Required Reading: October 2015

I skipped last month’s Required Reading post so I’m going to enumerate here the books I read in August and September:

1. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee – (5/5) I admire Atticus Finch and I love the innocence of the children. The Boo Radley storyline is interesting too.

2. No Matter the Wreckage by Sarah Kay – (5/5) I love most of her poems. And although a few of them in this collection didn’t resonate on me that much, there’s no doubt that Sarah Kay’s poetry touches a lot of people especially when she performs.

3. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess – (4/5) I had a headache at first in deciphering the futuristic teenager language in this novel. A man’s goodness and freedom of choice are addressed here.

4. Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time by Dava Sobel – (4/5) All my life, I viewed latitudes and longitudes with the same value. But this book taught me about the very significant longitude problem and how John Harrison solved it.

5. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger – (4/5) Holden Caulfield is really an icon of teenage angst. I ended up liking the book more that I thought I would. I guess it reminded me of some of my cynic thoughts when I was still young. Haha!

6. Lightning by Dean Koontz – (4/5) Interesting novel about time travel. I was often not convinced of stories about time travel due to their confusing complications, but this time it’s better because of more solid rules regarding paradox.

7. Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee – (4/5) So, this is only a draft before To Kill a Mockingbird. Still, I believe that those who like To Kill a Mockingbird should read this even if for no other reason than to read flashback stories of Jem, Scout and Atticus Finch that I really enjoyed.

8. It’s Raining Mens by Bebang Siy – (4/5) Funny but heartwarming collection of both fiction and autobiographical stories of the author.

9. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe – (3/5) I learned more about the tribal culture and tradition of Nigeria. Such as? That Nigeria is the world’s largest producer of yams. Hehe!

For the month of October, these are the books that I plan to read:


1. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle – I was encouraged to read stories about Sherlock because of the TV series and because this is included in the TFG Filipino ReaderCon 2013 Recommendations List.

2. Monstress by Lysley Tenorio – Our bookclub’s book for this month.

3. Drown by Junot Díaz – One of the book choices for our bookclub this month. And I voted for this.

4. Death with Interruptions by José Saramago – A gift I receive almost two years ago.  I think I’ll enjoy this book with death as both a phenomenon and an anthropomorphized character.

What about you, what are you going to read this month? Anyway, I hope we’ll all have fun reading!

Required Reading: August 2015

Look at my star-studded list of books that I read last July:

1. The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes – (5/5) Barnes made me contemplate about memory and remorse and I’m not even as old as the protagonist.  Also, the ending is not the point.

2. Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card – (5/5) As I was introduced with new characters here, I learned to love them as much as I loved Ender. And I’m on their side with regards to issues on whether to share information about human society to the piggies or not.

3. Paper Towns by John Green – (4/5) So those are paper towns? Cool! A big theme for a YA book. Reminds me of the movie adaptation of Into the Wild.

4. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie – (5/5) I only read this because of Book Riot’s task to read a book by someone from an indigenous culture and I was glad that I chose this. (Actually, I just copied my friend’s choice for this category. Hehe!) An important book about the life on the Spokane Indian reservation. Funny and hopeful despite the harsh realities and difficulties within the “rez”.

5. Ubik by Philip K. Dick – (5/5) This is our book club’s book this August. I initially decided to follow the reading plan but after about half of the book, I wasn’t able to stop and read the rest in one sitting. If Philip K. Dick’s other novels are as enjoyable as this, I need to read more.

6. The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud – (4/5) Told in alternating perspectives of Nathaniel, the ambitious boy magician and Bartimaeus, the hilarious djinni. I hope their relationship will improve in the sequels.

And these are the books that I want to read this month:

August Required Reading

1. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess – A classic dystopian novel. Let’s see how it differs with today’s dystopian books.

2. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee – Our book club will discuss Lee’s second novel, Go Set a Watchman, in September so I need to read this book first.

3. Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time by Dava Sobel – My microhistory book for The Book Riot Read Harder Challenge.

There goes my list. Okay, back to dodging aliens!

Required Reading: July 2015

These are the books that I read last month (and some that spilled over this month):

1. The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd –  (3.5/5) An enjoyable and easy to read coming-of-age story that also tackles issues on discrimination towards black people. Feminism and information about bees also caught my attention.

2. number9dream by David Mitchell – (5/5) Again, I was greatly entertained by David Mitchell. Beautiful writing and I love his different narrative styles in each chapter.

3. The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett – (3/5) Maybe this  genre, crime noir, is not my cup of tea. Or maybe because I really don’t like Brigid? Haha! Still, this novel is worth reading and I think it’s amusing to have met Sam Spade.

4. The Quiet American by Graham Greene – (4/5) Our book club’s book for July. I enjoyed reading the history, the politics, America’s role in the French war in Vietnam plus the rivalry between the narrator and “The Quiet American”. I hope I could catch up with our book club’s online discussion. 🙂

5. It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini – (4/5) A young adult book that will make the reader be more aware of suicide and depression. Funny and entertaining yet it teaches essential points regarding mental issues. I feel sad about the death of the author though.

And for the remaining days of July, these are the books that I intend to read:

1. The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes – A winner of the Man Booker Prize for my Book Riot Read Harder Challenge voted by you thru this poll.

2. Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card – I have to read about Ender Wiggin again. This is recommended by two of my dearest friends. 😀

3. Paper Towns by John Green – Because the movie will be released this month!

I’ve been busy lately so this post is kinda late, again. Hehe! But at least, I can still set aside time for reading. 🙂

Required Reading: June 2015

For last month’s reading:

1. Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri – (4/5) I love the stories in this collection about the lives of Indians and Indian Americans who are caught between their inherited culture and their new home. My favorite is A Temporary Matter. I also like Interpreter if Maladies, Sexy and The Third and Final Continent.

2. Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke – (5/5) I finally finished this tome of English magic. I enjoyed the alternative history around the Napoleonic wars and the footnotes  too.

3. The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway – (3.5) The minimalist prose is charming. I think this style is analogous to the simplicity of the story.

While for this month:


1. The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett – This is our book club’s book of the month under the crime fiction genre. I’m currently listening to an audiobook because June is Audiobook Month!

2. number9dream by David Mitchell – I will be reading this with my David Mitchell buddies. This is our 3rd Mitchell novel.

3. The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd – Louize‘s Worst Book last year that I have to read for the I Dare You to Read 2015 challenge hosted by our book club.

These are my books for this month. I hope you’ll have fun with yours!

Required Reading: May 2015

These are the books that I read last month (and this first week of May):

1. Ghost World by Daniel Clowes – (4/5) A graphic novel where the protagonists are angry and bitchy adolescents. Nevertheless, what they are and their friendship felt real.

2. Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson – (5/5) A retelling of Peter Pan for my Book Riot Read Harder Challenge that made my heart ache for Tiger Lily. Tinker Bell as the narrator is effective.

3. The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood – (5/5) This is my first book from Atwood. I love her writing and her words. I was amazed by the plot and her style of story-telling.

4. The Mythology Class: A Graphic Novel by Arnold Arre – (5/5) A Filipino graphic novel about a group of students on a quest that will make us remember our own folklore and mythology. Kudos to Arnold Arre for this contribution in our local comics industry.

5. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz – (4/5) Our book club’s book for April. This is about family, friendship, love and acceptance. I adore the two boys in this novel and I’m crazy about their parents. 😀

6. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins – (3/5)  I like that the narration is told in different POVs with jumping timelines and the chapters are divided by morning and night, usually at the same time with the train schedule. I was just not captivated with the storyline in about the last third of the book. A book published this year for my Book Riot Read Harder Challenge.

7. Angelfall by Susan Ee – (3/5) A post-apocalyptic fantasy novel featuring angels.  Angels and their politics are interesting and intriguing but I’m just not into dystopia lately. A book published by an indie press for my Book Riot Read Harder Challenge.

These are the books that I plan to read in the remaining days of this month:


1. Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke – This is in my required reading last month but because of other books I read with some of my friends and required readings for our book club activities, I just read a third of this book. It’s my goal to finish it this month.

2. Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri – A buddy read with some of my friends from the book club. I’ve been hearing good things about this short story collection so I think it’s about time to know why.

This is sort of a late post ’cause I’ve  been busy with reading. Maybe next time I should learn to say “no”? Haha! 😛

Required Reading: April 2015

These are the books that I finished last month:

1. The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy – (5/5) I got confused by the narrative style at the start but the evocative story really had a great impact on me. Wrenching and tragic but told in a beautiful way.

2. Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta – (4/5) I learned to love the characters in this lovely book. Makes me want to be friends with them, both past and present.

3. Civilwarland in Bad Decline by George Saunders – (5/5) My first Saunders ever and it didn’t disappoint. Will definitely read more from this impressive author.

4. It’s a Mens World by Bebang Siy – (4/5) I decided to make this my book that takes place in Asia for the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge. (Lalayo pa ba ako kung nasa Asya na ako? Hehe!) Reading this memoir made me admire the author. Funny, honest and endearing.

5. High Fidelity by Nick Hornby – (5/5) This is our bookclub’s book for April but the discussion started early and I never expected to finish it early too. I love this book even though Rob (the protagonist) is an arsehole. Haha! I love that it’s very funny and that it’s about music but it’s a lot more than that.

6. Queen of the Clueless by Mina V. Esguerra – (4/5)  The sequel to Interim Goddess of Love that I read almost a year ago. I am surprised that I like this better than the first.

For this month, I plan to read the following books:


1. Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke – I started this about a week ago. Currently reading this with my new reading buddies Elaine and Mawi. So far, so good.

2. The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood – I posted this last month but decided to postpone reading for a while because I’ll be reading it with another friend, Rhena!

3. The Mythology ClassA Graphic Novel by Arnold Arre – Very popular among Filipino graphic novel enthusiasts. I was so glad I got a copy from last year’s Komikon. Will be reading this with Tin and will also be my book for the graphic novel task in the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge.

So April is a “Physical Books Buddy Reading” month for me, eh?

Required Reading: March 2015

Even though February is the shortest month of the year, I’m glad I got to finish the following books:

  1. Love Walked In by Marisa de los Santos – (3.5/5) Cornelia, Clare and Teo are interesting characters that I would still like to meet in person regardless of the contrived plot.
  2. Cain by Jose Saramago – (3/5) Despite Saramago’s odd way of constructing his sentences and his unpleasant modification of Old Testament stories, I still enjoyed reading this novella.
  3. Love, Rosie by Cecelia Ahern – (4/5) This may sound silly but I cried reading this book. Hahaha! I love the friendship of Alex and Rosie. There were very frustrating events in their lives that made me want to bump their heads together but that shows how affected I was in their story.
  4. Perdido Street Station by China Mieville – (4.5/5) Mieville’s world-building is super awesome!!! I was thinking of rating it 5 but there are a lot of characters and some of them, I think, were never needed. But maybe I’ll meet them again when I read the other Bas-Lag books?

And here are the books that I’m excited to read this March:


  1. The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy – I initially planned to read this last December, extremely recommended by a friend, but postponed it for a while because it is our book club’s book for this month.
  2. Civilwarland in Bad Decline by George Saunders – Since one of my goals this year is to read more short stories, I decided to start with this collection. So yes, this is also my Book Riot Read Harder Challenge book for a collection of short stories.
  3. Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta – My YA novel for the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge, this is also one of our book club’s favorites.
  4. The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood – This is my first Margaret Atwood book. Hearing that this is a very brilliant book, I’m looking forward to reading this.

So that’s my reading list for March. Have to read now, haha, I am behind in our book club’s reading plan!

Required Reading: February 2015

Here are the books that I have read for the first month of the year:

  1. Ghostwritten by David Mitchell – (5/5) This is my second David Mitchell book. I really love Mitchell’s style of writing and how he incorporates chance and fate in his stories.
  2. Navigating Early by Clare Vanderpool – (4/5) A very good middle-grade book. I will always remember Jack and Early’s adventures plus the number pi.
  3. The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown – (2/5) This is supposedly my guilty pleasure book but I realized that I already outgrew Dan Brown. The facts about history and architecture are still good to know but while reading, I can’t wait for the story to end so I could start another book.

For February, these are the books that I plan to read:


  1. Perdido Street Station by China Miéville – It’s time to read another Miéville book! I’ll be reading this with some of my friends from the book club.
  2. Love Walked In by Marisa de los Santos – Our book club’s book of the month in the romance genre.
  3. Love, Rosie (Where Rainbows End) by Cecelia Ahern – Since we are reading romance in our book club this month, I decided to read another for The Book Riot Read Harder Challenge.
  4. Cain by José Saramago – This is my choice for the book that was originally published in another language for The Book Riot Read Harder Challenge. This would be my first Saramago book.

That’s it for February. I hope that I could post more this month aside from these Required Readings. Hehe!

Required Reading: January 2015

Initially, I considered not doing Required Reading posts this year because sometimes I feel that I’m pressuring myself too much. But I can’t help it. I enjoy making plans, goals, and lists. So I thought of just limiting the books that I’ll require myself to read. At first, I told myself to set two each month, then just decide what to read next on a whim. But I was compelled to join The Book Riot Read Harder Challenge, plus I have our book club’s monthly books and some specific titles to read within the year. Well, that will still be 3-4 required books per month. I’ll just try not to stress myself out and not feel guilty if I can’t keep up with my required readings.

But before this month’s books, here are the books I read last December, capping off my awesome 2014 reading:

1. Les Misérables by Victor Hugo – (5/5) A very long book but really worth the time. I learned to love the characters and care for them during the 4 months that we’ve been together, especially Jean Valjean.

2. The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop: A Memoir, a History by Lewis Buzbee – (4/5) This is a book especially catered to voracious readers. This includes various topics about our book obsessions, bookstores, book buying and selling, death of literature(?), effects of newer technologies and more.

To start the year, here are the books I required myself to read this month:


1. Navigating Early by Clare Vanderpool – Our book club’s book of the month.

2. Ghostwritten by David Mitchell – I’ll be reading this with some of my bookish friends, yes, my Cloud Atlas reading buddies.

3. The Happiness Project: Or Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun by Gretchen Rubin – My self-improvement book for The Book Riot Read Harder Challenge. Appropriate book for the start of the year, right? I already started this book and I plan to read just a chapter each month.

4. The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown – The book that I would consider a guilty pleasure for The Book Riot Read Harder Challenge. (I’m still not sure what a guilty pleasure book means. Hehe!) I’ve been putting off reading this book for years already. But honestly, I enjoyed Dan Brown’s first 4 books. Maybe I could read Inferno too and be a Dan Brown completist.

What about you? What books did you choose to start your 2015 reading?

The Book Riot 2015 Read Harder Challenge Accepted


To read more diverse books, and to help me decide on what to read next, I decided to join The Book Riot 2015 Read Harder Challenge. I will keep track of my progress and the books that I will read in this post. Here is the list of the tasks. I plan to do two per month, book club discussion books not included.

  1. A book written by someone when they were under the age of 25
  2. A book written by someone when they were over the age of 65
  3. A collection of short stories (either by one person or an anthology by many people)
  4. A book published by an indie press
  5. A book by or about someone that identifies as LGBTQ
  6. A book by a person whose gender is different from your own
  7. A book that takes place in Asia
  8. A book by an author from Africa
  9. A book that is by or about someone from an indigenous culture (Native Americans, Aboriginals, etc.)
  10. A microhistory
  11. A YA novel
  12. A sci-fi novel
  13. A romance novel
  14. A National Book Award, Man Booker Prize or Pulitzer Prize winner from the last decade
  15. A book that is a retelling of a classic story (fairytale, Shakespearian play, classic novel, etc.)
  16. An audiobook
  17. A collection of poetry
  18. A book that someone else has recommended to you
  19. A book that was originally published in another language
    • Cain by José Saramago
  20. A graphic novel, a graphic memoir or a collection of comics of any kind (Hi, have you met Panels?)
  21. A book that you would consider a guilty pleasure (Read, and then realize that good entertainment is nothing to feel guilty over)
  22. A book published before 1850
  23. A book published this year
  24. A self-improvement book (can be traditionally or non-traditionally considered “self-improvement”)

Interesting list, right? I am accepting book recommendations (and gifts. Haha!) for this. Or you can join the challenge with me. 🙂