2014 Reading Challenge (Final Update)

January 3, 2016 § Leave a comment

I know I know. This is one uber late post. The first of three for reading challenges. For reasons, please read the last three or four personal updates.

I am happy to report that for the 3rd year in a row, my reading challenge was a success.

2014 RC - 1

Below are the books I read:

2014 RC - 2

The book with no picture is “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” by Avril Tremayne. Okay so there are 6 comics and 1 short story on the list, so that may be kind of cheating. However, I read a lot of free books on Wattpad that aren’t on Goodreads so it balances. I didn’t get far on my 2nd reading challenge and read 4 books out of 31. I’m not too disappointed though because there isn’t a deadline for that challenge. On to the next reading challenge post.

Yesterday

July 6, 2014 § Leave a comment

*from Goodreads

*from Goodreads

Title: Yesterday
Author: Haruki Murakami, Philip Gabriel (Translator)
Published Date: June 9, 2014
Synopsis: “Yesterday
Is two days before tomorrow,
The day after two days ago.
” – From Goodreads

Format: eBook (The New Yorker)
Date Started: June 29, 2014
Date Completed: June 29, 2014

This is probably the only “published” story I have read just hours (minutes even) after it was published; in this case the English translation. I follow the New Yorker on Twitter and saw their tweet while I was traveling to work. I started reading immediately however I decided not to finish it. I didn’t want to read the story just for the sake of reading. I wanted to savor it.

Last Sunday, I finally found some quiet time and got to reading. As the usual when I read a Murakami story, I get feels. This is the same for this story. It is a simple story but one that I can totally relate to. There was a time in my life where I would have been the third person in Kitaru and Tanimura’s group. The more I think about it, I am increasingly convinced that this is a very timely story for what my life is and my disposition to it is at this time.

And Mr. Murakami is fantastic as usual. I am not eloquent enough to describe what it is exactly I love with his writing style. Aside from the surrealism on most of his stories, I like the tone he uses. Events, emotions, everything in his stories feels muted and at the same time feels loaded. His stories make me feel so much but doesn’t make me want to be overly dramatic about it. I really can’t explain it clearly, lol. Mr. Gabriel, the translator for this story did a good job I think. The translation does not sound different at all from the other translated Murakami works.

I think a lot of people will be able to relate to this story. Each one of us would have had that time of our lives that is in this story. I’m sure of it. The next two or three “On The Quote Board” posts will be from this story. Also, if you want to read the story, I have linked the page above.

My rating on Goodreads is 4 stars (for Really Liked It).

The Fault In Our Stars (Reading Challenge Pick for 2012)

June 11, 2014 § Leave a comment

*from Goodreads

*from Goodreads

Title: The Fault in Our Stars
Author: John Green
Published Date: January 2012
Synopsis: “Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.” – From Goodreads

Format: eBook (313 pages)
Date Started: June 3, 2014
Date Completed: June 4, 2014

I didn’t plan on reading TFiOS until much later. I really wanted to read every book on my Reading Challenge in order, lol. But I wanted to watch the movie soon after its release so I decided to just go ahead and read it. Anyway, I already broke the “read in order” rule when I read my 1986 pick before my 1984 (and I haven’t even started my 1985 pick, lol).

TFiOS was on almost all of 2012’s bestseller lists. I didn’t read it then because I usually stay away from drama books especially about illnesses. It’s too close for comfort and I would rather read something light and entertaining. That was back then though. When I decided to do my 2nd RC for this year and push beyond my limits, this is one of the books I picked which I usually wouldn’t. I’m glad that I did.

I liked the book very much. It was insightful, witty, funny, then heartbreaking. I like the writing style. This is my first John Green book so I don’t know if this is his usual writing style. But yeah I liked it so I will check his other books (and will read after my current RC).

What made the book good I think are the characters. John Green did such a good job developing the characters. I fell in love with them. I saw myself in Hazel. She is pragmatic but thoughtful and sensitive at the same time. Gus on the other hand, is a romantic and idealistic. They are both intelligent and some of their conversations are too funny. I am so drawn towards these kinds of characters.

I also love how there are so many quotable quotes on this book, lol. I highlighted so many of them on my Kindle app. Gosh, I am such a sucker for quotes. Some of the ones I loved are the following:

Pain demands to be felt.

“‘Sometimes people don’t understand the promises they’re making when they make them,’ – Hazel
‘Right, of course. But you keep the promise anyway. That’s what love is. Love is keeping the promise anyway.’ – Isaac

No matter how hard you kick, no matter how high you get, you can’t go all the way around.

As I have mentioned above, the main reason why I read it before I was supposed to is because of the movie. I have seen the movie before writing this btw. I saw it hours after finishing the book. I’ve also written a short review of the movie for GER which I’ll be reblogging tomorrow. I liked the movie too and thought it was a good adaptation. I urge you my readers to read the book (it’s a fast read, about 4 hours) and to see the movie too.

My rating on Goodreads is 4 stars (for Really Liked It).

Jitterbug Perfume (Reading Challenge Pick for 1984)

March 12, 2014 § Leave a comment

*from Goodreads

*from Goodreads

Title: Jitterbug Perfume
Author: Tom Robbins
Published Date: December 1984
Synopsis: “Jitterbug Perfume is an epic. Which is to say, it begins in the forests of ancient Bohemia and doesn’t conclude until nine o’clock tonight (Paris time). It is a saga, as well. A saga must have a hero, and the hero of this one is a janitor with a missing bottle. The bottle is blue, very, very old, and embossed with the image of a goat-horned god. If the liquid in the bottle actually is the secret essence of the universe, as some folks seem to think, it had better be discovered soon because it is leaking and there is only a drop or two left.” – From Goodreads

Format: eBook (342 pages)
Date Started: January 26, 2014
Date Completed: February 25, 2014

Yes, it took me almost a month to finish the book. Not that I didn’t like it. In fact, I did. It was just a bit difficult to read. As you may know now, English is not my first language. While this isn’t usually an issue, it was on this one because it was very detailed and descriptive and some (okay, I admit it, more than a handful) words were unfamiliar to me. For example, the star of the book, the beet. I didn’t know what a beet was because it is not grown here. I had to refer to Google and Merriam several times to completely understand the book.

Mr. Robbins is a fantastic writer. I really like a lot of the ideas presented in this book. He has written several interesting theories and I recall nodding in agreement to a lot of them. This book was so masterfully written that sometimes, I stop and think that the events in the book could really be plausible. And realistically, it can’t be that. Another reason why reading it took awhile is because the book is very intricate. I wanted to really read the book line by line and not rush. I re-read parts a few times especially the theories and philosophies.

Some of the “philosophies” that stuck to me are the following:

‘The eclipse,’ said Ricki. ‘It was probably the most real thing I’ve ever seen, but it was also like a dream. You know what I mean? Real and unreal, beautiful and strange, like a dream. It got me high as a kite, but it didn’t last long enough. It ended too soon and left nothing behind.’

The highest function of love is that it makes the loved one a unique and irreplaceable being. The difference between love and logic is that in the eyes of the lover, a toad can be a prince, whereas in the analysis of a logistician, the lover would have to prove that the toad was a prince, an enterprise destined to dull the shine of many a passion. Logic limits love.

I have one issue with the book. At the start, I felt that women were objectified. I found it a little disturbing and this tainted my overall experience of the book. My first rating of the book is 3 stars for this reason. However, I got past that and I came to really enjoy it.

My rating on Goodreads is 4 stars (for Really Liked It).

Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy #1)

January 24, 2014 § 2 Comments

*from Goodreads

*from Goodreads

Title: Vampire Academy
Author: Richelle Mead
Published Date: August 2007
Synopsis: “St. Vladimir’s Academy isn’t just any boarding school—it’s a hidden place where vampires are educated in the ways of magic and half-human teens train to protect them. Rose Hathaway is a Dhampir, a bodyguard for her best friend Lissa, a Moroi Vampire Princess. They’ve been on the run, but now they’re being dragged back to St. Vladimir’s—the very place where they’re most in danger…

Rose and Lissa become enmeshed in forbidden romance, the Academy’s ruthless social scene, and unspeakable nighttime rituals. But they must be careful lest the Strigoi—the world’s fiercest and most dangerous vampires—make Lissa one of them forever.” – From Goodreads

Format: eBook (332 pages)
Date Started: January 15, 2014
Date Completed: January 15, 2014

Yep, you read that right. I finished it within a day, about 6-7 hours. Read it on one sitting (or lying, if we be technical about it, ’cause really I was lying in bed while reading it). I really liked it. My proof is that I missed precious sleep time on a work day night and got only 3 hours of sleep.

Every time I got inside a bookstore, the book always caught my attention because the cover girl looks a lot like Angelina Jolie. But I never bought it those times. Wasn’t even tempted to because vampires. I have been very hesitant to read another vampire book ever since I bought all the Twilight books and ended up reading only the first book. Then, some time last month, this librarian I’m following posted a positive review saying it was surprisingly an enjoyable read. The review piqued my interest so I got an eBook. It also helped that I saw the trailer of the adapted movie that will be out next month.

I wouldn’t say it’s an incredibly good book. And not uncommon too. However, it certainly is a very enjoyable read. For me, it is one of those “one more chapter” books that we experience every now and then. I was getting ready for bed, gathering my blanket around me and thought “hey, why not read a chapter of this book I started at work?”. After one chapter, I was like “one more chapter”. And then, “I’ll read until chapter 5 then shut-eye”. And then I thought “F it. I’m reading half the book.” There are 24 chapters, so 12 chapters. Around 10 AM Manila time (9 PM EST), I was finishing chapter 12 and thought “Chapter 15. Promise.”. 1 and a half hour after, “Chapter 20!”. And then I finished chapter 20, looked at the time and saw it was close to 1 PM Manila time (12 AM EST) and decided to just finish the entire book. I probably would not have slept anyway. What with 4 chapters left. The suspense would keep my mind churning.

So I ended up with only 3 hours of sleep. If I was a bit younger, maybe 2 years younger, and if I wasn’t working on the night shift, that would have been fine. The circumstances are the opposite so it is difficult. But I do not have any regrets. None at all. I like the main character, Rose very much. She is flawed. Lissa, the other main character, is another flawed character, even more than Rose. I liked her too. The writing I thought was very even. The characters were written very well. Despite Lissa being a vampire (a royal at that) and Rose being a half-vampire, teenagers could still relate to their emotions, thoughts and behavior. I would have if I was a teenager. I will be reading the next book and probably the whole series some time this year.

I am excited for the movie too. It does look like they have changed some parts of the book for the movie based on the trailer. I liked who they casted for Rose though. The actress for Lissa does fit the desciption of book-Lissa. I’m not too sure with the Dimitri actor. The other casts looked okay too. The lines on the trailer also hint that the movie will be more humorous than the book, albeit still dark. And if the trailer song is anything to go by, it may have a good soundtrack too. Production doesn’t look too shabby as well. So I’m really really excited for the movie.

My rating on Goodreads is 4 stars (for Really Liked It).

Where Am I?

You are currently browsing the Reading Challenge 2014 category at Luokeshan's Blog.