#amreading 2: Books That Have Gone to the DNF Zone

Hello, everyone! I hope you all are doing well.
Today, I am going to be talking about the books that have gone to the DNF zone.

First and foremost, I am not a kind of reader who easily gives up on a book; once I start reading, I generally strive to stick with it and finish it.

Sadly, however, there have been some books that wound up in the DNF zone and I want to talk a little bit about them and why.

First up, The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. 

The Alchemist

I remember picking this up about three and half years ago. Almost everyone around me was reading this book and raving about it back then and I thought I would give it a go and see if I’d like it as much as everyone did.

To be perfectly honest, I don’t quite remember exactly where I left off. But I do remember feeling mentally exhausted and fed up with the litany of misadventures and setbacks the protagonist faces.

My taste in reading was, I assume, quite different from what it is now; I would prefer uplifting, feel-good type of books with happy endings to dark, heavy and thought-provoking books.

Like I mentioned, I just couldn’t stand the mishaps that happen to the protagonist, in particular, when the boy faces what I perceived a life-and-death situation in the middle of a desert (if my memory isn’t cloudy), I was like, “No, I can’t take this any more. This is way too much for me to take. No, I don’t wanna see this boy suffering any more!”
And then I put it down and have never picked up again ever since.

It’s been more than 3 years now and I might as well give this book a second chance now that my taste in books has changed significantly.
THAT SAID, honestly, I’m not inclined to as much. This book might end up staying in the DNF zone. We’ll see about that.

 

Next we have A French Girl in New York by Anna Adams.

A french girl in NY

I picked up this book when Japan Amazon launched the biggest ever sales campaign back in 2013.
An incredible number of titles, even by super-famous authors’, were offered for free only the specific day and everyone I know went into a shopping frenzy.
That was where I got this book for a song; the pretty cover definitely had me smitten.

However, this book failed to grab me – I didn’t get to connect with the heroine at all, I even came to hate the whole plot.
It’s about a French girl in a Cinderella-ish situation, being neglected and condemned to live in the basement of the house – a complete pigsty. One day, she goes on a school trip to Paris or somewhere and gets spotted by a music director or promoter or something and then gets shot to stardom.
My normal self wouldn’t mind this plot at all, but I didn’t like the writing AT ALL. It felt overly sugary and over the top. It even felt cliché and made me cringe. It was definitely not my taste and I put it down.

This book seems to have gleaned a lot of high reviews, so obviously the fault lies with me and other readers seem to enjoy the story.
I’m not even sure if I would pick up this book ever again, but I’m afraid it’s highly-unlikely.

If you have read this book, definitely let me know your thoughts. It might prompt me to pick this up again 🙂

 

The last book that went to the DNF zone is The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde.

The picture of dorian gray

I had been reading this book until yesterday, picking it up right after Lord of the Flies. I was totally in the mood for another Classics and I was super pumped to read this book.

That said, sadly enough, I didn’t get to wrap my head around Lord Henry’s perspective and Dorian’s emotional process. It baffled me and got me stumped.

I’m afraid it was partly because of the writing style. It’s indeed mellifluous and has got some CLASS to it, but I also found it a bit discombabulating and not straight-forward enough, at least for me.

I love the idea of the portrait getting older and uglier reflecting Dorian’s conscience while Dorian himself stays young and beautiful. Trust me, I liked the plot itself, yet the descriptions of Dorian’s perspective and emotional process seemed a bit difficult for me to digest and I eventually gave up, thinking that forcing myself to plug away at this book any further could throw me into a massive reading slump. And I didn’t want that, absolutely NOT.
Thus and thus, this book has gone to the DNF zone.

Like I said, I do adore the plot itself, so I’ll definitely come back to this book after a while after honing my reading skills as well as broading my perspective.

Currently, I’m reading On the Beach by Nevil Shute and I’m liking it so far.
I seriously hope it doesn’t end up in the DNF zone, if it does, I don’t know what to do lol

Anyways, that’s it for today.
Thanks for reading as always, I hope you have a wonderful reading week 😀

Rapid Fire Book Tag!

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Hello, everybody! It’s time for another tag.

Although I wasn’t tagged by anybody (quite natural), I think it’s going to be a lot of fun to do this quick and easy tag!
This post is inspired by Jessica Marie 493’s post, so if you haven’t already, please go check that out 🙂

All right then, let’s jump right in!

 

E-books or Physical Books?
Physical books hands down. I used to read mainly on my kindle, but I’ve come to develop a distaste for the blandness which e-books (in my case, Kindle books) exude. The spacing between words seems unnatural and weird at times, and it feels like punctuating the sentence at the wrong place and disturbs my rhythm. And I HATE that.

Paperback or Hardback?
Paperbacks. unless I absolutely HATE the cover, I would pick paperback editions. It’s space-friendly, too 🙂

Online or In-store book shopping?
I do close to 99.99% of book shopping online; being in the middle of nowhere, there’s not a single bookstore that handle foreign books around here. I have no choice.
Plus, I can get the edition I really want online.

Trilogies or series?
Trilogies. Long series seems kind of intimidating…

Heroes or Villains?
Good villains any day. I’m not a picture-perfect-masculine-drop-dead-gorgeous-heroes type of reader. Plus, good villains are what makes stories more engaging and fun to read!

A book you want everyone to read?
Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë.  It’s dark, heavy, haunting but hysterically funny for some reason. Incredibly gripping and I absolutely LOVE it!

Recommend an underrated book.
I’ll skip this question because I have no idea what book is actually underrated…

The Last book you finished?
The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón. I finished reading it the night before yesterday! It was so, so goood!

Weirdest thing you used as a bookmark?
A post-it note. I rarely forget to carry around a bookmark with me wherever I go, but I totally forgot the bring one yesterday 😦

Used book, yes or no?
As long as the condition is pretty good, I don’t mind. So the answer will be YES.

Top three favorite genres?
Crime (Psychological) thrillers, YA or adult fantasy (maybe) and Classics!

Borrow or buy?
Buy. Once I find a book interesting, I’ll get hit by a strong urge to OWN it.

Characters or plot?
Maybe plot. As long as the story was well-written and intriguing, I wouldn’t mind the character being unrelatable or weakly drawn.

Long or short book?
Actually both. I don’t want to sound like a broken record, but as long as the story is gripping, the length doesn’t matter to me.

Long or short chapters?
Short chapters! It makes it easy to pick up and put down. 

Name the first three books you think of.
Six of Crows, Middlemarch, Kane and Able.

Books that make you laugh or cry?
I adore books that make me laugh and feel happy. But I’m not so into books all about cloying romance and love-triangles.

Our world or fictional worlds?
Fictional worlds Any day. I think it’s so intriguing to see what the life in the 19th Century was like!

Audiobooks: yes or no?
Audiobooks are not for me; I once tried, but once I find the narration annoying, it completely messes up my reading pace and experience. So the answer is no with a capital N.

Do you ever judge a book by its cover?
Always. Even if I found a book interesting and want to read, I wouldn’t pick it up if the cover was ugly or not for my liking.

Book to movie or book to TV adaptation?
Providing that the producers or the script writers don’t mess up the original story and add unnecessary scenes, both will be fine.

Series or standalone?
Preferably standalones. That said, I also love cliff-hangers.

 

Whew! What a blast answering those questions! It’s been so much fun 🙂
If any of you haven’t done this tag already, please give this a try: I will tag anyone who’s willing to try.  If I can do this, so can YOU.

Thanks so much for reading!

#amreading 1: Classics!

As I gushed in my Classic Book Haul post, I’m so into Classics right now.

I haven’t written a post yet, but I did read two Classics last week;

  • Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  • Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

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Fahrenheit 451

Man, I can’t tell you enough how much I loved them both!

To be perfectly honest, both of them threw me off a little bit; in particular, I had a hard time following rather cryptic discourse between Beatty and Montag in Fahrenheit 451.
Everything Beatty says in the book sounded like a riddle to me; I didn’t get to see what he was talking about. I even wonder how Montag could be satisfied with Beatty’s answers. They didn’t make any sense to me to be honest –  It seemed that he was just parrying Montag’s questions by making such riddle-like remarks.

That said, I must admit that I found his writing very intense and gorgeous.
His prose is so poetic and lyrical, yet definitely has something that grabbed me. Although I strove so hard to decipher the sentences or paragraphs to see whether it was about what was actually going on or something in Montag’s imagination, I couldn’t put the book down.

I’ve posted a quick review on Goodreads, so if you’re interested, please go check that out 🙂

Now on to Crime and Punishment; Gosh, THAT BOOK!

The first 100 pages or so was really gripping and entertaining, I even sympathized with Raskolnikov and fretted about the devoid of an axe – I was like, “Oh, darn! No axe? What is he going to do?”
At that moment, I couldn’t believe myself for being anxious to get ahold of the important tool for his ‘plan.’  Seriously, what was I thinking?? 
I think it goes to show how superb either the translation done by David McDuff or Dostoyevsky’s writing is. It was really riveting and I really enjoyed reading that part.

I must say that I felt it slowed a bit in the middle (or it may have been a fault on my part),  but from the last few chapters through the ending, I was completely enthralled by the development. In particular, the moment when Raskolnikov is hit by an inexplicable feeling or awe and kneels down and kisses to the ground, it struck me in the feels – I found it incredibly therapeutic and purgatorial. So stunning, so beautiful. I was completely sold.

It is amazing how the tone of the story significantly changes in the epilogue – the undertone of the writing changes DRAMATICALLY changes like a heavy fog finally clears up.
Again, it was just amazing and brilliant.

There are still a lot of things I find I need to work on (the philosophical ideas in particular), and it’s indeed a long story, but I am so glad that I got to the end. I quite enjoyed it.

 

And now, what am I reading now, you might ask?

I’m currently reading Wuthering Heights by  Emily Brontë.  My very first Emily Brontë, believe it or not.

It hadn’t even been on my radar until I watched a video by my favorite BookTuber, but when I saw him brandishing the book (Vintage Classic Edition with a stunning cover), I thought I would like to give it a try.

According to what I’ve heard, it can be a hit and miss; some absolutely adore it and some absolutely hate it.
That said, it won’t do me any harm to give it a go, will it? 😀
Gladly, being on page 85, I’m really liking it. I really hope that I’ll continue to like it till the end!

Oh, I forgot to mention – I’ve recently joined a Goodreads Book Group.
Being a non-native, I may be quite slow at reading, but I hope that I get to read as many books featured in the group as possible and take part in the group activities!
If you’re already a member, do hit me up at Goodreads, it’s going to be so much fun!

All right, that’s about it for now; let me know in the comments what you have been reading.
Thanks for reading as always!

The Reading Habits Tag

Books and Tea

Although I have never done a tag nor have I never been tagged before, I thought it would be a lot of fun to do this tag so I decided to give it a go.
Without further ado, here we go 🙂

Questions:

1.  Do you have a certain place at home for reading? 
Yes, I do. I predominantly read on my couch and that’s actually the only place that I have for reading. I sometimes read in bed using Kindle, but reading in bed always, without fail, results in me drifting off to sleep without making much progress.

2.  Bookmark or random piece of paper?
Bookmarks any day. I always make sure that I have a bookmark whenever I carry my book around with me.

3. Can you just stop reading or do you have to stop after a chapter/ a certain amount of pages?
Preferably after a chapter or a paragraph, but basically I can stop reading wherever because life tends to get in the way.

4. Do you eat or drink while reading?
At night on weekdays, I drink coffee or cocoa to keep me awake. And I often have snacks like finger foods while reading at weekends (especially in the afternoon).

5. Multitasking: Music or TV while reading?
At home, never. Even instrumental music can be quite a distraction for me. At cafes or restaurants, it is fine unless I have someone around who keeps talking to me or talking loudly. (Basically, I’m a don’t-mess-with-me-while-reading kind of person.)

6. One book at a time or several at once?
I used to be a one-book-at-a-time kind of reader, but ever since I started buddyreading with my Twitter friend, I’ve learned to have multiple books going at once. But I would say I can only handle two books at the most.

7. Reading at home or everywhere?
Basically, everywhere. I always carry my book around and try to squeeze as much reading as I can into my spare time. So I read in hospital waiting rooms, at work, at beauty salons, literally everywhere.

8. Reading out loud or silently in your head?
Silently in my head. But I do read out loud when I feel a bit drowsy because keeping my mouth moving somehow helps to stay awake.

9. Do you read ahead or even skip pages?
Generally speaking, NO. I want the suspense of not knowing anything about the plot, so I don’t read ahead let alone skip pages.
The only exception to this is when I was reading Cress by Marissa Meyer; I was so invested in Thorne’s character thus I just couldn’t resist reading ahead to make sure if he would be OK.
Oh, and I did the same when I was reading ‘Winter’ to make sure Emperor Kai would be safe and sound.
But basically, no. I wouldn’t read ahead.

10. Breaking the spine or keeping it like new?
What really irks me is the broken spine; I JUST CAN’T STAND HAVING A STRAIGHT LINE RUNNING IN THE SPINE. Absolutely not. I want my books to be in pristine condition. My default posture when reading is holding the spine firmly with my right hand and (gently) placing my left hand to spread it open so as not to break the spine. Some may say I’m almost paranoid, but I just can’t help it.

11. Do you write in your books?
Again, ABSOLUTELY NOT. I want my books to be as beautiful as new and want them to last.
So, I would definitely avoid anything that could damage my books. If I need to, I would write on post-it notes instead.

 

There you have it – it’s been so much fun answering those questions!
I hope now you got to know me a little bit better as a reader, please let me know if you do this tag so that I can read your answers!

Thanks for reading and I’ll talk to you again soon! 😀

My Bookish Goals for 2017

Hello, dear readers!
I know I’m too late for announcing my bookish goals for 2017, but I’d love to share with you some of my thoughts and intentions, such as what kind of books I want to read in the year 2017.

As far as the number goes, I want to aim for reading 70 books at least this year.
Personally, I think it’s pretty attainable given that I read 76 books in the past 6 months.
I could have set my Goodreads goal for reading 100 books, but I eventually decided against it. While I want to read as many books as I possibly can, I also want to hone my review writing skills by reading other book bloggers’s reviews, so I think it would be wise if I lowered my Goodreads goal to set aside larger chunks of time to do so.
70 books a year works out about 6 books a month and I have already read 14 books this year. I think I can pull off reading 70 books with relative ease if I put my mind to it. (and I do intend to do so.)

Next on my list is to read more diverse books than I did in the past.
Now, I must make it crystal clear that I am a 100 percent mood reader and am quite fastidious about what to read; I rarely pick up books I am not even remotely interested in. To make the matter even more complicated, my mood swings. A LOT. One minute I feel like reading Romance novels and the next minute I care for Historical novels. My interest runs off in all directions at the smallest of things yet I tend to hold fast to my tastes. I don’t particularly relish the idea of reading books I don’t really like.

Non-Fiction generally falls into this category. I would even say that Non-Fiction is the last genre that I would go to; there is something about Non-Fiction that I don’t really care for, I’d rather read Fiction than read Non-Fiction.

Nonetheless, I want to change this. I want to read more of Non-Fiction this year.

Believe it or not, I didn’t used to read a lot of historical novels or horror novels. I would normally go to contemporary novels or romance novels.
But as you can see, I have read several books from both genres and I adore them so much. If anything, I’d now love to read many more Historical novels!

I hope the same thing will happen with Non-Fiction and I will try to read as many of them as possible this year.
Just to show you how willing I actually am, take a look at some of the books I have bought;

Lab Girl by Hope Jahren and Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly.

nonfictions

I found them both on Goodreads and thought; “Oh, that sounds interesting, I might as well try reading them!”
Hopefully, they both turn out to be as good as I expected!

Another thing I’d love to try this year is to follow an author’s complete body of work chronologically.
Now, this bookish goal is inspired by watching this Mementomori video, in which he picks William Faulkner and pledges to read all his books in publication order.
I have yet to decide who to follow, BUT, I am going to (in the near future), or I might tweak the challenge just a little bit and turn it into reading as many historical novels as possible this year.
Now, THAT sounds interesting and attainable.

Speaking of historical novels, take a look at this;

lilac-girls

Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly. THIS BEAUTY.

I’d had my eye on this for quite some time because the premise sounds so interesting and I just couldn’t resist buying it. I knew I was way over my budget, but I just couldn’t give up on this one.

Now that I have this baby in my hands, I am so excited to read this. Hope it measures up to my expectations!

What are your reading goals for the year 2017?
Are there any books (particularly Historical Fiction) that you think I should definitely read?
Throw in your comments and let me know! I could really use your input to decide what to read (and what to buy)!

Thanks for reading and I’ll talk to you again, very, very soon!
Bye 🙂

Reflection

It has been approximately six months since I launched this book blog back in August, 2016.

Wow, how fast time flies; I still can’t believe six months have passed.
At the same time, I also think it’s been quite a ride. It opened up a whole new world and brought me a lot of delight.

I wouldn’t go so far as to say it has always been fun; it has been grueling and debilitating at times.
Being a non-native (I remember writing exactly the same thing somewhere before), it has always been a struggle, literally trial and error for me. I even felt the more I wrote, the crappier my writing got. Crestfallen, I sometimes intentionally let the update slip; I couldn’t bring myself to sit in front of the PC and write a post while I never ceased reading.

Although I launched this book blog as an outlet where I talk about the books I have read and like, as the number of posts increased, I started putting a lot of pressure on myself, thinking that the newer posts need to be better than the previous one, or that I need to avoid using the same phrase over and over like a broken record.
In other words, I started to set my own parameters as to what my posts should be like and how better I should be as time went on. I completely lost sight of the reason why I started this blog; I had been posting out of a sense of obligation not because I wanted to. what a contradiction.

That said, one thing that happened recently has made me motivated to keep posting once again, made me realize there are readers out there -no matter how small the number might be – readers who are inclined to read my crappy blogs.

I sometimes go back to my older posts and re-read what I posted in the early days.
To tell you the truth, it never fails to put a grimace on my face (Awwww). The very first post could be nothing but pathetic… it is too short and I wrote nothing but my outpouring love and personal feels toward the book. No character and story analysis whatsoever, just gushing how much I adore the story. It’s hysterical.

Having said that, it also made me realize I’ve come a long way.
Over the past six months, I think I’ve learned a lot about review writing from watching BookTubers’ videos and reading a lot of Goodreads reviews. Every single review and video that I read and watch helped me grow tremendously (I hope) and I now would love to think that I’ve got better at writing reviews compared to what I used to be.

Even though my writing is still crappy with my grammar all over the place, leaving A LOT to be desired, I will keep reading and posting without making any excuses from now on.

I love reading.
I love gushing my thoughts and feels on books and sharing them with you all.

So, keep an eye out for me, you guys. And kick my butt if I cut too much slack.

Thanks for reading my rambling as always.
I’ll talk to you guys again, soon!

bookmark

A Love Struggle That Bookworms Face

Let me say this out loud – I have never felt so torn and indecisive on ‘what to read next?’

As you can see in my November Book Haul, I bought four Christmas-themed books with beautiful festive covers. I’ve got two down as of last night and have three more to go including the one that I bought back in 2014. They are all physical books, not Kindle books.

And now, I’m facing a struggle which I’ve never had as far as reading goes.

I am being hesitant to read the books that I bought!!

Out of the concern that I would be out of books to read if I kept reading at this pace!
How contradictory could I be?? It doesn’t make any sense!

But I am.

I’m debating whether to read the physical ones or e-books on my Kindle.

One part of me wants to read the physical ones I bought this year while another part of me keeps telling me I should save them for next year.

However, what’s the point of saving them for later with new holiday reads coming out every single year when Christmas rolls around?? I know I’ll definitely want to read the new ones this time next year! Who in the world could resist such an onslaught of temptation??

This morning, I sat in front of my brand-new bookcase staring at the array of books that I laid out the other day and wondered if I should pick up another holiday read from the shelf or read an e-book instead.

Or, reading something from a different genre – such as YA contemporary.
I was literally torn among those options and I still haven’t been able to make up my mind.

I think I’m going to re-read my trusty Melody Carlson’s holiday read, ‘Christmas at Harrington’s’ which I enjoyed two years ago,  but my resolution is not as staunch and I may flip-flop my mind at the drop of a hat.

It wouldn’t have been a problem a few years back as I used to be a reader who does a lot of re-read. I used to read the same book once again right after I finish it. It was totally fine with me.
But now, I’ve somehow morphed myself into a reader who can’t resist reading new books back to back. I really love the sense of me drifting in a world that’s completely different from mine – the vicarious experience, if you like.

Reading one book means one less experience or even life that is allotted for me and I HATE the idea 😄

Maybe I should just keep reading instead of fretting over such trivial things, but I just can’t help it.

Have any of you felt the same way as I do?
What are the stuggles you have when reading?
I hope I’m not the only one to think this way!