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Posts Tagged ‘books’


What does one write about on a rainy evening like this? My mind gets stalled not by lack of what to say but how I am going to say something interesting enough to merit even just one reader’s eyes.

On a night like this, I take momentary pleasures dwelling in a world of remembering the not so distant past. At least that would provide a change to the inane and inconsequential things one thinks about on almost any night but a rainy one.

I just enjoyed browsing three filled notebooks of previous writings and quotations from my readings from way back.  The beauty of reminiscing and getting in touch with the old self, the beauty of rediscovering  how life was many decades ago. I even found drafts of letters to friends during my college years.  And I found these,  two black and white pictures with Dad and my youngest brother. I had a good laugh at my brother’s  bell-bottom pants  and my short skirt (so seventies). Never mind, these were our school uniforms at the University  of Santo Tomas four decades ago. I just want to share them here, I am afraid I may misplace them again.

Those were the days and these are treasured shots with Dad.

Those were the days and these are treasured shots with Dad.

There is something so nostalgic about black and white or sepia pictures of long ago.  And I remember these because my dad received a gold medal as exemplary employee of the university. That is why,  the four of us kids  (my three brothers and I) studied in UST from high school to college and my two kids are Thomasians too.  I am grateful though and proud of being an alumna of  the oldest existing university in Asia. In terms of student population, it is the largest Catholic university in the world in a single campus.  The Pontifical, Royal Catholic University of the Philippines, that’s UST for you.

I started reading Captains and the Kings by Taylor Caldwell, another historical novel that reminds me so much of Frank McCourt’s  Angela’s  Ashes  and Trinity by Leon Uris.  I am always fascinated by Irish-American history.

What book are you reading now?

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Allow me to be a little sentimental once more so I quote:

“May I see you again?” he asked. There was an endearing nervousness in his voice.

I smiled. “Sure.”

“Tomorrow?” he asked.

“Patience, grasshopper,” I counseled. “You don’t want to seem overeager.

“Right, that’s why I said tomorrow,” he said. “I want to see you again tonight. But I’m willing to wait all night and much of tomorrow.” I rolled my eyes. “I’m serious,” he said.

“You don’t even know me,” I said. I grabbed the book from the center console. “How about I call you when I finish this?”

“But you don’t even have my phone number,” he said.

“I strongly suspect you wrote it in this book.”

He broke out into that goofy smile. “And you say we don’t know each other.”

Ah, the joys of discovering  what love is amidst the pain of  suffering.  Two months ago I read the book  The Fault In Our Stars by John Green, a new author in my list and wrote  a short review  about it here hoping that I’ll be able to watch the movie adaptation someday. I’ve finally watched the movie yesterday through Nissa’s phone while teaching my grandson Nate a few lines of the song Bahay Kubo, a timeless Tagalog folk song that every Filipino child knows by heart ( would love to make this into another blog). As a stand alone movie, it was very good and it strictly adhered to the story in the book. Isn’t that what movie adaptations should be?  Shaileen Woodley shines as Hazel Grace Lancaster, an intelligent sixteen year old teenager coping with terminal thyroid cancer. She was supported by Ansel Elgort as Augustus Waters, her love interest,who lost his leg because of osteosarcoma.  I won’t go into details of the story, I am sure most of you have read the book too.

When you are going through the same journey, it does not need much to understand how it is to be afflicted with a terminal illness. You would understand the pain and insecurities one goes through while undergoing treatment. You would understand the moments that you almost want to give up on life but still you hold on because there are people around you who love you just the way you are, baggage and all. Watching the movie reminded me of my pain of surviving cancer making it easier to relate. Believe me, I had a good cry. Nissa said she cried buckets when she watched it.  If you ever get the chance to see it, have a hankie nearby and a hot cup of coffee.

John Green says “there is no shortage of fault to be found amid our stars”.

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He said, “we must come back here”.

Oh yes, why not? Fancy my son being so supportive of my hobbies. Although he is not into fiction books like I am, he loves accompanying me to bookstores and  letting me find more books to explore and read. Yesterday was one such lovely day that we got to spend together after a lightning trip to the supermarket to buy groceries. Grocery-shopping, reading labels  and nutrition facts, finding something  new, making list of items that we need to buy – purely routine for some but it’s a joy for me to do.

Last week when he saw  what I bought at Books for Less, he promised to go with me to buy more.  Who would not be thrilled with that? I thought he would be put off by the gargantuan  and riotously arranged books  on display there but he found out something to his interest, a hard-bound book on games  (cards, magic tricks etc.) and he was hooked. He was even surprised that all books on sale are at P10 pesos each.

And more books.

When I think of all the books still left for me to read, I am certain of further happiness. ~Jules Renard

When I think of all the books still left for me to read, I am certain of further happiness. ~Jules Renard

I found two more books on Christmas, one is a collection of short Christmas stories by Rosamunde Pilcher  and a novel by Debbie Macomber.  I found a copy of Taylor Caldwell’s Captains and the Kings.  I watched the tv series decades ago. That was mid-seventies, I think when television programs were something to look forward to, not the sort of teleseryes  (soap operas)  that they have now that I never bother to watch. I remember watching it with Mom and Dad along with the television  sitcom John and Marsha, the longest running comedy series that made us  all laugh.  I love history even if they are just written through fiction books. It is now hard to find mass-produced copies of novels written by great writers from way back except maybe in second-hand bookstores  and I was lucky to find Captains and the Kings. It has mostly five-star ratings on Goodreads .  I am also excited to read Los Alamos, a first novel by Joseph Canon. I have just finished reading the second book of  Ken Follett on WWII and  this would be a nice follow-up since its setting was at the end of WWII. How lucky could one get, right?

Yes, of course.

Yesterday, when Josef said that we have to come back and add some more to my loot, I readily answered, “Yes, of course”  with a smile on my face that says, what a lovely day!

What books are you reading at the moment?

 

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One is never too old to read wonderful fairy tales of our childhood.

One is never too old to read wonderful fairy tales of our childhood.

“What is REAL?” asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side
near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. “Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?”

“Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that
happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play
with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.”
“Does it hurt?” asked the Rabbit.

“Sometimes,” said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. “When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.”

“Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,” he asked, “or bit by
bit?”

“It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a
long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or
have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you
are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you
get loose in your joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all,
because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand”.

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Each day is a stepping stone into future days on the upward path. Enrich each day with gratitude and a time of quiet. – Lillian Marshall

Gosh, you won’t believe this! Yesterday I braved the traffic by taking  a commute   to visit the book sale at Books for Less in Pasig City. It is right in front of La Consolacion College where my two kids spent their high school so the place is quite familiar. This is the first time that I visited  BFL and I was  like, “Oh, Oh, I don’t know what books to buy”.

There were so many volumes on so many subjects  that I was in a quandary which to choose. Some look practically new with the dust jackets still intact but of course, BFL sells secondhand books.  I don’t mind buying secondhand books, I’ve done it for years at Booksale. I only get to buy new ones on the works of authors I am collecting  and those lovely editions that one can’t help having on one’s shelf. Sometimes, I just close my eyes and don’t look at the price :)  This time though, I enjoyed an hour looking for well-known authors that I like, discovering some fiction books that look interesting.  I was able to buy twelve books in all,  including a small volume  entitled Stepping Stones (meditations in a garden) with lovely flower illustrations on each page. I just love it. I also found another collection of short stories by one of my favorite authors, Rosamunde Pilcher. It was such a joy to see two more volumes of L. M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables, classic stories that never grow old with time. I hope I will be able to find the missing three more volumes to complete my collection. There was also a memoir and a children’s book for Nate (which looks  new) and the rest are fiction books of authors that I haven’t read yet.  Josef  told me yesterday to go back there and we would bring the car so I don’t have to commute but he has to buy a replacement for our submersible pump for our small pond.  I am comforted by the thought that the sale would end on August 31 so I still have plenty of time to buy books. Did I tell you that I only spent P120 pesos for those twelve books?  Each one costs P10 pesos,  easier on the pocket, I must say. My book shelves are close to  bursting.

Today is the Feast Day of St. Dominic. Happy Feast Day to all  of my Dominican friends.  Fr. Lovell, O.P. (my adopted son)  texted and said that he is praying  for and offering his masses for the family.  I told him it is a noble gift to be prayed for always. What a blessing! I am sad though to learn that the former Rector of UST, Rev. Leonardo Z. Legaspi, O.P.  passed on this morning . He  was the first Filipino UST Rector.  He was a part of my high school and college life in the 70’s.   He died on the feast day of St. Dominic and on his  episcopate ordination anniversary, two special events that would make  it easy for his friends and family to remember. He would always say “Good morning” every time he meets students at the UST campus.  Requiescat  in pace. I’ll remember you in  prayers.

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It is always nice to reminisce the good old days. I wonder how many times I’ve blogged about something like this, mostly about books and music, music and books, a lethal combination that makes the  heart happy.  Every Sunday is one such opportunity to reminisce the good old days, the relaxed time, the “me” moments. Never mind if the laundry basket is almost full of dirty clothes that need to be loaded in the washing machine, never mind if the side yard needs sweeping from the jackfruit trees that shed leaves like crazy, never mind the half-finished and newly dug  earth just waiting  there outside. My aging body refuses to work on Sundays so it is spent catching up on reading and listening almost all day long to the music of the 60’s and the 70’s. Most FM radios play them anyway and AM bands have followed suit, so instead of news, I listen and sing along.

This morning, I had a nice chat with my brother who lives in Tulsa with his family. It has become a ritual for us to spend thirty minutes to an hour exchanging news via Viber. Talk about technology advancement and free calls from far-off  US of A.  I just recently learned how to use Viber, I had it installed on my phone  and removed the app for Skype.  I get to call my daughter Nissa and listen to my grandson Nate shouting “Nonna, Nonna, hi” over the phone thru Viber. I think this is the best medium for free calls and messaging. Gone are the days when you are often afraid to make overseas calls because you dread to see your phone bill rising to high heavens.   It is always a riot of laughter while swapping stories with my youngest brother. We talk about our kids (mostly) and food (all the time) and how hard life is nowadays but as always we get to reminisce on the good old days (again).  He loves to cook and sometimes shares his recipes with me. This morning, it was chicken gumbo and bamboo shoots.  Alden, my other brother who lives in the province with Mom brought me fresh bamboo shoots the other day. I have some of it cooked in coconut milk with lots of  sliced green pepper, the rest I put in the freezer for future use.

Books-For-Less-Warehouse-Sale-August-2014

Nissa sent me this early this morning (an ad from Books for Less).  She said I would surely enjoy finding treasures there. I am excited but they are closed on Sundays.

I hope you are enjoying the weekend.

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Hello, sun in my face.
Hello, you who made the morning
and spread it over the fields…

Watch, now, how I start the day
 in happiness, in kindness.

- Mary Oliver

 

I am sure one of my favorite authors,, Mary Oliver would not mind if I borrow the title of her poem. I often blog about her and how I enjoy reading her writings, simply worded and yet they have deep meanings that touch the heart and the soul.

The sun is up and I could feel its warmth on my face although at the moment it is playing hide and seek with the clouds. We are still experiencing southwest monsoon and there is another storm coming but at least we could enjoy the weekend without worrying about flash flood and heavy downpour.

Yesterday, I finally finished cleaning our bookshelves, sorting books  and arranging them according to authors. The books  Nissa, Josef and I  have collected over the years  are all placed on the higher shelves  along with the lovely ones (craft books, Calvin and Hobbes comic books which my son collects, mythology and some non-fiction).  Every time I do some dusting here, I always read a few titles and remember the times my kids and I bought them. Some are gifts from close friends who know of our penchant for reading. I can’t  resist  re-reading  the boxed set of Nick Bantock’s The Griffin & Sabine Trilogy. IMG_6174Years ago ( I don’t remember now), my sister-in-law sent me this set as a birthday gift and it is one of the treasures that I have in my book collection. IMG_6176IMG_6175 The three books are actually my introduction to an epistolary novel, work of fiction written through letters but what makes it so lovely to read is that, the letters are  actually written on real stationeries with attached envelopes to boot.  It makes me smile reading these lovely letters again.  The Griffin and Sabine story is an extraordinary tale of love, beauty and art.

Believe me when I say that I again found duplicate copies of some books from authors that I collect. It’s a good thing they are just mass-produced paperbacks. For a while, I enjoyed reading e-books, but there is nothing like holding a good book in your hands, lovingly turning the pages and exploring  another world in another time.

Do you love reading? Do you also collect certain authors in your bookshelf?

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