Here & Back Again

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Literary Dumpsite has been neglected. My Read Harder Challenge abandoned. And yet, here I am again promising myself to keep this site updated and hoping to take on a new reading challenge.

It wasn’t that I had not read anything in 2016, rather my leisure reading had to take a step back as I found my footing as a new teacher. I didn’t expect teaching to eat up a lot of my time, but it did. I had to study what I was teaching, check papers, and adjust my teaching methods to fit my high school students. Hence, as the year ends, rather than my average of 60 books a year, I found myself having read only 31 books this year. I could, if I wanted feel terrible about this sad state of my reading life, but there is nothing to wallow about this. I can only say despite the 31 books, I read well, whatever I read in 2016, I enjoyed.

In celebration of surviving 2016 and all the arrows it shot, I welcome 2017 with hopefulness both for my life in general, and my reading life. In good faith I enter Modern Mrs. Darcy 2017 Reading Challenge. The challenge was recommended by my friend Blue (My Bookish Reverie) and caught my attention as it felt more feasible than the other reading challenges I have entered.

MMD’s Reading Challenge offer two tracks: Reading for Fun and Reading for Growth. I chose the latter. Keeping up with the idea of feasible (therefore simple) I tried to fill out the challenge with books in my TBR pile. Without further ado, here’s my Reading for Growth List.

  • A Newberry Award Winner or Honor Book: Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan
  • A Book in Translation: Sanshiro by Natsume Soeseki
  • A Book that’s more than 600 pages: Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky ( While I started this a few eyars back, I haven’t made progress)
  • A Book of Poetry, a play or an essay collection: Upstream by Mary Oliver
  • A Book of any Genre that addresses current events: I am Malala by Malala
  • An Immigrant Story: Inside out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai
  • A Book published before you were born: The Once and Future King by E.B. White
  • Three Books by the same Author: Ransom Riggs/ Murakami or Stroud (still undecided)
  • A Book by an #ownvoices or #diversebooks author: If I was a Girl by Meredith Russo
  • A Book with an unreliable narrator or ambiguous ending: The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
  • A Book nominated for an award in 2017: Holding up the Universe by Jennifer Niven (Nominated for Cybils)
  • A Pulitzer Prize or National Book Award Winner: Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

Since this challenge only requires me to read 14 books, I hope to keep you updated on my progress for each book and my thoughts and reviews on each of the books I have read.  I’m crossing my finger that 2017 will be kinder to me and I once again find myself reading an average of 6o books, otherwise I’ll be happy enough to have read all 14 books on this challenge.

Are you joining in any reading challenges for 2017? How many books have you read this year?

Solitude & Words

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Artwork by author (Acrylic on Canvas)

The youngest of 5. The odd one out. I was used to a certain kind of solitary existence where hiding under the wooden study table accompanied by my stuffed dog and bear was a regular afternoon adventure. Nobody wanted the ‘extra’ player who couldn’t jump high enough, run fast enough or play any of the games without ‘special’ rules for the incapable.  I was too much the baby to be any use to older children’s desire to win. Continue reading →

Clinical Depression and Libraries: How the Library Saved Me from Myself

Saw this image and it capture how I felt when depressed.

Saw this image and it captured how I feel when depressed.

I was having a bad day. I was agitated, restless and felt like this ball of negative feelings waiting to explode in frustration and tears. I have been diagnosed with clinical depression early last year, have gone through therapy and medication. I have been released from both therapy and medication as I have managed to re-engage with my life. Except its not really gone. Depression comes and goes. I knew as I had been barely sleeping, I had loneliness sitting like an unmovable rock in my heart and I was a ball of anxiety that it was one of those days. While still able to Continue reading →

To Sketch a Soul

Sketch by Author

Sketch by Author

Once again I beg indulgence. I have been reading but my thoughts at the moment spill themselves out as poetry. 

To Sketch a Soul©

There are visions in my mind

I try to create with blank pages

And lead pencils, only

Only to see, as i form strokes

Figures and shapes

My heart break in its inadequacy

Never the right stroke,

Never enough shadows for the soul

To anchor itself in the empty page

While words can

Capture the fragments, it does not

Embody the voicelessness of my vision—

The way a soul may wail and yet not express

The depths of its being

For how does one show ones heart

With words?

Evening Walks

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[Today, I stray from the usual book/literature-related post as my thoughts wander. I hope you don’t mind me sharing a little of my writing here]

Evening Walks

by Iphios

I walk beneath the evening sky without a destination. I let my legs take me to wherever as my mind, in its habit wander in the forest of words. In each step, I find a lump in my throat, as the familiar sound of a word being born echoes through my mind. Each words, drawn out from the shadows, coming into the light and forming tiny dots and lines. Each dot and line draw out a map of you, at times as distinct from myself as your physical body. On other times, entwined in the shapes of my own soul. As my legs walk further into the damp evening roads, so does my mind filling in every crevice with you–in the rain-laden leaves, in the starless skies, in the cracks on the pavement, even in the obtuse angles of my own yearning. My mind, now full, with words that roll off my quiet tongue like syrup finds itself grasping a spineless illusion. My legs stop. It stops in the darkness as rain soaks through every inch of my still body. In familiar sadness, my body freezes knowing without paper or pen these words will disappear into the night and once again, the oppressive loneliness will take over. For you are nothing more than the words that fill my mind in evening walks.