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Archive for the ‘book review’ Category


 

Good morning everyone! Can’t believe April is almost over. Today is April 24th.

The last time I wrote a post here was three days ago. I deliberately didn’t write one because I was trying to finish a lovely and interesting memoir on Rome by no less than the gifted author of All The Light You Cannot See which I read three years ago.  I’ve been looking for  another book of Anthony Doerr since All The Light We Cannot See, winner of the Pulitzer Prize, a New York Times Book Review Top Ten Book, National Book Award finalist, more than two and a half years on the New York Times bestseller list. It was Goodreads’ choice winner for 2014.

Two days ago, I found one. Four Seasons in Rome is a lovely narrative on how he and his family spent a year in Rome, He knew nothing about the Italian way of life,  just simple words by way of greeting.  They were there when his twins turned one and then wrote  something about the crowd  at St. Peter’s  Square  when  St. Pope John Paul II died last April 02, 2005.  He was there when a new pope,  Pope Benedict was chosen to succeed JP II.

I love the way he described every places they have been too, the smell of pizza and cheese, the daily grind in the city.  And for each season, more adjustments too. I am reminded of another memoir  by another  author Peter Mayle who recently died. He wrote about Provence and its food and the daily life there. Anthony Doerr wrote about being a parent of twins,  the sleepless nights he suffered, the encounter with so many people who didn’t speak English.

I wish I could find more of his books in the future.

 

 

 

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I know some of you will say, “oops, it’s Monday again”.  Rise and shine people.

Been focused lately reading my TBR. Oh yes, so excited to tell you this. I found another wonderful author. You can find Charles Martin here. His genre is literature  and fiction.  He is a  Christian author by the way and he writes with deeply memorable and unforgettable characters in his books. I’ve read two so far and I want to read more. Hope I could find more of his books. Wrapped in Rain and  Long Way Gone are so very well-written. They’re the  kind of stories  that you won’t forget, you’ll laugh, cry and rejoice with his characters. I have another one entitled  Unwritten.   And he blogs too, wow! Just wow 🙂

Visit his site and you’ll be amazed how he respond to his readers even those who  are critical of his being a Christian writer.  I like that kind of writing though,  when you enjoy a story and  at the same time, you are reminded that you are a sinner and everyone has flaws. This is not a perfect life  but warts and all, you are still loved. And I’m inspired.

I jotted down some quotes as usual. I hope you like them.

“A song is a light we shine on others, not a light we shine on us.”

“Where does a man find healing amid so many broken places? How does he find love in the ruins and vine-wrapped shattered pieces of his own soul?”

“We’re all fallen people in a fallen world.

“There is more hunger for love and appreciation in this world than for bread.”

I like this one best;

“If your knuckles are bloodier than your knees,then you’re fighting the wrong battle.” 

It speaks about prayers. Praying on one’s knees, asking God for forgiveness, thanking Him for all the blessings.

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Blogging about books again.

Hooray! I found another lovely book by a Nigerian author, a first on my list.

Chimimanda Ngozi Adichie is a Nigerian author. Purple Hibiscus is her first novel which was published  in October 2003. I am still in the middle of reading it but it is just so engrossing.  This is the first time I encountered a Nigerian author.  I’ve read some famous Asian authors before the likes of Chinese-American Amy Tan, Afghan born Khaled Hosseini, our very own Miguel Syjuco, Afghan-American Nadia Hashimi, Japanese writer Haruki Murakami,  African-American writer  Zora Neale Hurston to name a few. There are less known Asian authors that I encountered before, this one though is new on my list 

Purple Hibiscus is set in postcolonial Nigeria, a country beset by economic difficulties and political unrest.  Learning about their culture, how the rich differ in a wide-angle from an average family, the concept of freedom,  coming of age, a rigidly Catholic upbringing – all the ingredients of a good novel.

Oh my gosh, the more I read, the more I am finding wonderful authors  such as Adichie. I hope I could find more of her works one of these days.  I am setting aside some of my TBR list just to read this first.

 

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Oh my, can’t believe this. I just finished my 14th book this 2018.  And I promised myself to finish a hundred books. Goodreads says I am 8 books ahead of schedule. Hooray!

The One Man by Andrew Gross.

It’s actually my first time to read an Andrew Gross book.   Back to the Holocaust and concentration camps.  Nazi persecution,  Auschwitz, gas chambers, murder of millions of Jews. It was a riveting read. Familiar story about WWII.  It is the first book I read this year with a five star.  That’s how much I enjoyed this book. Here’s a short summary  from Goodreads:

It’s 1944. Physics professor Alfred Mendel and his family are trying to flee Paris when they are caught and forced onto a train along with thousands of other Jewish families. At the other end of the long, torturous train ride, Alfred is separated from his family and sent to the men’s camp, where all of his belongings are tossed on a roaring fire. His books, his papers, his life’s work. The Nazis have no idea what they have just destroyed. And without that physical record, Alfred is one of only two people in the world with his particular knowledge. Knowledge that could start a war–or end it.

Nathan Blum works behind a desk at an intelligence office in Washington, DC, but he longs to contribute to the war effort in a more meaningful way, and he has a particular skill set the US suddenly needs. Nathan is fluent in German and Polish, and he proved his scrappiness at a young age when he escaped from the Krakow ghetto. Now the government wants him to take on the most dangerous assignment of his life: Nathan must sneak into Auschwitz on a mission to find and escape with one man.

More than 20 years ago, I discovered another writer and I read most of his books.  Leon Uris. Uris is American but his parents were Jewish  American. He writes  historical novels too, mostly about WWII and Poland.  Mila 18, QB VII and Trinity are my favorites.

Reading another Peter Mayle book at the moment.  Encore Provence, my third book of Peter Mayle.

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I think it was a few months ago when I reviewed a book and recommended it to book lovers like me. Like I’ve always said before, I don’t make a review by parroting a synopsis or summary of a book like other people do. You can find those lovely summaries online.  I’d rather think of how I enjoyed reading it or how it affected me. Believe me, reading one always affects me, be it a good story or not.

I’ve set aside one or two books that I have recently started when I found this lovely book by Helen J. Rolfe.  It is my first time to encounter a book by this author and I just love it.  The title made me smile and it was not just because the story obviously was about Christmas which is my favorite season of the year. Christmas At The Little Knitting Box – this reminds me of those long ago days when doing crafts were in vogue.

My mum has this sturdy Singer sewing machine which has been  with her since I was in grade school. At her age now (she’s 88) she still can sew and  repair her dresses with it.  You won’t believe this but she still has those pillow cases  which she sewed and embroidered  a long, long time ago.  There was  even this center table runner with my name embroidered on it.  I learned embroidery  and crochet  when I was in grade school in our Home Economics class. That was followed by simple projects that I learned during high school. Back in the nineties, my former boss at Bank of the Philippine Islands had set up a craft store  in one of the malls here in Metro Manila.  She taught us crafts like  paper quilling, candle making and cross-stitching.  There was a time I got so engrossed in cross-stitching  that I even brought my projects to the office and did them  during lunch breaks. Some of my office mates were in it too and we exchanged designs, sourced materials. Until now I still have those  skein threads in almost all shades and colors.

The book I have just read  reminds me of those days. I’ve never done knitting though. Those colorful yarns featured in the book made me remember those nights my  eyes would grow heavy with fatigue to finish a corner of a particular cross-stitch design.  It’s a beautifully written book that was a joy to read, an uplifting saga about families and beating the odds. It is a story about celebrating Christmas – the snow on the front porch, the Christmas lights and parols, the beautifully decorated Christmas tree, the food, gifts and everything that spells Christmas. It is a feel-good book that I would recommend to everyone to read during the season. I am giving it five stars.

 

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There are books and there are books out there.

Funny how sometimes a certain book is included in the list of classics but when you attempt to read it, you can’t relate. One such book I really wanted to finish is The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco. I started a few chapters only to abandon it again. Readers rated it five stars on Goodreads but how come I could not finish even five chapters? The proverbial question is, is it me or is it the book?  I love history, I admire those writers who really make those researches when writing a historical book.  Those Latin phrases really turned me off. A few months ago, I attempted to include Anna Karenina in my book challenge for this year but I gave up reading in the middle of the book. Russian names are hard to pronounce, haha.  Got confused by the story.  I finished reading  Doctor Zhivago though by Boris Pasternak. I  even watched some trailers on YouTube and enjoyed listening to Lara’s Theme. Another book that I started years ago but still pending in my TBR list is A Prayer for Owen Meany. This book got more five stars on Goodreads. A Widow For One Year  is another Irving book that is pending in my shelf.

Are you a fan of Gabriel Garcia Marquez? We used to have two trade books of his in our small library which Nissa bought years ago, Love In The Time of Cholera and One Hundred Days of Solitude.  I enjoyed the latter but could not finish the former. I wonder why.  Enough of  Florentino Ariza and Fermina Daza. Do you remember that famous film by Meryl Streep entitled Julie and Julia? I  enjoyed watching the film version but didn’t finish the book with the same title  by Julie Powell, a food blogger. Another book Eat, Pray, Love  is prominently displayed in my shelf but the first few chapters were a disappointment to me. Maybe one of these days, I’ll read Elizabeth Gilbert.  Maybe I’ll give the book another try.

I am presently reading  The Winter Siege by Ariana Franklin,  a book set in 12th century England.  A wonderful historical book. In 1141, England was engulfed in civil war between King Stephen and his cousin, the Empress Matilda over who would wear the crown.  This book is so engrossing. This is my book number 162 out of a goal of reading 150 books this year.

What are you reading at the moment?

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I was suddenly reminded of this lovely children’s book while perusing my shelves on authors beginning with “W”. Pete, a friend here  on  WordPress has just ended his posts on alphabetical listings of books and authors.

Charlotte’s Web.

I was not really that familiar with the story until my kids were growing up and we stacked on children’s books to read every night before they went to sleep.

One is never too old to appreciate a good book.

E.B. White is the same author of the more familiar  Stuart Little  novel  which was adapted into a movie not too long ago. Charlotte’s Web is a story of Wilbur, a little pig and Charlotte,  a spider. It is a story of friendship, life, love and death. It’s full of lessons that we could all learn from.

There are several inspiring quotes from Charlotte’s Web, words of wisdom from a child’s book of fairy tales.

“Why did you do all this for me?’ he asked. ‘I don’t deserve it. I’ve never done anything for you.’ ‘You have been my friend,’ replied Charlotte. ‘That in itself is a tremendous thing.”

“I wove my webs for you because I liked you. After all, what’s a life, anyway? We’re born, we live a little while, we die. A spider’s life can’t help being something of a mess, with all this trapping and eating flies. By helping you, perhaps I was trying to lift up my life a trifle. Heaven knows anyone’s life can stand a little of that.”

“And then, just as Wilbur was settling down for his morning nap, he heard again the thin voice that had addressed him the night before.
“Salutations!” said the voice.
Wilbur jumped to his feet. “Salu-what?” he cried.
“Salutations!” repeated the voice.
“What are they, and where are you?” screamed Wilbur. “Please, please, tell me where you are. And what are salutations?”
“Salutations are greetings,” said the voice. “When I say ‘salutations,’ it’s just my fancy way of saying hello or good morning.”

“It is not often that someone comes along who is a true friend and a good writer.”

This is just as good as another children’s book, The Velveteen Rabbit which my kids and I love.

 

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