I am a terrible, horrible, no-good person. Let me tell you why.
Despite having a TBR list of monumental proportions, I caved and purchased Crooked Kingdom, the sequel to Six of Crows, as soon as it was released in the Philippines. This, despite the fact that I still have *pauses to count* eight books on my TBR.
I was browsing all the blogs I usually read when I came across this TBR post by Fadwa of Word Wonders. So it gave me the idea to do a post on my TBR as well, in the hope that I’ll move my butt and finally read all these books before the year ends (to make way for all the books I’ll probably get for Christmas – protip: don’t hide your obsessions so people will know what to get you for special occasions).
This post has a double purpose. Aside from itemizing my TBR, I also have to publicly state the following:
Until I finish every book on my TBR, I may not buy a new book, or else I owe my boyfriend dinner at Vikings.
Yup, the boyfriend is officially fed up with my book hoarder habits. (Sorry babe hahaha.) He didn’t put up too much of a fuss when I bought Crooked Kingdom, but he did say that if I buy another book before my TBR is clear, I had to buy him dinner at Vikings – and, like the easily-rises-to-a-challenge idiot that I am, I said yes.
For my home-skillets who don’t live in the Philippines, Vikings is a buffet-style restaurant that is hella expensive. I’ve never even eaten there using my own money. I’ve only ever eaten at Vikings twice: my graduation dinner (which my mom paid for), and a friend’s birthday dinner (which her mom paid for).
Self-control, girl. You can’t afford dinner at Vikings! Not to mention the boyfriend’s smugness if I cave again and buy another book will be too damn unbearable.
Without further ado, my TBR.
1. Dwellers by Eliza Victoria
Summary: This story revolves around two young men who have the ability to transfer their consciousnesses (wow, what a mouthful of a word) into other human bodies. They find themselves in the bodies of brothers Louis and Jonah, but this takeover leads to a car crash, injuring Jonah’s legs and forcing them to stay in the brothers’ house until he recuperates. Everything seems fine, until they find a dead body in the basement.
I’ve actually started reading this! I’m about halfway through! A novella done in Eliza Victoria’s usual style – which means lots of “what the fuuuuuuuuck” moments interspersed with realizations that you are reading some deep shit. Not only is it a thrilling mystery, this book also prompts some pretty existentialist questions. Traditional Eliza Victoria fare, in short. (Check out my reviews of her other books Project 17 and A Bottle of Storm Clouds.)
2. Swan Thieves by Elizabeth Kostova
Summary: Andrew Marlow is a psychiatrist devoted to his work, his painting, and his solitary, ordered life. His life is changed forever when renowned artist Robert Oliver attacks a canvas in the National Gallery of Art and becomes his patient. Marlow becomes desperate to understand the secret that torments the brilliant artist, and embarks on a journey that leads him to a tragedy at the heart of French Impressionism.
I picked this up on a whim at a used bookstore in Manila (for any Filipino readers out there, check out the makeshift kiosks that sell books next to Manila City Hall and SM Manila, sometimes you find some real gems there). I’d already read Elizabeth Kostova’s The Historian and immensely enjoyed it, so I thought I’d like this one as well. I must admit, the summary has me hooked.
3. The Girl Between Two Worlds by K.M. Levis
Summary: The day after Karina’s sixteenth birthday, her mother, long missing and presumed dead, starts appearing to her in prophetic dreams. Stranger still, an old man turns up at her house and claims he’s her grandfather, although her mother told her that he died a long time ago. Karina discovers that her mother was an engkanto princess who ran away from her kingdom, and she’s now of age to take the throne and must do so to prevent a war.
One of the books I scored at Manila International Book Fair 2016 (which I really should have blogged about but, as usual, I got lazy). I have a soft spot for Filipino YA, and this one looked like it would be just the ticket.
4. The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman
Summary: Tom Sherbourne is the lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock, where he lives with his young wife Isabel. Life should be good, but two miscarriages and one stillbirth leave the young couple heartbroken and grieving. Until one day when Isabel hears a baby’s cries, and discovers a boat washed ashore, carrying a dead man and a living baby. Against Tom’s judgment, Isabel claims the baby as theirs and names her Lucy. But when Tom and Isabel return to the mainland, they are reminded that there are other people in the world. Their choice has devastated one of them.
I first got wind of this book when I saw the trailer for the upcoming movie, starring my ultimate bae Michael Fassbender (insert heart-eye emojis everywhere). Protip: do not watch the trailer when feeling emotionally vulnerable. It was pretty painful. Anyway, the trailer mentioned that the movie was based on a novel, so of course I had to get my hands on it.
5. Basagan ng Trip: Complaints About Filipino Culture and Politics by Lisandro Claudio
Summary: “Walang basagan ng trip,” is one of the vilest phrases in colloquial Tagalog, reflecting a long anti-critic tradition in Philippine arts. When artists use the term, they are asking critical voices to shut up and smile. Basagan ng Trip is a collection of essays by noted critic and philosophy professor Lisandry Claudio, talking about everything from the state of OPM (Original Philippine Music) to Senator Tito Sotto’s rampant sexism and idiocy.
Another purchase from MIBF 2016. However unlike the other books on this TBR, I don’t plan to read this in one sitting. I keep this book in my bag and bring it out for quickie reads when I have the time. The essays are divided into six chapters, and I’ve read the first and fourth. Lisandro Claudio’s words are thought-provoking, to say the least, and are certainly a good read for when you’re in the mood for contemplating the future of the Philippines.
6. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
Summary: Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of National History, where he works as a caretaker. When the Nazis occupy Paris, the family flees to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, carrying with them what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel. Meanwhile, in a mining town in Germany, the orphan Werner grows up with his younger sister. His talent for building and fixing things leads him to a brutal academy for Hitler Youth, then a special assignment to tack the resistance. This assignment takes him to Saint-Malo, where his and Marie-Laure’s stories converge.
Funnily enough, I first saw this book when I was looking for a copy of The Light Between Oceans! The covers are actually really similar, so you can easily mistake one for the other. However, I read the summary and decided it seemed like a really good read too, so
I convinced my boyfriend to buy this for me my boyfriend got me this as a late birthday present.
7. House of Sand and Fog by Andre Dubus III
Summary: The story revolves around three people who become embroiled in a dangerously escalating crisis. Colonel Behrani, once a wealthy man in Iran, is now a struggling immigrant trying to restore his family’s dignity. Kathy Nicolo is a troubled young woman whose house is all she has left. Sheriff Lester Burdon is a married man who finds himself falling in love with Kathy. The three are drawn by their competing desires to the same small house in the California hills and are doomed to an explosive collision course.
This book has had an interesting journey, to say the least. Over the Halloween weekend, some friends and I took a trip to Sagada (watch out for that blog entry, coming soon!). The inn we stayed at had only one other guest, an Argentinian guy named Tony. After packing up all his belongings, he realized the book he’d brought with him to while away the hours in bus stations and airport terminals wouldn’t fit. I happened to be in the inn’s kitchen while he was struggling with his backpack. Finally he gave up, went over to me and showed me the book and said, “Do you want it? It’s in English.” As you can imagine, I said yes.
(Read my review of Six of Crows here. Although be warned – it’s less a review and more shrieking because I loved it so much.)
Summary: Kaz Brekker and his crew have just pulled off the heist of the century, but instead of divvying up their rewards, they’re once more fighting for their lives. Double-crossed and badly weakened, as well as missing one of their own, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, Kaz and his team find themselves in the midst of a war that will decide the fate of the Grisha world.
+1. Wine Folly: The Essential Guide to Wine by Madeline Puckett & Justin Hammack
This isn’t really on my TBR, since it’s more of a browsing book than one I’m actually going to “read”. I borrowed it from Lucas, a friend of mine who works for a winery. It’s pretty fascinating, actually.
And there you have it, my TBR for the rest of the year. Until I finish all these books, I cannot – should not – buy another, or else I owe my boyfriend dinner.
God I am such trash.