Unfinished Books

Seriously, I think I have ADD when it comes to books. I was looking at my Kindle yesterday, because I was preparing for a road trip with the family when I realized that I’ve got a couple of books I have yet to finish reading. That’s another thing with the Kindle. Yes, it makes bringing around books much easier, but then it also makes it more convenient to start with another book while you’re in the middle of reading one. I just get so bored with just reading one book at a time nowadays. I just don’t seem to have the patience anymore to just sit down and focus on one. I don’t know why, but that’s it.

My friend, Elaine, and I have been thinking about starting a book club the other day when of course my focus shifted to books and I suddenly remembered all the books that I have yet to finish reading. So I thought I’d make an organized list to remind myself.

LIST OF BOOKS THAT CRISSY HAS YET TO FINISH

1. George R. R. Martin’s A Storm of Swords

Okay, I admit I have also still yet to finish reading A Game of Thrones and A Clash of Kings, but it’s hard when you’ve already seen the first two seasons of Game of Thrones! I don’t know how people can read and watch alongside each other for this series! I just can’t imagine doing it! So before the third season goes on air next year, I endeavor to somehow finish this book. I have a lot of time. I keep saying that. It’s a curse. I say that and the next thing I know it’s the start of the third season already. 😐

2. Cassandra Clare’s Clockwork Prince

Yeah, Cassandra Clare as in the controversial-Harry-Potter-fanfiction-writer Cassandra Clare. At first I was really hesitant to pick up the first book in the series, Clockwork Angel, but then I was on a steam punk curiosity binge and decided to give it a go. I ended up liking it so I started with the second book. I have yet to go far, though. And the covers are pretty. :3 I wish I could get the real books, but alas.

3. William Makepeace Thackeray’s Vanity Fair

Why am I reading this? I’m not usually one for classics like this, especially after the special brand of torture that I experienced through having to plod through Sense and Sensibility in college and other such readings in high school. Well, it’s set in 19th Century England, which was an era that I’ve always been interested in. Plus I’ve seen the movie starring Reese Witherspoon so I thought, “Why not read the novel?” It’s… Easier to read than Austen, which is good enough for me. And Becky Sharp is a bitch, but I can’t help but love her. And in relation to this, I also have…

4. Daniel Pool’s What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew: From Fox Hunting to Whist–the Facts of Daily Life in 19th Century England

I’m a bit of a history geek (and a Hetalia fan) so I find these kind of books interesting at times. Books like this can be a bit boring, though, so I don’t really try to read everything all at once. But yes, this book is awesome and I’ve learned some pretty cool, but useless things, hahaha.

5. David Cordingly’s Under the Black Flag: the Romance and Reality of Life Among Pirates

Because pirates!!! And it was on sale and the cover is cool! Yes, the last two books aren’t Kindle editions but actual books. And I love them both to bits though I have a hard time reading them in one sitting.

6. Niccolo Machiavelli’s The Prince

Another actual book that I have yet to finish reading. I saw this in Powerbooks ages ago and I thought I’d get it because I was curious and it was cheap. It was one of those sales, I think, and I bought this along with some Shakespearean plays. My friend Elaine also recommended the book to me before, so I thought I’d get it. It’s been a long time since I’ve started reading to then consequently abandon this book. Due to an interest on the series The Borgias, however, I find myself wanting to read it again. Maybe it’ll be more exciting to read as I picture Francois Arnaud as The Prince aka Cesare Borgia.

7. Christopher Hibbert’s The Borgias

Of course, there’s this. I also have an Alexandre Dumas account on the Borgia family, but I think that’ll be harder to read. I thought I’d give this a try first. I feel like I need to take notes while I read this book, just so many dates and people to remember.

8. Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief

It’s not exactly a happy book, considering that it’s set during World War II in Germany, but I think it deserves the raves and good reviews it received. It’s probably the subject matter that makes it hard for me to read it continuously. It’s not light reading, that’s for sure.

9. Seth Grahame-Smith’s Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter

Because I’m a nut who likes to cross her historical fiction with horror elements like this. I was really excited to see the movie for this, but unfortunately I wasn’t able to. I actually can’t remember if I started reading the book, but I do have it. It’s all just a matter of sitting down and reading through it, though I have a feeling I’ll be reading this for a while yet.

It seems to be book sale season again and while I may have been holding back on buying books recently, who knows what will happen when I’m faced with on-sale books once I step into book stores. I have been eyeing some books in the Filipiniana section recently and those books are hard to find online. Award-winning authors like Nick Joaquin and Ambeth Ocampo and the newbreed authors like Eros S. Atalia, Bob Ong and others, for example, so I don’t know. Maybe this list will grow and really, I know I’ve forgotten other books I’ve read and not finished.

Oh well. I guess we’ll just see how things go.

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A Writing Exercise

The other day I was supposed to wait somewhere for my Mom as she went to a funeral. She left me at a Red Ribbon branch after we had lunch there and she was supposed to be away for an hour. Now, normally this wouldn’t really be a problem. I was always equipped with things to keep me busy while I wait. Entertainment has become more portable nowadays and I had my Kindle and my iPod to keep my occupied usually. That day was one of those days when I completely forgot to bring my Kindle and I didn’t feel like sticking in my earphones to listen to music. For all of technologies advances, it still falls to people themselves to remind themselves, one way or another, of things that they should not leave the house without. If only my Kindle has a way of reminding me not to leave it whenever I step out. It doesn’t though, so I was left Kindle-less for that trip and I worried about what I would do for an hour left to myself.

While I was really worrying about that, I couldn’t help but feel kind of strange. Has my dependency on technology robbed me of finding enjoyment in the simple things? Possibly. I mean, my laptop is my constant companion. If I go on long trips, it comes with me. It has everything in it to keep me occupied for days on end, given that I don’t feel like socializing. Barring that and on shorter trips, I always had my Kindle and my iPod to keep me occupied. So what do I do when I don’t have my laptop or my Kindle and I didn’t feel like listening to music?

Thank goodness I had a new notebook in my bag and some pens. I had to fall back on the old traditional way of occupying myself: writing. So I did. I had no topic in mind, no actual direction. I just wrote and wrote and somehow it all just came together. It was just a stream of consciousness for the most part. I wrote about writing, starting from when I was just nine years old and had no idea what I was doing when I was actually writing Sailor Moon fanfiction. I wrote about getting my writing groove on while I was at school and losing it after starting work and getting swallowed by it. I wrote about my attempt at perfectionism that soon killed all will to write because it had just gotten so hard, like a chore. Then I wrote about writing again, about letting go of pretensions and just writing, about finding the joy in it again. I sat there hunched over my notebook and a pen, hardly pausing, as I took bites here and there of my chicken empanada.

It’s a small notebook and my handwriting is small and cramped and I didn’t care for following the lines. After Mama came back 30 minutes earlier than she should have, I was done writing–my little stream of consciousness actually had a point– and I filled up one and a half pages of my notebook. For me, it was an achievement, much like each blog entry I finish and publish online. Actually being able to write with pen and paper and finishing it was something that I hadn’t really done in a long time and it gave me a sense of nostalgia, of how it felt like to be young while you’re doing something you love with no reservations. It was a good feeling and I was glad I was able to revisit that moment, especially when I felt old and uncertain.

From that exercise, I guess I could say that I’m not a total lost case when it comes to being dependent on my gadgets. At the same time, I can also say that I can still manage the effort to physically write something out, which is a really big improvement given how I was just a few months ago, when I was lazy and didn’t even deign to try.

There’s hope for me yet.

Books for Sale

I have resolved some time ago to sell my books that I didn’t really see myself going back to reading any time soon. It took a while between one thing and another, but I finally got off my butt earlier today to compile a list and to post it online. The book list can be accessed here, if you have a Facebook account. I was actually surprised at how many books I was willing to part with. It wasn’t news to me that I had a lot of books, they’re practically everywhere in my house, but to actually have an exact count of books that I was willing to sell? Mind-boggling. And I’ve only just started sorting through my books. I have a bunch more in another big box and who knows how many more I’ll find in there.

Once I started earning money, I was pretty enthusiastic about buying books. I mean, how can you go wrong with books? They entertain you and also teach you things. You’re able to travel to distant lands and universes without having to pay much (usually), meet new people, learn some new vocabulary, history, facts or life lessons along the way. I frequented book sales and bookstores every week. It wasn’t surprising when I came home with a bag of books after a trip to the mall. When I felt down, I splurged in a book sale or got myself that book that I really, really wanted, but was a bit pricey for the usual book shopping trip. A big chunk of my money the past few years were invested in books. I knew this, but it was still surprising to find how many I’ve hoarded through the years.

A lot of my books are (embarrassingly?) romance novels. You know, the ones with the buff half-naked guy holding this swooning half-naked girl in his arms on the cover? Yeah, those. A lot of them are based in another time and another place with the protagonists falling in love at the end no matter how they started out. How can I not be happy with these books? Perfect escapist material, I say. Nowadays, I still love romance novels, though I’m much pickier now. I don’t get the ones with the embarrassing covers as often anymore and I prefer Regency and Paranormal Romances by specific authors. Rule of thumb with buying romance novels is that the cover must not be embarrassing to bring out in public, though romance novels still kind of are embarrassing to read out in the open where anyone can see. Thank goodness for my Kindle. Now I can read all the romance novels I want in public and no one will be the wiser!

My Kindle is another reason why I’m letting a lot of my books go. The Kindle has made my life as a bookworm better in a lot of ways. It makes bringing books around a lot easier as all the books are just in this handheld device. I have about 200+ books in my Kindle right now and I still have a lot of space to fill in. It doesn’t strain my eyes as the screen isn’t backlit like a computer screen is. It’s light and easy to hold. I love my Kindle and I’ve always been grateful that my uncle gave it to me. However, I do still miss actual books. Nothing quite beats the way you actually hold a book in your hand and take the time to turn the pages. And then there’s that old book smell. Plus, it’s just a lot of fun to dig into a pile of books when you’re trying to look for that special one you wanted to read at the time. Much as I love the Kindle, it’s also not very huggable, which I always found books to be. No matter what, it’s still a machine and machines are kind of hard to love (though some machines are exceptions).

There are still a couple of books that I don’t think I could ever let go of for different reasons. Like, I can’t let go of my paperback copy of Gone With the Wind and its sequel Scarlett, because I love the movie and I love the books just as much. Same goes for Rhett Butler’s People, which is another Gone With the Wind sequel and a book that I really, really wanted to get after it came out. My Tita Kim got me a copy and sent it from the States. I was that hardcore about it. There are other books, other stories and I can’t remember them all right now. Maybe later again this week when I dive into the next pile of books to weed out the ones that I can get new homes for. Hopefully, they will be loved more by their new owners.