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Archive for the ‘literature and Fiction’ Category


I am excited. Truly.

A few days ago, I saw this on Mary Oliver’s timeline. Her new book Upstream will be released in a month and I just hope this time I would be able to find a copy.

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It’s the newest collection of Mary Oliver’s essays.  I’m always on the lookout for Mary Oliver’s quotes online  and luckily I found one on Blogger. Would you believe, the author quoted  a poem of Mary  every day for a year and did a short write-up of what those words meant  in  her life?  I am still on the first few entries but I was able to find some poems which are not included in the only two books I have of Mary Oliver, New And Selected Poems, Vol. 1 and the lovely edition of A Thousand Mornings.

Then I found these on her wall too and I was l smiling like crazy. Her words inspire me, lift me up and give me that boost I sorely need when I feel down. To appreciate  the beauty of the  natural world around us, what bliss!

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One of my favorite poems is this, The Wild Geese.

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

 

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It’s a wet and cold morning and it’s been raining on and off since the start of the weekend.  Hanging habagat  (southwest monsoon) is definitely here. It was a busy weekend though. It’s a good thing we were able to finish some gardening chores early.

When you are forced to stay at home because of the weather, you either keep busy or you relax to your heart’s content.  I did both…haha! Aside from gardening, I was able to find time to read two books over the weekend and to watch two movies on YouTube.  Yes, you heard it right.  For the first time in so many years, I caught myself finding some inspirational movies that would lift the soul and strengthen faith. The Song of Bernadette did just that. I could not remember the last time I watched this movie. I found a version in Blu-Ray. The Song of Bernadette is a 1943 drama film that tells the story of Bernadette Soubirous, a young visionary of Lourdes  who later became a saint. From February to July 1858 in Lourdes, France, she  reported eighteen visions of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This  film is based on the true story of Bernadette Soubirous, and adapted from the book written by  Franz Werfel.  What a lovely, lovely way to spend two hours straight infront of my computer and see this film.

Lately, I was lucky enough to find more books on faith and redemption and how beautiful life could be  despite the treacherous journey  and the unfaithfulness of mankind.  Alicia Ruggieri  is new on my list  of authors  and I like her writing style. She writes grace-filled and Christ-centered fiction. If you have time, try to read her A Time of Grace trilogy. The first book made me really cry and think of life, it’s beauty and its angst. The Fragrance  of Geraniums is such a beautiful book.  I am in the middle of reading the second one entitled All Our Empty Places  which picks up the story where it left off in the first one. I wonder if I’ll be able to find the third and the concluding book in the trilogy. I am not really into trilogies but this one is worth it. There are those stories that make you feel they’re real and you get into them like you would a story of a friend or yours, you feel the sadness, the triumphs and the pain. You feel that hope is not a dead thing but a journey that makes you look forward to another day.

A friend  suggested another writer and poet. The blog is truly inspiring. I searched the link. You may visit it here.

It’s raining still  and I am caught with these words, we are all special in God’s eyes.  God’s grace overflows.

 

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Oh my gosh, 62 books out of 100. I really can’t believe that I am 11 books ahead of schedule on my 2016 Goodreads Reading  Challenge. And before you say I have lots of time to appreciate the written word, it rains a lot every day so gardening is always relegated to the back seat and sometimes reading takes priority. I was able to start trimming the carabao grass this afternoon  (a back-breaking job every month)  but the sudden shower made me run indoors.

To discover new authors, what bliss! Goodreads provides a list of new books every month and a list of all time popular books but what I appreciate most is discovering new authors who are just as good and as talented like your favorite writers. One such author is John Hart. Where were you all this time John?

I seldom give five-stars to the books I read, just maybe about 6 in 50 books but Redemption Road  had me from page one, a gripping page-turner from beginning to end.  I don’t normally summarize a book as a  kind of review, it’s up to the other readers to find out. Well, I’m back to chick lit and memoirs and historical novels.

Did I say reading Redemption Road is worth your time?

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“I guess that’s all forever is…Just one long trail of nows. And I guess all you can do is try and live one now at a time without getting too worked up about the last now or the next now.”— Nicholas Evans (The Horse Whisperer)
“Sometimes what seems like surrender isn’t surrender at all. It’s about what’s going on in our hearts. About seeing clearly the way life is and accepting it and being true to it, whatever the pain, because the pain of not being true to it is far, far greater. “— Nicholas Evans

I am looking for that last book published by Nicholas Evans. It’s now on paperback. I  wish I could visit National Bookstore soon and buy a copy. I have copies of his four books published earlier than The Brave, have re-read them all because I simply love the stories.

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Nicholas Evans was born and grew up in Worcestershire, England. He studied law at Oxford University, graduating with first class honors.  He is one of my favorite authors.

 

 

 

 

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I have a library of books I have read which I have uploaded on Facebook via Goodreads app. I could not count the times that I blogged about books and reading and occasionally post bits of book reviews all these years. I used to update my books at shelfari.com, an online library where I personally met my reading buddies through a book club.  Since our well-loved books were destroyed by typhoon Ondoy back in 2009, I  got lazy updating the site and forgot those thousands of book titles that I’ve uploaded there. Lately though, while I was updating my journal I found a printed copy of all my books there. Yes, back then, you can easily print a list of books you have in your shelves.  I even have a wish list printed too.  I have marked those I have finally found while browsing at Booksale and getting copies of those hard to find  titles which a generous friend  brought home.

A friend got curious and asked me what my favorite books are so I am reposting this list of old-time favorites. They are just twenty  titles,  some of which  I have reread over the years. I bet if you are a reader, you have some of these in your shelves too.

1. Markings – Dag Hammarskjold
2. Seasons in the Sun – Rod McKuen
3. All I Really Need to Know I learned in Kindergarten – Robert Fulghum
4. The Little Prince – Antoine de Saint Exupery
5. The Prophet – Kahlil Gibran
6. Tuesdays With Morrie – Mitch Albom
7.  Letting Go – Morrie Schwartz
8. The Heart of Loving – Eugene Kennedy
9. Gift from the Sea – Anne Morrow Lindbergh
10. Jonathan Livingston Seagull – Richard Bach
11. Why Am I Afraid to Tell You Who I Am – John Powell
12. Simple Moments – Fr. Jerry Orbos, SVD
13. Charlotte’s Web – E. B. White
14. I Like You Just Because – Albert Nimeth, OFM
15. Man’s Search for Meaning – Viktor E. Frankl
16. The Fountainhead – Ayn Rand
17. Embraced By the Light – Betty J. Eadie
18. It Was On Fire When I Lay Down On It – Robert  Fulghum
19. A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
20. Grow Something Besides Old – Laurie Beth Jones.

A few minutes ago, I saw a picture of Viktor E. Frankl on Brain Pickings. He was  the author of that riveting  and profound  book called  Man’s Search For Meaning. He  was an Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist as well as a Holocaust survivor.  I read it twice, once when I was in college and again when the kids were growing up.  It’s about his personal experience as a concentration camp inmate during the Holocaust.  I marked it as five-stars on Goodreads.  Maybe, reading that somehow shaped my views on history because until now, I am still  reading fiction and-non fiction books on  WW II.  Finding the Diary of Anne Frank cemented it though. I read Schindler’s List a few years ago, followed by another favorite entitled The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. I collected books by Leon Uris too and most of them were all about Poland and WWII.

I digress.

I remember  copying lots of quotes from Frankl’s book and seeing him featured today on Brain Pickings  made me search for my three notebooks on quotations.  Weird? Maybe to some but I chronicled all those inspiring words religiously.

“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”

And  the following line is  my favorite.

“Those who have a ‘why’ to live, can bear with almost any ‘how’.”  
Here’s more.
“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
“Love goes very far beyond the physical person of the beloved. It finds its deepest meaning in his spiritual being, his inner self. Whether or not he is actually present, whether or not he is still alive at all, ceases somehow to be of importance.”
I probably might not  have answered the “why”. Suffice to say, I love visiting places and knowing how it is to live on the other side through books.
Today is Resurrection Sunday. May you all be blessed.

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That’s the funny thing about writing your life story. You start out trying to remember dates and times and names. You think it’s about facts, your life; that what you’ll look back on and remember are the successes and failures, the timeline of your youth and middle age, but that isn’t it at all.

Love.

Family.

Laughter.

That’s what I remember when all is said and done. For so much of my life, I thought I didn’t do enough or want enough. I guess I can be forgiven my stupidity. I was young. I want my children to know how proud I am of them, and how proud I am of me. We were everything we needed – you and Daddy and I.  I have everything I ever wanted.

Love.

That’s what we remember.

When a book makes me cry, I give it five stars. Yes I know, the quotes sound cheesy, it’s a YA book after all.  Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah in one such lovely read. It’s my 17th book on Goodreads’ 2016 Reading Challenge. When I review a book, I don’t summarize it for other people to read, it’s more like sharing what it made me feel. Was I inspired with the story? Was it interesting enough to recommend to other readers who love stories on life-long friendship and family and how  genuine love plays through it all?

You can always read the summary and some book reviews on Goodreads, some maybe disappointed, some find it wonderful.  The story line is such that it made me cry. When I started college life, I worked in the university library for almost three years and there I found true friendship with some of my colleagues. We’ve been friends since I was seventeen and the three of them are still my friends until now. We don’t normally get to see each other but we get in touch despite the distance.  Thea is now a Franciscan nun, Grace has migrated to another country and Precy is a successful businesswoman.  Except for Grace, the three of us experienced life-threatening ailments that made us closer together. Precy once said that we had to undergo the same kind of pain that cancer brings.

Near the end, Firefly Lane delivers such painful reality of losing a mum, a close friend, a daughter and a wife. It pains me to remember the agony of being not 100% fit,  and I do remember vividly what it was like going thru chemotherapy .  Sometimes though, life let us experience something that makes us stronger, ready to accept the ugly realities and grateful for the blessings in between.

Really, when a book makes me cry, I give it five stars.

 

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She hides her pain beneath the smiles

But her eyes show  a different world

thinking of the ‘might have been, the ‘what if’,

the little things that makes life the way she dreamed of.

Life is not perfect, life may be full of angst.

She stays…waiting.

Someday maybe, she’ll show that genuine smile again

The blessings and lovely memories will overcome

the pain in her eyes.

 

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