#amonthoffaves awesome TV and audiobooks

amonthoffaves

A Month of Faves is hosted by Tanya and Tamara

 On the Screen or in Your Ear: What did you watch this year that you absolutely loved and did you see any movies inspired by books you’ve read – what did you think. Or, what are some of your favorite podcasts, audiobooks or songs / albums that you listened to and have on repeat.

 

 

TV series

The Mandalorian

Yes, that one with the Baby Yoda. But Baby Yoda aside, I’m loving this whole space western series that is on Disney+

Terrace House

I LOVE this Japanese reality series. I’m not much of a viewer of reality series like this in which the aim is to find romance but I’ve seen some of the Bachelor before so I guess I’m comparing it to American-type reality shows.  I love that Terrace House has hosts (the three women and three men above) who discuss the contestants and what’s going on. It’s often very funny and provides a different insight into Japanese culture.

 

Audiobooks

I listened to 18 audiobooks so far this year and these are my favourites.

The Greatest Love Story Ever Told by Megan Mullally and Nick Offerman

I had such a blast with this one! This was just great banter back and forth between Mullally and Offerman. I’ve not seen the physical book but apparently the Barnes and Noble exclusive came with a jigsaw cover?!

Beastie Boys Book

I am not really a Beastie Boys fan but this was some audiobook! I loved that they had so many guests narrating the different chapters, not just musicians like Kim Gordon and Nas and Elvis Costello but also actors and comedians like Will Ferrell and Rosie Perez. One of my favourite parts was listening to Jarvis Cocker read.

A not-so typical Sunday #amonthoffaves

amonthoffaves

A Month of Faves is hosted by Tanya and Tamara

 

A Day (or Weekend) in the Life.

Let’s take a peek into each others lives as as we chronicle what we did on a typical (or not-so-typical) day or weekend … or week.

Well so I didn’t notice this topic until Sunday morning so I was forced to decided to chronicle my Sunday. It’s not exactly a typical Sunday though but here it is!

Wake at 635 thanks to a fire truck siren outside. But I’m usually up before 7 on weekends (and before 6 on weekdays).

Check email and messages and see messages from my sister in Singapore asking about presents for the boys. I lie in bed checking out the Book Depository links she sent and give suggestions.

655: Head down for breakfast. The boys are awake but giggling in bed. I decide to go down first and have quiet breakfast

I grab homemade raisin bread from the freezer and into the toaster. Make some tea with milk. Eat a walnut cookie I had made on Friday while waiting.

Sit and read some digital magazines (library) while eating breakfast. Not long after, the boys come down and so does the husband. My mum is staying with us until after Christmas and she’s down too.

730 I finish up and go brush teeth etc and throw jackets in the wash. We went to a korean BBQ last night and our clothes and jackets smell smoky!

745: sit down to write some blog posts. Realize that Monday’s Month of Faves is about “a day in the life) so start typing down what I remember!

830: Watch a YouTube video on a Christmas gnome pattern. Decide to make some for the kids’ teachers

9: head to Costco to pick up some gifts for the husband’s colleagues. Lots of chocolates!

10: I sit with the kids as they practice piano

1115: Firehouse subs lunch. Requested by the six-year-old.

We head to the music school after lunch for the winter concert

120: The 8yo’s session is on. He’s supposed to be fourth but two of the kids ahead of him haven’t turned up by the time the session starts so he’s second. He plays the song Moonlight Sonata and does great (with a couple of minor mistakes!)

230: Back home and I start working on a new-to-me cookie dough recipe. This is a sesame sea salt cookie from Dorie Greenspan’s cookie book.

The husband had asked if I could make some things to send to his mentor in Seattle. They sent us some lovely Christmassy treats last year.

Yesterday I had premade some more cookie dough, citrus shortbread (recipe from The NY Times).

I bought cookie stamps last year but never tried them out. So when I saw this recipe it was meant to be. I adapted it slightly to be a Meyer lemon shortbread to use the Meyer lemons in my backyard. The original recipe calls for orange and lemon zest in the dough and juice in the glaze. The stamps are a bit more tricky to work with than expected and I realize that a very liberal flouring of the balls of dough is required.

330 or so: The husband takes the kids and my mum our for a walk in the park. It’s a nice break from all the rain last week so might as well get some sunshine and fresh air! I continue with the cookie making. I have to bake my cookies, glaze the shortbread.

445: They decide to pick up dinner from a nearby Chinese takeout place.

530: The kids skype my in-laws in Singapore. I clean up all the cookie making equipment and stuff. After that they watch some TV. And I finally sit down and take a break.

630: We usually eat around this time and so we were hungry. Noodles, fried rice, broccoli beef, salt and pepper chicken. Also oranges and plums and sesame balls for dessert.

730: clean up, put the dishes away. The kids clean the dining table and sweep the floor.

I redo the Christmas Gnome body I had started on earlier today. I realized I had forgotten to do the Back Loop only part of a single crochet row which meant I had to redo 7 rows. At least it was quick! I decide to continue the rest tomorrow and head up to shower.

815: Reading time.

9: The kids go to bed. And I go lie in bed and read a book.

1030: Goodnight!

Underrated books that need more buzz #amonthoffaves

amonthoffaves

A Month of Faves is hosted by Tanya and Tamara

Dec 4 – #AMonthofFaves Underrated Books We Think Deserve More Buzz

I love this topic! I especially enjoy finding out about books I’ve not heard of. And I’m always interested in learning how people find out about books.

So here’s a question for you: how do you usually discover new-to-you reads? Is it Bookstagram, Litsy, or social media? Bookish websites like Goodreads? Word of mouth? Bookstores? Newspapers? Bloggers?

Pie in the Sky by Remy Lai (published 2019)

An awesome middle grade book about a pair of brothers from Vietnam trying to fit into their new life in Australia. And also, making cakes!

 

Tiare in Bloom by Célestine Hitiura Vaite (published 2006)

I enjoyed this book mostly because of it’s unusual setting – Tahiti! This is actually the third book of the series, but my library only had this one!

 

Edinburgh by Alexander Chee (published 2001)

This is not a new book, since it was published in 2001, but while Chee is known for his newer works like Queen of the Night, I do think this is one book that deserves more attention. It is absolutely beautiful and heartbreaking (my thoughts).

 

South Pole Station by Ashley Shelby (published 2017)

Another unique setting and also, great humour!

 

The Lady Astronaut series by Mary Robinette Kowal (published 2018)

As you may have guessed, I tend to like unusual books. And I like how Kowal often brings in a unique perspective, like in The Glamourist Histories series which features magic in a Austen-esque setting. This series, which has two books, The Calculating Stars (my thoughts) and The Fated Sky, imagines an alternative 1952 when a giant meteorite crashes into Earth, creating the start of an extinction event. Space exploration (only an idea at the moment) becomes necessary and one female mathematician/pilot wants to be a part of it.

 

Have you read any of these? What are some underrated books you’ve read and loved?

Popular books worth the hype (or maybe not) #amonthoffaves

amonthoffaves

A Month of Faves is hosted by Tanya and Tamara

 

December 2: Popular Books Worth the Hype (and/or Not Worth the Hype)

 

 

So once again, I struggle with the word “popular”. What does it mean to be a popular book? Last year, I decided that I would go by the number of Goodreads ratings. I use Goodreads to track my books and it’s probably the easiest way to figure out what is “popular”. Last year, I decided to go with a minimum of 25,000 ratings (note, not reviews). Of course, this isn’t the best way either as there will be plenty of 2019 releases that have barely had time to garner ratings! But I will do the best I can in this list!

This year I’ve read books with just a few hundred Goodreads ratings, to several hundred thousands.

The Poppy War and The Dragon Republic by RF Kuang (26,023 ratings for The Poppy War)

These are the first two books in the Poppy War series and while I enjoyed the first one, I really liked the second book, The Dragon Republic (my review).  It was exciting and magical and also, navy battles! But throughout the two books, I loved the incorporation of Asian elements, with some of the battles based on Chinese mythology and history. Cannot wait for the next book!

The Library Book by Susan Orlean (50,033 ratings)

This book was made for readers and book lovers and especially lovers of the library, like me! It was full of great writing and interesting facts about libraries (my thoughts)

Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid (121,395 ratings)

I really like fictional books that feature music so I was dying to sink my teeth into this one about a band. It was such fun!

All Systems Red by Martha Wells (43,806 ratings)
Murderbot! Murderbot!

Becoming by Michelle Obama (320,815 ratings)

I listened to this one and it was great hearing her read it.

The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey (107,199 ratings)

Goodness it’s taken me a while to get to this one! But it was a lovely dark one.

I’m on the fence about the hype for this one:

The Testaments by Margaret Atwood

This of course is the long awaited serial to The Handmaid’s Tale, a book I’ve loved for many years. So I was excited to read this one and while parts of it were great, overall I was a bit disappointed (read my thoughts here). 

 

Top books that blew my mind #amonthoffaves2017

amonthoffavesA Month of Faves is hosted by AndiTanya and Tamara

A Woman in the Crossfire: Diaries of the Syrian Revolution – Samar Yazbek
A difficult read but so important (my thoughts)

The Strays – Emily Bitto

This gorgeous book set in the Melbourne art world. Fantastic read.

The Spiderwoman series written by Dennis Hopeless, Javier Rodriguez

A pregnant superhero!

 

The Captain Marvel series written by Kelly Sue DeConnick

I’ve read a few different versions of Captain Marvel so far and this is absolutely the best.

Borderline and Phantom Pains – Mishell Baker

I am not much of a reader of urban fantasy but this one was so absorbing and has such an unforgettable main character – she has Borderline Personality Disorder and after a suicide attempt, lost her legs. I am impatiently waiting for book three to come out in 2018.

My Favourite Thing is Monsters Vol 1 – Emil Ferris

Each page of this graphic novel is mesmerizing but this is probably my favourite.

Cork Dork: A Wine-Fueled Adventure Among the Obsessive Sommeliers, Big Bottle Hunters, and Rogue Scientists Who Taught Me to Live for Taste – Bianca Bosker

Ridiculous long subtitle aside, this was a truly fun non-fiction read. And I learnt far more about the wine world and sommeliers than I expected.

 

The Soul of an Octopus – Sy Montgomery (audiobook)

Octopuses are truly fascinating creatures! I definitely fell in love with them after listening to this book.

The Harry Potter series on audiobook, read by Stephen Fry

This is the first time I’ve listened to the series and it’s also the kids’ introduction to Harry Potter (we just finished The Prisoner of Azkaban). And I love sharing this experience with my two boys! Also, Stephen Fry does an amazing job.

Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

I love multigenerational family stories and this was a great one, a story of a Korean family living in Japan. It’s sad to learn about how these Koreans, who are born and have lived in Japan their whole lives, were (and still are) treated as foreigners and looked down on. A full-bodied book about belonging (and not belonging), full of sorrow and heartache and persistence.

#amonthoffaves2017 – most memorable reads

amonthoffaves

A Month of Faves is hosted by AndiTanya and Tamara

 

Wed. | Dec 20 – The Most Unique, Weird or Memorable Book(s) Read This Year #AMonthofFaves – books you did not finish, were super weird, characters you disliked, book award winners (from this year) you read and didn’t like, books you didn’t think you would like, but you did.

A book based on a video game (that I don’t play) that was surprisingly good

Injustice: Gods Among Us #1 (Injustice: Gods Among Us #1) – Tom Taylor (Goodreads Author), Jheremy Raapack (Illustrator)

 

A comic series which is really messed up and yet funny

Demon – Jason Shiga

(warning: it has to do with suicide)

A book with multiple possibilities and endings 

Jane, Unlimited – Kristin Cashore

 

A book full of goats (and also slavery)

Goat Days – Benyamin (my review)

 

What a title

Like a Mule Bringing Ice-Cream to the Sun – Sarah Ladipo Manyika

 

 

 

#amonthoffaves2017 I Love December

amonthoffavesA Month of Faves is hosted by AndiTanya and Tamara

Mon. | Dec 18 – I Love … December #AMonthofFaves – Rep your home’s holiday look, share pictures of your holiday decorations. Christmas tree, your favorite holiday traditions, holiday festivities, favorite ornaments, places to go, holiday drinks, holiday eats, holiday themed reads.

We put up our fake tree just after Thanksgiving – both my husband and I grew up in Singapore where you can’t find real trees (at least not when we’re growing up, as I hear that these days you can!) so we’re used to fake plastic trees…

We also take a stroll around this neighboring estate, a cul-de-sac in which every home is well decorated for Christmas. It’s really cute and fun to see how each house is decorated each year.

This year, some of my gifts are handmade. I made each of my boys a dinosaur hat and mittens for the younger one (who has outgrown his). The hat and scarf are for a friend overseas.