Book Hungry vs. Book Full

As a book lover, I think I usually have two modes when it comes to book acquisition: book full vs. book hungry. Book full means that I feel like I have way too many books in my TBR pile and I would never be able to read all of them (and that’s okay, I wrote a blog post about that years ago). While book hungry means I feel like I do NOT have enough books or that I need more because I don’t feel like reading the ones that I already own. In another older blog post, I shared this quote which nicely sums up why we keep hoarding books:

β€œOf course anyone who truly loves books buys more of them than he or she can hope to read in one fleeting lifetime. A good book, resting unopened in its slot on a shelf, full of majestic potentiality, is the most comforting sort of intellectual wallpaper.” – David Quammen

Whenever I’m book hungry, I’d go buy one or two books that I REALLY, REALLY want. Enough to justify a purchase when I already have such a huge TBR pile. Nowadays, I try to control my book buying tendencies by only getting physical copies of either signed books or graphic novels. Those are the only titles I allow myself to get, because I can get the rest in ebook format. I’ve noticed that I don’t really go book hungry that often anymore because I always just one-click Kindle deals or freebies whenever I come across them. πŸ˜›

When I’m feeling extremely book full, that’s when I want to pass on physical copies of my books either to friends, a book drive or a book cafe. I did a somewhat ruthless culling of my bookshelves last year because I hated that my books were sitting unread in my bookshelves in Manila while I was in Singapore. And it’s not like they would stay in good condition forever, foxing and yellowing is a constant problem in a hot and humid country like the Philippines. Some of my friends in real life got a huge TBR pile because of it, and I also donated some books to a book cafe and a book drive.

I thought my pile of books has gone down to a more manageable size after last year’s cull but I was feeling book full again as I unpacked the books that I sent home from Singapore to Manila. If only I could convert these books into ebooks so I can save them in my Kindle! Then I wouldn’t have to worry about the space they occupy or that their pages have foxing and yellowing. So again with the culling, and I tried be ruthless again by telling myself that I need to give up even the books that I haven’t read because if I’ve had them for more than three years and I still haven’t read them, then it’s unlikely that I ever will. It’s not always easy to give up books especially when you don’t have access to good public libraries, but I think I’ve gotten to the point where I know that if I want to read something, I’ll find a way to get it (e.g. buy another edition so I can read it on my Kindle or borrow a copy from a friend). Also, I keep thinking that someone else might enjoy these books instead of them sitting ignored in my shelves. So here’s another pile that have gone to a friend’s book cafe in Cebu:

book donation August 2017

And here’s a section of my shelves after the cull, the books are randomly arranged wherever they could fit because I didn’t have the energy to arrange them properly:

Manila bookshelf August 2017

I think it looks pretty. πŸ™‚ I haven’t decided if I’m done with culling or if I should go through the books that I’ve already read and think about passing them on to other friends. For now, I’m glad I was able to pass on a significant number of them. What about you, do you cull your bookshelves on a regular basis or you keep your books forever? Let me know in the comments because it’s interesting to hear what other readers’ habits are.

V.E. Schwab Book Haul

I survived my first week at the new job! To reward myself, I went to the bookstore and bought two books from this shelf… can you guess which ones they are? πŸ™‚

Kinokuniya bookshelf - taken with Samsung S7

If you guessed A Darker Shade of Magic and A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab then you’re absolutely right! I keep hearing good things about both books from friends so I’ve been wanting to check them out. I know I keep saying I need to buy books in ebook format to save space, but the Kindle editions for these are still pretty pricey, and the UK paperback editions cost just a few more dollars so might as well get physical copies for the prettiness.

V.E. Schwab books

I hope I get to read these soon. Although I’ve heard that the second book ends on a cliffhanger. Maybe I should have waited for all three books to be released before getting the series? Oh well, too late now. πŸ˜›

As an aside, I finally switched from a Samsung S3 to an S7 Edge. The bookshelf pic above was the first one I posted on Instagram using the new phone. I got my old phone when I first moved to Singapore and had it for almost 4 years. I’m loving the upgrade, including having a way better phone camera. So expect nicer shots from me!

Book and Borders Cafe

Book and Borders was one of three book cafes that I visited during my trip back home in Manila for Christmas. The other two were Tweedle Book Cafe and Cool Beans Cafe. I’ve been back in Singapore for a week and I’m still trying to catch up on work and chores so I haven’t been able to post this sooner.

Like I said in my earlier book cafe posts, I think it’s awesome that more and more book cafes are popping up in Manila, and that I was able to visit three of them in a short span of time. Will keep my fingers crossed that I get to visit more of them the next time I come home.

Book and Borders was the biggest book cafe out of the three that I saw. And it felt more commercialized than the other two, like it had a similar feel to Starbucks or Coffee Bean instead of a cozy indie cafe. Still, it seemed like a good place for any reader to hang out in.

Book and Borders - entrance

Book and Borders - couch

Book and Borders - tables

Book and Borders - B&B

Here are the books in their YA section:
Book and Borders - YA section

They also had bookish items on sale at the cafe:
Book and Borders - necklaces

Book and Borders - mugs

The food that we ordered:

Book and Borders - chicken

Grilled chicken

Book and Borders - grilled cheese

Grilled cheese sandwich

Book and Borders - drink

Some kind of iced coffee that had frozen cream

While I didn’t really do any reading in these book cafes, I still had fun checking them out. If I was still based in Manila, I’m pretty sure I’d be visiting these book cafes often. I should also search for book cafes in Singapore, I’ve heard of at least one here.

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.

MNL to SIN Stash Part 2

Last Friday was a holiday both here in Singapore and in Manila so I took advantage of that and flew back home for the first time since I moved here. I did a Manila to Singapore stash post when I first got here so I thought it would be a good idea to make it a series of posts – I’d show everyone what I manage to squeeze into my limited luggage space every time I go home. It felt like I was shopping for new books when I grabbed these off my shelves:

Nightshifted by Cassie Alexander
Strong Poison by Dorothy Sayers
To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis
Girl in the Arena by Lise Haines
Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John
Dogsbody by Diana Wynne Jones
Moonglass by Jessi Kirby

Pretty excited to read all of these! Four of those books were given as gifts and I think that’s always a good thing. πŸ˜› I also got my copies of these two books because a co-worker was asking for recommendations similar to Dune (haven’t read the series but I asked bloggers on Twitter and these seem like a good choice):

I thought I’d share a picture of my messy bookshelf:

Didn’t get to rearrange everything before leaving. Also, here are some Puffin postcards that I framed and displayed in my bookshelf:

What about the rest of you, have you gotten any good books lately?

Shoot That Book: Storage Boxes

Shoot That Book combines my passion for books and my tendency to become trigger happy with a camera. My lack of photography skills is compensated by my enthusiasm. Basically, I like taking pictures of books.

When there isn’t enough space in your bookshelf for all of your books, it’s nice to have alternative storage solutions. Like this nifty plastic box that can slide under the bed:

This is what it looks like filled with books:

Oops, looks like I need another one! I need more bookshelf space. Or maybe I should clean up my bookshelf and pass on the books that I’m no longer interested in. Anyway, I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who has problems when it comes to book storage. Care to share your own methods? Do you keep them in boxes too or just leave them lying around the house? Do you have book towers all over your place?

Bookish Christmas Display

I know, I know. I’ve already posted several Christmas pictures on the blog but I’ve been wanting to take shots of this bookish Christmas display in Trinoma, one of the malls here in Manila. I didn’t get a chance to do it until today (using my friend’s camera phone). πŸ˜› Look, it’s a giant bookshelf:

Chachic included for scale:

A closer look at the open book, it even has text inside:

And here’s Santa’s library (Chachic included again for scale and didn’t get to take a picture of just the display):

I have no idea why they decided to put up a bookish Christmas display but it looks pretty, right? I think bookworms from all over the metro will be tempted to have pictures taken with that as the background.

Messy Bookshelf

Remember when I posted about my new bookshelf a few months ago? My friend Ian even took really nice pictures for a guest post on his blog. Long story short, this was what my bookshelf looked like at that time:

Beautiful, isn’t it? It doesn’t look like that now. Those pictures were taken before the glass panels were put in. Also, I never planned to arrange my books by color on a permanent basis. It’s too hard to look for a book because the spine doesn’t always have the same color as the cover. So I temporarily lined them up by color just to take nice pictures. Having done that, I’ve tried to arrange my books properly, alphabetically by author. So far, I’ve only managed to fix the As, Bs and Cs and the rest are just piled up randomly.

Behold the messiness:

I just find it funny that it looks so different now. I should be embarrassed that I’m such a lazy/messy person! I should finish fixing up my bookshelf because I want to look at it and see my beautiful books lined up by author. There’s a long weekend coming up because of Holy Week and I don’t have any plans of going out of town so maybe I should prioritize this. I’ll take pictures again once I’m done.

My Bookshelf

My bookshelf isn’t really that big. I’m thinking of buying a bigger one that can span a whole wall of my room but I haven’t found anything that I like. Here are pictures of my bookshelf:

It’s not as organized as I’d like because there isn’t enough room for all of the books so they’re just sort of piled together. Although I do group them by author. There are more books at behind the books in front, I don’t think that can really be seen in the pictures. The rest that can’t fit there are placed in this big box:

The box is starting to get full, I may need to another one soon. Or find a bigger bookshelf that I like. The thing is, I like bookshelves that have sliding glass panels. I don’t want open bookshelves because books get dirtier and turn yellow faster that way. If you find nice bookshelves here, please let me know.

Guessing Game

I was looking at some old photos and I came across pictures from our trip to Singapore back in 2008. Here’s my favorite picture from that trip:

Guess where this was taken – a library? A bookstore?

It’s a food court! I have no idea why they designed a food court to look like a library but when I found out that Food Republic in Suntec City was designed like this, I knew I wanted to check it out. Here’s a description from a now non-existent source:

Getting a 15,000-square foot eatery to look like a 19th-century library is no walk in the park. Plenty of groundwork – a team was sent to Europe to study the aesthetics of libraries there – and a whopping SGD 3 million went into the renovations. The tables and chairs were custom-designed and imported from Shanghai and Germany and the spiffy staff uniforms designed by local fashion designer Keith Peng. And, unlike at most food courts, where you emerge smelling much like your lunch, a SGD 2 million odour-diffusing system, used in all Food Republic food courts, keeps the smell and smoke from clogging up the air.

If you’re interested in having something like that, I found a couple of sites that have bookshelf wallpapers.


Deborah Bowness


Tracy Kendall


Ataliear Abigail Ahern

What do you think? I’m more interested in filling up our house with real bookshelves but these wallpapers are pretty.