Friday, April 29, 2011

Book Blogger Hop & Follow Friday -My Bomb Shelter Must-Haves

It's Friday! I get to stay up late tonight and sleep in tomorrow, but most importantly, it's time for Friday memes.

First off, we have the Book Blogger Hop hosted by Crazy for Books.
Book Blogger Hop
This week's question is:
"Summer is coming quickly - what 2011 summer release are you are most looking forward to?"

I haven't been on the edge of my seat waiting for any particular book; I'm too busy trying to get through the ones I already have. I went over to the Barnes & Noble website and flipped through the "Coming Soon" selection and picked the one that sounded interesting to me.

I found this! And boy am I excited. 11/22/63 by Stephen King. Okay, so it's not be released until November, but it counts. There's not a lot of information about it on B&N, but it's about time travel. The title and the cover seem to imply that they're travelling to the past, but you never know -they could be travelling from 1963 to 2011. I took a Philosophy of Physics class in college that discussed theoretical time travel, so I'm interested to see how King goes about it.

Does this pique your interest at all? Which release are you excited for?

Next up is Follow Friday hosted by Parajunkee's View.

This week's question is:

Keeping with the dystopian and apocalypse theme that seems to be running rampant on, I have one very hard question for you: If you were stocking your bomb shelter, what books would you HAVE to include if you only had space for ten?

Oh my word. This is going to be hard. At first I thought, "definitely the Hunger Games series!" But could you imagine how depressing that series would be when it's raining bombs outside and all that's surviving is the Twinkie factory? So I scratched that. Here's what I came up with.

1. Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman! by Richard Feynman -This Nobel laureate is quite a character. Seriously, who takes up safecracking as a hobby? I haven't read this yet, but I really want to. He was one of the smartest people in the 20th century, but unlike many physicists and mathematicians (other than my husband, of course), he was very charming.

2. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez -I haven't read this one either, but it's on my TR list, so why not?

3. People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks -This was a beautiful novel, and I haven't read anything like it since. I'd love to re-read it.

4-6. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Half-Blood Price, and Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling -I exhibited SOME restraint. I only picked the last three since I've read and re-read the first four so many times. I read the last three only once each, so I don't memorize each line by heart like I do the others. Plus, they're a lot longer, so that should keep me occupied for a while.

7. The Black Swan by Nassin Nicholas Taleb -No, I'm not talking about the movie with Natalie Portman. This is a non-fiction book about the disproportionately large impact of a highly improbable event. I need some science books to keep me sane and make sure I don't go off to Hogwarts in my head -though that actually wouldn't be that bad...

8. The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde -I haven't read this, but I've read other works by Wilde and I need his wit and wisdom to get through this.

9. There's a Wocket in my Pocket by Dr. Seuss -this is the book I remember most from my childhood. I need a little something to remind me of those happy days.

10. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy -I'm stuck in a bomb shelter. I've finished all the other books I brought with me. I'm still somehow alive. And sane. Is there any better circumstance that would force me to read a book that I am extremely intimidated by? I think not.

So there you have it!

Love and (a book) light,


Thursday, April 28, 2011

Throwback Thursday -Reading Rainbow

Throwback Thursday is a weekly feature that I created so I can share memories of my bookish childhood, and hopefully remind you of your own. Be sure to check out previous Throwback Thursdays using the link in the sidebar.

I'm really excited for this week's feature. Instead of a book, I chose a show that I watched religiously. Don't worry, it's still very much book related! Who remembers watching Reading Rainbow? It was hands down my favorite show when I was a kid. Just hearing the theme song after so many years makes the kid in me very happy. Have a listen!

To some people, LeVar Burton was the guy from Star Trek (and to my husband, he was Kunta Kinte from Roots). To me, he was the storyteller from Reading Rainbow. He or another host would read the books to a room full of kids, while the camera zooms in on the illustrations. What I wouldn't give to be one of the kids on the set. Next to my parents, Reading Rainbow was very instrumental in my becoming a bookworm. 

Tell me, did any of you watch this show? If you have kids, I definitely recommend this if they are still show reruns. 

Love and (a book) light,


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Reflection on The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

"Perhaps there is some sort of secret homing instinct in books that brings them to their perfect readers.”

Click here to read the blurb on Goodreads.

This novel was such a joy to read. The authors' interesting choice of using a compilation of letters (the more formal term is epistolary) was refreshing and gave the book a very unique perspective. There are certain elements that letters provide that you don't get in the conventional narrative form. I don't remember the last time I wrote a letter, but my guess would be that one would include only bits that were important to them or the reader. This is where each person's individuality shone through. Also, there is no all-knowing narrator, which is common in many books, but there is also no inner dialogue. Everything you're reading is someone's opinion or personal account of an event. This reflects real life a lot and makes the characters seems that much more real.

Along with the quirky, witty, idiosyncratic, lovable characters came a history of an island during the German occupation in the 1940s. It was very eye-opening to read about their hardships and every-day life for 5 years. It made me appreciate what I have and think twice about complaining about my circumstances.

All the members of this society became dear to my heart. You'll love the story of how the society was formed. (No spoilers here.) I loved that the members are so entirely different from one another, yet they are brought together by the thing you and I love most -reading. This book made me realize that everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, is a reader. They just haven't found the book that's right for them. OR, to reiterate the quote above, maybe the right book hasn't found *them* yet.

All in all, this book was a quick read and very enjoyable. I still find myself looking forward to reading it, only to remember that I've finished it.

Love and (a book) light,


Monday, April 25, 2011

So Many Books; So Little Time OR Plight of the Bookworms

I have a huge stack of books at home waiting to be read, not to mentioned the ones I've downloaded onto my Kindle. And then there are the books that are on my to-read list that I don't own yet. I'm adding books to my to-read list faster than I'm finishing them. Sometimes, it really makes me anxious to think about all the wonderful books that I'm missing out on because I'm not reading fast enough. (Is there an official psychiatric term for that, or is it just the usual crazy?)

I have a full-time job, as well as responsibilities at home, which makes it a struggle to find time to read. I already squeeze in as much reading as I can throughout the day -while I'm doing my hair (can we say fire hazzard?), during my lunch break, while something's in the oven, between commercials, and before bed. However, I still can't seem to get through books fast enough for my own liking. You may wonder why I still watch TV, then, but we actually don't have cable because we wanted more time for intellectual pursuits. We already watch a lot less TV than the average American does.

So how do all of you bookworms find time to read?

Love and (a book) light,


Friday, April 22, 2011

Book Blogger Hop & Follow Friday -My Playlist

Follow Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Crazy for Books. This week's question is:

Book Blogger Hop
"If you find a book you love, do you hunt down other books by the same author?"

- My first instinct is to say yes, but there really is no definite answer to this one. Silly as this may sound, books have their own personality, and to say that the author is solely responsible for that personality is saying that all of your characteristics come from your parents. Sometimes what I loved about a book isn't necessarily present in other books by that same author, just like you don't share all of your characteristics with your siblings. Of course, that doesn't stop me from reading other works by that author; I just try not to come in expecting to read "Book-I-Loved.2"

How about you? 

Another weekly meme I participate in is Follow Friday hosted by Parajunkee. This week's questions is not book related, but still fun!

What is on your current playlist right now?

I'm not currently listening to anything, but here are a few artists that are on my iPod.

-Frank Sinatra
-The Beatles
-Ella Fitzgerald
-Crosby, Stills, & Nash
-Ray Charles
-Steely Dan
-Hall & Oates
-Corinne Bailey Rae
-Earth, Wind & Fire
-A Fine Frenzy

Love and (a book) light,


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Throwback Thursday -Reader Beware; You're in for a Scare!

It's time for another installment of Throwback Thursday! This is a weekly feature that I created so I can share little pieces of my bookish childhood with you.

This week I'm featuring the Goosebumps series by R. L. Stine. I read so many of these books when I was young.  Here are a few titles that I remember reading.

My mom tried to discourage me from reading these, (probably because she was sick of me running out of my room when I read the scary parts) but I kept reading them anyway. I can't say I am the better for having read them, but they were certainly fun.

Did you read Goosebumps or any other scary books?

Love and (a book) light,


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Top Ten Books I Can't Believe I've Never Read

For this week's Top Ten Tuesday, we got to pick a previous topic that we did not get to participate in. Since this is only my second time doing Top Ten Tuesday, I had a lot of great topics to choose from. I decided to post the ten books that I can't believe I've never read.

Let me just say that I *love* books, I really do; so try not to judge me for not having read these books. I went to high school in the Philippines, so I missed out on all the classics. All of these books are on my to-read list. I *will* get to these, I really will.

1. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee -Everyone loves it and It's an American classic. Even my husband, who rarely reads fiction, has read it. I'll get to it someday.
2. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne -Everytime someone makes a reference to Hester Prynne, I completely miss the point. This seems right up my alley, too.
3. Animal Farm by George Orwell -Again, the point of so many references in our culture, and I have no clue what people are talking about. I am very close to reading this one; it's on my bookshelf.
4. 1984 by George Orwell -I know, I know. Don't hate me. The godfather of all dystopian books. This list is very humbling.
5. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen -I tried; I really did. I just couldn't get through the first few chapters. That was a few years ago, so I'm going to give it another try very soon.
6. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley -Another dystopian classic that I've failed to read.
7. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky -Seems like everyone who was once a teenager and claims to have loved books had the decency to read this. Again, don't hate me.
8. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley -Another classic that I missed out on because I moved to the Philippines.
9. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte -Yet another classic. I'm working my way there, though! I just finished Jane Eyre. This one is probably the next classic I'll read.
10. His Dark Materials Trilogy by Philip Pullman -I started reading the first book for a children's literature class, but I didn't finish, only because I was so busy with all my other classes and this book was optional.

So there you have it. I have listed the books I haven't read, and in doing so I've probably committed book blogger suicide. I *will* read all of these one day, though. Really!

Love and (a book) light,


Monday, April 18, 2011

Books on the Big Screen -To see or not to see?

I'm usually not a fan of books being made into movies, but I've heard great things about a few upcoming film adaptations.

I'm really excited about Something Borrowed coming out in May. My friends and I have already planned to see it. I can already tell by the trailers that they have taken some liberties, (such at Ethan being in the US instead of England) but it's chick lit, so I'm not terribly offended. Plus, I love Ginnifer Goodwin! The producers got Rachel's character spot on, so kudos to them on casting.

Another movie I'm excited to see is Jane Eyre. I just finished reading the book last Saturday. Boy that book was long, but I enjoyed every minute of it. I've heard great things about the movie, so I'm hoping it's not the usual book-to-movie disaster. I think the fact that it's a classic will make producers less likely to take liberties, but you never know. I'll definitely post my thoughts here once I get a chance to see it.

I'm also going to read Water for Elephants for a book club in a few weeks. The movie trailer looked good, so here's hoping I can get past Twilight guy (no offense Twilight fans) and concentrate on his character.

Are you planning on seeing any of these movies? What are your thoughts on book-to-movie adaptations in general?

Love and (a book) light,


Saturday, April 16, 2011

A Reflection on The Art of Racing in the Rain

Last night I finished The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein. Let me tell you that I was misty-eyed throughout the whole book, but I was a gross ball of torrential tears by the end. On my last post, I introduced you to Enzo, the endearing, relatable, wise-beyond-his-species canine of a narrator. Enzo takes us through his life, from the moment he was chosen by his master and friend, Denny, among a litter of puppies, through all of Denny's hardships, joys, defeats, and victories. Enzo holds strongly to the belief that his next life will be as a man, resisting animal instincts as much as caninely possible, proving to himself and, perhaps, to fate that he is ready to be a man. Enzo truly is the best friend a man can have, protecting Denny's wife, Eve, and daughter, Zoe as much as he can.

This is such a powerful account of loyalty, friendship, hope, and faith. Denny is also a great character. As he goes through his many trials, you can't help but be infuriated by the unfair circumstances thrust upon him. You are also inspired and uplifted by his will and determination to not be broken; when he falters, Enzo is there guiding him and rooting him on with his gestures.

 There were so many good quotes from this book, as my frequent Kindle posts on my Facebook page can prove. This is easily one of my favorite books of all time. It is such an easy read, yet so profound and heartwarming. There are many references to racecar driving, as that is what Denny does, but they are integrated beautifully and seamlessly into the book. I knew absolutely nothing about racecars (cars in general, really), but reading Enzo's passion and enthusiasm for a human sport was invigorating.

Add it to your to-read list! Although it's an easy read, you may not want to read this at the beach or in any other public place where you are afraid of being judged, because you WILL cry (assuming you have a soul).

Love and (a book) light,


Friday, April 15, 2011

Follow Friday -Book Buddies! & Book Blogger Hop -Meet Enzo

It's finally Friday! That means it's time for Parajunkee's Follow Friday. This week's question is:

Q. Do you have anyone that you can discuss books with IRL? Tell us about him/her.

I am a member of a few book clubs in my area. (See here for my Book Clubbers Anonymous post!) So far, none of them have been the stereotypical book clubs you see on TV that people make fun of. The people are great and we have a lot of fun discussing the books, among other things. 

But there's nothing like discussing a book with a girlfriend whom you relate to in many other ways. Lucky for you, she has an adorable blog called That is all, so you can go check her out! Ashley was the one that got me reading The Hunger Games. Every time I'd reach a certain climactic part in the book(s), I Couldn't wait to tell her about it, as she was ahead of me in the series. We've recommended books to each other, and a lot of the books on my to-read list came from her. I've also convinced her to go to some book club meetings with me where we'll be discussing The Hunger Games and Finny, where the author, Justin Kramon, will be joining us.

I also got my husband, B, to read The Hunger Games. He's a mathematician, so fiction isn't really his cup of tea. Of course, he LOVED it! I had so much fun discussing the series with him. 

Up until very recently, I haven't had anyone to discuss books with because none of my friends read the same books I did. Boy was I missing out! 

Who do you discuss books with?


Book Blogger Hop
Another great thing about Friday is the Book Blogger Hop, hosted by Crazy for Books.
This week's topic is:
"Pick a character from a book you are currently reading or have just finished and tell us about him/her."

I'm currently reading The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein. It is told by Enzo, a sweet, loyal, and loving dog. Yes, dog. I'm loving this book so far. Enzo is one of the most relatable non-human narrators there is. Enzo is loyal to his master and friend, Denny, as well as to Denny's wife and daughter. He goes through their hardships and joys just like a member of the family. Enzo believes he is different from other dogs, having a man's soul and hoping that he will be a man in his next life. To be honest, Enzo is a better person than a lot of human beings out there. I definitely recommend this book to everyone, especially all you animal lovers out there.

Hope you add this to your to-read list! To those of you who have already read The Art of Racing in the Rain, what did you think? No spoilers please! :)

Love and (a book) light,


Thursday, April 14, 2011

Throwback Thursday -The BFG

It's time for another installment of Throwback Thursday! For my new followers, Throwback Thursday is a weekly post where I feature a book from my childhood. Be sure to check out the past Throwback Thursday editions.

This week I'm featuring The BFG by Roald Dahl. I remember this being one of my first "big kid" books, as it was slightly longer than what I was used to and had less illustrations. For those of you unfortunate enough to have never read The BFG, the book is about a big friendly giant (hence the acronym). Unlike other giants, he is kind and gives you pleasant dreams at night. By the end of the book, I remember wanting a BFG of my very own!

Have you ever read The BFG or any other books by Roald Dahl? What other books do you remember from your childhood?

Love and (a book) light,


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Top Ten Books I Want to See Made into Movies

Top Ten Tuesday! This is my first time participating, and I'm really excited about this week's topic.

Be sure to check out The Broke and the Bookish where this meme is hosted.

1. The Giver -I am interested to see how the turning points in the book would play out in a movie. No spoilers, but if you've read it you probably know what I'm talking about. (*cough* the apple)
2. The Hunger Games Trilogy -My wish is coming true; the first movie comes out in 2012!
3. Snow Flower and the Secret Fan -I imagine the movie as something like The Memoirs of a Geisha.
4. People of the Book -I loved this book; I would love to see it in a movie that does it justice.
5. The Red Tent -I would love to see the history and culture come alive in a movie.
6. Sarah's Key -This could be a powerful movie, given that very few know about the 1942 Vel d'Hiv Roundup (see my reflection here).

This is technically 8 because of the Hunger Games Trilogy, but I'll try to update the list if I think of anything else.

What books would you like to see on the big screen?

Love and (a book) light,


Monday, April 11, 2011

Book Blogger Hop -Guilty Pleasures!

Be sure to check out the host of Book Blogger Hop, Crazy for Books.

Book Blogger Hop

This week's question is:

Outside of books, what is your guilty pleasure?
When I read guilty pleasure, I instantly though of Air Supply. That's right, the ballads that your parents used to listen to. "All Out of Love", "Two Less Lonely People in the World", "Here I am (the One that You Love)", and other song dreched in tears and served with a side of heartache. I LOVE listening to these songs.

Anyway, what's your guilty pleasure?

Love and (a book) light,


Saturday, April 9, 2011

Spring Library Book Sale -Part 2!

As promised, I went back for round 2 of the Spring Library Book Sale. (See part 1 here.) Again, I got great  finds! 

Haul Part 2:
1. The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley
2. The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
3. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
4. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
5. Love the One You're With by Emily Giffin

This time, I got some books that I wouldn't normally have picked up. I've heard mixed reviews about Eat, Pray, Love, but I decided to formulate my own opinion on it (and for $2 a book, why not?). I've also heard great things about The Alchemist, but I got this more for my husband, B. He doesn't read a lot of fiction, but Herman Hesse's Siddhartha is one of his favorite books. I thought he might like The Alchemist, as they are both about journeys of self discovery. I'm sure I'll eventually get to it as well.

The Thirteenth Tale has been on my to-read list for a while now, so I was incredibly excited to see it at the sale. Of course, everyone needs some guilty pleasures -thus Love the One You're With. ;)

The one I'm most excited about is probably The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie. I love mysteries, and with a 11-year-old female heroine, this one is bound to be a good read.

There you have it -my 2-day library book haul. I enjoyed it so much that I may be back tomorrow for part 3. (Teehee!) 

Love and (a book) light,


Friday, April 8, 2011

Follow Friday

I've joined Follow Friday hosted by Parajunkee. It's another great way to meet other book bloggers. This week's Follow Friday question is:

Do you judge a book by its cover?
To some extent, yes. First impressions last, and the same goes for books. This doesn't mean I won't read anything with an ugly cover, it just means that there have been many times where the artwork draws me to the book before anything else does. Sometimes I'll look at a book at Barnes & Noble because the cover caught my eye. I may not buy that book that day, but I will inevitably pick it up every time during the next couple visits to BN, at which point I eventually cave and get it. The same thing happens when I'm browsing through Amazon eBooks for my Kindle. An aesthetically pleasing cover makes the book that much more enjoyable. It doesn't have to be beautiful necessarily; it just has to have a element of intrigue. Below are a couple examples of covers that drew me in before I even knew what the book was about.

{I was drawn to the textured cover of this one}

{intriguing, yes?}

{the unconventional font and placement of the letters tell a story in and of themselves}

Happy Friday!!!

Love and (a book) light,


Thursday, April 7, 2011

Spring Library Book Sale!

The only Semi-annual sale that evokes more excitement from me than the Victoria's Secret Semi-annual sale is the book sale at our local library.

The Spring sale started today and goes until Sunday. During my lunch break, I snuck over to the library and picked up some great finds. Each fiction paperback cost $2. They usually reduce the price to $1 during the last two days of the sale, but it's best to go early on to get a chance at the best books. Don't worry, I will definitely be back on Saturday for part 2 (and possibly Sunday, too!).

Here's part 1 of my haul:
1. The Shack by Wm. Paul Young
2. The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
3. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
4. The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
5. Wicked by Gregory McGuire

{one thing I miss having on the Kindle is the cover artwork}
{I was immediately drawn to the artwork of this book}
Like you saw in one of my previous posts, I LOVE my Kindle, but I still buy paperbacks from time to time. Plus, who can resist a good deal?

Love and (a book) light,


Throwback Thursday -Encyclopedia Brown -Boy Detective

It's that time of the week! This week's Throwback Thursday features Encyclopedia Brown -Boy Detective.

I loved this series! Encyclopedia Brown was the son of the local police chief who would often solve mysteries for his father. What I loved most about it was that the reader had an opportunity to solve the mysteries and check them in the "Answers" section. This may have been where my love for mystery books blossomed; I've moved on to Agatha Christie and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, but Encyclopedia Brown is where it all started. I highly recommend this series to any of you who have kids.

I am loving the Throwback Thursday series so far. I've really enjoyed digging into the memories of my childhood and finding something to share with you all.

Love and (a book) light,


Monday, April 4, 2011

A Reflection on Snow Flower and the Secret Fan

Spoiler Rating: 3/5 No major spoilers, but read at your own risk.

As I mentioned in the Introductions post, I don't like to view these blurbs as reviews but as reflections. Such a commitment is that much easier when the writing is flawless, brilliant, and above critique. (Okay, that did sound a bit like a review, but that's as much as I'll ever say.) That being said, I was absolutely moved by this novel. 

You know how there are characters that you get attached to in a book, and by the end you feel like they're your best friend? Lily is that character. You follow her as she recounts her life of sorrow and tragedy, friendship and betrayal. She takes you to 19th century China with vivid images of the culture and society and the secret language of Nushu. You find yourself stepping into a different time and place with such ease and familiarity that we all seek in a book. 
Lily's friendship with Snow Flower is one of the most highly regarded relationships that one could have in their culture. They were matched at a young age, and their lives are forever intertwined. Together, they encounter deaths of loved ones, footbinding, marriage, famines, and war. 

My heart broke many times during this novel. I usually get emotionally invested in whatever book I'm reading, but the tragedy and sorrow of reality in this piece was especially moving. It is written as Lily's reflection of her whole life (which you learn within the first couple pages), and this perspective added another emotional element. It made me think of what I would say when I'm old and trying to write a story about my life. What things would stand out? What events would matter? What would I regret? I'm glad that I was able to take a step back, and see my life through Lily's eyes.

This book is for you if: you like learning about different times and cultures, and if you are moved by the power of friendship.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Introducing Sublime Sunday -Chocolate Anyone?

Here comes another new weekly series: Sublime Sundays. Here, you can glimpse a part of my life that does not necessarily involve books. I decided at the start of this year that I was going to look for the sublime in every day, whether it's in the beauty of a sunset or a sassy 7.5 oz. can of Coke Zero.

This Sunday, I found the sublime in 100 calorie dark chocolate bars from Trader Joe's. I am trying to eat healthier these days, which is not easy since I have a HUGE sweet tooth. These dark chocolate bars satisfy my sweet cravings in just a couple bites without the processed junk that comes in cupcakes and donuts.
{find these at your local Trader Joe's}
Plus, what it said on the back is perfect for Sublime Sunday.

{exquisite pleasures come in small packages}

I hope you try to find the sublime in each day!

Love and (a book) light,