Library Loot (November 11 to 17)

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 Wednesday! It is Veterans’ Day in the US, so the kids have no school, which feels weird as they seldom have a day off in the middle of the week. At any rate, I borrowed quite a variety of ebooks and an audiobook this week. And who knows, maybe I will get to do some reading today. How about you? Share your haul in the link or comments!

So not a book to listen to when there are children around…headphones on!

Dear Girls: Intimate Tales, Untold Secrets, and Advice for Living Your Best Life – Ali Wong

In her hit Netflix comedy special Baby Cobra, an eight-month pregnant Ali Wong resonated so heavily that she became a popular Halloween costume. Wong told the world her remarkably unfiltered thoughts on marriage, sex, Asian culture, working women, and why you never see new mom comics on stage but you sure see plenty of new dads.

Something I picked up after browsing the Libby catalogue

I Will Judge You By Your Bookshelf – Grant Snider
It’s no secret, but we are judged by our bookshelves. We learn to read at an early age, and as we grow older we shed our beloved books for new ones. But some of us surround ourselves with books. We collect them, decorate with them, are inspired by them, and treat our books as sacred objects. In this lighthearted collection of one- and two-page comics, writer-artist Grant Snider explores bookishness in all its forms, and the love of writing and reading, building on the beloved literary comics featured on his website, Incidental Comics. With a striking package including a die-cut cover, I Will Judge You By Your Bookshelf is the perfect gift for bookworms of all ages.

Much as I like romances, there’s still something about romance novel covers that has me screaming and running away, like this one. Although I suppose since there are bookshelves in the background, and she’s holding glasses, maybe this isn’t too bad? At any rate, I heard about it on the Reading The End podcast and I trust Jenny’s opinion, so I borrowed it!

My Fake Rake – Eva Leigh (The Union of the Rakes #1)

Lady Grace Wyatt is content as a wallflower, focusing on scientific pursuits rather than the complications of society matches. But when a handsome, celebrated naturalist returns from abroad, Grace wishes, for once, to be noticed. Her solution: to “build” the perfect man, who will court her publicly and help her catch his eye. Grace’s colleague, anthropologist Sebastian Holloway, is just the blank slate she requires.

In exchange for funding his passage on an expedition leaving London in a few months, Sebastian allows Grace to transform him from a bespectacled, bookish academic into a dashing—albeit fake—rake. Between secret lessons on how to be a rogue and exaggerated public flirtations, Grace’s feelings for Sebastian grow from friendship into undeniable, inconvenient, realattraction. If only she hadn’t hired him to help her marry someone else…

Sebastian is in love with brilliant, beautiful Grace, but their bargain is complete, and she desires another. Yet when he’s faced with losing her forever, Sebastian will do whatever it takes to tell her the truth, even if it means risking his own future—and his heart.

So when the TV series first came out, I didn’t watch it because I don’t have HBO. But hey, now I do, thanks to switching to AT&T Internet. However, with the popularity of the TV show, I did give the first book a try. I was bored, and I didn’t go on. But now that I have seen the show – which is such good watching – I wanted to go back and try reading the books again. So here is the first.

A Game of Thrones #1 – George EE Martin

Here is the first volume in George R. R. Martin’s magnificent cycle of novels that includes A Clash of Kings and A Storm of Swords. As a whole, this series comprises a genuine masterpiece of modern fantasy, bringing together the best the genre has to offer. Magic, mystery, intrigue, romance, and adventure fill these pages and transport us to a world unlike any we have ever experienced. Already hailed as a classic, George R. R. Martin’s stunning series is destined to stand as one of the great achievements of imaginative fiction.

What did you get from your library this week?

Book titles that would make great song titles #TopTenTuesday

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic is:

Book Titles that Would Make Great Song Titles

I decided to go with books that are on my TBR list. So please let me know if you’d recommend any of these! Perhaps I should first explain that I tend to like bands that lean a bit more indie, and I especially enjoy unusual song titles like:

Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots by The Flaming Lips

They Are Night Zombies!! They Are Neighbors!! They Have Come Back From the Dead!! Ahhhh! by Sufjan Stevens

Hail To Whatever You Found in the Sunlight That Surrounds You by Rilo Kiley

(Linking to another music-related TTT post – the one on titles that would make great band names)

Tarnished are the Stars – Rosiee Thor

The Drowning Eyes – Emily Foster

Beyond the Black Door – A.M. Strickland

When the Moon Was Ours – Anna-Marie McLemore

Gather the Daughters – Jennie Melamed

Dancing at the Pity Party – Tyler Feder

Useful Phrases for Immigrants – May-lee Chai

If I Had Your Face – Frances Cha

The Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in Water – Zen Cho

Opposite of Always – Justin A Reynolds

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018.

It’s Monday (November 9, 2020)

Wait, is it Monday, really? Because it felt like last Tuesday went on for…what… three? four? days.

I felt on edge the entire week. You probably did too.

I live in California but I’m not a citizen so all I get to do is doom-scrolling on my phone, and hoping people make the right choice. So thank you thank you thank you to all of you who voted!

And so we celebrated with food on Saturday – suitably, an Indian-style pizza half-paneer tikka half-paneer masala. (You probably know we love the pizza here, since I’ve posted about it quite a few times.) I also made a mango lassi (yogurt, milk, honey, frozen mango cubes).

Then for dinner, scallops with spinach risotto. I was finishing up the risotto and cooking the scallops in the cast-iron pan when the husband said, “no mushrooms?”. Dang it. I had forgotten the mushrooms. Luckily I could quickly slice them up and throw them into the pan after I took the scallops out. I like to try to brown them as much as possible, and add some butter and season and that makes for a far more delicious mushroom. I think I was watching The Chef Show recently, I believe it was the episode with chef Jessica Largey, when they talked about how a lot of people don’t like mushrooms, and the chef said that’s because they’ve not had one that’s cooked properly. Which is so true! For me, searing them until they get a little brown, that is, leaving them untouched for a few minutes in a single layer, makes a huge difference.

Also, it finally rained! After our usual extremely dry summer (and spring, really). It didn’t drizzle for long but it was just so very welcome. I hope for more!



The Golden Thread – Kassia St Clair


Game of Thrones


Dear Girls – Ali Wong


I had some toast for breakfast


Darjeeling tea


The boys asked for shepherd’s pie and it’s a nice chilly week so I’ll be happy to have the oven on!

Also, I found lamb loin chops at Costco last week (I usually see the rack of lamb and ground lamb but not the loins), and there were only a few packs so I quickly picked up one. I love lamb and luckily the kids do too. Not sure what to serve it with, maybe some smashed potatoes and sprouts.

Last week:

I read:

Buffy the Vampire Slayer vols 1 to 3 – Jordie Bellaire

Cemetery Boys – Aiden Thomas

I posted:

Library Loot (November 4 to 10)

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 (November 4 to 10)

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 Wednesday!

Claire has the link-up this week. 

A couple of nonfiction reads this week, for Nonfiction November as well as this YA

Furia – Yamile Saied Mendez

An #ownvoices contemporary YA set in Argentina, about a rising soccer star who must put everything on the line—even her blooming love story—to follow her dreams.

In Rosario, Argentina, Camila Hassan lives a double life.

At home, she is a careful daughter, living within her mother’s narrow expectations, in her rising-soccer-star brother’s shadow, and under the abusive rule of her short-tempered father.

On the field, she is La Furia, a powerhouse of skill and talent. When her team qualifies for the South American tournament, Camila gets the chance to see just how far those talents can take her. In her wildest dreams, she’d get an athletic scholarship to a North American university.

But the path ahead isn’t easy. Her parents don’t know about her passion. They wouldn’t allow a girl to play fútbol—and she needs their permission to go any farther. And the boy she once loved is back in town. Since he left, Diego has become an international star, playing in Italy for the renowned team Juventus. Camila doesn’t have time to be distracted by her feelings for him. Things aren’t the same as when he left: she has her own passions and ambitions now, and La Furia cannot be denied. As her life becomes more complicated, Camila is forced to face her secrets and make her way in a world with no place for the dreams and ambition of a girl like her.

I’m picking the next two up for Nonfiction November

In Montmartre: Picasso, Matisse and the Birth of Modernist Art – Sue Roe

In Montmartre is a colorful history of the birth of Modernist art as it arose from one of the most astonishing collections of artistic talent ever assembled. It begins in October 1900, as a teenage Pablo Picasso, eager for fame and fortune, first makes his way up the hillside of Paris’s famous windmill-topped district. Over the next decade, among the studios, salons, cafés, dance halls, and galleries of Montmartre, the young Spaniard joins the likes of Henri Matisse, André Derain, Maurice de Vlaminck, Georges Braque, Amedeo Modigliani, Constantin Brancusi, Gertrude Stein, and many more, in revolutionizing artistic expression.
Sue Roe has blended exceptional scholarship with graceful prose to write this remarkable group portrait of the men and women who profoundly changed the arts of painting, sculpture, dance, music, literature, and fashion. She describes the origins of movements like Fauvism, Cubism, and

Futurism, and reconstructs the stories behind immortal paintings by Picasso and Matisse. Relating the colorful lives and complicated relationships of this dramatic bohemian scene, Roe illuminates the excitement of the moment when these bold experiments in artistic representation and performance began to take shape.

A thrilling account, In Montmartre captures an extraordinary group on the cusp of fame and immortality. Through their stories, Roe brings to life one of the key moments in the history of art.

This one sounds quite fascinating!

The Golden Thread: How Fabric Changed History – Kassia St Clair

From colorful 30,000-year-old threads found on the floor of a Georgian cave to the Indian calicoes that sparked the Industrial Revolution, The Golden Thread weaves an illuminating story of human ingenuity. Design journalist Kassia St. Clair guides us through the technological advancements and cultural customs that would redefine human civilization—from the fabric that allowed mankind to achieve extraordinary things (traverse the oceans and shatter athletic records) and survive in unlikely places (outer space and the South Pole). She peoples her story with a motley cast of characters, including Xiling, the ancient Chinese empress credited with inventing silk, to Richard the Lionhearted and Bing Crosby. Offering insights into the economic and social dimensions of clothmaking—and countering the enduring, often demeaning, association of textiles as “merely women’s work”—The Golden Thread offers an alternative guide to our past, present, and future.

What did you get from your library this week?

It’s Monday (November 2, 2020)

Hello, it’s Monday again! Hope you had a nice Halloween weekend. It was a very different Halloween this year, as it probably was for you. We didn’t take the kids trick or treating around the neighbourhood. But we still managed to have fun, in a different way.

On Friday, we went to a friend’s house to do some Halloween art. The kids painted a cute Halloween scene with bats, pumpkins, cats! And we enjoyed pizza, desserts (I made a Meyer lemon meringue pie and chocolate cupcakes).

The husband’s birthday was also this past weekend, we had sushi for lunch. Then we enjoyed some gold grade wagyu ribeye that we had ordered from Snake River Farms. It came shipped in a huge box full of dry ice which ensured the steaks were still frozen solid when we got them. I butter basted the steaks in our cast iron pan. We ate it with asparagus, baked potatoes, mushrooms, salad,

Lots of eating this weekend!




I tried the first episode of the Watchmen series and it was really good! But I have to finish watching a few other things first before getting into this one


Finally finished listening to Braiding Sweetgrass (highly recommended!) and am looking for my next audiobook


Black Forest cake




After a sinful weekend of eating, I am looking to cook simpler foods this week. Maybe more noodle soups which would be welcome when the temperatures get cooler this week.

Last week:

I read:

Almost-American Girl – Robin Ha

The Boy in the Suitcase (Nina Borg #1) – Lene Kaaberbol

Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teaching of Plants – Robin Wall Kimmerer

Eat A Peach – David Chang

I posted:

Black Forest Cake, Eyeball Cupcakes, and Lemon Meringue Pie (oh my) #WeekendCooking

Library Loot (October 28 to November 3)

Creepy TBR #TopTenTuesday

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 (October 28 to November 3)

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!

Last week I had forgotten to post about some comics I had borrowed. So here they are:

Heavy Vinyl Vol 1 and 2 by Carly Usdin

When Chris joins the staff at her local record store, she’s surprised to find out that her co-workers share a secret: they’re all members of a secret fight club that take on the patriarchy and fight crime!

Starry-eyed Chris has just started the dream job every outcast kid in town wants: working at Vinyl Mayhem. It’s as rad as she imagined; her boss is BOSS, her co-workers spend their time arguing over music, pushing against the patriarchy, and endlessly trying to form a band. When Rosie Riot, the staff’s favorite singer, mysteriously vanishes the night before her band’s show, Chris discovers her co-workers are doing more than just sorting vinyl . . . Her local indie record store is also a front for a teen girl vigilante fight club! 

It feels like ages since I’ve read Lumberjanes and was so happy to jump back in!

Lumberjanes Volumes 11 to 13 

(This is the synopsis for vol 11)

Time is freezing at camp, and it’s up to Roanoke Cabin to stop the nefarious and mysterious forces behind it. 

When Molly makes a deal with a mysterious Voice in the woods surrounding Miss Qiunzella Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet’s Camp for Hardcore Lady Types to slow down time, she isn’t hoping for an endless summer! All she wants is more time to spend with her friends at camp, hiking and doing crafts, and playing music and having fun. What she doesn’t bargain for is time starting to skip, and freeze, and make campers’ ages jump forward and back… It’s up to Roanoke Cabin to to set time right again, and save camp! 

I haven’t had the chance to eat at his restaurants but I’ve watched his TV shows, and have some inkling of his background, so I’m curious to know more.

Eat A Peach by David Chang

In 2004, David Chang opened a noodle restaurant named Momofuku in Manhattan’s East Village, not expecting the business to survive its first year. In 2018, he was the owner and chef of his own restaurant empire, with 15 locations from New York to Australia, the star of his own hit Netflix show and podcast, was named one of the most influential people of the 21st century and had a following of over 1.2 million. In this inspiring, honest and heartfelt memoir, Chang shares the extraordinary story of his culinary coming-of-age.

Growing up in Virginia, the son of Korean immigrant parents, Chang struggled with feelings of abandonment, isolation and loneliness throughout his childhood. After failing to find a job after graduating, he convinced his father to loan him money to open a restaurant. Momofuku’s unpretentious air and great-tasting simple staples – ramen bowls and pork buns – earned it rave reviews, culinary awards and before long, Chang had a cult following.

Momofuku’s popularity continued to grow with Chang opening new locations across the U.S. and beyond. In 2009, his Ko restaurant received two Michelin stars and Chang went on to open Milk Bar, Momofuku’s bakery. By 2012, he had become a restaurant mogul with the opening of the Momofuku building in Toronto, encompassing three restaurants and a bar.

Chang’s love of food and cooking remained a constant in his life, despite the adversities he had to overcome. Over the course of his career, the chef struggled with suicidal thoughts, depression and anxiety. He shied away from praise and begged not to be given awards. In Eat a Peach, Chang opens up about his feelings of paranoia, self-confidence and pulls back the curtain on his struggles, failures and learned lessons. Deeply personal, honest and humble, Chang’s story is one of passion and tenacity, against the odds.

What did you get from your library this week?

Creepy TBR #TopTenTuesday

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic is:
It’s a Halloween freebie 

Ok so I messed up last week and got the dates wrong for the Halloween topic, and posted my recent fave creepy reads last week. And since it is the Halloween week, I figured I would put up some creepy (note: not necessarily in the “horror” genre) books on my TBR list. I’ve specifically chosen books written by women.

Have you read any of these? Which would you recommend?

(Links are to Goodreads pages)

The Year of the Witchling by Alexis Henderson

Tender is the Flesh by Agustina Bazterrica (translated from the Spanish by Sarah Moses)

My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing 

The Sun Down Motel by Simone St James

Horrid by Katrina Leno

Brother by Ania Ahlborn

The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell

Water Ghosts by Shawna Yang Ryan

Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage

The Bone Weaver’s Orchard by Sarah Read

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018.

It’s Monday (October 26, 2020)

The gusty winds roamed the Bay Area last night, rattling and shaking outdoor things with abandon. It felt like a suitable end to a week that has had me struggling to find the right words to convey all my feelings.

My grandmother passed away in Singapore last week, her funeral was on Sunday. I wrote about some of my memories of her and thought about her as we finally made it through the week.

Some other things we did…

7yo’s craft in Chinese. It’s a bowl of longevity noodles and the ingredients he would want in it. He later had to write a paragraph about that.



S – Koji Suzuki


Game of Thrones

Also, with the family, Long Way Up which has Ewan MacGregor and Charley Boorman back together again, this time on electric motorcycles, and the rest of the team in electric trucks, travelling up South America.


Still listening to Braiding Sweetgrass. I need to hurry! It’s due back soon and I can’t renew it as someone has a hold on it! Gulp. I am now at 73%.

Eating and drinking:

I had toast and tea for breakfast. It’s a nice chilly morning, so I’m going to make more tea.


The husband’s birthday is this weekend so I’ve been thinking of what to cook. Steak maybe? A risotto with scallops? Both?

But for sure I will be making Black Forest cake.

Last week:

I read:

Lumberjanes Volumes 10 to 12

Heavy Vinyl Vol 1 to 2

The Boy in the Suitcase (Nina Borg #1) by Lene Kaaberbol

I posted:

Mama (1929 to 2020)

The Girl and the Ghost by Hanna Alkaf

Library Loot (October 21 to 27)

Halloween #TopTenTuesday

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

Mama (1929 to 2020)

My mum called me at 815 am Tuesday morning. It was already 1115pm at night in Singapore so I had the feeling something was wrong. When she asked me to call the husband to the phone too, definitely something was up. she said my grandma had passed away. She was 91. We called her Mama.

I spent most of today thinking about Mama. Thinking about the times we traveled with her. When we went to Darwin to visit my uncle, how the customs officers poked and prodded and opened all the packets of herbs and other things that she had brought. How we had been the very last people to leave the airport. How they had to confiscate some items. How we were relieved to finally be allowed to pack up and leave. She went with us to London too when we went to visit my aunt and cousins.

I thought of the dinners she would cook for Chinese New Year. Her chicken curry, fish maw soup, steamed fish, vegetables, the table laden with food. We would always visit for dinner on the first day of the Lunar New Year. She and my grandfather lived in a two-bedroom flat.

And when we had our potluck family gatherings (she had 7 children, 14 grandchildren, and 15 great-grandchildren), she would always cook a huge pot of that chicken curry. We would eat it with rice or bread.

As with my other grandma (my paternal grandparents died when I was in my 20s, my maternal grandfather died a few years ago), I couldn’t really talk to her much. She spoke mostly a Chinese dialect called Teochew (from the Chaoshan region of China), Hainanese, and Mandarin, and my dialect is nonexistent and my Mandarin is just not very good. And how I wish I could have known her better.

So I can only tell you what I know.

She was probably the only grandparent I had who liked to smile in photos. And not the slight smile with upturned corners of your mouth but the full beaming smile that makes you want to smile too. She delighted in being in the company of her great-grandchildren. She enjoyed her food. She loved red lipstick. She always dressed up nicely to go out when we took her out for lunches or dinners. The last time I saw her, in July and August 2019, she was still able to walk with the help of a walker, she knew who I was (or at least pretended to). She got to do some traveling, which wasn’t that common for her generation, like different parts of Australia. My mum brought her to visit my uncle and his family in Perth, Western Australia, a few years ago. My mum said that Mama used to play mahjong with Jackie Chan’s parents when they lived in Australia. Also, she was in her mid-40s when she became a grandparent.

I’m glad my kids got the chance to meet her. We visited Singapore every year, and had been all set to be back this summer, having bought our tickets on Black Friday, and everyone was sad when we had to cancel.

My mum said that Singapore has lowered its restrictions more and the number of people allowed at the wake is more than a few months ago. So I’m glad my family will be able to say goodbye to her properly.

So I guess this post is my way of saying goodbye to her.

Goodbye, Mama. I love you.

The Girl and the Ghost by Hanna Alkaf

This was the book I didn’t know I needed last night. I’m not from Malaysia but there are enough similarities between Malaysia and its neighbor Singapore for me to feel at home when I was reading this. I couldn’t sleep last night and while a ghost story wasn’t exactly what I was looking for at that moment, the library ebook was due in a couple of days. So The Girl and the Ghost it would be then

The ghost is a pelesit, a dark spirit who takes the form of a grasshopper to stay hidden. His master, a witch, dies and he has to find a new master. The witch had told him a pelesit needs a master to control his craving for destruction and chaos. As he is bound by blood, the new master has to be of the same blood. And so it is to be Suraya. Suraya is a lonely child, her father is dead and her mother withdrawn.

“Maybe that was what she was. The durian of friends. Maybe people would learn to like her one day. Maybe she just had to meet the right ones.”

So quickly she and Pink become inseparable. But Pink’s dedication to her has a dark side as he lashes out relentlessly at those who bully her, then takes an even darker turn when she makes her first real friend.

It was a dark and endearing read, full of the sights and sounds and smells of Malaysia. It was a beautiful and emotional tale of friendship and family. It made me long for home and made me tear up as I thought of my family and wished I could be there for them, especially this week, with the passing of my grandmother