Library Loot (February 8 to 14, 2023)

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Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Sharlene from Real Life Reading that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries.

Happy Wednesday! What did you get from your library this week?

Claire has the link-up this week.

What I got from the library this week:

Light From Uncommon Stars – Ryka Aoki

A sci-fi set in SoCal.

Child of Fortune – Yuko Tsushima
I saw this on Word By Word and put it on my library holds.

Rise: A Pop History of Asian America from the Nineties to Now – Jeff Yang, Phil Yu, Philip Wang

Have been looking forward to this one.

The Rabbit Hutch – Tess Gunty

I’ve seen this on some “best of” lists last year. Oh, it won the National Book Award too.

Charming As A Verb – Ben Philippe

It’s Black History Month and I downloaded some library ebooks by black writers. This one is a YA romance set in NYC and well, I was attracted by its title.

Love is a Revolution – Renee Watson

I enjoyed Watson’s Watch Us Rise and am looking forward to this one

It’s Monday (February 6, 2023)

Oof I woke up today just after 5. So everything feels very slow moving right now because I have a headache. Hopefully it will go away. Meanwhile, I’ll just quickly put up some photos…

Some things last week:

Made some granola yesterday. Added sliced almonds, coconut chips, chopped apricots, and raisins.
The husband also hinted that I should make the walnut bread he likes. So here it is. I need to find a new recipe though. Either that or try proofing it overnight. It tastes fine but I think the crumb/texture can be improved.
We needed to head to the South Bay to pick up something, so I figured might as well go to Super Duper Burger. Love the food there, even their lemonade is so tasty (and not too sweet). The burgers are always well cooked too.
Started on a new crochet project. First time trying this brand of cotton yarn. Cotton yarn is hard to work with! It makes my fingers tire more easily…

Currently…

Reading:

The Swimmers – Julie Otsuka

Anne of Greenville – Mariko Tamaki

Watching:

Crash Course in Romance on Netflix

Listening:

The Sixth Extinction – The Sixth Extinction

Eating and Drinking:

I just had a chocolate chip cookie

Cooking:

Today we have leftovers, but yesterday for dinner, I made risotto, with bacon and steamed green beans.

Last week:

I read:

My Broken Mariko – Waka Hiroko

I posted:

Library Loot (February 1 to 7)

3 audiobooks by actresses

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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

Library Loot (February 1 to 7)

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Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Sharlene from Real Life Reading that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries.

Happy Wednesday! What did you get from your library this week?

What I got from the library this week:

Sansei and Sensibility – Karen Tei Yamashita

A collection of short stories set in California in the sixties and seventies

The Swimmers – Julie Otsuka

Otsuka’s books are always beautiful reads.

Acting Class – Nick Drnaso

My Broken Mariko – Waka Hiroko

Both of these were random grabs off the adult graphic novel shelves. I have read Drnaso’s Sabrina, although I didn’t really like it. Second chance, Drnaso! I haven’t heard of Waka Hiroko before, but was curious about the book.

Anne of Greenville – Mariko Tamaki

A modern-day Anne of Green Gables. I’ve enjoyed Mariko Tamaki’s previous works like This One Summer.

The Sixth Extinction – Elizabeth Kolbert

I downloaded this as an audiobook.

Kids’ Loot:

3 audiobooks by actresses

Hooked: How Crafting Saved My Life – Sutton Foster

I’m Glad My Mom Died – Jennette McCurdy

Hello, Molly! – Molly Shannon

Somehow in the past month, I’ve listened to 3 audiobooks by American actresses. In recent years, I’ve taken to audiobooks, usually nonfiction, and preferably read by the author themselves (with exception to certain audiobook narrators, like Richard Armitage, whose voice I love!). I listen to the audiobooks when I take walks and when doing some chores like laundry or cooking. It helps the time pass faster. And on occasion, I’ve even walked an extra round just because I was eager to finish listening to a chapter. 

Audiobooks have their drawbacks of course, like when my mind wanders and I somehow miss out on an important part and it’s hard to go back and figure out what I’ve missed. Also, taking notes is hard. So while I usually enjoy writing down quotes from the book that I’ve enjoyed or admired, this is a quote-free post. 

Admittedly, I hadn’t heard of Jennette McCurdy until her book seemed to be everywhere. I never watched iCarly or the other shows she’s known for. But the title of her book just made me want to find out what exactly happened. And ok, that really was a very honest, and just really painful, listen. McCurdy started acting at the age of 6, and her mother controlled and obsessed about her physical appearance. It’s a book that made me seethe with anger at what her mother put her through, and admire the compassion Jennette showed her. 

Molly Shannon is more familiar to me. I used to watch Will and Grace and she played their upstairs neighbour Val who’s rather unstable and kooky. She really does seem like that in her audiobook too, vivacious and full of incredible energy. Her story is another one of struggle and angst. But in a very different way. Her family was in a horrendous car accident when she was 4, and her mother and sister died. She and her younger sister were raised by their dad, and while he definitely tried his best, his parenting style is best described as very permissive. Like when she and her friend snuck on a plane to New York City (they lived in Cleveland). They were 12! 

One thing about Molly Shannon’s story was her persistence and determination to become an actress. A New York Times article used the headline “The Unsinkable Molly Shannon” and that really is perfect for her. She really just kept going and never gave up. 

For me, this worked really well as an audiobook. I read a sample of the book and wasn’t quite sure, but when I gave it a listen instead, I started to get more into it. 

As for Sutton Foster, I enjoyed watching her in the short-lived TV series, Bunheads, where she played a showgirl turned dance teacher. I like that she’s a crocheter, although she also talks about other crafts in the book, like collaging and cross-stitching. She first started cross-stitching at age 19, as an understudy on the Grease musical. It was a means for her to cope with anxiety and stress and the less than friendly people who were on tour with her. Her crafting journey helps her through difficult times, like her mother’s agoraphobia and declining health. A heartfelt story that made me want to start crocheting a blanket (and did). 

It’s Monday (January 30, 2023)

Hey, it’s Monday again. Hope you had a great weekend!

Some things last week:

We tried out two new-to-us eateries. This Japanese eatery has a huge selection of rolls, it was so hard to decide. We also wanted to get some of the cooked food to try – chicken katsu with added vegetable tempura, and pork belly with added prawn tempura. I quite liked their Godzilla roll – it was crab salad and a tempura prawn inside and on top is spicy tuna and eel with wonton chips.

Another new-to-us place was this Thai eatery. The last time I ate Thai food was last summer in Singapore! The kids really liked this crispy tamarind glazed duck dish. That surprised me as the younger son definitely didn’t like eating duck previously. I like that the eatery provided options of “hot” and “Thai hot”. I like spicy food but even Thai hot is too spicy for me (same goes for Indonesian version of “hot”), so this way I know that I can order it “hot” but it won’t be numb-my-tongue, cry-my-eyes-out hot 😛
The 9yo had his first elementary orchestra concert. He’s been learning the cello since mid-September. I was quite surprised that they would put on a concert so early on, especially since the kids had all only just been playing for a few months. But they did it wonderfully.

Besides the elementary beginners, intermediate, and advanced bands, there were also performances by the junior high. The elementary bands are organised by the music teachers at the junior high, I guess to allow for more experienced kids by the time they enter junior high. I like that the elementary school kids get to see what they can possibly sound like in years to come.


Recently, I’ve been making boba at home. We found these boba packs at a Chinese supermarket and it’s super easy, just boil them in water. After that, I pop them into some sugar syrup, which keeps them from drying out.

Made some Chinese bakery-style hot dog buns, using tangzhong bread. Here’s an example of a recipe . My go-to tangzhong bread recipe is this one by Christine’s Recipes.

Currently…

Reading:

Watching:

The K-drama Crash Course in Romance on Netflix. I liked the actor Jung Kyung-ho in Hospital Playlist (still one of my favourite all-time shows), and he’s great in this one too!

Listening:

The Sixth Extinction – Elizabeth Kolbert

Eating and Drinking:

I’m typing this on Sunday afternoon for a change! I’m having some green tea and contemplating a slice of Castella cake.

Cooking:

Ah, the same question every week. What to cook for the week ahead? I have some cauliflower and broccoli to cook up. So maybe I’ll roast the cauliflower in the oven. And maybe since the oven will be on, grill some chicken drumsticks, marinated in soy-honey-garlic.

For the broccoli, I’ll cook it up with some pasta. And maybe some bacon?

Last week:

I read:

I’m glad my mom died – Jennette McCurdy

Why We Swim – Bonnie Tsui

Vladimir – Julia May Jonas

I posted:

Everything is Ok by Debbie Tung

Legends & Lattes

Library Loot (January 25 to 31)

Happy Lunar New Year#WeekendCooking

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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

Everything is Ok by Debbie Tung

I am an introverted and anxious person. I overthink things, even when writing a message back to someone. Let’s not even mention having to talk on the phone with someone.

Reading Debbie Tung’s EVERYTHING IS OK, I recognized myself in some of her story. I was the shy kid. The quiet kid. I always remember the horror of being called upon in class and my mouth feeling like it’s been zipped shut and I would stand there, knowing in my head that I could say something, answer something, and the teacher would move on, but I would feel frozen and my lips wouldn’t move and it would just get worse as everyone in the class stared at me.

While I still would probably freeze up if I had to give a speech in front of a large crowd, I think I got a bit better at participating, and at talking to people, although I’m still usually the one who talks much less when in a group of people. I guess I forced myself into situations where I had to voice my opinions and talk to strangers – graduate school, working at newspapers, and at one point, saying yes to every blind date that came my way.

Tung’s book is full of little nuggets that may seem simple but are reassuring and encouraging. Like learning to accept yourself and embrace your awkwardness. And to be kind to others and to yourself.

It’s important to appreciate the small things. The husband bought a handheld coffee grinder for me last year and it’s strangely pleasing turning the handle and grinding the coffee beans, then adding it to the French press.

I also find delight in reading your posts and stories, whether you’re sharing a travel snapshot, your meal, an old photo. And especially the book posts. I love discovering new-to-me authors, and adding to my ridiculously towering (virtually, that is) the lists.

So, Everything is Ok, it really is.

Library Loot (January 25 to 31)

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Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Sharlene from Real Life Reading that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries.

Happy Wednesday! What did you get from your library this week?

Claire has the link-up this week

What I got from the library this week:

Interior Chinatown – Charles Yu

This book is hard to describe, so here’s the synopsis from Goodreads:

Willis Wu doesn’t perceive himself as the protagonist in his own life: he’s merely Generic Asian Man. Sometimes he gets to be Background Oriental Making a Weird Face or even Disgraced Son, but always he is relegated to a prop. Yet every day, he leaves his tiny room in a Chinatown SRO and enters the Golden Palace restaurant, where Black and White, a procedural cop show, is in perpetual production. He’s a bit player here, too, but he dreams of being Kung Fu Guy—the most respected role that anyone who looks like him can attain. Or is it?

After stumbling into the spotlight, Willis finds himself launched into a wider world than he’s ever known, discovering not only the secret history of Chinatown, but the buried legacy of his own family. Infinitely inventive and deeply personal, exploring the themes of pop culture, assimilation, and immigration—Interior Chinatown is Charles Yu’s most moving, daring, and masterful novel yet.

Bullet Train – Kotaro Isaka

Five killers find themselves on a bullet train from Tokyo competing for a suitcase full of money. Looks like this was made into a movie that starred Brad Pitt.

Haven – Emma Donoghue

To be honest, not really a book I would borrow based solely off its description. But I borrowed this because of the Storygraph Onboarding Challenge. One of the tasks is to read a book that’s based on your reader profile. Apparently my profile is

“Mainly reads fiction books that are reflective, adventurous, and emotional.”

The funny thing is using those 3 criteria to filter the books turns up just a handful books, most I’ve never heard of – or want to read. So after scrolling through these, I figured that Haven would work best as at least I’ve read Emma Donoghue’s books before! 😛

It’s Monday (January 23, 2023)

Happy Lunar New Year! It’s the Year of the Rabbit! Following our usual tradition, before the New Year, we spring cleaned, decorated the house a little bit, even managed to donate some old clothes to help a fundraiser at a local high school.

I also made some cookies previously, but wanted to make some huat kueh or fa gao 发糕. It’s supposed to bring fortune and is a delicious light steamed cupcake of sorts. I made a version with pandan and coconut.

For our reunion dinner or tuan yuan fan on the eve, we had hotpot
Thinly sliced meats are a must for hotpot!
A recent love of mine is mixing regular jasmine rice with some Korean mixed grains. I bought this packet at an Asian supermarket. It contains brown rice, sweet brown rice, barley, wild sweet rice, mung bean, millet, glutinous millet, green peas. Per some online recipes, I soak the grains for a bit before adding it to the washed jasmine rice. Then I let my rice cooker do the work. The first time, I tried it on a brown rice setting but that seemed to overcook it. A regular rice setting does much better.

Last Friday evening, while at the Japanese supermarket to pick up some thinly sliced meats for hotpot, we discovered that their sushi and cooked food is 20% off in the evenings. The husband grabbed probably what was a bit too much sushi, and we had a nice dinner out of it.

The mochi doughnuts were also discounted.

Currently…

Reading:

The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida – Shehan Karunatilaka

Watching:

Single’s Inferno on Netflix

Listening:

I’m glad my mom died – Jennette McCurdy

Eating and Drinking:

A homemade peanut cookie and coffee

Cooking:

We still have some hotpot broth leftover, so might warm that up with some extra fish tofu and vegetables. Eat it with rice. Later this week, maybe some mushroom pasta as I have extra mushrooms.

Last week:

I read:

Winter in Sokcho – Elisa Shua Dusapin

Legends & Lattes – Travis Baldree

Ducks – Kate Beaton

A Man and His Cat vol 2 – Umi Sakurai

I posted:

Winter In Sokcho

Library Loot (January 18 to 24)

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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

Winter In Sokcho

“Are those postcards?” my son asked. “What are they for?”
“Memories,” I replied.

When tourists visit a place, what do they see? In Singapore, the glitz and glamour, I guess. Do tourists see the rest of it, other than the shopping malls, eateries, hotels, and other tourist destinations?

In Winter in Sokcho, an unnamed narrator works at a guesthouse, and a Frenchman who writes comic books, checks in. He’s looking for inspiration for a new work and she agrees to show him around and tells him about life in Sokcho.

As she shows him around, what is she to him? What does she want him to see?

“I didn’t want to be his eyes on my world. I wanted to be seen. I wanted him to see me with his own eyes.”

There’s something unsettling about this book, much like living so close to the North-South border, I suppose.

“Our beaches are still waiting for the end of a war that’s been going on for so long people have stopped believing it’s real. They build hotels, put up neon signs, but it’s all fake, we’re on a knife-edge, it could all give way any moment. We’re living in limbo. In a winter that never ends.”

A short moody read that shouldn’t be rushed or underestimated.

Library Loot (January 18 to 24)

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Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Sharlene from Real Life Reading that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries.

Happy Wednesday! What did you get from your library this week?

What I got from the library this week:

The Fever – Sonia Shah

I first came across this book on Maphead’s blog. It’s a book about malaria. While Singapore eradicated malaria some decades ago, it’s still plagued by dengue, another mosquito-borne disease.

Vladimir – Julia May Jonas

If I’m not wrong, I probably came across this book on one of those many “best of” book lists last month. That cover is definitely eye-catching!

Legends & Lattes – Travis Baldree

Ah my hold came in for this book! And then I finished reading it on that very day! What can I say, it was just such a fun book.