The time it takes to quit on a book

99DaysIf Stephen Chbosky wrote that we accept the love we think we deserve, is that also true for books? Do we read the books we think we deserve?

I don’t have a lot of complicated habits when it comes to reading but I try my damndest to stick with this one commitment: to finish every story that I have started.

Out of respect to the authors who have labored to produce their works, I feel compelled to at least read the book till the last page before I could pronounce any judgment on it. There are moments when some books make me want to yank my own hair out due to intense boredom: when plots seem to unnecessarily drag on for ages and ages and nothing really happens and you realize there are still 9873363820 more pages before you get to the end.  There are times when I stumble on the occasional misfortune of reading crap literature—when the plot is so convoluted and predictable and the characters drive me crazy with either a.) their mediocrity or b.) their stupidity or god forbid, c.) both.

And yet, I struggle through a thousand yawns and yikes just to make it to the epilogue. Mostly, I do this just so I can justify my dislike for the book. I strive through the agony of every chapter because I want to be able to confidently say that I have the right to say it sucked, that I gave it a chance and it didn’t redeem itself, that my patience as a reader is steadfast and that I am not eternally perched on my literary high horse of snootiness. Yup, I am conceited like that.

But what if you just can’t really go on anymore? Continue reading

Monthly Wrap-Up: Atta Girl! April

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If beauty is in the eye of the reader, what is your definition of an excellent heroine?

Is it someone with otherworldly charm that makes her an instant standout among the crowd? Or is it someone with superior intelligence and a natural talent for sass? Would it be someone who is as mysterious and profound as a wallflower? Or would she be fierce and fearless as a fighter? Is it someone with extraordinary kindness of heart or someone with an admirable sense of resilience against hardships? Is she noble and self-sacrificing for the sake of the ones she love or is she bravely pursuing independence because she appreciates her self-worth and her entitlement to freedom?

It’s a question I’ve been asking myself for years. Hence, I vowed to dedicate at least a month to celebrate the many types of young women in fiction—a hurrah for the heroines, because why not? And so I decided April would be the perfect time for this mission: when summer is at its zenith and the promise of hot heroines can set the whole world on fire.

Seven books later and this is the most important thing I learned: there is no such thing as a perfect heroine. Sometimes they are capable of being stuck-up, annoying, intimidating, conceited, distant, insecure, and unlikeable. But these flaws are important because it makes them real; it makes them representatives of our hurts, our dreams, and our passions. The best heroines are the ones that make us understand that no matter how ugly the world could be, there are still infinite ways of being beautiful, if only we search deeper than what meets the eye. Continue reading

Unreturned Books & Other Heartbreaks

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I. People do not know this, and I wish sometimes they would: that when I give or lend you a book, it means I have chiseled away a secret fragment of my heart and entrusted it in your hands; that when you fail or forget to return it to me, a part of me silently concedes to being incomplete forever. I’m a possessive bitch and I keep a record of things lost and gone. I have an inventory of faulty promises, of people who just suddenly forget to keep in touch for several years, of books that vanish into thin air. Continue reading

Monthly Wrap-Up: Misfit March

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Fact: I am in love with strangeness.

I am forever fascinated with all things weird mostly because I believe it is everywhere, in everyone.  Sometimes we’re so blinded by our mundane everydays that we fail to see an outrageously simple reality: There’s no one else like you in the world. All the sappy self-help books in the planet would tell you that despite all our similarities, every single one of us is unique.  These days I’ve been finding myself pausing a lot and just mulling over the gravity of that fact and letting it play carousels inside my head.

What makes you weird makes you extraordinary. Hot damn.

For March I have read six wonderful books featuring characters with varying levels of quirk; people who are, in many ways, different from the society or the world they live or grew up in, whether they meant to or not. People who never seemed to fit in or belong anywhere besides the shell of their own selves. People who have stories that transcend the bizaare, the macabre, the wildest of imaginations. People who defied to be forgotten by becoming one-of-a-kind—in good ways, in bad ways, in OMGWTF ways.

You and I, we are all misfits just wanting to find our places under the sun. Some of us find it in the hollows of the high school hierarchy, or a house full of strangers, or in the pursuit of possessing things. Some find it in letters from the future, or an imagined memory of a jungle several oceans away, or even just a place to safely dream of freedom.

Me? I find it in between the pages of books. Continue reading

In defense of wordlessness

It’s like waking up one morning to find that you’ve been talking non-stop for years and that your mind’s wordcount have somehow reached a proverbial quota of sorts, like your brain has a bandwidth limit you didn’t know you’ve already exceeded before you even became aware that it ever existed in the first place. It’s like being handed an invitation to a holiday in celebration of things that we never have to apologize for.

Silence is a long and languid vacation; a solitary trip I have allowed myself to indulge on. I let the days pass me by like chapters. I measure time not by calendar but by stories, and simply shrugged my shoulders to momentarily decline the seemingly constant burden of needing to archive my exclamations each time I say goodbye to a book.  For a while, I can just read and read and not have to pause to scrutinize or sigh. And oh blissful abandon, how the weeks have flown by like the quietest whirlwind I have ever known.

We all gotta disappear sometimes, at least once in our lives and yet: some departures are not forever.

I’m back, thank you so much for still being here.

Monthly Wrap-up: February & F-words

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Holy cheesecakes, this month has been assorted kinds of surreal. 

For as long as I could remember, I’ve been gravitating towards romance and stories heavily-centered on love whenever February rolls around and yes, I am aware of how this makes me a legit walking breathing cliche but whatever: when it’s the month of hearts, we are all licensed to be sentimental and sappy and starry-eyed and I swear to god I will shoot anyone who says otherwise with cupid arrows and a confetti of roses. It’s Valentines, shut the hell up and swoon.

And oh, how I did. If falling in love feels like falling in love with books, please believe me when I say that I just wanna lie here in my puddle of fictional feelings forevermore and I don’t ever wanna get back up. Continue reading