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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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Life Lately

Hello, Readers.

I turned 43 last Saturday. Instead of a big birthday bash (which never happens, anyway. Lol.), I opted to drag my family to my city’s contribution to the Resistance. Winnipeg Walk for Human Rights’ main purpose was to let the world know that our city, our province, our country is open to everyone. It was also our way of walking hand in hand with our Muslim brethren especially in light of what happened in Quebec. I can’t say enough about how much I appreciate the country where I live in right now. We are progressive and our sitting provincial administration, though, Conservatives still care about the very foundation this country on which it was built.

I was sure that I would get grief from my family for marching in below 10-degree weather, but actually, they expressed their gratitude for having “forced” them to go. It’s great to be out and be a part of the community for once and ever since then, my husband and I have been talking about politics more and more. I greatly appreciate this newfound point of interest because the last year and a half or so had been frustrating for me. Literally no one in my family wanted to talk about politics so I have been involved in way too many social media debates which weren’t fun at first because I was letting it get to me. Nowadays, I’ve developed a much thicker skin so trolls don’t bother me anymore.

This is me. I didn’t have a pink toque (beanie, for you Americans) so this is my version of it. I did wear a bright pink scarf, though. The walk wasn’t very far but it was certainly a cold day. And then afterwards, my husband took me to the bookstore for my birthday treat. I picked up quite a few books which I will share on my Hoarders post sometime next week.

The walk was great. I was mostly in a reflective mood. I was able to think about how different this birthday has been for me in comparison to the previous ones I’ve had. I’ve matured in some ways and regressed in some and I’m okay with that because it’s me, all me and I don’t have to be sorry for anything. I’m looking forward to what life has in store for me.

Come at me, bro.

 

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2017: The Year of Reading Religiously

I think it’s safe to say that 2016 was when I hoarded all the books. I’ve gotten a steady supply from publishers, bought all the books I wanted to buy, re-discovered Book Outlet with great fervour, and in the hopes of reading some pretty stale-dated books in my TBR, picked up duplicate copies of said books in audio form. I must say that I’ve considerably curbed my requests from Net Galley – so that’s progress. But the buying of physical copies still is an incurable addiction.

I don’t think I can remember a time when I bought so much books than I have in 2016. And that’s not good news if you consider the number of books I read this year. So I’m making a concerted effort to read more in the coming year. I will not be inundated by a certain number, though. I will keep my goal of 150 (which I’ve done for the last 4 years) but I will try my best not to fall into a rut.

Goals, Reminders, and Things To Do

  • If I’m not hooked by the 3rd chapter, I’ll move on.
  • I will try to keep a better handle on the books I receive for review (i.e. be aware of the publishing dates)
  • Be more honest with the publishers, publicists, and authors. If the book doesn’t interest me, I MUST graciously decline.
  • Stay the fuck away from bookstores. SERIOUSLY.
  • Un-haul some books by selling them. I would donate them, but I could use the cash.
  • I’m going to armed myself. If I have to go to the bookstore, I’ll read the reviews on Goodreads before I buy. This is like going to shop for clothes and never trying on any of the stuff before I buy it: a disastrous and a nasty habit of mine.
  • Read more prized literature. I know, I know. This is not that is something most people with whom they aspire, but I really think I’ve grown as a reader this year. And that’s not only because I’ve gotten tired of the usual books but 2016 is the year that I’ve become more engaged in/aware of socially relevant issues. I think it’s time.
  • BookTube is an evil vice I must quit. Ugh.
  • Read more non-fiction books.
  • I need to cross-post reviews more regularly. I’ve been pretty good with posting reviews on Goodreads, but I’m severely lacking in posting on Amazon and Chapters.

These are just some of the things I want to work on for 2017. I’ve done my share of imparting my New Year goals and aspirations, but considering how 2016 made a basket case out of me, I’m using that as the flint to set my 2017 on fire.

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Confessions of An Addict [45]: What My Kids Are Reading

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From time to time, I’m able to coerce my kids (and sometimes my husband) for a feature post. I’ve done this particular one before where I talked about my kids’ reading taste at the moment. I thought I’d revisit and actually see what they’ve recently read, or currently reading.

My 15-year-old daughter recently picked up a book about a girl orphaned as a child and whose uncle sold into a prostitution ring afterwards. It’s all kinds of heartbreaking, to be honest. And I’m equally in awe and a little nervous with her choice. But I trust her and since I’ve never been one to censure, we’ll see how it goes. I’m not gonna lie, I actually like the sound of this book. I might just borrow it from her when she’s done.

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On my last post, I’ve mentioned that my son has never been one to read a story book. So on his last book order before school ended for the summer, he ordered a Minecraft strategy book. I don’t know why considering he hasn’t played Minecraft in a while. I asked him this question but he only shrugged and said, “it’s interesting”.

I’m always curious to see what other people are reading. Admittedly, my kids don’t read as often as I’d like but I’m trying to get them to read at their own pace. You can’t force these things. Today more than ever, I’m reminded of my failure to expose them to Harry Potter books as soon as they’re able to read at that level. Because I’ve noticed that kids who grew up reading HP books are the kids that grow up as readers right through adulthood. I’m keeping my hopes alive that they’ll inherit my love for the printed word someday soon.

Were you raised, a reader?

What are your kids reading nowadays?

Books mentioned in this post:

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Confessions of an Addict [45]: My Bloglovin’ Habits

I’ve used quite a few platforms for following blogs over the years. It’s only recently that I found the best one to use. I am a big fan of Bloglovin’ because it’s so easy to go through my feed. Today, I’d like to talk about MY BLOGLOVIN’ ETIQUETTES. And just to be clear, this is not the general rules. These are MY RULES. So before anyone gets affronted, let’s just establish that first and foremost.

I  don’t discriminate.

If you’re not a book blogger and you follow me, I follow you back. I feel like if you’re nice enough to seek me out and follow me, the least thing I could do is to see what you’ve been up to as well. In the last few months, I’ve been getting followers that are from the beauty and fashion blogosphere. I enjoy reading or watching their how-tos. Outfits of the day posts are fun because I get ideas on how to dress on my own in the morning. Haha. Putting makeup on, though, is a different story. There are not enough tutorials in the world to teach me – I’d always end up looking like Ronald McDonald’s sister. It’s a big world out there with lots to see, learn and experience. So I try not to limit the things that I read from day to day. Though I must say that if you are a fashion and makeup blogger, you’re probably wondering why I don’t contribute much to your post by commenting. Well, let’s just say that I’m an idiot when it comes to those two points of interest. And any comments I may add would be assinine. But hey, keep doing you and ignore me.

I don’t follow blogs.

That is to say,  I don’t follow blogs unless I know the blogger or they follow me first. I know that’s kind of contradictory to my first statement, but let me clarify that. It’s not snobbery, per se. But it’s a matter of laziness. I don’t sift through Bloglovin’ members and decide to mass-follow every single book blogs around. But if you follow me, you can guarantee I’ll follow you. How to keep me as a follower, however,  depends entirely up to you, really.  Some bloggers are under the misconception that creating a readership base begins and ends when you gain followers. It doesn’t. You actually have to work for it. In the same way that you want to know people are reading your blog posts, you need to let them know you appreciate their well-thought out opinions on things. Which brings me to the next guideline:

 I believe in reciprocity.

I am the kind of blogger who generally reciprocate on comments left on my posts. Even if I’m not following your blog or vice versa. Blog relationships are formed through a series of back and forths. I don’t wait for new followers to comment on my posts. In fact, on the same day you follow me, I check your blog and comment on your newest post just to establish a communication between us. It’s my way of saying, thanks for following.

I comment once and disappear.

But if you don’t send me a hey back, you probably won’t be seeing me ever again. That’s just the way my ball rolls. This is what happens to new followers who don’t reciprocate my initial contact. I only have time for bloggers who read my posts. I feel like there are a lot more people out there who appreciate what I write, so if you can’t give me the time of day to comment back, chances are, I’m not coming back to read your posts. There are exceptions to this rule, of course. I’ll always be loyal to bloggers that I personally know and with whom I’ve developed a rapport over the years. I also appreciate those people who take the time to say hello on any social media platforms. I’m not that active on Twitter or Facebook, but when I do pop on there once in a while, say hi to me. I’m the loser-looking girl in the corner nursing a rootbeer. I can name a few bloggers that I interacted with on Twitter that I’ve become a loyal reader of their blogs.

I believe you.

We’ve all been there. When we only have time to draft posts, but not enough to visit blogs.  And this is where establishing blogger relationship is so important. Because when you say real life is kicking your ass at the moment, I will believe you. When you say you need a break and I say that I’ll be here, you can bet your last chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream, that I’ll be here waiting for you.

What about you? What’s your Bloglovin’ Personal Rules and Etiquettes?

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Confessions of an Addict [44]: Finishing Unfinished Books

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It’s always been a problem of mine; a sickness that I can’t seem to find a cure for. I’ve read this meme somewhere about all the things you shouldn’t waste your life on and one of those is forcing yourself to finish a book you don’t enjoy.

But I’ve always had a hard time giving up on a book. I’m scared that once I start, my finicky standards would win out and I’ll be stuck with an entire bookshelf of unfinished books. I’m not ashamed to admit that I have over 25 books with bookmarks hanging out of them. And the pressure is building.

ETERNAL OPTIMIST OF THE LITERARY KIND.

I have a whole slew of reasons why I started then stopped. Not in the least of which is out of boredom. I have no qualms giving up on a book that doesn’t hold my interest. But therein lies the crux of the problem. I am an eternal optimist when it comes to books. I like to give them a chance even if the writing is subpar or the story isn’t quite as exciting or interesting as I first thought it to be. I believe in my ability to pick a good book (some days).  I believe that once upon a time, there was a reason why I bought that book. I am a firm believer of reading the full book then giving it the review it deserves – good or bad. But I end up with a shelf-full of unfinished, bookmarked books.

HOUSE OF BOOKS

One of the things that add to this conundrum is that I live in a house full of books. As in, I have books everywhere: bedroom, living room, hallways, kitchen. Most of the time, I pick up a book whenever I find myself in any random room in my house. I start them, put them down, and voila! Another unfinished book in the pile.  And since the TBR is reproducing like rabbits, there are always new books arriving at the scene. Who could resist picking up the new, shiny thing? Sometimes, I think I have an undiagnosed attention disorder. Because I can’t focus on one thing before I move on the next.

SO WHAT DO I DO?

In the words of a certain ice princess, I need to learn to let it go. I will give these books one more try. Every night, I’m going to pick up one book from my pile. If it holds my interest, I’ll read as much of it as I can. And if not, I’m going to have to learn to let shit go. I can’t hold on to these books like they’re my lifeline, or that I owe it to the universe to finish them simply because I started them. I need to learn to stop feeling guilty over missed review deadline or hating the book that was sent to me for review. Because if it’s not there, it’s not there, you know?

AUDIBLE IS OFFICIALLY MY BFF

My new employers don’t mind it if I’m listening to a book while I’m working. So in the event that a book in my pile actually grabbed my attention, I’ll download a copy of it if my budget allows it. I’ve never been one to shy from owning duplicate copies (and editions, for that matter) of a book, so if it’ll help me curb this growing problem, hell yes, I’m downloading that sucker!

These little tips are not only for my own gain. I’ve shared it with you if you are having the same problem. Let’s hope I’ll practice what I preach and finally finish these books in my pile! Wish me luck. 😀

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Confessions of an Addict [43]: Guilt

In a world full of books, a reader can feel incredibly guilty about a lot of things:

  • Guilt for reading books that are more “brain-candy” than “brain-food”.
  • Guilt for falling in love with a character that you would, in normal circumstances, abhor ten-folds.
  • Guilt for completely missing the deeper message about the book because you were more focused on the smoldering eyes of a man who looked fantastic in an Armani suit.
  • Guilt for comparing your sex life with those of the characters’ on any given Erotica book (Oh don’t judge. I’m sure we’ve all been there, too).
  • Guilt for not being sympathetic to a character’s plight because of your inability to empathize with their situation (just what kind of monster are you?!).
  • Guilt for not fully appreciating an author’s world-building skills because you simply don’t get the Fantasy genre or the sterile environment of a Sci-Fi space odyssey.
  • Guilt for feeling jealous because someone had written the story you wished you had written.
  • Guilt for whenever you share the popular opinion over a book is another step towards obsolescence (to quote Murakami, “If you only read the book that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone is thinking.”).
  • Guilt for writing a bad review on a book that was sent to you by the author/publisher/publicist (this one is a doozy).
  • Guilt for not reading fast enough (fuck the TBR shelf!).

And these are just some of the many guilt that burdens us, readers. Let’s not even talk about the guilt we all feel as bloggers. Lordy. That will probably require a two-part post.  I’m a Catholic. The very foundation of our religion is based on guilt. We’re taught that if we don’t follow the Holy Rules, we’re doomed to eternal hell. We’re taught that if we don’t love our brethren as God love us all, we’ll never see the Gates of Heaven. So you see? I know a thing or two about guilt.

But how do you deal with all these feelings?

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Not a damn thing.

Unless you want to hate blogging and the very reason why you started blogging altogether (BOOKS, man. Books), you’re gonna want to check that guilt by the door. Because life is too damn short to care about what others will think about you. Honesty and credibility are important traits to have before you go on and decide to be a keyboard warrior. We are our own persons. Who cares if you like popular fiction? Who cares if pirates and ladies with heaving bosoms are the kind of kink you adore? Trust me when I say, guilt is what will suck the life out of the very thing you love. So go on, child. 

Don’t sell yourself out.
Don’t sell yourself short.

Be the best version of yourself without lying through your teeth.

Because the most important thing is that you don’t change the way you are just to please everybody else.

Source: FEELINGS

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Confessions of an Addict [42]: Hard Decisions

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As most of you would know, I’ve been plagued with so many upheavals in my life lately. From walking away from a job for 14 years to failing at a couple of placements, let’s just say, it’s been rough. Well, here’s another that had been so difficult to make.

Last weekend, we decided to put up our cabin for sale. It was a sad day, but I felt like we had to do it so we can stop worrying about having mortgages when an emergency comes up. I also wanted to simplify our life,  but I don’t know where to start.

The short list according to this article, is to identify what’s important to me and get rid of everything else. That’s easier said than done. You know what I have a lot of? Books, man. Books. I’m sure I’ll work my way to that sometime. For now, I’m looking at the big picture. Big, as in the second home. As much as it’s a wonderful place to have, it is a financial heavyweight that we never had to think about before I quit my old job. But now that I’m starting over again, I thought we needed to reprioritize. It took me days of instigating dialogues with my husband because he wanted to hold on to it as long as we can. Thankfully, he saw some sense in my latest epiphany.

We had some great memories in this place. Lots of family gatherings, camping, great pictures and laughter. But all good things must come to an end. I told my husband that this is really not the end of our dream. It will take us a few years, but I’m pretty sure we’ll be right on track again if we are disciplined enough. I know have to declutter my life, my house, my closet. But I thought I’d start with something as big as an extra mortgage.

Next up: Clothes, designer shoes and purses. Welp.

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Confessions of an Addict [41]: Lonely Reader

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I’ve been lucky enough to have married the most indulgent husband in the world. He understands my passion in everything. All through the years that I’ve known him, he’s always been receptive of whatever it is that’s got me salivating. In some instances, he’s able to share my passion. Case in point, Kings of Leon. If the band is on tour, he finds an unchartered US city where they’re playing and would book us a jaunt for that particular weekend. I’ve also shared his passion for the San Diego Chargers. For a weekend in September or October, we fly to California to see them play.

But for the last few years, I’m all about the books. You all can attest to this. As much as I love him for doing everything he can to help me prosper in my latest obsession, there is one thing that I want us to love mutually, and that is reading. Don’t get me wrong, he does read. He’s just more interested in current events and sports rather than fiction. I asked him once what was the last book he read and he sheepishly replied that he couldn’t remember.

A few weeks ago, I tried to get him to read The Passage by Justin Cronin. I thought that if I can find something that he could perhaps like, it could possibly stir up his love of reading again. When he was a boy of 6, he’d read comics and the newspaper. He’d tell me that he used to save his allowance just to buy comics on the weekend; and that he used to split the newspaper with his dad. I suppose that’s where his preference for current events originated from, and that he now have a pretty good collection of comics to bestow on our son.

I share all my frustrations and gushing about whatever it was I’m reading with him. I tell him when a book is “shit” or when a book is the “best thing I’ve ever read”. Sometimes, I’ll  voice out my annoyance with a character who can’t seem to use their head in the book. Or he’ll acquiesce with me when a certain plot point doesn’t make sense. But even with all that, I still wish we’re able to debate about it all; when he can agree or disagree with because he read the same book. I think it would be nice to that. For someone to bounce ideas with.

One time, I just about ripped his clothes off because he mentioned reading The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams. I think I said, oh my God, baby. You’re so hot right now. I mean seriously, is there anything hotter than a well-read man? I am keeping my hopes alive that someday soon, when we’re both retired and old, we’ll be sitting on our own rocking chairs and enjoying the silence in the company of our books.

 Is your partner/spouse a reader like you? 

 

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Confessions of an Addict [40]: Tantric Reading

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Tantric reading: a state of stupefaction, hypnosis, and immersion in the printed word.   When the real world just fades away and the novel transports a reader to a time suspended, and they become witnesses to an event unfolding before their eyes. Some books have this wondrous ability, and  some books can pull time in a taffy-like motion that all a reader want to do is to go back to that moment before they picked up that book in the first place.  Admittedly, it’s been a while since I’ve had the time and dedication to just sit in one spot and read for hours.

According to Guiness World Records, the longest time a person has spent reading is 113 hours and 15 minutes. He read 17 books from 13 different authors in one sitting. That’s reading aloud. I wonder if he had any voice left after his attempt? This had me thinking about how nice it would be if we had no distractions in life. If our kids aren’t coming to us constantly with demands that we feed them, or help them find a missing shirt or socks? Or that we all have the capabilities to ignore all the basic body necessities such as eating, drinking and going to the bathroom?

Indeed, it would be easy, isn’t it? If we don’t have responsibilities or if life is one big vacation? This week, I’ve been trying to do just that. Unfortunately, none of the books I brought with me is holding my attention. It is now fourth day of my vacation. I have not finished a book. But I’ve not lost all hope. Today, we’re driving back to the city where I’m more comfortable reading in my bedroom.

I suppose there are so many factors for achieving that reading zen. But real life is one big distraction. It’s almost impossible to say, ” I read this book in one sitting”. Like, literally ONE SITTING. Where you don’t move from your spot to go have a drink of water or use the bathroom facilities. Unless you’re hooked up to an IV and sporting a comfortable caterer, I suppose all you can say is, “practically in one sitting”.

When was the last time you were in a “reading nirvana”?

 

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