Weekly Wrap-up | August 23, 2020

I don’t know about you all, but this week went by so fast for me. I haven’t even gotten used to it starting and suddenly it’s Sunday! Weird when that happens. What made my week, though, was when a friend sent over a batch of red velvet cupcakes for me to taste-test for an online bakery he intends to set up. The cupcakes were AMAZING, but then again, I could be biased.

Anyway, on to the wrap up!

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Weekly Wrap-up | August 16, 2020

Happy Sunday, everyone! I hope you had a great week of reading and blogging. As for me, this week was a little weird—I’ve been reading more and I got back to tackling my backlog of unreviewed books, which is great, but I also had a lot of unstructured free time while waiting for the results of my exams, which is not so great, since I don’t do so well with unstructured free time. It reminds me too much of the first weeks of lockdown.

On the bright side, the sudden surplus of free time made me eager to schedule a number of catch-ups with my friends, so I ended up doing yoga over Zoom three times this week (for some reason, all three groups preferred exercise as a bonding activity… I’m just glad no one suggested HIIT). And I had a great chat with Melanie @ Grab the Lapels about Butler’s duology over the weekend to cap off my week. So I’d say it was a pretty great week, overall.

Anyway, enough of me. On to the wrap-up!

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Weekly Wrap-up + My reading mojo is back!!! | August 9, 2020

Exams are over, yay!!! I’m so glad I can FINALLY move on with my life. I didn’t realize how much headspace the exams were taking up until I crashed and slept for the rest of the day, right after I submitted my last exam. It felt soooo luxurious to do that, especially since I’ve been waking up at odd hours over the past few weeks due to anxiety.

In other news, MY READING MOJO IS BACK!!! Just this weekend, I finished two of the books I’ve been struggling to get through for the entire July, plus I picked up Tender Is the Flesh by Agustina Bazterrica on a whim (which I first learned about through Callum’s review) and finished that, too. For some reason, I’ve been in a dystopian mood—fitting given my country’s political climate, lol.

Books Read This Week

Books I’m Currently Reading

Today, I’ll be starting the second book in Butler’s Earthseed series, Parable of the Talents. Melanie @ Grab the Lapels is saying this is much darker than the first book, so I can’t wait to see what Butler has in store.

Parable of the Talents

Books Added to My TBR

So I added a bunch of books to my TBR this weekend, inspired by Fatma’s post on Books Translated from the Japanese, Callum’s post on Women in Translation, and Emily’s post on the Booker Prize 2020 Longlist. Check out their posts for more recs!

Continue reading “Weekly Wrap-up + My reading mojo is back!!! | August 9, 2020”

Yet Another Weekly Update… | July 19, 2020

Hello hello hello! I hope you’re all doing well! Please bear with me as I continue to churn out these weekly updates instead of reviews and am more delayed than usual in blog-hopping and responding to comments—it feels like something is always coming up to mess with my blogging and reading juju. My exams are also very close (the first half is NEXT SATURDAY AAAH) so I’ve decided to give myself after exams to get back to reading and blogging.

Some good news: I’m feeling much better than I was last week! After cutting out the food that I suspect has been causing my hyperacidity and bloating, my pains have been becoming less frequent and less severe. Plus, now that the worst of caffeine withdrawal is over, I find that my sleep is also getting better—I don’t even need an alarm to wake up now, when before I used to set three alarms (and snooze every one… lol).

Also, today, after I complained to a friend of my caffeine withdrawal, she sent over samples of her tea collection for me to try. She even taped the instructions on the bottles, since she knows I’m an ignoramus when it comes to tea. I was so touched! I might not be a tea person but this is the perfect time to get into it. She especially recommends something called Phoenix Oolong Tea, which she got from her visit to Shanghai.

Screen Shot 2020-07-19 at 9.20.05 PM.png
So much tea! And a wild pack of Golden Oreos on the side. My brother and I are fans.

Also, Melanie @ Grab the Lapels and I will be buddy-reading Butler’s Parable of the Sower, so I’m slowly making my way through it. A number of reviewers on Goodreads have commented on how the theological aspects of the novel weren’t to their liking, since the protagonist here also tries to form her own notions of God, but surprisingly I’m finding it one of the more fascinating parts so far. I think it’s rather audacious to try to reformulate the Judeo-Christian tradition from your own perspective, and I admire the protagonist’s guts for doing it.

Parable of the Sower

Well, that’s it for now! Just out of curiosity, are you a coffee or tea person? What blends or leaves (flavors?) do you usually prefer? Let me know in the comments!

Weekly Wrap-up | July 12, 2020

Happy Sunday, everyone! I’m pretty pleased writing this since I was able to finish not just one, but TWO books this week! I guess something good came out of my recuperating from hyperacidity, after all. 

Books I Read This Week

Real LifeThe first book I finished is Real Life by Brandon Taylor, which I gave 4.5 stars. Real Life is told from the point of view of Wallace, a PhD graduate student in a university in the midwest. Since it’s set in academia and partly about a lost twenty-something in graduate school, I found it deeply relatable, and so was able to finish the novel in about three sittings. Despite having finished it quickly, I wouldn’t say that Real Life is an easy read. Wallace, the protagonist of Real Life, is the only black and gay student in his program, and as such he faces many forms of discrimination. While reading about those incidents in the novel, I felt infuriated at how unfair everything and everyone is towards Wallace, and overwhelmed at the accumulation of microaggressions that he faces on a near-daily basis. It’s a testament to the author’s skill that he’s really able to make me feel what it’s like for the character—Taylor doesn’t overexplain the incidents, and leaves some room for readers to interpret what happened for themselves. Overall, it’s a fantastic read, and I highly recommend it.

When She's MarriedMy second read this week veers in the opposite direction and is what I lovingly term a ‘junk food’ or ‘trash’ book by Ruby Dixon, the queen of alien smut. I’ve never read her Ice Planet Barbarians series, but I picked up When She’s Married because it’s short and because it’s all my attention span can handle. I’m tempted to say that horned, brawny, blue-skinned aliens with tails is only my thing because of my hyperacidity brain, but I would be lying. This was pretty great. In the story, the heroine basically gets an ex-convict out of prison and proposes to him, because only an arranged marriage can secure her claim on the land she was given on the alien planet. CRAZY premise, but the execution was not bad. I liked how business-minded the heroine was about the whole arrangement, and the alien sex wasn’t as weird as I thought. Aside from the horns and tail, which don’t figure prominently during sex, Dixon’s aliens have pretty much the same anatomy down there as human males—only bigger, because they’re aliens. A really fun, light read.

Other Life Updates

  • My brother’s knee sprain is thankfully not serious, which is a relief for both of us. After taking some medicine to ease the swelling, he’s able to walk again after a few days, with only a slight hobble.
  • As for myself, I had two more hyperacidity attacks this week. The pain is manageable with antacids, but what I can’t handle is giving up my two cups of coffee a day until my stomach settles. Going from two cups to zero has turned me into a cranky zombie. If this goes on I might have to consult a doctor, because having a number of attacks in a row is atypical for me.
  • One other thing that occupied me this week was buying food for Cat. He has a urinary tract problem, so the vet prescribed a special kind of feed for him, which isn’t easy for pet shops here to stock up on during quarantine. Happily, we found an online shop that sells it, and our order was shipped yesterday. Cat is grateful because now we can stop rationing his meals.

Well, that’s it for me. How was your week? Let me know in the comments! 🙂

Weekly Update | July 5, 2020

Happy Sunday, everyone! I still haven’t got much reading done this week, but that’s okay—I’m coming to terms with the fact that I won’t be going back to my normal reading pace after being gone awhile. For now, I’m setting a (very relaxed) target for myself of a book a week, and only books that can hold my suddenly goldfish-like attention span.

In other news, some weird energy is circulating around our place this week… I had a bad case of hyperacidity, and right after I recovered, my brother sprained his knee. He’s pretty bummed about it, but then, he also seems to enjoy ordering me around to fetch things for him just a taaad too much. I might kick his sprain if this keeps going on for another week. We’re having it checked tomorrow, though, so hopefully it’s not serious.

What I’m Reading

Still reading Butler’s Parable of the Sower, and recently I picked up Real Life, also encouraged by Emily @ Literary Elephant’s glowing review. I haven’t been able to get into a lot of the books I picked up lately but Real Life drew me in from the start, since it plunged me immediately into the character’s thoughts and emotional life. Fingers crossed that these books can pull me out of my slump!

Books Added to My TBR

I also began adding a number of books to my TBR again, mostly from Hannah @ Books and Bakes’ Mid-Year Book Freakout Tag. (Thanks for making my TBR explode, lol!) I was especially cheered to know that Allie Brosh’s new book, Solutions and Other Problems, is set to be released this September. I loved Hyperbole and a Half, so I’m really looking forward to getting a copy of this one.

Other Non-Bookish Things

Many of my friends in real life know me as the one who’s always late on the bandwagon (if I even get on it at all), and this week, I finally started started watching Season 1 of Queer Eye with a friend’s encouragement. And omg I WANT TO HUG THIS SHOW. Even if I’m aware that most of the ‘moments’ could be staged, every episode so far (I’m three episodes in) made me smile and tear up and believe in humanity. Bless these guys. They just made my week.

Netflix renews Queer Eye original reality show for its sixth ...

How about you, how was your week? Did you read or watch anything interesting? Let me know in the comments 🙂

Another Short Weekly Update | June 28, 2020

Hello everyone! I’m back!!! First off, thank you all for your supportive comments in my last short weekly update, and I’d like to thank Melanie @ Grab the Lapels for even reaching out to check up on me. We made it work despite me being 12 hours in the future, lol. And also, our conversation made me consider getting back on the blogosphere. Thanks, Melanie!

Second, I’d also like to apologize for not responding to comments in my absence. I wasn’t thinking due to the anxiety and I realize I’ve come off as rude and like I ghosted everyone, and I’m sorry for that. I’ve truly come to cherish this online community and the friends I’ve made here, and I’m afraid I’ve become too absorbed in my own drama! Bleh. Anyway, I hope to catch up with everyone’s posts in the following week.

In the meantime, a few quick updates:

🔹 Things are still going downhill, politically. The founder of another prominent news site was convicted for “cyber libel”, a number of LGBT activists were illegally arrested by the police during Pride, and the terror bill is likely to be passed now. At this point, I’m resorted to daydreaming of migrating to New Zealand. They have a fantastic prime minister, no current COVID cases, and more cows than people. Not that I’m particularly fond of cows, but at least they won’t be electing incompetent leaders into office…

🔹 My mom and I accompanied my brother to the hospital this week and last week due to a medical (but non-COVID!) concern. We thought it was serious, but we’ve just received the last of his ultrasound results this week, and the doctor told us there was nothing to worry about. So, yay!

🔹 I might have mentioned Cat on this blog (yes, that’s really his name) but I realize I’ve never posted pics of him, so here are some Cat pics! He’s been burrowing into random paper bags around the house lately because it’s rainy season here, and more windy than usual. I don’t know if this is normal cat behavior of if it’s just Cat, but I find it very amusing.

What I’m Reading

This week a friend of mine invited me to read Butler’s Parable of the Sower with her. I haven’t been able to concentrate on much lately, but this book is so timely that it’s been holding my attention.

Parable of the Sower

How are you guys?! Are you easing your way back to work and keeping safe? Have you been able to participate in any protests, whether in person or online? Read any books this week? Let me know in the comments!

(Very Short) Weekly Update | June 14, 2020

Hi everyone! I hope you all had a great week. This will be very short, since it’s really more of an update than a wrap-up.

I’m sorry for being MIA—I haven’t been able to catch up with you guys or read at all this week, which I feel sad about since I’m almost always reading or chatting about books (or cats). This week, a lot of my time and headspace was taken up by conversations with my MA friends about the general feeling of anxiety, uncertainty, and anger over the terror bill, and what we can do about it as both citizens and psychologists. It’s been on our minds especially since the Philippines celebrated our 122nd Independence Day last June 12, which the President did not attend (for the fourth time in a row, but somehow his absence this year feels more ominous).

As of now, the terror bill is awaiting the signature of the President, but then he already strongly endorsed it to protect him from “his enemies”, so… we really don’t know what the outcome will be. I admit that I’m very anxious about it. Many innocent people were already victims of his war on drugs—I remember that this really hit me when a person from my university was hit by a “stray” bullet while walking home at night—and I can only imagine how much worse this bill will make the situation here.

With everything that’s happening, I’ll be going on a short hiatus (maybe around a week or two) to settle down emotionally and hopefully come up with some ideas or next steps. There’s been a lot of anger and distress here and in the US, but I hope we can all pull through.

Weekly Wrap-up | June 7, 2020

Happy Sunday everyone! Or at least I hope it is where you are. The news has been so distressing lately that I’m finding it hard to concentrate again, either on studying or reading. For one, I’m saddened and angered by news of the Floyd protests. While we here at the Philippines can never truly grasp the extent of systemic racism and violence committed against African Americans, I am still firmly against police brutality. I hope to support the protests in spirit by reading more works by black authors this month.

In other news, our congress has just passed an Anti-Terrorism Bill. This bill is alarming because it employs an overly broad and imprecise definition of terrorism, under which people who voice dissent against the government can be detained without a warrant for up to 24 days. The government can also essentially spy on suspected terrorists under this bill. When people started protesting this, a number of fake accounts of the protestors against the bill suddenly appeared on Facebook. These accounts may be used to spread misinformation and cause harm to the protestors, some of whom are my friends.

We’re all petitioning to junk the bill and pleading with the government to prioritize more urgent issues like mass testing instead. Still, many of us are shaken by this news. This bill, along with the shutdown of one of our major news companies, is reminiscent of the martial law declared by the Marcos dictatorship in the 1970s. During Martial Law, free speech was curtailed and thousands of activists were incarcerated and killed for voicing dissent against the Marcos administration. Hopefully it doesn’t get to that point, but the government’s actions are awakening collective feelings of fear and anger right now.

So it’s been a rather heavy week. I hope you’ll keep us in your thoughts.

Anyway, on to some bookish updates. While I haven’t been able to read much, reading (and playing the piano) really helped keep me sane this week.

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Weekly Wrap-up | May 24, 2020

Happy Sunday everyone! This week has been unexpectedly full for me, so I’m behind on reading, reviewing, and blog-hopping—sorry for that! I didn’t want to miss a week without posting, though, and the very minimum I can do is a weekly wrap-up, so this will be just another short post.

I’ve started studying in earnest this week for my comprehensive exams, which is in early August, and I spent a lot of time earlier this week just getting used to the idea that I have to study again. Luckily, my fellow graduate students created an online review group, and the accountability (or peer pressure) helped me get started. I’m currently about 30% finished with my first subject out of eight subjects, which is… not ideal, but since I’m just getting used to studying again, I’m cutting myself some slack.

On to some bookish updates!

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