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Posts Tagged ‘books’


I told you, I am on a reading marathon and just finished this much-talked about book, The Fault In Our Stars. I wrote a short review on Goodreads.

I don’t normally read YA books, once in a while though, I read something that makes me laugh or cry. I am not even familiar with the author John Green, this is my first read actually. I don’t even know there is a movie adaptation being shown. What made me choose to read it over all the other books and authors I am familiar with? The subject is so familiar that I wanted to shout, “been there, done that, felt those awful moments while an IV was attached to my arms”. I felt those tingling sensations on my fingers that hurt like hell and those times that I just stared at the ceiling wondering if I will get well. the fault in our stars

There are lots of good and bad reviews on Goodreads. Some rated it five-stars, some were quite so honest that they weren’t even touched by the plot of the story. No crying sessions, they say. Maybe when you have experienced something as life-changing as having cancer then you could truly empathize and relate with the book. I did.

I wonder if the movie adaptation is better than the book. I’ve watched the YouTube trailer but if you don’t know that the two characters are cancer patients/survivors, you would just classify it as another young adult love story.

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What do you say about someone who cries while reading books that deal with families? You’ll probably laugh and say, “it’s just fiction, they don’t happen in real life”. That’s one good thing about reading Jojo Moyes books though, they seem real enough that you don’t want them to end  and you think about the characters long after you’ve read the last sentence and the last word. I encountered Jojo Moyes a few months ago. She was a new author in my reading list so I didn’t expect that I’ll enjoy her books.  I am on my 6th book now and so far, Me Before You, the first book that I read is one of the best and so is The Girl You Left Behind. I won’t go into the details of the stories and I wonder if I’ve even blogged about them before, suffice to say, I rated most of her books four and five stars on Goodreads.  The other day, I started reading One Plus One and it really made me laugh and cry and felt all other emotions in between.  Find out why.  I am quoting this short summary from Goodreads.

Suppose your life sucks. A lot. Your husband has done a vanishing act, your teenage stepson is being bullied and your math whiz daughter has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that you can’t afford to pay for. That’s Jess’s life in a nutshell—until an unexpected knight-in-shining-armor offers to rescue them. Only Jess’s knight turns out to be Geeky Ed, the obnoxious tech millionaire whose vacation home she happens to clean. But Ed has big problems of his own, and driving the dysfunctional family to the Math Olympiad feels like his first unselfish act in ages . . . maybe ever.

This is her best so far and I intend to read all her other books when I finish my self-imposed gardening assignment. On second thoughts though, gardening will always be a priority. I could not let the carabao grass and the peanut grass grow unmanageable again. My back aches just thinking about it.

Jojo Moyes, you are the best!

 

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The past days, I didn’t have the energy to blog. I am still busy with gardening,what with the onset of the rainy season and the carabao grass seems to grow by leaps and bounds.  I actually hired somebody to clean our side yard outside because I am planning to have it planted with some green veggies.  As is the case with people who are not really into gardening,  they can never visualize what you want to do with it. I have to tell him how to remove the stubborn weeds by turning over the soil and removing the roots embedded there. It is even more time-consuming to give instructions and see if he did it the way you wanted. Gardening is hard I know and  when you don’t have any love for the earth, it would be just one tedious task that you will have to do again and again.

My son and I did our marketing this morning back at Pasig market. It is always something I look forward to because I am so curious about what fruits we could buy that are in season which would save us a few pesos. Santol is selling by the crates and a kilo of the Bangkok variety  with that sweet and juicy pulp is selling at P20.00 and the ordinary ones are at P10.00 a kilo. I was thinking of cooking ginataang santol so I bought two kilos. The last time I cooked something like this was about a year ago. I have forgotten how yummy it is, with the sour taste blending perfectly with the coconut cream, Thai red chilis and a bit of ground pork  to make it more tasty.  Filipino recipes cooked in coconut cream won’t be that authentic without the hot taste of red or green pepper. I am also planning to plant the local siling labuyo in our backyard. Josef was delighted when he saw  bright red cherry tomatoes. We could use them for fresh vegetable salad.  Locally produced zucchini are a lot cheaper than the imported ones. I also got the orange variety of sweet potatoes, what a joy! It is always a thrill to discover  something  new  to buy and something nice to experiment on in the kitchen.

Yes,I was able to catch up on reading. I laughed out loud while reading Sophie Kinsella’s I Got Your Number. I know, you’ll probably say, most of her books are funny and humorous but then, don’t we sometimes want to read books that are simply relaxing?  Just imagine, four books in one week and I am on my 5th one,  another book by Jojo Moyes. That’s a feat if you ask me :) I could not wait though to do some looming again but it has to take a back seat in lieu of gardening.

How was your day? I am looking forward to what July has in store. I’ll be on my 5th year in remission by July 14th. Thank God for the gift of health. I bow my head for all these graces and blessings.

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Four years ago, I blogged about my niece and her fascination for coloring books. Do you know that coloring books and the time you spend making a magical picture out of the pages are stress-busters too?  A friend of mine  swears that she gets to relax while coloring a picture and being busy with choosing what colors to combine. She suggested that I buy one too but I cannot find something that would suit my desire to color. Either they are too complicated or too simple for my taste which I think are understandable since they are intended for kids, right?  There are times though when just like kids, we want to have a stress-free life and going back to old favorites (when you were five or six) help save the day.

This morning,  Josef and I spent a few hours just relaxing at Eastwood City after visiting St.  Padre Pio Chapel nearby. It would not be complete if we can’t visit a bookstore (that’s a given) so off we went to Books For Less and later at National Book Store.  I found another book by Lincoln Child, an author I discovered a year ago.  Terminal Freeze deals with climate change. I don’t even have to read the whole cover summary to convince me in buying it.  I’ve been reading  e-books for the past month and  it  is a nice change to be able to hold a real one again. The smell of a new book never fails to make me smile.

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“I bet, when we reach home, you will start coloring this“, Josef said pointing to the paper bag from National Book Store. I laughed and told him, “You guessed it right”.  You see, I was excited to start.  I actually took a shot of the three pages  that I started coloring. Nothing fancy, nothing complicated, they are just simple pictures that probably a seven-year old can color but then it is the thrill of making those pictures more vibrant and lovely that counts. I was even in a quandary whether to use dandelion or apricot for the faces. Back when I was into cross-stitching about a decade ago, I have memorized the chart of colors for the thread that I used. There are as many variations of one color, different shades  on the color wheel.

coloring books

Some relaxing moments – priceless minutes spent coloring.  Why don’t you give it a try? Unleash the child in you once in a while.

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I haven’t visited this corner for a while. No particular reason though except that I’ve been busy the past days. It’s Lent and I have to make advance  posts and do some research  for my apostolate at Apostles Filipino Catholic Community in which I am one of the admins. We now have  an astounding 51,000 members with a total reach of around 5 million views daily. We’re definitely growing.

Last Wednesday, some friends and I had a wonderful lunch at Max’s in SM Megamall. One of our members came home from Canada and she treated us  to lunch. I love bonding with them, we could talk about any topic under the sun, catching up on each other’s lives after almost three years – precious moments filled with laughter and sharing. One day is not always enough for all the things that we have to catch up on.  Friends are wonderful gifts from above. It was also my first time to visit the chapel located at the 5th floor of Megamall. One of these days, I would love to attend a mass at the Chapel of the Eucharistic Lord.

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One thing that I always notice every time there is a slack in my blogging is, it’s quite hard to write again.  One somehow loses the momentum of sharing one’s thoughts.  Oh well, sometimes, I feel so lazy to sit in front of my computer and think.  Apart from doing research, I have gone back to reading e-books.   Who knows, I may even reach my goal of 70 books to read this year. I am keeping tab of it  so I would know.  Right now, I am on my 17th book and just finished a wonderful one yesterday entitled The Help. I am less inclined to make a review though because I am excited to read the next book on my list. Finally, I was able to watch the movie adaptation of Markus Zusak’s  The Book Thief.  Read it four years ago and it was one of the best read I ever had. One can’t compare the movie versus the book because definitely, the book is more detailed but the acting is also superb and charming. Sophie Nelisse is perfect as the protective and loving Liesel.  I cried reading the book and watching it onscreen is equally touching.

It’s my grandson’s 16th month today but that would be in another blog.

 

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Early this morning I received a message from WordPress with their familiar logo. Thanks a lot WordPress for this lovely message:

Happy Anniversary!

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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.  LettersThoughts 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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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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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.

IMG_5547Can you see the bud of this Mokara Orchid  showing its face?

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And when it is in full bloom, it would look like this.

IMG_5551This 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.

IMG_5550I’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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