September 14, 2018

My favorite genre

September is historical fiction month over at the book club, and boy am I excited to moderate this discussion! You see, historical fiction is my favorite genre and I'm always amazed at the things I learn reading these novels.

So for this month, I intend to read these books:

As of this writing, I am currently at page 271 of A Gentleman in Moscow and enjoying it, so far. I'm learning a lot about Russian history, particularly in the early 20th century starting with the October Revolution and the overthrow of the Russian autocracy. To be honest, I only know bits and pieces about the Romanovs, the Tsar, the Bolsheviks and what-have-you - really, mostly stuff that anyone who has at least a basic knowledge of Russian history would know. Now that I've had the chance to read on more details, like the Ukraine famine of 1932, Stalin, etc., I have to say that I'm more than just simply interested to learn about Russian history. As for Amor Towles' book, the Count is quite the character but there's a new personality that's got him wrapped around her little finger. I'm also buddy reading this with a couple of new book club acquaintances and I must say, I've missed reading along with like-minded people. So glad to find others who are game to do this with me!

Time willing, I will also try to read The Paris Wife by Paula McLain. I got my copy a couple of years ago at the Philippine Readers and Writers Festival, so yes, this copy is signed, indeed.

Also: I've been listening to audiobooks lately, but that's for another post. 

August 11, 2018

Books for the Book Club

Over at the book club, we decided to shake things up a little this year in terms of our monthly reads/picks. For the past 6 years, we've been meeting in person to discuss a specific book; this year, we thought, why not try something new? So instead of a particular book that (most of) our active members have elected to read, we selected 12 genres and from there, the member will get to decide which book he/she will read for a particular reading month. The obvious advantage of this is, of course, the member gets to choose a book (or books) that he/she would really be keen on reading (as opposed to one that was "imposed", yeah?) and that would be more than likely he/she would already have in his/her library. We also get to book-push during the discussion and add more titles to our forever-growing TBR. The downside is that everyone would be completely clueless when someone is talking about his/her book of choice and the focus is really not on the books but on the genre. But anyway, it's just an experiment. We'll assess the result of this experiment at the end of the year and then decide if we want the old format back or stick to the new one.

For the first half of the year, these are the genres per month and the books I've picked.

January: YA - Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson and We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
February: Fantasy - Ooops, I didn't read anything here.
March: Filipiniana - The Butcher, The Baker and The Candlestick Maker by Gilda Cordero-Fernando
April: Graphic novels - Sandman #8: World's End by Neil Gaiman
May: Science fiction - The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula LeGuin
June: Short story collections - Fortune Smiles by Adam Johnson and Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage by Alice Munro

I moderated the discussion in June for the short story collections. It's interesting to hear friends talk about the books they've read, even if we can't really relate to the raves and rants if we haven't read the book yet. (Occasionally, and for the more popular titles, two or more members might have read the same book.) Personally, however, I kind of miss talking about just one book, especially since I don't always pick books based on the recommendation of other readers. It's also nice to know that someone shares the same sentiments as you, and it's also fun "debating" with those who have contrary opinions.

For July, I set out to read North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell for Classics month, but since it was too long and I was running behind schedule, I picked Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton instead. It was a very short read, indeed. I'm still going to finish North and South though, because Margaret and Mr. Thornton are very interesting characters and I'd like to know what happens to Margaret's brother, Frederick. And also because I'm already invested in the story. And this August, which happens to be Mystery month, I'm done reading Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None and I'm hooked!

July 11, 2018

Those were the days.

There was a time, years back, when a lot of us in the book club maintained book blogs. (I qualify that they are “book blogs” to differentiate them from personal ones, which a number of us [including me] also kept.) Some of us have even set up collective blogs, with a number of contributors, to write about a common favorite interest.

It’s been a long, long time since our respective first posts on our blogs, and although some of us have endured through the years, the majority (including me, again) has fallen way behind. What happened? Real life. Always the culprit. Mostly it’s lack of time, for some it’s lack of inspiration. As for me, it’s the former. Hey, having 2 kids (now) and a full-time job and managing an entire household demand time, right?

So anyway, I was tinkering with the blog today when I saw that it’s actually marginalia’s blog anniversary (blogiversary? bloggy birthday?) this month. It must be on its 7th year because I remember setting it up on the July of the year when my daughter was to turn 1, which is 2011. In previous years, I used to hold giveaways to celebrate this milestone, and always, the audience and/or participants would be my fellow bloggers/book club friends. Now, I doubt that anyone would still be around to participate if I were to hold one.

I may no longer hold giveaways or contests here but I will sure try to write about the books I’ve read. Sort of a blog reboot, yes. It’s so easy to just let it go but I don’t have the heart! All those years of write-ups and “reviews,” sayang naman. So I will try to post something at least twice a month to keep the blog running.

Oh look, this is my second post for July. See ya in August? :D

July 5, 2018

Really, I’m still here.

I haven’t been posting here as much as I want to - even though elsewhere in social media I’m pretty much active - and it’s because it isn’t as convenient to write a review as, say, posting a photo of the book I’m currently reading on Instagram or ranting/raving about it on Twitter. Also, I’m preoccupied with family matters - a new addition to the family has ALL of us busy - and I haven’t been reading as much as I’d want to. It’s only for the past couple of months that I’ve managed to pick up my reading pace. And then when I was gearing up for more time to update the blog, wham. My easy access via office desktop has been blocked, so I’m left with (1) blogging on my phone or (2) blogging on my laptop at home, which is a bit tricky considering the fact that whatever little time I have at home is spent with my family.

But enough about that - I’m here now, always have been, so let me regroup and start over. 

I’m currently reading Hanya Yanagihara’s “A Little Life,” and it’s so depressing, I feel like I need to talk to someone about it. But Jude, Willem, Malcolm, and JB are growing on me, and I understand the difficulties that Jude is going through. 

More on the next post. 

September 29, 2017

Hi. I'm still here.

Yep, still around although exhausted all the time. I don't have a lot of time to write about my latest readings, and if I do, I'm just too tired to think; I'd much rather rest or sleep it off, recharge and let the brain cells recover. You know, whatever of them I got left.

Real life has been kicking me in the butt the past months. My family and I are excited with a new development and that's the thing that keeps me going. (I have to, really, but I'm not complaining.) Looking forward to a long-anticipated vacation soon as well. I haven't been reading in the pace that I'm used to, mainly because of time constraints but I still try. I miss it too much.

For sure I'll sit down, open the books I've read these past months, and compose something that's worth publishing. Until I find the time to do that, please hang in there for me? I'm not giving up on this blog so stay with me, please?

June 17, 2017

First pattern

Joined the individual bingo for the book club this year and I finally completed a pattern. Yay for me!

This means I can focus on whatever I want to read for the rest of the year! No plans for a blackout this time, unlike last year. Happy that I finally finished this one pattern. :)