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Archive for the ‘Goodreads’ 2020 Reading Challenge’ 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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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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I finally got my badge.  I could still read more this year. Love, love books.

Thank you Goodreads.

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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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If there is one author that I truly like and admire the most, it’s Richard Paul Evans. Haha, we are online friends at Facebook. I have been reading his books since I discovered one during a sale at National Bookstore years ago. It was still pricey at P600.00 pesos but I just loved the first few lines in the book. Unfortunately though, I lost that book and four more of his hardbound ones back in 2009 during typhoon Ondoy. I was able to replace most of them through gifts from generous friends. I even have a first edition copy of one of his books sent by a friend. An online friend I met at our Catholic page on Facebook is also so fond of reading and she was thrilled that I recommended RPE’s books to her. From then on, every  time she comes home, she brings me copies of those books I lost in the flood and newly published ones that I haven’t read yet. I have lots of quotes here (a hundred of them) that RPE generously shared on his wall. I am afraid some of them ate up my available space because they were in high resolution format.

I am presently reading a lovely one published last October 2001 entitled The Christmas Box Miracle: My Spiritual Journey of Destiny, Healing and Hope. This book is included in my wish list for so many years until I finally found a copy. Finally reading it. It’s his personal story of how he wrote The Christmas Box, self-published it in 1994  and it became a best-seller. It’s a holiday classic that was  an expression of love for his two daughters never intending for it to be published.  I think this is the best summary of the books he wrote because in each page, there were quotes from those books he published earlier. Faith and determination usually overcome adversity in life. Persistence in believing in a dream helps a lot. This is more like his autobiography written from the time he was a small kid  sharing everything with his sister and six brothers.

Here is one of his previous quotes which I compiled into an album at Facebook.

Here’ what he wrote on his Facebook wall years ago about how he views books.

Books can be such powerful things–they can console us, motivate us, they can unite us with the rest of humanity, to help us understand that we are not so alone in our thoughts, our dreams and our deepest hopes. To read something that feels so peaceful and familiar, as if it was plucked from our own mind and soul, is a powerful experience. I am grateful for the books that have affected me throughout my life. I am pleased that here and there my books reach my readers in this way. God bless.

By the way, I am on my 72nd book at Goodreads Reading Challenge 2020.

 

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Gosh, it took me so long to get in touch with this online Pharmacy where I have ordered last month. I sent them the required prescriptions, Senior citizen’s IDs and the number of tablets/capsules which are good for one month. I sent it through Messenger but I tried contacting them this morning via phone. They have so many orders online since they placed their ads  on FB. Good thing, the pharmacist I talked to was so accommodating.

It is quite hard to go to Mercury Drug nowadays to fill up a prescription because of the long line of buyers who are mostly senior citizens. I don’t want Josef to stand in line for so long under the heat of the sun so I opted to order online, never mind if they have delivery fees and you have to wait for at least two days for them to deliver it.

This is the “new normal” so to speak. Senior citizens are now allowed to go out for basic necessities but deep inside, one is afraid to get caught outside because of this pandemic. I tried going out at the nearby “talipapa” here the other day. Just bought chicken and a kilo of pork. Good thing yesterday, Josef and Jovy bought one week supply for us because they will be staying at Jovy’s grandmother’s place starting today until Monday morning because they are on leave from work.   Haha, Oreo is excited, he is missing going around with them when they go out. He has his vaccines yesterday. They found a vet near our place.

Sometimes one gets bored just staying inside the house and puttering around  the garden. I am grateful I have my books with me to pass the time away. One doesn’t get bored reading. Right now, I am in the middle of  reading The Key To Rebecca by Ken Follett. If you love The Eye of the Needle and  The Pillars of the Earth and the two succeeding books, you’ll love this too. What’s not to love about anything historical?  I am looking forward to another book of his entitled  Jackdaws. 

And here is my observation for the day:

For them, there is a more serious and pressing matter – changing the name of NAIA (Ninoy Aquino International Airport).  What a misplaced priority 😦

 

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Four days of not even visiting WordPress. What is happening to me. I am really getting so lazy to blog.

I just finished rereading Rosamunde Pilcher’s Coming Home. Yeah, you read it right,  I read it back in 2012. I have most of her books in my shelf since I discovered her upon the recommendation of a friend.

I wrote this review back in 2011 when I started looking for her books. I am reposting it here. It’s part of a long, long review that I did back then. I wrote this last November 24, 2011

I first encountered Rosamunde  Pilcher upon the recommendation of a friend whom I met at a book club three years ago. I got curious because for a guy to rave about  one particular author or  book, she really must be good. So I looked for a copy of The Shell Seekers, one of her well-known and much-loved books. I was hooked and from then on, I tried to look for more of her books every time I got the chance to visit Booksale.  Last month, I found four more of her earlier works and bought them all. The funny thing is I was able to finish three in the three days that I was indisposed. Her stories are not your run of the mill love stories. They speak of family relationships, heartbreak, friendships, betrayals, forgiveness and love. Once you start reading  her books, you get to absorb the characters like they are your next-door neighbors or your favorite cousin or your beloved brother or sister.  And seeing her describe Cornwall and Scotland with such beauty and grace makes you long to go there and see the snow-capped vistas and azure skies, it makes you stay at the beach all day long and  just look  at the water and go home with the thought of a nice hot cup of tea and fish and chips prepared by a loyal housekeeper who treats you as a long-lost daughter.  It makes you even curious how a Biro pen looks like because the character you’ve read won’t have no other except a Biro. It makes you long to buy rose-scented soaps and lavender bubble baths and stay relaxed for an hour or two immersed in warm and scented water and wrap yourself with pretty thick bath towels afterward.  You think of the first chill of autumn and the countryside awashed with pretty flowers. Short of saying, I want to live in Scotland and  get to explore Porthkerris despite the rains and the cold. I want to see the  silver hues of the raindrops  on a cold and chilly morning. Such are what you can imagine, just reading her books.

Coming Home is one such book that you would want to reread again and again. It’s a wonderful journey of a teenager left behind by  her parents back in 1935 in Cornwall.  The struggles of being away from one’s immediate family although she found loyal friends who treated her as one of the members of their family. She was also taken cared of by her aunts from both sides and grew up to be a responsible adult despite all the setbacks. It’s pre-war Britain until the end of the  WWII. I just love it.

 

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Opps!

My interest in blogging is waning. Since this lockdown started, there is nothing much to write about. Staying at home  is slowly wearing me down.  I stopped counting the days since this lockdown. I wonder if this government is telling us the truth. There is a significant spike on the positive cases. Back when there were only around 60, we were told to stay home. Now that they have a total of 16,634 positive cases (3,720 of which have recovered and 942 died), we are now under GCQ (general community quarantine).Those sudden spikes makes one worry. Yes, most business establishments are now open but public utility vehicles are limited to MRT, LRT, AUVs, buses and Grab cars.  What about those who still have to take jeepney rides  before  they could take buses or MRT and LRT trains to reach their destinations?  I rest my case, there is no clear provision for those.

Loans left and right but we never see a downward trend on this pandemic. No mass testing is still being done. I presume with that big amount of loans and contribution from the private sector, they could at least show a small flattening of the curve so to speak. Where do those funds go?  And the man across the Pasig River is waiting for those vaccines from his BFF in china which they could experiment on the Filipino people. I say, mauna muna sila at mga alipores niya. They say our mortality rate is very low but we are the highest among Asian countries.  What a shame!!! A lost life is still a loss most especially to one’s family.

Everything has changed and we call it our “new normal”. Yes of course, you can still get in touch with some family members and friends but it’s kind of different when you get to talk over the phone. Sometimes, it is quite frustrating that you can’t see them personally and hug them. I miss my darling Nate, I miss Nissa and Obet. I miss their monthly visit.

I tried reading a love story in between my serious historical fiction but I could not relate to it anymore unlike in high school when I used to  devour M & B.  BTW, it might interest you to know that I have at least read a total of 53 books for this year’s challenge.  Not bad for someone who has become so lazy the past few days.

 

 

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