawd, that show. I don’t know if I ever would have picked up the book without a nudge. I’d seen it before and would always kind of pass it over. Hanna wouldn’t get off my case and I’ve finally seen the error of my ways. Duly rectified. I cannae wait for all the Jamie adventure.

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Finally, Wild by Cheryl Strayed is within reach because a lot of the time these days, I feel like I’m always at the foot of a new mountain to scale. Here’s to finding some clarity.

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All for now, lads and lassies. Read on and read strong 🙂 Have a great week!

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

“I Don’t Need Another Book” and Other Lies I Tell Myself

Unearthed from the bowels of secondhand bookshops and friendly neighborhood bookstores are the products of an inability to restrain my impulses. Also, I’m in a glass case of emotion, you guys. I need my books to protect me.

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Thanks to the wonders of online bookstores with free shipping, I now have my own copy of The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart. It’s a clever and riotously funny book that features one of my absolute favorite female characters in literature.

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Other things I’m proud of include reading Stephen King’s Joyland, finding Anais Nin’s Delta of Venus, and adding Pyramids to my growing stack of books from Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series.

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Kazuo Ishiguro’s Nocturnes: Five Stories of Music and Nightfall caught my eye as I was browsing through the shelves of a local bookstore. It’s a gorgeous book that shows restraint and evokes a sense of beautiful melancholy.

I also bought an anthology of vampire stories edited by Otto Penzler, Elizabeth Costello by J.M. Coetzee, a Pennsylvania Dutch mystery entitled Batter Off Dead by Tamar Myers, and Kevin Mitnick’s Ghost in the Wires for My Secret Agent Lover Man.

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It was such a treat to find the first book in Lawrence Block’s Bernie Rhodenbarr series, as well as the first one in Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series in the same secondhand bookshop, along with Spindle’s End by Robin McKinley and the 2008 edition of The Best American Nonrequired Reading edited by Dave Eggers.

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In other news, my passport arrived a month ago to remind me of the beautiful places I’ll never be able to visit because of my current financial state. For now, I have Peter Mayle’s Hotel Pastis, John S. Littell’s French Impressions, and Jessica Zafra’s Twisted Travels to soothe my soul.

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New additions to the overflowing bookshelf are these beautiful Collins Classics editions of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s books. Next on my list are Bram Stoker’s Dracula and Washington Irving’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Other Stories because Halloween is upon us (and so is the second season of Sleepy Hollow).

Now all I need is to overcome my irrational fear of the megalodon shark and get the distractions out of the way (no matter how beautiful they look in colonial garb or in a kilt) so I can finally catch up on my reading.

Huzzah.

This was a post by Hanna, who is re-reading Neil Gaiman’s American Gods because she’s an adult, damn it, and she can do whatever she pleases. Also, because she misses Neil.

 *Photographs courtesy of the sister

“I Don’t Need Another Book” and Other Lies I Tell Myself

Book Loot Or, Accumulating More Books to Be Added to My TBR Pile of Gargantuan Proportions

This summer was all about spending time with family, getting sun-kissed, waking up in the wee hours of the morning, working on art projects, creating mix-tapes, watching Korean dramas, reading YA novels, gushing and dancing at a music festival, watching horror flicks, getting smitten with a kitten, rolling down the car windows and singing along to ’80s songs at midnight,  and of course, hoarding books.

If, at this moment, the books on my bedside table start vomiting, they would be spewing out snow, misfit runaways, a chateau mystery, tennis balls, a jukebox, and Mona Lisa’s smile.

We didn’t go out as often as we used to, but I mostly went in and out of bookstores every time we did. I’ve found pretty sweet stuff from bargain bins and secondhand bookshops:

book haul 1

It was such a delightful surprise to find The Second Mrs. Gioconda by E.L. Konigsburg, which is a historical novel that explores the origin of Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa.

M.L. Longworth’s Death at Chateau Bremont seems like a fun and charming read, while Charles Bock’s Beautiful Children promises to be gritty and harrowing.

I have fallen in love with Under the Tuscan Sun (both the book and the film adaptation) by Frances Mayes, so it was a treat to find her A Year in the World.

John Clarke’s The Tournament has such a clever and fantastic conceit. In this book, he gathered the most brilliant minds of the 20th century and had them duke it out in the craziest tennis tournament that could end all tennis tournaments.

Hidden among dusty gems at a secondhand bookshop in Manila was Kate Atkinson’s Case Histories. I have read rave reviews of Life After Life and heard Kubi sing its praises, which is why I’ve finally decided to read it and obtain more books by the author.

I was immediately drawn to Donna Tartt’s The Little Friend, mostly because of the creepy doll on the cover (thanks, in large part, to one of the world’s best cover designers, Chip Kidd). The gloomy weather seems perfect for a deliciously creepy novel, and I can’t wait to start reading it.

book haul 2

I was elated to find A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin and two more books from Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series at a secondhand bookstore in Subic.

Bill Bryson’s Neither Here nor There promises to be a riot, while Michael Chabon’s A Model World and Other Stories offers another opportunity to marvel at the author’s delectable sentences.

I’ve read and loved Muriel Barbery’s The Elegance of the Hedgehog, but didn’t have my own copy of the book. Both of my sisters have their own copies but this one has a beautiful cover, which was what convinced me to buy it.

Patrick Gale’s Notes from an Exhibition earned high praise from one of the most brilliant people on the planet, Stephen Fry. He described it as “complete perfection” so naturally, I bought it.

Daphne Kalotay’s Russian Winter is simply intriguing and beguiling. I can’t wait to read it.

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These two books were given by Kubi, my partner-in-reading-and-book-hoarding. I’ve breezed through pretty much all of the heady works of Francesca Lia Block except for Pretty Dead, which was surprisingly hard to find.

Carol Rifka Brunt’s Tell the Wolves I’m Home was such a beautiful book that had rendered me catatonic. Now that I have my own copy of the damn book that made me bawl my eyes out at three in the morning, I am looking forward to reliving the experience and underlining the bejeezus out of it.

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I bought these three delightful books yesterday, while preparing to get my heart ripped to shreds at a screening of the film adaptation of John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars.

Diane Johnson’s Into a Paris Quartier is a memoir that provides an intimate look at her beloved St.-Germain-des-Prés. My sister and I were surprised to discover that it was signed by the author herself. Admittedly, it was dedicated to another person, but it was still signed nonetheless.

I learned about cozy mysteries from a discussion that Jim Parsons had with Craig Ferguson. Craig is quite possibly my most favorite human bean in the entire multiverse. It was he who introduced me to a multitude of fascinating writers, including Lawrence Block, who writes brilliant mystery novels. I found The Burglar Who Thought He Was Bogart, one of the books in Block’s Bernie Rhodenbarr series, as well as Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder, which is the first of many delicious mysteries in the Hannah Swensen series by Joanne Fluke.

Unsurprisingly, I have no more shelf space. If my TBR pile were a monster, it would swallow me whole.

Huzzah.

This was a post by Hanna, who is thinking of black bean noodles.

*Photographs courtesy of the sister

Book Loot Or, Accumulating More Books to Be Added to My TBR Pile of Gargantuan Proportions

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

It’s Monday! What are you reading? is a weekly meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey. It’s a fun way to keep track of current reads and to find out what other people have been reading. There is a linky thing at the end of the post, so go forth, visit new reading blogs, and add to your to-read list!

monday reads

KUBI

How now, weblings? Hanna has been holding down the fort while I keep my head down to write for school. Things are Coming Along, but I still have many miles to go before I sleep. This is a quick break before the week begins in earnest.

Love in the Time of Cholera

I’m currently reading Love in the Time of Cholera to mourn the death of Gabriel Garcia Marquez. My copy was a birthday gift from my folks on my 20th birthday, so it’s basically been on my TBR for nearly a decade. I regret that I waited this long to read it, but wonder if that might somehow be appropriate for the occasion.

I didn’t expect it to be funny at all, but found myself chortling in mingled embarrassment and delight, pitchy oh-my-gods squeezed out of my constricted throat, watching Florentino Ariza and Fermina Daza plunge feverishly, clumsily into love. In this sampling, he hands her his first letter:

Florentino Ariza, with a white camellia in his lapel, crossed the street and stood in front of her. He said: “This is the greatest moment of my life.” Fermina Daza did not raise her eyes to him…

“Give it to me,” she said.

…She raised the embroidery frame so he could put the letter on it, for she could not admit that she had noticed the trembling of his fingers. Then it happened: a bird shook himself among the leaves of the almond trees, and his droppings fell right on the embroidery.

Ah, the humiliation of young love. I am completely won over when it is finally pointed out that “the symptoms of love [are] the same as those of cholera.” I’m reading slowly – a chapter at a time – for fear that my pre-occupied brain will miss something.

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On Ender (my Kindle), I have The Society of Crossed Keys, a collection of Stefan Zweig’s writing that served as the inspiration for Wes Anderson’s most recent confection The Grand Budapest Hotel.

Since I last wrote here, I finished The Year Of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion, Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor, and Tiny Beautiful Things: Lessons on Love and Life from Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed. One of these days, I’ll write a special post just for these books because they proved me wrong when I was sure I would never finish a book again. They each struck a chord in me, and I want to hear the rest of the song.

Here are a couple of the books I intend to read in the near-ish future:

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  • Case Histories by Kate Atkinson: I give the woman love whenever I come across her books at the store. It’s not yet a full-blown operation, but yes, it seems I’m procuring her entire oeuvre. That’s just how much I love Life After Life.
  • Torch by Cheryl Strayed: I’d been thinking about this book since finishing Tiny Beautiful Things, and ended up finding it in a used bookstore this weekend. I also own Wild, so I definitely have a lot of Cheryl Strayed in my future.
  • The Rehearsal by Eleanor Catton: When a girl my age wins the Man Booker Prize, it is practically a given to obsess about her. I want to give her debut a shot before I even attempt her epic The Luminaries.

HANNA

Salutations, beautiful creatures!

Last week was a blur of days spent sifting through piles of work, frolicking outside to thwart the evil forces of the sun, catching up on sleep, stocking up on snackage, hanging out with the crazy mother before she flies back to work, discovering a shared obsession with the cousin, and preparing a feast for the senses for the father’s birthday.

As for my reading exploits, I have just finished reading The Doll’s House, which is the second volume in Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman.

I have to say that I’m really glad that I started re-reading this series. I devoured it when I was still a little bit too young, but my mind was blown in every way possible. Reading it slowly this time around made me appreciate everything about it even more. It also reinforced my adoration for Gaiman’s work and the crazy inner workings of his twisted mind.

The Doll's House

Reading Laini Taylor’s Lips Touch: Three Times was a heady experience. I am absolutely in love with her prose, and her use of words and description is sheer genius. It’s a collection of two short stories and a novella, which revolve around a kiss.

This book was enchanting, and I savored every word of it like relishing a piece of the best damn chocolate in the entire universe.

Lips Touch

My favorite story is Goblin Fruit, which centers on a girl named Kizzy and her utmost desires. Its first few lines were so seductive that I just had to keep on reading:

There is a certain kind of girl the goblins crave. You could walk across a highschool campus and point them out: not her, not her, her. The pert, lovely ones with butterfly tattoos in secret places, sitting on their boyfriends’ laps? No, not them. The girls watching the lovely ones sitting on their boyfriends’ laps? Yes.

Them.

The goblins want girls who dream so hard about being pretty their yearning leaves a palpable trail, a scent goblins can follow like sharks on a soft bloom of blood. The girls with hungry eyes who pray each night to wake up as someone else. Urgent, unkissed, wishful girls.

Like Kizzy.

Oh, it was wonderful and absolutely delicious.

The other two stories, Spicy Little Curses Such As These and Hatchling, were marvelous and breathtaking, but it was Goblin Fruit that really made an impression on me.

Each story also featured beautiful illustrations by Jim Di Bartolo, who made the stories come alive.

I know I didn’t get to read much this week, but I thoroughly enjoyed every single minute I spent with these two books. I’m still scanning my shelves for my new companions in the coming days. In the mean time, here’s a photo of David Tennant reading a book with a penguin:

David Tennant

Have a lovely reading week, duckies.

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

It’s Monday! What are you reading? is a weekly meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey. It’s a fun way to keep track of current reads and to find out what other people have been reading. There is a linky thing at the end of the post, so go forth, visit new reading blogs, and add to your to-read list! monday reads

Salutations, multiverse!

Last week, I picked up my sister’s copy of Gregoire Delacourt’s The List of My Desires and became fully absorbed in Jocelyne’s story. (I wanted to hug her and make her happy.)

The List of My Desires

I also re-read the first two books in the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy by Laini Taylor before diving into the final book in the series.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone was still as breathtaking and magical as the first time I read it. Days of Blood and Starlight was still savagely beautiful and heartbreaking. There was a lot going on in Dreams of Gods and Monsters, but it provided a satisfying end to a spectacular series. This particular book also caused an ugly-cry face and reinforced my love and admiration for Karou.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone Series

I have fallen in love with Laini Taylor’s prose and I wanted more after reading the final book in the trilogy. I learned about Night of Cake and Puppets from Kubi, and it was the perfect happy potion. This book is made entirely out of squee and I devoured it like cake.

Night of Cake and Puppets

As for my recent acquisitions, I found these two gems at a second-hand bookshop:

Book Loot

Monday was spent revisiting Neil Gaiman’s deliciously dark and haunting The Sandman universe, starting with Preludes and Nocturnes.

Preludes and Nocturnes

I plan on reading Gaiman’s The Doll’s House this week, as well as Laini Taylor’s Lips Touch: Three Times.

On a totally unrelated but delightfully cheery note, I bought a new pair of boots and watched The Grand Budapest Hotel with the sisters and my bookworm-in-training cousin. We picked up a couple of pizzas on the way home, and sang along to ’90s pop songs in the car.

Needless to say, Monday was a goddess today and has set a pretty high standard for the rest of the week.

This was a post by Hanna, who is running out of shelf space.

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Book Loot Or, Hoarding Books and the Pursuit of Uninterrupted Reading Time

Dust and cobwebs have taken up residence over at The Exchange and we apologize for the lack of updates and substantial posts. We have been uncharacteristically busy for the past few months, and what little time we had to come up for air was spent desperately trying to catch up on our reading.

In other news, I have acquired a multitude of books to compensate for the embarrassingly depressing number I’ve read so far this year.

Book Loot 1

Book Loot 2

Book Loot 3

Book Loot 4Photographs courtesy of the sister

I got most of them from rummaging through bargain bins, and the rest were purchased at full price from local bookstores. Life After Life by Kate Atkinson was bought at Kubi’s behest, and Sally Gardner’s heartbreakingly beautiful Maggot Moon was purchased at John Green’s recommendation. It was a pleasant surprise to discover Joan Lindsay’s Picnic at Hanging Rock among dusty gems at a favorite secondhand bookshop in Baguio, and I finally managed to find my own copy of S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders on a recent trip to Manila. I’ve also been stocking up on classics and devouring graphic novels, including the first two volumes of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman and the exceptionally brilliant Daytripper by Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba.

Scribbled in colored Post-its and little notebooks are incoherent thoughts on some of the books that I’ve read this year. Hopefully I’ll be able to string enough intelligible sentences together in the coming weeks to come up with proper book reviews.

Here’s to more book hauls and mad scribbling and uninterrupted reading time.

Huzzah.

This was a post by Hanna, who is hungry like the wolf.

Book Loot Or, Hoarding Books and the Pursuit of Uninterrupted Reading Time

Book Loot

Found in Dumaguete City in Negros Oriental:

  • The Liar by Stephen Fry
  • The Collected Stories of Amy Hempel by Amy Hempel (Introduction by Rick Moody)
  • The Manual of Detection by Jedediah Berry (whose blurb from The New Yorker reads “[a debut novel that] weaves the kind of mannered fantasy that might result if Wes Anderson were to adapt Kafka.”)

This was a post by Kubi whose stomach is demanding breakfast.

Book Loot