It’s Monday and I’m reading Strange New Things

itsmondayIt’s Monday! What are you reading?” is a weekly event hosted by Sheila at Bookjourney to share with others what we’ve read the past week and planning to read next.

 

 

 

Over the weekend we hit the Children’s Discovery Museum in San Jose again. We have an annual membership and didn’t get to explore the place fully the first time we went as it was SO crowded, probably because it was New Year’s Eve and they had some special events on.

It was so very pleasantly not crowded on Saturday. We arrived as soon as they opened and got to play freely without too many other grubby little hands reaching for the same toys! Hooray!

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Wee-er Reader gravitates towards any exhibits with balls. This is probably his favourite.

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Wee Reader plays spot-the-fossil.

 

 

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But on a less happy note, my mother-in-law returned to Singapore on Sunday. We are so fortunate that both sets of parents are willing to travel here to spend time with us, spending some 20 hours on airplanes and at airports – it’s NOT a non-stop flight from SIN to SFO, so it’s via Seoul or Hong Kong on Singapore Airlines.

 

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We made sure to feed her well during her last week here with us!

 

Reading:

This week’s reads are taking me to Shanghai, Haiti and even to outer space!

bookstrangethings

The Book of Strange New Things – Michel Faber

I honestly was not expecting this to be about religion. But it’s interesting so far!

singsonggirls

The Sing-Song Girls of Shanghai – Han Bangqing
I’ve already had to re-borrow this rather long (554 pages) e-book. Originally published in 1892, it tells of courtesan life (also known as ‘sing-song girls’).

anuntamedstate
An Untamed State – Roxane Gay
Wow, that was some beginning.
Listening:

Stereophonics

Watching:

beginagain
Over the weekend the Husband and I watched Begin Again. I’m not a fan of Adam Levine but it was a fun show and such fun for a music lover! I particularly enjoyed the scene where Mark Ruffalo watches Keira Knightley sing and he imagines the arrangements – violin, cello, bass, drums, piano.

Eating:

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Chocolate cake.

In Elena Ferrante’s The Story of a New Name, one of the characters mentioned chocolate cake. It was just a mention, not a mouthwatering description, yet that just put that thought in my mind for days and days. I had to get myself a piece of chocolate cake!

Drinking:

Decaf latte.

Cooking:

Let’s see, this week my plan is to do some baked rice with chicken and broccoli; noodles with spinach and tofu and prawns; maybe some soy sauce-braised chicken wings with rice and a vegetable.

Looking forward to:
Comics February!

Last week…

I read:
storynewname
The Story of a New Name – Elena Ferrante
Book two of her trilogy. SO GOOD. Ferrante is just brilliant.

deptspeculation
Dept. of Speculation – Jenny Offill
A rather different, more modern read for me. Her writing was quite excellent but I think the structure of the book was not really for me.

I posted:

Through the Woods by Emily Carroll (creepy graphic novel)

Who Ate Up All the Shinga? by Park Wan-Suh (a lovely Korean memoir)

All the Birds, Singing  by Evie Wyld

Weekend Cooking: Browned Butter Blueberry Muffins – from ‘eh’ to ‘ooh’

 

 

 What are you reading this week?

 

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It’s Monday and I’m reading Silence Once Begun

 

 

 

 

itsmondayIt’s Monday! What are you reading?” is a weekly event hosted by Sheila at Bookjourney to share with others what we’ve read the past week and planning to read next.

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Well that sure was some week. Things were all well and usual until Thursday when Wee Reader gets hit by the flu! And yes, in case you’re wondering, he had the flu vaccine, all of us did. Yet he still got hit with sore throat, fever, a bit of a runny nose and a cough. The antibiotics and medicine have been helping and he’s now up and about and playing and all that already. But it was hard seeing him tired and  laying around on the sofa all day on Friday!

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So erm, with my sick but recovering kid playing at home (he got the rare opportunity to play with the iPad), and wanting to keep his younger brother away from all the germs, we ran errands with Wee-er Reader. Or rather, the Husband ran errands with the Wee-er Reader, while I popped into the library for a solo visit!

Reading:

singsonggirls

The Sing-Song Girls of Shanghai – Han Bangqing

For the Books in Translation Reading Challenge

silenceoncebegun

Silence Once Begun – Jesse Ball

I’m reading from the Tournament of Books shortlist this month. I would not have heard of this book before the shortlist!

Watching:

veronicamars

I FINALLY watched the Veronica Mars movie! Yay!!!

At first I was like, wait, that’s not Carrie Bishop! But yay, there was Mac and Wallace and Logan and Eli and more!

Ok now to track down the book! Or is it books?

 

Eating:

A raisin-coconut bread from Kee Wah

Drinking:

Assam tea

Cooking:

We got plenty of leafy vegetables from the farmers market. So some sort of garlicky stir fry, perhaps with pork chop and rice. Probably a stir fried noodle dish another day. And I have a hankering for beehoon or rice vermicelli, Singapore-style. My mother-in-law is leaving this weekend so I’ll probably ask her to cook a curry or something too!

 

 

 

Last week…

I read:

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All the Birds, Singing – Evie Wyld

Goodness, what a book, what a book! I promise to write about it soon.

 

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Who Ate Up all the Shinga? – Park Wan-Suh

Quite darling. I also hope to write about this soon, especially since I read this one for the Books in Translation challenge

Blue Lily, Lily Blue – Maggie Stiefvater

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Wow. This was just, wow. And I feel the need to go relive this all over again. First I have to buy myself a copy of all three books. Because they need to be on my shelves!

 

I posted:

My biggest Library Loot in months!

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot by David Shafer

 

What are you reading this week?

It’s Monday and Bout of Books Wrap-up!

itsmonday“It’s Monday! What are you reading?” is a weekly event hosted by Sheila at Bookjourney to share with others what we’ve read the past week and planning to read next.

 

Currently(-ish…)

Good morning! It’s 645 while I’m typing this, up in the bedroom while everyone is still fast asleep. The husband has gone off to work (he takes the Bart into the city, so it’s a bit of a commute) and I haven’t a clue what to do with everyone today. The park perhaps!

So Bout of Books 10 is over! Wow!

My goals for this readathon were:

– to read for at least an hour a day
– instead of picking up the phone to check emails (again) or peek at Facebook or Twitter, do some reading, whether it be an e-book or a real book
– to complete at least two books

And I am glad to say that I manage to fulfill all of them! Huzzah!

The second goal was especially hard. Every time I looked at Instagram or Twitter or email, I told myself, waitaminute, what are you doing??!?! And then switched to the Kindle app on the phone instead. It’s all too easy to get sucked into mindless surfing of strangers’ beautiful pictures and funny tweets. And time is especially precious when there are young kids (aged 3 and 1) in the house! So I gave it my best and after putting up my posts, or tweets or photos, I’d just try to jump back into reading.

And as a result I read these wonderful books:

 

Fangirl – Rainbow Rowell (fiction – the second half)

Behind the Beautiful Forevers – Katherine Boo (non-fiction – I was about 35% in when BoB started)

The Silence of our Friends (graphic novel)

Morning Glories Volume 5 (graphic novel)

The Care and Management of Lies – Jacqueline Winspear (fiction)

 

I’m not into counting pages of books or keeping proper track of the amount of time I spent reading. But I definitely read at least an hour each night before sleeping, and squeezed in more reading here and there during the day (like when I get up and have breakfast before the kids are up, plus during the very very precious afternoon naptime!). So I think I can safely say, Woohoo! on all three goals!

I hope you had a great time during Bout of Books too!

 

It’s Monday and I’m Reading:

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Bitter in the Mouth – Monique Truong

Oh how I love this book. Why hadn’t I heard about this sooner?

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Crane Wife – Patrick Ness

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The Year she Left Us – Kathryn Ma

 

Eating:

I just had breakfast – a few slices of buttered baguette and milky black tea.

 

Drinking:

A fragrant Jasmine Mandarin tea from Lupicia Tea. At least I will later!

Cooking: 

I have a pompano/pomfret thawing in the fridge (it’s a type of fish). It will be steamed with ginger, pickled plum, a bit of soya sauce. We picked up lots of  veg from the farmers market yesterday – caixin (or choy sum), bok choy, some lovely asparagus, green beans, and some others I forget now. So there’s plenty to choose from. I might save the asparagus for a risotto another day. So it might be a bok choy and mushroom stirfry with the fish tonight.

I’m also considering making this copycat Hawaiian Roll recipe

Watching:

I’ve just started Season two of Veronica Mars. I can’t remember what my reaction to all this was the first time I watched the show, but now I’m decidedly not liking Duncan.

Listening:

Jem – Finally Woken

 

Last week I read:

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The Care and Management of Lies – Jacqueline Winspear

For an upcoming book tour

mg5

Morning Glories Volume 5 – Nick Spencer et al

Huh, weirder and weirder. But then I’m already sunk into this, seeing that I’ve read five volumes so far!

 

 

What are you reading this week?

 

It’s Monday and Bout of Books update

itsmonday“It’s Monday! What are you reading?” is a weekly event hosted by Sheila at Bookjourney to share with others what we’ve read the past week and planning to read next.

 

Currently(-ish…)

It’s nearly 2pm on Monday, the baby is napping (hooray! you don’t know how hard that has been the past few days!), I just read Wee Reader two picture books including his recent favourites The Thingamabob by Il Sung Na (very cute story about an elephant finding an umbrella) and The Rollercoaster Kid by Mary Ann Rodman and Roger Roth (a sweet and sad story about a boy’s relationship with his grandparents) and hopefully he will nap in a bit. The grandparents are also napping!

So it’s quiet for now. Just me. And er, Veronica Mars (I’m half-watching while typing this).

(edited to add: of course just as I finish this, someone starts crying…)

Reading:

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So I wrote about my goals and pool of books yesterday, but forgot to mention the book I was already reading, Fangirl. I’m trying to finish it by today. I’m about 300-odd pages in! So that means I’ve read about 100 pages since this morning! So that’s not too bad for half a day here. I’ll have to put in more effort later when the kids are in bed!

 

 

 

 

fangirl

Fangirl – Rainbow Rowell

silencefriendsThe silence of our friends – Mark Long & Jim Demonakos ; art by Nate Powell

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Behind the Beautiful Forevers – Katherine Boo

It’s a bit harder to read this one as it’s an Overdrive book that I’m reading on my Nexus – in other words, kind of glaring and eye-straining. And it is a difficult read, the lives, the struggles just trying to get by. Sigh.

Eating:

Had a mushroom and tomato omelette for lunch, with some lavash bread.

Drinking:

Just water for now. It’s a hot day for NorCal!

Cooking: 

Tonight, Hainanese chicken rice, using a spice paste (just throw it into your rice cooker with the rice!). Steam some chicken. And stirfry some baby bok choy. An easy dinner.

Watching:

I’m still rewatching Veronica Mars!

By the way, if you’re interesting in reading Ruth Reichl’s Delicious!, I’ve got one to give away here!

Last week…

I read:
Heads in beds: a reckless memoir of hotels, hustles, and so-called hospitality – Jacob Tomsky
A fun behind-the-scenes look at the hotel industry. Furniture polish on the drinking glasses? Key bombs? Fascinating.
morningglories3mg4
Morning Glories Volumes 3 and 4 – Nick Spencer et al
This just gets more and more bizarre. Intriguingly so, but still, very bizarre.

I posted:

Fallout – Sadie Jones

Wednesday Links and a cup of tea

Bout of Books 10

 

 

 

 

 

What are you reading this week?

 

It’s Monday and I’m reading The Scarecrow and his Servant

itsmonday“It’s Monday! What are you reading?” is a weekly event hosted by Sheila at Bookjourney to share with others what we’ve read the past week and planning to read next.

 

Currently(-ish…)

I’m writing this on Sunday afternoon, just after 2. The kids are napping (or at least they are supposed to) and I’m at the kitchen table. It’s a sunny day but slightly cooler than the past few really hot days we’ve had here in Northern California.

Reading:

The Scarecrow and his Servant – Philip Pullman

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I’m having fun with this silly book. A bolt of lightning strikes a scarecrow and it comes to life! He takes on a boy as his servant and they have grand (and silly) adventures together.

 

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The Sons of Heaven – Kage Baker

A rather complex story. Lots of things happening and sometimes I’m a bit confused by the very many characters. It’s all building up to something huge though so I can’t wait!

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Behind the Beautiful Forevers – Katherine Boo

I’m supposed to try to read more non-fiction this year. Haven’t done that much so far!

Eating:

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We went to our favourite Japanese restaurant for lunch and I had a decadent seafood rice porridge which had uni, shrimp, crabs and fish cake. So good. But also so rich I could only eat half of it!

Drinking:

Just water for now. But I’ve had two black teas with milk and some green tea since this morning!

Cooking: 

Sunday dinner is going to be full of leftovers. We had Indian/Pakistani food yesterday and there’s lots of naan left as well as some fantastic chicken korma, saag dal and mixed vegetable curry. The mutton curry was so good it was all eaten up, as was the tandoori fish. Yum. So there’s that for dinner, along with my seafood porridge.

Watching:

I’m rewatching Veronica Mars! And enjoying every second of it!

Listening:

Abba! Wee Reader has discovered a love for the Abba song ‘Honey Honey’. Mostly because I started singing it when pouring honey over his yoghurt the other day, so he always asks for it to be played. It’s stuck in my head now.

 

What are you reading this week?

 

It’s Monday and I’m reading Kage Baker

itsmonday“It’s Monday! What are you reading?” is a weekly event hosted by Sheila at Bookjourney to share with others what we’ve read the past week and planning to read next.

I took part in my first 24-hour Readathon over the weekend! It was tough trying to fit reading (and updating and checking out others’ updates) into a typical Saturday (two kids, husband working from home), but I did what I could. I ended up reading two graphic novels, finished one novel, and finished the last fifth of another. Plus we went out for sushi at lunchtime which always makes for an excellent day.

 

Currently(-ish…)

I’m writing this on Sunday night, it’s 930pm and the husband is still working. So I’m kind of half watching House while typing this post.

Reading:

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The Sons of Heaven – Kage Baker

Took me a bit to remember where things were in the story (it’s the 8th book in the Company series), but I am very absorbed in it right now.

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The Golem and the Jinni – Helene Wecker

Just started on it.

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Johnny Hiro: Half Asian, All Hero – Fred Chao

Fun!

Eating:

Nothing now, but had some fried rice, tofu with mushrooms and vegetables, and sweet and sour pork for dinner.

Drinking:

Water

Cooking: 

The plan for dinner on Monday is some rice noodles stir fried with beef and broccoli.

Watching:

House MD. Hugh Laurie is such a great reason to rematch it. 😛

 

Last week I read:

20140426-151105.jpg Morning Glories Vol 1 and 2 – Nick Spencer

I love when a book surprises me. From this cover I expected a story about some kind of prep school. It turned out to be a bit more than that. In that kind of weird way I love. I’ve requested for the next volumes!

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Huntress – Malinda Lo

It took me a while to get into this story but it was quite enjoyable. It had strong female characters, which is always a plus. But the switching POV was a bit distracting.

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The Fairy Godmother – Mercedes Lackey 

Was this a long story or what? It starts off sounding like a Cinderella retelling but it’s about fairy godmother-ing, as Elena learns to become one. It drags a bit in the middle as she figures out her fairy godmother duties. But then picks up with Alexander’s appearance. A bit too much emphasis on the Tradition and how it manipulates everything though!

What are you reading this week?

It’s Monday and I’m reading Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932

itsmonday“It’s Monday! What are you reading?” is a weekly event hosted by Sheila at Bookjourney to share with others what we’ve read the past week and planning to read next.

We sent my mum off to the airport on Sunday. The flight is via Seoul and she’s stopping off there for a few days to travel around by herself. Luckily my Dad’s work acquaintance (whom we all met when we went to South Korea for a holiday when I was a kid..oh sometime in the late 1980s?) has offered to pick her up from the airport and hopefully show her around a bit. I hope she has a good time, she certainly deserves it, being stuck with me and the two littles for over two months! But we so appreciated her being here, playing with the kids, cooking all kinds of yummy food, and really, just being here with us.

 

Currently(-ish…)

It’s 634am and the husband just left for work (he has to drive and park at the Bart station, so that requires leaving early to get a spot!). I’m sitting on the couch with the laptop, and I can hear the baby talking to himself on the baby monitor. I’ll try to finish this post first before I get him and Wee Reader up.

Reading:

The Fault in Our Stars – John Green

I’ve been rather enjoying this book, despite that big C hovering around the entire story. But now I’ve gotten to that part of the story in which things are not going well and I’m dreading reading more… although of course I do want to read more. It’s not a book that I will give up on just because I know it will cause tears to be shed. But I think I’m not ready for tears to be shed today. I might save it for another day.

Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932 – Francine Prose

This is for an upcoming book tour. My tour spot was originally tomorrow but the book just arrived at my doorstep a few days ago, so that’s not happening. But I’ve been plowing my way through it and appreciating the rather unique perspectives in which it is written.

Eating:

A dark chocolate digestive biscuit from Marks and Spencer that the husband brought home from his Singapore trip.

Drinking:

Just water for now. Perhaps some coffee in a bit.

Cooking: 

I made dinner ahead yesterday for today. So in the fridge is a pyrex dish of broccoli chicken mac and cheese. Before dinnertime, I’ll scatter some more cheese on the top and bake it for a bit. And tada, instant dinner. Now what am I going to do about lunch? Sandwiches for everyone perhaps. And maybe some sweet potato for the baby, if he’s not sick of it yet.

Watching:

Top Gear!

Listening:

Brett Dennen.

One of my favourite radio stations is KFOG, not just because they introduce me to new-to-me musicians like Brett Dennen, who has this great song called San Francisco, , but also has the occasional section on books, with Green Apple Books. Last week they mentioned Chance by Kemm Nunn which sounds like a great Bay Area read.

 

 

What are you reading this week?