Here at Preen, we’re fully aware that adult life doesn’t always go as smoothly (and look as beautiful) as curated Instagram feeds. We all face challenges amidst all the good things. Meet Mikka Wee, a former food editor-turned-working gal in Singapore, who’s about to share all the ups and downs that come with adulting and living. Welcome to Bless This Mess!
My last article for 2018 was about my favorite books of the year; so let me indulge you with the next batch of books that I’d like to read this 2019. For some bizarrely miraculous reason, I managed to read 20 books in 2018, and this 2019, I’d like to leave extra room for a surprise read. I subscribe to Leo Babauta’s newsletter, Zen Habits, and one of his goals for 2019 is to spend less time on his phone and more time reading long-forms and novels. Well, I have a Kindle app installed on my phone, but I also have quite a number of books littered around my house. And since I have committed to another year of no shopping, it’s time I brought myself to cracking these books wide open and discovering what treasures lie in between their covers.
A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
My friend Isa brought this book with her when she visited me in Singapore, and she told me that it was such a gift to read. I borrowed her copy, and I’m still trying to get past the first few chapters. A Little Life is essentially about four friends based in New York whose closeness goes deeper than blood. I’m excited to see how this unfolds even though everyone has been telling me it’s a heavy read.
M Train by Patti Smith
Just Kids was one of my favorite books of 2018, and the moment I finished its last sentence, I immediately bought a copy of M Train, which was described by Michiko Kakutani of the New York Times as a “kaleidoscopic ballad about the losses dealt out by time and chance and circumstance.”
Becoming by Michelle Obama
I am such a fan of the Obamas, and I cannot wait to read Michelle Obama’s autobiography. I have so much respect for her, her values, and her role as both a mother and an influential woman of our generation.
Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel
It makes me wonder sometimes why I haven’t read this book. I love food, and I know this to be a promising one that combines gastronomy with romance.
Never Can Say Goodbye: Writers on Their Unshakeable Love for New York
I am both excited and scared to start this book because I have a strong feeling that it will make me want to book a ticket to New York (again). New York is currently favorite city in the world; sometimes I make half-meant jokes about finding work and moving to the Big Apple. This book might trigger me to do just that.
Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise by Ruth Reichl
I love a good food writer, more so, a well-written food book. Ruth Reichl was the editor-in-chief of Gourmet Magazine before it folded, and I am excited to devour her brillant writing through this read.
Anthropology of an American Girl by Hilary Thayer Hamann
I bought the Kindle version of this book on a whim because I was told that this was a delight to read. I have no expectations of this book—didn’t even bother checking the summary or plot. I started on a few pages last year, but I couldn’t get the hang of it. The pace just felt slow, but I am curious and optimistic that I will be rewarded if I soldier on.
Setting the Table: The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business by Danny Meyer
I am in the hospitality business, and I am a huge fan of Danny Meyer’s! If you haven’t seen Netflix’s 7 Days Out episode on Eleven Madison Park, then what are you still doing reading this?! Go watch it NOW! Kidding aside, I’ve always held a lot of esteem for Danny Meyer’s story, and being in the same industry as he is, I am confident that I will learn a lot from this book.
Devotion by Patti Smith
Another Patti Smith book? Yes, that’s right! Devotion is all about the creative force that drives Patti Smith to write. I’ve heard it’s a very personal account of her art and her process, inspirations, and passion for words.
The Nakano Thrift Shop by Hiromi Kawakami
From the same author of Strange Weather in Tokyo is another book whose premise I have yet to read about. I want to keep it a special surprise. As you see, I have an inclination to Japanese writers because of their poetic use of words. I mean, I read the translated ones, but what more meaning can the original language bring forth?
Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer
At the cusp of 2018’s end, my family was presented with a very interesting turn of events that made me rethink my health. This 2019, I’ve made a pact with two of my closest relatives to not eat meat this entire year. I’ve heard a lot of good things about this book, to the point that it turned some of my carnivorous friends into vegetarians.
Gastrophysics: The New Science of Eating by Charles Spence
This is a more scientific approach to food—facts about one of the most indulgent, sensory activities: eating!
Almost Everything by Anne Lammott
I randomly picked up a copy of this book at The Strand, and I was pleasantly surprised to find out that it was signed by Anne Lammott herself. I really love Anne Lammott’s words, one of her books, Bird by Bird, is one of the most transformative books I’ve read in my lifetime. I can’t wait to dive deep into her words once again.
Panchinko by Min Jin Lee
I’ve been trying to get myself to read this book about a Korean family that moves to Japan. I’ve always been so intrigued about Japanese culture, so it’s great to see a different spin to it through this novel.
What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami
This is going to be a re-read. I love running and runner’s high is truly a special epiphany. When I read this book the first time, I instantly fell in love with it because Murakami talked about running with such depth and meditation—it was truly inspiring, and I feel this is just what I needed to remind myself why I run in the first place, too.
On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King
I have had this book on my shelf for the longest time. As a teenager, Stephen King’s books have served as an escape, and I believe it’s high time that I got myself to reading this book.
The Travelling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa
Yes, another Japanese book! This one’s got good ratings, and I feel that it would be interesting to see the world from the eyes of a cat for a change. I’m planning a trip to Japan again later this year, and I’m thinking if I should save this book for when I’m there.
A Dictionary of Japanese Food: Ingredients and Culture by Richard Hosking
Enough said! Can you tell that I love Japanese culture a lot?
The Word for Woman is Wilderness by Abi Andrews
I am honestly plunging into this book with an open mind and with no expectations. It was an impulsive buy from BooksActually, one of Singapore’s indie bookstores, and I was drawn to its very beautiful cover. Hope this book is as lovely as it looks!
Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author in her private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of Preen.ph, or any other entity of the Inquirer Group of Companies.