Category Archives: Books

Top Ten Books I’ve Read So Far This Year

I got this idea from Top Ten Tuesday, a weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish blog. To join the blog hop, visit their blog and choose any topic that you like.

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There’s just something addicting in the scent of book pages that I get hooked to it immediately. That’s why it’s no wonder that when I cleaned up my room, I found out I had already accumulated two boxes of books—some I’ve read more than once, while others I haven’t gotten to read yet. My addiction to books has nothing to do with the paper, but rather with the hunger for words and living a thousand lives. Proof of this would be my phone, which has over 200 E-books in the library.

This year, I challenged myself to read at least 80 books and so far, I’ve been able to finish reading 43 books. Here’s my top ten picks from the books I’ve been able to read so far this year.

1. Between the Lines by Jodi Picoult: When you hear the name Jodi Picoult, the first three things that would probably come to mind are drama, lawsuits and family. However, I was in for a surprise when I decided to read Between the Lines. It’s the exact opposite of signature Picoult books. It’s fun, it’s quirky, it’s romantic and it’s magical. I’ve never been a fan of fairy tales but this one is different. It’s not about a girl waiting for a Prince or Knight to rescue her but the other way around. Besides, like it says in the book, “Just because it’s fiction doesn’t mean it’s any less true.”

 

2. Love and Misadventures by Lang Leav: I love poetry, but it’s not always easy to find one that I would be able to relate to or connect with. Lang Leav’s poems are in its rawest form, giving it a touch of reality instead of fiction. These are the kind of poems I wanted to write if I was as good as her and she made me experience love and heartbreak all at the same time. And that’s something that doesn’t always happen to me.

 

3. Battle Royale by Koushun Takami: Blood, killing and gore. This is exactly the type of book that I love to read. All the brutal killings and blood description in this book make Hunger Games look like a children’s book. But that’s not the only reason I love this one. It’s  a political and thriller book that shows how instigating fear can turn friends into enemies, that at the end of the day, it’s one’s own survival that matters. But somehow, there’s always that one person who will sacrifice everything to make a difference, even if it will cost him his life.

 

4. Janus Silang by Edgar Samar: If America has Percy Jackson, the Philippines has Janus SIlang. I have waited so long to read a Filipino book that makes use of our folklore and mythology to create a YA fiction that’s filled with horror, mystery and thrill. This one did not disappoint and lived up to my expectation. Its a book that combines mystery, horror, folklore and computer games, a recipe you don’t always see in novels. If you’re a Filipino, read this. If not, let’s hope there’s an English translation so you can revel in my admiration for Edgar Samar’s masterpiece.

 

5. The Bookman’s Tale by Charlie Lovett: Finally, a book bibliophiles can relate to. This is one of the few novels that actually explained why bibliophiles love to read. Aside from tackling one of the literary world’s biggest mystery, (Did William Shakespeare really exist and did he really write all of those plays?), it also taught me a thing or two about antiquarian. Besides, the library scenes of this one is superbly done that it transported me there. I could almost touch the books and smell the scent of the pages.

 

6. When My Name was Keoko by Linda Sue Park: Linda Sue Park was the author that got me to start reading, that’s why I was really excited to read another one of her books. Though this one is a children’s novel, I enjoyed reading it because of the historical and cultural references that it contains.

7. The Time Keeper by Mitch Albom: This is one of the first Albom books I’ve ever read, and one that turned me into a fan. The book shows that everyone should value the time they have in their hands, no matter how little there may be. After all, one of the reasons God limits our days, is to make each one precious.

8. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne: Nationalities and cultural differences does not stop friendship. In Boyne’s book, he tells the story of a German kid who befriends a Jew during the Holocaust. The friendship is one that can be admired even though the repercussions where inevitable.

9. Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See: True friendship are never broken, not even when circumstances try to separate you. It’ll take some time but wounds will heal and you’ll have a story worth telling to your grandchildren.

10. Butterfly’s Shadow by Lee Langley: This is the perfect combination of historical fiction and romance. It connects you to the past and the emotions of the characters and make you imagine an alternate world where things could have happened differently. It’s nostalgic and at the same time heartbreaking, filled with what ifs and longing for something that you wish would happen.

How about you? What’s your favorite books this year?

Jade’s Top Ten Favorite Book Quotes

I got this idea from Top Ten Tuesday, a weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish blog. To join the blog hop, visit their blog and choose any topic that you like.

One of the things I love about books, aside from the great stories and characters, are quotes. Most of the time, I would find myself scouring Goodreads for quotes that I could post on my wall or embroider on my shirts. At one point, I even used one for a Henna Tattoo design.

Here’s my top ten book quotes:

1. “Sometimes you wake up. Sometimes the fall kills you. And sometimes, when you fall, you fly.” ― Neil GaimanThe Sandman, Vol. 6: Fables and Reflections

2. “You can’t go back to how things were. How you thought they were. All you really have is…now.” ― Jay AsherThirteen Reasons Why

3. “I always hated when my scars started to fade, because as long as I could still see them, I knew why I was hurting.” ― Jodi PicoultHandle with Care

4. “It’s hard being left behind… It’s hard to be the one who stays.” ― Audrey NiffeneggerThe Time Traveler’s Wife

5. “I realize now that dying is easy. Living is hard.” ― Gayle FormanIf I Stay

6. “When people don’t express themselves, they die one piece at a time.” ― Laurie Halse AndersonSpeak

7. “You don’t love someone because they’re perfect, you love them in spite of the fact that they’re not.” ― Jodi PicoultMy Sister’s Keeper

8. “Because,’ she said, ‘when you’re scared but you still do it anyway, that’s brave.”  Neil GaimanCoraline

9. “There is a reason God limits our days.”…”To make each one precious.”  Mitch AlbomThe Time Keeper

10. “Love’s a tidal wave,” she says.
“Because it sweeps you off your feet?” I ask.
“No. Because it sucks you under and you drown.”
“But sometimes,” I point out, “it’s the only thing that keeps you afloat.” ― Jodi PicoultBetween the Lines

These are some of my favorite quotes from books. How about you? What’s yours?

Disclaimer: I do not own the photo used in this post. The photo was taken from tumblr and links back to the source.

Book Review: A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park

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Format: Paperback, 193 pages | ISBN: 0440418518 | Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

A Single Shard was written by Linda Sue Park and won the 2002 Newberry Medal for excellence in children’s literature. The story is about Tree-ear, a Korean boy who was orphaned at a young age and lives under a bridge in Ch’ulp’o with his friend Crane-man. Ch’ulp’o is a pottery village famous for the delciate designs of its celadon ware. His life changes when he becomes an apprentice to Min, a famous master potter in the village. After Min was commissioned by the royal court to make celadon wares for the emperor, Min sends Tree-ear on a journey to the imperial city and deliver the potteries at all cost.

This is the first book that I have ever read. I still remember when I first picked it up from the table of my cousin, the feeling of enchantment when I read the words that invited me to the world of books and fiction.

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After eight years, I decided to read it again for old times sake, and this time to write a book review. I am a fan of historical fiction and Korean culture. I admire Linda Sue Park’s ability to weave a children’s story laden with cultural colors and historical facts. She created Tree-ear’s personality as something that children could admire and learn from. His perseverance through hardships and his devotion to his friend Crane-man and his master, Min, brought tears to my eyes.

Another thing that I love about the book was how Park wrote it. Ch’ulp’o came alive through her words that I could almost smell the clay, feel the heat of the kiln and see the greenish glow of the celadon ware. Tree-ear’s journey gave me a glimpse to a wonderful and inspiring adventure that I wanted his story to go on.

This book is perfect for children aged 10 to 12. And even though I read it when I was 11, I still adore this book. Some things just stay with you even when you’re all grown up.

“If a man is keeping an idea to himself, and that idea is taken by stealth or trickery-I say it is stealing. But once a man has revealed his idea to others, it is no longer his alone. It belongs to the world.” ― Linda Sue ParkA Single Shard

 

 

Book Review: House Rules by Jodi Picoult

Format: EBook| ISBN: 0743296435 | Read from April 5 to April 16 | Rating: 1 of 5 stars

House Rules is about Jacob Hunt, an 18 year old kid with Aspergers and fascination with forensic science and crime investigation. His family loves him and follows a set of house rules to make his life as normal as possible. All goes well until his tutor ends up missing and was later found dead, covered with Jacob’s blanket. His actions make him the main suspect of the crime and what ensues is a legal battle to prove either his innocence or insanity.

I am in love with Jodi Picoult’s books. After reading My Sister’s Keeper, Handle with Care and Vanishing Acts. Her books tackle moral issues and that’s what I love about it. I also feel like I’m watching Law & Order because of the legal battles scattered all over the books.

So you can imagine how excited I was to read House Rules, only to have my expectations come crashing down. It reminded me that no matter how great an author is, I should always give space for some doubts, if not, I’ll only feel miserable.

There were some points that I really like about the book though. I appreciate that she took the time to research, write and raise awareness for Autism and Aspergers, but this book was getting me nowhere. Even the crime scenes and bits of forensic science didn’t interest me at all (and that’s coming from a die hard CSI fan). I literally wanted to continuously slam my head on the table and tear off my hair because of frustration. One second, I thought that I was finally getting somewhere only to get back where I I first started.

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Reading this book almost gave me an anxiety attack, that I only got halfway through the book and scrolled t to the last page just to find out that my predictions were correct. Boy, I have never regretted reading a book until now.

One of the redeeming quotes in the book:

“Sometimes I think the human heart is just a simple shelf. There is only so much you can pile onto it before something falls off an edge and you are left to pick up the pieces.”