Change Your Words, Change Your Life

The first book that I finished reading this year 2018 is Change Your Words, Change Your Life by Joyce Meyer. The reason I started reading this book was because I find that talk has become cheap, and words are being taken lightly nowadays. The book itself is not a difficult read, but not deep enough for me to say that it will be a life-changing book. Some of the expositions are actually common sense, but as what Joyce said in the book, it seems that common sense are not so common anymore nowadays. A simple example would be the chapter on Honoring Your Word – let your yes be yes, and your no be no. I have been on the receiving end of this problem many times, and it is comforting to have my belief affirmed.

Overall, this is a good for those who are starting out on studying the power of words but if you are looking for something deeper, then this might not be for you.


Worship Changes Everything

Darlene Zschech is an Australian Christian worship leader and singer-songwriter. Her book, Worship Changes Everything, is not a book about how to sing your favourite praise and worship songs to change your life. Neither is it a book on why you should attend church worship services every week. In this book, Darlene urges its readers to learn to live a life of worship — in our service, attitude, words, money, work, marriage, children and every other possible aspect of our lives. Worship is not to be treated superficially as just the 20-minute part of Sunday morning church service, but rather it is to be imbued in our daily lives.

Dear John

I thought that I am too old for romantic love stories of young adults until the day I started reading Dear John by Nicholas Sparks. I finished the first 120 pages in one sitting (while getting my hair cut) and read on right until the end within one week. Now, that is satisfying, considering that I had been going through a bout of book drought for the past four months.

I usually do not buy books by authors who have published a string of books, for example, Jodi Picoult, Nicholas Sparks, Danielle Steele, Stephen King. I have nothing against them and the fact that they have written and published so many books must attest to their capability as a story-teller. It is just a personal preference when I choose not to buy these books. Anyway, Dear John is the first Nicholas Sparks book that I read and I got it from the local community book exchange programme. I am so glad that I picked it, because it rekindled my joy in reading.

As someone who has passed her prime in terms of falling head over heels in love and all the drama of having long-distance relationship, I found Dear John believable and readable. I didn’t smirk at Savannah’s naivety towards love. I didn’t roll my eyes in disbelief when I read about John’s feelings and thoughts towards Savannah. The only part I found a teeny weeny bit annoying is towards the end when John returned to look for the now-married Savannah. But then, it is just how the story develops, and it is just how people are not perfect and even the most perfect romantic love story should have some flaws.

If you are looking for a book to read, and are not at the stage to try something too heavy, try Dear John. Unless you are a skeptic about love, this book should be something to look forward to after a long day at work.

The Elusive Miniaturist

I haven’t been reading well (to be interpreted as not reading as much as I would like to) this year. I set a goal of reading 20 books this year, but as of today I only managed to finish a miserable amount of 2 books. It has been four months since I last posted, which means it has been four months since I last sat down and properly finish a book.

I started reading The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton quite a few months back, but I got distracted along the way. I was attracted to this book mainly because of my love for Amsterdam, a city which I visited six years ago during winter. The Miniaturist is set in seventeenth century Amsterdam and tells the story about seventeen-year-old Petronella from the countryside who was arranged to marry  the rich middle-age merchant Johannes Brandt in Amsterdam. Partly a mystery, partly a social commentary, this book revolves around the secrets that the Brandt household keeps and how Petronella grows from a naive helpless child-bride into a woman forced to be in charge of the household that she marries into.IMG_1486

Although highly-acclaimed, I find that there are not much depth to the characters although their stories appear to suggest otherwise. The main question is left unanswered (I shall not say more to avoid spoilers). There are plots and twists, but overall the read is bumpy. I do enjoy the book, otherwise I would not have been able to finish it at all. But I do not intend to keep the book; it shall go to the pile of books to be exchanged at the neighbourhood book exchange programme.

Wild by Cheryl Strayed

I finished reading Cheryl Strayed’s Wild two weeks ago. It’s been a long, long time since I am so into a book. Lying on my bedside table is a tall stack of unfinishables, but within a month’s time, amidst the frantic busyness, I read page after page of Wild.

The most incredible thing about reading Wild is that the prose brings me along on the journey that Cheryl took, hiking the Pacific Crest Trail (commonly known as the PCT) and discovering our own lost. Perhaps one of the reasons I took to this book is a shared sentiment with Cheryl – losing a piece of ourselves after losing someone very close to us. I didn’t take a drastic hiking journey, but I could relate to that feeling of the world closing in. Cheryl wrote incredibly well; the amount of detail is just right without being boring. The flow is intact as the story moves intermittently back and forth between her hike and her memories of the past.

After reading the book, I felt like I have also taken a journey of self-discovery. Initially Wild reminds me of Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat Pray Love, but I feel that Wild is more matured and it brings a sense of closure whereas I couldn’t even bring myself to finish reading Eat Pray Love (for some reason).

Have you read Wild? Did you watch the movie? Did you enjoy it as much as I do?

Goodbye, 2015

It’s the last day of year 2015.

As the last post for this year, I compiled some of the photos which I have taken as part of my Project 365. I know, the quantity (and quality) is miserable, but this is all that I managed to do.

CY365-2015 Collage

Of course, I took many other photographs as well but those are more for memories rather than as a photography challenge. I will be doing things differently in 2016, so stay tuned!

Did you participate in any form of challenges in 2015? How did it go? However it is, here’s a toast to a brand new year 2016!


My 2015 in Books, and What to Look Forward in 2016

Last year, I set a target of 18 books to read in year 2015. I was feeling very ambitious when I chose that particular number. I even wrote a pretty detailed reading plan for 2015, categorized by month, genre, book clubs and reading challenges. It started off well but quickly went downhill as life catches up. At one low point, I read (for pleasure) for about 2 months.

Same time, this year, I reviewed my year 2015 in books with my Goodreads account. Somehow I managed to hit the 18 books, thanks to my children’s bedtime stories. Needless to say, my detailed plan was chucked out of the window. I contemplated on doing the same for 2016, but decided against it because I do not want to spend the same amount of time and energy again on my over-ambitious (and greedy) intentions.

Photo 17-09-2012 12 30 52

Therefore, in 2016, there will be no crazy meticulous reading plans. Instead, there will be a commitment to read and write about it in this blog. There will be a motivation to be more active in the book clubs which I joined in Goodreads. Most importantly, there will be a determination to make reading a beneficial and enjoyable activity instead of a chore and another item on the to-do list.

What are your resolutions for your reading life in 2016? Are you taking up any of the reading challenges? Or do you just pick up what comes your way? Whichever way you choose to do it, let’s read!