2014 Year-End Review: A Belated Post

How now, multiverse?

2015 was a stealthy little bugger. We’ve failed to write anything new this year, because LIFE, but we promise we’ve been reading!

KUBI:

Here, belatedly, are Kubi’s favorite books for 2014:

2014-favorite-reads-kubi

  1. Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  2. The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
  3. Beware of Pity by Stefan Zweig
  4. Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor
  5. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
  6. Edge of Tomorrow by Hiroshi Sakurazaka
  7. Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami
  8. Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill
  9. Mourning Diary by Roland Barthes
  10. The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
  11. Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed
  12. Levels of Life by Julian Barnes
  13. The Prestige by Christopher Priest
  14. The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman
  15. Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

HANNA:

Here, belatedly, are my favorites for 2014:

2014-favorite-reads-hanna

A huge chunk of last year was spent hoarding books, worrying about shelf space, attempting to restrain my impulses, devouring YA novels like cake, and making feeble attempts at writing substantial posts.

I had the good fortune to find and hold in my hands some of the most gorgeous works of art such as a signed first edition of Sacré Bleu: A Comedy d’Art by Christopher Moore, which is a thing of beauty and a rollicking good read, and Griffin & Sabine: An Extraordinary Correspondence by Nick Bantock. Someone at work thrust the latter into my hands after learning that I love to read, and I’ve been in love with this series ever since. Nick Bantock is one of my favorite visual artists, and it’s always a delightful treat to find his books on display.

Another one of my favorite artists is Chip Kidd, who is responsible for some of the most clever and unforgettable book covers. I am always in awe of Chip Kidd’s work, and he did a masterful job with the art direction and design of The Strange Library by Haruki Murakami. It is a deliciously terrifying book, and I loved everything about it.

Sometimes, you come across a book that seems thoroughly in tune with your thoughts that it seems as if the universe conspired to have you read it at that particular moment, just when you needed it the most. Both The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet by Reif Larsen and Daytripper by Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba cut me from all angles and provided a much needed catharsis. These books are two of my favorite things on this planet, and I thank my lucky stars that they have made their way into my little corner of the world.

2014 also took me on a wild romp across space and time with stellar fantasy novels such as the unbefuckinglievably fantastic Vicious by V.E. Schwab, and the wonderfully silly Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman. Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor provided a satisfying conclusion to the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy, which introduced me to Karou and her magnificence.

I was fucking stunned by the sheer genius of The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch. I love Locke and the Gentlemen Bastards with all of my heart, but I especially love the book’s language, wit, and magnificent cussing. Scott Lynch is a word painter, and I can only dream of writing something as perfect as this:

“Some day, Locke Lamora,” he said, “some day, you’re going to fuck up so magnificently, so ambitiously, so overwhelmingly that the sky will light up and the moons will spin and the gods themselves will shit comets with glee. And I just hope I’m still around to see it.”

Speaking of sublime writing, I loved Just Kids by Patti Smith for its shockingly beautiful prose, and I underlined the bejeezus out of Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt. I savored every gorgeously written sentence of Jenny Offill’s Dept. of Speculation, which provided heartbreakingly beautiful vignettes about a long relationship and a faltering marriage. I unabashedly adored The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin for its charm, exploration of relationships, and emphasis on books and reading. Nine Stories by J.D. Salinger is damn near perfection, and I will always be in awe of how each story was written in such easy grace.

Finally, Night of Cake and Puppets by Laini Taylor was the perfect happy potion for a year in shambles. It is every bit as lovely and magical as it sounds. Laini Taylor has a beautiful way with words, and I devoured all of it with great relish.

It fills me with pleasure that I didn’t miss any of these books, each of which is a gift to this world, and made last year a little bit nicer.

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2014 Year-End Review: A Belated Post

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

Hello multiverse and fellow lovers of the written word!

On our last It’s Monday! What are you reading? post, I whined about Real Life getting in the way of my precious reading time, and huzzaed at the glorious bookshelf that my father, the superhero, promised and delivered.

My desire to re-read Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice was also mentioned, and I happily leafed through its yellowing pages while sitting comfortably in my little corner of the room.

Pamela Moore’s Chocolates for Breakfast was so delicious that I devoured it in one sitting and longed for seconds. It is a very important book and should be included in a starter kit for girls, who are traversing the thin line between adolescence and adulthood.

Of my recent acquisitions, which were displayed ever so proudly on a recent book haul post, I breezed through a couple of graphic novels and read Joan Lindsay’s Picnic at Hanging Rock while sitting for hours on a hospital hallway. Nancy Drew was still a delight, and Bella Tuscany by Frances Mayes only reinforced my desire to retire under the Tuscan sun. Sally Gardner’s Maggot Moon ripped my heart to shreds, while Daytripper by Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba ruined me in the best of ways.

Monday

The previous months have seen me succumb to the evil forces of the Real World. I spent most of my time holed up in my room, chasing a lifetime of hours and scribbling away. My breaks, though few and far between, almost always consisted of Frosted Flakes, ’90s jams, and a current read.

In a way, it was perfect. I chose books carefully and took my time to fully absorb them. It’s far more satisfying this way, and it assures me that 2014 will be a spectacular year for reading.

This was a post by Hanna, who is thwarting the Monday blues with a brown paper bag of peanut butter cups and chocolate kisses.

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Review: Daytripper by Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba

I just went all the way through Daytripper, and am now sitting with the intensity of emotions brought forth by reading this unbefuckinglievably brilliant graphic novel from Brazilian wonder twins Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba.

Daytripper

It opens with a plink of a water drop – just a hint of a cloudburst to come.

daytripper 1

It provides a window into pivotal moments in the life of Bras de Oliva Domingos, an obituary writer for a local newspaper. He picked up the habit of smoking from his mother and inherited the passion for painting with words from his father. For years he has been struggling to discover his own voice as an author. Soon he finds himself keeping up with mundane work and writing about death, when all he wanted to do was write about life.

In many ways, his story is no different from yours or mine and therein lies its brilliance. This book is a rumination on the beauty of life and the inevitability of death. It encourages its reader to seize the day and see the beauty in the mundane without being contrived or cliche. It allows the reader to examine his or her own relationships and explore life’s biggest questions while traipsing alongside Bras, who is basically doing the same thing.

daytripper 2

At times surreal and so real, this book ruined me in the best of ways.

Upon opening the book, I was left in awe by the breathtaking illustrations. Upon reading it, I was rendered catatonic by the sheer poetry of it all.

daytripper 3

Take away the coffee and cigarettes and in many ways, I am like Bras; a dreamer, a wanderer, a daytripper.

Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba managed to convey a moving and thought-provoking story told through a series of quiet moments, unexpected surprises, and infinite possibilities.

(How could they have known? How could they have encapsulated my entire life in just ten issues?)

I’m not going to lie: by the end of this book, my ribcage was just about ready to burst open. Daytripper touched on my greatest fears and essentially opened a Pandora’s box of old wounds, terrifying monsters, and nightmares that haunt me still.

The hour after I closed the book was mostly spent bawling my eyes out while thinking and re-evaluating my life. Reading it was a cathartic experience, and it is one that I highly recommend.

daytripper 4

At the end of Daytripper, Fabio Moon wrote:

We wanted that feeling that life was happening right there, in front of every one of us, and we were living it. And we did. And sometimes, we die to prove that we lived.

In many ways, the story of Bras de Oliva Domingos is no different from yours or mine. I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together in the pursuit of dreams and a life worth living.

daytripper 5

READ THIS BOOK.

This was a post by Hanna, who needs a pint of nightmare ice cream. Continue reading “Review: Daytripper by Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba”

Review: Daytripper by Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba

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