Literary Resolutions for 2013

Wrapped Up in Dreams

  1. Read at least 10 pages of a book everyday. This is a pretty humble goal, but it’s specific and achievable. I also find myself reading more than 10 pages after I get started. I just have to get started.
  2. Read more books written by Filipinos. I’ve been bad at this for the past few years. Target is 5 books read and reviewed, by the end of the year.
  3. Read more poetry. Review at least 5 poetry books by the end of the year.
  4. Read more non-fiction. This is difficult. I read books to escape reality and not face it (lol). Year-end target is 5 non-fiction books read and reviewed by the end of the year.
  5. Immerse myself in the reading community (book swapping with book friends, the iSTORYAN Bookswap Group, The Filipino Group in Goodreads, La Belle Aurore, Cebu Book Club, The Basadours).
  6. Read books more than I accumulate them. By far the most difficult resolution in the list.

Target number of books to read this year: 25

I know that may seem too few but this is probably the most realistic goal I can do while actually enjoying and soaking in what I read, and not just reading to say I read the book. No matter how much I love books, I don’t want to just read this year. I love reading about other people’s lives but I also want to experience my own. Book-life balance, eh?

It’s not very ambitious but my resolutions are going to take a lot of resolve to achieve. Here’s to hoping I don’t cry myself to shame by 2014.

Happy new year, book friends! May your 2013 be filled with books.

Top Book Lists of 2012

Below is a link compilation of Top Book Lists of 2012 by various websites and reviewers.

Publishers Weekly Best Books 2012

7-v1-x600

The What To Read Awards: Top 10 Books of 2012

James Wood’s Books of the Year

i09’s The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy Books of 2012

  • 2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson (Orbit)
  • The Long Earth, by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter (Harper)
  • Intrusion, by Ken Macleod (Orbit)
  • Alif the Unseen, by G. Willow Wilson (Grove)

Seattle Times’ 25 Best Books of 2012

  • In The Kingdom of Men, by Kim Barnes
  • Running the Rift, by Naomi Bnaron
  • The Chemistry of Tears, by Peter Carey
  • The Way the World Works, by Nicholson Baker

Goodreads Choice Awards

  • Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling

Amazon’s Best Sellers of 2012

  • Fifty Shades of Grey
  • Fifty Shades Darker
  • Fifty Shades Freed
  • The Hunger Games
  • StrengthsFinder 2.0

The New York Times 2012 Best Sellers

  • Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn
  • Killing Kennedy, by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard
  • Fifty Shades of Grey, by E.L. James
  • One Shot, by Lee Child

The New Yorker’s Best Books of 2012

  • The Constant Heart, by Craig Nova
  • Major/Minor, by Alba Arikha
  • Dictionary of American Regional English

Barnes and Nobles Best Books of 2012

  • This is How You Lose Her, by Junot Diaz
  • Behind the Beautiful Forevers, by Katherine Boo
  • The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green

Salon’s Ultimate Book Guide: 54 Authors Recommend their Favorite Books

Edit: More top lists!

Flavorwire’s The 10 Best Debut Novels of 2012

  • The Yellow Birds, by Kevin Powers
  • Tell the Wolves I’m Home, by Carol Rifka Brunt
  • Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore, by Robin Sloan
  • Alif the Unseen, by G. Willow Wilson

The Books that Made the Most “Best of 2012” Book Lists

  • Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn
  • Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, by Ben Fountain
  • Bring Up the Bodies, by Hilary Mantel

My favorite list has got to be i09’s.

Got any more links to add? Which list is your favorite? Leave a comment below.

Have you read anything amazing this year?

In response to Jac’s question posted in her book blog, yes, I’ve read something amazing this year. (Shame to me if I haven’t!). Mostly blogs and articles and short stories that make their way through my RSS reader but if answers to this question are limited to books, I’d say it’d be A Clockwork Orange.


A Clockwork Orange gained notoriety through its movie. Well, at least that’s how it gained notoriety for me. Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation is a cult favorite and I’ve seen it several times many and many years ago but I wasn’t particularly into it. Not that it was bad; quite the contrary even. It was fancy and detailed and ridiculously creative and fresh but meh. It just wasn’t my type. The book on the other hand…

I read the Anthony Burgess’ A Clockwork Orange for Read Hard!, an online book club I’ve been following over at Tumblr. The theme chosen for that month was dystopian fiction and A Clockwork Orange bested other classics such as Lois Lowry’s The Giver, Aldous Huxley’s A Brave New World and a couple more books I can’t remember right now.

Starting the book was slow and staggering. If you must already know, Anthony Burgess employs an experiment in language for the book. A “teenage slang of the not-too-distant future” called Nadsat which to me, is a singular English bastardization of the Russian language. It was annoying at first but once you get used to it, you’ll find that it makes everything more interesting. I don’t know if it’s appropriate to refer to Nadsat as a futuristic local color (any literature majors here?), but that’s how I’d like to see because that’s how I felt it to be while reading the book. Nadsat transports you to a whole new frikkin’ world that is unfamiliar and quite frankly, a bit scary too.

Reading the book didn’t make me feel like I just discovered a gem I’d go crazy for for the rest of my life. It wasn’t like Kurt Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle, or Douglas Adams’ HGTTG. It wasn’t even like Planetary or Y: The Last Man. It was just…. a book, a good one, but still just a book nonetheless. I felt like nothing has changed, and I went on to finish another book, the same way I’ve been doing for the most part of my life. The only milestone I felt was finally reading that classic.

But then, a most curious thing happened. I still quote “Oh it was gorgeousness and gorgeosity made flesh” all the freaking time. I use Nadsat, love moloko on my coffee, still fancy letting my glazzies viddy real horrorshow novels of vicious bitvas, ultra-violence, a parade of keeshkas and a flood of kroovy among many other veshches.

After reading the book and re-watching the movie, I started listening to classical music and learned to appreciate the rise and fall of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony. The book’s most beautifully crafted lines were of the anti-hero’s description of music. I’ve rediscovered interests that I’ve been so quick to dismiss before. I also realized that while I will forever hate fearsomely strange and disgusting people, I should give them time to grow up. If you don’t get why that’s so, read the book and stick with it.

Looking back, everything about the book changed me in a major way, without me even knowing. It’s a subtle kind of mindfuck really, kind of like an alien parasite that is gnawing at your brain without you feeling it, until BOOM! You realize how deep it’s been in you and you in it. I think this is what’s referred to (scientifically) as the Sleeper Effect. Regardless of what it’s called though, I have it for A Clockwork Orange, and I don’t mind.