Weekly Photo Challenge: Edge

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This post is a throwback of sorts: an old photo that I took when I was experimenting with macro photography with my then new digicam, and a look back at my college days. The photo challenge is “edge,” so I took it quite literally lol.

These are my copies of Malate Literary Folio, DLSU’s literary publication. I was part of the publication for two years, and yet I learned so much from my stay there. I made lifelong friends, lasting memories, and built my career from MLF. I owe a lot to them and will always fondly remember my short and sweet stay.

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On Reading Ebooks (and My New Kindle!)

One thing I’ve noticed about some book lovers is that they have strong opinions against reading ebooks. I get that: it’s just not the same as holding a physical copy, smelling the pages, and marking them using your favorite bookmark. But let me present my case as to why reading ebooks is not that bad.

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My first Kindle – which looks like a relic now lol

I used to own a Kindle a few years ago, when my aunt in the US gave me hers because she’s no longer using it. I never had the notion of buying a tablet, let alone an ebook reader. But when I gave it a try, I soon discovered the advantages of having one.

Convenience

What I love about my Kindle is how convenient it is to carry anywhere. I used to bring a book (or books) around with me back in college, but I began to develop chronic shoulder aches and muscle pains so I was advised not to carry heavy bags. I had to be a smart packer, so I couldn’t bring books with me even if I want to. The Kindle is small enough to be carried anywhere without being burdened with heavy weight.

Lightweight

I’m used to reading in a reclined position, either on the sofa or in bed. This is a hassle, though, when I’m reading thick books. I remember when 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami first came out, I bought the hardbound, 700-page monster. And as much as I wanted to finish it quickly, I was struggling by its sheer weight. Compare that to my experience reading Stephen King’s 1964 – this is also a thick book, but since I read it in my Kindle, I didn’t even notice.

Storage

If you have been reading my blog, you may have had an idea that I have hoarding tendencies and storage problems. Most ebook files don’t take up too much space, so you can store a lot (and I mean, A LOT) of books. It’s very much like your music player stuffed with mp3s.

Screen

I’m not sure if other ebook readers have it, but what I love about the Kindle is the screen. The screen in the Kindle is specially-made to look like paper, with no glare whatsoever. So when I read on my Kindle, it would seem that there’s not much of a difference when reading the printed copy.

So when my Kindle conked out last year, I found myself missing it badly. I had all these ebooks on my laptop that I can’t read. As a workaround, I installed the Kindle app in my phone and was able to read some of my ebooks there, but the glare brings discomfort after reading for some time.

I don’t know much about other brands of ebook readers, and since I was satisfied with my old Kindle, I was set on buying from the brand. I had a hard time looking for a store that carries it, though. Eventually, I settled on an online shop* that sells products shipped from the US.

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Kindle Paperwhite (black)

I chose the Kindle Paperwhite, which is the kind that is solely for reading ebooks. So far, I’m really happy with it! It’s much more lightweight than my old one, and has a really nice resolution and response time. Bonus: I can sync it with my Goodreads account!

Don’t get me wrong – I still loving shopping for books in bookstores and building my collection. But I have nothing against ebooks either. I don’t believe that their existence would kill printed books completely. As long as there are people who love to read, books–whether printed on paper or on screen–are always here to stay.

*I bought my Kindle Paperwhite (with smart cover) from Nelsonkrx store (Facebook, Shopify). 

My 2016 in Books + #Blessed December

So I know it’s 2017 already, but because I’ve been busy (or procrastinating), I wasn’t able to write a blog post for December. Here’s my all-in-one post: recap, musings, reflections, etc.

Still Thankful

The previous year has been tough for most of us, and this is probably because of the many changes that we have to deal with. For me, I had to face the tough decision of whether I should continue with my graduate studies. During our vacation in the US, I had time to reflect and I went back and forth with the pros and cons. Ultimately, I realized that studying no longer brings me the spark and joy that I once had when I started. Every book that I read felt like a chore. In short, I wasn’t happy. I knew that even if I forced myself to graduate, that would be exactly what it would feel like: forced.

Tough as it may be, I honestly felt like a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders when I decided to take an indefinite break from my studies. I still have my work, which I focused my energies on. I’m grateful that my efforts paid off and were recognized. Who knows, maybe I will get back to writing? I can’t say have quit for good. I just knew that I had to let it be for now, because it’s really not working out. Nevertheless, I don’t feel like all those years I spent went to waste. I learned a lot, and that’s more than I could ask for.

My 2016 Reading Challenge

This is my 5th year in challenging myself to read a specific number of books. In 2015, my reading challenge was 30 books, but I was able to read 25 books. I though it was shame because I almost made it, so in 2016, I set the same goal. Alas…

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I’ve been lazy last year and hadn’t been faithful to my reading habits. It might also be partly because in the first half of the year, I had to do some required reading and it was not all fun. However I did have some favorites.

Haruki Murakami, Underground – This is one of Murakami’s nonfiction works and talks about the Tokyo Gas Attack in the 60s. But more than the victims’ accounts and the suspects’ side, the book shows how the Japanese behave whenever a disaster occurs. It reminded me of the stories that came out during the Kobe earthquake and how there was no looting.

A Natural History of Love, Diane Ackerman – Ackerman’s works were highly recommended by many of my friends since college. For some reason, I only got to read her work last year. This book tackles everything there is about love–from historical figures to love for pets–and it hooks you from beginning to end. It’s not just because the content itself is interesting, but also because her prose is beautiful.

Cubao Midnight Express, Tony Perez – This is one of those books that gives a jolt to the senses. I’m used to reading at night, and some of the stories in this collection freaked me out so much that I had difficulty sleeping. The stories here shouldn’t really surprise me–rape, crime, murder are nothing new in the city. But there’s something about the stories that still gave me the creeps and was quite disturbing. And if a work of fiction affects you this much, it must be good.

For Who the Bell Tolls, David Marsh – This is an English grammar book recommended by my former supervisor. I just read it out of curiosity, and am glad that I did. For a grammar book, it was a very entertaining read. It presented a very practical application about the use of English language. It also shows good and bad examples, in a sarcastic and witty way.

I didn’t realize that most of my favorites would be nonfiction books. Admittedly, I got disappointed with most of the novels that I read last year. Maybe because I had other expectations. I hope with better luck this 2017.

I reset my challenge with 25 books. I’m planning to read more series. I’m currently reading the Millenium series by Stieg Larsson and I also have the Hitchhiker’s Guide series lined up (I watched the movie and absolutely loved it). Feel free to give me suggestions! :p

Cheers to 2017! ^_^