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Archive for the ‘books’ Category


I got lazy again to do another post. So I broke my daily blogging goal which reached 50 posts since last month.

Would you believe, I was engrossed reading, finishing Charles Martin’s Thunder and Rain, an amazing book, excellent writing. The Christian aspect of the book through a child’s diary/journal to God was just so touching. This was followed by a rather short novel  by Janette Oke about  the new frontier, the wilderness in Alaska. David Whyte’s Consolations The Solace, Nourishment and  Underlying meaning of Everyday Words are several essays that started with the word Alone and ending with Work. It is a deep read that you need to think after reading a few lines. So I have to read it slowly.  I have started another book reading it in between  that of David Whyte’s book.  The Midnight Rose by Lucinda Riley spans four generations from the splendor of India to the majestic stately homes in England. It started in 1911, about India in the time of the Raj and  England during World War I. Have I told you before that I am always drawn to historical novels? This one is pretty good although I just started a few chapters.

May I ask again, what have you been reading lately?  Who is your favorite author?

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I’ve just finished a Patricia Cornwell book called Postmortem. It was my 109th read.  Fast paced and riveting. It’s a crime fiction.

This made me smile. Early this morning I saw the shout-out of one of my favorite authors Richard Paul Evans on Facebook, (we are online friends for a number of years now). His newest book is coming out on October 27 and I commented, “That’s my birthday”. And he answered, “That’s a sign Arlene”. Haha,  I am excited to get hold of it, if I could find a copy here.

My reading list was derailed again. I found more lovely books which are not really lined-up for me to read until the end of the year. The Prisoner of Heaven is a continuation of Daniel’s story in the Shadow of the Wind, Marina by the same author.  I am also looking forward to Memory Wall by Anthony Doerr.  He is that same author of All the Light We Cannot See which won Goodreads Choice 2014.  John Jakes’  The Warriors is also on the list  of my TBR. Pilgrim At Tinker Creek is  a memoir by  Annie Dillard. It will be the first time that I’ll read one of her books.  I guess I’ll start it tonight.

What have you been reading lately?

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Lazy, lazy afternoon! For the first time in so many days, I spent at least two hours in bed having a siesta. The afternoon was cold but it didn’t rain.

I opened the computer just to post the Bible readings for next week at our Catholic page in Facebook. Then I received this message from Fr. Pao, he is one of those anchors of Interaktib. The name of the program is Catholic Sync and they were in its first episode this morning. Catholic Sync is devoted to religious education and catechism.  Fr. Pao was  the speaker. He was introduced by  a brother at St. Paul . I was surprised when the latter said that Fr. Pao graduated Summa Cum Laude in his Theological studies. I told him he should be proud of it coz I  know how a parent feels having a child garnering  Latin honors.  He said Nissa must be a literati too. I told him in passing that she is a bookworm and very strict with grammar.

I finally finished the book I  Will Always Write Back last night. Beautiful, beautiful story. And there were real pictures of the authors which make the book more real.  Memoirs have always been fascinating reads  for me.

I set aside some books on my TBR list to read Sommersgate House by Kristen Ashley. Ghosts and reincarnation? Must be  intriguing.

And it’s a lazy evening, perfect time to have that hot cup of rice coffee.

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Intriguing title, right?

But I just borrowed from a book I am reading at the moment that I simply could not put down. It is actually a memoir  but it is a contemporary YA book.

Zimbabwe.

It’s the first time I read something about this country, formerly called Rhodesia, a land-locked country located in Southern Africa.

How one letter changed two lives is the main theme of this book. Two teens exchanging letters from two continents.  They are pen pals. A Zimbabwean boy and an American girl. The former is dirt-poor, on a hand to mouth existence  while the girl came from a well-off family. I cried so many times reading this book and I have only finished two-thirds of it but I can’t ignore writing about it. Besides, if I could, I promised myself to write every day until the end of September. Another challenge, I guess.

Caitlin and Martin –  and the lovely narrative simply written. I almost forgot that this is a memoir.

Back in college, I had an opportunity to meet two Japanese girls and an Australian  via pen pal writing. It came about when a fellow student librarian gave my name to them and they started writing to me. I could still remember their names until now – Junko Yao, Satomi Hasegawa and Suzanne Gilding. Wouldn’t it be nice if I could find them now? Junko was the more diligent writer and she sent me some packages before – Japanese green tea, chopsticks, Japanese candies, a hair accessory ( a lovely Japanese comb)  and stationeries. I am just sorry I stopped  corresponding with them when I started work at the bank.

I  Will Always Write Back is just an awesome read.

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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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