The Comment Section


Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
And our hearts, though stout and brave,
Still, like muffled drums, are beating
Funeral marches to the grave.

(From A Psalm of Life, Henry Wordsworth Longfellow)

This is Longfellow basically telling y’all that life is short so don’t waste it. Yesterday, I found myself engaging in a debate on social media again. Sometimes, I get by with a shrug of my shoulder and move on. But there are times when I let it get to me. Yesterday was the latter. Which sucks because it ruins my day completely. Do you remember when you started caring about politics? I was thinking about that on Sunday when I was strolling the aisles of the grocery store. I remember going to Arizona with my hubby years ago and engaging with the service car driver about American politics. Fortunately for me, we shared the same opinions. Her son was serving in the military and was gay. (I was surprised when she shared this to me as well). Her family was happy that President Barrack Obama was pursuing the elimination of “Don’t ask, Don’t Tell” rule. I don’t really remember how we got started talking about politics, to be honest. Anyway, just a great example of why we shouldn’t readily dismiss a person because of their political opinions. You don’t know who’s behind the keyboard or their motivation as to why they voted one way or another.

I think it was Lin-Manuel who said as a reminder to “not get stuck in the comment section of your daily life”. And the worst way to do that is to waste a beautiful day in a war of words with some unknown person hundreds of miles away from you.

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Confessions of an Addict [33]: Judge Me Not by the Stars I Gave

Brace yourself.  Gifs ahead.

Once upon a time, I was one of those sanctimonious people who’d been notoriously judgemental of readers who loved every single thing they  read.  Because how is every book that’s ever crossed their shelves of a 5 or a 4 star rating variety? C’est impossible!  But then I got to thinking, if a person is meticulous about their reading preferences, this may not be as impossible as I orginally thought. If they’re very specific about the books they buy, isn’t it possible that there’s an 80% chance they’ll love everything? Or perhaps if they’re not an impulsive book buyer like me,  they might just be better at knowing what to read than I?

So here I am firing back another question.  How can you trust someone who hates everything that she reads? Unfortunately, that’s where I’m at right now. My choices have been nothing but lacklustre than I’m left feeling disillusioned about the books on my shelves. Sometimes, it almost feels like I seek ways to find faults in them, which, of course is not true at all.

It has been a bleak reading stretch. And frankly, I’m getting pretty sick of my self. These 1 and 2 star-ratings do nothing to promote the love of reading. All it does is scare away potential lovers of books that I’ve lambasted on the blog. Okay, maybe lambasted is too strong of a word.

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The thing is, I’ve been trying to diversify my reading choices. I figure if I switch between YA and Adult Fiction intermittently, I’m bound to find that fantastic read that has eluded me as of late. So far, it’s been a bust.

I go by instincts when I’m at the bookstore. I’m always looking to test and expand my reading taste. I can’t be stuck at a certain aisle and peruse the same type of books because I know  it will get boring in no time. So the dictates of how I pick books have been sporadic.

But things had been so dire lately that I’m considering reading some  raunchy Erotica just to spice things up a little. Those that I tend to take pleasure in reading (don’t judge me!), but will  never admit to enjoying.

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And I do. I really, really do. But it’s been a struggle. It’s been depressing, actually. I’m sitting here thinking that all this hatred has to be counterproductive with the very reason I started blogging in the first place. I’m here to promote the love of reading. I’m not here to crush a person’s dream by writing a 500-600 word essay on how much their book sucked. But if I consider credibility and how translating those ire into a blog post have helped keep my sanity, I feel a lessening of guilt.

All I can infer is that I have to do what I have to do to remain honest, and that I can’t help it if I suck at picking good books to read. It’s a trial and error, you see? The risk of what I have to go through in order to broaden my reading horizon.

Though every time I’m near my bookshelf, I can’t help but throw a prayer or a plea.

For the love of God, give me something good to read!

please

Gifs sources: Tumblr | With Her Nose Stuck in a Book | Romance Thread

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Photo Vomit [#11]: A Well-Worn Book

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Finding books at a used book store could be just as fascinating as the story it holds.

I always assume that if someone bought a book, they are in essence, a book lover to the extreme. Don’t get me wrong. A book lover who borrows books from the library is just as crazy over books. But someone who spends money on a book is one who truly appreciates ownership; and seeing them lined up on a shelf is like looking at new born babies on the other side of the nursery room. So when I see books that were donated to a thrift shop, I often wondered why they gave them up.

Besides for want to create a space in an exploding book case, and all the philanthropic reasons one may have, do you ever think that owner had another motive?

Perhaps it’s Spring. And the owner woke up one day with a new lease on life. New perspective. Clean slate.

Maybe the story reminded them too much of a painful past.

Maybe the idea of reading about a pair of solemn brown eyes stabs them right in the chest.

Maybe the owner bought it on a day when she met someone special for coffee that led to a bookstore jaunt…a walk in the park…dinner…something more? Months later, they can hardly stand to look at each other’s eyes?

Perhaps it’s the romantic in me who reads more into a reader’s reasons. But I’d like to think that the world is full of readers who love their books so much that they can’t bear to part with them. At least, when left with no choice, and that the only reason why is to save themselves the remembrance of a heartache.

I digress.

This book, for example, looks so worn; and well-loved. It made me wonder how many owners it’s gone through since it found its way to the thrift shop? Or how many times it’s been read until its original owner decided to give it up? How many hands flipped through these pages before they decided, “I don’t want to spend $3 for this.”

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This book also bears scars: nicks and curled pages. I wondered if the owner got so frustrated with the story that she or he threw it across the room in a fit of discontent and fury?

It also bears evidence that the pages got soaked.

Perhaps she was taking a bath, with her mobile on vibrate sitting listlessly on the bathroom floor. She was waiting for a call, or a text message, you see?. And when it beeped, she scrambled, and proceeded to drop the novel in the tub.

“Shit! Shit!” she says. Then picks it up, and tries to salvage the waterlogged pages.

These are the kind of things I think about when I stand in the aisle of a used book store. I must admit that it’s becoming their foremost draw.

Do you think about such things when you hold a used book in your hands?

Do you look at it and wonder, what’s your story?

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Confessions of an Addict [26]: Lazaretta?

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“My dear, find what you love and let it kill you. Let it drain you of all. Let it cling onto your back and weigh you down into an eventual nothingness. Let it kill you and devour your remains. For all things will kill you, both slowly, and fastly, but it’s much better to be killed by a lover. ” – Falsely Yours by Charles Bukowski.

Some of you are probably wondering where I’ve been the last few weeks, huh? Well, aside from my constant whining about work and my inability to find the right balance between all the stuff that I do outside of blogging and reading, the tap has been opened. This is pretty much what’s been occupying my life at the moment. I’ve been writing – not stories, mind you. But poems. If you follow my Instagram account or my Tumblr, you would know that poetry has commandeered what little spare time I have. This thing, unfortunately is like a virus, but one that is a welcome infection. It has no cure or remedy. All I can do is to let it run its course. You also can’t force it. If you have to force it out of you, then it’s probably shit. I think Charles Bukowski said the same thing as well. Brilliant man.

I remember a post I did a while ago complaining about my muse being a cold-hearted wench who’d so cruelly abandoned me. And now, she seems to have come back in full force. I try not to suppress it, though. And it’s not like I can. I tried to remember what prompted this sudden burst of inspiration, and everything points to this lovely typewriter. It works like a charm and the clickity-clack sound it makes is music to my ears. Sometimes, I’ll sit there and type nonsensical stuff just because I want to hear it. I’m worried though. If I ran out of ribbon, does that mean my poems will stop writing itself?

What about you? What do you do outside of reading and blogging?

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Confessions of an Addict [25]: Biting Off More Than I Can Chew.

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You all know how you’ve seen very little of me lately. I’ve been trying, little by little to catch up. At the last count (as of this writing) my Bloglovin’ posts to read stand at 1786. No word of a lie. So last week, at the risk of losing my job, I threw caution to the wind and decided to take a mini-vacation. I took Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday off. Though my main purpose was to spend some time with my husband and kids, I also wanted to catch up on blogging, reading, reviewing. It didn’t quite work out as I’d hoped.

Reviewing books have been hard; it’s like pulling teeth most days. Reading is another matter though. I’m glad I haven’t been on a reading slump. It’s the opposite, actually.  But now, I’ve got several books to be reviewed. The cherry on top was when Syrie James sent me a message on Facebook thanking me for joining the blog tour for her book that’s coming out on August 5th. Then I said, what blog tour? I believe she could tell the anxious stutter of my reply. In my defence, I never did get her book to review so I thought the publicist had already filled up my date. But then I went back to my emails and realize, that yes, I suck. I signed up to review her book on August 1st! Everything’s okay now  though. Nita of Penguin sent me an e-ARC. So don’t forget to pop in on my stop. It’s called,  Jane Austen’s First Love. I’m really excited to read it.

A month or so ago (you know, when I used to have a life), I saw a blog post over at Nyx Book Reviews about her love for The Black Dagger Brotherhood series by J.R. Ward. I commented on her post that I too, share the love. She is hosting an event all summer long dedicated to all things BDB. I thought, hey. This is a good idea. So then I offered to do a post , which is really not all that bad, considering I’ve read and re-read some of these books. It should be a breeze. However, I’m the idiot who thought to make it harder for myself by offering to do a post about why Phury’s book is not getting enough love. So now, I have this grave task of re-reading a book that I didn’t really like and figure out all the reasons why his book sucked. Oh! And I have less than two days to do it. Can you say, cram?

I don’t know how y’all do this. I just can’t keep up! Can you imagine if publishers actually like me? Can you imagine if I have the same impulses for requesting ARCs as I do with my book buying binges? I think I get it now; I see the benefits of having a co-blogger. Some days, I’ve thought about quitting. Just because I need some time to enjoy all these lovely books in my shelves. But I’m unable to do it. Because above all things, I like writing out my thoughts on the books that I’ve read. Granted, they’re not all prolifically written. I still like having an outlet for my thoughts. And to me, that’s important.

 

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I Have No Words Today.

photo-8 Actually, I haven’t had any words for the last few weeks. I haven’t written any poems nor have I attempted to do any Black Out Poetry even. This is not writer’s block. This is a complete shut-down of my capacity to write. Every time I attempt to write something, I’m immediately overcome by feelings of inadequacy and over all failure. I hate when that happens.

This time, it’s brutal; because my words just end up looking listlessly tiresome. I’m starting to feel a bit exhausted with all the attempts that I’ve done. This is actually an exercise to see if inspiration would come; a way to smash my away out of this tiny room without doors and windows. And since this blog is pretty much a diary or personal journal of sorts, I thought I’d go ahead and vent.

I don’t think I’ve mentioned it before, but I’m an accountant without a designation. I recently took over my former boss’ job; so in essence, I handle the financial and managerial position for the company that I’ve worked twelve years for. I wanted to mention it because in the past two weeks, I’ve had to deal with the process of re-doing financial statements for the new president. I’ve lived, breathed, and would probably have died seeing numbers everywhere had it not been for the books that I escaped to when I can manage. I think this is also the reason I’m stuck right now. This is really frustrating. It feels like my brain is literally forgetting how to string words to form a decent poem. Because when you can’t do the thing you love the most, and the only thing stopping you is yourself, what is the point?

Thanks for reading. I hope you’re having a great weekend.

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Solo at The Strand Bookstore

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This is the probably the last post of my New York trip (unless I get inspired to write some more). I don’t really like taking pictures of myself but I thought this is as good a time as any. This was me prowling the shelves of Strand Bookstore; 18 miles of used, new, and rare books housed in a three-floor character building. In short, it was my personal heaven; and a fruition of a dream. You might think it lame, but yes. I’ve always wanted to visit Strand for a personal reason, and I knew that this is probably the only chance I will have, so I’m really glad I did.

As for a BEA recap, I’m sure you will get your fill of those type of posts in the days to come, so I’m not going to bother. But here are the things I’ve learned:

  1. I can say no to ARCs. Just because the books are free, doesn’t mean I must pick them up. I was surprised with the self-control I’ve displayed.
  2. I was fine with not being able to pick up the books that I’ve most coveted (Landline, for example). Because the truth is, after I’d gone back to the hotel and saw the piles I’ve gotten, I realized I will never be able to read them all. I’m honest enough to admit that.
  3. Acquiring those free books isn’t as easy as I thought it would be. You need efficient organization and time management. Be prepared to wait in line.
  4. Now that I’ve gone, I don’t think I will be going back in the foreseeable future. I think it’s one of those experiences where you’ll either really love it, or you’ll absolutely hate it. I, on the other hand, couldn’t see myself going and reliving the daily exhaustion of the entire thing in the near future.
  5. I will go back to New York, though. I’ve fallen  in love with the city’s energy, no matter how hectic. New York City is inspirational, if you can believe it.

Just so you know, I am probably going to skip posting a BEA book haul. I will have my Hoarders up this weekend with all the books I’ve gotten in the last two weeks. These will be books from publishers and the books I bought from New York.

Thanks for reading!

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The Vertical City

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I haven’t been able to take much pictures of this city. This trip has been mostly about books, authors and sore feet. As much as those have been fun, I’m disappointed that I haven’t fully taken advantage of the loads of photo-opportunity this city has to offer. I have taken so few, but I must admit how beautiful some of the pictures turned out. This is the view from the Top of the Rock (Rockefeller Centre), which shows a faint visual of the tip of Manhattan Island. I am terrified of heights; so the whole time I was up there, I stayed at a great distance from the glass partition.

New York thrums with energy from the inside and out; from top to bottom. People move at a constant speed; you can’t sit idly by or you will get lost in the stream. This is even more prevalent if you find yourself frozen in the lit melee of Times Square.

Oddly enough, and as chaotic New York has been, this place has turned me into a contemplative tourist. This city has made me self-aware; even more so than usual. I learned that I’m much too dependent on the people around me; that I cannot survive without asking anyone for help.  At forty years old, I am still, and probably will always be an introvert who freezes at the thought of walking into a roomful of people on my own. I suck as a human being; I expect people to talk to me instead of making the initiative myself. I did warn you that my on-line personality is more gregarious than in real life. So as much as you’ve been disappointed in me, I am more disappointed in myself.

I think this will be it for now, I may or may not do an in-depth recap of the BEA events. I’m sorry if I haven’t visited your blog lately but I will be going back to regular programming next week.

 

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Love and Other Foreign Words by Erin McCahan

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“I have never said ‘I love you’ to anyone. So they get upset or mad – usually both – and break up with me.”

“You never said ‘I love you’ to a single girlfriend?”

“Never.”

“Why not?”

“Because I intend to say it to only one person. When I’m sure. When the time is right.” He leans closer and smiles just a little. “And when I can predict with certainty what your response will be.”

And he kisses me – gently and lingering.


I love this book. I read this over the weekend at the lake, and thought that it was such a lovely story that a pretty picture is appropriate. There are books where you want to critique it to within an inch of its life, then there books that you want to just appreciate it for how it made it you feel. Love and Other Foreign Words is one of those books that made me feel good; made me grin like a fool. Josie is such a quirky, insightful, unintentionally funny character. She reminds me of Don Tillman; highly inquisitive, intellectual being who manages to be funny without fully intending to be so. 

This book also achieved being romantic even if the romance was subtle. Figure that out! It’s sweet and awkward, which to me is the perfect combination in a teen contemporary romance.  It wasn’t obvious, and if you were disciplined enough not to take a peek at the ending (unlike me), the romance may even surprise you. I should also mention that parents of all parties are very much present and accounted for, which is almost unheard of, if you ask me. 

The family dynamics is surreal, almost. They’re a close-knit bunch. Though the Bridezilla sister will probably annoy you, as well, Bridezilla’s fiancé. But in the end, you’ll probably forgive them anyway.

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