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Archive for the ‘books’ Category


Have you ever thought of starting a new hobby because of this pandemic, when you can’t go out and you have so much time in your hands?

Early this morning, I took out the transparent plastic bag which have my eraser, sharpener, some small brushes, colour pens, crayola, water-base ink,  two sets of watercolor, my green glitter colouring book and my Zen Mandala colouring book.  Some of them were previous gifts from Nissa.  Then I visited my Memories page on FB and what do you know, there were the pictures of my Mandala coloured figures. You can see some of them on my previous post  here.

I hope I could give justice to all these designs.  They would surely help during some boredom weekday afternoons.  Since I have met my goals in Goodreads, I am choosing those books which are somewhat longer than the previous books I’ve read and are on my TBR list.

Night by Elie Wiesel, another WWII epic, Reduced to Joy by Mark Nepo, book of poems, Terms of Endearment by Larry McMurtry, an  Oscar-winning story of a memorable mother and her feisty daughter, Consolations by David Whyte. I love reading his poems, It by Stephen King. I haven’t read a King novel for quite some time. There are many more which I want to finish before the year ends.

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I finally got my badge.  I could still read more this year. Love, love books.

Thank you Goodreads.

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Just a thought: At the rate this pandemic is going, we might be able to reach more than 300,000 before  September ends. So really, really sad. And because it is so expensive to stay in the hospital for treatment, many probably don’t seek medical help anymore. 

Finally, Josef and I were able to prune the Eugenia, Fookien Tea plants and Tagaytay cherries.  The garden is looking good now, bagong gupit….haha!

He helped me pick kalamansi and we were able to harvest those at the top since he used a ladder to pick them. We harvested almost two kilos of ripe ones and gave some to our neighbors. I also made juice out of it. So soothing. Lots of vitamin C there.

I was supposed to end up reading the three books of  Pooh for my year-ender  reading challenge at Goodreads but I only finished one because I got distracted again by another book called  The True Story of Hansel and Gretel  by Louise Murphy. A reimagined fairy tale  and a war story retold.  It happened in the region in Eastern Poland  which was overrun  first by Russians then the  Germans during WWII.

In prose both luminous and enlightening, Murphy explores the power of memory, the necessity of love in times of great trauma, and the redemption that can come about through the refusal to erase one’s own past. This is the tale of two brave children who never give up, of women who refuse to be defined by convention, and of the bitter cost of survival. Over the course of the winter, Hansel and Gretel will come of age. Their mother dead, their father and stepmother in hiding, by necessity forced to alter their own identities, they become survivors.”  (from Penguin Books).

And I agree with the other reviewers, this is a fairy tale rewritten for adults and I can’t put it down.  I’ve always been attracted to reading historical fiction. It is also classified as a literary fiction and fairy tales.

Indeed, it is a heartening  message of hope.

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I am about a third done with the novel Perfume by Patrick Suskind, my 97th read this year.

It is a literary historical fantasy novel set in 18th-century France. Don’t be surprised if you have a plan to read this because it is purely in narrative.

This is only the second time I encountered a book about scents, flowers and their meaning and about how perfumes are made.  The first book was The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh back in 2015.

Perfume -the Story of a Murderer, an engaging read. Wikipedia says that “is one of the best-selling German novels of the 20th century”. I think there is a full movie adaptation on YouTube. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e5SCinO7550)

 

 

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I  am still in the middle of reading How Green Was My Valley,  a  1939 novel by Richard Llewellyn  and I have the last three books lined up to complete my challenge. One of these days I will look for that 1941 movie adaptation in YouTube,.

Well, I’ll be including reading classics this time – children’s classics to boot. The three are all famous stories  in the Winnie-The-Pooh series, The House At Pooh Corner, When We Were Very Young and Now  We Are Six.  I read the first book a long, long time ago and these last three complete the four-volume set. They are short, just more than 500 pages in all.

I always find such treasures every year that I join the challenge. A mixture of memoirs, historical fiction, inspirational books, poems  and yes I always try to include classics even if they are for children. There are of course a couple of love stories in between. I’ll probably read Perfume by Patrick Suskind next after I finish How Green Was My Valley.  The former is a horror fiction and magic realism in eighteenth century   France.  This has already been discussed in our book club before, but it’s been several years since I attended a book discussion.

What books are you reading at the moment?

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I am excited.

I just started reading it actually.

I just want to tell you that it’s a sort of “hello again, here I am finally touching the leaves of your story”.

Can you imagine  it was first published in 1939? A poignant coming-of-age novel set in a Welsh mining town, penned by Richard Llewellyn. It is his first novel. I saw copies of this book several years ago at the Humanities Section of the UST Main Library but I was never curious to read it. It is now a contemporary classic.
And yes, it is my 96th read in this year’s reading challenge.  Right after I posted it on my FB wall, two friends commented:
Read this during my high school/college days. Wonderful book. Seems I lost my copy though. Happy reading, Arlene – Dolly
This novel is so freakin beautiful and touching… truly made me cry – Fredda
If this won’t get you interested, I don’t know what will.

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It used to be a cup of coffee

But now it’s a hot mug of tea.

It’s a must every night while reading.

 

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The bond between two sisters broken by circumstances beyond their control.

Beautiful.

The sounds, the smells and all textures come into play.

And I wonder why I shelved this for a while in favor of another book which I read in one day.

Renita D’ Silva is quite new in the league of  new authors that I follow. I don’t normally summarize the story when I review a book. Suffice to say, it was told in a perspective of both sisters when they were growing up. They had alternating narratives.  I had another glimpse of India, how the poor struggle to make both ends meet, how arranged marriages are made and such.  D’Silva tells the story in such a way that the words are pure bliss, how poetic. I am posting some excerpts here close to the end of the beautiful book.

“And seeing her son encircled in her sister’s arms, Puja, for the first time in twenty years, gets a glimpse into a future that is unburdened by the follies of the past, but lifted up on the tentative wings of optimism, bright as light percolating into an overcast day and feeding it the promise of the brilliance to come. She breathes in deeply and tastes buoyancy, the soft pink of a tender bloom unfurling cautiously in the caress of spring.”

“We are only human in the end.”

“We waste the little time we are given in this world on immaterial things, not the things that really matter. And then, when it is far too late, we long for one more moment together, a moment which, if bestowed, we will draw out and treasure, a moment in which we will say all those things left unsaid, a moment into which we will cram a lifetime’s worth of good times.” 

I seldom give 5 stars to a book but this is one of them. Wow, 27 books ahead of schedule.

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I spent some time in the garden early this morning. Removed the old and dried Zinnia together with my drying Four O’clock.  They have self-propagated, small seedlings that don’t need replanting. A few more mornings then I’ll be able to finish pruning and weeding too. Such a hard job but it has to be done.

Aren’t I lucky? I tried searching for John O’Donohue’s website on Facebook and what do you know, I finally found one and some of his writings are posted there. The page is maintained by the Director of John’s Literary Estate, Ann Cahill, in partnership with the O’Donohue Family. Beautiful! I won’t need to go to other sites except to his home page.

It is more complete and is being managed by his brother. Wow, I am enamored by  his words. Echoes of the past that create beautiful and lovely memories of the author.  You look behind and you look back and it seems like one does not really goes away but he stays because of his words. This is what we experience when we find something wonderful like a good book that lets you live and visit the places  with the author. Such thrilling adventures created by words alone.

Another author whose words touch my soul is Mary Oliver. Like O’Donohue, she left some wonderful works of art in her books of poems. She died last year. And this reminds me of another favorite author whom I discovered  a  few years ago and like Oliver and O’Donohue,  Peter Mayle died two years ago. And they have something in common, they all passed away in the month of January.  They were all gifted writers.

I am on my 94th read on Goodreads 2020 Reading challenge. Another lovely book I found  about India.

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It was first published 98 years ago long before our time. I remember my uncle who was our teacher in our place in the province in Grade 3 and Grade 4  (yes, they handled two classes back then) who usually read this during lunch break in our place. He would leave it for us to browse (I was not that interested then) and see all those ads in between.  I was already in college working as a student librarian when I got interested reading Reader’s Digest.

Points to Ponder, Laughter’s The Best Medicine, Life Like That, All In The Day’s Work, Quotes, Word Power.  I could still remember all these until now. I used to buy one when we went grocery shopping until it became so thin and eventually stopped. I didn’t know the exact date. Until now, I still have those hardbound and condensed copies of  Reader’s Digest books (usually four books in one) which I bought at Booksale years ago.

Memories of old, one reminisces with a smile.

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