Good morning, good afternoon, or good evening friends. 😊
I hope all of you have had a splendid start to 2017. My January has been filled with a lot of relaxing, a little bit of working, and a few adventures! But it’s the end of January and my time to go back to university is fast approaching, which means that there will be some small changes to Read Think Ponder… read on to find out more. 💕
Books read in January (and my thoughts in three words)
1. Dreamology by Lucy Keating – cute, fluffy contemporary
2. Flying Lessons and Other Stories anthology edited by Ellen Oh – inspiring, authentic, wonderful
3. The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi – flowery, imaginative, magical
4. Aristotle and Dante Discover The Secrets of The Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz – meaning, outstanding everythings
5. The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler – developed but slow
6. The Land of Forgotten Girls by Erin Entrada Kelly – heartfelt, celebrates sisterhood
7. When The Sea Turned To Silver by Grace Lin – incredible adventure, wondrous
8. Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee – remarkable, emotional, powerful
9. The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo – dreamy, otherworldly, wonderful
10. Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers by Alyssa Wong – good kinda creepy
11. A Fist of Permutations in Lightning and Wildflowers by Alyssa Wong – heartwrecking and complex
Reviews and posts in January
1. RECAP: 2016 At A Glance & Onward to 2017! – I talk about my favourites of 2016 – books, posts, moments – and then onward to 2017 – goals and anticipated releases!
2. REVIEW: Frostblood by Elly Blake – I celebrate this book’s birthday by posting my review. Frostblood is a guilty pleasure and a fun YA fantasy-romance!
3. FEATURE: Diversity Spotlight #5 – Keeping up with themes, I feature three books that have a m/m romance!
4. BOOK RECS: Introducing Festive Book Recs: I need your help! – I talk a little bit about my new feature where I invite book bloggers/readers to recommend books to celebrate a festival/holiday important to their identity!
5. BOOK RECS: Fantasies by Asian Authors – I have been reading more books by Asian authors lately, so I shared some of my new finds!
6. REVIEW: Vicious by V.E. Schwab – This was one of my favourite reads of 2016; a heart-stopping and action-packed book with morally gray characters and a paranormal twist.
7. FEATURE: Diversity Spotlight #6 – On this week, I share three books that have Indian protagonists or are inspired by Indian mythology.
8. FESTIVE BOOK RECS: Happy Lunar New Year! – I had the honour of having three fantastic bloggers share some great books to celebrate Lunar New Year.
Better book titles + books I won’t be reviewing
First thing and it’s not a big deal: Rather than titling book reviews as the book’s name and its author, I will also describe the book in a few words – like a preview of my thoughts!
Second, I had 35 book reviews on backlog, but I have (finally) decided to not write and publish reviews for every single one of them. The book reviews I will not reviewing will be books that I just do not care much about or are non-diverse. I want my blog to reflect my commitment to diversity immediately, so I want to see more reviews of diverse books pronto.
The books I will now not be reviewing are: The Siren; Mechanica; 2001: A Space Odyssey; Flamecaster; Black, White, and Other: In Search for Nina Armstrong; Seraphina; The Book of Ivy; The Reader; This is How You Lose Her; American-Born Chinese; Aerie; Saving Montgomery Sole; and Dreamology. If you are interested in my thoughts, I have written bullet-pointed reviews of each book, which you can read if you follow my Goodreads.
My activity on Twitter
I recently uninstalled the Twitter app from my phone.
And honestly? Even though it was a hard thing for me to do (I felt so scared about feeling disconnected), it has already had a positive effect on me. I have this terrible sense of need to check things all the time, and I was constantly checking Twitter whenever I had a moment.
Checking really affected the level of engagement I had with my partner whenever I was out with him. I was distracted and not present. My mind was always somewhere else. After removing Twitter, I was more engaged. I had more fun. I felt more connected to him. I was present in my conversations with him. Twitter was becoming a distraction, affecting me even when I was offline, and was beginning to diminish my attention and mindfulness.
So, I won’t be as active on Twitter anymore. I’ll still tweet, still use it to share my posts, and engage whenever I can. I’ll still access Twitter at the end of the day and be engaged then, but I don’t want to carry the community and its buzz (and, let’s be honest, its mess) in my pocket anymore. This will stay this way for the foreseeable future.
A shorter recap
In the past, I did very long recaps, but to minimize some stress – particularly since I don’t want to set a high-standard precedent for when I return to university – I’ll be simplifying these recap posts.
I’ll still talk about books I’ve read, list all the posts published in each month, and maybe give a few updates or life updates. In the past, I did highlighted posts around the community, which I will do whenever I can, but it’s not on my priority list. I hope you understand. ❤
Snapshots of my life
Actual snapshots, no rambles (but let’s be real, I’ll probably ramble):
1. I am still not over Your Name / Kimi No Na Wa. I listen to the OSTs EVERY DAY and I just think about its themes and the story and the beauty of love.
2. I have been thinking a lot about how we crave media that doesn’t center on love. A part of me craves it too, craves a story that explores an individual’s personal and emotional journey without love in the equation.
But then, there are days when I look at my partner and I think that love is one of the most beautiful things in the world. There are days when I look at my baby sister (she’s not that much of a baby but she always will be to me) or my parents or my friends, and I think where I would be without them? Almost all narratives celebrate love; some are wonderful, some are meaningless, but the fact that we love love reflects something innate about being human. And there’s no shame in that at all.
3. My summer this year has been really wonderful. I’ve gone on adventures and I’ll be going on another soon in mid-February, I spent a lot of time with my family and my friends, I’ve tried so many new things, and I feel healthy.
4. Have any of my dear readers ever played MapleStory? I played so much when I was in my early teens, and I have a lot of fond memories of it. I recently found this compilation of old OSTs, which you may find very nostalgic. The comments in the video even more so. I think there’s something very poignant about how, in our modern day of age, the objects attached to our innocence and youth can be a game — I don’t think there’s anything shameful or sad about it. I think it’s actually kinda wonderful.
5. Chinese New Year has been wonderful so far – lots of good food and lots of time spent with family, friends, and loved ones. As I grow older, Chinese New Year has been less of a time I get red envelopes and more of a time where I treasure and appreciate my family, our traditions, and the very precious times we spend all together. Growing older has made me more awareness that things will not be the same forever — I try not to dwell on the sadness of this, which is something I really struggle with, and am – I have to admit – doing a good job at focusing on the joys of the present.
And that’s it for this month! I will be going on holiday in mid-February, so I won’t be very active during that time. I’ve organized some scheduled posts, so those will still go up! ❤
Until the next recap, make February a month full of positive change and encourage discourse and discussion. We need it more than ever. To my US friends, my Muslim friends, my immigrant friends, my Native/Indigenous friends, I am with you, I support you, and I am behind you in resistance.
- How was your January? How are you?
- Did you discover a new favourite book in January?
- If you have posted a recap post, send me a link! I’d love to check it out, read it, and drop a comment. 😊