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BOOK REVIEW: January 2020

Alright, 2019’s the shit. But if there is anything to brag about that year, then I would claim it to be the Year of Voracious Reading Because What Is Happening To Kloyde, To The World But Then My Reads Are Funny, Cathartic, Full Of Heart. The only thing I regret in that section of my life is I jumped from one book to another without reviewing them. Had I shared my thoughts on the books I have read, I could have found people of the same interest and made connections.

Part of my 2020 re-rebranding is to write micro-mini or mini-reviews of the books I read. I started revitalizing my Goodreads account by letting people know the pages I marked and the enthusiasm cultivated by the stories I relate to. I also attached my book activities on my Instagram and Twitter accounts so as to encourage my friends to grab a book. This might sound like an overstatement to you, but I felt like starting a revolution as I donated books and convinced friends to give theirs; joined book clubs; actively sought for recommendation from friends; made book discussion and sending quotes my love language.

So one month, four books. Here are my reviews:

A grief observed by C.S. Lewis

Wow. Losing someone never felt as near as this. It got me floored when CS Lewis and I have the same fear considering that reality never repeats twice: the fear of forgetting the memories of the people I love (who will leave/left me). And I’d like to say this little book allowed me to say we never outgrow of griefs; we live with that fear all through our life—it’s the glitch of loving. We might be less afraid of those things, but they sink in and sink in and sink because we cannot help but love. Recommended to those who seek meaning of their suffering and loss.

Rating: 🐈🐈🐈🐈🐈 (5/5 cats)

This is part of the Everything Happens Book Club led by Kate Bowler, a writer, educator, podcaster and an instigator of feels. Get the book here.

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

My friend recommended this to me in lieu of her previous recommendation, which was We Were Liars. It’s endearing, cute, and contains wisecracks. Idk, maybe I am not a YA stan to begin with. I was craving though for the spoken word poems that X recited; none of her performance from the poetry club or slam poetry night or poems for Aman’s were written and I felt robbed. That’s about it though. I’d recommend this to my students and cousins who love reading/writing poems. Miss A, don’t hate me! 😭🤧

Rating: 🐈🐈🙀 (two and a half cats/5 cats)

The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher

What brought me to this book was not Star Wars—I am not a fan of stormtroopers and lightsabers (at least I know enough references to spew these terms!)—but Wishful Drinking, her painfully funny essays about her struggles on addiction and bipolar disorder.
She again wrote her struggles, but this time, it’s during the times were her career flew beyond outer space. It tackles her being a subject of male gaze, objectification as a poster girl on her metal bikini, yet looking at it as she grew older, she still cannot completely detest the privilege of doing a Princess Leia lap dance (her self-mocking term of confronting fame and encounter with strangers).
Then there’s Carrison on her point of view—an onscreen romance with Harrison Ford. With no holds barred, she lay her diary entries naked to tell us her month-long affair with a married man. Her poems and logs about Harrison Ford are more than enough to say she had lost her mind and was waiting for her yearning to outgrow itself.
When she wrote, ‘Put it into words—you can’t feel words. I think that if I could give a name to what I feel it would go away,’ it affirmed the diarist in me too. Sometimes I wonder, as a minor writer, why and to whom am I putting these notes for? Why bother writing about somebody when there’s little to no chance of them reading/appreciating it? I know a little now.
With her vulnerability and failings, I could say we are Carrie Fisher or Princess Leia, only luckier that we didn’t have the whole world staring at us wearing a metal bikini.
(This was an audiobook version I listened, which won the Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word)

Rating: 🐈🐈🐈🐈🙀 (four and a half cats/five)

Less by Andrew Sean Greer

Less by Andrew Sean Greer is a funny story about sadness. A gay, moderately successful writer is about to turn 50. He gets invited to the wedding of his ex-lover and retreats to different parts of the world. What awaits you to places while confronting heartbreak and aging?
I laughed and sighed and nearly cried, as if to say, “I got your back, tito.”
That the readers bear witness to the awkwardness of forcibly healing himself, his acknowledgment that he gets devoured by more intrepid, genius writers, and his fragile ego worsened by editorial choices and dire shits create a vast space of sympathy to the titular character. Not only that, I love how Greer wrote about the countries and the culture that lies in each.
Reflections after reading this book: 1. I wish that there are good things after turning 50 and gaining fat; 2. In the words of Lorde, “What the fuck are perfect places anyway?” 3. Our lives are half comedy and half tragedy, as what the book says (but I am not yet wise enough to know where I stand right now); 4. Love and heartbreak, they coexist. This is a golden rule that if you are afraid of having your heart shattered, might as well do not entertain love.
My last book this month. Thanks to you who introduced me to Arthur Less. I know a little more now.

Rating: 🐈🐈🐈🐈🙀 (4 and a half cats/5 cats)

A public service announcement: “happiness is not bullshit;” “how can so many things become a bore by middle age — philosophy, radicalism, and other fast foods — but heartbreak keeps its sting?” Buy the book here.

It keeps getting melancholic and nourishing in February. My reading list for February is all about the matter of the heart: Enigma variations by Andre Aciman, Modern romance by Aziz Ansari, The cure for sorrow by Jan Richardson (Everything happens book selection for February), Unrequited by Lisa Phillips, Dear Distance by Luis Katigbak (a book I have re-read), and Demian by Hermann Hesse.

Who knows we could strike a conversation and be awkward on each other? Tell me what you think about the books I read and will read!


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