Sunday, January 20, 2013

2012 bookwormery tally

photo from gettyimages
I think I said in an earlier post that I aimed to read at least 40 titles in 2012.  Did I say 50 titles? Well, maybe I did; I don't really remember how many exactly, and I'm too lazy busy to search through my old blog posts.

So how did I do?  Lemme make a list of the past year's books.

A.  Fiction

I often play safe by selecting something from the bestseller list, or those with good recommendations from reliable sources.  But of course, finding a good book is hit-and-miss. The underlined titles are the ones I took the most pleasure in, i.e., highly recommended by yours truly.  The ones in grey font are i.m.h.o. awful, i.e., don't even bother.

My fave novel
this year.

(1) Classics and Bestsellers
  1. Love in the Time of Cholera [GABRIEL GARCIA MARQUEZ]
  2. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo [STEIG LARSSON]
  3. One Day [DAVID NICHOLS]
  4. Summer Sisters  [JUDY BLUME] *second re-read
  5. Atonement [IAN MC EWAN]
  6. The Lovely Bones [ALICE SEBOLD]
  7. Dracula [BRAM STOKER]
  8. Memoirs of a Geisha [ARTHUR GOLDEN] *second re-read
  9. Bridget Jones' Diary [HELEN FIELDING]
  10. The House of the Spirits [ISABEL ALLENDE]
  11. Life of Pi [YANN MARTEL]
  12. The Princess Bride: S. Morgenstern's Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure, the Good Parts Version [WILLIAM GOLDMAN]
(An observation:  Books #1-11 have all been made into movies, some of them very recently)

(2) Lesser-known Titles
  2. Four Play [FIONA WALKER]
  3. Angelology [DANIELLE TRUSSONI]
  4. The Family Tree [CAROLE CALLAWADR]
  5. Picture Perfect [JODI PICOULT]
  6. Joshua [FR. JOSEPH GIRZONE]

(3) Story Collections
  1. Shame in the Blood [MIURA TETSUO]
  2. After the Quake [HARUKI MURAKAMI]

(4) Easy Reading and Children's Books
  1. Hope for the Flowers [TRINA PAULUS] *hundred-umpteenth re-read
  3. 100 Cupboards, Book 1/3 [N.D. WILSON]

B. Nonfiction

This year's fave
non-fiction read.
I endeavor to read as much non-fic as fiction.  It helps provide a balanced literary diet, me thinks.

(1) Histories and Biographies

  1. Band of Brothers [STEPHEN AMBROSE]  *third re-read
  2. Conversations With Michelangelo [JAMES HALL]
(2) Self- Help

  1. Wide Awake [ERWIN MC MANUS]
  2. How to Walk In High Heels:  The Girl's Guide to Everything [CAMILLA MORTON]
  3. The Pocket Muse 2:  Endless Inspiration for Writers [MONICA WOOD]

(3) Treatises and Research-paper types

  1. The Prince [NICOLLO MACHIAVELLI] *first re-read, not counting required reading for school
  2. Origin of the Bible [Multiple Authors]
  3. The Manhattan Project: Big Sciene and the Atom Bomb [JAMES HUGHES]
  4. The Case for Christ [LEE STROBEL]
  5. Leading With a Limp:  Turning Your Struggles Into Strengths [DAN B. ALLENDER] *first re-read
  6. Rx:  Coconuts (The Perfect Health Nut) [VERMEN M. VERALLO-ROWELL, M.D.]

(4) Coffee Table Books and Others
  1. 1000 Jewelry Inspirations [SANDRA SALAMONY] *umpteenth re-read
  2. Dear Mom
  3. Great Mysteries of the Past [READER'S DIGEST] *umpteenth re-read
  4. Mysteries of the Unexplained [READER'S DIGEST] *umpteenth re-read
  5. Seeing Salvation:  Images of Christ in Art [NEIL MACGREGOR]

My 2012 total:   40 books (not including the Bible, which I read every year anyway, at least in part).

I've reached my goal of reading 40 titles, but if my goal was actually 50 - aw, shucks - I'm  a mere ten books shy.  Now I kinda feel bad for taking a break from reading last October/November.  :/   Oh well, Even 20 titles ain't so bad, especially since I had a lot of fun and I learned stuff.  Going for better in 2013.  ^_^

Friday, January 18, 2013

painting again

In the last few days of my Vegas visit, I spent some time painting again.  It's been a long while since I put my brushes to a canvas, and it felt nice being reunited with my "old friends".  A perfect opportunity to go on Artist Mode opened up - my Mama needed artworks for her bare walls, and a fantabulous arts & crafts supplies store was within walking distance from her home.  As a pleasant plus, top-quality art materials are much cheaper in the U.S. than back home, so it was fun to go shopping for ready-made canvases and paints.  

My Ma showed me a photo that she wanted me to use as a peg, and after four days, voici:

20x23 acrylics on canvas by me.

This, beside a painting made by my sister, now hangs in Mama's kitchen wall.  It's not quite done, as I would've wanted to add more detail and create more depth, but I needed to do a lot of packing that week.  I thus needed to curb my obsessive horror-vacui impulse and settle for the above finished product.  

Even if it isn't exactly as I intended it to be - and though it was a rather stressful week that week with all the packing and last-minute stuff going on - there's this sense of satisfaction over painting again.  At my core I know I'm an artist, and making visually interesting things feels like home to me.

Friday, January 11, 2013

2012 was pretty good ^_^

As I've made it my personal tradition every January to make an inventory of the previous year, here goes my recollection of 2012.  All photos in this entry mine.

General climate of 2012
Hmmm.  Steady.  Not exactly ecstatic this year, but peaceful and content.
Quite a productive year; possibly the most productive I've been in a while.  The latter half was also rather restful.

The best decision I made 
Getting out of a stress-inducing situation.

The greatest joy
Taking a trip to the U.S. to see family and take a break from the madness that is Manila.

The greatest challenge
Same as last year - Not having as much money as I want / need..  ^_^  I suppose that's a constant for everyone.

Biggest success
The fact that I gained the most income I've had in a while.

Biggest fiasco
Oh.  The one in my opinion was precipitated by an external epalistic otherwise moral organic molecular unit that veritably contained non-foster information and supposedly good but otherwise careless intentions that were detrimental to for his own welfare as well as that of others.

Biggest blessing
Spending time alone and unattached.

The year's vice
Used books.  Just couldn't get enough.

Best discovery
The joy of string cheese.  ^_^
And the alarming rate at which a diet that consists heavily of fastfood accumulates unwanted pounds. 0_o  After all my supersizing caused me to become supersized myself, I vowed never to subsist on such evils again.

Best finds
  • Neutrogena products unavailable in Manila.  
  • The used books store in SM.
  • Thrift stores in Vegas, where I was able to buy a ton of used books.  Paperbacks in great condition at 99 cents each (around PhP 40), hardbound editions at $1.99 (around PhP 80). 
  • 1-cent used books on  Wow.

Nicest place visited
the white beaches on Panglao Island, Bohol.

Worst loss 
Another church.  :/

Best loss
Six unwanted pounds.  :D  Hooray!

Biggest disappointment
The falling away of  friends and the failure (so far) to assimilate new ones.
And finding how someone who posed as a friend turned out not to be one after he decided he didn't need us after all

Cut short and henceforth nonexistent.  Which isn't so bad, since it freed me up to take a long trip.

Spiritual principle for the year
God loves misfits and outcasts.

Most fun projects
The various cupcake experiments done with my sisters.
And the multitude of snowflakes for Mama's glass doors.

Greatest frustration
Being the young visionary who saw how giants could be slain, but being told by the older "experts" it can't be done, it shouldn't be done, and that I should know my place.  Puh-leez.

Greatest encouragement
Evidence of how much God has grown me in the past decade, and how I've been able to deal with personal issues.  Oh yes.  ^_^  It's a Praise the Lord moment.

Best reads
Wide Awake.  Erwin McManus.
The Case for Christ.  Lee Strobel.

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.  Steig Larsson.

Best movies
2012 was a good year for movies, me thinks; but my faves for the year are
Les Miserables, 
The Hobbit, and
Life of Pi. 
(I'm so glad I wasn't in Manila when Les Miz came out.  Due to the yearly film fest, screening in the Phils was pushed to January, forcing avid moviegoers to wait three weeks.  Since I've been in  Nevada, I was able to see it day after Christmas. Woot, woot! )
(Coming to think of it, I watched all of my 2012 faves in Nevada.)

Fave TV series
Still Doctor Who.  Quite sad about the Ponds but very pleased with the new companion.
And I am Sherlocked. Frustrated that series 3 will be postponed.
I also discovered 2010's Outsourced and found it enjoyable.

Fave snack
Celery sticks and tomato juice.  Glad to go healthy.  ^_^
Last year it was red velvet cupcakes.  I've gotten sick of it since; maybe because I've been eating too much of it.

Fave gift received
A $50 gift card for clothes and accessories.  (Thanks Ate S. and Mr. W! You guys are big blessings!)

Fave people met
There wasn't much of a relationship formed due to the limited time, but the community group my sister and I joined (in LV) made quite an impression. Nice, smart people.   The couple that owned the house was a perky blonde and a half-Filipino dude.  There were also: a young lady who works with orphans, the Canadian girl who taught us how to make peppermint bark, a smart geek type, a sweet guy from Wisconsin, and the smiley guy with  the biceps.  I liked them all so much I  wished I could pack them in my bags.

Best new skill
Learning to cook kare-kare (Thanks, Tita Haidee!  We love you so much).

Prettiest thing I made
If it isn't this Christmas tree, it must be this Amethyst necklace that I'm pretty proud of:

Most worthwhile thing I've made
A non-churchy discipleship manual, the kind stripped of Christianese platitudes to help make Bible-truths more meaningful, but still heavily Biblical.

Fave photos taken

Panglao Island, Bohol.  February.

Estrellas de Mendoza, Laiya. Batangas.  March.

Aviation Nation, Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada.  November.

Worst month

Best month