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LIncoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

Writing about My Book of the Year

The last time I posted a book review was in February 2016. That was 22 months ago! Just imagine the struggle I went through when I wrote one last week. Granted, it was for a different blog (not mine), but it took me three sessions to finish a 500-word post.

I’m still rusty at this. At times, I think I just got back to blogging a couple of weeks back. When I checked my list of posts, I saw that the “recent” post was more than a month ago. I made a mental list of things I would like to write about, which is, of course, a grave mistake. A mental list is doomed to be forgotten. But to be fair, I always write mentally, which is why I find it surprising when the text cursor furiously blinks at me for staring at it for too long.

In my head, I write sentences that I would like to end up on a blog post. But by the time I get to a computer, I either forget what I am going to write or realize that what I want to write sounds wrong. I could easily blame it for too much work-related writing and lack of leisure writing, but shouldn’t it come out naturally, something akin to swimming after years of being landlocked or riding a bike since childhood?

It seems easier to write on my journal because the only known audience is myself. Who knows which pairs of eyes may land on them in the future? With journals, I can’t be bothered with word count or writing with a set of rules to stick by (doing the intro, body, and conclusion; being coherent and cohesive). This is probably a flaw, but if it allows me to fill at least half a page of scrawny writing, which is by all means some writing done, I’m fine with it.

Maybe I’m being hard on myself, but the truth is that helps me to keep going. In fact, the book review that I wrote had a deadline, and this is ultimately why I was able to finish it. A bit of pressure here and there can do wonders. Of course, I still take to heart the sage advice of taking it easy, especially since this spot on the Internet is supposed to be my paradise. I guess what I’m saying is there should be a balance between pressure and relaxation. Tilt the scale to what weight is needed and it should be fine.

It took me a really long time to just put the darn link to my review of Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders, eh? Anyway, here it is.

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November 10, 2017

Title? What Title?

The last thing I posted on this blog was about Bob Dylan’s Nobel win. That was more than a year ago. When the newest laureate was minted, my interest in books was revived. Kazuo Ishiguro is a favorite writer, and as much as I hate to be superstitious about it, he brought me back to books whereas Dylan put a stop to all of my reading endeavors.

Hi. I’ve been both looking forward and dreading this moment. The thought of going back to blogging excites me but I’m not sure if I still know how to do this. A few weeks ago, I’ve come up with a draft that I thought was worthy of a comeback entry but it was all mentally scrawled. Yeah, and I don’t remember what it was about. I just have these tiny feelings of eloquence. Blame it on distractions. I was sidetracked by the idea of revamping this blog. In fact, I have renamed the blog to something else. After a week of checking out my WordPress app, the name didn’t feel right. So there, I brought back my original blog name (I now think it’s an obnoxious name that doesn’t bite) and just decided to continue from where I stopped.

If you still remember me, perhaps you’re interested to know what I’ve been up to for the last 13 months? Here are 13 things that I’ll try to relay in chronological order:

  1. Our book club’s Christmas party revealed that my reading was at rock-bottom when nobody wanted to pair with me for the 2017 bingo challenge. I did manage to be paired with a wonderful reader (she reads books at Penguin Random House) but we weren’t in it for the win.
  2. After more than a decade, I met a boyfriend. I met my boyfriend. I have a boyfriend. I don’t how to put it but I hope you get what I mean.
  3. I went to the beach during my birthday weekend. It was my best friend’s treat. Okay, it’s just another beach trip, nothing extraordinary. It’s just that I haven’t really traveled for the past couple of years so now that I think of it, it feels like a special event.
  4. I’m trying to learn the tarot. I’m still a noob.
  5. I was given my first niece, but only for a few hours. Brought to the world three months too early.
  6. I moved to a new apartment with the boyfriend and my youngest sister. I like it here better because it’s more accessible to key places unlike the previous apartment. Also, it’s cooler (i.e. not too hot) and safer.
  7. I finally quit RPG mobile games, the biggest competition of my reading time.
  8. My biological father was diagnosed with stage IV prostate cancer.
  9. And my middle sister was diagnosed with stage IIIB colon cancer. These two make me fucking paranoid.
  10. So I’ve quit smoking. It’s very recent, like more than a week ago.
  11. I haven’t really read anything aside from the books of the month assigned by our book club.
  12. I don’t remember the last time I bought a book. It’s easy for me to blame the reading rut, but now that I think about it, space is also a factor. Not enough shelves. Also, I’m trying to pay all my debts ASAP.
  13. I missed you a lot. I’m a terrible blogger, I know.

And here I am, thinking of going back to reading and blogging and journalling and watching films and listening to podcasts and oh, I guess I should pace myself.

So first, reading. I’ve been stacking books that I want to read in 2018 since Ishiguro won. I’m prioritizing books given to me as gifts. So, if you’ve given me a book, please remind me! My memory isn’t that good anymore, and most of my books are in boxes. A terrible shame, I know, but I must first win the lottery for a spacious mansion before all my books could lounge and breathe.

Nobel aspirants, learn an instrument!

Bob Dylan is this year’s winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature. Help me process this.

I may have been away but I’ve anticipated the announcement of this year’s winner. Which obscure writer would it be? Would there be a chance that this year’s winner is someone I’m familiar with? The announcement, which I streamed from one of my breaks at the office, was first read in Swedish. I heard Bob Dylan’s name. Surely, that wasn’t happening. Bob Dylan’s nomination and frequent appearance at betting lists has been a long-running joke, yeah? So when the announcement was read in English, it was indeed happening. I closed the video without bothering with the cryptic citations and turned to the shit bowl that is Facebook.

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Tales are for everyone!

Something for September

There are moments when I feel that I’ve lost so many friends since my reading took a backseat. That or I’ve been practically away from social media. Limiting social media presence made me feel more liberated. I got rid of the need to take pictures or to compose pieces for the purpose of posting them on whatever, or all, outlets available online. But that took a backlash. People don’t know that I’m still around because hey, they don’t hear from me and thus, I get this feeling of displacement and irrelevance.

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Audiobooks synced to my phone

Some updates regarding my so-called reading life

  • I’ve started reading books again and I have audiobooks to thank for it. With audiobooks, I can now play games while listening (grinding doesn’t require mental powers). And if you’re curious what audiobook I listened to since my reading hiatus, it’s Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix narrated by Stephen Fry. And no, I didn’t pick it up because of The Cursed Child. I picked it up because of my book challenge. The book bingo, remember? It’s for my Fantasy square.

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Read Books, 2010-2015

I Haven’t Read Anything Since Moving In

And it has been four weeks. I thought I’ll be able to pick up something after a week, after arranging my books, after finally settling in. Still, almost a month later, nothing. Granted, I had a lot of things going on for the past couple of weeks (particularly social activities with old friends). But I should have been able to read at least one story from the collection that is still in my currently reading shelf, right? To be fair, I read four short stories for our July book club discussion. And that’s it. Nothing from my shelf.

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How to Pack Books

Moving Out in Two Weeks

I went apartment hunting with an old friend last Friday and we found this nice cozy place. It’s not accessible to the modern urban centers but it’s also relatively cheaper. I didn’t plan on moving out this year but my superstitious side tells me that I should. In my current boarding house, a couple of troubling things happened. Last year, a young man, in his early twenties and recently married, died in his sleep. He lived downstairs. Earlier this year, my room-mate was afflicted with a terrible illness. I talked him into flying back to his home town to recuperate.

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