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5/16/20

Why I Love Nonfiction


I remember being young and in love with fiction. Book after book, I devoured through copies of Markus Zusak, Ruta Sepetys, and Cornelia Funke, each one capturing my heart in a manner like no other. I stood by Meggie Folchart as she read book characters into life, as her father Mortimer gave life to even more, and I wept alongside Harry Potter as another well-loved friend dissipated into dust. 

Now, many years later, with eyes that search for more, I have fallen in love with nonfiction. 

My interest in memoirs has expanded over time. Maybe I love the way it speaks to me, or how it offers me with a new perception of life as I get older each day. Nonfiction has opened my eyes to more drastic realities and has told me things I needed to hear. As I near my 20's, I see my life differently, take my obligations with utmost priority, and learn the ropes of this so-called "adulting." And more than ever, I need such books to guide me.

5 Reasons Why I Love Nonfiction


1. There is inspiration in reading about actual events and lives. Some of my most favorite memoirs is Mitch Albom's Tuesdays with Morrie and Paul Kalanithi's When Breath Becomes Air. Both books have changed my perspective on adversity and have taught me to embrace life as if every day is your last.

2. I find guidance. Every nonfictional book that I read has a piece of the author's wisdom and knowledge, and I feel empowered by this. I feel that I can direct my life to something more.

3. There is always something new to learn. Books written by authors beyond my nationality offer me a fresh take of what life is like outside of my culture. Such was the case for Michelle Obama's Becoming. In her memoir, I understood better how politics and governance can influence your life and, in turn, how your life can change the course of the future.

4. Reading nonfiction allows me to see what people think and believe, and this challenges me to understand others and be more open to foreign cultures.

5. Nonfiction books educate. Learning does not stop.

Do you read nonfiction?

5/11/20

Ninth House


That was what magic did. It revealed the heart of who you'd been before life took away your belief in the possible. It gave back the world all lonely children longed for.


This being my first novel from the author Leigh Bardugo, Ninth House failed to entice me to its fantasy realm and characters despite its promising story. Frankly, I was not impressed by the plot of the book despite a premise filled with magic, murder, and mystery.

Set in Yale, Galaxy "Alex" Stern is recruited into the ninth house, Lethe, which ensures security as the eight secret societies—the Houses of the Veil—perform magical rituals that are unique and distinct from the rest. The death of a girl on campus, the disappearance of her friend Darlington, and her ability to see ghosts compel Alex to uncover the events that unfold before her as well as discover the profuse magical entities and powers that exist.

In reading this book, I found myself primarily confused throughout much of the story.

The world-building was impressively developed, but I found that it was executed ineffectively. Unlike many fantasy books that I have read, Ninth House developed a universe that was slightly difficult to grasp and understand. This comes in relation with the book's shaky start, where I felt initially confused due to the many terminologies, names, and minor characters that were introduced with little to no explanation, leading me to rely on drawing hints and clues from the story. Thankfully, the latter half of the book eased gradually as everything began to make sense. In the end, we see more answers to questions initially raised at the start, though this does not change the fact that the exposition proved to be difficult to fully grasp.

Alex and her friend Darlington are likable characters, but ultimately, they are not my favorites. We see the close relationship between these two characters as the book shifts between the past and present, and though I admired how they have respectively developed, I was not fully convinced that they were interesting characters. In addition, the heroic figure that Alex was intended to be did not capture my intrigue in a similar fashion as that of other fictional characters, partly due to the difficult writing. The writing style was simply difficult to enjoy because of the amount of confusing information that was introduced.

Ninth House is not an easy read. An adult dark fantasy book, it is filled with scenes pointing to sexual assault that some might find distressing. While I did enjoy the book in some aspects, unfortunately, I do not think that this is a book that I would like to read again anytime soon.

[Trigger warning: This book includes depictions of violence and sexual assault.]

★★★

4/16/20

Why Student Journalism Matters


I am passionate about books and writing. However, beyond my need to further my love for writing, I began to look into student journalism as a primary outlet to give my words meaning and purpose. Journalism, for me, demands that the truth be set free. So, in my sophomore year in high school, I took the plunge: I became a correspondent and eventually managing editor of my campus newspaper, Facets. In college, I started working as a writer for two years in the inquiry and news sections of our student-run newspaper, The GUIDON, and taking frequent opportunities to write for Press One.

Although student journalists are often restricted to news and events within campus, my stay in university has taught me that in spite of this, writing transcends beyond our local contexts. It echoes global issues. In times of false news and a heated political climate, there is a greater need for collective voices.


when we write about things that matter, we mobilize a movement for change


Recently, it was alleged in my university that a number of Theology and Philosophy professors have been sexually harassing female students in class or in consultation, sparking outrage on campus. As my co-staffers and fellow members were tasked to cover this event in a live coverage, within a few hours my university gained national coverage for its on-campus protest against cases of sexual misconduct against students.

In front of the faculty building, I watched as everyone mobilized around campus in protest. Their voices echoed from outdoors even as I sat in class, listening to my Philosophy professor discuss the nature and metaphysics of life. My co-staffers published a breaking article online, and the wider the coverage, the more victims spoke up. Had this not been covered in the news, many people would not have known of our faculty allegations.

Writing incites action and change. Time and again, we are reminded that words bear power, more so in print when it reveals current realities and incites discourse. Writing mobilizes change, and writing inspires.


journalism, the literature of reality, provides the lens through which we see clearer the truth.


With this, we come towards a step closer to revealing what is real yet often harrowing. We see clearer the realities that influence and shape us when we are provided with an avenue for discourse and information.


we are empowered by the truth and nothing but the truth.


In working as a student journalist for years, I have encountered incidents, events, and issues that have been long unknown to the student population: apparent bias in university rankings, campus inclusiveness over students with special needs, contractualization of workers, and even suicide attempts on campus. Sometimes these issues are too sensitive that we take extra precaution in rephrasing our articles. In other cases, we are prevented from writing it. 

Nonetheless, I feel empowered knowing that there is a truth to every issue that takes place, that there exists underlying faults and gaps in the system that explain overall failure. Journalism remains to be one of the biggest influences on different contexts and populations, progressively impacting many as it moves with the signs of the times.

what are your thoughts on writing and on journalism?