Book Journaling: ‘Totally Engaged,’ ‘How To Become A Planet,’ and everything else I read in the past three months

by KB Meniado

I read 30 books in the first half of 2021. Below is the list of the titles I finished in the second quarter, and in case you missed it, here’s the one from the first quarter. I hope you find something here that you’ve also picked up or some that you’d like to add to your TBR pile!

They’re BoJo-worthy but are they also Bookshelf-worthy?

Vulnerability Is My Superpower by Jackie E. Davis (ARC from the publisher)

Tikim by Doreen G. Fernandez

Tua and the Elephant by R. P. Harris, illustrated by Taeeun Yoo

The Life of Jesus Christ

Sugar and Spite by Gail D. Villanueva (ARC from the publisher)

Existential Courage by Arriane Serafico

5-minute Star Wars Stories

This Book Will Make You Think by Alain Stephen

Danny Champion of the World by Roald Dahl

Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson

Neil deGrasse Tyson writes like he talks, making the dive (or spacewalk?) into this book easy and engaging. It was able to introduce concepts in a way that would encourage readers, especially those invested in the study, to explore or research more. My favorites were the discussions on dark matter and the periodic table of elements, plus the author’s insights about how we humans compare to the vastness of the universe.

Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie

This has been recommended to me a few times, so when I found this at a book sale, I just had to buy it. The book is my first Salman Rushdie, and I was left in awe of how special the storytelling was, and of the amount of creativity and imagination poured into this. Plenty of thought-provoking ideas, many of them transcending time and culture, were raised, such as language development and power balance, among other social issues.

Moondust: In Search of the Men Who Fell to Earth by Andrew Smith

I don’t think I’ll become an astronaut in this lifetime, so as a space enthusiast, I make sure to soak up as much knowledge as I can. This book lends a closer look into the experiences of life before, in, and after space, and I loved reading about the relatable struggles, life realizations, and humbling reminders, especially about just how little we humans see, know, and understand about ourselves, let alone the planet and the galaxy we live in.

Totally Engaged by Mina V. Esguerra (ARC from the author)

This is the first time in years I’ve picked up a book with characters older than I am, so when I say this was such a refreshing read, I mean every word. And more. I loved that the romance treaded on equally important matters such as immigration and family pressure, adaptability to digital education, and dealing with societal expectations relative to age, especially in the Philippine context, AND more importantly, that the romance was straightforward, unapologetic, and whew, hot.

Aghamtao: Journal of the Ugnayang Pang-Aghamtao, Inc. (UGAT) / Anthropological Association of the Philippines

This journal contains studies and policy proposals all in relation to disaster management in different parts of the country. Reading these kinds of books is always a good refresher because sometimes we aspire so much to be one thing in terms of development, when in fact, we already are a lot of things and that there are plenty of innovation going on for us as it is (that are more sustainable and suited for us) and that we just need to provide financial support to further the adoption and improvement, especially in the grassroots level.

How to Become a Planet by Nicole Melleby (ARC from the publisher)

tw // depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation

Many YA books tackle mental health issues, but I don’t think I’ve picked up a lot of MG novels that do so, so this book to me was pretty special. It didn’t sugarcoat or romanticize the journey of its 13-year-old protagonist, and I felt like it presented not just the different ways an illness or disorder can manifest, but also how it can affect the very person going through it, as well as the people around them. This is a book I think would feel like a friend to a young reader, whether they are going through something similar or not.

The Acrylic Artist’s Handbook by Marylin Scott

Painting is such a fun and friendly experience that it gets to a point where I would feel like I actually know what I’m doing… But I really don’t. Everything I know about using acrylic paints I learned by experience (which is, well, the best teacher), so it was enriching to learn more about the techniques and materials shared in this book.





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