Books are my constant

A good friend of mine has told me more than once that it’s so easy to buy gifts for me because I like so many things. It is obviously true and you can see evidence of this if you follow my Instagram account because I randomly post about things that I like. For example, I like sending and receiving postcards. I also like washi tape because there are so many pretty designs out there – I have quite a collection now because I can’t resist buying rolls. I’m a foodie so I enjoy visiting new-to-me restaurants that have been recommended by friends and I have a special fondness for chocolates and desserts. I also like good coffee and tea, which is why I enjoy café hopping in Singapore. While I’m not a fashionista, I also like buying clothes and shoes that I find cute especially when I find stuff that are book-related. I wouldn’t really describe myself as a photographer but I do enjoy taking Instagram and lomography pictures. And of course I love reading and I love books.

lomo reading Anawangin

Reading at Anawangin Cove in the Philippines

I tend to be a bit obsessive when I like something so it becomes kind of my focus for a while (e.g. I have moments when I want to go shopping for clothes or I want to buy ALL the washi tape I can afford) but that always tapers off, which I’m totally fine with. I will think to myself that I’ve spent enough on that one thing and maybe I shouldn’t buy more because I don’t really need them. I can live with what I already have. So while I am interested in a lot of things, my level of interest in them tends to be inconsistent. Except for books, which have always been my constant. Thanks to my parents’ influence, I have always enjoyed reading. I may not have been as into reading as I am now (having a book blog enables me to focus on it more) but it has always been a hobby. I mentioned before that being an active reader and a book blogger makes reading more than just a hobby, but more of a lifestyle and I think that’s still true. Aside from eating and sleeping, reading is my default activity. I read whatever mood I’m in – bored, sad, frustrated, happy. I read even when I should be doing something else like catching up on chores. Sometimes, I feel annoyed that I have to meet up with other people or run an errand when I’m in the middle of a good book that I want to finish. Aside from reading, I also talk about books as much as I can – with blogging buddies, with authors and even with real life friends. Books are such an important part of my life and I know that it will be like that for as long as I’m able to read. I know that I wouldn’t be able to keep up with maintaining a blog forever but even if I stop blogging, I will keep reading. It’s just a statement of fact that I wanted to make here since it’s appropriate: books are and will always be my constant. I wonder if any of you feel the same way?

Top Ten Books From My Childhood That I Would Love To Revisit

Top Ten Tuesday2

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. There are so many books that I’ve enjoyed reading as a child that I would love to reread as an adult. I’m wondering if they would hold up as rereads and whether I would like them just as much. Some of the titles that I would love to revisit are:

The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe The BFG Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH Harriet the Spy From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil A Wrinkle in Time A Ring of Endless Light The Giver The Tombs of Atuan Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

I wonder when my huge TBR would let me go back to these old favorites for a reread? What about you, what are some of your childhood or teen books would you love to read again?

I Need Some Wow Books – Part II

Lately, I’ve been feeling the need to read more books that will leave me feeling like this:

Purpose

Image from Anything about nothing

What are some of the books that have made you feel like that? Books that have left you with a book hangover? I asked the same question on Twitter the other day and got a couple of suggestions but I wanted to do it on the blog as well so it would be easier for me to keep track of recommendations. If you’re wondering about the title of the post, I’m just recycling something that I found in an old post. I was also asking for recs back then. I’m always curious about other readers’ favorite books, especially when I feel like we have the same taste in books. What are some of the titles that you’ve recently loved? Is there a particular novel that you’ve been dying to recommend? Based on what you’ve seen me read and review, do you have a book that you think will work really well for me? I’m open to suggestions! I didn’t even get to read this weekend because I was busy meeting up with friends, catching up on chores and I also couldn’t decide what to read next.

Making the Move – Part II

When I first moved to Singapore a little less than two years ago, I did a write-up of the bookish aspects of the move. I’ve moved to two different flats since then, but there weren’t big changes involved in those so I didn’t feel the need to give an update. This time it’s different and you’ll find out why in a bit. Just to give an overview, property is insanely expensive in Singapore so rent is my biggest expense per month. Studio or one bedroom flats aren’t very common here so people tend to share flats. Ever since I moved here, I’ve always rented one furnished room, which includes a bed, a closet, a desk and a chair. The first two flats that I stayed at had three bedrooms while my current one has four.

My first problem in moving was how to transfer the books from one place to another. I thought I didn’t have that much stuff so I decided not to hire movers and just put all my things in a cab on moving day. I thought boxes filled with books would be too heavy for me to carry so I put my books in suitcases instead. I managed to fill one large and one small suitcase with books. I was a little surprised that I had so many books because I haven’t been buying a lot of paperbacks or hardcovers since I moved to Singapore because books are pretty expensive over here. The books that I have here are mostly books from Manila, my US trip last year and some that I’ve received as gifts or review copies.

I was pretty lucky that the previous two rooms that I rented before had bookshelves, so I didn’t have to worry about where to put my books. However, the room that I moved into doesn’t have bookshelves. I thought about just getting clear plastic boxes to store my books in but when I got to Ikea, I found out that they have some affordable bookshelves. Getting several plastic boxes would have cost just as much as one bookshelf so I decided to just get the latter. I ended up buying Trysil drawers (to keep sheets, towels and clothes in because surprise, surprise, I didn’t have enough closet space) and a Billy bookshelf. That was the first time I’ve ever bought furniture from Ikea because I have always been worried about accumulating too much stuff that it would be difficult for me to move around in Singapore or to move back to Manila. But hey, I needed storage space so I went ahead and bought these. Although I had minor difficulties in putting these furniture pieces together, I still thought it was a lot of fun:

Moving - Trysil and Billy

I was pretty happy when I was finally able to unpack my books:

Moving - suitcase to shelf

I chose just the right size of Billy for the number of books that I have:

Moving - filled bookshelf

Aside from the Ikea stuff, I am now also the proud owner of a used armchair. I’ve always wanted to have my own armchair because it seemed perfect for reading. So when I found out that the owners of the flat were selling a one-year-old armchair for less than half the original price, I went ahead and grabbed it. Ha, even if it’s cheaper than a brand-new one, this armchair cost more than both the bookshelf and the drawers. I’m making good use of it though – I’ve curled up to read on it and I’ve also fallen asleep while reclining.

Moving - armchair

As you can see, my reading corner gets a lot of natural light during the day. But on weekdays, I do most of my reading at night and the light in my room isn’t bright enough for reading. I bought a book light but it gives up on me after 30 minutes or so. I thought about buying a stand lamp but I think they’re quite pricey at around SGD60 (USD47, PHP2131). This is why I’ve considered buying a Kindle Paperwhite even though my Kindle Touch is still in good shape. I’ve heard rumors that there will be a new version of the Paperwhite that will be released this year so I’m thinking of just waiting for that. In the meantime, I’ll make do with the desk lamp that I have (I have to prop it up on my lap when I’m reading on the armchair).

Quite a lot of changes from my previous room with the light situation as the only big problem. I’m open to suggestions if any of you can think of a solution. Also feel free to share your own stories about moving from one place to another and how that affected your life as a reader or book blogger.

______________

Edited to add:

I forgot to include pictures of what the wall above my bookshelf and desk looks like. I taped some scrapbook sheets, gift wrappers and a calender of The Hobbit, which I received as a gift last year:

Moving - scrapbook sheet walls

Here’s a closer look at the scrapbook sheets because some of them are book-themed:

Moving - scrapbook sheets 1

Moving - scrapbook sheet 2

I love this clever play on periodic table elements.

I love this clever play on periodic table elements.

Last but not the least, here’s The Hobbit calendar:

Moving - The Hobbit calendar

WWW Wednesdays: October 2

WWW Wednesdays

WWW WEDNESDAYS… is a weekly event where you share (1) What you’re currently reading, (2) What you recently finished reading, and (3) What you think you’ll read next.

It’s Wednesday, middle of the week! The weekend is just around the corner. While I don’t participate in WWW Wednesdays every week, I still think it’s fun to do from time to time. This way, I get to talk about books that I might not get a chance to review later on.

My Most Excellent Year outdoors

Last book I finished: My Most Excellent Year by Steve Kluger, which I wrote a Retro Friday review for. It’s an under-the-radar contemporary YA novel that I think more readers should check out. It was such a fun and heartwarming read for me.

The Dream Thieves in Times

Currently reading: The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater, the sequel to The Raven Boys. I enjoyed reading The Raven Boys but my favorite Maggie Stiefvater novel is still The Scorpio Races. However, several book blogger friends have been raving about The Dream Thieves so I have high hopes for this one. I’m halfway through and I’m enjoying it but still waiting to be wowed.

The Chocolate Heart galley

Planning to read next: I requested and got approved for The Chocolate Heart by Laura Florand on NetGalley, the fifth book in the Amour et Chocolat series. I’m so excited to read this because the release date isn’t until November 26 but the galley is already available. I love the Amour et Chocolat series and it’s nice to have a new Laura Florand title in my Kindle.

What about the rest of you, care to answer the three questions thrown out by this meme? What book are you currently reading, what have you just finished and what are you thinking of picking up next?

My Library Experience

Singapore library

I dropped by the library last weekend and then I found out that my membership has expired. I hadn’t even realized that a whole year has passed since I signed up for the Singapore Public Library. If you’ve been following my blog for a while then you’re aware that I was pretty excited to have access to a good public library because we don’t have that back home in the Philippines. In my excitement, I kept borrowing books that I didn’t have time to read – even with an extended due date. I kept doing it anyway because it felt therapeutic just to visit the library on a weekly basis, browse through the shelves and see which titles would stand out. I borrowed A LOT OF BOOKS but I kept track of the ones that I managed to read on my Goodreads shelves and here they are:

The DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend by Kody Keplinger
The Coming of the Dragon by Rebecca Barnhouse
Amplified by Tara Kelly
My One and Only by Kristan Higgins
Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway
The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson
Fury by Shirley Marr
Crazy Beautiful by Lauren Baratz-Logsted

Wow, I’m a little surprised that I was able to read only eight books in the span of a year. Although maybe that shouldn’t be so surprising because I have my own collection as well, books that I’ve bought or received as gifts. Plus there are times when I would receive galleys too. I guess I’m used to having books as my personal property, meaning I could read them whenever I wanted, instead of being more aware of due dates so I never prioritized library books. That and I didn’t want to feel pressured to read anything that I wasn’t in the mood for.

Library November 18

I think it was a great experience that I signed up to become a member of the library, even though the membership fee wasn’t that cheap at SGD 50 for foreigners. I’m also delighted that I see so many Singaporeans making the most out of the libraries – I see a lot of people reading library books in the MRT and the library is always packed on weekends, with kids running around to grab books. The Twitter and Instagram accounts of the Singapore Public Library are both updated regularly and it was fun to interact with the people handling those social media sites. I just wish the library had ebook titles that I could borrow since it’s a lot easier for me to read on my Kindle while on the go. I feel like I would have been able to take advantage of my membership more if I could borrow ebooks. I wouldn’t mind signing up again but I’ll probably wait until there are specific titles that I want to borrow. In the meantime, I should concentrate on my TBR pile.

I know a lot of you have access to good public libraries (some of you are even librarians – lucky people), I would like to hear what your own library experiences are.

WWW Wednesdays: September 11

WWW Wednesdays

WWW WEDNESDAYS… is a weekly event where you share (1) What you’re currently reading, (2) What you recently finished reading, and (3) What you think you’ll read next.

I’ve seen WWW Wednesdays around the blogosphere but this is the first time that I’m participating. You know when you feel like publishing a post on the blog but don’t have the energy to write a review? I think memes like WWW Wednesdays are a good idea for times like these.

Butterfly SwordsWhat you’re currently reading: I’m currently in the middle of Butterfly Swords by Jeannie Lin, a Chinese historical romance. I’m enjoying it so far and I find it interesting because this is the first time I’ve read an Asian historical romance.

Blue Sword

What you recently finished reading: I just finished rereading one of my favorite novels, The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley. It’s this month’s pick for our book club discussion. It was just as lovely as I remember it and I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of rereading it. I need more books like that in my life.

Eleanor and Park US

What you think you’ll read next: I haven’t read any contemporary novels, both adult and YA, in a while so I’m thinking I can read either Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell or Paper Chains by Nicola Moriarty next. Or any other contemporary book in my TBR pile.

What about the rest of you, care to answer the three questions above?

Separation Anxiety

Prior to moving to Singapore, I’ve always lived in one city: Manila. I still consider our house in Manila as my home – my room is still there with all of my stuff in it, not the least of which is my big bookshelf. Most of the books that I own are in that bookshelf back home. I didn’t even get the chance to arrange it properly before I left, the books there aren’t organized in any kind of order. I have some books here with me because I always try to squeeze in some of them in my luggage whenever I have a Manila trip. I’ve also bought some books since I moved, especially when I went to the States earlier this year. I haven’t read all of the books that I have here because I also read library books and Kindle books. I just find it comforting to have a bookshelf piled with books near me.

bookshelf Oct 2012

My big, messy bookshelf back home

I kind of feel sad that most of my books are back home in Manila instead of here where I am. I guess that’s what usually happens whenever a person needs to move for various reasons. I think I’m just not used to it. What if I feel like reading or just looking and touching an old favorite? Or if I feel like reading a book I haven’t had a chance to read only to discover that my copy is back home? Or if I want to look up a certain scene or passage in a book that I’ve previously read? Sometimes, I also like looking back at some of the signed copies that I have to check out what the author wrote (and also because signed books are awesome). I know my friends probably won’t understand when I tell them that I miss my books but the rest of you may be able to relate to how I feel. I have people telling me that instead of buying physical books, I should just get ebook editions so I’ll always have my library in my Kindle. But I like reading printed books. Anyway, I think that’s another topic for a different discussion.

bookshelf singapore may 2013

My small bookshelf in Singapore

I know a lot of fellow readers and bloggers move around a lot, especially the ones based abroad. So I wanted to get a conversation going about what it’s like not to have all of your books with you? Or do you feel compelled to bring them along whenever you move? But what if you’re not certain of the duration of your stay in one place, do you keep your books in your family home or maybe a storage facility? Do you also feel a bit sad when you don’t have all of your books with you? I would love to hear your thoughts on this. It would be good to know that I’m not the only one who has separation anxiety.

Book Haul: First Ever Library Stash

Guess who’s the newest member of the Singapore public library? *raises hand and jumps up and down* Yes, I couldn’t resist. I signed up because I’ve always wanted to have access to a library. It’s like a dream come true for a book lover from the Philippines. I dropped by after work – the library is inside the mall beside the MRT station. It was about to close by the time my application was processed so I just grabbed books that are on my wishlist:

This Is Shyness by Leanne Hall
God Is In the Pancakes by Robin Epstein
Kat, Incorrigible by Stephanie Burgis
The Demon’s Surrender by Sarah Rees Brennan
The Swan Maiden by Heather Tomlinson
The Floating Islands by Rachel Neumeier
The Duff: Designated Ugly Fat Friend by Kody Keplinger
Amplified by Tara Kelly

I have no idea if I’ll be able to finish reading all of these in three weeks but I just wanted to take advantage of the fact that I could borrow eight books in one go. Also, I want to make the most out of the 53 SGD membership fee. And I have been a bit book hungry lately because books are so expensive over here compared to Manila. This is what my tiny bookshelf in Singapore looks like:

It’s not as great as my bookshelf back home but it’s always comforting to have books near you. What about the rest of you, did you buy or borrow any books this week?

Yishun Public Library

I’ve decided to sign up for the Singapore Public Library, even though it’s a bit pricey, because books are so expensive over here! The registration and membership fee for foreigners is around 53SGD (1800 in pesos, 42 in USD) a year, which isn’t so bad if I plan to borrow often. Plus, I’ve always wanted to have access to a public library! Anyway, I’m putting it off until I finish reading the books that I brought with me – otherwise, I might not be able to read them anytime soon. I dropped by the library near where I’m staying to take pictures to show all of you what it looks like:

Here’s the YA section:

As an added bonus, there are some Aussie books on the shelves. Check out This Is Shyness and Bloodflower (Aussie edition of The Returning by Christine Hinwood):

Look, Something Like Normal by Trish Doller is also available:

I don’t understand why they don’t have all of Robin McKinley’s books though:

And this is the only Melina Marchetta they have:

Glad to see the Beka Cooper books because I haven’t read those:

And yay, Megan Whalen Turner and Elizabeth Wein in one shelf:

I haven’t even explored the other sections of the library, like the children’s and adult books sections:

Let’s see how long it takes before I give in and sign up. I haven’t even read the actual books that I brought with me because I’ve mostly been reading on my Kindle – much easier to read standing up on the train using that than a physical book. I’m pretty excited about the library though and I also heard that once I’m a member, I can borrow books from other branches. I bet the National Library has an even better selection.