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Archive for the ‘books’ Category


Just done with my 89th Goodreads book challenge for this year.  Here’s my short review on Goodreads.

I am giving this five stars. Wow, what a great read! A story of two kids who survived the Peshtigo fire in Wisconsin, the greatest fire in American history in 1871 and a six-year old orphan, a survivor from a Chicago fire on the same day. A story of struggles and triumphs, a story of ups and downs, a story of survival. 

Tess Hilmo is on my list of newly discovered authors. She writes a wonderful story, amazing children’s dialogue. The characters are fictional but the events were based on true stories. 

I am always drawn to historical fiction. I find them even more arresting to read than your run of the mill romances. I wish I could find more books like this.

Eleven more books to go and I’m done.  How lovely it is when you find a book this good.

 

 

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I just thought this is a lovely way to greet you today. The picture is not mine though, it was just sent by a friend.

Happy weekend too. Friday is still overcast. And I don’t have to water the plants. Yehey!  I harvested my first eggplant this morning and there are more showing their tiny faces to the world. I hope I would enjoy harvesting  just like with my bottle gourds. They are still fruiting until now. I am waiting for my jackfruits to ripen.

Done with another lovely book by Kristin Hannah. I started reading The Tattooist of Auschwitz last night, a book by Heather Morris, based on a true story of two Slovakian Jews who survived Auschwitz.

I wonder why I am always drawn to historical books, fiction or otherwise particularly in that time of history which is the Second World War.  I love those heart-wrenching stories of survival, the hope and faith of each person to live a normal life again.

Have a lovely and blessed weekend everyone!

If you wake up in the morning, it is a good day”. – Heather Morris

 

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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 place  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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Took care of our latest family member throughout the day.  He played with his  little pillow, balls and sat on my lap while I was checking my accounts online and while reading.  I laughed when he saw his image in front of our full-length mirror and he kept on barking. He must have thought there was another puppy looking at him.

Strange, I seemed to have picked up two books in a row all about India.  The Girl From The Tea Garden  was about the life of an Anglo-Indian girl who grew up in 1930’s.

The story revolved  on how she struggled with life  away from home without her family coming back  at the height of WW II to find her true love.   Learning about how tea is prepared, how  Indian summer feels like.

Janet MacLeod Trotter is quite new in my list of authors.  She has several books about India and this one is  part of a series.

Camron Wright is the author of The Orphan Caretaker.   I am almost done with this book.

Learning  more about Indian culture and traditions. The only thing familiar to me are the chicken masala  and samosa. Years ago, I received a big jar of Masala from a friend whose family stayed in Rome for decades.

Couldn’t put down the book, it is based on a true story. An Indian boy abducted from his home and adopted by an American family. He learned  the American way of life but still kept wondering about his Indian roots. It is also my first time to read a book by Camron Wright, an American  author whose genre is Historical Fiction and yes, Literature and Fiction too.  You can’t help but be touched by the story.

“We don’t use knives and forks,” Pranay replied, leaning forward, “because we are not at war with our food. We don’t need weapons. We have learned it is better to surrender to the flavors, to caress and embrace them. You see, eating for Indians is a passionate affair. Picking up the food with our fingers evokes a closeness, a feeling of warmth, a connection. It would all be lost if we started stabbing and cutting.”

Is this still done until now?  Wikipedia says that:  “The  etiquette of Indian dining varies with the region in India.  Typically, both in urban and rural settings, Indians wash their hands thoroughly prior to dining, then eat with their fingers, without any cutlery. This practice is historic and based  on the cultural premise that eating is a sensual activity, and touch is part of the experience along with the taste, aroma of the food, and its presentation such as on a Thali, or on a large plate made from washed banana leaf, or stitched and washed leaves.”

Some people do  it in informal  occasions here. they call it boodle fight where the food is piled on top of  banana leaves with rice at the center. The food is laid on long tables. A military style of eating,  a symbol of brotherhood and equality among Filipino military by sharing the same food without regard to rank.  They also call it “kamayan” style of eating.

 

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I have about thousands of books  on my shelves including my e-books on Moon Reader. Sometimes, I don’t know what to choose to read next. It is always a toss between a historical novel, YA books (sometime), memoirs or thrillers.  I promised myself I would read more classic books this year but it is hard to find one.

I like to read all of them but I need my eyes to be treated first. Going back to the doctor next week. Here are some books on my TBR list.

  1. Night Train To Lisbon – I’ve always wanted to read this since I found it but there are more lovely books around.
  2.  The Family  Corleone  by Ed Falco, a book about the Corleone family. I hope it is as good as the book by Mario Puzo.
  3.  The Hundred Secret Senses by Amy Tan.   I’d like to read this again. I read it back in 2015 and I wrote this lovely quote in my notebook. “Everyone must dream. We dream to give ourselves hope. To stop dreaming – well, that’s like saying you can never change your fate.”  Amy Tan is one of the talented authors I really, really like.
  4.  The Hunt for Red October. The book was  published in 1999. I saw my former boss at Bank of PI reading it before and I looked for a copy of the book but  until now I haven’t started it yet.
  5. The Signature of All Things. It is a fiction book by Elizabeth Gilbert, a historical saga. There was a time when I also bought a copy of Eat, Pray, Love many years ago but I got bored reading the first two or three chapters of the book.  I’ll give this one a try though but not in the immediate future.
  6. The Picture of Dorian Gray. It’s been on my wish list for quite sometime in the past then I found a good copy, a mass market produced book. I was even more blessed when a friend  gave me a thick copy of  the Complete Works of Oscar Wilde, a trade paperback.  Looking forward to read this one.
  7.  The Silence of War by Terry Mcgowan – a memoir  of a former Marine who returns to combat in Iraq and Afghanistan three decades after leaving the Corps. This intrigues me, it has mostly five stars on Goodreads.
  8.  The Valley of  Amazement by Amy Tan.  Another Amy Tan book  that I really want to read soon. A sweeping epic of two women’s intertwined fates and their search for identity  in a remote  Chinese village. It is a historical novel.
  9.  Written In My Own Heart’s Blood.  There was a time when I got so engrossed in Diana Gabaldon’s  Outlander series that I bought around more than ten of her books. Some were even hardbound but except for one or two left, they were all destroyed by typhoon Ondoy in 2009.  This one is number 8 in the series which I haven’t read yet. A historical novel  about 18th century Scotland.
  10. Write It Down, Make It Happen by Henriette Anne Klauser. I used to devour self-help books before during my college days. Indulged in  Psychology and Philosophy books too but now I just read those that makes me happy. I am curious about this though. Turning your dreams into reality. Stories about ordinary people who have witnessed miracles in their lives. This must be good.

 

 

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So now it is officially summer here. The official weather bureau PAGASA announced the termination of the northeast monsoon on Tuesday, April 10, which means the start of summer in the country. But it rained yesterday afternoon, good enough to wet the garden plants and the ground. It was just less than thirty minutes though.

PAGASA Administrator Vicente Malano said that “These changes in the weather system with  accompanying shift of wind pattern from northeasterly to easterly signify the termination of the northeast monsoon,” This  would bring warmer and drier weather.  Summer here  is so hot in some areas of the country.  The month of May usually brings thunderstorms in the afternoon while  in June,  the season starts.  I’d rather have the summer weather than the rainy season. I had a phobia with floods and  heavy rainfall.  The best months of the year starts from November to February of the  following year. March is a tug between hot days and summer rains.

I found this lovely meme from one of my shout outs a few years ago. One of my favorite pastimes, finding books to read and participating in Goodreads’ reading challenge every year. 

It is really nice to discover new authors and new books. Slowly travelling the world in books – different places, different settings, unheard of sites which you only encounter in books.

Summer is that one particular season when you don’t want to go out much because of the heat outside. You would rather stay in one corner of the house and catch up on reading.  And you know you have read a good book when you turn the last page and you wish for more.

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger is one of my favorite books.  Here’s one quote  that I copied from it: “What really knocks me out is a book that, when you’re all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn’t happen much, though.” 

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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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