More Bookish Shirts

Bookish shirts are my current apparel of choice! Last August, a got a few of them (which you can see in this post) and I ordered two more recently:

Have I mentioned that I love bookish shirts?

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I haven’t had a chance to wear these two yet, but I’ve had fun wearing the shirts I bought previously. I always try to wear something book-related whenever I meet with bookish friends. Some selfies to show examples:

Gimme HEA selfie

Slytherin selfie

I usually pair them with a printed skirt, as shown in these:

Shelf Aware ootd

Single and ready to Kindle ootd

Forgive the vanity in this post! I usually don’t show so many pictures of myself in one go, but I think the shirts look better when worn so I wanted to share what they look like. ๐Ÿ™‚ What do you think of these shirts? I think they’re pretty awesome. Do you own bookish shirts? If yes, what are the ones you own and where did you get them? All of the shirts pictured here were bought from local sellers here in Manila. I wasn’t able to find shirts like these while I was in Singapore.

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Podcast in the Morning, Book Signing in the Afternoon

Shenanigans from last Saturday were continued on Tuesday when I met up with my friends Kat of Book Thingo and Mina of romanceclass to record another podcast, this time with Filipino theater actor Gio Gahol who was also the first male actor to do the live readings. We got to talk about how the live readings first started as an experiment when Mina asked Gio and Rachel to do it, and how it has exploded into something that has become a favorite activity of romanceclass authors and readers alike. It was an interesting conversation because all of us had different perspectives: Mina and Gio were right there from the start of the live readingers almost two years ago, I had only attended one live reading event (Feels So Hot), while Kat has only been able to watch the videos.

Swipe left to see all the pics! I must say that seeing the live readings in person is definitely SO MUCH BETTER than just watching videos of them, because part of the fun is seeing the reactions of the audience. That’s probably the main reason why I enjoy the live readings, seeing how the audience becomes overwhelmed with the emotions that they’re feeling, which I also think that’s something uniquely Filipino. Even if these live readings were replicated abroad, I don’t think the actors would get quite the same enthusiasm as they do here in the Philippines. And I also think both the readers and the actors feed off each other’s energies, a symbiotic relationship of sorts. ๐Ÿ˜€ I also really love how two different local art groups overlap with the live readings: theater and romance books. With the connection with the theater actors, romanceclass community members also attend plays or events that include the romanceclass live readers. And hopefully theater folks are also now more interested in romance because of these events?

I’m going to stop here because I’m doing my best to just write about my own point of view because I don’t want to spoil the podcast for you guys! I witnessed it being recorded but it will still be so much fun to listen to it.

Some behind the scenes fun, care of Mina’s Instagram account:

Me and @chachickenpie during @bookthingo podcast recording. Chachic is making universal sign for "I cannot" #romanceclass

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After recording the podcast, we headed to UP Town Center where we met up with our friend Honey. We got to drop by the Kevin Kwan book signing! Both Kat and I haven’t read his books but we’re both planning to. Thanks for our copies of Crazy Rich Asians and for hosting us during the signing, Honey! My mom and my aunt are fans of Kevin Kwan’s books and I got him to sign one book each for them. I’m still trying to read more books by Filipino authors for #BuwanNgMgaAkdangPinoy this month so I’ll try to pick up Kevin Kwan’s books after August.

Last but not the least, we had a lovely dinner where we got to catch up on everything related to books and life. I have no pictorial evidence of the dinner we had but here’s coffee and cake instead:

Hope you’re all having a good week so far! In case you missed it, I created a Twitter thread of Filipino romance titles in English that are currently on sale:

Some of them aren’t 0.99usd anymore but still pretty affordable! And I’ve added a few more titles that have gone on sale since I created that thread. I’ve been one clicking like crazy and stocking up on books that have been on my wishlist.

Coffee in the Morning, Podcast in the Afternoon

My good friend Kat of Book Thingo is based in Sydney but she’s on vacation in Manila for a few days. I believe Kat and I first bonded over our mutual love of Melina Marchetta, and then we moved on to discussing and recommending romance titles. Mostly online, because she’s in Sydney and I was in Singapore at that time. Although we did get to meet in person last year. On Saturday morning, another bookish friend Honey organized a coffee tour for us at Toby’s Estate roastery here in Manila. It was such an awesome experience, worth my while to wake up early on a Saturday morning! Anyone who knows me knows that I’m not a morning person AT ALL. I talk more about the coffee tour (and of course include pictures) in this post:

Yesterday morning's super fun activity was a coffee tour hosted by @chiefcaffeinator at @tobysestateph's roastery.โ˜•โ˜• We got to try the signature Woolloomooloo blend that has been adapted to the Filipino palette (tasted chocolately for me), as well as the Salcedo blend which was specifically created to cater to Filipino taste buds (I could tell it was sweet but couldn't identify the guava note). My favorite Toby's drink is dirty chocolate chai but I also love how smooth the cappuccino is. We also got to watch a single origin from Bukidnon being roasted. @bookthingo says the coffee here is even better than Sydney's!๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡ญ So glad she's here on vacation and I was able to crash this tour organized by @fantaghiro23. The coffee enthusiast and cafe hopper in me loved the whole experience. The things I get to do because of bookish people never cease to amaze me. Thank you so much, Raoul, Honey and Kat! ๐Ÿ™Œ PS: Please help me petition for a Toby's branch to open up in QC.

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As always, swipe left to see everything! In the afternoon, we met up with romanceclass people to record podcasts. I thought I was just going to listen in, and observe while the rest of them do the recordings with Kat but hey, fellow Filipino blogger April and I got to record our own. We talked about reading, romance, and enjoying the dirty bits in the books we read. ๐Ÿ˜€ It was a lot of fun, mostly felt like just chatting with friends since I talk to both Kat and April on a regular basis anyway. Pictures here:

So excited to hear the final version of all the podcasts on Book Thingo. We wrapped up the day with dinner at Manam, a restaurant in the area that serves delicious Filipino food. If I was nearer to that place, I would definitely come back more often.

That was my Saturday, which was obviously a really good day for me. I love being able to spend more time with bookish people now that I’m in Manila because that’s something that I didn’t get to do abroad. Sunday was a quiet day spent at home, and now Monday is here! How was your weekend? Were you able to read or do anything book-related? ๐Ÿ™‚ Have you read any books that you’d like to rave about? I haven’t been able to sit down and write reviews recently but I really want to do so soon! Let’s see how it goes.

Book Blogging Over the Years

Coffee in one hand, Kindle in the other.

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I’ve been book blogging since 2010. That’s seven years of being active in the online book community. That’s longer than any romantic relationship that I’ve had and even longer than any of my work stints in each of the companies I’ve worked for. ๐Ÿ˜‚ I keep doing it not because I earn any money from it, but because it’s so much fun to interact with fellow book lovers and authors, to discuss books with people who get you. Over the years, I’ve tried to influence family and friends to read books and I’ve been successful with some of them… but they’re not book nerds like book bloggers are. There are also fellow book bloggers who have become wonderful friends, and some of those have become more than just “online” friendships. I’ve met some of them in person when I traveled abroad and even the ones I don’t think I’ll ever meet, I’ve been comfortable enough with them to share more than just book updates. In a previous post, I mentioned that I feel like I have a sense of belonging in the online book community because I feel like I’ve carved out a niche for myself. I will keep doing this as long as it keeps me happy. And what makes me happy and engaged and excited to talk about books has changed from when I first started.

When I first started blogging about books, most of the posts that I made and the interactions that I had were through my blog (this WordPress site right here). I used to blog daily then it became weekly then it became monthly. Now I’d be happy if I manage to publish one post every month. There was a time when I would feel guilty about this, but like I’ve said plenty of times before, I want to keep my bookish interactions fun and part of that is blogging when I feel like it. I used to think that the reason why I didn’t blog as much was because I was busy – with work, with chores, with my social life. But now I understand that it has increasingly become more difficult to open my laptop and sit down to write a post. I don’t know why this is, maybe because being on apps on a smartphone just makes things easier? Or maybe because opening up a laptop feels too much like work, and blogging is something that I don’t want to feel like work. So now I’ve learned to not be too hard on myself. My WordPress blog will always be here whenever I’m in the mood to type out a post. I will keep updating my yearly posts like best books I’ve read in the year or my favorite fictional couples. But for more stream of consciousness type of updates, I’m on Twitter and Litsy (username: Chachic) on a daily basis, and Instagram whenever I feel like updating it. I know social media apps are not everyone’s cup of tea so please feel free to comment on any of my posts or send me a direct message in any of the apps I mentioned or an email if you feel like just chatting. ๐Ÿ™‚

What about you, what are the things that you’ve done to keep blogging fun? Is it also easier for you to interact using bookish apps? Or do you prefer something more personal like sending an email or messaging directly?

Best of 2016

Happy New Year! ๐Ÿ˜€ I think we can all agree that 2016 was a difficult year on so many levels. There was so many things happening on an international scale, as well as in the Philippines (which still affects me a great deal even if I’m based in Singapore for work). On a personal front, I resigned from my previous job and started a new one. It hasn’t been smooth sailing and I’ve been struggling with having a sense of belonging. Of course, all of these have affected my reading and blogging life, which is why I haven’t been posting as much as I would want to. I’m still online on a daily basis but it has been easier for me to constantly update the social networks that I have on my phone such as Litsy (username: Chachic), Twitter and Instagram. Going forward, I think this will continue for a while. It’s just so much easier for me to check, update and reply on my phone. My laptop has been acting up and it’s been a pain to open it up and go online. Plus real life stuff happening has made everything harder. The struggle is real!

Anyway, I have a tradition of posting my favorite reads for the previous year whenever the new year rolls around, I’m a few days late but it’s still within the first week of 2017! You can check out my previous posts through these links: 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015. In no particular order, here are the books that I loved in 2016 (linked to my reviews if I have them):

a-darker-shade-of-magic a-gathering-of-shadows The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms the-broken-kingdoms

a-promise-of-fire magic-binds master-of-crows

Act Like It Summer Skin In the Middle of Somewhere Out of Nowhere

Amulet The Stonekeeper Monstress fresh-romance

It’s safe to say that I read more than I blogged in 2016. ๐Ÿ˜› That’s seven speculative fiction titles, four contemporary romance and three graphic novels. It’s funny because the easiest genre for me to get into is contemporary romance but it looks like the books that stand out more for me are fantasy titles. I think my sweet spot is fantasy with a well-written romance. In addition to these, if you’ve been following my blog for a while, you would know that I’ve been trying to read and promote books written by Filipino authors. I haven’t read that many of them this year but the ones I enjoyed reading have been:

Beginner's Guide - Love and Other Chemical Reactions Iris After the Incident

Thatโ€™s 2016 for me. How was yours? What were your favorite reads from the past year? ๐Ÿ™‚

Ten Bookworm Delights

Top Ten Tuesday2

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week is a freebie and I chose to do a topic that I missed a few weeks ago: Bookworm Delights, or random bookish things that make me happy. In no particular order, my picks are:

Book cafes! Of course, I’m a fan of normal cafes where I can hang out and read but book cafes are even better. I have posts about book cafes that I’ve visited both in Manila and Singapore in this tag.

The Reading Room SG - artwork

The Reading Room cafe in Singapore, which I visited last Sunday.

Book sales and bargain books. I’m such a sucker for bargain or discounted books, like I can go crazy whenever Kinokuniya has a 20% store-wide discount. I also tend to one click Kindle editions when they’re just 0.99usd or 1.99usd.

The smell of books. That smell that hits you whenever you walk into a library or a bookstore or really any place that has piles of books. It’s such a comforting kind of smell, and I know it’s been replicated by some perfume and candle brands but I don’t know if they’re any good.

Bookish clothes and accessories. I think it makes every book nerd happy to wear something that represents books that she/he loves. Even better if someone else recognizes it! That has never happened to me though.

Harry Potter time turner necklace

Time turner from Harry Potter

Never being bored during my spare time because there are always books waiting to be read (and a blog waiting to be updated). Being a book blogger is really more of a lifestyle than just a mere hobby, and I know I would find life a bit more difficult to handle if I didn’t have books or my blog to cheer me up.

Having free time to read like when several hours stretch out when I don’t have to do chores or run errands or meet people. Or give up sleep to get some reading done. When you have an ever expanding TBR pile, it always feels like there’s never enough time to read so it feels like a gift when you get pockets of uninterrupted reading time.

Getting meaningful comments on my blog, like the type that can spark discussion or the ones that have book recommendations based on what they’ve seen me talk about. Those are the best kinds of comments and I’m very grateful whenever I receive them.

When someone picks up a book based on my recommendation. It still comes as a pleasant surprise whenever someone mentions that they read a book based on something that I said. And it makes me even happier when someone else enjoys a book as much as I did.

Book-related anticipation. When you’re in the middle of a really good book and can’t wait for the work day to finish. Or when you’re counting down the days, weeks, moths or in some cases, YEARS until the release date of a sequel or a book that you’ve been waiting for. I know I keep saying “I can’t wait!” to read a certain title, but the anticipation is part of the fun.

Having bookish places to visit when on vacation, like bookstores or libraries or the setting of a book. Sometimes, this can even be the highlight of the trip for me.

Aix-en-Provence - Bibliothรจque Mรฉjanes

Bibliothรจque Mรฉjanes in Aix-en-Provence in the South of France

What about you, what are bookish things that you find delightful? ๐Ÿ™‚

BBAW: Staying Connected

BBAW 2016 - CommunityConnection

I didn’t even realize that Book Blogger Appreciation Week (BBAW) got a reboot and is being hosted over at The Estella Society. I’ve joined BBAW in previous years and would have prepared more posts if I found out about it sooner. I’m glad that I found out about it just in time to join today’s prompt: how to stay connected in the book blogging world. Making and maintaining connections is probably the main reason why I blog. I love being part of the bookish community. I love being able to talk about an aspect of my life that my friends in real life and family don’t really understand. I have been blogging since 2010 (yeah, even I’m surprised at how long it’s been), and I’ve used various methods to stay connected with people over the years. Currently, I stay connected through these:

Blog events – This is the first thing that came to mind because hey, I’m writing this post as part of BBAW. Other blog events that I’ve joined are ArmchairBEA, Bloggiesta and online activities hosted by Filipino ReaderCon. I have also organized my own blog events such as The Queen’s Thief Week, Marchetta Madness, EWein Special Ops and Amour et Florand. I would love to organize more blog events but I haven’t been able to do so because real life has been getting in the way.

Meet-ups – I don’t get to do face to face meet-ups as often as I’d like since I moved to Singapore so I think it’s always great whenever I get a chance to meet an online bookish friend in person. I get so jealous of all the bookish events and meet-ups that are held in Manila, if I was still based there, I would definitely show up.

Memes – Nowadays, the only meme I actively join is Top Ten Tuesday. I like TTT because there’s a new topic every week and it also lets me discover new-to-me blogs.

Twitter – I’m on Twitter as @chachic_ because “chachic” is taken. I joined Twitter the year I started blogging, and I didn’t even have a smartphone back then. I thought it was awesome because it let me interact with authors. My day was made whenever an author replied to one of my tweets (actually I still feel that way until now). Also, it’s easier to keep in touch with fellow bloggers on Twitter because I can just check it whenever I have time like every morning while on the train to work. And it’s easy to send a tweet whenever I have a random thought or question that I want to share. Oh and I find out about book bargains on Twitter too, like when Kindle editions go on sale for just USD0.99 or they’re free for a limited time.

Goodreads – I keep my Goodreads profile updated because it helps me keep track of the books that I read and the ones on my wishlist. I always check my Goodreads shelves whenever I need to make a list or an update for the blog.

Instagram – I’m on Instagram as chachickenpie. It’s probably my second favorite social networking site after Twitter. It’s just a lot of fun for me to take pictures and to browse through my friends’ posts. While my Instagram posts are mostly book-related (and tagged with #bookstagram or #instabooks), I also share random pictures of my day-to-day life here in Singapore.

Facebook – I’m not as big of a fan of Facebook but I do have a Facebook page for the blog, where I share links of my blog posts. My book club, YAckers also uses Facebook to have discussions. I’m a member of some bookish Facebook groups but I’m mostly a lurker in those.

Messaging apps like Whatsapp / Viber – Aside from email, I keep in touch with friends through Whatsapp or Viber. I think these apps are more common in the Philippines and Singapore than abroad? They’re basically like texting. I use these apps to keep in touch with some of my bookish buddies who have given up blogging.

Commenting on other blogs – Leaving comments on other people’s blogs used to be the best way to have discussions but nowadays, more and more people are replying on Twitter or Facebook instead. I guess it’s easier for them to leave comments as they click on links shared. I try to reply to all comments that I receive in all platforms, be it WordPress, Twitter, Instagram or Facebook. I feel like it’s a way to show my appreciation for the comments that I get. LOL I also don’t get that many comments so it’s not a difficult for me to reply to all of them.

Those are the various ways I stay in touch with the book blogging community. Do we share similar ways of communicating? How do you stay in touch with the community?

Bookish Skirts

On Monday, I received a package that I’ve been waiting for from the UK. I knew right away what it was: the skirts I ordered from Interrobangart.

Interrobangart - package

Interrobangart - skirts

Aren’t they pretty? I think I was browsing on Instagram when I came across the bookish/library skirt. I think every book blogger would agree with me when I say that I like having book-related items of clothing. I really, really wanted that skirt because I’ve always wanted a bookish skirt or dress that I can wear to work. I even considered ordering bookish fabric from Spoonflower but then I realized that it would be a pain to find someone to sew it into a nice dress or skirt. I eventually gave in to ordering from Interrobangart, even though I initially hesitated because the price was more than I would usually spend on a skirt. And since I was going to pay for shipping, I thought why not order another one? The fairy design caught my eye because it is somewhat related to fairy tales. ๐Ÿ˜› Plus blue is my favorite color.

I think the last time I ordered bookish clothes was when I had my Threadless phase, back when their shirts were just around USD 9 each and shipping wasn’t too expensive either. I haven’t worn those shirts in ages! Mostly because I’ve gained weight and I look like a sausage in them. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ I’m going to think positively and say that I hope I can fit in them again soon.

Do you have bookish items of clothing too? Any tips on where else I can buy them that wouldn’t cost too much? My usual worry is that shipping to Singapore will be expensive.

Book Haul: SG Book Deals

Last weekend, I posted an announcement of the SG Book Deals warehouse sale and today, I dropped by to check it out. I wanted to go today because it’s the first day of the sale and I was thinking there would be more stocks than any other day. I had to figure out how to get to the place – took the MRT to Bishan and then took the bus – so I arrived there sometime in the late afternoon. I was surprised to see so many people hunting for books! Originally, I wanted to buy kiddie books for my godsons but looks like they ran out of good titles. They said they will replenish stocks tomorrow but I don’t think I would have time to go.

SG Book Deals - August 2015

SG Book Deals - August 2015 - 2

SG Book Deals - August 2015 - 3

They’re having an SG50 promo where you can fill one of these boxes with as many books that can fit into it and just pay SGD50! Of course, people took advantage of this and I saw a lot of them holding boxes while browsing around.

SG Book Deals - August 2015 - 4

I didn’t fill a box but the sellers were kind enough to give me an eco bag while I was browsing. My book haul includes these titles:

SG Book Deals - August 2015 - book haul 1

SG Book Deals - August 2015 - book haul 2

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
Mouse Bird Snake Wolf by David Almond and Dave McKean
Life in Outer Space by Melissa Keil
Preloved by Shirley Marr
Blood Song by Rhiannon Hart
Blood Storm by Rhiannon Hart
Red Ink by Julie Mayhew
West End Girls by Jenny Colgan
Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend by Jenny Colgan
The Key to the Golden Firebird by Maureen Johnson
Cuckoo Song by Frances Hardinge
Paper Aeroplanes by Dawn O’Porter
The Prince Who Walked with Lions by Elizabeth Laird
Rose Cottage by Mary Stewart
Salem Brownstone: All Along the Watchtowers by John Harris Dunning and Nikhil Singh

FYI, I wiped the floor before putting down the books. ๐Ÿ˜› I think it looks nicer when you can see all the covers. I thought it was awesome that they had some Aussie YA titles! I also couldn’t resist getting copies of two favorite books, Code Name Verity and A Monster Calls. I don’t have this particular edition of the former and I can always give away copies of the latter.

The sale will last until August 10 so I’m including the details again, in case you want to check it out:
SG BOOK DEALS WAREHOUSE SALE POSTER

Event details:
Date: 1-10 August 2015
Time: 11am to 7pm (Weekends & Public Holiday); 11am to 2pm (Weekdays)
Venue: No. 438 Ang Mo Kio Ave 10, Ang Mo Kio Industrial Park 1, Singapore 569619 (Opposite Pathlight School, above Rozel Furnishing Store)

Impromptu SG Indie Bookstore Hop

Last weekend, I did an impromptu bookstore hop. I’ve been meaning to visit Littered With Books ever since I saw pictures of it pop up on my Instagram explore page. I finally got to do so last Saturday.

Here are pictures of Littered With Books, located in the Tanjong Pagar area:
Littered With Books 1

Littered With Books 2

Littered With Books 3

Littered With Books 4

I bought one of these canvas bags from the store, which brings my bookish tote bag collection to a grand total of two.

Littered With Books 5

I’ve always loved this quote because books + travel โ™ฅโ™ฅ

On Sunday, I met up with friends for brunch at Forty Hands cafe and since we were already in the area, we dropped by Books Actually and Woods in the Books.

Forty Hands

Brunch at Forty Hands. Poached eggs with mushroom and spinach. Bacon. Mocha.

BooksActually - July 2015

BooksActually - July 2015 - corner

BooksActually - July 2015 - cats

Cats of BooksActually

BooksActually - Math Paper Press

Books published by Math Paper Press.

Last but not the least, we dropped by a bookstore specializing in children’s books:
Woods in the Books - July 2015

It was a fun weekend because I got to visit these three indie bookstores even though I didn’t plan it. What about you, have you visited any nice bookstores lately?