Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

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“Eleanor was right. She never looked nice. She looked like art, and art wasn’t supposed to look nice; it was supposed to make you feel something.”

This is the line that intrigued me to read Eleanor and Park.

I would regard this book as a personal favorite. Delicious and cheesy as Quattro Formaggi. This is so sweet I don’t even want to share my feelings about it. Well, it didn’t quite work according to plan. It meant to me that much because the story is so relate-able, almost true to life, almost like my own. I know some of you have felt it too. And here we are.

But… I am never like Eleanor, what she is and what she had. She is big with bright red curls, wearing clothes that make her look f-ugly by choice except that she didn’t choose to be poor. She didn’t choose the family she’s in, the messed up step-dad, and the bullies in her school. She didn’t choose to fall in love with Park. But Park was the best she’d had. Park was the only good in her life. 

“I don’t like you, Park,” she said, sounding for a second like she actually meant it. “I…” – her voice nearly disappeared – “think I live for you.”

Park on the other hand, is a half Korean with green eyes and a loving family. He isn’t the popular guy kind of protagonist. Despite his yellow-ish skin asian look, nobody picks on him. He could actually kick you straight on the face if you give him a reason to. But he sees her. He saw her standing on the bus needing a seat. But it’s actually her that he needs all along. 

“I don’t like you. I need you. You can ask me why I need you. But I don’t know. I just know that I do. I miss you Eleanor. 

I might have said those words long ago or just last week. I might have heard it too from a special someone. But for certain I know how Eleanor and Park feel in their first of everything. How beautiful and scary it is to go on with or without each other. How beautiful and scary it is to go against the world together. 

This book gave so many feels. It is romantic, sarcastic, nostalgic, and intriguing that teenagers and teenagers at heart would swoon over. It is a light read and a delightful one. 

“Holding Eleanor’s hand was like holding a butterfly. Or a heartbeat.”

To me, holding this book felt like a heartbeat and I couldn’t unhold it until its very end. 

Shout out to my YA fan friend who I may now have to introduce to you because I’ve mentioned her twice and probably a few times more, my book-coffee-club date Jera.Thank you for lending me your copy. 

How ’bout you? What book reminds you of your first love?

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Art Books on Rotation

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I’ve been juggling my favorite bargain finds. These books help me stay creative and passionate. Here are my picks:

I bought The Cheap Date Guide to Style on a whim. If you know me, you know I suck don’t have a specific style in fashion. This book is just so great, it doesn’t teach you what to wear. It teaches you to find your own style and embrace it. It tells you that critics could go f*ck themselves if they wanted you to wear whatever you see on tv. Style is not about the latest trend. There is a huge difference between stylish and trendy. It is who you are and what you do. Accept it. Embrace it. And I think this is a great buy. To be honest though, I paid for it thinking that it is a book about what to wear on cheap dates. Lol. Cheap date is a magazine launched by Bay Garnett and Kira Joliffe in London.

Advertising for People Who Don’t Like Advertising : “This book is motivated by a wish to look outward, to make contact with those we admire, those who question our industry… However, it’s only fair to inform you: we make ads. Lots of them” -KesselKramer . ‘Nuff said (also because I am still on the first few pages). What are your thoughts in advertising? Are you like me, who thought that advertising is cooking some silly beefs just to make you buy a dishwashing soap? I can’t TOTALLY dislike it without further understanding and so do you! But.. your life, your decisions.

101 Top Tips for Fantasy Painter : This is one of my best recent find. Oh Kevin Crossley! You are a rad fantasy concept artist. Design sketches inside are just hardcore. From concept stage to actual painting, 101 tips that make sense = good value for money. This isn’t your regular kiddie how-to art book. But any kid who has a solid passion for concept art would cherish this until he/she grows old too.

Memoirs of  The Life of John Constable : I can’t remember when I started reading this. It has been taking me forever to finish. I’d say don’t judge a book by its thickness. This book is thin and small but so are the words. John Constable’s life is really interesting and inspiring but I get easily bored/sleepy with a couple more turn of the pages. In spite of that, I still think this is a good book.

How ’bout you? What book fuels your creativity?

The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place: The Mysterious Howling

 

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I’ve let my friend choose this book I’ve purchased during our visit to a bargain section of a bookstore. I wouldn’t normally buy a book for middle-grade audience but we were both attracted to The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place‘s book cover (isn’t it cute? good illustration by Jon Klassen).

All books are judged by their covers until they are read.

-Maryrose Wood as Agatha Swanburne

There’s no harm in buying a book that costs less than $2 anyway.TICOAP  is a book series that will consist of 6 books, only the first 4 books are available in stores. According to its author Maryrose Wood’s website, Book 5 would be out on 2015. What I only have right now is the Book 1 The Mysterious Howling. Believe me, upon finishing this, I plan to get the others. Read on to know why.

TICOAP tells a story about Penelope Lumley (a 15-year-old graduate from Swanburne Academy) who took a job of becoming a governess of 3 Incorrigible children named Alexander, Beowulf, and Cassiopeia. These three were found by Lord Frederick Ashton and Old Timothy while they were hunting in the forest of their own estate. Filthy, uncivilized, and believed to have been raised by wolves, they were locked into a barn until Penelope saved them from their current condition. She’d read, teach, and feed them well. However, Lady Constance (whose role is perfect for an evil guardian antagonist) prefers the Incorrigibles to be sent off to any orphanage in England. But Lord Frederick insists on keeping them. “Finders keepers”  he’d say. And so, Lady Constance would have to put up with his husband’s decisions even if it include letting the incorrigible children to join her most awaited Christmas party. What would happen if they were to be presented to the noble people invited at the party? Will Miss Lumley be able to protect these children or should the elites protect themselves instead?

A delightful read with bits of wit. I’ve had a few chuckles reading this especially on ironic parts. “Irony” and “hyperbole” are best explained in this story. Not only adorable but also clever as it is filled with catchy sayings by Agatha Swanburne(the founder of Swanburne Academy where Miss Lumley is from).

That which can be purchased at a shop is easily left in a taxi; that which you carry inside you is difficult, though not impossible, to misplace.

There is no alarm clock like embarrassment.

Each character represents different personalities that gave the book interesting twists and turns. Even the mean Lady Constance turned out to be my favorite. Although Penelope Lumley is very good and gentle with animals, she had tamed the frighten wild children too quickly. I cannot even tame a stray kitten for a week (but I must say I’m not very good with animals).

Conclusion: A story with poems, interesting quotes, and moral education, I’d recommend this for children and even adults looking for an easy adventure read.

And if my words doesn’t convince you yet, here’s a trailer of the book.

 

The Fault In Our Stars by John Green

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I know that this is so 2012 but I wouldn’t have read this book if there wouldn’t be a movie adaptation coming soon. The amount of facebook shares of the movie poster  is quite panicking too.

While I’m on my way on being a YA book believer, I felt betrayed upon finishing The Fault In Our Stars. Before I talk about why I’m a little disappointed on this, let me first mention that I did not purchase the book with my own money (good grief to my grumpy pockets right now). But it leaves me no right to rant so much about the story line and overly used quotes. I’ll honestly review it for a just a teeny bit anyway.

If we omit the profound dialogues of the characters, the outline of the story tastes bland to the tongue of my mind.

Here’s a love at first sight story of two ridiculously genius-speaking and beautiful but not twilight-sparkling cancer patients, Augustus and Hazel. Both are trying to be heroic for each other but will eventually  gamble their lives to know what comes after the story of An Imperial Affliction, the heroine’s favorite book. Unfortunately, its author Peter Van Houten turns out to be a jerk but the life-gambling-Amsterdam adventure wasn’t all for nothing. Because from that point on, their innocent love story turned steamy-but-not-to-the-point-of-getting-aroused-while-reading-it (unless if you have an amputee fetish). *spoiler alert* Just when you thought that their romance is in full bloom, John Green’s going to stab your heart by killing one character you wouldn’t expect (except that I kind of did). And the story ends on a letter about the Hazel Grace we already know. 

I’ve crossed my fingers that The Fault in our stars wouldn’t remind me of the movie “A walk to remember” on which I remember not crying; I was too young to understand how it feels. The plot twist of  The Fault… reminded me of the movie “Magnifico” instead; I feel like I’ve put on a blank face while reading it.

My final thoughts: I believe tragic stories doesn’t always have to end it death. However, I realized that maybe this isn’t supposed to be a tragic story but merely a romantic one. To be fair to those who love it, I think The Fault In Our Stars is good for its target audience. I could understand why it’s a well-loved book. A heartwarming love story that although not everyone can relate with, anyone can sympathize with it.

John Green didn’t hit the spot on my heart with this one, perhaps on Looking for Alaska?

Summer Night

Memory of a you and I,
swam together in the night
With blue appearing green
water through the yellow light.

It’s so fresh in my mind
like I saw it yesterday;
when my hand touches yours
underneath the tiny waves.

I’d cling to you when I
can’t reach the pool’s floor.
Like how I’d cling to you when I
want to love you more.

Alive as I held on to
the edge of the pool.
Alive as we hold on to
our love as a whole.

 I remember catching beams of light on the side of the pool and there I knew I’d wrote a poem about our Bataan trip. Obviously I don’t really know how to swim. Obviously I don’t really know the rules of poetry too. Any tips? 🙂

Everyday by David Levithan

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I apologize for skipping April. It was kind of meh month for me, but I’ve been reading books lately. The quest is still on.

Everyday by David Levithan is another YA book lent to me by my YA fan friend. Like any YA books I’ve read, I don’t really get hooked on the first few chapters. I like the concept though. A, the protagonist lives his everyday in a different body, family, lifestyle. The moment he wakes up, he’s in a body of someone else. You might wanna question where does the soul of the body’s owner floats to, it is unknown. Even A, has no answer for this(however, the fact that he doesn’t know it became an important part of the story too). The moment the clock strikes at 12:00 am, A leaves the body and take over another, whether he likes it or not. And no, he can’t choose a body, gender, physical appearance, or habit. One thing that is very convenient for the story is that A could only take over the body of the same age. Say he is 16 now he could only take over a body of a 16 year old too and it is weird for me that his life really started at new born age. He must only live for a day the way that person lives his/her day. Must not do anything unusual to disrupt that person’s life. But what happens when he get attached to someone? What happens if he fall in love on that person’s girlfriend. Not his but the body he’s possessing for a day. Just one day. The story revolves on that.

I have no high expectation on this. I took this really lightly. Caught off guard, some quotes are shooting quickfire through me. One of my favorite lines is this :

People take love’s continuity for granted, just as they take their body for granted. They don’t realize that the best thing about love is its regular presence. Once you can establish that, it’s an added foundation to your life. But if you cannot have that regular presence, you only have the one foundation to support you, always.

I do like the simplicity of being with the person you love (not specifically a lover or partner only) . But I’m also guilty of asking for more than the presence.

I wanted love to conquer all. But love can’t conquer anything. It can’t do anything on its own. It relies on us to do the conquering on its behalf

I appreciate the loads of cheese on this story. But I also like the way A sees the world differently in different bodies he’s been to. It’s like reading multiple short stories all leading to one common goal: seeing Rhiannon(and there comes more platter of cheese). I wanted to dig deep into this but what could I expect, it’s a teen age boy in love. What the heck else is going to matter on an in love person?!

Upon finishing the book, I was able to see the outline of the story very clearly. I fell on the trap Levithan had set. It was a very effective plot that leads the reader to that kind of ending. And before I write a spoiler here, I’m only going to admit that I let some tears drop at the last part. It was touching specially when I heard the sweet yet sad background piano music playing from a drama tv show. My father was watching tv at that time. Awesome timing. So many feels. Just like the melody there, “Everyday” is a sweet and sad or sad in a sweet way.

It’s an easy book with somewhat relatable characters. Go read if you fancy young love with quotes that doesn’t require a proper age to relate with. 🙂

Unfinished Business

I forgot to include Memoirs Of The Life Of John Constable by C. R. Leslie and Everyday by David Levithan which I’m currently reading.

Here’s the pile of books I haven’t finished reading… forever.

In-House Design in Practice: Obviously Non fiction, Graphic Design, probably bought around 2012, reason for not reading: I lost interest in In-House Design when I entered a Marketing company but I will read this again after I’m done with the Novels (maybe)

Astray by Emma Donoghue: Novel, Bought at Fullybooked when it was on a 50% off Renovation Sale just this year, reason for not reading: haven’t opened it yet and I was finishing This is How You Lose Her by the time I got this.

A Wild Sheep Chase by Haruki Murakami: a gift from Keith because I originally lent her my Wild Sheep Chase and she bought me a new one after a year.

The Open Gate of Mercy by Fr. Joseph Maier: Heartwarming true stories of people living in Bangkok’s Main Slaughterhouse, a glimpse of life in Klong Toey slums, reason for not reading: I lost this book, I just recently found it.

Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell: Bought around 2010! I was so excited about this when it had been released in the Philippines, but I also got so busy at school. I was reading One Hundred Years of Solitude along with other novels until I forgot about this.

Ilustrado by Miguel SyjucoBought around 2010 as well, after a few chapters I lost interest on it, probably busy with school stuff too. I’m not very much drawn to the story though I believe it’s a good one. I’d read this again this year.

The Best Of Chico & Delamar’s The Morning Rush Top 10 part 1: a year 2012 Christmas gift I got from Karen. I know this is an easy one but I just….. can’t finish it. Probably already knew most of the jokes inside this book? Yes? still a good funny book if you’re planning to get one or the part 2 🙂

What The Dog Saw by Malcolm Gladwell: This belongs to A but it has been sitting on my shelf for so long. I plan to finish the Outliers first(which I do not know when :P)

The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand: The book I’ve dreamt of reading since Highschool. This copy belongs to My best friend’s sister. Though I’ve once highly enjoyed reading this, I couldn’t bring myself to pick it up again. What a daunting read. I promise myself to finish it this year too.

Eating Fire and Drinking Water by Arlene J. Chai : bought it at 70% off sale, which I am very happy about because this is the only book I could admit that I didn’t really… enjoy? It’s not you, It’s me. I’m not into political topic but I’ll give this book another chance someday.

Lumayo Ka Nga Sa Akin by Bob Ong: Bob Ong’s final book before he rest in peace.

There are still a bunch of Non-fiction on my shelf but it’s ok not to include on the list.

The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach

art of fielding by Chad Harbach

It was easy enough to write a sentence, but if you were going to create a work of art, the way Melville had, each sentence needed to fit perfectly with the one that preceded it, and the unwritten one that would follow. -Guert Affenlight

I chanced upon this novel on a Books for Less store and A bought it for me. I told him I couldn’t decide because I have no idea about baseball. A part of me wanted to get it badly though after seeing Carina’s review.

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 I have no interest in baseball same as Pella Affenlight. I have no connection with anyone who plays that game; therefore I had to search about how baseball works. Scott Muskin was right. Despite my lack of knowledge, I truly enjoyed The Art of Fielding. One of the books that has succeeded to keep me from reading on and everywhere including during my daily commute to work.

The story consists of 5 main characters namely Henry Skrimshander, Mike Schwartz, Owen Dunne, Guert Affenlight, and his daughter Pella Affenlight(I love her name). Their stories and how it connected to each other were well thought of(also mentioned by most people who’ve made a review about this book). You’ll get to know them slowly like a friend you wanted to know more of. And a friend’s life story will always be interesting to you, or for me at least. I admit of being a friends-oriented type which is not always a good quality; do you know that? Once I get overly attached to someone, I unconsciously sacrifice the time that’s meant for something else. Anyway, this book also revolves around friendship, my favorite topic. I’m about to quote a favorite from the story…

Every day is a war.  Yes, yes it was.  The key is to keep company only with people who uplift you, whose presence calls forth your best.

The Art of Fielding thrillingly tackles ambition and love. Love for baseball, literature, academy, hetero/homosexual, and responsibility. The turn of events doesn’t feel forced as it’s being built slowly. It’s a good kind of sick! There was a time I’ve had a placebo effect with Guert and felt weird on my stomach about what’s going on with them. And by the end of Chapter 69, I felt immensely sad as I read it while I’m looking after my aunt in the hospital. A hospital vibe is depressing, on my opinion.

The wanting, the negligence, the admiration, the inspiration, the loss and despair, the unmoving faith, the geniuses among us, the escapism, the regrets, the secrets, the decisions that impact our life and others, plus a whole lot more. In my verdict, I’d say this is light yet heartwarming. I love that there’s a reading group guide at the end of the story. There were questions too.

Conclusion: Upon finishing the book I was hopefully looking for its movie adaptation. I can already imagine but found none. I’m not a fan of YA books; now I’m a convert. I regret not buying An Abundance of Katherines when it was on a 40% off sale. huhu, Boo! Next on my cart is Eleanor and Park when I’m done reading the latest book I’ve purchased (Astray by Emma Donoughe)

Do I recommend it: Yes. Highly! I recommend it if you’re passionate about something; may it be a dream, a person, or a commitment.

Preface

Ahoy blogosphere(been years since I’ve used this word again. phew!)

First of all, this is a blog about books. MY reviews about the books I’ve purchased. MY attempt to actually finish these books, because I just…. couldn’t, sometimes. That’s the goal! Really quite personal. These books are:

  • the ones that have been on my shelf for soooooo long.
  • the ones that I’ve purchased and consequently bored me to death. If i challenge any of it on a staring contest, that book would actually win. These are the ones I don’t ever intend to read again, but what the heck let’s get it on!
  • the ones I’ve dreamt about owning that when I finally did, I carefully put a plastic cover. Never got to Chapter 1 on reading.
  • the ones that I like ofcourse, and don’t like, no bias here.Image

*huhu, yes i doooo. A love for literature is not for everyone, maybe? Excuses.*

I’ve tested this book report thing on my tablet first. And It kind of works! The next lines are going to be very important so If you’ve read up to this point, tapusin mo na din! Ay sus! (kindly finish! Ice sauce!)

Pardon me IF you didn’t like my post because :

  • You’ve had a different perception about the book I’ve reviewed
  • You can’t stand my way of writing because what the hemp!, is the grammar wrong or am I? Do tell. (an attempt to get better at writing)

Disclaimer : I’m not a book worm though I aspire to be.

Are you still here? Let’s get started.