I buy books. And sometimes I read them. This blog is for the times when I do more than just store shelf candy.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Year of Living Aimlessly

Last year, I furnished my apartment, equipping it with a hot tub for female bonding, a rec room for poker night, and an art studio for well, art. A few months later, I saved up enough to buy a 2-storey, American colonial type house, which I also fully furnished with 50s kitsch. The front lawn changed according to the seasons. Not satisfied with my 2 urban dwellings, I also acquired farmland, wherein I steadily amassed crops, farm machinery, animals, and buildings; I even opened it to the public as a theme park. Having discovered that country air and agriculture suit me, I got a smaller property for processing my crops into jams, wine, cheese, and other agricultural by-products. I also tried my hand at managing a restaurant, but eventually gave it up because of the difficulty of finding ingredients and muzak that didn't drive me batty. All these while keeping fashionably dressed and equipped with all the paraphernalia to keep up with my sorority sisters and mafia brothers.

What a fruitful year 2009 was.

Of course, if you know me well enough, you would know that all this did not happen in real life. It all happened in that wonderful but virtual slash make-believe world of Facebook. Yes, I had all the time in the world for all the things that would not change the world one little teeny weeny bit.

Though I spent some time working, teaching, training, Toastmastering, volunteering, and checking a ton of writing assignments, I also spent a criminally inordinate amount time in front of the computer in aimless pursuit of mindless entertainment. It was not the year for major accomplishments and goal-driven over-achievement. It was the year of living aimlessly, lunching leisurely, slacking guiltlessly. I offer no excuses, no health reasons for slowing down, no soul-searching alibi, no lifestyle downsizing for higher purposes. I just wanted to celebrate the sloth in me. And I did it through facebook and other non-income generating but fun activities.

I know, I know; I deserve your disdain, disgust, and yes, your envy.

But I have to say that there was an area of my life less aimless: my reading life.

I started the year with purpose. One goal was to top my 2008 50-book record and go for 60. The other was to try out different genres and follow the reading plan set by Flips Flipping Pages. And this is how I did.

For those too lazy to make the clicks, let me summarize: I did it! I accomplished my goals.

Quantity Goal. I read 63 books in 2009. 3 over the target. The last 3 were comic books. And there was a patch when I was panic-reading, and so I finally read some of the children's and picture books in my TBR pile. I'll post the list of books at the end of this entry. The documentation gets spotty at the end when I started feeling blog fatigue. And you will see that there are some books that just barely make the classification as books. But I met the goal. So there.

Diversity Goal: This was the more interesting, more challenging goal. The reading plan was very precise:
  • 12 fiction - (6 Euro/American/Commonwealth, 4 Asian/Latin American/African, 2 local[at least one of the 12 should be classic lit])
  • 6 nonfiction - (1 science/math, 1 lifestyle, 1 poli/eco/soc, 1 bio/autobio/memoir, 2 local)
  • 3 reading group requirement - any 3 of the 10 or so FFP reading group titles to be discussed in 2009
  • 1 award winner - (booker, pulitzer, palanca, national book) In this case, it has to be the piece that won, not a book by palanca award winner XXX.
  • 1 common book - as dictated by our resident canon
  • 1 partner's choice - recommended by an FFP member
I will also post the books I read for this challenge below. Not completing this goal was not an option; I was resolute; I knew I would be so ashamed of myself to myself if I did not finish this. Even though that little pesky voice inside my head was madly whispering to the underachiever in me, "what's the point, what's the point?" There was very little point, truth be told. I just wanted to make a dent in my TBR mountain, especially for those genres that I would not normally pick up for reading. And mainly because I'm a silly, old girl, with huge book-shopping guilt issues.

And that was 2009. Aimless living compensated for by purposeful reading. Not bad for somebody who loathed required reading.

The 63 Books I Read in 2009:

1) The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon (Jan 7)

2) The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (Jan 16)

3) The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni (Jan 29)

4) The 10 Most Annoying English Grammar Errors by Jose Carillo (Jan 29)

5) The Pen Commandments by Steven Frank (Feb 3)

6) Inside Hitler's Bunker by Joaquim Fest (Feb 7)

7) Love Story by Eric Segal (Feb 11)

8) The Muse Asylum (Feb 18)

9) A Writer's Guide to Nonfiction by Elizabeth Lyon (Feb. 26)

10) Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman by Haruki Murakami (March 12)

11) A Pale View of Hills by Kazuo Ishiguro (March 16)

12) The Diving Pool by Yoko Ogawa (March 18ish)

13) Norwegian Wood (March 31)

14) Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte (April 16)

15) Para Kay B by Ricky Lee (April 21)

16) Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter by Mario Vargas Llosa (April 30)

17) Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

18) Food Tour by Claude Tayag. (May 14)

19) Rizal without the Overcoat, Ambeth Ocampo

20) Politically Correct Bedtime Stories by James Finn Garner

21) Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler

22) Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri

23) Fashion Brands by Mark Tungate

24) Do Hard Things by Alex and Brett Harris

25) Blithe Spirit by Noel Coward

26) Saleng by my aunt, Evelyn Cabanban

27) The Grandmothers, Doris Lessing

28) The Cat in the Hat, Dr. Seuss

29) Green Eggs and Ham, Dr. Seuss

30) What Was I Scared Of?, Dr. Seuss

31) Dr. Seuss (biography)

32) Mindless Eating by Brian Wansink, PhD

33) Dragon Slippers. This is what an Abusive Relationship Looks Like by Rosalind Penfold

34) Roles, Siege Malvar

35) The Reader by Bernhard Schlink

36) Perfume by Patrick Suskind (reread)

37) Jane Austen by Carol Shields

38) The Funny Thing Is... by Ellen Degeneres

39) Butcher, Baker, Candlestickmaker by Gilda Cordero Fernando

40) Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

41) Without Further Adieu (really tiny book read to pad the total and finish the challenge)

42) The More the Manyer (ditto)

43) Bel Canto by Ann Patchett (November 8)

45) The Arrival by Shaun Tan (November 8)

46) The It-Doesn't-Matter Suit by Sylvia Plath (November 8)

47) Do You Want to Be My Friend? by Eric Carle (November 8)

48) Alamat ng Atis, The Legend of the Custard Apple, written by Rene Villanueva, beautifully illustrated by flipper Blooey Singson (November 8)

49) Emma by Jane Austen (November 17)

50) The Jane Austen Club (November 23)

51) The Bible (finished it after a 2-year run)

52) Zombie by Joyce Carol Oates

53) Noli Me Tangere by Jose Rizal

54) The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman

55) The Book Shop by Penelope Fitzgerald

56) The Boy Who Touched Heaven written by Iris Gem Li and illustrated by award-winning
artist and Flipper Serj Bumatay (children's book - It's not cheating; it has really been in my TBR pile for a long time. *protesting much*)

57) A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson (December 28)

58) The Far Side 3 by Gary Larson (a great follow-up for A Short History of Nearly Everything)

59) 1001 Ways to Make More Money as a Speaker, Consultant, or Trainer by Lilly Walters

60) The Little Prince Pop-Up Book (Full text), Words and Illustrations by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (A lovely way to end the year)

And then, I found myself doing some last minute shopping at National Book Store, so I ended up with some last-day of the year reading:

61) Trese, Murder on Balete Drive by Budjette Tan and KaJo Baldisimo

62) Trese, Unreported Murders by Budjette Tan and KaJo Baldisimo

63) Trese, Mass Murders by Budjette Tan and KaJo Baldisimo

Whew! That felt good.

And now, for the Diversity Challenge Results:

Euro/American/Commonwealth - 6
1) The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
2) The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
3) The Muse Asylum by David Czuchlewski,
4) Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
5) The Reader by Bernard Shlink
6) Bel Canto by Ann Patchett

Asian/Latin American/African - 4
1) A Pale View of Hills by Kazuo Ishiguro
2) The Diving Pool by Yoko Ogawa
3) Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami
4) Aunt Julia and The Script Writer by Mario Vagas Llosa

Filipino - 2
1) Para Kay B by Ricky Lee
2) Roles by Siege Malvar

1)Science/Math - A Brief History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson
2) Lifestyle - The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni
3) Poli/Eco/Soc - The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman
4) Bio/Autobio/Memoir - Jane Austen by Carol Shields
5) Filipino - Rizal Without the Overcoat by Ambeth Ocampo
6) Filipino - Book Tourby Claude Tayag

1) Love Story by Eric Segal
2) Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman by Haruki Murakami
3) Perfume by Patrick Suskind

Interpreter of Maladies by Jumpha Lahiri

COMMON BOOK - Soledad Lacson-Locsin's translations of Jose Rizal's Noli Me Tangere and/or El Filibusterismo

PARTNER'S CHOICE - Any Joyce Carol Oates book as recommended by maanfajmat

Zombie by Joyce Carol Oates

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations on completing all your reading goals last year, Ge! I wish you another year of enjoyable, purposeful reading.:)



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