Monthly Archives: February 2012

I’m Joining the 2012 Chunkster Challenge


Last year, around May, I created a Goodreads account and challenged myself to read 40 books before 2011 ends. I barely made it but I did. This year, I’m challenging myself to read 48 books for Goodreads.

But, I wanted to challenge myself a little more. There are a lot of Reading challenges out there. But, the 2012 Chunkster Challenge caught my attention. Plus, I think this would not be an easy challenge. I mean I’ve been reading 2666 since January 3 and I still have around 200 pages to read. I’ve been procrastinating. There are days that I only read 10 pages. Eeeek…

Maybe joining the Chunkster Challenge would be motivation enough for me to read faster.

You can click on the image above to read more about this Challenge. Here’s how they defined a Chunkster.
A chunkster is 450 pages or more of ADULT literature, whether non-fiction or fiction. A chunkster should be a challenge.

If you read books in large print, your books will need to be 525 pages or more. The average large type book is 10-15% larger or more so it’s a fair estimate

Challenge Timeframe: January 1, 2012 to December 31, 2012

My Participation Level: Mor-book-ly Obese

Participation Level Defined:

The Chubby Chunkster – this option is for the readers who want to dabble in large tomes, but really doesn’t want to commit to much more than that. FOUR Chunksters is all you need to finish this challenge.
The Plump Primer – this option is for the slightly heavier reader who wants to commit to SIX Chunksters over the next twelve months.
Do These Books Make my Butt Look Big? – this option is for the reader who can’t resist bigger and bigger books and wants to commit to SIX Chunksters from the following categories: 2 books which are between 450 – 550 pages in length; 2 books which are 551 – 750 pages in length; 2 books which are GREATER than 750 pages in length (for ideas, please refer to the book suggestions pagefor some books which fit into these categories).
Mor-book-ly Obese – This is for the truly out of control chunkster. For this level of challenge you must commit to EIGHT or more Chunksters of which three tomes MUST be 750 pages or more. You know you want to…..go on and give in to your cravings.
Call me crazy. But most of the books on my TBR pile are around 450 pages and up. So, why not go all out. Right!

Note to self: Good luck! Stock up on coffee and chocolates!




I’m testing out blogger. You could visit me at which I created on February 12. I’m just experimenting my friends. Want to compare the usability and networking abilities of WordPress and Blogger. By the end of this year, I’ll decide which one to keep. But, for now, I’ll be posting the same articles on both blogs.

Book Review: The Birth of Venus by Sarah Dunant

Book Cover


When this book first came out in 2003, I was drawn to it because of the title. It brought me back to my College days, when one of my favorite professors was talking about a Botticelli painting of the same title. I did read the synopsis at the back of the book and even though it piqued my interest, not just my curiosity, I somehow ended up buying other books.


Sandro Botticelli’s Birth of Venus


Fast-forward to 2011, at a time that I frequent most Booksale branches and this book keeps on popping up. I say to myself, “Hold on! What’s the universe trying to tell me?” Yes, I’m kind of weird like that. I always think that the universe is trying to communicate to me through the everyday goings on, people, objects, animals, plants, and pretty much anything that I happen to encounter.


You could come to the conclusion that I did buy the book and your conclusion wouldn’t be wrong.


When I started reading it, my thought bubble was “Damn! Why didn’t I read this sooner.” It  is one of the best books I’ve ever read. The writing was impeccable. The story’s got everything; coming of age, love and romance, mystery, crime, suspense and thriller, women empowerment, politics, art, passion, danger, choice.


The story revolves around a young, sassy, Florentine girl named Allesandra Cecchi who dreams of becoming an artist. She belongs to a merchant family and her father was a well respected cloth merchant and political figure. Now, the story is set at Florence, Italy during the 15th century. You have to understand that, at this particular time, women are still regarded as property. Unmarried ones belong to their fathers and married ones belong to their husbands. Women are expected to follow the bidding of their father or husband. Women’s opinions should reflect that of their father or husband. In short, having a personal opinion was publicly frowned at and is a definite no-no. So much for freedom.


It’s also safe to say, that at this particular time, women are not supposed to have “careers”. Allesandra should forget about being a well-known artist because it’s not going to happen. Besides, women are not even allowed to be an artist’s apprentice. Ergo, Allesandra would never have the chance to be trained by an artist.


The story unfolds when Allesandra’s father commissions and brings home an artist to paint the murals of the family chapel. Allesandra was drawn to the painter. In her head, she knew the painter could teach her to paint. Little does she know that she’s falling in love with the painter; and vice versa.


15th Century Florence was experiencing a lot of crimes. The period can be pretty much described as politically and morally turbulent. Art and expression is rising. Along with it, sodomy, sexual abandon, murder are also rising. Savonarola, a well-known priest, preaches that the moral decline was caused by art leading people away from God. In his opinion, the only way to save man was to destroy art. A view, that Allesandra opposes. You could just imagine the inner conflict this is causing our protagonist. It made me stop and think, “What would I have done, if I were Allesandra?” Do I pursue my passion? Or do I follow my trusted Church? Somehow, this question still applies today. Don’t you think?



My rating for this book:   

I love this book and I can’t wait to read more of Sarah Dunant’s work.