BIRTHDAY BOOK SHOPPING LIST

Hello, my lovely friends! As some of you might already know, my birthday just passed not too long ago. And naturally, I had to compile a list of books I reaaaally want to buy and read. My to-be-read (tbr) pile is crying from the stress of bearing too many books—so I narrowed it down to…*drumroll please*

ONLY!

FIVE!

BOOKS!

And they include:

CIRCE

by Madeline Miller

In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe is a strange child–not powerful, like her father, nor viciously alluring like her mother. Turning to the world of mortals for companionship, she discovers that she does possess power–the power of witchcraft, which can transform rivals into monsters and menace the gods themselves.

Threatened, Zeus banishes her to a deserted island, where she hones her occult craft, tames wild beasts and crosses paths with many of the most famous figures in all of mythology, including the Minotaur, Daedalus and his doomed son Icarus, the murderous Medea, and, of course, wily Odysseus.

But there is danger, too, for a woman who stands alone, and Circe unwittingly draws the wrath of both men and gods, ultimately finding herself pitted against one of the most terrifying and vengeful of the Olympians. To protect what she loves most, Circe must summon all her strength and choose, once and for all, whether she belongs with the gods she is born from, or the mortals she has come to love.

With unforgettably vivid characters, mesmerizing language and page-turning suspense, Circe is a triumph of storytelling, an intoxicating epic of family rivalry, palace intrigue, love and loss, as well as a celebration of indomitable female strength in a man’s world. (Amazon)

A GENTLEMAN IN MOSCOW

by Amor Towles

He can’t leave his hotel. You won’t want to.

From the New York Times bestselling author of Rules of Civility—a transporting novel about a man who is ordered to spend the rest of his life inside a luxury hotel.

In 1922, Count Alexander Rostov is deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal, and is sentenced to house arrest in the Metropol, a grand hotel across the street from the Kremlin. Rostov, an indomitable man of erudition and wit, has never worked a day in his life, and must now live in an attic room while some of the most tumultuous decades in Russian history are unfolding outside the hotel’s doors. Unexpectedly, his reduced circumstances provide him entry into a much larger world of emotional discovery.

Brimming with humor, a glittering cast of characters, and one beautifully rendered scene after another, this singular novel casts a spell as it relates the count’s endeavor to gain a deeper understanding of what it means to be a man of purpose. (Amazon)

FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS

(Penguin Classic edition) by F. Scott Fitzgerald

by John Green

Sixteen-year-old Aza never intended to pursue the mystery of fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett, but there’s a hundred-thousand-dollar reward at stake and her Best and Most Fearless Friend, Daisy, is eager to investigate. So together, they navigate the short distance and broad divides that separate them from Russell Pickett’s son, Davis.

Aza is trying. She is trying to be a good daughter, a good friend, a good student, and maybe even a good detective, while also living within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts.

In his long-awaited return, John Green, the acclaimed, award-winning author of Looking for Alaska and The Fault in Our Stars, shares Aza’s story with shattering, unflinching clarity in this brilliant novel of love, resilience, and the power of lifelong friendship. (GoodReads)

CHILDREN OF BLOOD AND BONE

by Tomi Adeyemi

They killed my mother.
They took our magic.
They tried to bury us.

Now we rise.

Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zélie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls.

But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.

Now Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.

Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers and her growing feelings for an enemy. (GoodReads)


All of the books listed above are different in plot and genre, and I want to make it my goal to finish all of them this May or June. I’ve been looking forward to reading Circe ever since I found out that Madeline Miller was writing it! I was a big fan of her debut novel, The Song of Achilles. I also love reading historical fiction novels, and I discovered A Gentleman in Moscow through a recommendation by Amazon’s shopping algorithm. And of course, how could I not want this gorgeous edition of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s collection of short stories?

Additionally, John Green’s Turtles All the Way Down and Tomi Adeyemi’s Children of Blood and Bone seem like promising young adult books. I’ve seen so many great reviews floating around on bookstagram, blogs, and GoodReads, so I’m really quite excited to read them!

What are some books that you’re looking forward to reading in the upcoming month of May?

HOW TO OVERCOME READING SLUMPS

We’ve all been there. There’s no new reading material that appeals to you in the slightest bit. You don’t feel like reading, or perhaps you read something and quickly lose interest. This frustrating situation has a name: the dreaded READING SLUMP.

So what do you do? How do you overcome it?

There is no one right way to approach this problem, but in this post I’ll be sharing some of the tips that I find helpful in getting over a reading slump!

Stick to old favourites. Those books you’d read and reread over again? Pick them up and get started!

Switch up your usual genres. Read a book that isn’t in a genre you usually stick to. So if you tend to read a lot of YA, try picking up a mystery or thriller–anything that is a bit out of your comfort zone.

Reorganize your shelves. Sometimes, as you’re shelving and reshelving books, you’ll find a book you haven’t read yet or an old favourite that piques your interest!

Ask for recommendations. I know. It’s a little weird. As someone who loves reading, I’m used to being the friend who gives reading recs rather than someone who asks for them.

Watch shows or series. I’d recommend:

  • While You Were Sleeping (thriller/suspense, romance, kdrama)
  • Goblin (supernatural, romance, cinematic-quality kdrama)
  • The Crown (historical)
  • Daredevil (action)
  • Sherlock (mystery/action)

Browse Pinterest. This has absolutely nothing to do with books or reading, but that’s the point. It’s okay to be in a reading slump. It’s okay to not constantly think about books. In fact, I think it’s a great idea to take your mind away from the constant pressure of trying to conquer your never-ending tbr list and focus on something else that doesn’t take much effort instead. Pinterest is great for garnering inspiration on almost any topic!

I hope this post helps those of you who are struggling to get out of your reading rut. I’d also love to know what you do to recover from the dreaded reading slump, let me know in the comments!

 

MY DISILLUSIONMENT WITH YA

Some of my favourite and most-loved books fall under the umbrella of the young adult (YA) genre. However, my recent impressions of YA books have been lukewarm at best. This isn’t because I don’t think YA is real literature, because it is. Society tends to brush off what young women (and men) like to read as frivolous fluff, but hey, if it’s a book everyone loves, it must be good in one way or another.

My recent disenchantment with the YA genre mainly stems from four problems.

SAME CONTRIVED, UNORIGINAL PLOT. How familiar does this sound: 16-18 year old girl on the cusp of womanhood vehemently denies that she’s beautiful and suddenly discovers a shocking secret that threatens to unravel her life as it is. She is “the chosen one,” destined for something greater. There is an evil force of villainy X that goes against everything she stands for and all that she loves. Along her journey to rid herself of such villainy, girl meets boy who is Mr. Perfect and way-too-good-for-her, and there is an instant, electrifying attraction that defies the laws of nature.

And that brings me to my next problem with a lot of YA books—

INSTA-LOVE. Fact: It doesn’t happen. It just isn’t realistic. Sure, you might be attracted to someone you just met because you laugh at the same dumb jokes, or if that person is really easy on the eyes, but you don’t profess your grand three-word declaration and stake your claim on that person’s heart within 27 pages.

GENERALIZATIONS AND STEREOTYPES. If I were to tell you that I am a total nerd at heart, what comes to mind? A girl with thick glasses and braces? Someone who is always at odds with the “popular, preppy” (yet another label) kids? I don’t get the chance to tell you that I love roses and baby’s breath, or that I enjoy listening to Oh Wonder and DEAN. You wouldn’t know that traveling is one of my favourite things to do, or that I’m part of my university’s figure skating team. Most everyone has a wide scope of interests, and that’s because we are people, not caricature-like stereotypes.

LACK OF DIVERSITY. This can be interpreted in more than one way. While I think that many new releases have done a decent job of including more diverse characters in terms of ethnicity and sexual orientation, I still lament the fact that there isn’t more complexity in story premises. I don’t want to read another re-telling of a childhood classic or fairytale. I don’t want to read another book about a two-dimensional girl who looks the same as every other protagonist in a YA novel. There needs to be more representation of characters from all walks of life, and it’s up to our generation to fulfill this desire for diversity.

That being said, I don’t think I’ll necessarily stop reading YA altogether. Instead, I would like to branch out and read more contemporary, classics, and anything thought-provoking. Some titles I’ve been eyeing for a while include:

  • Pachinko (Min Jin Lee)
  • Little Fires Everywhere (Celeste Ng)
  • A Gentleman in Moscow (Amor Towles)
  • The Great Alone (Kristin Hannah)
  • The Old Man and the Sea (Ernest Hemingway)
  • The Beautiful and the Damned (F. Scott Fitzgerald)
  • Beneath a Scarlet Sky (Mark Sullivan)
  • The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane (Lisa See)

If you have any recommendations for me, please feel free to message me or leave a comment!

 

 

13 reasons why (i read)

Two months ago, when I finally decided to cut my past-waist-length Rapunzel hair, I brought The Architect of Song with me to the hair salon.

I opened my book and barely a minute later, a young girl who couldn’t have been older than 11 immediately exclaimed, “EW! Why do you read?!”

I thought I heard wrong. Seriously. Because how could I not read?

I can give you Thirteen Reasons Why I read. (Hi, Jay Asher.)

  1. My parents. I am extremely fortunate in that both my father and mother are avid readers as well. Even before I could read on my own, my dad would read short children’s stories to me every night before bed. And when I was a little older, my mum would take me to the local library every weekend to pick out a stack of thirty books that I could hardly carry myself. Their philosophy is that…
  2. Reading fuels the brain. It keeps your brain active! It makes you think, feel, laugh, cry, and just about everything in between.
  3. I read to enjoy and explore a world that is not my own. Through reading, I can live vicariously through my favourite kickass heroines or immerse myself in the rich complexities of another era.
  4. There’s a lot to learn from reading. It’s not just about building up your SAT vocabulary bank, or even refining your writing. Literature educates you about the human experience as a whole, and it allows us to take a look at our lives through a wider lens of understanding.
  5. It’s a way to de-stress. For me, reading is necessity. I typically read a little before heading to bed. (old habits from childhood die hard?) It helps me unwind after a long day, and it’s a perfect way to relax before going to sleep!
  6. It’s a means of escape. Sometimes, when I hit a rough patch in my life or a particularly terrible day, reading becomes my chief solace. I forget about my life and my surroundings and let myself be drawn into a story, as if I’m a silent character observing and following the main cast.
  7. Reading is infinitely more interesting than TV. I mean, of course I binge watch shows and anime, but not all the time! And when I do, it’s always on my laptop. TV has never been appealing to me.
  8. It starts conversations. Having knowledge from reading scholarly works can automatically make an intellectual conversation more engaging and interesting. Reading fictional accounts can spark conversations among social circles, with friends. It’s even better when others have read a certain book too, so you can all fangirl together! So yes, I’d say that reading has the potential to expand your social skills. Not all of us are introverts!
  9. It improves focus and concentration. Reading takes time. I often hear my classmates complain about not being able to finish assigned reading because it was too boring and too long. It takes a considerable amount of focus to read and continue reading, but if you can sit it out, you’re bound to improve your concentration!
  10. It sparks imagination. Reading makes me think. That’s why I write reviews and put my thoughts online. Hell, it even inspired me to start blogging!
  11. Reading is easy to do! All you need is a good book and a source of light. Optional: a hot mug of green tea.
  12. I read to understand different perspectives. This is especially true nowadays, with the push for more diversity in literature, especially YA lit. In my 7 am literature class, we are currently discussing poetry written by people of different race, beliefs, experiences, and ideas. So although I don’t agree with William Butler Yeats’ version of the “ideal woman” (from A Prayer for My Daughter; I believe his thinking is rather antiquated), I can still understand that he simply wants his young child to grow up with peace and innocence, unmarred by the tumultuous world.
  13. So why do I read? Perhaps the simplest answer is the best one. Why not?
big-blonde-book-books-favim-com-2329795
photo credit: Google images

Why do YOU read? Do tell me, I’d love to know!

bookstagram q & a

Hello, my lovely bookwyrms! I hope your holiday weekend was great. Because I reached 5,000 followers on bookstagram this month, (yes, holy crud, that is totally insane! I cannot wrap my mind around the fact that over 5,000 people have decided to tap the follow button.) I decided to hold a Q & A session with my bookstagram followers! They asked the questions, and I answered them.

I’ve bolded the questions and my bare-boned answers for the people who like to skim instead of close read. So without further ado…

pagesinparadise: If an author would write a book about your life, who would you choose? 

I love this question! Unfortunately, my life happens to be rather boring, so I’d want Sarah J. Maas to write it into something with lots of action and full out epic-ness. And maybe give me a Rhysand of my own? Or Rowan? Dammit, I’d even take Lorcan. Because, you know, brooding Fae warrior males are my favourite. 😉

zoe_hoibian: If you could spend a day with three fictional (book/movie/tv show) characters, who would it be and why?

1). Cath from Heartless. I’d stuff my face with rose macarons and other delectable baked treats.
2). Kaz from Six of Crows. Please teach me some of those lock-picking skills.
3). Sherlock Holmes from Sherlock. I just want to see his reaction to everything. I want need those powers of deductive reasoning! Maybe we’ll even solve a few crimes along the way. Preferably those that don’t involve Kaz.

travel.by.book: What’s your favorite genre?

Historical fiction. It’s such an oxymoron. You’d expect something historical to not be fiction and fiction to not be historical.

alinabooklover: Team Captain or Team Iron Man? Top 5/Top 10 favourite tv shows?

Hey, that’s two questions!! That’s a tough choice, but I think my heart’s with the Captain and my mind’s with Iron Man. As far as TV shows go, here’s a sneaky confession: I don’t watch TV often, BUT Sherlock is my absolute favourite! I also love Downton Abbey. Once Upon a Time is my guilty pleasure. I’ve only watched a few episodes of Outlander, but I like it so far. I have plans to binge-watch Mr. Robot, PoldarkDoctor WhoGrey’s Anatomy, Stranger Things, and House in the near future…

mybookacademy: Who are your top two fictional boyfriends AND hypothetically if you were in a vicious love triangle between them who would you pick??

Girl, you are vicious. I think you and Maas are molded from the same sheet of evil. (just kidding, you know I ❤ you, Sally!) But if you forced me to choose at knifepoint, I’d choose Rhysand from ACOMAF over Kaidan Rowe from Sweet Evil.

mylifeisanovelmylifeisanovelIf you could only read one series for the rest of your life, which series would you choose?

The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare. This trilogy is absolutely perfect! You can’t go wrong with a likeable, bookish main character. TID also contains one of the only love triangles that I didn’t have problems with.

bookish.marls: Would you rather read a book about your whole life or read a book about all conversations that had been said about you?

Conversations. I’ll feel like I’m reading minds. My life is (sadly) quite uneventful.

readingisinevitableWhat/who inspired you to start bookstagramming? How do you find inspiration for your pictures? What’s your favorite less-known book or series?

Xan from twirlingpages! Interestingly enough, we have mutual friends, though Xan and I have never met in real life. I find inspiration all around me. There’s so much raw beauty in nature and created beauty in music. And of course, I take into account of the book’s content and cover (especially the colour) whenever I take a photo. My favourite lesser-known series is Wendy Higgins’ Sweet Evil trilogy, featuring angels and demons and my favourite British drummer/badass!

sentrancedbookworm: If you had to change one thing about one of your favorite books, what would it be?

Nothing. If it’s my favourite book, there’s no way I’d want to tamper with anything. Although preventing a character I love from dying would be good for my bruised heart…

scarlingwolf719: Who are your top three book character crushes?!?!

You’re making me choose?!?! Fine.

1). Rhysand from A Court of Mist and Fury
2). Kaidan Rowe from Sweet Evil
3). Adrian Ivashkov from Bloodlines

fictionalpassionPopular character you don’t really like?

Alina Starkov from the Grisha trilogy. Sadly, she’s the reason why I didn’t enjoy the Grisha trilogy as much as everyone else seemed to.

libraryamongstarsWho’s your favourite Disney princess?

Ariel! #mermaidsforlife

bookhuggerreviews: If you could meet a fictional character and hang out with them, who would you choose?

Manon’s wildflower-loving wyvern, Abraxos. (from Queen of Shadows) I’d spoil him sick with wildflowers, and then bribe him with honey to take me flying through the skies. Or maybe he won’t need bribing.


I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I did writing it! I honestly loved answering all of your questions. Some of them took a loooong time to reflect on. (hello, multiple book crushes) If you have more questions, feel free to ask, and if not, I will see you in my next post.