Friday, January 31, 2014

Book Review: NO-NO BOY by John Okada

Genres: Literature / Fiction / WWII / Asian American

No-No Boy by John Okada is another one of those books that make me want to shake it violently and go, "Where have you been all my life?! Why have you deprived me of this misery?"

"But...But..." stammers No-No Boy. "I've been here all this time. Since 1957. It's gotten quite lonely, really." 

Lonely indeed. This was the only novel ever completed by John Okada, who died at the age of 47 thinking that no one, especially in the Asian American community, cared about his work. His wife burned his other novel in progress after the Japanese American Research Project at UCLA refused to look at his stuff. It was one of the first Japanese American novels to be published, and like the community it represented, it was mostly cast aside and ignored for years until people started picking it up and studying it for its literary value.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Top Five Fictional Worlds I Would Never Want To Live In

For this week, I'll be sharing the top five (couldn't come up with ten, hah) fictional worlds that I would never want to live in - in short, anything dystopian-like in the oppressive sense.

1. Menzoberranzan 

Home of the Dark Elves, Forgotten Realms

Menzoberranzan, by dangercook. Photo Source

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Sunday Scoop #14

Hey. :) Welcome to the Sunday Scoop. Instead of being a good student and studying Middle Earth lore on Friday night, I had a mini-nostalgia marathon in which I watched more of the Babysitter's Club show. 

However, I have been studying and listening very carefully during lectures. This week, I learned that orcs were supposedly once elves that were kidnapped, enslaved, and corrupted by Melkor, who was pretty much Sauron's boss. The professor pointed out that this is unbelievable because the orcs and the elves look and speak nothing alike. They have absolutely nothing in common, and therefore perhaps it was something that Tolkien pulled out of his butt when writing The Silmarillion

Oh, and by the way, Aragorn and Arwen are cousins. 

(Long, awkward silence.)

*clears throat* Ahem. Well, then. Let's move on:

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Bookshelf as a Fashion Accessory: Are We Being Pretentious?

Photo Source: Yarra Plenty Regional Library

During my short stint at UC Santa Barbara, I had an acquaintance who carefully procured and selected the books he had on the shelf over his desk. I had stopped by his dorm so that we could work on a project for Chinese class. Scanning the room, my eyes came to rest on a small collection well-known literary classics on the shelf. "A person's bookshelf says a lot about their personality," he explained.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Sunday Scoop #13

Happy Sunday! I am full of giddiness this evening because I found that Netflix is streaming The Baby-Sitters Club show. FINALLY. I believe I checked a few years ago, but they didn't have it then. *sniffs* Oh, the nostalgia. That theme song. It's really weird watching the show after the age of six because all the characters look like kids to me now. My little-kid brain had remembered them as older teenagers, on the brink of adulthood. My parents had recoiled in horror at Mary Anne and Logan's relationship, and now (quite reluctantly so), I can see why they were so weirded out by the baby-faced Mary Anne smooching up the soft-jawed Logan. 

Saturday, January 11, 2014


Published 2012
Genre: Nonfiction / Academic Writing / Guide
Goodreads | Amazon

My first reaction while reading the book was: where was this when I was a freshman?! Writing About World Literature is a tiny book in a small trade paperback form. Spanning only 132 pages, it gives you the basic guidelines on how to organize your thought process and come up with ideas for an academic paper. There are five types of papers that she covers in the book:

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Top 10 Goals and Resolutions for 2014

1. Wrap/purge my books. End of fall quarter called for another round of book wrapping, but I haven't done it yet. I also own books that I don't really want to keep but can't trade away because I've scribbled in them. I'll take them to the library and sneak them into the sale cart. 

2. Get rid of distractions. That letter I've been meaning to write will become very tempting as I start working on an essay. Time to put it away until I finish what I have to. My main priorities will be my classes, honors thesis, and looking for an internship. 

3. Keep the room clean. This will help me with #2. Perhaps a weekly purge will help. 

4. Drink instant coffee and tea at home and avoid buying gourmet coffee drinks on campus. 
By sticking to brewed coffee, I was pretty good about this during the fall, but in the heart of winter, a spicy Mayan hot cocoa just sounds so good that I'd be willing to plunk down 4 bucks for a cup. NO. 

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Sunday Scoop #12

Hello. Classes start tomorrow and nightmares about getting lost on campus and not knowing where my classes are have been plaguing my dreams this week. There was also that recurring one about finding out about a math class that I didn't know I had - probably a vestigial remnant from my pre-med days.

Tonight, I finally wrote down my schedule and now I know where I'm going. It's not as beautiful as last quarter's, but forcing myself to stay on campus longer might be a good thing. 

I'm in the process of finishing up Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas. Once school begins, I'll probably focus on book reviews on readings I must do for class (unless I choose to be bad, which I probably will be, at least once a week). There are tons of interesting novels that I'll be reading this quarter, so I look forward to sharing my thoughts with you. 

Now, for the weekly pick of reads:

Friday, January 3, 2014

Book Review: ECCENTRIC GLAMOUR by Simon Doonan

Title: Eccentric Glamour: Creating an Insanely More Fabulous You
Author: Simon Doonan
Genre: Non-Fiction / Fashion / Guide
Published: 2008

A charming style guide written by a charismatic gay man. While his love of drama, bad advice, and loud cell phone conversations may make me recoil in fear should I ever meet him in real life, I am in love with Simon Doonan's sharp-witted writing persona. His warm personality oozes out from the ink squiggles. On top of everything that I love about Doonan, he is also the husband of Jonathan Adler, one of the coolest stationery designers out there. What does being husbands with Jonathan Adler say about him? That he has great taste in men, of course. 

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Book Review: THE WALL by Lauren Nicolle Taylor (The Woodlands Series #2)

Title: The Wall
Author: Lauren Nicolle Taylor
Genre: YA / Dystopian / Action / Adventure
Published: October 2013

If you haven't read Lauren Nicolle Taylor's first book, The Woodlands (click for my review), then you're in for a dystopian treat

First, let us get past the gorgeous face framed by poofy hair on the cover and go into the details. Rosa, Joseph, and their friends have made it to a new group called The Survivors, who are enemies of the Woodlands and its rulers, The Superiors. From here on out, they will need to move because the Woodlands forces will be coming for them. There are tons of twists and revealing them would only diminish your experience of the story, so I will refrain. But there are sacrifices, and the relationship between Rosa and Joseph grows stronger. 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Exploring the Forbidden Corners of the Library: The Day I Ventured Out of the Children's Section


It all began when I was a chubby kid in denim overalls with an androgynous haircut that my mother had made me get during our two-month trip in China because it was "too hot."