This is a page from my doodle journal where I gush about one of my favorite novels of all time, Richard Adam’s Watership Down. Here’s what I wrote in case you can’t decipher my handwriting:
Although I’ve never had or want to have one as a pet, rabbits will always have a special place in my heart because of Watership Down.
That’s a classic right there! My parents all but forced me to read it when I was 8 years old, but the copy they gave me was moth eaten and brown with age—not exactly appealing to the average second grader. I saw it again at a bookstore when I was in high school, and the rest, as they like to say, was history.
I recommend it to everyone, even if I get the strangest looks when I say that it’s about the secret lives of rabbits. So far I’ve managed to convert only one person to the “Lapine” side. It’s their loss! Long live the warren!
I regretted not taking the book with me when I moved to Singapore, so I’ll make sure to grab it from my old bedroom the next time I visit my parents in Manila. I did find another copy at a thrift store two years ago, the same edition that my parents first tried to make me read, but I passed it to a coworker in the hopes that she would fall in love with it, too.
Care to share your favorite book?
I don’t care what the old adage says. I judge books by their covers. The only times I buy books whose covers don’t tickle my fancy are when they have been recommended by someone with whom I share similar tastes in books (tastes that tend toward the off-beat and the downright weird).
But more importantly, I judge books by their titles. What are titles for if not for grabbing potential readers by the collar and screaming, “READ ME!”?
In my case, the likelihood of my buying a book is directly proportional to the strangeness of its title. If book titles were people, I would be most effectively grabbed by that freak skulking at the back of the classroom or that woman dressed like Helena Bonham Carter on drugs.
See below the titles of the last five books I’ve enjoyed:
So now I ask you, are there any strangely titled books that you could recommend to me? I’ve just got back in the swing of reading, and I want to keep my momentum.
I predict a book shopping spree in my very near future.
While I am still working on a way to achieve my goal of traveling the world, one of my books has gone ahead without me. My friend Chrissa went on a vacation to London last month, and I lent her my copy of The Lovely Bones to read on the plane. In return she photographed my book all around the city, much like the Traveling Gnome in Amelie. Here’s the jet-setting novel in all its London glory:
Check out the full-size photos here.
Doesn’t my book look like it’s having fun? I’ll find a way to get there (as well as to Santorini, Venice, Tokyo… well, you get the picture) myself someday. I’m sure of it.
I began writing when I was five years old, typing short stories on my mom’s office computer. I wrote about rude rabbits and pigs with wigs and fancied myself the next Enid Blyton, whose books I used to collect. I later discovered poetry and penned many a bad rhyme. And then came the “junior journalist” phase, where I joined essay writing contests and became a staffer for the school paper. Growing up, I was so often told that I had potential for writing by both biased (my mom) and unbiased (teachers, who didn’t like me because I was an apathetic underachiever) authority figures that I thought it must be true.
Here’s the truth, though. Even now that I have successfully earned a Journalism degree, I still can’t decide whether I like writing or not. While there are times when I feel the urge to just write, I usually struggle so much with it that I wonder if I’m even having fun. It’s rare for me to come up with a piece of writing that I’m satisfied with, and even when I do I still cringe every time I see someone reading what I wrote.
It’s drastically different from what I experience with my other hobbies. Even when it takes me days to complete a layout or finish a drawing, there’s no doubt in my mind that I’m enjoying what I’m doing. And I’m always proud of the end product and eager to show it to anyone who’s interested, whether I’m completely happy with it or not.
However, this is also true: for all of my creative pursuits, I always appreciate a good critique. I don’t mean good as in positive, but as in detailed and specific. I’ve attended writing workshops where they figuratively ripped my assignments apart, but I’ve found those sessions very helpful and even enjoyable. Not all reviews I’ve received were useful, though, particularly those that came from people who 1) didn’t really know what they were talking about and 2) didn’t take into account what I was trying to do with my piece and simply made suggestions based on his own vision. For me a useful critique is one that points out issues I might have missed and helps steer the piece closer to where I want it to go.
Kimmie‘s recent review of Skylight was definitely useful. I requested her to critique this site after reading her well-written article on website reviews. Her suggestions helped me address many issues that had been bothering me before. The features section is now more organized and the index page less cluttered thanks to her. Next step: a more flexible CMS. I seriously need to move on from Blogger. Any suggestions?
Nikki’s Failure Tip #347: Waste time by writing pointless haikus.
An excellent example of a pointless haiku appears below. It was written by Nikki herself while failing to finish a 10-page dialectic discussion on art theory.
caffeine and no sleep
deadlines loom ominously
For a complete list of Nikki’s Failure Tips, watch out for her new book entitled “I’ll Think of a Title Later: The Procrastinator’s Guide to Never Getting Anything Done.” It will be released worldwide as soon as Nikki finishes writing it (i.e. never).
You can also check out Nikki’s writing portfolio (which is really less “writing portfolio” than “two poems and one children’s story written for class then recycled into website content” — but we’ll just call it a writing portfolio for brevity’s sake).