Posted in book review, books, entertainment, guilty pleasures, Letters From Skye, more books, reading, tagged book review, books, guilty pleasures, Letters From Skye, literature and Fiction, thoughts and ramblings on February 28, 2014 |
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Yay, I didn’t take an afternoon shuteye just to finish Letters from Skye. It took me more than two days (on and off reading) to finish the book. Since it was my first book of Jessica Brockmole, I really didn’t know what to expect, there is nothing to compare it with previous books she has written . What a nice surprise because I enjoyed it. Pen pals, making friends through letters, finding love in an exchange of words and thoughts – you would think it is an old-fashioned way to communicate, right? Compared to the modern way of communicating nowadays, you would even say it is boring but it’s 1912 and 1940 fused together and the historical aspect makes it more poignant because letters are the only means one could get through.
I could not remember reading a book without a dialogue except letters. It is an epistolary novel. It must be hard to write something like it without losing the plot of the story and getting the message across to the reader. Thoughts of Mary Oliver’s writings entered my mind while reading it and I was hoping the author would give examples of what Elspeth Dunn wrote about, she was a poet and poets are dear to my heart. Come to think of it, I was tempted to jot down some quotes as I usually do with other books that I read but I didn’t want to lose the momentum, excited enough on what the answer would be to the last mailed letter. Imagine the thrill and joy of receiving one, the anticipation of knowing that there is something to look forward to. The story is common enough but the way it was told made it a fascinating read. I would not attempt to make a real book review here with the story summarized in chronological order. Find it for yourself if you are also fond of writing and receiving letters. Yes, there are quotes that comes to mind.
“You’re my breath, my light, the one my heart flies towards.”
“A book is like a garden carried in the pocket.”
“… that a letter isn’t always just a letter. Words on page can drench the soul.”
It was worth the two cups of coffee I consumed just so I could finish the book. There is that feeling that reading a love story once in a while is an afternoon delight.
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Posted in 2014, blogging, books, Happiness, life, literature and Fiction, more books, silence speaks, tagged a bit of myself, blogging, books, letter-writing, life, literature and Fiction, silence speaks, thoughts on February 25, 2014 |
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Woke up this morning to the persistent sound of my son’s cellphone which he left inside my room last night. Gosh, it was 4am. I tried to sleep a few hours more but it was a useless exercise. I guess, it is a perfect time to visit this blog, the internet connection is quite fast. The rest of the world (from our end) must still be asleep.
Wow, a hot cup of coffee with hot pan de sal to boot. A few minutes ago, I braved the five-minute walk to our neighborhood bakery to buy pan de sal. It is a bread roll that is a staple in most Filipino families’ breakfast. You can pair it with scrambled eggs, coco jam or what we call matamis na bao, slivers of cheese or even sautéed sardines. Take your pick, it goes well with everything. I’ve long wanted to learn to bake pan de sal but it is more practical to buy it.
I went back to reading e-books , discovering new titles, excited to acquaint myself with new authors. Last night, I started reading Letters From Skye by Jessica Brockmole. It’s my first encounter with the author. Fancy a different approach to writing a book – conveying a story through letters, no dialogue, a perfect spin of two stories fused together. Since I am still in the middle of reading it, I will reserve my five stars later. I love receiving letters, in any form but there is nothing that beats a real one with stamps attached on the envelope with that pasted smile on your face anticipating what’s written inside. It is even exciting when there is no written address and you guess who suddenly thought of you to send a letter by mail. When I was in college, my friend and I used to write letters to each other every single day although we were together at work as student librarians in our university. It was quite fun to write at the back of date due slips while absorbing the silence that a library setting brings. She is now based abroad and we get in touch through private messages on Facebook. Years ago, my sister-in-law gifted me with a complete set of Griffin and Sabine, a trilogy written by Nick Bantock. It is one of the precious collections I have in my small library. In every page, you’ll see a facsimile of a postcard or a letter actually enclosed in an envelope, hand-written letters that excite. Imagine reading a book in real letter format. Reading the trilogy made me more in love with letter-writing.
The rain last night and the gentle drizzle this morning made my plants happy. They are dancing in the rain and I love to dance too.
P.S. WordPress says this is my 1,400th blog entry.
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These, I think, are lazy blogging days for me. For the past two days, our “normal” weather is back and take that to mean that the cold days and colder nights are gone but PAGASA says, we will still experience the cold weather in a few days but not as temperate and balmy as the days we experienced back in January. In the next two weeks, we’ll be experiencing a high 31 °C and a low 22 °C.
I was again lucky to find another book by Catherine Cookson , my 7th read this year. I was impressed with her writing style in A Dinner Of Herbs that I finished the whole book, all 725 pages of it in four days. I love a bit of history and the 18th century England setting was just perfect. It was quite a surprise that I enjoyed the book immensely and when I looked at Goodreads, most readers marked it five stars. I didn’t even know it was made into a series until I read some reviews so I got to watch a few episodes on YouTube. I know, some would say the book is always better than the movie adaptation but it is nice to recall the story while seeing the characters’ faces onscreen. I wonder when the movie adaptation of The Book Thief will be shown here. Some reviews say it’s emotionally flat and does not show justice to the beautiful book by Marcus Zusak. I believe that every film adaptation on any well-loved book deserves some merits because it is completely different from the pages of the book. I’ve read it twice, by the way and got to appreciate it better the second time around.
Our street is showing a new look. I woke up one morning several days ago and saw every light post decorated with red ribbons and rectangular red cloth crazily dancing in the wind. Oh, they dressed them for the V-day. Who celebrates Valentine’s day now? Florist shops would make a killing again with the costs of a few blooms thrice as much on a regular day. I always smile every time I see someone wear a red shirt on Valentine’s Day. Why do you have to wait for Valentine’s day to show and reinforce that love?
Yes Virginia, there’s a St. Valentine and he is a patron of love, young people and happy marriages.
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Posted in blogging, books, Close to Nature, flowers and blooms, journeys, life, photography, silence speaks, tagged blogging, books, flowers and blooms, gardening, guilty pleasures, life, photography, thoughts and ramblings on January 3, 2014 |
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Yesterday has been a busy day for me, from sunrise to sunset (literally). Some friends are coming over in a week and I have to do a bit of general cleaning and check grocery supplies that I will use for our get-together. I am excited since it’s been more than a year since I saw some of them. Who says working at home is easier than an office job is exaggerating. I would exchange my slippers, garden hose and brooms for a day with a corporate attire complete with lunch at a nice but affordable restaurant, catch and exchange news with former office mates instead of listening to the radio all day long while doing household chores. One thing that I get to appreciate though is having my afternoon nap, try to catch up on reading a chapter or two then off to dreamland for at least an hour.
I promised myself I would jot down the titles of all the books I plan to read this year and count how many books I could manage to get hold of but rereading some verses from a favorite book of poems does not count of course. And I thought of challenging myself (for the second time) to post once a day here. The question is, would I be able to do it again? Sometimes, it’s not the lack of what to write about but how to go about catching one reader’s eyes to read my post till the end. I’ve seen plenty of quotes about 2014 saying that the days are like blank pages of a book that you need to fill up with your experiences, angst even and happy moments that you want to remember. I’d rather dwell on the positive side because I want the rest of the year to be stress-free at least.
New hope. New Beginnings. New Dreams To Uphold. I’ve never been good at keeping new year’s resolutions because I don’t make a list in the first place. I’d rather call them goals that one needs to reach and no matter how simple they are, it would be nice if at the end of the year, you’ve fulfilled some promises to yourself. The “me” times are just as important as having occasional chats with online friends or having a laugh over at Skype with a long-lost friend or relative. Noel, my youngest brother who is based in Tulsa is my regular caller on Skype. We would always talk about the kids and how life is away from one’s homeland, reminiscing the days when we were kids and marveling how happy we were despite the simplicity of life back then. We would touch on Philippine cuisine and recipes that he miss because Asian stores in their area don’t sell all the ingredients that he needs. We would laugh at some remembered jokes that made childhood memories something to treasure always.
On new year’s day, I took shot of some blooms growing in the garden. It’s something that would remind me of January 01, 2014.
Can you see the bud of this Mokara Orchid showing its face?
And when it is in full bloom, it would look like this.
This is my variegated Aglaonema. A few months ago, the main plant died on me but I was surprised to see this new bloom days after.
I’ve never been successful in propagating Crossandra from seeds. They’re now sprouting everywhere, randomly showing lovely orange blooms alongside my other plants.
There is a cold wind blowing outside and another cup of hot, hot coffee would surely be welcome. Here’s another promise I made myself starting this year, I would always appreciate what life has in store for me, no matter how painful some days may bring.
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And I must say, it’s been a while. And it’s hard to start blogging again after a week of hibernation. Anyway, I promised I’ll be back. The last week has been full of thoughts and dreadful news that I buried myself reading a series of eight books ( I actually read six) in a little town of Virginia. Reading historical novels and getting acquainted with years of survival and living in a world when horses were the only means of transport in an undiscovered territory is sometimes a great change from the noise of daily living. As I read the last book though, cellphones, e-mails and social networking became ordinary means of communication in a modern world where horseback riding was no longer a necessity but something only the rich populace could afford.
Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t spent all of one week reading because in between resting my eyes, I was busy preparing simple meals and trimming our carabao grass. Gardening has its rewards, it lets your mind wander and form words in your head and you think of how blessed you are. When nature shows itself, you can’t help but think that there is something miraculous in the way it rewards you with lovely blooms despite the rains. My Mokara and Hoya Orchids are in bloom again. I saw four new spikes of Mokara showing gentle buds of orange. And all the Hoyas are blooming too. Gardening may sometimes be a pain because it does not thrive on neglect but the joy and the quiet times you spend pulling off weeds, pruning and watering are more than enough to make your day complete.
Last Monday, we have experienced the worst typhoon so far this year. Typhoon Labuyo (internationally named Utor) caused massive floods and landslides all over central and northern Luzon and wreaked havoc to so many homes, crops and properties particularly in Aurora province. I know the feeling of losing what you have to typhoons and finding your home submerged in water. Four years ago, we experienced exactly that and it took us a month to repair our cabinets and replace some of our appliances and personal effects that were destroyed by the typhoon. We lost most of our books too. But still we were lucky because we had a house to come back to unlike those typhoon victims in Aurora where their houses were destroyed. I always dread the thought of storms and typhoons. And it sad to think that every year, we experience at least twenty or more weather disturbances .
Just started on a new book by a Turkish author entitled My Name is Red. It’s sixteenth-century Istanbul and the author Orhan Pamuk is a recipient of the 2006 Nobel Prize in Literature.
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Posted in books, life, literature and Fiction, more books, tagged a bit of myself, books, Enid Blyton, life, literature and Fiction, Our baby Nate, reading on August 6, 2013 |
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You might think I am obsessed with books. I must admit, that’s a big yes, books are almost always what I give Nissa on every special occasion that warrants special gifts and she appreciates them until now. And since we no longer have those children’s books that we have collected back when they were kids, I am starting to buy and search for books that I would love Nate to have. Nissa bought several Brainy Baby DVDs complete with instrumental music CDs that she used to play when Nate was still in her womb. There is nothing like a good, sturdy book though that he can appreciate and hold. And this is the best time I guess to introduce him to his learning alphabet. I am just amazed that books for kids have gone sky-high and I could no longer find those with thick leaves that won’t easily crumple and tear. Anyway, I have found a set of Enid Blyton books while arranging our small library yesterday and they were still in plastic, unopened and unread. I remember Nissa bought them a few years ago but maybe forgot all about them.
Nate might still be too young to appreciate these but Nissa reads to him a lot and who knows in a few years, he’ll be reading by himself. I never had the opportunity to read books by Blyton because when we were kids, reading was not a priority except those textbook stories written in the vernacular. I started serious reading when I was in high school and my love affair with books has not waned through the years. I spent the past few days catching up on reading, both e-books and those I bought on my several trips to Booksale.
And yes, reading brings you magic and adventures.
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Posted in blogging, books, journeys, life, tagged a bit of myself, blogging, books, journeys, life, silence speaks on August 1, 2013 |
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Gosh, it’s August already? Time moves so quickly. And I used to blog about month-endings and new beginnings. Lately though, I found myself more engrossed reading my growing stash of books and some e-books on my phone. And blogging was relegated to the backseat. Soon, I will update my blog here. I just want to say thank you to all of you who have remained my online friends all these years, commenting now and then, giving me a glimpse of your own journey.
I am always touched every time I see comments asking how I am. Yes, it’s been four years since I created this blog and I think, in my own small way, I have touched their lives too, no matter how mundane my sharing has become. And yes, thank you so much for coming back here and telling me that you are inspired. Initially, I just thought of sharing my journey as a cancer patient/survivor but it has become a hodgepodge of everything. That’s who I am, still dreaming and believing that dreams come true.
And I am excited getting reacquainted with some authors I’ve known some years ago and trying unheard of writers whose works I find equally absorbing. I’ll be back, I promise.
I just want to say, “thank you.”
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Would you believe, I am beginning to love Jojo Moyes, a new favorite author I just discovered. The past week, I read three of her books. She writes simply but every character is unforgettable. There is that feeling where you want to know more about them long after you reached the last page. I wish I could write something substantial here, like a book review but right now, I am hooked on reading Schindler’s List. I’ve seen the movie a long, long time ago, a Steven Spielberg film that made me shed buckets of tears. This is the first time though that I will be reading the book. And there is Schindler’s List 20th Anniversary Limited Edition Blu-ray combo pack made available last March 05, 2013. And I wish I could watch it again, meantime though, I’ll just enjoy the book.
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Posted in books, life, ramblings, silence speaks, tagged books, life, love stories, movies, silence speaks, thoughts and ramblings on July 8, 2013 |
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This morning, I was changing channels searching for some news broadcasts when I chanced upon this movie, Message in a Bottle on Blink cinema. The first time I saw this film was through a beta tape that one of my former office mates lent me one weekend. You can just imagine how long ago it was. I think it was even the first book that I read of Nicholas Sparks. Three years ago, out of boredom from recuperating after my chemotherapy, I watched it again via a DVD which my daughter bought along with other love stories and wrote something about it here.
Nicholas Sparks is one of those writers who really makes me cry. I bought this book late 90′s I guess, read and reread it more than I care to admit. The first time it was shown, I was looking for all the beautiful quotes in the book. Kevin Costner is Garret Blake, a boat builder and a widower. Robin Wright Penn plays the role of Theresa Osborne, she was intrigued by the writer of the letter she found in a bottle while she was on vacation and spent her time looking for him. Paul Newman shines as Dodge Blake, Garret’s father. I guess it is his character that I love the most in the movie. It’s a love story alright and a tear-jerker at that but just like in the previous times that I’ve watched the movie, the ending was a bit of a disappointment. Beautiful stories do not end in tragedy, right? I remember a quote from the book and it best sums up the whole story, “If some lives form a perfect circle, other take shape in ways we cannot predict or always understand. Loss has been part of my journey. But it has also shown me what is precious. So has love for which I can only be grateful”.
At some point in your life, you could identify with this, a love lost, but it gives you lessons that you would carry through all your life. Some of us are of the belief that love is forever but it is not to be because like people, love is not perfect. And as if watching a tear-jerker movie is not enough, I reacquainted myself reading Love Story. A short read in two hours. Back in high school, my classmates and I used to sing this line while remembering Ryan O’Neal and Ali MacGraw as Jennifer and Oliver in the movie adaptation. Come to think of it, I even wrote it in my journal:
“Love means never having to say you’re sorry.” How wrong Erich Segal was, because definitely, love is not about never seeing the need to say that you’re sorry. Love is about humility too, always willing enough to say you’re sorry because you’ve hurt someone and one should learn how to forgive and ask forgiveness. It’s funny how the years have changed one’s perspective towards something you thought was so beautiful and inspiring in your youth.
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