Library Loot (January 1 to 7)

badge-4Library 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 New Year!

May 2020 bring all kinds of wonderful and exciting reads!

The library has been closed the past couple of days, so I haven’t managed to get new books for the kids yet. But I picked up some books that fit a few categories for the reading challenges I’ve started this year. Of course as usual with the start of the new year I’m raring to go with regards to reading challenges. Let’s see if I can keep that up!

The Girl Who Reads on the Metro – Christine Féret-Fleury

I saw this on Claire’s previous Library Loot post, and thought I’d borrow it too! An added plus is that it’s a translated book!

In the vein of Amelie and The Little Paris Bookshop, a modern fairytale about a French woman whose life is turned upside down when she meets a reclusive bookseller and his young daughter.

Juliette leads a perfectly ordinary life in Paris, working a slow office job, dating a string of not-quite-right men, and fighting off melancholy. The only bright spots in her day are her metro rides across the city and the stories she dreams up about the strangers reading books across from her: the old lady, the math student, the amateur ornithologist, the woman in love, the girl who always tears up at page 247.

One morning, avoiding the office for as long as she can, Juliette finds herself on a new block, in front of a rusty gate wedged open with a book. Unable to resist, Juliette walks through, into the bizarre and enchanting lives of Soliman and his young daughter, Zaide. Before she realizes entirely what is happening, Juliette agrees to become a passeur, Soliman’s name for the booksellers he hires to take stacks of used books out of his store and into the world, using their imagination and intuition to match books with readers. Suddenly, Juliette’s daydreaming becomes her reality, and when Soliman asks her to move in to their store to take care of Zaide while he goes away, she has to decide if she is ready to throw herself headfirst into this new life.

Big-hearted, funny, and gloriously zany, The Girl Who Reads on the Metro is a delayed coming-of-age story about a young woman who dares to change her life, and a celebration of the power of books to unite us all.

 

I didn’t realise this book was set in the SF area. This is one of those books that have been on my TBR list for a while (it was published in 2016) so I really ought to just read it!

All The Birds in the Sky – Charlie Jane Anders

Childhood friends Patricia Delfine, a witch, and Laurence Armstead, a mad scientist, parted ways under mysterious circumstances during middle school. But as adults they both wind up in near-future San Francisco, where Laurence is an engineering genius and Patricia works with a small band of other magicians to secretly repair the world’s ever growing ailments. But something is determined to bring them back together—to either save the world, or end it.

 

Night Sky with Exit Wounds – Ocean Vuong

Ocean Vuong’s first full-length collection aims straight for the perennial “big”—and very human—subjects of romance, family, memory, grief, war, and melancholia. None of these he allows to overwhelm his spirit or his poems, which demonstrate, through breath and cadence and unrepentant enthrallment, that a gentle palm on a chest can calm the fiercest hungers.

 

 

 

 

What did you get from your library this week?

 

This post contains affiliate links from Book Depository.  If you buy via these links it means I receive a small commission (at no extra cost to you). 

How I read in 2019 (with pie charts!)

As we wrap up the last few days of 2019, here is a summing up of my reading of the year.

I’ve done these year-end summaries for a few years now, you can check out what I was up to in 2018201720162015, 2014, and 2013.

2019 total: 244

2018 total: 226
2017’s total: 216
2016’s total: 234
2015’s total: 286
2014’s total: 217
2013’s total: 223
2012’s total: 227
2011’s total: 171 

The shortest book I read was 60 pages long (Likely Stories), the longest book I read was 980 pages long (A Breath of Snow and Ashes) with The Fiery Cross a close second at 979 pages! Boy does Gabaldon like to write long books or what.

My reading has taken me around the world: Alaska, Amsterdam, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Colombia, France, Germany, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Nigeria, Russia, Sweden, Singapore, Tahiti, Taiwan, the UK, Uruguay, and of course, many states in the US, and many made-up settings.

Material types

I was a bit surprised by this as I thought there would be a greater majority of ebooks! I have been trying to borrow more physical books from the library though!

Diversity

I like how this percentage of POC authors read is slowly increasing. Last year, I was at 39%.

New-to-me authors

I always think it’s amazing that there can still be so many new-to-me authors out there.

Gender

By ‘both’, this usually refers to the team working on the comics. I am glad I am reading a majority of books by women!

Translated books

I read 19 translated books, of which 7 were comics/manga/graphic novels.

They were translated from the following languages:

Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, and Russian

I’m hoping to read more translated books in 2020.

Publication date

The oldest book (by publication date) I read was published in 1857 (The Professor by Charlotte Brontë).

1800s: 5 books

1900s: 8 books

2000- 2009: 23 books

2010-2014: 22 books

2015: 17 books

2016: 23 books

2017: 30 books

2018: 60 books

2019: 56 books

READING GOALS FOR 2020

  • read more books in translation
  • continue to read more books by women and writers of colour
  • try to read more backlist books!
  • continue to borrow more books from the library but also read more from my own shelves
  • more nonfiction!

How was your 2019 reading? What are your goals for 2020?

Library Loot (December 25 to 31)

badge-4Library 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 Christmas and best wishes for a wonderful new year ahead!

This is the final Library Loot post for the year. Thank you for reading!

Just a couple of library ebooks this week…

 

Impractical Uses of Cake – Yeoh Jo-Ann

Sukhin is a thirty-five-year-old teacher who lives alone. His life consists of reading, working and visiting his parents’ house to rearrange his piles of “collectibles”. He has only one friend, another teacher who has managed to force Sukhin into a friendship by sheer doggedness.

While on an errand one afternoon in Chinatown, he encounters a homeless person who recognises him. This chance reunion turns Sukhin’s well-planned life upside down, and the pair learns about love and sacrifice over their shared fondness for cake.

 

Frostbitten – Kelley Armstrong

Being the world’s only female werewolf has its advantages, such as having her pick of the Otherworld’s most desirable males. And Elena Michaels couldn’t have picked a more dangerously sexy and undyingly loyal mate than Clayton Danvers. Now their bond will be put to the ultimate test as they follow a bloody trail of gruesome slayings deep into Alaska’s frozen wilderness.

There’s nothing the werewolf community dislikes more than calling attention to itself. So when a pair of rogue man-eaters begins hunting humans, it’s up to Elena and Clayton to track down the predators. But any illusions their task would be simple are quickly dispelled. For even in werewolf terms, there’s something very disturbing taking place in the dark Alaskan forests. A werewolf more wolf than human and more unnatural than supernatural is on the hunt—a creature whose origins seem to spring from ancient legends of the shape-shifting Wendigo.

And if that wasn’t bad enough, Clayton and Elena find themselves confronting painful ghosts from their pasts — and an issue neither of them is eager to discuss. For one of them has been chosen to become the new Pack leader, and as every wolf knows, there can be only one Alpha. They’ve always been equals in everything. Now, when their survival depends more than ever on perfect teamwork, will instinct allow one of them to lead…and the other to follow?

 

What did you get from your library this week?

 

 

Library Loot (December 18 to 24)

badge-4Library 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 Library Loot Day! Claire has the link-up this week.

 

I keep seeing this cover in a variety of articles/social media and was curious!

Pet by Akwaeke Emezi

Pet is here to hunt a monster.
Are you brave enough to look?

There are no more monsters anymore, or so the children in the city of Lucille are taught. With doting parents and a best friend named Redemption, Jam has grown up with this lesson all her life. But when she meets Pet, a creature made of horns and colours and claws, who emerges from one of her mother’s paintings and a drop of Jam’s blood, she must reconsider what she’s been told. Pet has come to hunt a monster, and the shadow of something grim lurks in Redemption’s house. Jam must fight not only to protect her best friend, but also to uncover the truth, and the answer to the question-How do you save the world from monsters if no one will admit they exist?

In their riveting and timely young adult debut, acclaimed novelist Akwaeke Emezi asks difficult questions about what choices a young person can make when the adults around them are in denial.

 

I was just intrigued by the cover when I was browsing the library’s ebook catalogue.

The Girl from the Other Side: Siúil, a Rún, Volume 1 by Nagabe

In a land far away, there were two kingdoms: the Outside, where twisted beasts roamed that could curse with a touch, and the Inside, where humans lived in safety and peace. The girl and the beast should never have met, but when they do, a quiet fairytale begins.

This is a story of two people–one human, one inhuman–who linger in the hazy twilight that separates night from day.

 

 

What did you get from your library this week?

 

 

It’s Monday and the last week of school for 2019!

 

Happy Monday to you! I hope you are doing great and ready for this week ahead. Have you done all your Christmas shopping yet?

Over the weekend, the kids and I were busy making gingerbread cookies to give to friends.

 

We did also have to spend ample time Pokemon hunting as it was Community Day which meant lots of rarer Pokemon spawning all over. Someone’s been decorating trees in the park!

Also, we had Korean food and seafood. Didn’t take good photos of the seafood as it was dark but it was delicious!

 

 

 

Currently…

 

Reading:

I Want To Eat Your Pancreas – Yoru Sumino

Don’t worry, it’s not horror. Instead it’s manga about a teenager with a terminal illness, and the friendship she has with this introverted boy in her class.

The Night Circus – Erin Morgenstern

 

 

Watching:

 

Listening:

Still listening to Oliver Sacks’ On the Move!

 

Eating:

Toast

Drinking:

Tea with milk

Cooking:

Shepherd’s pie

Noodles

 

Last week:

I read:

Ask Again, Yes – Mary Beth Keane

It took me a long while to get into this book. And it’s quite a long book at 390 pages. But in the end I really liked it.

Bowlaway – Elizabeth McCracken 

Sadly, Did Not Finish.

This started out interesting enough, with a woman found unconscious in a cemetery. It definitely sounded like my kind of read, something a bit whimsical and quirky.
But I started to lose interest in it about a quarter through. I didn’t want to give it up so fast, maybe I just wasn’t in the right frame of mind for it. So I moved on to something else (a faster paced, fun read) and then came back to this one. I gave it another try but in the end, decided I did not care enough to find out what happened to any of the characters in the book. It didn’t work for me, but that doesn’t mean it wouldn’t for you. There’s some great writing in here.

Get a Life, Chloe Brown – Talia Hibbert

This book was exactly what I needed. I was struggling with Bowlaway (see above) and this proved a fun refreshing book to read. I guess perhaps it was after reading this that I thought, why am I struggling with Bowlaway? If it’s a book that I’m not interested in finishing, I shouldn’t try finishing it, no matter what top book lists it’s on!

I posted:

Christmas cookies #WeekendCooking

The Made It All edition #amonthoffaves

#amonthoffaves awesome TV and audiobooks

Library Loot (December 11 to 17)

The Light Brigade by Kameron Hurley

A not-so typical Sunday #amonthoffaves

 

 

badge
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

 

The Made It All edition #amonthoffaves

amonthoffaves

A Month of Faves is hosted by Tanya and Tamara

 

#AMonthofFaves The Cook It, Bake It, Drink It or Eat It Edition – share with us this year’s favorite foods, drinks, restaurants or recipes. Or just snap a picture of something you recently enjoyed. Not into Food? Then share your (or family members) Christmas Wishlist.

 

I had some awesome meals in 2019. Some in Singapore (where we spent three weeks in July and August)  as well as plenty that we’ve had locally in Northern California, like on our recent road trip down the Pacific Coast Highway and also a few days in summer spent in Los Angeles and Universal Studios. 

But today, I’m focusing on goodies I’ve made myself!

So here it is, the homemade edition

 

I’ll be talking more about these Christmas cookies in my post tomorrow. So stay tuned!

 

For the past few years, I’ve been making my family’s birthday cakes.

And for my husband, it’s Black Forest. It’s a cake he’s loved since he was a kid, so it was a daunting one to take on at first. And I had to try a variety of recipes before I decided on the one. The cake part needs to be chocolatey but not too rich or fudgey. It needs to be a light-ish cake. So this one, just the cake layers part, from this Chocolate Mousse Cake recipe is perfect.  I talked about it more in a post here last year.

 

 

All the sprinkles!

Both boys wanted funfetti cakes this year. One was to be in chocolate frosting, the other in a vanilla. And they were both very pleased with the cakes.

 

Freeze!

This was the year of ice-cream making. I’ve always wanted to try making ice-cream but wasn’t sure if I wanted a standalone ice-cream maker. We happened to be at Target and saw that the ice-cream attachment for the Kitchenaid mixer was at a really good price. So ta-da! Ice-cream attachment. And it was super easy to use. Just, as with more simple (and cheaper) ice-cream machines, the bowl must be frozen for at least 12 hours (I keep my bowl in the freezer after I’ve washed it).

I owe a lot of my ice-cream making education to David Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop. I love his vanilla ice-cream (can never have a store-bought vanilla ice-cream again!), chocolate ice-cream, Vietnamese coffee ice-cream. But I didn’t really think his black sesame was really what I was looking for. So I came up with my own recipe! I also made a Gula Melaka (palm sugar) coconut milk ice-cream which was so luscious and irresistible from that deep dark palm sugar flavour and the rich coconut milk. I also sprinkled coconut chips (from Trader Joe’s – so yummy!) before serving. Heavenly!

I can’t wait for the temps to warm up again (ok not really, I hate being hot) to try out more ice-cream recipes.

 

 

Other new recipes I tried out this year included Chocolate Financiers

Dorayaki, a Japanese red bean pancake, inspired by my reading of the book Sweet Bean Paste

Condensed Milk Bread or Pai Bao, a Hong Kong-style sweet bread

My go-to is usually walnut bread and I also make a lot of Tangzhong-style bread (if you’ve not heard of Tangzhong bread, it uses a kind of roux for a soft bread that us Asians love).

Hope you enjoyed the post (and are not too hungry!)

#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.