恭喜发财! It has been a week since we greeted the Chinese New Year. But celebrations for the Chinese New Year do extend for quite some time. We are now in the year of the Rabbit. I hope this coming year will be prosperous for everyone. I hope that everyone will flourish. More importantly, I hope everyone will be healthy during the year. I hope that there won’t be any pandemic that will threaten the harmony of our time; although what has happened in the past three years reminds us that pandemics are inevitable realities of our existence.
Prior to the Chinese New Year, I listed my new year’s resolutions and goals. One of my goals this year is to publish at least one book tag per month. This has been my goal since 2020 but unfortunately, I failed to do so in 2022. I broke my streak because I had to deal with other matters; I had a new employer. Anyway, since Chinese New Year celebrations are still pretty much up in the air, I have chosen the Chinese New Year Book tag for my first book tag this year. I actually did the same book tag back in 2019 but I still chose this one to see how my reading journey has shaped in the four years since I did it.
But before I go dwelling on drivels, let me start this Book Tag.
- Answer the questions and share your zodiac animal (Only if you’re comfortable with it! If you don’t know, you can look it up online based on your birth year!)
- Pingback to the creator of the tag (hammockofbooks) and whoever tagged you so we can read your responses!
- Tag some of your friends! (But not four because that’s unlucky!)
MY ZODIAC ANIMAL
My Zodiac animal is the one that is always in a hurry – the horse, the METAL HORSE to be more specific. My propensity for a fast-paced life can probably be attributed to this. Apparently, those who were born in the year of the horse are very energetic and very active. This comes as no surprise as I always want to be in motion. There may be times I would rather lay in bed but once I get to the heat of the action, I can be difficult to rein in.
As a metal horse, I am “brave, secure and upfront”. I am ambitious and a great innovator. I like a challenge and take great delight in solving complicated problems. I like to have a certain amount of independence and resent any outside interference in my affairs.
I am not sure about the “brave”, “secure” and “upfront” parts though. Haha! Ah. Ambitious indeed although my level of ambitiousness digressed in the past few years. The resentment for outside interference is true though.
NEW YEAR | A Book With a Phenomenal Beginning
A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth| Goodreads
I guess I will go with Vikram Seth’s A Suitable Boy. This was my 100th read last year, a remarkable personal achievement. It was memorable in ways more than one. The book’s opening line alone was enough to catch the interest of the inner reader in me: “You too will marry a boy I choose.” This set the tone for the story. Sure, the first half of this hefty novel was preoccupied with painting the portrait of the four families at the heart of the story and painting the landscape of an India at the cusp of transition, I found myself intrigued, my interest escalating with every sentence. It was a thick book but was a worthwhile read.
CHINESE NEW YEAR | A Book by an Asian Author
The Day Lasts More Than a Hundred Years by Chingiz Aitmatov| Goodreads
As an Asian myself, I love reading the works of Asian authors. Japanese authors, in particular, have held my attention for quite some time now. However, I have been expanding my horizon by reading works from other Asian regions and nationalities. As such, rather than featuring the work of a Japanese writer who I am very familiar with, I opted to feature Chiingiz Aitmatov’s The Day Lasts More Than a Hundred Years. Prior to 2021, I have never heard of the Kyrgyz writer, which only made me curious about his oeuvre. I would, later on, that Aitmatov is considered one of the greatest Kyrgyz writers. Admittedly, my foray into Central Asian literature is measly, to say the least. The Day Lasts More Than a Hundred Years gave me a reason to explore this part of the literary world more.
LUNAR NEW YEAR | A Book that Takes Place in Space
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams | Review | Goodreads
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is a no-brainer. Considered one of the classics of speculative fiction, this slim novel by Douglas Adams is the first in a series of six books. Speaking of which, I have been wanting to read the rest of the series for some time now; I read the first book way back in 2018. Maybe 2023 will be the year that I will finally be able to complete the series. Dang. Why are there too many good books out there.
ZODIAC/YEAR OF THE RABBIT | An Animal Sidekick
Hedwig from J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter Series. Hedwig was Harry Potter’s loyal and now renowned owl. While the story doesn’t dig deep into the mind of Hedwig the way Patrick Ness did with Manchee’s dog mind in Chaos Walking Trilogy, we still get a glimpse of Hedwig’s loyalty. His presence was reassuring, particularly in the first books in the series.
LUCKY COLOR RED | A Book with a Red Cover
The Dumas Club by Arturo Pérez-Reverte | Review | Goodreads
My first encounter with Arturo Pérez-Reverte was certainly a forgettable one. The Seville Communion barely left any impression on me. This, however, did not preclude me from reading other works by the Spanish writer. The opportunity presented itself after I was able to obtain a copy of The Dumas Club, a book that was also listed as part of the 1,001 Books You Must Read Before You Die. Curious about what the book had in store, I made it part of my 2022 European Literature journey. The book hit the ground running from the onset. Before long, I found myself riveted by Corso’s adventure. The wealth of information the book contained was astounding. The female characterization was a little off but overall, it was an interesting book.
FIRECRACKERS | A Book Exploding with Action
Origin by Dan Brown | Review | Goodreads
It can be agreed that all of Dan Brown’s works are packed with action. His latest novel Origin, for instance, takes the readers across Barcelona in search of clues to resolve a murder and a mystery. A semiotician, Brown riddles his works with symbols, both religious and non-religious, adding a layer of mystery to his pulsating thrillers. His works are also quick-paced, with all events occurring in a span of a day.
RED ENVELOPES | A Book You Can’t Wait to Open
Ulysses by James Joyce | Goodreads
Technically, I have already opened Ulysses by James Joyce back in 2017 when it was part of my 2017 Top 20 Reading List. However, I prematurely closed the book; I was even midway through it! I was having a challenging time discerning what the story was about. It is still the only book that I did-not-finish. I did, however, resolve to read it later down the line, ultimately wanting to make it my 1,000th novel. As it is, I am currently reading my 999th novel, Jennifer Egan’s The Candy House. I would digress a bit after The Candy House as I will read Dubliners first, a short story collection by the Irish writer in order for me to have a better understanding, even if it is minute, of Joyce’s prose and storytelling.
DELICIOUS FOOD | A Book that Made You so Hungry
Woven in Moonlight by Isabel Ibañez | Review | Goodreads
Admittedly, I was beguiled by the book cover of Isabel Ibañez’s Woven in Moonlight. My interest was immediately piqued by the colorful imagery; I have always been the type of reader who reads books because of their covers. Anyway. I was barely impressed by the novel but I have to commend Ibañez for paying homage to her native Bolivia. With the air diffused with the smell of food, the story has the tendency to make the readers crave food. Ibañez introduced to the world a plethora of food such as achachairu, an egg-shaped fruit; silpancho, a popular Bolivian dish; sopa de mani, a soup made from peanuts; and the ubiquitous huacatay, a cream of black mint. The book is equipped with a glossary of this food.
GATHERING WITH FAMILY | An Amazing Fictional Family
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott | Review | Goodreads
In the ambit of literature, the March sisters of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women are among the most renowned families. In spite of sharing a family name, they could not be any more radically different; each is a distinct character of her own. The eldest, Meg, is the epitome of beauty whilst Jo, the second born, is her antithesis – tomboyish. Beth, the third child, is sweet and good-natured but is hampered by her frail health. The youngest, Amy, is spoiled. Despite the dichotomy in their characters, one thing binds them together – the power of love. Together, they experience trials and tribulations. They experience joy, and they laugh and cry together. They fall in love, and they drift apart. But no matter how far they drift from each other, no matter what hardships and misunderstandings they experience, their love for each other still prevails. Despite the heartbreaks, they have each other.
As always, I am not going to tag anyone to do this book tag. However, if you want to, go ahead. Just don’t forget to tag me in your own version. On another note, I am interested to know what are your favorite Asian works. Share it in the comment box. Happy reading!
(Belated) Happy Chinese New Year everyone! Gong Xi Fa Cai!