10 books on my Fall 2020 TBR

Amidst the chaos and division happening, there is one thing I think we all can agree in. This year is challenging, physically, emotionally, spiritually, psychologically, and all the -ly’s I missed to write here.

As I try to look at the bright sides of life (to keep me sane as I near my 7th month aloneness in a foreign land as an expat), 2020 has been a productive year for my reading-self. My target was just to read 24 books and as of now, I have finished 47 books! Oh, and in case you want to know about the best reads (so far) for the year, you can find them here.

How will this year wrap-up in terms of the “reading” part of A Reading Writer? We’ll see today as this week’s The Artsy Reader’s Top Ten Tuesday is about Books On My Fall 2020 TBR (or spring if you live in the southern hemisphere).

I divided them into genres, for easier reference. 🙂

Category: Contemporary Fiction and a Re-read

The First Phone Call from Heaven

I’ve read The First Phone Call from Heaven by Mitch Albom back in 2014. Currently, I am re-reading it via virtual storytelling sessions with my husband whom I last saw earlier this year because we’re stuck away from each other. #LoveInTheTimeOfCovid, that is. I read to him almost every night, one chapter per day. It will take time but sharing moments together despite the miles is a key to keeping the love alive, I guess. 🙂

Category: Classic

Great Expectations

I have mentioned quite a lot of times that I am (forgive me) not a classic fan but Great Expectations by Charles Dickens is suggested by the husband, hence I am braving this 500+ pages novel and let’s see how it goes!

Category: Asian Writers (descent)

Aside from trying some classics this year (like Wuthering Heights), I also made a pact with myself to read more from Asian writers. The definition can be those who still live in this continent or Asian in terms of descent. I’ve read a couple this year and I am following them up with these three: The Leavers by Lisa Ko , A Place for Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza, and The Refugees by Viet Thanh Nguyen.

Category: Non-Fictions for my Writing Heart

As you may know by now, the half of “A Reading Writer” is a “poetry writer” and a corporate writer. Hence my interest towards the craft extends to my “reading”-half, too. Currently, I have The Way of the Writer: Reflections on the Art and Craft of Storytelling by Charles R. Johnson, On Writing
by Charles Bukowski and Why Poetry by Matthew Zapruder. I am excited to learn a lot from these amazing voices.

Category: Poetry

And this list will never be complete without poetry books. This time I want to celebrate the women poets! I have read Mary Oliver‘s Pulitzer-winning collection — Dream Work, and I was fascinated by how she uses concrete images, simple words, to convey deep emotions and realizations to her readers. So to cap of the list, here are Winter Hours: Prose, Prose Poems, and Poems and West Wind both by Mary Oliver.

Have you read any of these books? How do you think of each category? What books are in your TBR for the rest of 2020? Share them with your TTT!

09.22.2020
©2020 Rosemawrites@A Reading Writer. All Rights Reserved.
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top 10 book covers i love (with quotes!)

Are you guilty of judging the book by its cover? I have to admit sometimes I do that! I asked because the The Artsy Reader’s Top Ten Tuesday today is a Cover Freebie (choose your own topic, centered on book covers or cover art).

Instead of just sharing the 10 covers I adore the most, all of them I have read once or more, I also want to share today some verses from each book to give you a sneak peek of the world inside their lovely skins.

1. The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom

The Five People You Meet in Heaven

Life has to end. Love doesn’t.

2. Manuscript Found in Accra by Paulo Coelho

Manuscript Found in Accra

Only he who gives up is defeated. Everyone else is victorious.

3. The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

The Rosie Project (Don Tillman, #1)

Our first relationship with a male is with our fathers. It affects how we relate to men forever.

4. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

I think prime numbers are like life. They are very logical but you could never work out the rules, even if you spent all your time thinking about them.”

5. Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult

Leaving Time

I think grief is like a really ugly couch. It never goes away. You can decorate around it; you can slap a doily on top of it; you can push it to the corner of the room—but eventually, you learn to live with it.

6. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

The Lovely Bones

Because horror on Earth is real and it is every day. It is like a flower or like the sun; it cannot be contained.

7. The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto by Mitch Albom

The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto

“All humans are musical. Why else would the Lord give you a beating heart?”

8. All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

All the Bright Places

“The thing I realize is, that it’s not what you take, it’s what you leave.”

9. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Eleanor & Park

Eleanor was right. She never looked nice. She looked like art, and art wasn’t supposed to look nice; it was supposed to make you feel something.

10. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Gone Girl

My mother had always told her kids: if you’re about to do something, and you want to know if it’s a bad idea, imagine seeing it printed in the paper for all the world to see.

Share the book covers you love below and your TTT, too!

09.15.2020
©2020 Rosemawrites@A Reading Writer. All Rights Reserved.
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green thumb

BEFORE

voice can be
from the rolling of your
fearless tongue or from
the scribbling of your
shaky fingers. neither
is greater, as long
as they are yours.
yours. yours. from
the ripples of your
chest, their waves
can stir one heart
to move from the
dark west to a
brighter south.
because your
words are power.
you are.

AFTER

voice rolls like a red-
carpet tongue, plants
hope like a green-
thumbed gardener.
neither is greater, as
long as they are yours.
yours. yours. chest
ripples. stirring boats
of breath away from
the midnight west
towards the dawning
south. your words
are power. you are.

09.11.2020
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For dVerse MTB, Write like a dog, edit like a cat…

one of eight mouths

rain, they say, is the
heaven pouring
blessings. when i
was a child, it means
flood, tickling my
chubby ankles, choking
my father’s chest
once. it means
waiting for free
food rations and escaped
shrimps from spilling
ponds. it is a
memorised, annual
struggle. a sweet,
repeating chapter
of our wooden,
dining table (too
small to sit eight
mouths) but was
never empty. not

even once.

09.2020
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For dVerse Come and take a selfie!

10 books for my younger self

It is Tuesday and it is the time of the week again — The Artsy Reader’s Top Ten Tuesday !

The topic for the 8th of September is: Books for My Younger Self (These could be books you wish you had read as a child, books younger you could have really learned something from, books that meshed with your hobbies/interests, books that could have helped you go through events/changes in your life, etc.).

This means it’s time to dig into my Goodreads again and find the reads which I think my younger-self could learn a lot from. Here we go…

Books 1-5: Reads which could have taught me a lot about poetry

Dream Work by Mary Oliver; Helium by Rudy Francisco; Anna Akhmatovaby Anna Akhmatova; And Still I Rise by Maya Angelou; The Captain’s Verses by Pablo Neruda 

As the name of the blog suggests, I am a reading writer. I used to read for leisure, and write professionally at my work. Come 2015, after a virtual poetry workshop here on WordPress, I have rekindled my love for writing poems.

Since then there was no turning back. After two poetry collections which can be found here: https://areadingwritr.wordpress.com/portfolio/published-work/, I still have a lot to learn about the world of rhymes, rhythms, and lyrical verses. And the books above helped me with that, and it would have been lovely if my younger-self was exposed with these books as well.

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind

Book 6: Lessons about human history

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari

When Breath Becomes Air

Book 7: Lessons about mortality, fairness of life, living every moment

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

Gitanjali

Book 8: Lessons about the world outside my country, life and love beyond what I knew when I was young, and the power of words when weaved right

Gitanjali by Rabindranath Tagore

Between Shades of Gray

Book 9: Lessons about the strength of a human heart, finding hope during one of the darkest chapters of history

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

All the Bright Places

Book 10: Lessons about the joy and pain of young love

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

What are the books which you would suggest to your younger-self?

Share them below, along with your TTT, too!

09.08.2020
©2020 Rosemawrites@A Reading Writer. All Rights Reserved.
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10 best reads of 2020 (so far)

This week’s The Artsy Reader’s Top Ten Tuesday is actually about “Books that Make Me Hungry (They could have food items on the cover, foods in the title, be about foodies or have food as a main plot point… they could be cookbooks or memoirs, etc.)”.

I checked my Goodreads account and figured that I would not be able to satisfy the prompt hence I took this turn. I will be featuring 10 of the best books I’ve read this year (so far!), instead. Please forgive me. 🙂

Just a quick story, back in January, I set my Goodreads Challenge 2020 to 24 books only. This is because in 2019 I was three books short of fulfilling my target reads for the year which is the same number. And then the pandemic happened which forced me to live alone as an expat in a foreign land for almost six months now.

I took refuge in reading so till date, 45 books have served as my company this year. And here are the most amazing so far:

The Remains of the Day

1. The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro

Not a fan of classics but this one changed my mind. It is smooth and reflective and touching, all at the same time.

The Secret Life of Bees

2. The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

I love how Sue Monk Kidd was able to bring depth to each of the character in this book, and incorporate the lovely bees in it.

Dream Work

3. Dream Work by Mary Oliver

If you are looking for quality poems, this book has them.

Fragile Lives: A Heart Surgeon’s Stories of Life and Death on the Operating Table

4. Fragile Lives: A Heart Surgeon’s Stories of Life and Death on the Operating Table by Stephen Westaby

Have learned a lot about heart diseases and the lives that have been affected by such in this book. It is interesting to know the story and what is going inside the surgeon’s mind as well.

The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane

5. The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See

I love how this provided me with the view of a life I was not aware of, the tea-pickers of ancient China. Tender and touching.

A Woman Is No Man

6. A Woman Is No Man by Etaf Rum

This is a book all women of color should read. It is heartrending and powerful

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

7. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Suggested by my sister-in-law, this novel is a quick read because it will keep you on turning pages after pages because it is THAT intriguing.

Britt-Marie Was Here

8. Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman

Backman is my new favorite author. Britt Marie has his signature humor, sarcasm, and softness.

Maya Angelou: The Complete Poetry

9. Maya Angelou: The Complete Poetry by Maya Angelou

Maya is Maya and her words will always be aflame with passion and hope.

Finding Chika: A Little Girl, an Earthquake, and the Making of a Family

10. Finding Chika: A Little Girl, an Earthquake, and the Making of a Family by Mitch Albom

Leaving me in tears, as always, Mitch’s new non-fiction is a beautiful reminder of how parenthood can change one’s heart, and grief as well.

Have you read any of these books? What are your best reads of 2020 so far? Feel free to share in the comment box, with your TTT, too!

09.01.2020
©2020 Rosemawrites@A Reading Writer. All Rights Reserved.
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wait on wheat

ebb and flow goes
the salty, blue sea,
how many seashells has
it robbed from thee?

may they be conch filled
with your childhood dreams,
or the prayers of your
aged-mind’s streams,

may they be shell-hearts
you’ve always long to hold,
too sharp to touch,
too tough to mold,

or perhaps a silent wish
your tongue not dared say,
with dark whispers saying
“it’s far as night and day”.

but ebb and flow goes
the salty, blue sea,
the waves will form and
foam to surprise thee.

in this life, i’ve learned,
what’s meant to be yours
will always find its way back
to your waiting, wheat shores.

sit by the sand,
sip some warm tea,
remember. this waiting
will shape who you’ll be.

08.26.2020
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For dVerse Poetics I am hosting today: Poetics: Waiting on Wheat

steps to stay sane: a quadrille

fingers bumbling on
blank spaces of both
the web and the tree’s skin.

grabbing yellows from
bumblebees to paint
sunsets where freedom wins.

stirring orange from
dawn to make a cup
of giggling cinnamon.

stealing sweetness
from apple’s bum
to have some sanity won.

08.25.2020
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For dVerse Quadrille #110: Shall we bum around a bit?

Questions for my favorite authors

Among the several authors I admire, I have two who have never failed to stir something inside me whenever I read their work. They are Mitch Albom, author of Tuesdays with Morrie, and Maya Angelou, the poetess and writer behind I Know Why the Caged Birds Sings.

The Artsy Reader’s Top Ten Tuesday this week allows us to ask questions to our favorite authors, either still here with us or not, so below are mine.

  1. Why do you or did you write?
  2. What time of the day do you usually write?
  3. Agatha Christie munched on apples while bathing to have plot ideas, do you have a way to call for your “muse”?
  4. Have you encountered writer’s block? How did you overcome it?
  5. Who among the characters you’ve written do you see yourself the most?
  6. What is the first novel or poem you’ve read?
  7. Who are your writing influences?
  8. What makes a powerful read?
  9. What is the most important lesson that you want to impart to your readers?
  10. How can a writer affect their readers as well as you do?

That would be all. Looking forward to reading your TTTs, too!

08.23.2020
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shedding: a haiku

choir of crickets hum
tonight’s final song, a clown
sheds its mask, alone.

08.20.2020
©2020 Rosemawrites@A Reading Writer. All Rights Reserved.
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For dVerse Poetics — Clowning Around