It’s Monday and Happy New Year!

 

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. This meme started with J Kaye’s Blog   and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date

 

 

I have been away from this blog for a while. Luckily there had been scheduled #monthoffaves posts that covered my a$$ for a bit. But here I finally am, on the very first morning of the brand new year, typing up this post in advance for tomorrow.

What have I been up to? Well in the past couple of days, being sick. The kind of cold/migraine combination that had me lying in bed or on the sofa for most of the morning, I attribute it to the long drive back from San Diego. I really suck at road trips – it tends to give me a bad migraine!

What a difference a few days make. First day
A couple of days later

But San Diego was just lovely. Except that the weather sucked on our first couple of days there (blustery cold winds, and it even snowed on the 5, closing it for several hours – luckily we hadn’t left on Saturday!) so we mostly kept close to the rental home. We did venture out for a walk near the beach, where a kite surfer was doing some crazy stunts on the crazy big waves.


We had a Trader Joe’s Christmas dinner! That is, most of the food came from Trader Joe’s, except the ham which was from Von’s. But it was still a yummy dinner, and the kids got to open a present each for the eve.


Christmas Day saw the opening of gifts (at least those I had brought over with us), and a day at Seaworld. It sure was crowded!

Boxing Day found us at the USS Midway. We had been there before when my older boy was about 1 and it wasn’t easy carrying a very young kid around up and down the steep stairs so we hadn’t explored much of the aircraft carrier. This time with two boys and two grandparents, we had a good time wandering around pretty much all over, and the boys completed a kids’ quiz to get some pilot wings. They were very pleased.

After the boys discovered that the rental home had some beach toys, beach chairs and other supplies in the laundry room, they continually bugged us for a day at the beach. We were after all just two houses down from the beach! It was definitely such a wonderful vacation home (run by Bluewater Vacation Homes, if you’re interested – they were also really good at checking on us and sending people out to the home when the wifi wasn’t working).

And so finally, on Tuesday, the boys had their day at the beach. And it was such perfect weather too!

 

 

 

Currently…

 

Reading:

 

 

 

 

Watching:

Good Girls Revolt on Amazon Video, a show about women working at ‘News of the Week’ (based on Newsweek) in 1969, when women are given the jobs as ‘researchers’, that is, chasing down the sources and the stories for the male journalists, and being paid less and not being recognized as writers i.e. no byline. Based on a book by the same name, the full title of which probably describes the story a lot better: The Good Girls Revolt: How the Women of Newsweek Sued their Bosses and Changed the Workplace. goodgirlsrevolt

Of course after I enjoy the first episode, I learn that the show has been cancelled! 😦

Listening:

I think I made a mistake during the road trip – I hadn’t downloaded any audiobooks and with my migraine, an audiobook would have definitely helped. Can you recommend me some?

Eating:

Leftover gingerbread cookies!
Also homemade salmon poke bowl with soicy ponzu


Drinking:

Tea

Cooking:

Oxtail stew perhaps?

Chicken rice.

Browsing:

The Bout of Books schedule

The best writing advice of 2016 (The Atlantic)

A long-term challenge – reading around the world (Howling Frog Books)

Last week:

I read:

Palimpsest – Catherynne M Valente

The world she has created is both seductive and mesmerizing. But I feel that the plot sometimes got lost in all the beauty and mystery that she is weaving into her world-building.

The Invisible Library – Genevieve Cogman

This was a book that didn’t do enough world-building. It might not have been fair, moving from Palimpsest and its beautiful writing to The Invisible Library which didn’t seem to delve deep enough into its characters or its worlds.

I posted:

#amonthoffaves2016 – Books that blew my mind

#amonthoffaves2016 – Fave covers

#amonthoffaves2016 – Reading challenges

 

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It’s Monday and oh it’s nearly Christmas!

 

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. This meme started with J Kaye’s Blog   and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date

 

We’ve got the stockings, we’ve got the tree and lights, we’ve got presents! I think we’re ready for Christmas! Are you? I’m definitely ready because I am SO TIRED of being asked every single day, “Can I open a present now?”

The 3yo’s preschool had a Christmas party on Friday, complete with a Santa, crafts, face/hand painting and a gongfu performance!

The one in the middle doing the completely wrong move is mine.

On Saturday, we met a friend who was in SF for a conference, and took the kids to the Exploratorium for the first time. It was such a lovely huge space and surprisingly not very crowded. For the past year, we were members at Cal Academy and while we always went early (or on their Sunday early members-only hour), it always seemed very busy. The Exploratorium seemed far less so. Is it because they don’t market themselves so much? I know I always hear Cal Academy radio spots, and Cal has the benefit of animals like penguins and its famous albino alligator. But I quite liked the Exploratorium, with its beautiful newish space on Pier 15, and the views from the restaurant and some of the exhibit spaces!

 

Currently…

 

Reading:

Swing Time – Zadie Smith

 

The Fortunes – Peter Ho Davies

 

 

Watching:

Mad Men Season Two

The Grand Tour

 

 

Eating:


Rainy Day Brownies!

Drinking:

Nespresso

Cooking:

Stir-fried beef and broccoli

Maybe oxtail stew again!

Browsing:

Bookmarking this for myself until after I finish reading Swing Time – Carnegie interviews: Zadie Smith

Some interesting opinions about the NPR’s Book Concierge. Apparently they didn’t include translators’ names

River City Reading’s Best Books of 2016

Buried in Print talks about some 2016 novels that I promptly added to my tbr list (and of course my library doesn’t have 2 of them)

Not at all bookish but sounding delightful and very cozy are these Espresso Martinis from How Sweet Eats

Last week:

I read:

supergirl

Supergirl Vol 1 – Jeph Loeb

I liked the first few issues included but then the story is continued by a different writer and I get confused by it!

generationchef

Generation Chef: Risking It All for a New American Dream – Karen Stabiner
Among the interesting things I learnt was just how much sous chefs get paid (not much, especially considering this is New York City) and how difficult it can be to sustain a restaurant and hold on to good staff! It was a pretty good read.

I posted:

#amonthoffaves2016 – Picking Favourites

#amonthoffaves2016 5 Fave “New to Me” Authors

Back to the Classics 2017

#amonthoffaves2016 Best Changes Made This Year

#amonthoffaves2016 – Snow Reads

Books I’m Looking Forward To in 2017 (the diverse version)

#amonthoffaves2016 – Most Memorable Reads

Books I’m Looking Forward To in 2017 (the diverse version)

toptentues

 

Books I’m Looking Forward To For The First Half Of 2017

(links are to Goodreads)

The Refugees – Viet Thanh Nguyen (Feb. 7)

Pachinko by Min Jin Lee (Feb. 7)

Ghachar Ghochar by Vivek Shanbhag, trans. by Srinath Perur (Feb. 7)

Exit West – Mohsin Hamid. Riverhead, Mar. 7

Tender – Sofia Samatar (April 11)

Notes of a Crocodile – Qiu Miaojin, trans. by Bonnie Huie (May 2)

Men Without Women – Haruki Murakami, trans. by Philip Gabriel and Ted Goossen (May 9)

The Nakano Thrift Shop – Hiromi Kawakami, trans. by Allison Markin Powell (June 6)

Boundless – Jillian Tamaki (June 6)

Sorcerer Royal – Zen Cho (July 4) – I realize this isn’t the first half of 2017 but I’m too excited to care.

 

 

 

It’s Monday and here’s a list of Best Books lists!

 

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. This meme started with J Kaye’s Blog   and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date

 

 

I love it and I hate it.

As the year draws to a close, it’s “Best Of” season, where everyone publishes their ‘Best Books” of 2016 and I am reminded of how few 2016 publications I have read. See the “Browsing” section for lots of links!

Once again it was a mad eating weekend – Sunday breakfast at our favourite diner. Sushi. Prime rib! Indian food!

A couple of library trips. My 3yo’s preschool is across the road from the library but I only have about 10-15 minutes to grab books in between dropping off my kindergartener at PM K class, then driving to preschool to pick up the 3yo. So I can’t quite manage hitting both the adult and kids section at the same time! Especially because I try to flip through the pages of some of the picture books -just to check if there are torn pages/stains/missing pages and also to have a general idea of the storyline. Of course there are plenty that I know will be good reads especially those in a series or by a beloved author like Ezra Jack Keats and Mo Willems. (Also if you guys have Amazon Prime Video, Keats’ The Snowy Day has been made into an adorable animated holiday special, and with Boyz II Men singing!)

 

Currently…

 

Reading:

 

Swing Time – Zadie Smith

Generation Chef – Karen Stabiner

Watching:

The Grand Tour. Mad Men Season 1. Totoro (with the kids, again and again)

Eating:

I had a turkey and cream cheese bagel this morning for breakfast. I like savoury foods for breakfast usually, and because I get hungry really quickly, the protein really helps fill me up.

Drinking:

Yorkshire Gold with milk

Cooking:

Browsing:

As promised, here are some Best Books lists.

Kirkus Reviews

PopSugar 

Bookriot

New York Times (and their 100 Notable Books)

The Guardian

Publishers Weekly

NPR’s Top 10 (and their Book Concierge with over 300 books)

Brain Picking’s Top Science Books

Vulture

Slate’s favourite comics of 2016

Laura Miller’s 10 favourite books

School Library Journal (picture books, chapter books, middle grade, YA, nonfiction)

The Millions’ continues its Year in Reading series like this one by Jacqueline Woodson

Last week:

I read:
Rosalie Lightning – Tom Hart
12 Reasons why I love her – Jamie S. Rich, Joëlle Jones (Illustrator)
Supergirl Vol 1 – Jeph Loeb
Last Man: The Royal Cup (Lastman #2) – Bastien Vivès, Michaël Sanlaville, Balak

I posted:

#amonthoffaves2016 picking favourites

#amonthoffaves2016 – Favorite Book to Movie or TV Shows

#amonthoffaves2016: Most Useful Tools For Getting Sh&! Done

#amonthoffaves2016 – This Is How We Blog

#amonthoffaves2016 – This Is How We Read

 

 

 

It’s Monday and that was a busy weekend

 

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. This meme started with J Kaye’s Blog   and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date

So last weekend we…


  • Attended my husband’s company dinner at the Hilton San Francisco (it took us 1.5 hours just to get there!). The food wasn’t very good. But at least there was cake. The music was very loud. And there was a lip sync battle and a dance-off between the partners and the managers that was very cringey. Also beer and wine were free.
  • Put up our Christmas tree. We have an artificial tree. Perhaps it’s because living in Singapore, all we knew of Christmas trees were the artificial ones (although apparently they ship in live trees nowadays), so that’s just fine by me. But I know a lot of people are a bit appalled by artificial trees. And now I just have to find time to wrap presents.
  • Met up with a friend and his girlfriend. Ever since I’ve known him (for 8 years?) he’s been single so it was nice to see him with someone, and that their so committed they just bought a house together. So hooray for him, but also a bit sad, as that house is in Southern California, so that means we won’t see him much!
  • Attended a 6yo birthday, which luckily was a small one with three other families. Still, there were five boys and two girls and there was a lot of running around and noise. The boys had a blast of course. And there was cake.

 

 

 

Currently…

 

Reading:

 

 

 

Watching:

Mad Men. I decided to rewatch it so that I can finally watch the last season!

 

Eating:

Drinking:

Coffee

Cooking:

Ribs in the slow cooker

Maybe a shepherd’s pie

Browsing:

The Popsugar 2017 Reading Challenge looks fun!

I always adore The Millions’ Year in Reading series, like this one by Tana French. 

Thinking about…The Target December Beauty Box!

Last week:

I read:

Do Not Say We Have Nothing – Madeleine Thien

(Beautifully written, moving and full of music.)

In the Woods – Tana French

(exciting, fast-paced, and also, really well-written)

I posted:

#amonthoffaves2016 – A Few of My Favourite Things

#amonthoffaves2016 – 5 Popular Books Worth the Hype

It’s Monday and I bought books and shoes!

 

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. This meme started with J Kaye’s Blog   and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date

 

 

How was your long weekend? That is, if you’re in the US and celebrating Thanksgiving. Did you buy anything during Black Friday or Cyber Monday?

I succumbed to the bookoutlet.com sale and bought 12 books (for under $50). Hey their 30% sale is still on! (Sorry).

And yesterday, we brought my in-laws to the factory outlet, because that’s what you do when people from Singapore visit – outlet shopping. Singapore prices are rather high. But ahem, I ended up buying two pairs of cute flats for myself. I have an excuse! Hear me out – I have weird bony feet and as a result, cannot wear most flats, so when a pair (two!) actually feel comfortable, I’m so buying them, especially if they’re only about $25 each!


As for Thanksgiving itself, we did our usual hotpot. The day starts off with a trip to Marina Foods, an Asian supermarket, to pick up vegetables, three types of mushrooms, fish balls and fish cakes, also crabsticks. The frozen items go in a cooler box, and we head to San Jose to the Mitsuwa supermarket. We make the mistake of eating lunch first. Mitsuwa is home to Santouka ramen which is a ramen chain from Japan. It’s a food court so it’s self-service and the queue can be long. The husband queued while I took the kids to Kinokuniya where they were oohing and ahing over the Totoro display (very smart, Kinokuniya! Who can resist little Totoros?).

Finally our ramen came. I like mine spicy.
And there was where our mistake was made. After ramen, we head into the supermarket proper and discover that other crazy hotpot lovers had already scooped up almost all the sliced meats! There were only a few trays of shabu shabu Angus left. So we quickly grabbed two and went home.


And here’s our Thanksgiving dinner. I made a chocolate tart for dessert but sadly the crust shrank. It still tasted really good though! I must say that I really liked the texture of it (probably due to the caramel) and the addition of coffee.

Currently…

 

Reading:

I love the writing in this book. And all that music that surrounds the story!

 Do Not Say We Have Nothing is my slow read. This is my fast one!

 

Watching:

hepalien

Gilmore Girls! I’ve watched the first of the four. And I think my heart skipped a beat when Logan appeared. It’s moving a bit more slowly than I expected, but I think that’s probably because it’s 90 minutes long. I mean, why 90 minutes? Why didn’t they just make it an hour long episode like shows are meant to be? It was just so much fun to see everyone again. And Hep Alien playing together again (minus crazy tambourine guy there)! Fun!

 

 

Eating:

I’m typing this on Monday morning before I get the kids up. And I just had a slice of toast with cheese, shared some pumpkin pie (from Whole Foods) with the husband.

Drinking:

Yorkshire Gold with milk.

Cooking:

Not sure yet but I bought some oxtail from Costco last week. So oxtail stew is definitely on the cards sometime soon!

Browsing:

Loving all the bookish holiday decor on this Book Riot post

How American cuisine became a melting pot (The Atlantic) – talks about a book by Sarah Lohman called Eight Flavors. Definitely going to have to check that out.

Over at Read Diverse Books, 2016 book releases by Native Americans

A Month of Faves, hosted by Andi, Tamara and Tanya, is back! I’ve taken part in this month-long blogging event for the past two years now. Always lots of fun. Check out Andi’s post for the daily topics.

Last week:

I read:

radioshangrila

Radio Shangri-la: What I Learned in Bhutan, the Happiest Kingdom on Earth by Lisa Napoli
Bhutan is such a fascinating place and I’ve always wanted to go there. This book, written by a broadcast journalist who spends a few months there working at Bhutan’s first youth-oriented radio station, is quite an eye-opener, albeit from a westerner’s point of view.

I posted:

#nonficnov: Immigration reads

 

It’s Monday and I have new bookshelves!!!

 

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. This meme started with J Kaye’s Blog   and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date

 

 

Our IKEA delivery arrived on Friday and we set about putting things together. First, new beds for the boys. They were very pleased with their proper beds. A new sofa to replace our sad one in the loft that’s nearly ten years old. And one for our front living room which we have done nothing with ever since we moved in 6 1/2 years ago. Our front living room has mostly accumulated toys, an old coffee table which we had taken away from the den once we had kids… that kind of thing. It pretty much was more of a storage area. Sad but true. But now we have shelves (mostly to store the kids’ toys)! And a sofa!

More importantly, our loft is now actually a library! One wall is nothing but shelves. We have a new sofa and I got a lovely wing chair! I will put up proper photos once my books are up, but for now here is a preview of some empty shelves….!

It was definitely a tiring weekend of physical labour! But we are so happy with how everything is shaping up. We still have to get rid of old furniture so things aren’t as settled as I would like it yet, but we will get there soon!

Playing in the leaves after preschool. His classmate had a birthday and gave everyone a Doraemon watch!

A book pyramid.

 

Currently…

 

Reading:


Human Acts – Han Kang


Do Not Say We have Nothing – Madeleine Thien

Watching:

The Grand Tour. The three car nuts are back, this time on Amazon Prime, in a tent-studio that travels the world apparently. It was lots of fun to watch!

Eating:

I’m typing this on Sunday night and the last thing I ate was sesame balls from the Hong Kong-style takeout joint near us. We picked up some chow mien, beef chow fun, garlic chicken, green beans, sweet and sour pork.

Drinking:

Water

Cooking:

It was definitely fall weather last week, such a change from the week before when it was still T-shirt weather. So I’ve been thinking of stews and soups and baked pasta and baked rice kind of meals!

Browsing:

In search of the radical bookstores of old SF (Lit Hub)

Oh and look, a book actually set in old SF (Booklist reader)

10 contemporary novels by and about Muslims (LitHub)

I really liked Margot Livesey’s Mercury, so was pleased to read this interview with her (The Millions)

Texas Sheet Cake Brownies 

 

Last week:

I read:

Shaking hands with death – Terry Pratchett
In order to live – Yeonmi Park

I posted:

Salvation of a Saint – Keigo Higashino

#nonficnov – fiction-nonfiction pairing