A Sweet Love Letter: To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before

Hi, lovers! I love you all like lovers. Really, I love you, and you, and you, and you I don’t know but I could definitely see loving you. But most of all, I love Love.  


Jack Mc.Farland, Will and Grace

Dear Nerdies,

There is this new Korean American author who writes sweet sweet love stories, her name is Jenny Han.

Sometime in December last year, I casually started to read one of her book, To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before. It is a story of two highschoolers who aren’t supposed to be a cute couple naturally, yet they are.

Little did I know that I was getting myself into a chain reading.

Once I finished reading the book, I figured out that it was a part of a trilogy. Of course a lover like me would never leave a love story hanging. Hence for the next two days, this too-old lover did absolutely nothing but finishing all three books of the trilogy, voraciously swallowing P. S. I Love You and Always and Forever, Lara Jean.

You know how sometimes when you read a love story, your heart flutters so much as if you’re the one in the story? This story will do exactly that to you. Repeatedly. Addictive-ly. (if that’s even a word)

I read the story. I smiled. I cringed. I laughed. I cried. A lot. I hated. I loved. I climaxed.

Love books are totally porn for us girls. And girls, these books are a good porn. They will satisfy your lust of love. 

And then I repeated from reading to climaxing over. And over again. And again. Until I lost counts.

Yes, these books are that sweet and addictive.

I think you really should read these books. Also please keep in mind that the right order is To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before first, P. S. I Love You second, and Always and Forever, Lara Jean is last. Make sure you don’t mess up the order, or else you will know what you shouldn’t too early and surely that will ruin the mystery for you.

And you’re supposed to read all three books, (again, it’s a trilogy!) because I am afraid the ending of the first book will leave you high and dry. You hate that feeling, don’t you? Well, I know I do. So just think of the three books as one big book, cause that’s exactly how it is.  

Last but not least, to say that the real ending of the story is beautiful is an understatement.

P.S.

I intentionally write this post letter-like, because I still can’t forget Lara Jean and Peter Kavinsky, and their teenage love.

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A Cursed Novel: To Kill A Mockingbird.

Hi, Nerdies!

I don’t often enjoy classics very much, but To Kill A Mockingbird is such an exemplary piece. Thereby I am hoping to persuade another person to enjoy this heart-breaking narrative through this post.  

So, no spoiler ahead.

Synopsis

The theme is racism, and the story takes place in Alabama in 1930s. The story teller is a six-year-old girl named Scout Finch. Scout lives with her brother Jem and their lawyer father, Atticus. 1930s is a period when people are still in many ways deeply affected by cotton days, hence there is an apparent schism between white and black population in their neighbourhood.

One day, a girl from a white riff-raff family reports to the town sheriff that a black man rapes her. The only witness is the girl’s father. Predictably enough, prevalent predilection in the neighbourhood is to believe the white statement despite the other conflicting facts. Meanwhile, Atticus is appointed to be the defendant’s attorney. And he begs to differ from the victim’s report.

Subject-wise

There’s nothing new in both slavery and post-slavery inequity to be weaved in a narrative. But as much as slavery is such a common subject, this novel however is nowhere near common.

Also common is that through the subject of injustice, an author hopes to let people feel a glimpse of the rage, to break people’s hearts, to shift people’s perspectives and perhaps even to inspire people to do something consequently.  

What’s uncommon is that these wishes are impeccably materialized in To Kill A Mockingbird.

The Curse

If I were to pick one word to describe the novel, the word would be perfect. And I don’t use that word loosely. It’s the kind of perfection which will send you right into a reading slump after finishing the book.  

And the crazy thing is, I don’t think the readers would be the only party affected, I honestly think the perfection of the book cursed the author herself. In fact, To Kill A Mockingbird is the only novel the late Harper Lee ever published to this day. Go Set A Watchman was published in 2015, but later was admitted as the first draft of To Kill A Mockingbird. Lee worked on several different drafts in between 1960 ( the year To Kill A Mockingbird was published in ) and 2015, but ended up discarding the drafts as not satisfying enough.

It’s like the first book was so great, she felt people would expect more from her. Which was probably felt overwhelming to her. She was so worried of not being able to create another quite the same perfection that she kept trying while doubting herself too much along the way that she ended up failing to finish any new book. Doesn’t that seem like a curse to you?  

That probably wasn’t what happened with Lee at all, but well, it seems like a plausible scenario to me. #smilingsheephisly

Anyway, this book is that intense.

Quotes

Among all the great things in the book, I love, I adore, and I dream to be Atticus.

Because.

Atticus Finch is a father.

“Atticus had said it was the polite thing to talk to people about what they were interested in, not about what you were interested in.”

Scout Finch

He is simple and honest.

Atticus Finch is a wise father.

“I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what.”

Atticus Finch

He is sensible and intelligent.

And the most important thing is, he is kind.

“An’ they chased him ‘n’ never could catch him ‘cause they didn’t know what he looked like, an’ Atticus, when they finally saw him, why he hadn’t done any of those things … Atticus, he was real nice….”

Scout Finch

“Most people are, Scout, when you finally see them.”

Atticus Finch

The final message is that to simply be kind to others requires courage. But still, it’s important to be kind anyway.

Thank you for reading.  

2018 Reads: Exceptional Books

Hi, Nerdies! And Happy New Year!

Before I say anything, there is one thing that you should know about me. It is that I am a complete control freak, thus I categorize, categorize and categorize. Categorizing is basically what I do for living. So be aware of highly incessant categorizing ahead! #lol

I read 39 books last year, 12 of them are exceptional, 10 of them are less exceptional, and the rest of them (17, to be precise) are downright fun. And for obvious reasons, I want to blog about the 12 exceptional books first. I’ll cover the second and the third category in separate posts.

And one more thing,  please pardon me for this interminable commentary.

I divided my recommendation into three sections: Must-read which is pretty much self-explanatory; Recommended books which are the books that I think will provide meaningful reads; and Personal Favorites which are my own favorites from 2018 reads.

I intentionally added Classics as the fourth category only because I have this one classic book that I think absolutely deserves a shout out to the world. Which one, you say? Keep on reading and you’ll find out. #winkwink

In lieu of me rambling on and on, let’s just jump right in!

Must Read

These are the books which either have changed the trajectory of my life completely, or the books that hold invaluable information – the kind of books that are so important they might as well be textbooks (in my opinion). 

I’m afraid I would be doing a disservice to these books if I were to disclose too much of my opinion regarding them, thus I only provided a glimpse of what the books are about. Therefore you can decide whether you want to read them or not based on the topic. But I say you should read them, because!, these are must read books after all!

Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari


This book is about general history of Homo Sapiens, or if you prefer the generic word, Humankind. Looking back to history, human as a species should have been merely one of various animals existing on the earth. But rather, we currently hold overwhelming power on the earth and its inhabitants, the power that we should not have had let alone used. In short, Harari brilliantly summarizes how human race gets from the middle of the food chain to the very top of it.

Grit by Angela Duckworth

In her book, Duckworth asserts that Grit is the one thing that successful people have in common.  Ensuring the accountability of the conclusion, her argument is built on a basis of endless psychological researches.

A little tip: This is my life-changing book.  Now I know that Grit is not merely hard work. It is hard work and MUCH MORE. 

Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance

This one is a memoir of a young man from Appalachian Mountain area. He is a part of so called hillbilly society. If you already decided that memoirs bore you, all I can say is if you give this one a chance, you’re not going to regret it. This book is such an exemplary memoir.   

And,

Muhammad: The Prophet for Our Time by Karen Armstrong

I highly suggest everyone who loathe or outright hate Islam in any way to read this book. As we all know, all this hate-for-Islam runs from the tragedy of 9/11 in 2001 as the outset to the fact that now we all are jumbled in the danger of ISIS threats wherever we live. Armstrong however, never ceased to refute some of the most distorted opinion about Islam.

Even the term for a criminal suspect in a court is defendant. And it’s requisite that a defendant is accompanied by a defendant attorney during a litigation process. Because all people including the bad ones deserve to defend for themselves.

There is a little bit of truth in every lie, and there is a little bit of lie in every truth.

So I entreat you to hear out the side of Islam written by a person who genuinely intends to defend for Islam’s unfairly judged disposition. Cause you know, you can always go on and hold your opinion of hating it after reading the book. Eventually, it’s entirely your decision to hate or love anything in the world.

And for what it’s worth, Armstrong herself is not a Muslim.

Recommended Books

Three recommendations: two memoirs broaching the subject of inequity and one worthwhile self-help book.

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

You have to be twice as good as them to get half of what they have.


said by every black person in USA

This very sentiment is affirmed that it is (still) real and deeply instilled in black society vulnerable daily lives through such a poetic memoir written by Ta-Nehisi Coates. 

In Order To Live by Yeon-Mi Park

A North Korean girl telling her story of how she managed to escape the renown tyrannical North Korea passing its impervious borders and to elude extremely suffocating poverty In Order To Live.

Btw, the way the title perfectly sums up the gist of the book in one sentence is simply impressive.

Lastly,

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck by Mark Manson

I think all people might have read this book as of today because this one is such a popular book. But if you haven’t, better read it asap.

Favorites

This section will come across as highly biased because it’ll totally look like I dedicate this section to Michael Meyer.

Michael Meyer is an Associate Professor of English at the University of Pittsburgh who spent his young adulthood in China volunteering with the Peace Corps. He spent time teaching there, and he recorded some of what he perceived as China’s condition after Mao’s government in his books.

I am not gonna smooth-talk you into reading his books, because I admit that his books are a bit dragging reads if you’re not so into architectural stuff. In his books, Meyer pivots his narration on historical buildings, ruins and landmarks.

But I still love Meyer anyway, because he is such a funny  writer and his writing feels very personal. He is that kind of writer which makes you feel like you’ve known him personally for a long time.

Also: I even emailed him to ask a silly question. And yes, I like him that much. #lol

And these are two of his books that I read in 2018: In Manchuria and Last Days of Old Beijing.

Classics

I finished perusing three classics last year: Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, and To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.

I am particularly far from thrilled to discuss any classic, because I feel like I am only going to give a distorted opinion of them. The thing is, I always think that classic stories are old as in its complexity is obviously nothing compared to contemporaries’, and the English is very very old in some of them. And to be frank, I think you need to at least have interest in linguistic history in order to completely appreciate classic materials. And as for now, I am not that kind of person. Yet. (I hope)

But I still put this section out because one classic struck me as beyond an astounding piece, and even if you are not a huge fan of classics like me, I assure you that you still will absolutely love To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee.

If you want to know why I deem very high of To Kill A Mockingbird, see you in my next post! h

But I need to mention this.

To Harper Lee: Thank you for writing this masterpiece.  

And to you Nerdies, Thank You for reading.

A Comment On You:Obsessive and Chilling

Hi, Nerdies!

This one is a novel. About a stalker. By Caroline Kepnes.

Nothing gory, only crazy and disturbing. If you are into psychotic stuff like me, then this novel is definitely for you.

I read this novel being enticed by its numerous good reviews which were literally strewn everywhere I looked. I found one or two bad reviews, but mostly those were because the reviewers couldn’t stand the level of creepiness.

I think this book is ingenious. The story is narrated by its villain, Joe, which makes it such a riveting account. I feel like it’s kinda fun and exciting and creepy of course to know what’s actually going on in his mind and to sort of peek into why he does what he does.  I am sure there are stalkers like Joe out there that actually have immediate access to our daily life. And to just think that any of us can easily be a Beck (the girl in the story) is insane. 

In short, I thought I knew what a stalker is, but really, I didn’t. You want to know what a stalker is, you must read this book.

And by the way. If you want a maximum level of creepiness, I suggest you to watch Nightcrawler right after you finish the book. It is a movie starring and produced by Jake Gyllenhaal. Don’t ask why. Watch it and you’ll know why.

Thank you for reading, and if you like my writing even a bit, please share, or follow, or comment, or like. But even if you do nothing, I still thank you!

Here is a synopsis from Scribd:

When aspiring writer Guinevere Beck strides into the bookstore where Joe works he is instantly smitten.

But there’s more to Joe than Beck realizes and much more to Beck than her perfect façade. And the obsessive relationship quickly spirals into a whirlwind of deadly consequences.

A chilling account o fun relenting, terrifying deceit, Caroline Kepnes’ You is a thriller more perversely clever and dangerously twisted than any YOU have ever read.

How To Set Goals That Hype You Up

BACKGROUND - GOALS WITH QUOTESHi Neighbors!

How are you? I hope everyone is well and happy.

Year 2018 is near its end and I hope you are excited about the new year.

Now is that time of the year for us to buy a new journal, how exciting, right?? and start the first and foremost page, the goal page!

You open your new journal and you surely don’t want to mess it up. You want to write down goals but you’re still not sure what to pick as your goals because one or another reason. Then I hope these four major keys can help you set goals that will get you hyped!

Focus

Focus is not just mere one point out of four, but it is the main reason why you need goals at all. In fact, it is what gives means to your life.

Focus here is your raison d’etre. Sometimes you call it passion, or dream, or vision, or anything that basically means what you want to do or to be desperately in life.

If you already know what your life passion is, then skip this and go to the next point. But some of you probably still haven’t figured out what it is that you want to do in life. You want to be a singer yet you are intensely attracted to photography. You want to be a top chef yet you love beauty stuff just as much.

First of all, it is okay to love many things in life. It is more than okay to dream as many things as you want. However, let’s face it, we don’t have all the time in the world to do everything.

Let’s say you want to run a business and you also want to be a singer at the same time. Chances are, your business won’t run, and you won’t be a singer at the end of the day. Why? Because by targeting more than one thing, you will do everything half way.

Let me explain.

To run a business, you need to do a market research, to plan on your product specifications, to establish a supply network, and many other things. To be a professional singer, you need to practice to perfect your pitch, to build your audience, perhaps even to write your own songs. You end up having too many things to do in your 24/7. You need to prioritize, so you do. You then choose to do product planning while practice singing. With this priorities, what will you end up with? A product plan without a market and manufacturing plan and a singer without audience and songs.

See the problem?  Yes, that’s why you need one dream. Don’t dream many. But dream as big as you possibly can.

But if you’re like beyond not sure how to choose between passions, ask this question to yourself. What is the one thing that you’ve never stopped doing?

Be Specific

You discover your passion. Good. Now make it specific. You want to be a singer. That’s your dream. But it’s highly likely you won’t get there in a day or a year. So break it down to a more specific goals.

Here’s some examples.

You want to have 100k followers on your musical instagram account. Or you want to have 100k listeners on your spotify account. Or you want to have 100k followers on your youtube account.

You can’t imagine being a professional singer, or you are not even sure what constitute a professional singer. But you can clearly see that 100k number on your account. And that’s why you need the small specific goals. Because they are clearer to see therefore to reach.

Break your big final goal into several specific goals. Think of the specific goals as small steps toward one big house you want to stay in.

Measurable Actions

Now you can start designing those specific goals on your journal. and don’t forget to doodle on the page too!

But you know what, even those small steps are not close-up enough for you to see everyday. That’s why you need to break those steps even smaller into direct and measurable actions.

For instance, you have put 100k followers on youtube as your yearly goal. You surely won’t get those 100k without doing anything, right? So you need to do something. And that something can be making and uploading a high quality video every week. Or it can also be practicing your singing for 6 hours everyday. Or it can be other things related to singing that you know and I don’t. Cause I am not a singer and not planning to be one any soon. 😛 

Your actions need to be self-imposed. You don’t need anyone’s help or interference to make a video each week, and you surely don’t need anyone’s presence to help you practice your singing.

These actions will help you to focus on what you can do and what you can control instead of focusing on something that you can’t control like how people react to your efforts. Having goals is important, but it is dangerous to be too caught up with something that’s out of your control. Like whether there are 100k people who are willing to follow you on a social media.

You can come back to and check your goals by the end of the year, and when that happens, you’ll know whether the actions you choose are effective.

To Avoid List

I put this as the last point. But it surely is not the least.

People often overlook what to avoid. But I suggest you don’t.

It’s vital to concentrate on the essential things that direct you to your goals. But it’s just as important to put aside every distraction that hinders you.

There are two kinds of distraction that you should remember to avoid. All the time. First kind is the petty ones, like games, tv series, and dramas, and those sort of things. You know what I mean. Second kind is the must to avoid one which is your second passion.

When you decide to pick singing over business, you don’t only need to focus on singing, you also need to focus on avoiding business with all your might. Any small thing related to business that you do will seriously delay you getting closer to be a singer.

A year is a short time yet a long time when you think about it. You will forget about your focus now and then. And that’s when to avoid list is most needed, it will constantly remind you of your dream. The dream that you choose for yourself.

Thank you for reading, and if you like it even a bit, please share, or follow, or comment, or like. But even if you do nothing, I still thank you!