January 2020 Reads
To start off the New Year, I picked up The Vengekeep Prophecies by Brian Farrey. I thought it had some very smart twists and great world-building. I warmed up to the Grimjinx family instantly, and I was a little disappointed that for most of the book, we don't actually get to see them operate as a team. I think that's really the only issue I had with the story, and perhaps it was why I found the middle to 'sag' a little. It had an awesome ending though.
Sorcery of Thorns was such a joy to read. It's the kind of cozy fantasy that was perfect to read on a winter's afternoon. The characters were all lovable and the romance went at perfect pace for me. The plot was intricate, full of twists and turns, but not convoluted. And yes, I have to mention this, being such a big fan of Fullmetal Alchemist, but the plot is very similar to FMA. Not that it takes away any enjoyment from reading the book. On the contrary, picking up on the similar plot lines made me more excited to see how things would turn out in this world.
I'm not planning to be a manager any time soon, but I found Julie Zhuo's The Making of a Manager very relevant to my current position at work. She gives a lot of advice that also applies to managing yourself, if not a team. Reading this book made me feel more eager to do well at my job and to take my professional development into my own hands.
Mindset was mentioned in The Making of a Manager so I decided to pick it up. The important idea in the book is that having a growth mindset (ie. you can always improve) will make you more likely to succeed than having a fixed mindset (ie. you're born a certain way, and there's no way to change it). Unfortunately, after that idea is stated, the author repeats it over and over, and tries to shoehorn it to every situation possible. Basically, the idea was good, but the writing was not engaging at all.
What I'm reading right now
I started reading Soul Eater near the end of January, and I'm just breezing through the volumes. I'm on volume 3 now. I watched the anime version of this a few years ago, and thoroughly enjoyed it up until the last five episodes or so. I heard that the anime diverges drastically from the manga at its conclusion, so I decided to read the manga to see how the story really ends. I have a long way to go, with 25 volumes in this series!
Last year when I visited the Philippines, I bought a book called May Tiktik sa Bubong, May Sigbin sa Silong (There's a tiktik in the ceiling, and a sigbin down below). It's an anthology about aswang, which is the umbrella term we use for some mythological creatures often found in horror stories. The reading level required for this book is a bit beyond me, but I am actually happy about that, because I feel like it will really improve my ability to read in Tagalog.