Book Reports
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Book Report: June 2015

Book Report: June 2015

It’s the middle of the year (tomorrow to be exact). It’s a good time to look back on what happened so far in 2015 and to reassess any reading goals, projects, and challenges that we have embarked upon. Below are some of mine:

  • My Goodreads Reading Challenge of 52 books tells me that I’m on track, which pleases me because I haven’t read a lot back in the first quarter and my efforts to catch up in the second quarter paid off.
  • The Year of Reading the NBCC is slow but I hope that it will pick up some pace this quarter.
  • My 2015 review backlog is piling up, but I will try to resolve that. That includes both reviews for my blog and The Short Story Station. I’m always writing reviews in my head during commutes but when I get home, I change clothes, lie down, and play some mobile games. Then read.

Books Finished:

  • Drown by Junot Díaz – Because I went to the beach and I thought the title was so apt. 5 out of 5 stars.
  • Lila by Marilynne Robinson –  I can’t wait for the next book of this quartet. 5 out of 5 stars.
  • Macbeth by William Shakespeare – I was inspired by Marion Cotillard and of course, by Michael Fassbender. 4 out of 5 stars.
  • The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett – Our book of the month for June. 3 out of 5 stars.
  • The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields – The Year of Reading the NBCC (19/40). 4 out of 5 stars.
  • The Swimming-Pool Library by Alan Hollinghurst – My LGBT read for the Pride Month. 3 out of 5 stars.

Currently Reading:

  • Austerlitz by W. G. Sebald – On page 55 of 415. I’m reading this with some of my favorite book bloggers.
  • Neuromancer by William Gibson – On page 187 of 271. When will I finish this?

Maybe:

  • The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell
  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J. K. Rowling
  • The Quiet American by Graham Greene
  • Rabbit Redux by John Updike
  • Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison

New Books:

  • The Bonds of Interest by Jacinto Benavente – Something for my Noble Nobel Project. (Php 225.00, Undertow Books, June 18)
  • Finnegans Wake by James Joyce – This would be one of those books that will be displayed on my shelf for a long time. I intend to read The Iliad, The Odyssey, and Ulysses, in that order, before attempting this. (Php 300.00, Undertow Books, June 18)
  • The Good Soldier Švejk by Jaroslav Hašek – Another book for one of my reading projects, this time for The Novel 100/125. (Php 225.00, Undertow Books, June 18)
  • The Hair of Harold Roux by Thomas Williams – One of those NBA winners that I am pretty sure I won’t find copies of but prove me wrong, obviously. (Php 115.00, Book Sale – SM Mega Mall, June 17)
  • The Novel Cure by Elaine Berthoud and Susan Elderkin – I’ve been sporadically reading the authors’ column at The Independent until I was goaded by recent reviews to finally get its book form. (Php 625.50, The Book Depository, June 17)
  • The Quiet American by Graham Greene – I can now stand ebook copies if I really need to read a book, such as an elusive book of the month, such as this. But I cannot stand ebook copies with too many typographical errors. I fear that such carelessness would destroy my reading experience, and I’ve been looking forward to reading Greene for so long. And so I turned to eBay, which I haven’t thought about for so long. (Php 500.00, eBay, June 17)

I’ve thought of doing a vlog for my best books of 2015 so far but I’m too self-conscious when recording myself. When I’m able to let go of that self-consciousness, my facial expressions get way out of control that they become distracting, both for me and possibly the viewers. So I’ll just list them down here, in the order when they were read. I’ll try the vlog thing next time (also, I want to get haircut before doing any kind of video recording).

  • Middlemarch by George Eliot
  • Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain
  • Inverted World by Christopher Priest
  • Ubik by Philip K. Dick
  • Monstress by Lysley Tenorio
  • Drown by Junot Díaz
  • Lila by Marilynne Robinson

And if you’ve noticed, I reverted my theme to the previous one. I’m so restless! I have to keep in line with my goals instead of constantly playing around with themes. If I do two reviews per week (every weekend), perhaps I could keep my 2015 review backlog from reaching an insurmountable level (see 2013 and 2014). That’s certain, but what’s uncertain is if I could stick with it.

And to force me to keep up, I came up with a condition, that I will not allow myself to start a book unless I review at least one book. Gasp! That would threaten my other goal of reading 52 books, but if I’m able to stick with this condition, it will help keep two goals going on. What do you think? Please don’t tell me that I’m obsessing over this (because that’s given) or that I’m putting too much pressure on myself or that I should just sit back and relax.

You see, blogs don’t and cannot flourish if one just sits around and relaxes. And I want to keep this blog alive. It’s the most worthwhile thing that I keep, even better than my journals. Cheesy, I know, but I like how blogging makes me forget about the world. I like the monthly routine of these reports, the ranting and raving to the vast stream of the Internet about the books that I read, the projects that I take on and abandon only to pick up again at a later point, the comments (I really appreciate them), and the state of getting lost, or rooted, depending on one’s perspective, in a small patch of virtual land that you have dominion over.

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28 Comments

  1. Hurry up and start writing those reviews! Haha pressure much? :-P

    I bought the paperback edition of Bone Clock last weekend, but I have no plans of reading it yet….if at all. I’m just book hoarding, really :-P

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    • What’s the cover like? I haven’t seen the TPB yet. Actually, gusto ko kasi maging 300th book ko ang The Bone Clocks kaya babasahin ko na siya.

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  2. I had to put a similar goal in place, but mine was harsher. I wouldn’t let myself start a new book until I’d finished all pending reviews! It got me into the habit that I needed and now I’m pretty good about them.

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    • That is indeed harsher! So if you have a backlog of around a hundred (like I do, just because I want to review everything), what happens then?

      Liked by 1 person

    • I’d probably institute the rule on all future books. I start to get muddled up if I let more than 2-3 go by. Plus how good of a response can you give if it’s been months or years?

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    • Actually, I’ve forgotten the details of the many books that I haven’t reviewed. So I was thinking of coming up with pseudo-reviews for these (like talk about the experience of reading it, a topic relevant to the book, a photo, snippets of reviews you wish you wrote, etc.).

      Liked by 1 person

    • I know! It’s funny when you think of it: so many reviews, nothing read. I’d rather have the inverse but it wouldn’t hurt to have them balanced.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. pat says

    Great job on the GoodReads goal. And yas for the 5-star Junot. I was going to ask if you think it’s okay to read Home (had this for years) without having read Marilynne Robinson’s earlier work (I know it’s part of a trilogy), but I realized I wouldn’t have the time anyway, so never mind!

    Lately I just buy books; reading them is optional.

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    • I’m still going to answer your Robinson question: it doesn’t matter. However, I suppose perceptions will be slightly altered, like one would be more sympathetic with Home protagonists than Gilead protagonists. It would be a fun experiment though. Also, keep buying your books and let me read them, haha! ;)

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  4. Monique says

    Two reviews per week is realizable, but I’d say one would be more realistic, if you’re going to factor in your job and reading and all other stuff in between. Stick to that goal and you’re going to whittle down that review backlog in no time. And if you’re inspired, you can go for 2-3 reviews per week.

    I still have some reviews from last year and currently 3 this year. When I finish Bring Up The Bodies it’ll be 4, haha. But I try my best, kahit 1 every week lang. Good luck! :)

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    • The factor that’s gonna make it real hard for me is lakwatsa. How is one supposed to read or write when you’re hanging out for 6-12 hours?

      Liked by 1 person

    • Monique says

      Bawasan ang lakwatsa? Hahaha! Oh and I’d love to read along The Bone Clocks with you. Many times I’ve sat down to try and write a review of it but I’ve already forgotten most of the details.

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    • Monique says

      Haha, nauna pa sa yo si H e sya nga itong napilit lang mag-join, hahaha!

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    • Antukin ako lately. But that doesn’t mean I’m not liking the book. I like it, so far. My eyes are just always tired (kinda busy sa work).

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  5. Louize says

    Ugh, reviews! I’m more than guilty of pending reviews, eventually, forgetting them altogether.
    We make the rules, and then we break them, hehehe. Nakakapagod sa katawang lupa isipin!

    I loved Lila, and it’s in my best list for 2015 too, but it was Home that turned me into a mushy pulp. Looking forward to reading/listening to Ubik soon!

    I like this blog theme/format, unlike mine, pa-tweetums! :)

    Like

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