Bookshelf: My Jan-March 2015 Read List

Happy Easter Sunday, everyone! ūüôā

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this before but I finished 35 books last year. And, this year, I’m challenging myself to finish reading 36 books – an average of 3 books per month.

Since the first quarter of the year has passed, I’d like to share what I’ve read so far. Honestly, I’ve read mostly short book reads recently. They are not books which I would normally read¬†but¬†I was hoping to find¬†some extraordinary gems outside of my comfort zone. I, sadly, didn’t chance upon any that blew my mind. Nonetheless, each book opened my eye to something new and different so I’m somewhat fortunate that I chanced upon them.

According to Haruki Murakami, “If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.” And, as William Styron once said, “A great book should leave you with many experiences, and slightly exhausted at the end. You live several lives while reading.

Henceforth, here’s the 10 books that I read in the past 3 months. I’ve added some notes and ratings as well. Please note that since these aren’t my usual genre, my opinions might vary widely from everyone else’s. But well, everyone is entitled to their opinion. Also, I have the paperback copy for some of them if you’re interested. Also, please suggest other books to read because I’m¬†getting quite¬†bored with my list.

Photo credit: The Cube

Photo credit: The Cube

1. God Explained in a Taxi Ride – Paul Arden

My Rating: 3.5/5

I think I’ve successfully read all of Paul Arden’s books. Don’t be fooled by this short read because some of his witty remarks made me pause too. He was honest, poignant, and funny. While some of his points will certainly make you laugh, some will make you reflect too. Also, while the title says “God” please note that this isn’t a serious religious book. I think it¬†will not be suitable for those who are sensitive or oversensitive about their religion.

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2. The Power of a Praying Woman –¬†Stormie Omartian

My Rating: 1/5

This is a book which was meant to be¬†read one chapter at a time… something which I didn’t do. Hence, I don’t think I got as much as the author intended the readers to be. It was an okay book. Personally, I’ve read better ones or at least ones which are more relevant to my life stage. There are some comforting and encouraging notes but I think this is more suitable for mothers, especially for those at the later stage of their career.

225109833.¬†Girl Online –¬†Zoe Sugg, Siobhan Curham¬†

My Rating: 2.5/5

Cumuloq gave me this book for Christmas (thanks!) and given all the hype, I read it right away. I wasn’t very sure about all the ghost writer news thing. But, judging the book on its own, I think it’s alright. It’s one of those comfortable chick lit to read which will surely make you feel better after. It’s nothing too dramatic but it does have a bit of predictable almost impossible points. For a longer book review on Girl Online, please visit Cumuloq’s blog post here.

35381304.¬†Plato and a Platypus Walk Into a Bar: Understanding Philosophy Through Jokes¬†–¬†Thomas Cathcart, Daniel Klein

My Rating: 4/5

I was¬†enticed by this book after my friend, Crystal, showed her freshly bought book from Kinokuniya. I was so annoyed¬†that I can’t find an ebook version so I actually went to Kinokuniya and get a copy for myself as well. I don’t reach much hardcore philosophy books but I really enjoyed reading this one. It give you some brief description of certain terminologies and then expounds on it using poignant jokes and even real-life scenarios. Plus, it makes you feel smart afterwards! I really enjoyed reading the jokes and I’d gladly lend my soft copy to anyone interested.

18465.¬†Wild at Heart: Discovering the Secret of a Man’s Soul –¬†John Eldredge

My Rating: 3/5

I heard about this book after reading his¬†other book “Captivating: Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman’s Soul.” “Captivating” was a really enlightening book which helped me understand God’s intention in creating women and how to live it out in our current life. Since it was so helpful, I was intrigued to read “Wild at Heart” in hopes of understanding the man’s side more. Indeed, this book was interesting and insightful. There were a lot of points which helped me understood some of my guy friends. But since I’m a girl, it wasn’t as eye-opening or life-changing for me as “Captivating” was. That said, if you’re a Christian girl hoping to understand your boyfriend or husband more, I think this book would be very helpful.

184739976.¬†Dept. of Speculation –¬†Jenny Offill

My Rating: 2/5

This is one of those one-sitting “experimental” books which not many people may fully appreciate. The story line seems a bit disjointed, but I think this is because the narrator shifts from first person to third person perspective depending on how comfortable she is with the subject and how she wants to portray herself. Some of the great finds about this book are the various quotable lines in this book:

‚ÄúShe thinks before she acts. Or more properly, she thinks instead of acts. A character flaw, not a virtue.‚ÄĚ

‚ÄúIf I had to sum up what he did to me, I‚Äôd say it was this: he made me sing along to all the bad songs on the radio. Both when he loved me and when he didn’t.‚ÄĚ

231621217.¬†One Plus One –¬†Jojo Moyes

My Rating: 3/5

I was desperately looking for a chick lit when I decided to read this. Since I really liked Jojo Moyes’s “Me Before You” and I’ve been seeing recommendations for this book around, I decided to take the chance. For a chick lit, it did not disappoint. It might even be slightly better than “Me Before You.” There’s a¬†strong-willed lady struggling as a single parent and that rich gentleman who screwed up his life. But more than than, I really liked the family’s story in this book – how the mother Jess really did her best to give everything to her children Nicky and Tanzie. I really liked the math-wizard girl Tanzie and the fact that they have a pet dog. This was a difficult book to put down, especially on the last 50 pages of the book so brace yourself.

175715648.¬†Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened¬†–¬†Allie Brosh

My Rating: 3/5

I was reading another book before this but… I haven’t completed the other one until now. Instead, I decided to read something light and fun. This book is a Goodreads Choice 2013 Winner and since it looks like a comic read, I decided to have a look. Warning: Please don’t be fooled by the drawings. If you’re thinking about a light-read, this is not the book for that. I often had to pause and put the put down for a while before continuing. Yes, I finished it within 2 days (you can do it in one) but Allie talked about her childhood, her dogs, and her depression which were sometimes funny but at other times had put a lump in my throat. If you want to preview her works, here’s Allie Brosh’s¬†blog site¬†– Hyperbole and a Half.

232492649.¬†Funny Girl –¬†Nick Hornby

My Rating: 3/5

Since it’s not my usual read, I have mixed feelings about this book. Set in the 1960s about a girl with high ambition, I felt like I was reading someone’s biography¬†from a distant future. It’s fresh and different from a normal chick lit and was rather entertaining too. Some parts where a little unbelievable but I guess that’s how it would have been like in the 1960s show business scene. If any, I was inspired by¬†Barbara/Sophie Straw’s high ambition and determination and how she achieved her dream of being a tv comedian. In an odd way, I feel like I’ve met a friend, followed her in achieving her dreams, all the way until she reached¬†retirement. If you’re a girl looking for a fresh read about another lady who’s “been there, done that,” you might want to check this out.

1350310910.¬†This Is How You Lose Her¬†–¬†Junot D√≠az

My Rating: 1/5

After reading tons of quotes from “This Is How You Lose Her” on Tumblr,¬†I finally decided to give it a chance as well. Unfortunately, I was terribly disappointed. Instead of the sum being better than its parts, the quotes were sadly the best parts of the book. I felt like Junot Diaz was rambling about his, his father’s, and his brother’s sexcapades (not even very descriptive at that), cheating, failures, regrets, and what-not’s. Considering that it’s written from a man’s perspective, it was a bit too melodramatic for my liking. I found it more annoying than heartbreaking, and it isn’t a book I would¬†recommend. Now, I’m really sceptical to read¬†his more famous work “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.”

Okay. So those are the books I’ve read for the first three months of 2015. If you want to know more about any of the above book or perhaps even want to borrow one, please drop me a note. Also,¬†if you have any book recommendations, please drop them in my comment box below! I read books of all genres and am always in search for books that offers something new (a strong voice, different style, unique character).¬†Here’s more of the other books I’ve read and what I think about them.

Otherwise, I’ll hopefully catch you again in late June for the next batch of books I’m reading.

Thanks and have a great week ahead! ūüôā

PS: Unless otherwise stated, all photo credits goes to Goodreads.

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