stacked: monthly book picks

True to my ever dorky self, I keep a list of books to watch out for every month. I have slight tendency to go haywire in a bookshop because of the need to purchase everything I get my hands on.

Does that happen to anyone else or is that just me?

If it happens to you too, then this list might help. These are books you can check out first so you don’t get lost in the sea of perfection that is books. If not, then these may be books you wanna start with. They’re all fun reads with a certain degree of social significance. Although all of them are already available, I’m aware that some books stores may not carry them yet, so you might want to check online to get them (e.g Amazan, Goodreads, etc). Anyway, onto the list.

1. The Mechanical by Ian Tregillis

If you’ve read any of Tregillis’ work, then you must be expecting a lot (like me, obviously). The first thing I read of his was the Milkweed Triptych where the retelling of the second World War was so vivid and believable; I could almost imagine British warlocks and Nazi super soldiers being introduced into history textbooks. After that, I just got every single book he wrote, and he has never failed to deliver the same amount creativity and intrigue since. I would go so far as saying that he’s one of my favorites from this genre.

At the core of The Mechanical, which is a new imagery for steam punk, is the age-old question of determinism versus one’s free will and how it relates to artificial intelligence. Despite the complexity of that, it’s told in a very engaging context where ‘clakkers’, mechanical men, are powered by alchemy to protect and defend the Brasswork Throne – now, the only superpower. Trust me, even if this isn’t usually a genre you go for, this book is a worthy read. It delves into a lot of different topics which I think you’ll enjoy.

2. Find Me by Laura van den Berg

It’s for the scifi-loving book lovers who gravitate towards strong female leads and a steady dose of mystery. The book chronicles Joy’s life after she discover she’s immune from an Alzheimer’s-like pandemic that wipes out most of the population and how she makes sense of the world by studying survivors of that disease.

3. The Unfortunate Importance of Beauty by Amanda Filipacchi

If you follow me on twitter, you would know that I’ve been raving about this book for awhile. The humorous and quirky writing style that Amanda took was so strategic and appropriate in delivering a stance on a very prominent social issue (that you all know I feel strongly about), the concept of beauty.

The book is about two friends, one ‘objectively’ beautiful and the other not (for lack of a better word), who attempt to make the people around them see who they truly are. Here’s the catch: they do it while masking their appearances. It’s a light and funny read with an undertone that persuades you to question your personal identity and how other people see it and shape it.

4. The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro

Much to my dismay, I have not read this book yet, but my recommendation is based on the massive postive reviews it got and the summary I was sent to read. I’m definitely getting a copy soon though. Also, I’ve supported ALL the books this author wrote which includes Never Let Me Go.

Personally, I loved the intimacy of the relationship between Axl and Beatrice as they remember their past and see how much effect it has on their future. I’ll definitely tell you on a different post if the book holds true to the summary I got.

5. Dirty Pretty Things by Michael Faudet

Faudet’s writing style and content is definitely not for everyone. There has been polarized views on the ‘dirty’ aspect of it. Personally, I thought it was sensual, but delivered with a certain degree of sophistication and humor that reads Faudet all the way.

I could keep describing this book to you and how it must have looked when I read this while walking around, shopping with a few friends, but I’d much rather leave you with quote that I think underlines how he was able to deliver a book that a lot of readers can keep referencing back to.

“She was a curious girl who loved the smell of old books, chasing butterflies and touching herself under the covers.”

So those are the books that are breaking my bank – okay, maybe just some of them. I tried to give you as much diversity as I could to cover everyone’s preferences. If you want more entries like this, you can email me or comment below. You know I love talking about my favorite books so if you enjoy reading about them too, I’d love to make more.

Also, there will be a massive announcement on the post after this so stay tuned – especially my fellow book geeks. You’ll love it.

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#SuicideAwarenessDay

That moment when you’re so eager to write about something you feel so strongly about that a million words are begging to burst out and be written but at the same time as the pen hovers over the paper, nothing comes out- not a single word, well I’m having one such moment. I’m just unsure of how to begin this. Do I start with statistics or quotes or pictures or my own experience or someone else’s that has helped shape my own? Something compelling enough to interest you but honest still that it remains as meaningful as it should. Let me start with this:

Suspend your judgments. Suicide isn’t just about statistics, it’s about stories.

suicide

Some of you will judge this entry the same way you judge every person who committed suicide or have tried to, with extreme prejudice and I ask for the sake of this day and this discussion that you open your mind to opinions other than your own. The fault of this bunch, which I don’t find a fault at all but many will, is how we see things. You see them at eye level, for what it is. We see them from overhead, standing on a table and seeing ourselves in comparison to others, in association with things we don’t have or the person we can never be, happy.

I will not generalize the neigh sayers, they come from different backgrounds and varied beliefs, nor will I stereotype those who have had this problem. Trust me they’re not always the guy with the heavy eyeliner make up and a blade pendant secured around his neck. It’s not as plain and black and white as that. Sometimes it’s the town’s golden girl who maintains straight As and is quietly drowning in the pressure of perfection or maybe the quiet kid who sits at the back of the class who is invisible to everyone but the restroom mirror where he spends his lunch dismantling a sharpener.

I'm scared | via Tumblr

To them suicide is a way out, not selfish but reasonable. To stay in a cycle where you’re constantly unhappy and alone, feeling either like a huge disappointment or anonymous is not worth living over every single day. That thought consumes you and dulls every form of happiness most people savor. TELLING US TO GET IT TOGETHER AND DISMISSING OUR WORRIES WON’T HELP BECAUSE REALLY WHEN YOU DO THAT, YOU’RE BRUSHING US OFF. Were you even listening or were you too busy judging us and labeling our problem  non existent because it’s not cancer or ebola virus?

I am in no way advocating for suicide, not because it’s cowardly but because YOU’RE WORTH A LIFE. Trust me when I say that no matter how bleak and dark your life is right now, I need you to hang in there. YOU ARE WORTH EVERYDAY YOU FIGHT FOR. YOU WILL FIND HAPPINESS ONE DAY AND IT WILL BE EVEN MORE WORTH IT BECAUSE YOU KNOW HOW HARD YOU FOUGHT FOR IT. I’m sorry you had to in the first place but trust that your strong enough to overcome this and know that wherever you are, no matter how alone you feel, you never are. 

And to those whose made it and are now happier and better, I am so proud of you. You deserve every praise for deciding to stay and choosing to stick with it every single day since. I wish you the happiest of days, you deserve no less for the courage and strength you’ve shown. There may still be rough patches ahead but find comfort in the fact that the enemy you fought already lost a few times before and you have the upper hand because you’re stronger than all you demons.

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My friend mentioned a few days ago how pointless suicide hotlines are because if you really wanna kill yourself, why would you want someone to stop you? She has a good point actually and I’ve considered coming up with alternatives. Although I’d like to think that it’s because most of them, deep down just want a reason to stay. Here’s one:

Everyone is worth saving. YOU ARE WORTH SAVING.

So be it on #SuicideAwarenessDay or any other day of the year, if you ever feel like throwing in the towel, talk to someone. Sometimes we only need reminding of how much we’re worth. There’s no shame in that.

And to everyone else reading this post, I hope you’ll find it in your heart to be nicer, more open-minded and understanding of people whose circumstances may be far from your own. Give that shy guy beside you a chance. Talk to the girl who consciously fiddles with her shorts at gym class. Avoid stereotyping the abrasive jock loitering the hallway. Tweet someone you’ve never talked to words encouragement when she seems down and ask about her day. Get to know to know them and give them more reasons to love the lives the they have and the people that they are. A simple act of care and kindness will go a long way especially to someone who doubts he’ll ever get any.

You matter.

#depression

I realised.. IM HERE FOR YOU ♡♥♡

One morning I woke up with an unfamiliar material draped securely on my back. It was heavy and cold and it very much resembled a cloak- like in one of those old Hollywood movies. The fabric clung to me like second skin, choking, smothering and weighing me down while it slyly remains invisible to the eyes of even those staring right at me. No matter how hard I fidget, move my body like a convulsing freak, grab at it, try to tear it away from my body with all the strength my man hands could muster, it remains rigid and unrelenting. There are days when I feel the grip tightening, leaving steady marks on my skin that will remind me of how it possessed me for as long as I live.

It’s daunting to admit how much it’s affecting a full grown person with rationality and control. The fear of judgment and ridicule in society where the easiest response would be to ask if the cloak truly exists or if I made it up because I’m either crazy or in CRAZY need of attention. Either way I will be labelled a freak and avoided like a plague or talked to behind my back. To the few who care enough to consider that there MAY be a cloak, they’ll look you from head to toe and when they see no physical manifestations of a life threatening cloak. They walk away claiming that you’re lucky it won’t require surgery. At that moment, I wish it did. Maybe I’ll get more help if people can physically see the pain an invisible cloak is causing me.

You might know the cloak by its common name, depression.

its not fair how i see everyone breathing.

Yes my lovely readers, how timely right? Just as the world is  confused, bewildered and pained by Robin Williams’ death, one caused by this cloak itself, I decide to write about it. Well to be honest this entry was inspired by him. I have been struggling to write anything on this subject for years, ever since I started this blog actually, but I never had the courage, words or inspiration to even start. That changed when I was aimlessly browsing through my twitter feeds and froze on one of the trends. I think we all know which trend it was.

#RIPRobinWilliams

A thousand RTs, skimmed articles and a full blown movie marathon later, I decided I need to write something about this. Screw inhibitions and fear, depression is a real thing and it has to be talked about because more and more people are falling victim to it and very few seem to take it seriously. The most infuriating yet common reaction we get is it’ll pass or get over it. Those are the words of an ignorant person brushing off something purely because he has no clue what it is. The same words that will make the lot of us, already depressed, consider ourselves even bigger freaks than we already think.

I doesnt.

Depression, unlike physical illnesses with very visible manifestations, is often treated as a whim of some attention seeking person who is bored of his own life that’s why he needs to make up some disease that cannot be visually assessed. The truth however is depression gnaws at you from the inside, turning every thought, every memory, every experience into a black hole that sucks the life out of you while you seem completely a-okay on the outside. You feel disabled without the advantage of a parking space. In  two  very cliché words : it sucks.

so fucking true

There is no standard to depression. It varies for each one and I could spend the whole day discussing to you the many kinds but really what those going through this need from you is just one thing, your understanding.

UNDERSTANDING

It may sound so easy, so fundamental in fact but to truly understand someone who goes through that requires for you to suspend your prejudices and preconceived notion fed by some exaggerated movie or oblivious hearsay. We don’t all cut or binge or drink meds or listen to sad songs or plaster a frown on our faces. Often even a smile is the most believable lie one gets to tell. Funny though, almost everyone falls for it. Depression too is not to be stereotyped.

For those still trapped in their cloaks, hang in there and stay strong. Fight to be happy because you’re worth no less. Find comfort in the promise that you’re not alone and somebody on the other end of this screen understands and appreciates you.  I do care and I’ll keep fighting, I’d love for you join me. –winks-

perhaps?