The Top Ten Books I Read in 2015

Before it starts to feel that it’s not the start of the new year anymore, I have to recognize my favorite books in 2015. It was a good year of reading for me, having read 51 books according to my Goodreads account. I was also happy to finish some classics and literary works that I’ve been putting off for some time. And now, without further ado, here are my top ten books read in 2015:

Top Ten:

top_ten_books_2015

  1. The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes

    This was another of our fears: that Life wouldn’t turn out to be like Literature.

  2. The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood

    But in life, a tragedy is not one long scream. It includes everything that led up to it. Hour after trivial hour, day after day, year after year, and then the sudden moment: the knife stab, the shell burst, the plummet of the car from a bridge.

  3. Ghostwritten by David Mitchell

    If you’re in your life, chance. Viewed from the outside, like a book you’re reading, it’s fate all the way.

  4. The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy

    Some things come with their own punishments.

  5. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

    And I thought to myself, well, we’re making a step-it’s just a baby-step, but it’s a step.

  6. High Fidelity by Nick Hornby

    But tonight, I have to confess (but only to myself, obviously) that maybe, given the right set of peculiar, freakish, probably unrepeatable circumstances, it’s not what you like but what you’re like that’s important.

  7. CivilWarLand in Bad Decline by George Saunders

    I’m not a bad guy. If only I could stop hoping. If only I could say to my heart: Give up. Be alone forever. There’s always opera. There’s angel-food cake and neighborhood children caroling, and the look of autumn leaves on a wet roof. But no. My heart’s some kind of idiotic fishing bobber.

  8. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

    Nervous means you want to play. Scared means you don’t want to play.

  9. Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card

    As long as you keep getting born, it’s all right to die sometimes.

  10. Drown by Junot Díaz

    I’ve tried to explain, all wise-like, that everything changes, but she thinks that sort of saying is only around so you can prove it wrong.

Honorable Mentions:

other_top_books_2015

  • Black Swan Green by David Mitchell

    The world unmakes stuff faster than people can make it.

  • Perdido Street Station by China Miéville

    What was an experience becomes a dream and then a memory. I cannot see the edges between the three.

  • number9dream by David Mitchell

    You look for your meaning. You find it, and at that moment, your meaning changes, and you have to start all over again.

  • No Matter the Wreckage by Sarah Kay

    Forgive yourself for the decisions you have made, the ones you still call mistakes when you tuck them in at night.

  • Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson

    And I never expected that you could have a broken heart and love with it too, so much that it doesn’t seem broken at all.

There goes my list. I’m planning to read less this year. But I’m looking forward to find new favorites.

Top Posts plus Funny Search Engine Terms (Year One)

I’ve been blogging for a year now. And although I keep saying to some of my friends that I’m just adding muck to the Internet with my posts, the previous months had been fun. I have been reading a lot of posts from the book blogging community, knowing more and even finding some friends.

One of the fun sides of blogging is knowing that other people get to read my blog. (I know I have few readers, yes, but still…) It was interesting to see that I could reach out to other people from other parts of the world through my blog posts.


According to my Site Stats, these are my top posts based on views:

My Top 5 Posts

1. Books & Films: Stuck in Love

It was sort of unbelievable that this post appears in my blog stats everyday. At present, its views are almost three times the views of my homepage. Just a simple post mentioning Raymond Carver and Stephen King, but a lot of people undoubtedly wants to know more about them after watching the movie. My search engine terms stats shows that a lot wants to know the books mentioned in the film. The quote from What We Talk About When We Talk About Love, books by Stephen King, and if Stuck in Love is based on a book. (People want books! People want to read!) I hope some of those who searched for the book titles really did read a book. Most of them clicked the Goodreads links of the books anyway, so yay!

2. My Eleanor & Park Playlist

Creating an Eleanor & Park playlist is not something that has not been done before I wrote this post. After reading the book, I found playlists of the songs for this young adult book. Then there’s a playlist by Rainbow Rowell herself. But I needed something that includes almost all of the songs and quote where in the book they were mentioned so I made my own. A friend who read this blog post told me that I have an impeccable taste in music. I told her, “No, Rainbow Rowell has an impeccable taste in music! I just compiled her music choices.” I hope that those who landed on this post found what they’re looking for or if not, maybe learn a good song or two. Tommy Tutone’s 867-5309, one of my favorite discoveries from the book, is the popular one in the search engine terms.

3. Films Mentioned in Anna and the French Kiss

I know, I know, I have a lot of compilation posts. Books from this, songs from that, movies from this. Initially, I was just listing the movies I encountered in the book that I haven’t watched yet that sounds interesting so that I could find copies and watch them afterwards. Eventually, my list grew longer and I decided to just list all of them. And it turned out, like me, some individuals want to read lists too. I made this list thinking that I’ll watch all of them and until now, the number of the films I watched from this list is still that number. This reminds me, I have to watch one soon!

4. Book Thoughts: Fall Like Rain by Ana Tejano

Seeing this is in my top posts makes me happy because I somehow feel that I am helping the Filipino authors in my own little way. You know, books from Filipino authors aren’t that much popular to Filipino readers. Even I wasn’t that much exposed to our literature before I joined our book club. So this could mean that more are getting interested in books by Filipino authors. I hope that those who haven’t read this book and chanced upon my blog decides to read it. And now I think I should post more reviews about Filipino works that I read to help pass on information about our local books and authors.

5. Books & Films: Atonement, The Fault in Our Stars, Edge of Tomorrow

This post is not that much thought about when I posted it. It’s just that I watched them all in a day and they’re all from books and I have nothing more important to do. I bet a lot of the people who searched and viewed this post were disappointed and never learn that much from my post. Haha! (I’m so sorry, guys!) But maybe one learned something from it, like maybe that Edge of Tomorrow is based from a book, which I didn’t know before watching the movie.


Now, let’s move on to another Top 5.

Search Engine Terms stats are important, they say. Knowing words or phrases that searchers use, applying SEO, etc. so that your pages turn up in the search results. But I’m not really into these optimization thingy. I just enjoy looking at my Search Engine Terms, especially when I’m bored, because they’re fun to read.

My Top 5 Funny Search Engine Terms

1. forgive me leonard peacock does he kill himself

Wait, I’ll just check my Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock review.

My review wasn’t able to answer his question. I wish I convinced him to read the book instead and find out the answer on his own. Or maybe his question was answered, in a subtle way, if he really read my review.

2. the connection between atonement and the fault in our stars

Could anyone really determine the connection between these two books? (and movies?) As I said above, my Books & Films: Atonement, The Fault in Our Stars, Edge of Tomorrow post isn’t really good. And even though I have read and watched both Atonement and The Fault in Our Stars, I found no connection in them. Just that they’re both films adapted from books. Or maybe there’s a deeper connection that I miss? Or let me just say that it’s nice watching them in the same day. Hehe! I’m kidding.

3. loving mecanism

If you love my blog, thank you! Without a doubt, the one who used this search term wants to find something about “loving mechanism”. I’m sorry if he landed on my blog. Until know, I’m thinking if I’ll change my blog name. But I hope he finds what he’s looking for in some other nook in the Internet and find the loving that he wants. 😛

4. yygttgwsy tfg

A bored person typed this in his search engine, and one of my posts appeared in the results, and because he’s really bored and got nothing important to do, he clicked and viewed it! As most of you know, TFG is the acronym of our book club. I wonder which post he saw. I wonder if he just clicked it and closed the tab immediately after. Or did he read about our awesome bookclub? And maybe decided to read too? Haha! Wishful thinking.

5. adult stars

Aha! So what was he looking for? Adult stars. Hmmm… Maybe he viewed a post about a young adult book that I rated with some stars. Or maybe The Fault in Our Stars post? I think I really wasn’t able to help him. How disappointed he must have been, clicking on my blog.

If only Unknown Search Terms wasn’t at the top of my Search Engine Terms, I could’ve found funnier terms, no? How about sharing some of yours?

My Top Ten Tyrion Lannister Quotes

With just a few days before the premiere of the fifth season of the television series Game of Thrones, I am one of the excited bunch. (Especially since Winds of Winter is still very far from our grasp.) And because I suddenly miss Tyrion Lannister, one of my favorite characters from the book, I put together a list of my favorite quotes from him. These are copied from the first five books of A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R. R. Martin, spoken by our beloved witty dwarf.

Tyrion_Lannister_quotes_from_books.jpeg

1. I only need half my wits to be a match for you.

– A Dance with Dragons

2. Schemes are like fruit, they require a certain ripening.

– A Clash of Kings

3. All this mistrust will sour your stomach and keep you awake at night, ’tis true, but better that than the long sleep that does not end.

– A Dance with Dragons

4. There has never been a slave who did not choose to be a slave. Their choice may be between bondage and death, but the choice is always there.

– A Dance with Dragons

5. When you tear out a man’s tongue, you are not proving him a liar, you’re only telling the world that you fear what he might say.

– A Clash of Kings

6. Light our fire and protect us from the dark, blah blah, light our way and keep us toasty warm, the night is dark and full of terrors, save us from the scary things, and blah blah blah some more.

– A Dance with Dragons

king_mother_skirts.jpeg

7. Men fight more fiercely for a king who shares their peril than one who hides behind his mother’s skirts.

– A Clash of Kings

8. I have never liked you, Cersei, but you were my own sister, so I never did you harm. You’ve ended that. I will hurt you for this. I don’t know how yet, but give me time. A day will come when you think you are safe and happy, and suddenly your joy will turn into ashes in your mouth, and you’ll know the debt is paid.

– A Clash of Kings

9. Even a stunted, twisted, ugly little boy can look down over the world when he’s seated on a dragon’s back.

– A Game of Thrones

10. My mind is my weapon. My brother has his sword, King Robert has his warhammer, and I have my mind . . . and a mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone if it is to keep its edge.

– A Game of Thrones

Aha! We like him because he’s also a bookworm. Haha! Now that I’ve shared my favorites, what are yours?

I Lost My Kindle

Yesterday, I lost my Kindle Paperwhite during commute. If it’s when I stepped down from the jeepney or when I boarded the bus or when I changed bus seats, I don’t know. Have I left it or was it stolen?

It is just really sad to lose something that I really love, something that I always bring wherever I go. I still read physical books, yes. I still buy paperbacks. But I got used to reading using an e-reader. It is just so convenient for me especially during travels. I can read long books without the disadvantages of bringing a heavy thick book. I can bring more books. And I can read in the dark!

So after panicking and realizing that my Kindle is really gone, what did I do?

  1. I cried. Yes, on the bus. From Batangas to Manila. Haha! I wonder what my seatmate was thinking about then. That time, I haven’t thought that I could easily buy a new one if I really wanted to. I just felt so devastated losing a favorite thing, something that always accompanies me during travels and commute.
  2. I sent a text message to my bookish friend telling her what I lost. I sent a message to my reading buddies in our Ghostwritten chat thread. I sent a text message to my bookish aunt. I sent a message to my siblings group chat. I just needed to tell it to people who will understand what I was going through.
  3. I tweeted, just to get it out of my chest. I initially decided to post it on Facebook, but I rarely post complains and those kinds of stuff there. I seldom tweet but Twitter has been my outlet of frustrating statements lately. I know it’s kinda inappropriate especially to my followers but… Well, I can tweet whatever I want. Heh!
  4. I searched Amazon and other online stores for Kindle Paperwhite and Voyage. I checked the prices and the advantages of a Voyage versus a Paperwhite. I don’t know yet when I’ll buy a new one. Still thinking. Tight budget. 🙂
  5. I downloaded the Kindle App for Android. Thanks to Amazon for storing purchased books in the Cloud. At least I can still read them using my phone, for now.
  6. I kept telling people what happened whenever they ask me if I was okay. I probably looked so unhappy yesterday.
  7. I deregistered my Kindle in my Amazon account. This is to prevent further purchases on my credit card using the Kindle. So it’s really goodbye now.
  8. I downloaded another e-book reader app. This is for the e-books that I have which I didn’t purchase in Amazon. I’m not sure if I could read third-party e-books in the Kindle App. I haven’t figured it out yet.
  9. I transferred the e-book that I am currently reading to my phone. Good thing I still have a copy in my office PC. I started reading but I’m still struggling. I don’t know how long I could do this. I find it straining to the eyes. I don’t know, maybe I’m just not used to it. After this book, I think I’ll be reading a paperback next.
  10. And before sleeping, I sent a text message again to my friend. Because I accidentally deleted the book that I’m reading on my phone! I thought I was only deleting it in the app. Gaaah! I still don’t know how to use it.

I am thinking that maybe losing my Kindle e-reader is a sign. Maybe a reminder that I should read more physical books, read those books sitting on my shelves for a long time now? Or maybe it’s a sign that I should read less, allot more time for other important things? Either way, I’m still mourning.

The Top Ten Books I Read in 2014

Just a few hours more and 2014 is about to end. This year, I have read 55 books and 3 more from the Animorphs Series. Here is the list of my favorites from the books that I have read this year, plus some of my favorite quotes from each book.

Top Ten:

top_ten_books_2014

  1. Atonement by Ian McEwan

    “A person is, among all else, a material thing, easily torn and not easily mended.”

  2. Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell

    “What is any ocean but a multitude of drops?”

  3. The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro

    “One can’t be forever dwelling on what might have been. One should realize one has as good as most, perhaps better, and be grateful.”

  4. Stoner by John Williams

    “The love of literature, of language, of the mystery of the mind and heart showing themselves in the minute, strange, and unexpected combinations of letters and words, in the blackest and coldest print—the love which he had hidden as if it were illicit and dangerous, he began to display, tentatively at first, and then boldly, and then proudly.”

  5. Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

    “We’re all made up of many parts, other halves. Not just me.”

  6. To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf

    “So fine was the morning except for a streak of wind here and there that the sea and sky looked all one fabric, as if sails were stuck high up in the sky, or the clouds had dropped down into the sea.”

  7. Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen

    “Turn down a chance to feel magic for fear of a little dirt? I couldn’t believe it.”

  8. Les Misérables by Victor Hugo

    “The soul which loves and suffers is in a state of sublimity.”

  9. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

    “It amazes me what humans can do, even when streams are flowing down their faces and they stagger on, coughing and searching, and finding.”

  10. Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

    “She was bendable light: she shone around every corner of my day.”

Honorable Mentions:

other_top_books_2014

  • A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

    “It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known.”

  • Hunger by Knut Hamsun

    “It was not my intention to collapse; no, I would die standing.”

  • 84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff

    “…I like the comradely sense of turning pages someone else turned…”

  • The Giver by Lois Lowry

    “I certainly liked the memory, though. I can see why it’s your favorite. I couldn’t quite get the word for the whole feeling of it, the feeling that was so strong in the room.”
    “Love,” The Giver told him.

  • A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin

    “A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies,” said Jojen. “The man who never reads lives only one”.

It’s been a good year of reading for me. And I am looking forward to read more amazing books in 2015. 🙂

A Death in the Family

Today, I finished reading Les Miserables by Victor Hugo. Jean Valjean is dead. Also today, my 18-year old cousin is dead.

I was reading Les Miserables last night as I was lying on my bed, ready to sleep. Jean Valjean was on the verge of dying. Then Marius and Cosette arrived. After that scene, I decided to sleep telling myself, “Let us let Jean Valjean die tomorrow.” Then I woke up at about 5:45am and read a text message from one of my aunts. My cousin is dead. 2:45am. Kidney failure.

I was shocked, it was so soon. The only death that I was expecting today is Jean Valjean’s. I knew that he was in the hospital, but being miles away from my family, I didn’t know that the situation is that terrible. He was a bit different from us, but he’s one of the smartest and sweetest person that I know. I miss him. I haven’t seen him in months. I just hope that in those last moments of his life, he was happy. And peaceful. Like Jean Valjean.

Do not weep, my children, I am not going very far, I shall see you from there, you will only have to look at night, and you will see me smile.
-Jean Valjean

Death is inevitable. But what’s important is that my cousin lived his life in the best way he can. Those of us who were left by our cousin, especially his parents and siblings, we shall continue living. And will always remember and treasure the memories we shared with him.

It is nothing to die; it is dreadful not to live.
-Jean Valjean

I am writing this on the bus. I’m going home. And later, I am going to hug my aunt.

Why This Blog Even Exists

image from weheartit
Image from weheartit

Years before 2013, I was just a casual reader. I read maybe an average of 5 books a year. But I have been a reader since I was younger. I read Sweet Valley Kids, Sweet Valley Jr. High, Animorphs, Choose Your Own Adventure and of course, Harry Potter, among others. But school took my reading time. I grew up. Eventually, work got in the way.

A few days before 2012 ended, I borrowed “The Time of My Life” by Cecelia Ahern from my aunt. I finished the book few hours before New Year’s Eve. I don’t really remember the details of the novel. But that time, the thing that stuck on my mind was to make the most out of my life, that I should enjoy life and do things that I really wanted to do. After that, my love for reading was rekindled and I started to read almost every day. This may sound crazy but when I started reading again, I felt that I gained a new positive outlook in life. I believe that reading helped me appreciate life more. I got interested in lots of other stuff. Reading showed me how much there is to be experienced in the world. I started to change my humdrum life into a new one. I tried different things I was grateful I did. I decided to meet new people and try new things.

Blogging was suggested to me by a friend. Since I have been telling myself to try new things, I liked the idea. And I enjoy reading blogs. Personal blogs are journals. I once read something that having a journal makes you a better person. Expressing your thoughts leads to self-fulfillment and self-discovery. I thought about blogging for weeks. Should I blog or not? I keep on thinking that if I just want to write my thoughts, shouldn’t keeping a journal at home suffice? Why post my thoughts online and get others to read it? Then something dawned on me. Just like when I discovered that reading doesn’t have to be a solitary activity when I joined a book club, I realized that writing my thoughts doesn’t have to be solitary too. By blogging, I could connect to more people of similar interests. Writing thoughts would be more fun if shared with kindred spirits. Getting feedback and reading others’ different perspectives would be a better experience. Now, I’m putting up this blog. This is my first blog post. So please, welcome me to the blogging world. 🙂