What’s the collective noun for books?

A collection? A shelf? A library? How about a discussion or a storytelling or a chapter or a paragraph? Whatever it is, I read a lot of books the past six months. Did I mention this is a (loooong) book post?

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Ready for their closeup. The books I’ve read the past six months; not included are the two I wasn’t able to finish. The funky wooden busts styled with them are from Bali

Over the years, right around April or May I used to take stock of what I’ve read for the past months. And the list would invariably show up somewhere — back in the day, it was in journals and then more recently in various social media, albeit in a more haphazard fashion. I don’t know why I do it really, maybe because I wanted to have a record of what I read and also because April and May evoked school vacations in the Philippines, a time when I could just curl up with a good book in the middle of a hot afternoon instead of taking a siesta (afternoon nap) as my parents wanted us kids to do (to make us grow tall, they said). Now of course, I am more likely going to choose the siesta than read a book, because I’m old(er). 🙂

But at the start of this year, I told myself I would jot down each book I read as I started it just so I have a record of my reading diet — you are what you eat or read, am I right or am I right? I wrote down the titles in my desk diary — literally, an actual diary on my office desk. I am not so particular that I wrote down the title on the actual day I started reading it. I basically scribbled on those blank spaces allotted for each week/month for the diarist to write down whatever existential thought or musing he or she has. I chose to write down what I read.

The results were interesting:

  • 23 books read, 2 unfinished; so 21 books actually read cover to cover.
  • 8 = most number of books started in a month (March). Note that I said “started” because I wrote down the titles as I started reading, but did not really write down when I finished the books. But given that I usually — not always though — pick up a book when I’m done with one, it’s safe to assume that I did finish all eight books in March. Even for me — a fast reader (D says I don’t take the time to savor the books and devour them like fast food, a claim I wholeheartedly deny) — this was, er, impressive… and a bit frightening.
  • 1, unfinished = least number of books read in a month (April). What was I doing in April?? A quick glance at my diary revealed that I was drowning in work that month, apparently.
  • Genres covered: They run the gamut, from historical romance, to thrillers, to a memoir. Was tempted to enumerate the books per genre, but after attempting to classify several of them, I ended up confusing myself and stopped. Let’s just say that many of them can be classified under different categories and I will never be a competent librarian, haha!

So what have I been reading? Here’s a list (as they appeared in my diary) and capsule reviews:

Continue reading What’s the collective noun for books?

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Things I learned while I wasn’t looking

(A short word from the birthday girl — that would be me)

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That’s not my age, but it’s close enough. 🙂 (Photo by D)

This birthday post was supposed to be published last Thursday, but I was off doing other things, so I’m publishing it today. Here are some things that I’ve learned/am still learning: I’ve learned to chill out. I can still get preoccupied about my looks, weight, whether people like me or not, but most of the time, I have grown comfortable with myself. Too much drama in life can be tiring. It’s great to be able to sit and read a book, but it’s also great to do something you haven’t done before instead of just reading about it. Pushing boundaries doesn’t stop when you become older. In fact, it becomes imperative because there are no more excuses. Just get on with it already. Your first grade teacher was right: It pays to read the instructions first and follow them. But sometimes, you need to know when to disregard the instruction book and just go by gut feel. Bravery means taking the first step. It always helps to talk it out. Always be polite. A smile always works wonders; but so does a raised eyebrow. Know when to keep your mouth shut but know when to speak up. Always be there for the people you care about and never take them for granted. I also thought I’d borrow from Amy Poehler in her book, Yes Please. She expressed it better than I could, anyway:

Continue reading Things I learned while I wasn’t looking