Archive for the ‘book review’ Category

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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Blogging about blogging again.

It’s kind of tedious when you let writing a blog as a chore you have to do. Sometimes, you just feel so lazy to update or write.  But  when you let your thoughts stream into your head,  wriggle into your heart  and blow kisses into your soul, blogging is one  lovely activity that you are happy to do.   When the inspiration to write it down asserts itself so softly, letting you just think of those lovely thoughts in your head, giving them the validity in words, the world becomes a lot of ideas. One thinks sometimes of what to write about, one think sometimes of what to share, one thinks sometimes of those things  that make your world a lovely place  to look into.

When I think of the years I’ve written about life,  the beauty of it and all its angst, I  sometimes wonder where I am coming from. The beauty of life, we celebrate it. We smile at those memories that come and go  leaving us breathless at times. We embrace the life the way we should, anticipating another lovely day to celebrate.  Yes, life is a celebration

I am in the middle of reading a book by David Baldacci. It’s not the usual thriller that he is known for.  It was set in 1940 Virginia. I love the detailed character description of  the story. 

Come to think of it, Wish You Well was made into a 2013 theatrical film,  story of two kids who lived in their grandmother’s farm in lovely Virginia.  It’s a story of struggle,  an appreciation of what simple life is.

Sometimes, you get so engrossed in something such as this lovely story. Wish I could watch the whole film.

Have a nice weekend everyone!


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Books and more books.

Just borrowed the title of Carlos Ruiz Zafón’s  book. An almost five hundred pages of engaging read. One of the best books I’ve read so far in this year’s challenge. It’s actually my first book of Carlos Ruiz Zafón.

I’ve heard of this Spanish novelist in one of our book club’s discussions but didn’t try to find a copy since I had so many TBR books at hand. Finally, I found time to make it as one of the priorities in my reading. It’ my 105th book  read this year. Forty five  more books to go until December and I’ll be able to complete Goodreads’ 2017 Reading Challenge.

I didn’t know what to expect of this book but it was all about antiquated books and libraries which are subjects dear to my heart. Like my other book reviews, I won’t even attempt to summarize the story here, it’s  for other readers to find out. Suffice to say, I enjoyed every page although it took me almost three days of on and off reading to finish it.  It’s worth every minute.  There are three books actually in this series and  this is the first one. I wonder if  I could find the other two.

As usual, I set aside gardening and blogging for two days while I tried to finish the book. Often, in most lovely books,  a book review would not be complete without Good quotes.

“So long as we are being remembered, we remain alive.”

“Fools talk, cowards are silent, wise men listen.”
“People tend to complicate their own lives, as if living weren’t already complicated enough.”
“Once, in my father’s bookshop, I heard a regular customer say that few things leave a deeper mark on a reader than the first book that finds its way into his heart. Those first images, the echo of words we think we have left behind, accompany us throughout our lives and sculpt a palace in our memory to which, sooner or later—no matter how many books we read, how many worlds we discover, or how much we learn or forget—we will return.”
I just started with a book called The Memory Child by Steena Holmes, another first on my list. What are you reading?

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