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Posts Tagged ‘literature and Fiction’


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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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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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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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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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.
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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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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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Adversity is not detour. It is part of the path.

You will encounter obstacles. You will make mistakes. Be grateful for both. Your obstacles and mistakes will be your greatest teachers. And the only way to not make mistakes in this life is to do nothing. which is the biggest mistake of all.

Your challenges, if you’ll let them, will become your greatest allies. Mountains can crush or raise you, depending on which side of the mountain you choose to stand on. All history bears out that the great, those who have changed the world, have all suffered great challenges. And, more times than not, it’s precisely those challenges that, in God’s time, lead to triumph.

And those are quotes from one of the latest books by Richard Paul Evans, one of my favorite authors. I haven’t blogged for a while,  and I mean writing a blog post with more than just one line. The past few days, I have posted several short prayers that  I regularly compose for my online apostolate page. I am glad though that despite the absence of  a longer and more substantial post, you still visit my site and make comments on my previous blogs. I am grateful :)

I’ve been indisposed for almost a week. I hurt my foot while trimming our carabao grass a week ago.  It was a good three inches cut from the blade of the grass cutter. I tripped  when I suddenly stood up and my foot caught the exposed blade.  It’s a good thing though that my anti-tetanus vaccine is still in effect. I can now walk straight without dragging my right foot  and the wound is almost healed.  I spent the last few days reading, and  spending an hour each day  in front of my computer to update  our page.  The luxury of doing nothing but read and just cook simple meals for the family is heaven.  Imagine yourself reading a new book each day and catching up on the stash that you have for so many months now, choose what you think is interesting or what you think is the shortest. I am hooked on historical fiction at the moment reading The Last Days of the Romanovs  by  Helene Rappaport.  And this may sound crazy because I read a few of their story on the net complete with gargantuan pictures before I started reading the book. It is a historical fiction, a detailed  chronology of events before the Imperial family of Russia, the Romanovs, were executed in 1918. It is nice to learn a bit of Russian history in a fiction format.  It reminds me of another author that I read in the past, Ayn Rand, a Russian-American author more famous for her two novels, The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. 

One of my book buddies posted on her timeline that our summer capital, Baguio City is slowly changing its face. I just can’t imagine Burnham Park  being fenced and gated. Its charm lies in the greens all around.

Flowers don’t grow on concrete, do they?

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So how are you guys?  It’s been a while. I got addicted to reading e-books, that’s why. Not only that, for the past few days, I tried to finish two books by Jenny Colgan, two wonderful, funny and engrossing chick lit read.  She’s a new author on my list  so it’s quite a novelty to read something with lots of cupcake recipes and pointers on baking…yes….cupcakes.  I never tried baking cupcakes though since the few sessions that I had with Sylvia Reynoso Gala’s Culinary Studio , I took money-making courses like Chinese cuisine, making bars and cookies, cupcakes not included. Once you learned the basic of baking, you could always experiment on other recipes as long as you have the right ingredients. I’ve done that for the past few months and it’s quite a thrill to discover new things in the kitchen.

If you have time and if you love chick lit books, I highly recommend these two, Meet Me At The Cupcake Cafe and book1book2 Christmas at the Cupcake Cafe. Both books have excellent reviews at Goodreads.

Of course,  reading an e-book could not compare to holding  and smelling a nice, newly printed book in your hands but then sometimes, it is easier to get hold of a copy and read  it conveniently through your phone. It does not need so much space on your bulging bookshelves and you can delete it once you’re done to give way to other e-book titles.  Reading is such an engrossing hobby and once you start all over again, you simply forget the time. When you are transported to a new world, there is a different kind of magic.

Maybe one of these days,  I’ll try cupcakes too.

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