5 reads currently on my nighstand



If you’re an avid reader yourself, I’m sure you’re currently reading multiple books at once. Admit it – times have changed. Our attention spans have gotten a lot shorter, but hey, it doesn’t stop us from loving good stories, right? Here’s the stuff I’m digesting right now:


1. An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

Maybe I’m the only one here who hasn’t read #TFIOS (though I’ve seen the movie and it was sweeeet), but I’ve finished the best-selling YA author’s debut, Looking For Alaska, which won the Michael L. Printz Award in 2006. I loved Green’s unembellished style and simple storytelling, and after subscribing to vlogbrothers and learning that he used to work for Mental Floss, I was piqued. An Abundance of Katherines instantly went into my to-read list after I learned about the simple, straightforward, yet unique plot, and that it’s something of nerdom. So far I found the protagonist Colin Singleton really endearing, sarcastic at times, sensitive and naive, yet fun to follow around. He’s a 17-year-old child prodigy who just got dumped by the 19th girl he’s dated named Katherine, and his goal in life is to become a genius by means of a Eureka moment. How cool is that.


2. The Giver by Lois Lowry


I’ve actually been wanting to read this ever since I was a kid back in the days I was studying in Singapore. I’ve seen this cover so many times before whenever I’m in the bookstores. Very often, I find The Giver under the classics section, right next to L’Engle’s A Wrinkle In Time, but I’ve never picked it up to see what’s it about. Now that I’ve learned it’s going to be made into a major motion picture (featuring Taylor Swift, people) this summer, I finally stopped hesitating and started venturing out to Lowry’s dystopian world. She’s the mother of the genre after all, and I’m sure the recent popularity of it is sure going to bring a huge success for the movie this August. So far I’m loving how she’s conveying so much with such concise sentences. I’m sure this is going to be a fast read so I’ll quickly follow the rest of the books in the quartet: Gathering Blue, Messenger, and Son.



3. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain

Like I said, my family is a bunch of introverts, so it comes naturally that I want to know how our minds work in order to foster better communication and keep our relationships strong. Although I’ve seen this book about a million times in bookstores, reckoned it’s been on the top spots of major bestsellers lists, and watched Susan Cain’s talks and interviews on the topic across all media, I wasn’t planning on reading the book because I already know that the thesis for Quiet is basically stating that introverts, unlike previous thought, actually possess more favorable traits than extroverts for them to thrive in the modern-day world (the title says it all). Then I found this book lying on my brother’s bed while I was visiting him in June. He told me to read it, as it’s helped him a lot in both his personal and professional lives. So here I am reading it now, finding it extremely insightful so far. Now I can see what’s the hype …


4. Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth by Reza Aslan


I still consider myself a newly baptized even if it’s only last year that I accepted Jesus as my Savior. It seems that the more I get to know him, the more I want to understand him. By understand, I mean his speech, his demeanor, his deeds, and all of his practical and human ways that I can follow. This book provides the historical perspective of scholars with a blend of the mythical and enigmatic Jesus as told across cultures. They all piece together beautifully under the backbone of the author’s matured faith and understanding of the Jesus of the Gospels, so you can expect to witness the raw conviction and passion Jesus had during his time on earth.


5. BBC Knowledge Asia Edition Vol. 6 Issue 7

So this is my latest discovery while I was making a transit in Singapore. It’s a relatively new magazine by Regent Media Pte Ltd, and it’s quickly become an instant favorite for me. Unlike most science magazines out there, BBC Knowledge has practically all fields of science (physics, biology, chemistry, psychology, astronomy, you name it)  as well as their relating departments (namely history, anthropology, zoology, engineering, and more) condensed into one tight magazine. I can understand if you think the magazine covers one broad and dangerous arena, but I assure you, they’ve really gone in-depth across every topic. I think if I leave this magazine lying around the living room when I have a kid later on, he or she will outsmart the science teacher at school and then go score all tests with flying colors.


Now it’s your turn to share: What are you reading these days?



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Foods to help you sleep better tonight



For the past month since I returned from my trip to the States, I’ve been sleeping really well. As you may know, I was quite a bit of an insomniac for many months before, and have been enjoying my daytime activities these days because of good sleep.

Regular exercise, calming activities such as yoga and pilates, as well as other healthy habits certainly play a big part of the sleeping puzzle. But what you may have never considered to help you sleep better is your daily diet.

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July 2014: Link love


Note: So I’m a day behind for this post. For the new readers, I began my monthly link love series back in May. I set out to make it on the last Friday of each month, but alas, I don’t meet my own deadline this July. Now that I’m here, I want to share the top 5 links that I’ve revisited the most all month long (below). Hope you find them useful and enjoy them as much as I do:



1. Never say these 13 things to someone training for a race. [Women's Health]

2. 10 things you can practice everyday to boost your brainpower. [HuffPost]

3. To taste: Top 30 restaurants in Jakarta right now. [Zomato]

4. Show your skin some TLC: Sun-protection products to try. [The Honeycombers]

5. While you’re alive: 83 best travel experiences. [POPSUGAR Smart Living]



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via Taryn on Pinterest / The BioLogos Forum / Zomato / The Honeycombers / POPSUGAR Smart Living 


On the road: An eclectic playlist



It’s funny how even if you take things one day at time, the clock is ticking faster than ever before. It’s holiday season again here in Indonesia (Ramadan), and most of us are already out of town for a long vacation. Meanwhile, I am just back from a 2-week holiday to China, and will be in town for the whole season to chill and enjoy the clear traffic.

That doesn’t stop me from daydreaming about long trips if I were overseas. I thought back about the time I went on my road trip with 10 during my spring break. Since I haven’t got my driver’s license at that time, my only task was to compile an expansive list of songs to accompany us on the road, while his job was to drive from day to night and sneaking Kapal Api into his system during the wee hours. I had a really fun time choosing songs from my iTunes, and that was also the time I convinced him that progressive trance (like the tunes on this playlist) can sound so euphoric when you’re driving fast on the open highway. Then again, with the roads so clear, it gets a bit dull if you’re only listening to 1 or 2 genres.

So if you’re going to hit the road for the next 3 hours or so, here’s a really chill mix that I made out of various different songs to keep you company. Most of these I’m sure you’ll recognize, because they’re records from the late ’90s on to the turn of the millennium, although there are a couple of special songs that happen to be recent hits. Even if you don’t understand what “愛的就是你 ” or “애인이 생기면 하고 싶은 일” means (neither do I for the latter), I’m sure you’re going to fall in love with the melodic feel I’ve instilled upon you with this playlist.

I know, I know, these cheesy-mellowy tunes may be all too fluffy to take on for so long on the concrete road. Call me starry-eyed, old-fashion, or even boring, but I bet you and your honey will be closer to each other than ever by the time you’ve reached your destination(s).

Now chill, bask in those last rays of sunshine, and listen:



Now I want to hear from you: Where are you taking yourself this holiday?


P.S. 20 scenic roads you should drive in your lifetime.



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 via UnsplashSamantha Rosenberg Stewart on Pinterest