Author Archives: kikayreader

About kikayreader

I'm a designer by profession. Lately, a domestic lifestyle is something I find appealing... and somewhat ideal. Thus, I'm seriously considering changing to a profession that would allow me to stay home more often. By that I mean most days of the week, and most hours of the day. I've narrowed down my options to two; being an artist or a writer. But then again, there's no one stopping me to do both. Allow me to share this adventure to my "unexplored" and whatever comes out of it. Oh... and wishing me luck is more than welcome.

I’m Joining the 2012 Chunkster Challenge

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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!

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Book Review: The Birth of Venus by Sarah Dunant

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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.

 

New Year… New Goal

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I’m a sucker for challenges. But this, in the past, never really applied to reading. Until last year, when, for health reasons, I had to place myself under house arrest. Hahaha…

Out of boredom, I’ve decided to do a little spring cleaning. Well, actually, it was my allergy to dust that prompted me to clean.  But, anyway,  health living is really not the point I’m trying to drive at.

Back to my story. So, there I was, trying my very best to de-clutter the house. Making sure I get rid of the unwanted stuff just left there to gather dust. I was pulling out boxes and big plastic containers left unattended ever since the house was remodeled. Who knew those boxes held treasure? All the while I thought it contained a lot of old, used, and broken stuff kept out of my mom’s sentimentality… and “pack-rat-ness”.

Seeing the books, I sat down, dusting and leafing through the books. Leafing turned to scanning. Scanning turned to skimming. Skimming turned to reading. Cleaning and dusting forgotten.  Of course, I went back to it eventually… after reading a considerable number of pages… ok… half the book.

Those 2 months of unemployment allowed me to read more than 10 books.  I ended last year with 40 books (Goodreads Challenge). But, somehow I was not able to record all of those books here since I started this blog a lot later than Goodreads. And I’m a bit lazy to update my list here.

But, 2012 is a new year. As per tradition, a new year is always equated with a new start. Thus, goals and resolutions abound.

Since, last Jan 2010, my ultimate goal is to create a new and improved me. This goal includes honoring myself. Needless to say, part of this goal is to enrich my heart, mind, and soul, through reading. This year, I intend to read 48 books or  19,635.  Why this number? (Click here.)

Reading is just one of the many goals I have for 2012. Here’s to a great reading year ahead. Happy reading my friends!

Reading and Writing Backlog

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It’s nearing Christmas… The time of the year that I’m most swamped with work. This year is looking up to be my busiest to date. I’m not complaining though. Who wouldn’t want extra income during the holidays. I am certainly one who would take advantage of the opportunities coming my way. My motto is enjoy it while it lasts. Hehehe… The only drawback of accepting these opportunities is that I do not get to read as much. And since, I do not get to read I also do not have anything book-related to write about.

Oh well, I guess it’s time to treat reading and blogging as part-time work. Maybe then I’d follow my self-imposed reading and blogging deadlines.

Book Buying Addiction

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“Hi, I am KikayReader, and I am a book buying addict.”

Yes, you read it right. BOOK BUYING ADDICT. Not a BOOK-A-HOLIC. To differentiate, a book-a-holic is a more accessible word for a bibiliophile. Someone who loves to read. Someone who can effortlessly finish a book or two (and sometimes 3) in one sitting. A book buying addict just purchases books faster than he/she has time to read them. Which is a perfect way of describing me. I get a thrill out of buying books and yet I hardly have the time to read even one.

Most times, I open a book only to discover that the pages have already started to yellow and emit a certain foul smell. Resulting in an almost endless chain of sneezing, watery eyes, a headache and blurred vision. Thus, the need and excitement to read the book is dramatically lessened. Not because I’m picky. But because it literally makes me sick.

Even with this knowledge, I still can’t stop myself from hoarding books. I still can’t stop myself from entering a bookstore every time I am at a mall. And somehow there’s the need to purchase a book. Leaving the bookstore empty-handed also leaves me with a feeling of emptiness. Just yesterday, I dropped by the mall to have some papers photo-copied. Close to the photocopying establishment is a Booksale. I was drawn to it just like metal filings to a magnet. I was telling myself there’s no harm in browsing while waiting for my photocopies to be done. Well, I came out with 4 hardbound books.

I’m sick i tell ya. Maybe it’s time somebody start a sort of AA for book buying addicts. I’m pretty sure I’ll be the first client.

Oh… And isn’t it just crazy that I even have the gall to start a blog? How will I even have the time to write when I don’t even have time to read. Haisht… This is insanity.

My new mantra should be: “I can make time”.

 

Book Review: Three Junes by Julia Glass

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Summary from Bookbrowse:

Three Junes is a vividly textured symphonic novel set on both sides of the Atlantic during three fateful summers in the lives of a Scottish family. In June of 1989, Paul McLeod, the recently widowed patriarch, becomes infatuated with a young American artist while traveling through Greece and is compelled to relive the secret sorrows of his marriage. Six years later, Paul’s death reunites his sons at Tealing, their idyllic childhood home, where Fenno, the eldest, faces a choice that puts him at the center of his family’s future. A lovable, slightly repressed gay man, Fenno leads the life of an aloof expatriate in the West Village, running a shop filled with books and birdwatching gear. He believes himself safe from all emotional entanglements–until a worldly neighbor presents him with an extraordinary gift and a seductive photographer makes him an unwitting subject. Each man draws Fenno into territories of the heart he has never braved before, leading him toward an almost unbearable loss that will reveal to him the nature of love.
Love in its limitless forms–between husband and wife, between lovers, between people and animals, between parents and children–is the force that moves these characters’ lives, which collide again, in yet another June, over a Long Island dinner table. This time it is Fenno who meets and captivates Fern, the same woman who captivated his father in Greece ten years before. Now pregnant with a son of her own, Fern, like Fenno and Paul before him, must make peace with her past to embrace her future. Elegantly detailed yet full of emotional suspense, often as comic as it is sad, Three Junes is a glorious triptych about how we learn to live, and live fully, beyond incurable grief and betrayals of the heart–how family ties, both those we’re born into and those we make, can offer us redemption and joy.

 

My Rating:

 

Ambivalence is the word I’d use to describe what I felt after reading this book. I simply didn’t know how to explain the neutrality that I felt.

It’s not that the writing was bad or the story was off. Because it is well-written and  the story was well-weaved. The author was very good in creating a clear picture of what was happening. She’s also adept at describing each character that somehow I felt I’ve known them all my life. But, in the end, I didn’t really see a clear message. My thought bubble a day after reading the book was “What’s the point again?” And this question keeps popping up not because I forgot what the message was. I simply couldn’t identify her original intended message.

Don’t get me wrong though. It’s not that I didn’t like it. After all I gave it three hearts which means I liked it. I do recommend that you think twice before reading it. I guess with this book, a reader would have different lessons and insights to take home. And maybe , whatever that take home lesson is, would depend on how much you relate to the story or the character/s. Unfortunately, for me, there’s little to none.

If this is the case, why did I give it three hearts, you ask. Anyone who reads it would pick up mini-messages here and there. Especially, if you are the type who is obsessed with and constantly uses marginalia.

 

Thought-out Marginalia : (to be added soon)