2016 Read: Reading new titles, following new authors

Can you still remember the first book you ever owned? How about the first book you ever read? How about the first book someone gave to you as a gift? How about the first book you ever gave to someone?

I’d be interested to know if you can still remember. In my case, no matter how hard I try, I don’t remember anymore. You know what I remember more? I remember the people who made me love books and reading and nurtured my inner-bookworm. They are my heroes, too.

In 2016, I wanted to, finally, chronicle my bookworm life, so I created another IG account, @harumie_chan, for it. It’s also my way of remembering the new titles and authors I’m into.

2016.jpgこんにちは! 私はこの本を読みます. I started 2016 with Love, Rosie by Cecilia Ahern. Every page gave me a good laugh.

Ah, kiss me, love me, and miss me, love,
and dry your bitter tears.
-Irish Pub Song

I thought of reading some historical romance novels, too, for a change. I got myself Jewels of the Sun and Tears of the Moon by Nora Roberts.  I also read Bridget Jones, The Edge of Reason by Helen Fielding, a book that survived Typhoon Haiyan, and a non-fiction read, Kaizen Mindset by D.T. Moore, before January ended.

February started with James Clavell’s bestselling novel Shugon 将軍 (Book 1-5). A novel about my second home country. This particular book was printed 8 years before I was born.

Summer reads kicked off with The Runaway Jury by John Grisham. I bought the copy from a booksale.  Grisham is my brother’s favorite author. The last time I read John Grisham was in 2012.

“Zembla, Zenda, Xanadu:
All our dream-worlds may come true.
Fairy lands are fearsome too.
As I wander far from view
Read, and bring me home to you.”

It’s my first Salman Rushdie read – Haroun and the Sea of Stories.  The symbolic characters, events, imagery, and figures in Rushdie’s Haroun and the Sea of Stories speak a lot about the issues our society has been facing. If I ever become a novelist in this lifetime, I’ll also write magic realism tales.

Do you remember what you were up to when you were 11 years old? Do you remember who your heroes were back then? In this book, The Hero Project by brothers Robert and William Hatch, Will was 11 years old when he thought of interviewing the people he considers his heroes and publishing a book about how he and his brother met them and what they learned from their heroes. It was only after 12 years when the Hero Project was published.

Some of the notable persons the brothers got the chance to meet were Madeleine L’Engle (one of the authors I love so much; she introduced me to the Austins and Murreys), Florence Griffith Joyner (the fastest woman in the world, an inspiration of Warat Runner), Orson Scott Card, and Former US President Jimmy Carter, among others. It’s definitely a heartwarming book, and a perfect closing read for the blissful month of March.


My first read for April was my second Rushdie book, Midnight’s Children. New stories are born everytime we pick a book to read, so let’s keep reading.

“Forgive yourself for the decisions you have made, the ones you still call mistakes when you tuck them in at night.” -Sarah Kay

Poets Sarah Kay and Phil Kaye were in Cebu to perform and raise awareness about Project VOICE, which advocates empowerment in classrooms and communities through spoken poetry. It was a milestone of my inner-poet and storyteller self to have watched the two perform on the same stage where I used to perform theater plays seven years ago. It was simply superb! I also got myself a signed copy of Sarah’s newest book, The Type, published in 2016.

I had my fair share of this overrated quarter-life crisis journey, too. It was when I thought I had it all figured out but turned out I’m far from actually achieving that. Twenty-something is when we learn how to take things on the chin. However, quarter-life crisis, while it has its rollercoaster, crazy, rude, complicated, disastrous moments, is also an opportunity to learn how to live (and not die) and how to conquer gracefully. I was Manila-bound for an all-women race when I finished Iain Hollingshead’s Twenty-Something, The Quarter-Life Crisis of Jack Lancaster.


The book Love in Lowercase by Francesc Miralles says sometimes love is hiding in the smallest characters. A timely read, it was! After reading Love in Lowercase, I didn’t know how to move on.  I didn’t know which of the John Green books from my sister, Yani-chan, to read first. I’ve known Green because of The Fault in Our Stars, which I haven’t read yet. An Abundance of Katherines was interesting so it was my first pick. The book also reminded me of my love-hate relationship with Algebra.


Will Grayson, Will Grayson, meanwhile, reminded me to know when (1) not to care too much and when (2) to shut up. Tiny and the other Will reminded me to embrace who I am.

I also finished The Girls Guide to Hunting and Fishing before May ended. It felt like I knew Jane, Archie, Sophie, Jamie, Fuckface, and Robert. They exist in my reality, too. Melissa Bank just let me in into her core – deep, mysterious, wise. I know of someone who writes like Bank and I’m looking forward to reading one of her published books someday. Someday. 🙂

While reading the first few pages of Anthony Doerr’s All The Light We Cannot See, I was reminded of the more important things. It was long read for June!


In one of my fave Japanese TV series, Biblia Koshodō no Jiken Techō, the bookkeeper Shinokawa san said that a new story unfolds everytime you open a book. You and the book you are reading now – you are both a new story.

I have not been feeling well, but grateful for having my sister around.  After reading The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera,  I decided to read a children’s book before reading Gaiman’s novels. I needed a breather, something to help me heal faster. Books are like sisters, they are healers, too. 📚

“Are you a gifted child looking for special opportunities?”

The question above made me love my stay in The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart. My little sister loves the series, too.

Neil Gaiman’s The American Gods and The Graveyard Book were my companions in July.


When you are sad, think of the people who let you borrow books. It’s a happy pill, sweetheart.

August started with Bo Sanchez’s How To Make Your Dreams Come True.  Back in 2007, I was among a crowd of young people, seated at the front row, and was listening to a preacher known to everyone as Brother Bo. I never heard of him before that encounter and I just happened to be in that event because I was assigned to cover it for a local paper. After my interview with Bro. Bo, he asked me to pray with him. Looking back, I’m truly humbled and grateful because some of those I’ve prayed for, especially those I’ve managed to scribble in my diaries, were answered. Daddy God is awesome and the Universe, as always, never ceases to amaze me.

My twin sister showed me the book of Brother Bo, and this reminded me that when I was 23, I wanted to write inspirational books, too. I showed Jay-san some of those I wrote on my personal blog and we were having goosebumps and LOLing, too, because some of those I’ve written years ago were realized without me knowing. So I trust that in His time, I’m gonna publish books, too.

Be Bulletproof: How to Achieve Success in Tough Times At Work by James Brooke and Simon Brooke was also a good and timely companion during that time.

I’m blessed that God gave me the gift of writing, of expressing my feelings and thoughts through words, of storytelling, of the passion to develop the gift. Today, more than ever, I am happy that I’m a happy dreamer, a dream catcher, a dream chaser, a dream lover.

What if Gods are one of us? What if Gods choose you and me to guard them? I brought the American Gods with me when I went home for my late summer vacation.

“In every shining moment of happiness is that drop of poison: the knowledge that pain will come again. Be honest to those you love, show your pain. To suffer is as human as to breathe.” ~ Dumbledore

An awesome treat for working hard! I bought this Harry Potter, the Cursed Child with my sweet mom with me.  She also asked me to buy this book by Vice Ganda. Curious, I read it before she did.

I did my first Bohol International Marathon and I was with The Martian by Any Weir. I needed a little romance when I got back to Earth from Mars, so Jennifer Crusie’s Getting Rid of Bradley was a comic relief!


I wrote down in my diary the things Gretchen Rubin has taught me and the lessons I want to constantly remind myself of. After reading her book, The Project Happiness, I realized that happiness is a choice and like other choices, it is ours to make. I also realized that despite my struggles, past depressions and disappointments, I’m living a happy and blissful life.


Lily King’s Euphoria was also another fave read. The storytelling was superb. I also borrowed the book from my bookworm sister, Yani-chan.

People tell me before to “loosen up, loosen up, Armie gurl!” and learn to flirt with life, and stop being so by the book when it comes to goals, plans, and whatnot. I like the idea of flirting, loosening up and being spontaneous but I don’t think I can change in an instant. While I’m trying to figure out how to start changing some of the ways I live life, I’ll keep devouring books.  I was hoping I might find some of the answers inside these titles.

On the eve of my birthday, I met Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach. It was a meaningful read for me.


2016-73.jpgI met the Beavers, too, after reading Sue Townsend’s story about The Woman Who Went to Bed for a Year. Plato and many others said we should be kind, for everybody we meet is fighting a hard battle. What a timely read!

Every strong finish deserves a book treat, so after finishing Velocity by Dean Koontz, I bought myself Paolo Coelho’s book, The Spy, and finished it while waiting for my flight back to Cebu from Iloilo. The book is based on a true to life story of Mata Hari. It’s a remembrance of my 40th Milo Marathon experience in Iloilo City.

Let your geek flag fly, says Digit.

Time passed by quickly and December came! I spent five days in the hospital a few days before Christmas.  I enjoyed reading about Digit’s hacking adventure while I was in the hospital on my own. She taught me a lot about “nerdvana”, too .

Pretty much answers the question, “How did the lone wolf conquer another storm alone?”

That’s it! 🤓  I ended the year with Hagashino Keigo’s The Devotion of Suspect X and Hector’s Search for Happiness by François Lelord.

These are some of the new titles I’ve devoured in 2016. I’m thankful to my sisters and bookworm friends who allowed me to borrow some of these books.

I’m also working on the compilation of my 2017 and 2018 reads. Happy reading!


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