November 3, 2016

Books I Have Read (October 2016)

Filed under: Books — Tags: — rvchua @ 10:17 am
  1. No Fond Return of Love by Barbara Pym – This was so disappointing! Characters that I just did not like. A woman who intentionally meddles in other people’s lives for reasons I cannot understand. A separated man who makes advances to a 19 year old girl. The only scene I enjoyed was when Dulcie realizes that Aylwin has fallen for her niece! And in the end it looks Dulcie ends up with Aylwin who I can’t find anything redeemable about him.
  2. Angel CatBird Vol 1 by Margaret Atwood – Don’t be fooled that this is written by Atwood because it read like a campy B-comic.
  3. The Beige Man by Helene Tursten – Finally a Nordic detective not as screwed as Hole or Wallander. Interesting working relationship with the team. I need to find more from this author.
  4. The Diving Pool: Three Novellas by Yoko Ogawa – Since I haven’t read a lot of Japanese authors, I had to compare this to Murakami. We do get the female perspective but still dysfunctional characters in ordinary situations. I found it creepy in some ways.
  5. Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie – This was a better constructed book that Americanah and I wished I read this first. However I still feel distant from the story. Maybe because being Filipino I have a different experience?
  6. The Redbreast by Jo Nesbo – One of my dreams is to visit one of the Nordic countries but reading all of these Nordic crime books don’t give a very good picture of those countries. Neo-Nazism, assaults, assassinations, etc. In this book, Harry has a very interesting relationship with his partner Ellen which was unfortunately cut short. I wished there were more books with Ellen since they make a good team.
  7. Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard: The Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan – This was still fun but if I didn’t read this right after it was released some of the pop culture references would fall flat. If I want to distract myself and need a quick book, this series would be it. I enjoyed that there wasn’t any big romance in it like most YA.
  8. Silent in the Sanctuary by Deanna Raybourn – This was a good combination of Victorian mystery interspersed with smoldering scenes between Julia and Nicholas. If this was a regular historical romance, the mystery would most likely be sub-par. I do wish I read this quickly instead of putting it down for a couple of days because I lost the momentum of the story. This would be a wonderful series to go back to if I can find more books!
  9. Ten Years in the Tub: A Decade Soaking in Great Books by Nick Hornby – I am always fascinated with what people read. This book is a collection of columns that Nick Hornby wrote about the books he bought and read. Just like any ordinary person, Hornby also has a tendency to buy aspirational books, things he wants to read but probably will never read. Most of the books he talked about don’t interest me (music, sports, etc) but I always look forward for his reviews on books that I have read. Interesting to note that he was introduced to YA and enjoyed it! I wish I did not read this book as a novel but as a collection of short stories because it took me forever to finish.
  10. Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman by Lindy West – There were essays that I liked and could relate however there were those that I was ambivalent with.

October 6, 2016

Books I Have Read (September 2016)

Filed under: Books — Tags: — rvchua @ 12:23 am
  1. Gunmetal Magic by Ilona Andrews – I was disappointed that Andrea’s point of view was almost the same as Kate’s, sometimes I find myself forgetting that it is Andrea’s story. However I did enjoy Anubis appearance in that world. Also, I wished the romance between Andrea and Raphael was handled differently.
  2. Magic Gifts by Ilona Andrews – I made a mistake of reading this after Gunmetal Magic because the two stories actually overlaps. Also, nothing can compare to Kate and Curran’s relationship and dynamics. It was good to be back in Kate’s world.
  3. Lady Susan by Jane Austen – It took a while to get back to Austen’s writing. This was a bit short and I think watching Love and Friendship would make me enjoy the main character a bit more. In this tale, not everything ends up happily ever after.
  4. Barchester Towers by Anthony Trollope – I suddenly picked this up because of Booktube and because I saw there was an old tv series The Barchester Chronicles with Alan Rickman as Obadiah Slope. I really disliked the early chapters of the book because I just didn’t care about all the intrigues of the clergy. It became interesting when the female characters came in especially the romance part. There were some frustrating characters like Mr Harding who always remind me of the quote “the meek shall inherit the earth”. However I don’t think he will inherit the earth. Around the half-way point I was starting to enjoy the book and can’t wait to read the next one Doctor Thorne which also has a new tv adaptation. However the book took forever to read, it just went on and on and made me fall into a reading slump.
  5. Age of Myth by Michael J. Sullivan – It took me a while to find a book that I could push through with my reading slump. I haven’t read any Michael J. Sullivan before so I wasn’t sure with his style. Fortunately I found the book engaging, unexpected and filled with interesting characters. Because I knew the book was just the beginning of a long series, I did not expect the events to happen in such a way. I think this is the first time in years that I eagerly await the next book of a new series!
  6. A Suitable Vengeance by Elizabeth George – I was excited to read this because the series was highly recommended by Booktuber Kate Howe. The writing was easy read however I felt distanced from the characters. I think the tension between Lynley, St James and Deborah just overwhelmed everything else. Also I don’t think it was the best book to start the series since Lynley wasn’t doing real detective work in the story. Also, his partner Detective Havers is not present and I have heard that there is a lot of tension between them which is not something I am eager to read about. I will probably read another book from the series if I ran out of books to read.

September 1, 2016

Monthly Expense Analysis (June to August 2016)

Filed under: Books, Food, Health, Shopping — Tags: — rvchua @ 12:28 am

I haven’t listed down my expense highlights since June so I am trying to do a catchup.


  • Foot socks for P300. The ones with the plastic on the ankle so it doesn’t slip off.
  • Coffee & doughnut at Krispy Kreme (P127).
  • New umbrella (P380) to replace my old one which doesn’t hold open anymore.
  • Renew gym membership (P1,000).


  • Found wonderful used books at Book Sale, three for P357.
  • Something cool at Bo’s Coffee (P120).
  • A new white shirt that I can use during pilates. I looked at the discounted racks and found one for P149.75.
  • Okonomiyaki and edamame for P270 at a newly opened Japanese restaurant in Lapu Lapu.
  • A pair of H&M bralettes for P999. I use these instead of my underwire bras which are stretched out.
  • Organic liquid detergent from Human Nature (P299.75). I need to start using this at the do-it-yourself laundry.
  • My favorite happy mooshi for P125.
  • Late cup of cappuccino (P150) while everyone had alcohol.


  • Dinner (P233) at a newly opened restaurant at the yacht club. Starting my no pork/chicken/beef diet.
  • Went twice to Country Basket for mushroom sandwich & then mushroom pasta. Total of P490 with iced tea.
  • Found another used book for P115.
  • Jojoba oil from Human Nature for P300. I use this for my face at night and once a week for my hair.
  • My red Nike backpack got too worn out so I had to buy a Converse backpack at The Outlets for P1,150. The Converse backpack is much sturdier than the Nike or Adidas ones.
  • A box of munchkins (P125) for my boss’ birthday brunch.
  • Lunch (P120) with friends at the food court.
  • Contributed P160 for a baby shower at the office.

Plenty of expenses but no regrets.

August 31, 2016

Books I Have Read (August 2016)

Filed under: Books — Tags: — rvchua @ 4:35 am
  1. Library of Luminaries: Virginia Woolf: An Illustrated Biography by Zena Alkayat  – A short introduction to the life of Virginia Woolf with cute illustrations.
  2. The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories by Ken Liu  This is my first introduction to Ken Liu and there are fascinating aspects to his world which is a combination of scifi and fantasy. I learned in the early short stories that there isn’t always a happy ending with him.
  3. The Pyramid by Henning Mankell  This is the story of Kurt Wallander’s earlier cases prior to Faceless Killers. By this time I am used to Wallander’s tendency to do things by himself so I get a sort of satisfaction when he gets into physical situations that don’t end up well. Only one more Wallander book to go!
  4. A History of Women in Russia: From Earliest Times to the Present by Barbara Evans Clements – A favorite subject for me: history, Russia and women. It was slow paced but interesting and I am never keen about the parts that talks about politics. I was used to reading about the Romanovs so this offered a perspective of the other women from the serfs to the nobility. Also, history is never happy especially with the struggles that still continue.
  5. Djinn Issue 1 to 6 by Jean Dufaux  I don’t understand why I enjoyed this. A sultan’s harem, a ménage a trios, a woman who has sex with a lot of men to get what she ‘wants’, etc. Maybe it is because I am intrigued of what Jade really is. What is really a djinn in different cultures?
  6. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline  A quick read that helped me get out of the slow pace of the previous book. I understood some of the references but most of it I glossed over. I found the book entertaining however I couldn’t see the logic of having a highly advanced VR world with its hardware and power requirements yet people are starving.
  7. The Stonecutter by Camilla Lackberg – If I enjoyed the Wallander & Hole series, this was more enjoyable for me. The lead detective is not particularly astute nor his team the best however the multiple perspectives allowed me to see to the real problems of the people involved. The back story of the real murderer was also fascinating. At first I couldn’t understand why it had to go back to the 1920s while the current story was in the 21st century but then you realize how it all ties up. Everyone in the story had such messy lives and most of the marriages were awful that I couldn’t understand why they didn’t divorce or separate. The police doesn’t get a confession from the murderer but it is explained through his/her thoughts.
  8. Daytripper by Fabio Moon & Gabriel Ba – This has been on my TBR for a long time until I recently remembered it. I tried reading this a couple of times before and usually stopped after a couple of pages but last night I forced myself to finish it. It was not what I expected! It shows the life of a man, well actually the lives of a man and what could happen to him. One story he dies as a kid, as a middle-aged man and in the last reaches old age, All of it makes you think about the choices that you have made.
  9. Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie I am probably the exception out there who wasn’t blown away by this book. I appreciated the book’s perspective about race especially from Africans who emigrated to the US in the past couple of decades. It made me understand more of points that I just glossed over in TaNehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me which I found too forceful However I found the book too long and I wasn’t engaged by the story. There were parts of the book that I liked but was too infrequent to make me enjoy the book as a whole.
  10. Brain on Fire by Susannah Cahalan I’ve a read a lot of books about people’s memoirs of their illnesses. This book made me realize that despite being in the 21st century and access to latest medical information doesn’t guarantee that you will not have a wrong diagnosis. I found it interesting that there is a possibility that some autism may be an autoimmune disorder or that the brain is being attacked by the own bodies’ antibodies. Also that people who have been possessed by the devil may have this disease. I think the goal of the book is more on awareness of diseases and it is always good to have a second or third or fourth opinion.
  11. The Troubled Man by Henning Mankell – This is the last Wallander book and he is now 60 and developing signs of Alzheimer’s. Though he may be old, he can still be stubborn at times. He still gets beaten up in the book but it wasn’t his fault. Also, his daughter Linda is now a police officer at Ystad but on maternity leave. I don’t know if I missed out on what happened between Wallander and Martinsson. I remember in the eight book things didn’t go well between them and in the tenth book Martinsson is the only friend he has in the force. I don’t have An Event in Autumn so maybe there was something there. The book talks about getting old and dying so I was teary eyed at times.
  12. Cockroaches by Jo NesboIf I compare Hole to Wallander, he is has more experience in technical matters including forensics. This book is the second in the series and Harry is in Bangkok to investigate a Norwegian ambassador’s death. I almost had the same problem with The Dogs of Riga wherein I found it too convenient that the main characters in the book all speak English. In Cockroaches I found it a tad acceptable but Wallander who is bad with English manages to do an investigation in Latvia and finds the correct file in Latvian/Russian? This book was better than the first one but I was a bit disappointed when I learned who the murderer was. I prefer the later books of the Harry Hole series but reading these are just fun.

August 1, 2016

Books I Have Read (July 2016)

Filed under: Books — Tags: — rvchua @ 1:13 am
  1. The Faceless Killers by Henning Mankell
  2. The Dogs of Riga by Henning Mankell
  3. The White Lioness by Henning Mankell
  4. The Man Who Smiled by Henning Mankell
  5. Saga Volume 6 by Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples
  6. Descender Volume 1 by Jeff Lemire and Dustin Nguyen
  7. Monstress Volume 1 by Marjorie M. Liu and Sana Takeda
  8. Descender Volume 2 by Jeff Lemire and Dustin Nguyen
  9. Sidetracked by Henning Mankell
  10. The Devil’s Star by Jo Nesbo
  11. Firewall by Henning Mankell

The Faceless Killers, The Dogs of Riga, The White Lioness, The Man Who Smiled, Sidetracked and Firewall 

I was amazed to finish The Devil’s Star in 24 hours! I was quite disappointed with the last Nesbo I read (The Bat which was the first Harry Hole mystery) so I wasn’t excited to pick this up especially having read 5 Wallander books earlier. If Kurt Wallander is pathetic as a person, I wouldn’t touch Harry Hole with a 10-foot pole. He is an alcoholic whose only salvation is his job and his relationship witH Rakel and Oleg. Personally, I don’t understand why Rakel keeps coming back to Harry eventhough he has put her and Oleg in danger several times. Just like Wallander, Harry can be brilliant at times. If you know someone who has been murdered, these are the people to turn to but that is where your interaction with them stops. I simply couldn’t put down this book though Harry was frustrating in the beginning especially when he was drunk. Reading about the miserable personal lives of Wallander and Hole makes me yearn for the cerebral though cold Dalgliesh.

The Devil’s Star

I was amazed to finish The Devil’s Star in 24 hours! I was quite disappointed with the last Nesbo I read (The Bat which was the first Harry Hole mystery) so I wasn’t excited to pick this up especially having read 5 Wallander books earlier. If Kurt Wallander is pathetic as a person, I wouldn’t touch Harry Hole with a 10-foot pole. He is an alcoholic whose only salvation is his job and his relationship witH Rakel and Oleg. Personally, I don’t understand why Rakel keeps coming back to Harry eventhough he has put her and Oleg in danger several times. Just like Wallander, Harry can be brilliant at times. If you know someone who has been murdered, these are the people to turn to but that is where your interaction with them stops. I simply couldn’t put down this book though Harry was frustrating in the beginning especially when he was drunk. Reading about the miserable personal lives of Wallander and Hole makes me yearn for the cerebral though cold Dalgliesh.

Saga Volume 6

Hazel is now at primary school and has been separated from her parents for several years. Also new and interesting alliances have been formed and old characters resurface. It seems that this multi-species family is growing and on the run again!

Descender Volume 1 & Volume 2

I almost got turned off with the whitewash art in the first couple of pages. However the story is intriguing! A robot messiah, a robot heaven, a dreaming robot. Are all of those real? What happened in the other planets?

Monstress Volume 1

The art is gorgeous and the story shows promise but I found the storytelling confusing. Too many groups that I found hard to distinguish.

July 1, 2016

Books I Have Read (June 2016)

Filed under: Books — Tags: — rvchua @ 4:46 am

1. Night Film by Marisha Pessel – This felt like an overlong movie that just went on and on. I wished the book ended 200 pages earlier. The story was interesting but it kept jumping from a mystery to something supernatural. I didn’t care for the main character or his ‘sidekicks’. I wanted to DNF the book but stuck around for the mystery thus I gave it a higher rating.

2. Wellth: How I Learned to Build a Life not a Resume by Jason Wachob – I am a regular reader of mindbodygreen so the concepts presented in this book who is also the founder of the website are familiar. When I read online I only focus on a couple of aspects of wellth but now I think I should be more aware of my gut and have massages as part of my wellbeing.

3. The More of Less: Finding the Life You Want Under Everything You Own by Joshua Becker – This is another book based from a website which I have been reading for years. Frankly nothing new to separate it from Becoming Minimalist but I still enjoyed reading it during downtime at work.

4. Lab Girl by Hope Jahren – Vibrant writing on the quirky life of a scientist and her assistant. I though the book would be dry but the overall feeling is like being inside a tropical jungle.

5. How To Be a Tudor: A Dawn-to-Dusk Guide to Tudor Life by Ruth Goodman – A very in-depth book of the extraordinary lives of ordinary people during the Tudor era. However there are parts that are better seen than read.

6. Breath of Bones: A Tale of the Golem by Steve Niles – This was a short, unspectacular story of a golem during World War II.

7. Giant Days Vol 1 by John Allison – A group of friends in college. The characters were interesting and the graphics were lively but I think this is geared for young adults.

8. The Imperfect Environmentalist: A Practical Guide to Clearing Your Body, Detoxing Your Home, and Saving the Earth (Without Losing Your Mind) by Sara Gilbert – Everyone can use this reading this once in a while. I wonder if Gina Lopez has read this. I hope that she implements changes that are applicable to ordinary people when she starts her work at DENR.

9. Grit: Passion, Perseverance and the Science of Success by Angela Duckworth – I wished my parents read this when I was young. I wished I read this when I was in college. The topic was interesting but I wasn’t into the writing style and how it was organized.

June 9, 2016

Monthly Expense Analysis (May 2016)

Filed under: Food, Health, Money, Pilates — Tags: — rvchua @ 3:14 am

I managed to have lower expenses in May. One weekend, my parents were in town so I had meals with them and my brother and his family. Another weekend, I got invited (free) to a lunch buffet at Shangrila which was very delicious (loved the Indian food and sushi). So here are my noteworthy purchases:

  • Breakfast at Bo’s (P205) because I was tired of my normal weekend breakfasts.
  • My once-a-month trip to Mooshi (P125).
  • Renewal of my gym membership (P1,000).

I have been reading Refinery29’s Money Diaries so I was inspired to analyze my spending and came up with these figures:

  • Food (40%)
  • Rent (38%)
  • Gym (10%)
  • Transportation (5%)
  • Laundry (4%)
  • Toiletries (3%)

Would this be the same next month? I probably have to buy new bras since the I am finding holes in the elastic! I didn’t include my Pilates classes because that would be 50% of my total expenses!

May 30, 2016

Books I Have Read (May 2016)

Filed under: Books — Tags: — rvchua @ 12:19 am

1. The Bat by Jo Nesbo – This is the first book of the Harry Hole series and all I can say Harry was an asshole in the beginning. The story is a bit dated (cellfone triangulation) and I kind of miss the Norwegian landscape. Also the murders were not as creepy as in The Snowman but still a fast, easy read.

2. Rat Queens Vol 3: Demons by Kurtis J. Wiebe – l don’t know where the story is going though in this volume the focus is on Hannah. Less on the sex and violence but there were fun times like the candy eating dragon. Also, I prefer the old illustrations.

3. 4 Kids Walk into a Bank Issue#1 by Matthew Rosenberg – Kids get involved with ex-convicts. The art is quirky. It shows promise but I don’t know when the next issue comes out.

4. Blue is the Warmest Color by Julie Maroh – Coming out is not a story that I am normally interested with but this was handled beautifully in this graphic novel. The illustrations are surreal and I could almost feel the movement of the characters.

5. An Age of License: A Travelogue by Lucy Knisley – I just love Lucy Knisley’s work, those that I have read are a combination of travel, food and personal thoughts. There is a lightness in her graphic novels that makes it enjoyable every time I reread them.

6. Saga Volume 5 by Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples – Not as good as the previous volumes but still worth continuing the series!

7. Queen Victoria’s Mysterious Daughter: A Biography of Princess Louise by Lucinda Hawksley – This is different from the biography of Queen Victoria’s youngest daughter Princess Beatrice. Here it is apparent Queen Victoria’s cruelty and manipulation of her children. Also there are a lot of juicy bits: an illegitimate child, numerous lovers, homosexual husband. Unfortunately any evidence of these have mysteriously been recalled by the Royal Academy.

8. Displacement: A Travelogue by Lucy Knisley – Another of Knisley’s work which hit a bit closer to home when she goes on a cruise with her ageing grandparents (her grandmother most of the time forgets who Lucy is) and takes care of them. It makes me think about my parents, growing old and losing independence. I can’t see myself beyond 50.

9. Winter by Marissa Meyer – I was so happy to finally finish this because I liked and hated this book. I really don’t like to read non-stand alone books especially when it has been a while since I read the last one. I was struggling a little with the past details but then it hit me, I hate the romance in this series. In the first two books the romance was bearable but then it got awful in Cress. Why did all the leading four characters have to be paired off? They were much interesting when they were not together with their significant other. There is this ridiculous scene wherein Cress and Thorne come into terms with their relationship right in the middle of infiltrating Levanna’s castle! Every time Winter was with Jacin, she was all mushy but then when she was with Scarlet she was able to confront several troops of genetically modified soldiers. In summary the romance irritated the hell out of me. Kai who I used to find pretty useless finally pulls himself together and Iko was sometimes irritating. I think the book was too long, too many things happening that I don’t particularly care about. However the best thing about the series is that I always forget that these are fairy tale retellings, sometimes I get caught up with where the story is heading before I realize again that these are based on fairy tales. I am glad the series is over and there is no way I will reread it again.

10. Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg – This is a must read for all working women. I wish I read something like this 8 years ago or even during my first job. This made me understand why I sometimes feel like I am stuck in this job. Is it too late for me to make any changes?

11. Vader’s Little Princess by Jeffrey Brown – A cute breather from the books that I have been reading. Any Star Wars fan will get the humor.

12. I Hate Fairyland Vol 1: Madly Ever After by Skottie Young – I picked this up because JeansBookishThoughts mentioned it in a vlog. It was pretty much okay but then when I reached the last page of the volume, I just had to laugh out loud! Also, who doesn’t like the name Darketh Deaddeath?

13. She-Wolves: The Women Who Ruled England Before Elizabeth by Helen Castor – I am always fascinated with unknown royal women who end up as wives in political and economical alliances. This book focuses on women who had the chance to wield power as kings of England, some of them were not successful while others had to compromise. Some of these histories have influenced A Song of Ice and Fire. If you were disgusted by Ramsay’s setting his hounds on his stepbrother and half brother, those things happened several hundred years ago. The book was very readable but there was a time that I got a headache especially with the names, it was necessary to go back every few pages or review the family trees. Which Henry are we talking about now?

14. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness – Despite the title this is not a horror story. A good middle grade read interspersed with moody graphics.

15. Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates – I would be lying if I understood more than 1/5th of the book. There were just names and events that relate to the African-American experience that I have no background in. However there were glimpses that allowed me to understand the racism that exists in America. I would have better understood this if I were an American.

16. The Revenant: A Novel of Revenge by Michael Punke – I heard a lot of negative comments on this, most from those who read the book after watching the movie. This book needs to be read on its own merit because it is different from the movie. Glass did not crawl into the belly of a dead horse and he did not kill Fitzgerald! However this book is a fictionalized account of Glass’ story which has somehow become a sort of legend. When I was reading, I was amazed by the back story of the four main characters but then the author explained that the book is a fictionalized account, some characters are made up while others are real. Nobody knows the real story except that Hugh Glass was attacked by a grizzly bear and his companions left him behind and he somehow managed to survive all of it. I enjoyed the concise writing, no meandering descriptions of wilderness (I would rather watch that on screen).

April 28, 2016

Books I Have Read (April 2016)

Filed under: Books — Tags: — rvchua @ 7:07 am

1. The Snowman by Jo Nesbo – It feels good to read something gritty after several light murder mysteries. Actually exhilirating is the more apt description. I skipped yoga after work so I could finish this. Harry Hole is a bastard but I trust his instincts when it comes to murder. The bad thing is that this is the only Nesbo I have!

2. Red Rising by Pierce Brown – This is YA, right? The best way to describe this is an episode of SG1 + The Matrix + The Hunger Games + ancient Rome. It was filled with tropes but somehow worked well and were not to cheesy. There were some parts that I enjoyed but the book wasn’t that amazing that I would want to read the other two books of the trilogy.

3. Parnassus on Wheels by Christopher Morley – This was a short, sweet story however there were parts where the tone felt preachy or dated.

4. Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor – A scifi fiction with genocide, weaponized rape, female circumcision and roles of men and women. Yes, it is not an easy read and can be disturbing. I thought it was set in contemporary Africa but the technology is different and no longer common. There were times that I didn’t understand the main character’s decisions, she is quick to anger, impulsive, etc. However this book is highly original and very readable and it will make you think for days.

5. Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld – I was more than a quarter into the book before I realized that I already read this. I forgot that the third book is Goliath (which I haven’t read) not Behemoth. Since I read this almost 6 years ago, it would be nice to read again. Did Alek discover that Daryl is actually Deryn? I can’t remember!

6. Love, Loss, and What We Ate: A Memoir by Padma Lakshmi – A very well written autobiography on her life, loves and food. My favorite parts are her childhood memories in India, especially those associated with food. Lakshimi has been very truthful about her relationships though her preferences made me wonder (wealthy, powerful, older men). Another interesting part of her life is her struggle with endometriosis, despite having access of the best doctors, she was diagnosed late and her reproductive system was already ravaged. It would be interesting to read the other side of the story,

7. The Nose by Nikolai Gogol – My first Gogol and I am not exactly sure if liked it or not.

8. All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation by Rebecca Traister – This seemed to take forever to finish however this is highly recommended for all women, particularly those who are single. It introduced me to some viewpoints that I have never considered before. Though the book focuses on the developments in the US, it is still applicable to all modern women in the world.

9. Voracious: A Hungry Reader Cooks Her Way through Great Books by Cara Nicoletti, Marion Bolognese (Illustrations) – What is there not to like about books and food? Though I wasn’t completely blown away, I enjoyed it. I was putting off reading this because I was afraid to have food cravings in the middle of the night! Though I have read some of the books mentioned, I didn’t recall a lot of the food scenes. The only food scenes I remember in books are those in Haruki Murakami’s, though I don’t remember the details I am always fascinated that despite the weird happenings the main character always finds time to clean and make a simple meal. Also, I always remember when the characters go to Dunkin Donuts!

10. The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell – A well-written novel of first contact headed by Jesuits in a planet in Alpha Centauri. What seemed to be a series of events blessed by God eventually becomes doomed. The book touches about science, faith, linguistics, anthropology and family. Just reading it makes me understand why it won a lot of awards. There is a sequel but I am not interested to read it. When it was finally revealed what happened, I kept thinking about Star Trek’s Prime Directive.

March 29, 2016

Books I Have Read (March 2016)

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — rvchua @ 4:17 am
  1. Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives by Gretchen Rubin – This was a better and more enlightening book than Rubin’s first one (The Happiness Project). I want to read this again so that I can find ways to change my habit of eating junk food. Overall an interesting book and hopefully I can make of good use in the near future
  2. Up and Down Stairs: The History of the Country House Servant by Jeremy Musson – Picking up this book was a no-brainer especially with my love for Downton Abbey and Lucy Worsley’s History of the Home.
  3. A Rule Against Murder by Louise Penny – Another quick read while I take a break from all the non-fiction. Gamache and his squad is the most-well fed murder investigators in literary fiction! Surprisingly I liked this a bit better than the previous three books. Maybe it was the complicated family dynamics of the Morrows?
  4. The Brutal Telling by Louise Penny – I found the ending a bit confusing, was that really it? Still, I am planning to read the rest of the Three Pines books that I have on hand, three more to go!
  5. Bury Your Dead by Louise Penny – A continuation of the previous murder, a terrorist attack and a murder steeped in the first settlement of Quebec. The series has finally started to pick up with book four though the last one’s ending confused me but then was finally explained in this one!
  6. A Trick of the Light by Louise Penny – I liked this a bit less than the last one but very good character development in Beauvoir. I am only one book away from completing this series.
  7. The Beautiful Mystery by Louise Penny – This is the last book that I have from the series. I was a bit annoyed with Gamache and Beauvoir here, I know that they had zero religious background but there were times they came off as superior to the monks. I am sorely tempted to only give 3 stars to all the books in the series. All of them were quick reads and has improved by the fourth book but I don’t have any desire to read these again.
  8. Illuminae by Amie Kaufman – I came across a lot of youtubers loving this book. It was a YA book that used of transcripts of instant messages, memos, etc. to convey the story. However the book was just an amalgam of tropes that worked well but wasn’t enticing for me to care about the sequel. It is Battlestar Galactica meets 2001: A Space Oddysey meets Hackers.
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