It seems contradictory for a mood reader like me to write a TBR post for a mood reading challenge, but this is no ordinary TBR. Yna @ ynathemoodreader has introduced me to a new term that I might adopt forever for all my personal reading: possibility pile.
A possibility pile is a list of books that I might possibly read for a specific amount of time, but I still have the freedom to add, change, or remove books from the list depending on my mood, time, or general life situation. Unlike regular TBRs that feel like a chore to finish–I know it isn’t like that for many other readers, so it’s a personal thing–a possibility pile gives myself options rather than cut and dried deadlines.
It’s akin to what is called “shopping the stash” in r/makeuprehab, where I “shop” from my existing collections in order to curb the urge to buy new products and to enjoy what I currently have. Since choosing something to use for the day can feel paralyzing, a shopped stash is a curated list that is made more visible by putting it on the top drawer.
I’ve written this post not as a matter of holding myself accountable, but to compare it with the eventual list of books I have actually ended up reading. Here are the books I *might* read this month! I tried to make them fit into the closest possible prompts, but I’m pretty sure I’ll switch them around in my wrap-up post.
Note: This list does not include books that I have already started last month, which are Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare and Cultural Selection by Gary Taylor.
Part of a series
The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco (The Bone Witch #1)
About the book
A story of scorned witches, sinister curses, and resurrection, The Bone Witch is the start of a dark fantasy trilogy, perfect for fans of Serpent & Dove and The Cruel Prince.
Tea can raise the dead, but resurrection comes at a price…
When Tea accidentally resurrects her brother, Fox, from the dead, she learns she is different from the other witches in her family. Her gift for necromancy means that she’s a bone witch, a title that makes her feared and ostracized by her community. But Tea finds solace and guidance with an older, wiser bone witch, who takes Tea and her brother to another land for training.
In her new home, Tea puts all her energy into becoming an asha—one who can wield elemental magic. But dark forces are approaching quickly, and in the face of danger, Tea will have to overcome her obstacles…and make a powerful choice.
I’ve actually been saving this for Wikathon 2021, but I realized that I can read Book 1 this month and the rest of the trilogy in August. I have a steadily growing collection of Filipino-authored books, so I won’t run out of other possible titles for Wikathon!
This is part of my 21 Books for 2021 and is classified there as “new fiction”.
“The” in the title
The Dictator’s Handbook by Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith
About the book
For eighteen years, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith have been part of a team revolutionizing the study of politics by turning conventional wisdom on its head. They start from a single assertion: Leaders do whatever keeps them in power. They don’t care about the “national interest”—or even their subjects—unless they have to. This clever and accessible book shows that the difference between tyrants and democrats is just a convenient fiction. Governments do not differ in kind but only in the number of essential supporters, or backs that need scratching. The size of this group determines almost everything about politics: what leaders can get away with, and the quality of life or misery under them. The picture the authors paint is not pretty. But it just may be the truth, which is a good starting point for anyone seeking to improve human governance.
It’s Big Bad Wolf time again here in the Philippines, and every time I see an announcement for it on my feed, I remember that I haven’t read all of the stuff we bought in the past sales. With all the hullabaloo surrounding the upcoming elections in May 2022, I think this will be a timely and relevant read.
This is part of my 21 Books for 2021 list and is classified there as “old fiction”.
Out in 2020
The Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in Water by Zen Cho
About the book
Zen Cho returns with a found family wuxia fantasy that combines the vibrancy of old school martial arts movies with characters drawn from the margins of history.
A bandit walks into a coffeehouse, and it all goes downhill from there. Guet Imm, a young votary of the Order of the Pure Moon, joins up with an eclectic group of thieves (whether they like it or not) in order to protect a sacred object, and finds herself in a far more complicated situation than she could have ever imagined.
This book has been hyped for quite some time on my Twitter feed, so when the Kindle ebook version went on sale during Asian Heritage Month last May, I nabbed it. Yes, I have poor impulse control, BUT LOOK AT THAT BOOK!
I’m so excited to add another title to the growing list of novellas I would always scream about!
Echo by Pam Muñoz Ryan (MG historical fiction/fantasy)
About the book
An impassioned, uplifting, and virtuosic tour de force from a treasured storyteller!
Lost and alone in a forbidden forest, Otto meets three mysterious sisters and suddenly finds himself entwined in a puzzling quest involving a prophecy, a promise, and a harmonica.
Decades later, Friedrich in Germany, Mike in Pennsylvania, and Ivy in California each, in turn, become interwoven when the very same harmonica lands in their lives. All the children face daunting challenges: rescuing a father, protecting a brother, holding a family together. And ultimately, pulled by the invisible thread of destiny, their suspenseful solo stories converge in an orchestral crescendo.
Richly imagined and masterfully crafted, Echo pushes the boundaries of genre, form, and storytelling innovation to create a wholly original novel that will resound in your heart long after the last note has been struck.
I stumbled on a copy of this while doing my research for my Spotify audiobook resource! It will be my first time to read a full-cast audiobook, and I am so excited!
A random pick
Eats, Shoots, and Leaves by Lynne Truss
About the book
Anxious about the apostrophe? Confused by the comma? Stumped by the semicolon? Join Lynne Truss on a hilarious tour through the rules of punctuation that is sure to sort the dashes from the hyphens.
We all had the basic rules of punctuation drilled into us at school, but punctuation pedants have good reason to suspect they never sank in. ‘Its Summer!’ screams a sign that sets our teeth on edge. ‘Pansy’s ready’, we learn to our considerable interest (‘Is she?’) as we browse among the bedding plants.
It is not only the rules of punctuation that have come under attack but also a sense of why they matter. In this runaway bestseller, Lynne Truss takes the fight to emoticons and greengrocers’ apostrophes with a war cry of ‘Sticklers unite!’a century: Why did you leave? Where did you go? How is it that you were able to forget me?
For my random pick, I decided to pick one of the most random entries in my 21 Books for 2021 list. However, I think that I might find this read handy for some exciting news in my personal life, so… *fingers crossed*.
Below 250 pages
Esther by Eugene H. Peterson (Drawn in Bible series)
About the book
Color with Friends. Be Drawn In to Scripture.
An unlikely queen. A murderous enemy. A miraculous turnaround. The story of Esther is breathtaking. Through study, coloring, and conversation, discover how to find your voice and grow your faith during times of trouble.
Deepen your friendships as you gather around Scripture for coloring and conversation. Drawn In offers simple four-week Bible studies–perfect for groups or personal devotions. Coloring quiets your heart and mind so you can enter fully into Scripture’s stories. The Bible’s passion and personality come through in The Message, surprising new and old Bible readers alike. Discover the delight of being Drawn In.
Since my mom got stuck with me during this pandemic–the lockdown started a few days before her scheduled flight back to Qatar–we have been trawling through Shopee, Lazada, Booksale, and Books For Less for secondhand Christian books. My mom is assigned to craft lessons for all the Bible study groups in our church in Qatar, and she uses our steadily growing collection of religious literature as her references.
I actually picked this for myself and just convinced her that it was helpful and valuable. She knew it, but she got it anyway.
By an Asian author
Rashomon and 17 other Stories by Akutagawa Ryunosuke
About the book
This collection features a brilliant new translation of the Japanese master’s stories, from the source for the movie Rashōmon to his later, more autobiographical writings.
Ryūnosuke Akutagawa (1892-1927) is one of Japan’s foremost stylists – a modernist master whose short stories are marked by highly original imagery, cynicism, beauty and wild humour. ‘Rashōmon’ and ‘In a Bamboo Grove’ inspired Kurosawa’s magnificent film and depict a past in which morality is turned upside down, while tales such as ‘The Nose’, ‘O-Gin’ and ‘Loyalty’ paint a rich and imaginative picture of a medieval Japan peopled by Shoguns and priests, vagrants and peasants. And in later works such as ‘Death Register’, ‘The Life of a Stupid Man’ and ‘Spinning Gears’, Akutagawa drew from his own life to devastating effect, revealing his intense melancholy and terror of madness in exquisitely moving impressionistic stories.
I don’t know if I can finish this whole anthology this month, but it doesn’t hurt to try. I might read stories in between books, and I’m sure that Akutagawa will wow me with each piece. Also, that Bungou Stray Dogs rewatch can’t hurt.
This is another one of my 21 Books for 2021, and this particular title is considered “old fiction” in the list.
Favorite color on the cover
Othello by William Shakespeare (Folger edition)
About the book
In Othello, Shakespeare creates a powerful drama of a marriage that begins with fascination (between the exotic Moor Othello and the Venetian lady Desdemona), with elopement, and with intense mutual devotion and that ends precipitately with jealous rage and violent deaths. As Othello succumbs to Iago’s insinuations that Desdemona is unfaithful, fascination—which dominates the early acts of the play—turns to horror, especially for the audience. We are confronted by spectacles of a generous and trusting Othello in the grip of Iago’s schemes; of an innocent Desdemona, who has given herself up entirely to her love for Othello only to be subjected to his horrifying verbal and physical assaults, the outcome of Othello’s mistaken convictions about her faithlessness.
This will be my third book in my current Shakespeare binge! I can’t believe that my English major self hasn’t even attempted to read this before, so I’m making up for that and enjoying myself in the process. It helps that #DisruptTexts is now gaining ground on my Twitter feed, so I have resources to consult while working through the gnarly issues in this text!
Also, this was on sale in NBS for P40. FORTY FREAKING PESOS for a brand new Folger edition. Even the cashier was shocked when she rang up my purchases. My small collection of Folger editions doubled that day.
A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine (BIPOC queers against colonialism)
About the book
Ambassador Mahit Dzmare arrives in the center of the multi-system Teixcalaanli Empire only to discover that her predecessor, the previous ambassador from their small but fiercely independent mining Station, has died. But no one will admit that his death wasn’t an accident—or that Mahit might be next to die, during a time of political instability in the highest echelons of the imperial court.
Now, Mahit must discover who is behind the murder, rescue herself, and save her Station from Teixcalaan’s unceasing expansion—all while navigating an alien culture that is all too seductive, engaging in intrigues of her own, and hiding a deadly technological secret—one that might spell the end of her Station and her way of life—or rescue it from annihilation.
I have slowly come to love the trope or vibe of “queers against colonialism”, and it has been my go-to niche to find everything I could possibly want in a book. This title has been lauded in my circles, and I’m so excited to start it!
This is also another of my 21 Books for 2021, and I classified it as “new fiction”.
Drafting this list makes me so much more excited to rediscover what I already have in my library. It also helps that it gets my attention away from my feed for a while and not cry over books I cannot access at the moment. Though my library doesn’t have the usual bestsellers that other bookish creators have, I’ve resolved to not sink into FOMO and ignore all the titles I have lovingly and carefully acquired over the years.
A few months ago, I tried to shop my stash and created a series of three posts called 21 Books for 2021. It’s already July, and I have only read 4 out of the 21 books in my list. To make up for my glaring misplaced priorities, I used my original list as my primary basis for choosing books for this possibility pile. You can read the entire series–and the accompanying ruminations on the nature of personal libraries–by clicking on the following links:
- 21 Books for 2021 Part 1: New Buys
- 21 Books for 2021 Part 2: “Old” Nonfiction
- 21 Books for 2021 Part 3: “Old” Fiction
I hope that going back to my mood reader roots this July can help me reconcile my past reading habits with the new systems I have in place as a content creator. And in the midst of all of that, I hope I have fun!
Come join the mood reading fun through the following platforms:
I am super excited to get started!
- Are you also a mood reader like me?
- What’s in your possibility pile this July?