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Archive for the ‘literature and Fiction’ Category


It’s been a while! And that means it’s been three days since I last posted here.

There is nothing much really except I got caught reading some books that I just could not put down.  Would you believe, in all the years that I am into reading and  discovering new authors, this is the first time I encountered a story like this. Tin Man by Sarah Winman is vastly different from the young adult books that I used to read before. It tells about alternative lives, two boys and a girl caught in a love triangle. The first part of the narrative tells the story of Ellis who wanted to be an artist but his father was opposed to it. It tells the story of two teenage boys who fell in love briefly then Ellis got married and Michael became the best friend of his wife Annie.  The poignant remembrance, the memories kept in between the years. The second part tells the story of Michael  and being caught by that dreaded disease. It tells how he treasured those early days of his friendship with his best friend Ellis, the impact of grief, love lost and loneliness.  It is actually a short book but made an impact to a reader like me.  I also read some excerpts on Timeless Moments by Michelle Kidd, another new author in my list.  I started earlier with Stephen Orr’s Time’s Long Ruin but I got confused by the character so I switched to another book called Welcome to Harmony by Jodi Thomas. It is actually the first book in a series.  I wish I could find the other books.

When books reign in your world for a while, you forget to update your blog….haha 🙂

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Gosh, three weather disturbances just waiting in the offing.  I hope they won’t turn into dreaded typhoons. We are having monsoon rains, those type that won’t stop in a blink. Honestly, I hate monsoon rains. We still have at least a month probably before the end of the rainy season, sometimes though, strong typhoons still happen during December.

My son Josef who is so fond of playing games in his cellphone and in my computer, downloaded some games on my tab. I am not really into these online games which take so much of one’s time once you start playing one. He said that I could play them when I get tired of reading. Haha!  I have the block puzzle and I am trying to reach more than 1,000 scores on the classic level but all I was able to reach so far is a measly 931. It’s not really that hard but you need a little strategy to get a high score. He also downloaded Wordscapes which I like better  than the block puzzle. Creating new words out of four or just five letters with sometimes only one vowel. Great! I am challenged by this. Sometimes, one thinks of longer words but a three-letter one does as well.

He asked if I want movies downloaded on my tab too. I don’t. I rather  watch one on YouTube when I feel like it (on my computer with the bigger screen, that is). There are several Tagalog movies that come free but I am not into watching films because I easily get bored and sometimes the story seems like culled from one of the books I’ve read before.  Playing music is better for me.

I am presently reading this book about the life of  Hedy Lamarr which was written in fiction. But who  is Hedy Lamarr? It’s the first time  I heard of her. She is Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler, an Austrian-born  American film actress and inventor. I am still in the middle of the book but I find it an engrossing read. I would love to know what her scientific contributions were to the world.

Starting Monday right. Getting in touch with some friends via Messenger and trying to reach out. Have a nice and lovely week ahead everyone.

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It is cloudy but it is not raining. PAGASA says that the official rainy season will start in two weeks. I love the rain but I hate the flood. I think we are the most- prone country when it comes to typhoons. We get an average of 18-20 weather disturbances a year.

My gosh, every day I wake up earlier than usual. This morning I was awake at 2:30 am. Couldn’t sleep because of my throbbing knee. The pain is tolerable  but I can’t find the most comfortable way to sleep. It feels better when I sit or walk.  Imagine, loading the washing machine at 3 am. Done at 6 am. Such is the daily and weekly routine of a senior citizen like me.

I had time to read though. Done a reread on one of Danielle Steel’s books entitled Remembrance. I read it seven years ago but I could no longer  remember the story. Aren’t I lucky? Found another book, my second one of Ruth Reichl, another gourmet memoir entitled Save Me The Plums. I  am excited to start it soon. I am still looking for her other books. They were highly recommended by a friend.

I am still in the middle of Thomas Merton’s The Seven Storey Mountain. The prints are so fine that sometimes I could not read them for long. But this kind of memoir really needs a longer time to digest  and peruse. There are still so many new books I haven’t read. Time is of the essence.

I have a  lone Adenium in a large pot. Lately I noticed two pods growing at the tips of the plant. I didn’t know this is where the seeds are. You just have to wait for the pods to mature. What a blessing.

Adenium seed pod

 

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Ah, we really had nothing in common except we share the same birthday. The very first time I discovered her works, I was working at the Humanities Section of the UST Main Library. Ariel was the first book I read of her. Then last year I found a copy of The Unabridged Journals  of Sylvia Plath. I read a few paragraphs in between my Goodreads’ reading challenge. She kept a diary during the last twelve years of her life. Her life was tragic. She died at the young age of thirty.

Finally I found a copy of her book  The Bell Jar  which is a sort of semi auto-biography of her.  This has been on my wish-list for so long. I was curious to find the real reason why she  committed suicide aside from the fact that she was betrayed by her husband later in their married life.  I am still curious to read about her life.

“I felt my lungs inflate with the onrush of scenery—air, mountains, trees, people. I thought, “This is what it is to be happy”.

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The last time I really read a good memoir was when I discovered Peter Mayle’s books two years ago. I read all of his three books entitled A Year In Provence (giving it  a five-star rating on Goodreads), Toujours Provence and Encore Provence. Back then, I couldn’t get enough of how he described his adventures and life in the south of France. I even googled all those places that he mentioned in his books.  I got sad though when he died last January 18, 2018 at the age of 78. He was a British author.

Then here comes another book that got me hooked up to the last page.

Becoming by Michelle Obama.

Of course we all know who Michelle Obama is, the first African-American First Lady of the United States. The book of course is not about politics. It’s about the life of a future First Lady from when she was a child growing up with her brother Craig on the South Side of Chicago.  She belonged to a middle class family, graduated from Princeton University and Harvard Law School. The book speaks of the times when she was a child until her family left the White House after eight years.

From time to time, I would read some quotes of hers but I was never curious to know how she lived her life as a mother to two beautiful kids and the wife of Pres. Barack Obama. Becoming is an intimate account on how experiences have shaped her, a warm story-telling of her life as a daughter, a sister, a wife, a mother and eventually as the First Lady of the United States of America. With honesty and wit, she described her disappointments and triumphs in life.  Her beauty, elegance and intelligence were clearly manifested in her detailed descriptions of how life was back then.

Here are some  quotes that I jotted down while reading the book.

“For me, becoming isn’t about arriving somewhere or achieving a certain aim. I see it instead as forward motion, a means of evolving, a way to reach continuously toward a better self. The journey doesn’t end.”

“For every door that’s been opened to me, I’ve tried to open my door to others. And here is what I have to say, finally: Let’s invite one another in. Maybe then we can begin to fear less, to make fewer wrong assumptions, to let go of the biases and stereotypes that unnecessarily divide us. Maybe we can better embrace the ways we are the same. It’s not about being perfect. It’s not about where you get yourself in the end. There’s power in allowing yourself to be known and heard, in owning your unique story, in using your authentic voice. And there’s grace in being willing to know and hear others. This, for me, is how we become.”

“Now I think it’s one of the most useless questions an adult can ask a child—What do you want to be when you grow up? As if growing up is finite. As if at some point you become something and that’s the end.” 

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I am venturing into another memoir, It’s Not Yet Dark. The author is practically unheard of, at least in my reading journey.  Simon Fitzmaurice, an Irish film-maker, was given four years to live.

I researched what MND (motor neurone disease) is and  it is another term for ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis ). It is an uncommon condition that affects the nerves and brain. It progressively damages parts of the nervous system.

The first time I heard of this disease was when I read the inspiring book Tuesdays With Morrie. Morrie was afflicted with the same ailment and a former student of his documented it.  I watched the movie adaptation too.

I promised myself I would read other memoirs  for my reading challenge this year. I’ve only just started  and it is definitely engrossing. What does it mean to be at your lowest of low and those moments when your health is compromised? Short of saying, “I’ve been there, done that”, you always cling to the hope that you will get well in the end. Despite everything, you cling to your faith that everything would be okay, that you will live a normal life again. It’s hard to get sick, and it is even harder to maintain that composure amidst hospital and doctor visits, laboratories, drugs and low self-esteem.

It’s Not Yet Dark!  It’s my 13th read for this year. I got a feeling it would be another unforgettable read. I have just finished a historical novel set in Tuscany. I love anything that has Tuscany in it…haha!

Here’s one quote that I love about It’s Not Yet Dark.

“Our lives are not the legacy we leave behind, or the value of the work that we do. Our lives happen in between the deeds and ideas that define us.”

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Yes, Saturday is family day.

Saturday is time to relax.

Saturday is  time to read.

This is one of those weekends that there is not much to do at home except read, read and read some more,  browse a little at Facebook and visit my wall at Goodreads.

Yesterday, I finished re-reading Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. The first  time I read this book was more than four decades ago. I was in college then. Treated it as one those book reports that one has to summarize as a requirement in an English subject.

Reading it today,  it gave me a little more perspective. Oh yes, it is a love story. Jane Austen  wrote this more than a century ago about the English gentility.

It seems somehow different from when I read it the first time more than forty years ago. The story is a rich-boy-meets-poor girl which has been adapted in so many story lines in recent Tagalog movies. The long conversations, not familiar with it anymore. Overall though, the novel still carries that long ago thrill and excitement in reading again a Jane Austen book.

This is my first classic book read this year. I gave it 4 stars at Goodreads.

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I didn’t really expect anything from this book. I seldom read YA books now since I found so many new authors that I like. A light read actually.

It was a nice surprise though – a coming of age story, relationship between mothers and daughters, friendship, love of animals and most of all blogging.


I love how the story revolved around Tara and her mom. Fellow bloggers would surely appreciate how this was told through Tara’s blog. You know, those day-to-day happenings in a young teenager’s life, her dreams and aspirations, her love-hate relationship with her mom and her discovery of her extended family. Her blog was entitled Lonely Girl and the book ended when she gave up blogging, lonely girl no more.

The last time I read about a book premised on the  blogging world was when I encountered Julie and Julia by Julie Powell.  There was a movie made on this starring Meryl Streep. I enjoyed watching the movie so I bought the book but I was not able to finish it. I only reached page 50. The movie adaptation was so much better than the book.

My Virtual Life is my 9th read this year.

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Take a good look at this photo. isn’t it wonderful? And before I read the first page of this book, I was so taken by the book cover. That small pair of slippers did it.

I finished reading this last night, my 97th read this year. It’s Ka Hancock’s first book. It’s a story of an enduring love between a cancer survivor and a man with a bipolar disorder.

“Lucy Houston and Mickey Chandler probably shouldn’t have fallen in love, let alone gotten married. They’re both plagued with faulty genes—he has bipolar disorder, and she has a ravaging family history of breast cancer. But when their paths cross on the night of Lucy’s twenty-first birthday, sparks fly, and there’s no denying their chemistry.”  

Secondly, I was caught by the lovely and arresting title. They made their marriage worked despite the odds They dreamed of a family before Lucy  got the dreaded disease but when she got pregnant after her bouts with cancer, she was determined to keep the baby in spite of her doctor’s advice to abort it.

“Her heart is beating inside me. She moves inside me. She gets the hiccups inside me. Aborting her now is no different in my mind than waiting until she’s born and smothering her with a pillow, or throwing her in the lake on her third birthday, or shooting her in the head when she’s twelve.” 

I love all the characters in the story – family ties, friendship, a loving and supportive community. It explores the depth of fear and grief, losing a loved  one,trying to move on.

It made me a little emotional, crying while reading it and at the same time overjoyed that I found this lovely book.

 

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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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