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.

Advertisements

#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.

large (55)

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.

song pick of the week: Fireproof by One Direction

I think I need a round of applause and congratulations for stepping out of my alternative and indie music comfort zone and welcoming more mainstream sounds. I’m definitely not sorry. I’ve been listening to One Direction for awhile now, actually since they started and I’ll be dead honest with you I think they have the pipes but most their carrier songs are too poppy for my taste. I’m sure it has a demo thus they now have one of the biggest, if not the biggest fanbase in the music industry.

Give them some credit you guys, they made it and they have songs that will really melt your heart. You just have to take your time and listen. These fangirls, me included, have taste too. They may scream for the good looks that is the 5 members of One Direction but they have enough sense TO ACTUALLY LISTEN TO THE MUSIC. If you ever decide to listen to them, which I highly recommend, start with Taken, Strong, Little Things, Summer Love, Don’t Forget Where You Belong and Happily, they’re my personal favorites.

If you’ll indulge me some more then listen to Fireproof from their album Four. Trust me it’s an absolutely different sound from the expected mainstream tunes you hear these days. It’s a breath of fresh air actually.

Fireproof by One Direction 

I think I’m gonna lose my mind,
Something deep inside me, I can’t give up,
I think I’m gonna lose my mind,
I’ll roll and I’ll roll ’till I’m out of luck, yeah, I’ll roll and I’ll roll ’till I’m out of luck,

I’m feeling something deep in inside,
Hotter than jet stream burning up,
I got a feeling deep inside,
It’s taking, it’s taking all I got, yeah, it’s taking, it’s taking all I got,

Cause nobody knows you, baby, the way I do,
And nobody loves you, baby, the way I do,
It’s been so long, it’s been so long, maybe we’re fireproof,
Cause nobody saves me, baby, the way you do.

I think I’m gonna win this time,
Riding on the wind and i wont give up,
I think I’m gonna win this time,
I’ll roll and I’ll roll, ’till I change my luck, yeah, I’ll roll and I’ll roll, ’till I change my luck,

Cause nobody knows you, baby, the way I do,
And nobody loves you, baby, the way I do,
It’s been so long, it’s been so long, we must be fireproof,
Cause nobody saves me, baby, the way you do,

Cause nobody knows you, baby, the way I do,
And nobody loves you, baby, the way I do,
It’s been so long, it’s been so long, maybe we’re fireproof,
Cause nobody saves me, baby, the way you do.

 
LIKE OR COMMENT ON THIS POST IF YOU WANT ANY MORE ONE DIRECTION SONGS OR RECOMMEND TUNES YOU WANNA SEE ON THIS BLOG. THANKS GUYS.

 

choices

CHOICE

It’s probably one of the most overused words in the English dictionary. Often we don’t even know the gravity of the word when we make them. We hurry with our lives making one choice after another unaware of many who cannot exercise them or are too afraid to while the other half overuse and manipulate them without fear or caution because they can and we’re too oblivious or apathetic to notice.

Personally choices scare me, not that ‘what should I order’ or ‘is this pink enough’ kind but the ‘do I know where my life is going’ kind. That fear that wakes you up at 3 AM and leaves you sleepless until the light seeps through your shades. I lay there, staring at the ceiling asking myself if all the choices I made up to this point are those that I can live with, much more be happy with. I play different scenarios in my head. What if I went to a different uni? What if I majored in something else? What if I never met my best friends? What if I followed my heart more times that I followed my logic? Where would I be? Would I happier?

happy-road-sign-via-httpseesilver-tumblr-compost132175453641

Robert Frost wrote, “Two roads diverge in a yellow road. I took the one less traveled by and that has made all the difference.” Doesn’t it get lonely though? Looking at the path few took, seeing only your track marks. Knowing full well that each time you look back or to your side, you won’t see anyone. You took the road less traveled by.

You know in your heart you SHOULD be happy because you made the good choice but there are days and more nights when you think there was a BETTER choice. Maybe you didn’t have to give up so much to get to where you are or where you wanna be.

I guess we all doubt our choices sometimes. It doesn’t matter if you’re a 5 year old deliberating on another cookie before dinner or a dad setting aside money for his daughter’s college fund instead of spending in on booze in the pub with his work friends. There are days when you’ll wallow in the ‘what ifs’. There’s no shame in that. Find comfort in the fact that it’s human nature to wonder especially when we’re given reasons to.

I’ve made a lot of screwed up decisions in my life and I’m sure I’ll make a few more. To be honest, there are times when I want a do over, a reboot, another shot at the opportunities I missed or trade for those I took but then I look at those people I’ve met, things I accomplished and who I’ve become, I feel a bit better. That’s not to say my demons are always silent, they still claw at me some days and make me feel like an utter failure.

tumblr_lqzptrljCO1r2p19oo1_1280

I guess I want tell you that if you ever feel stupid or annoyed or defeated about the bad choices you’ve made, don’t beat yourself up further. You’re allowed to make them and you can feel bad for them. You can hang around under a dark cloud for a bit and think about why it didn’t work out. You don’t have to move on in an instant as people expect you too. YOU CAN FEEL, YOU’RE ALLOWED THAT MUCH.

Of the hundreds of choices we make in a day, at least one is bound to be wrong. That’s okay. Just remind yourself that there’s always a takeaway in every choice, bad or good. Savor the good and learn from the bad and hope that you’ll make not just better choices but CHOICES THAT ARE BETTER FOR YOU.

#internetfriendsday

A few weeks back my sister got home from school seething and usually I steer clear of her -or anyone that pissed- when I can but something about her screams ‘let me vent’ so I asked what’s she’s reeling about. She told me that in one of her classes a prof blatantly told the class that there is NO such thing as a friendship forged online.

They’re not REAL friendships.

tumblr_mfikesvBDn1rz2r65o1_500

Let me tell you about my little sister, she’s a world of words in her head but she usually stays in her quiet corner outside of it. You have to be either really dorky, like me, or very close to her for her to even consider starting a conversation with you much more maintain it. When she started with Twitter and Tumblr, she met teens just like her- a little awkward and shy but very creative and witty and with so many stories to tell and talents to show. She grew more outgoing and trusted people more.

People may argue that it’s an unconventional interaction. You can choose to hide behind anonymity or refuse eye contact or whatever else traditional social interactions it requires to make the encounter a success. Really though, what are the rules of friendship? And who made anyone judge of it?

IDGAF

Because trust and honesty, they’re not founded on proximity or your ability to physically touch someone, Yes, it makes it infinitely easier to comfort your sobbing best friend if you didn’t have a few thousand miles separating you but where were these apprehensions when we force women into arranged marriages or soldiers falling madly inlove with women they’ve ONLY written letters to. THEY WEREN’T BECAUSE CIRCUMSTANCES ARE ARBITRARY AND YOU HAVE TO JUDGE THEM AS SUCH. 

My ability to be a good friend is not limited to a hug or hauling ice cream and a bunch movies to your place when you feel like crap. It also means that I’m here to listen to your rants, share in your eccentricities, reassure you of how much I care, confide in you when no one else is willing to listen and accept you for everything that you are and choose to do including SHARING A FRIENDSHIP WITH ME ONLINE. No one has the right to tell me what my standards should be for friendships.

large (48)

I CHOOSE WHO MY REAL FRIENDS ARE AND THEY’RE BASED ON SO MUCH MORE THAN THE SUPERFICIALITY OF PHYSICAL AFFECTION. 

I’m in no way belittling the treasure mined from friends I’ve physically met and spent lots of time with. They’re all amazing and I thank the heavens everyday that they put up with me. All I’m saying is the connection that I organically feel with them can manifest with anyone, in any form, anywhere. It doesn’t have to be 2 meters away from me. It can be behind a screen, 5 time zones away.

So I’ll end this with a personal message to every single person I’ve met online and established a friendship with. The means of our meeting doesn’t in anyway change my admiration, care and love for each and everyone of you and I’ll debate any prof who tells me otherwise. 

large (45)

 

 

 

 

 

and danie if you’re reading this, it’s for you love. -wink-

things i wanna do with you

or in the words of the romantic, the couple bucket list.

I’ve had series of posts about real heavy social issues like bullying, social disorder and depression the past few weeks and I thought now’s the time to set a lighter tone. After all this is passport to rainbows. It should have different colors, not always blues and indigos. Here’s your touch of something sunny yellow and love-filled red.

blank-page

photo by Artsy, your quirky blogger

Hold your horses people. My typography is far from perfect but I thought my effort to make something as romantic and cheesy is enough to win you over. You know how much I suck at that. So here’s my little attempt to join the bandwagon of couples with their heart-filled eyes and creative gestures.

 

song pick of the week: Shake It Off by Taylor Swift

Okay before people start stoning me to death demanding I retract this let me first say that this in an achievement since this is the first song pick I made that isn’t by Ed or another band because I was honestly contemplating picking Tenerife Sea- a great song btw but I thought a change in genre will be fun. Let me clarify as well, I actually LOVE Taylor’s songs. It may not be as obvious because I clearly have a more alternative/ rock/ indie taste in music but honestly this girl can write one hell of song- she’s got 5 albums to prove it.

Most people think that she only writes bitter tribute songs that curse her exes to the depths of Tartarus, mostly because of the over-romanticized narratives she gets from the media but really she has other songs which are on a whole different plane- songs like The Lucky One, Brought Up That Way and Mean. Plus you gotta admit, her break up songs can be good metaphors for coping in life if you let it.

A few hours ago she just released a music video for her upcoming album, to be released this October 27, called 1989 after her birth year.

Taylor announced that her new album is called 1989 — after her birth year — and will be out Oct. 27.

photo from Big Machine

 

I’m gonna let the song speak for its self because I do think the message is loud and clear so without much ranting here’s Shake It Off by Taylor Swift.

 

Shake It Off

by Taylor Swift

I stay up too late
Got nothing in my brain
That’s what people say
That’s what people say
I go on too many dates
But I can’t make them stay
At least that’s what people say
That’s what people say
But I keep cruising
Can’t stop, won’t stop moving
It’s like I got this music
In my mind, saying it’s gonna be alright
Cause the players gonna play, play, play
And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate
Baby I’m just gonna shake, shake, shake
Shake it off
Heart break is gonna break, break, break
And I think it’s gonna fake, fake, fake
Baby I’m just gonna shake, shake, shake
Shake it off, Shake it off

I never miss a beat
I’m lighting up my feet
And that’s what they don’t see
That’s what they don’t see
I’m dancing on my own
I make the moves as I go
And that’s what they don’t know
That’s what they don’t know
But I keep cruising
Can’t stop, won’t stop moving
It’s like I got this music
In my mind, saying it’s gonna be alright
Cause the players gonna play, play, play
And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate
Baby I’m just gonna shake, shake, shake
Shake it off
Heart break is gonna break, break, break
And I think it’s gonna fake, fake, fake
Baby I’m just gonna shake, shake, shake
Shake it off, Shake it off

Hey, hey, hey
Just think while you been getting down and out about the liars
And the dirty dirty cheats of the world
You could have been getting down to this sick beat

Let’s end this entry with her words  during the live stream on Yahoo this morning. 

“Life itself and who people actually are can be greatly reflected in how they dance,” Taylor told the audience.

“I’m not talking about how good you are, I mean your willingness to dance.”

Taylor Swift Reveals Her New Song, Music Video, AND New Album Title

gif from ABC/Yahoo