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Archive for the ‘literature and Fiction’ Category


Maybe I am lucky or perhaps I am really blessed.

When I was working as a student librarian back in college, I was assigned to this lovely section of the UST Library called Humanities, that’s where you find all those books on Philosophy, Ethics, Psychology, Literature, Fiction and all the lovely reading materials that encompass what humanities mean. Nowadays, some  people might think that it is a boring subject and has nothing to do with Math or Science but it adds life to one’s existence. It allows you to see the beauty of how to feel and see the beauty of your thoughts and relate to such experiences by others in a world where it is undoubtedly dominated by science. I had a book buddy who used to say, nobody reads anymore. I don’t agree because some people couldn’t live without books, I am one of them.

I digress.

There was this Arts student who used to borrow books by Sylvia Plath. He would come to the library either to renew the due date of a book or borrow another one, all of Sylvia Plath. I got curious so I tried to read one of her books.  I remember reading Ariel  and learning that we had the same birthday. It’s sad though that her life has to end at a very young age of thirty. Such a tragic death for one so gifted. All these years, I looked for her most popular work called The Bell Jar. It’s been on my wish-list for quite sometime now. She is not exactly a favorite but I love her words.  I was lucky to find a copy of her book, The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath. I cannot wait to start reading it as soon as I finish the two chick lit books that I am enjoying at the moment. I am curious why she committed suicide at such an early age. I am curious why people still read her works until now. Here is a quote that garnered more than 10,000 likes in Goodreads.

“I can never read all the books I want; I can never be all the people I want and live all the lives I want. I can never train myself in all the skills I want. And why do I want? I want to live and feel all the shades, tones and variations of mental and physical experience possible in my life. And I am horribly limited.”

Maybe I am  just lucky or perhaps I am really blessed to find her again.

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Finally, finally, I am back.

I’ve missed all of you guys. I’ve missed reading your blog posts  the past days. I’ve been busy with household chores, gardening and organizing my book shelves.  Funny how, there are books from my favorite authors in which I have two copies.  I gave some paperback copies to a friend. There is another friend I know who intentionally buys two copies each of her favorite books, one for reading (usually a paperback) and one kept inside a glass book shelf (either a trade paper back or a hardbound one). One thing I lack though is enough space for our books, Nissa’s are mostly hardbound, Josef’s books take up space too. We have a big Lexicon that weighs a ton.  I have to list those earlier finds that are now classic books. I’m 60% done with my 2015 reading challenge on Goodreads and I  am planning to save the best for last – memoirs and classics.

The carabao grass needs trimming so instead of waiting for Josef to have his days off, I started it three days ago. I only garden early in the morning while the sun hasn’t shown its face yet, an hour or two but not beyond two hours at the most.  Can’t stand being outside at 8am (it’s really hot) so I have to wake up early to water the plants, trim the grass and do a little deadheading of my Gardenia blooms.  I can’t exactly remember now but a few months ago, our neighbor gave me a little pot of Ginseng plant.  It has tiny red buds now about to bloom. I know it is a medicinal plant and I can’t wait to see its flowers in bloom.

Last Friday, I bought my first ever tablet (My Pad 4/Tierra).  Lucky for me, it was on sale and I bought it for a lot less than it cost two weeks ago. It’s a 7.8″ Android tab with 3G, an 8MP autofocus rear camera and a 5MP front camera and an 8GB built-in memory. It has an expandable memory up to 32GB.  Josef bought me a 32GB micro SD, a jelly cover and a screen protector along with a new SIM card and prepaid  card too. Since I intend to use it mostly for my e-books, I installed the Aldiko e-Reader (it is the most user-friendly I guess). I tried the Moon + Reader too on my other phone.  If you ask me which is more convenient, nothing can compare to the smell of new books and lovingly turning the pages while you discover a different world out there but having e-books is okay too especially when you read at night because you can always adjust the brightness and the font size plus there is a night mode  too. For now though, I am loving my e-books conveniently arranged alphabetically on my e-reader.  I can’t wait to read Charles Dickens’  David Copperfield (the last time was during my college days), William Golding’s Lord of the Flies, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina to name a few and all the lovely chick lit that makes me laugh and cry a little.

I couldn’t ask for more.

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I can’t believe April is almost gone.  The lazy bug caught me again and blogging has taken a backseat for a while. Gone are the times when the day is not complete without writing a few words and posting them here.  I feel comfortable now blogging once or twice a week but I still read posts/updates from friends every day.

You won’t believe this, I’ve become so obsessed with books lately that sometimes I laugh at myself how  I’m gonna read these books  that I have collected all these years and some  e-books that I have on my phone. Hugging a book close and the comfort of turning the pages, loving the scent and smell of the printed pages. Yesterday, I took note of the recommendations of Goodreads based on similar subjects that I have read before. Historical fiction, memoirs and contemporary books still top the list. There was even a time that I visited the list of the 1000 books you have to read before you die but I narrowed it down to the top 500 but not necessarily followed it to the letter. If that is not a book obsession, I don’t know what is.  They call it bibliomania :) I haven’t gone that far yet…no….not yet.  I have a long list which I wrote in my notebook about new authors and new books that I want to read. I am trying to discover Asian authors and so far Khaled Husseini is the best although I found more names who are quite new in the field of writing.

I remember reading On Writing by Stephen King a few years ago, a book borrowed by Nissa from their Stress Management Office then found a brand new hardbound copy later  (still with the dust jacket on) in one of my trips to Booksale. Imagine the joy of finally owning a copy.  He said and I quote “Books are a uniquely portable magic.” “Reading in bed can be heaven, assuming you can get just the right amount of light on the page and aren’t prone to spilling your coffee or cognac on the sheets. ” That’s another line from Stephen King’s book and I laughed out loud when I read it before because it happened to me not just once but several times. At least it was just a glass of water and not a hot cup of coffee :)

When I encounter people who say that they are not fond of reading, I try to compose my facial expression not to frown and say “you are missing  a lot”.

P.S. Goodreads says I have read 28 books (56%) out of the 50 books that I challenged myself to finish this year. Maybe, I could add 10 more, what do you think?

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A_wrinkle_in_time_digest_2007

“Life, with its rules, its obligations, and its freedoms, is like a sonnet: You’re given the form, but you have to write the sonnet yourself.” – Madeleine L’Engle

I started reading it two nights ago and it got me hooked. Reading YA is sometimes a joy….the ingredients are all there, science fiction, fantasy, children’s literature. I wonder why I only found it only now when it was published as early as 1962. Would also love to see the film adaptation of A Wrinkle in Time. I still have few more pages to read.

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How long has it been since I last posted here? It’s almost a week  and I need to catch on the many blog posts that I missed over the last few days. Busy, busy, busy – busy gardening, busy searching for books to read, busy reading at night until my eyes hurt from the glare of my cellphone. Oh well, it is nice to be back. I am just glad to know that even if I’ve been away for a while, I finally reached 320,000 plus (320,180 as of this writing). Not that it matters much but it is important to me that some readers go back to my earlier posts and leave comments. Having more followers of course in the last two weeks are an added bonus.

Last night, some thoughts were playing in my head but I was just too lazy to jot them down. Regrets come always late of course because I could not remember them now. I’ve been to my once-a-month  hair trim at David’s this afternoon and as usual I had a nice chat with some of the staff and their other customers there. My hair stylist told me that they will be transferring to Oasis hub by June and I asked her why and she said that the present site will be converted into a mixed-use structure with a mall and residential units.  When it comes to the latest news, they are always updated.That pretty started our conversation about developments in the area. Ever Gotesto mall which has been here for almost two decades will finally close its doors on Sunday. I asked them why and they told me that it was sold  to a larger entity whose owner is the richest man in the Philippines and included in the Forbes list of billionaires in the whole world. “You mean we will be having another SM mall here in our area?” They nodded in unison and a customer exclaimed “Good luck sa traffic”. I wanted to buy some kitchen towels but when I reached the mall, almost everything is packed and even the grocery shelves are almost empty. I felt sad for those employees who will lose their jobs because they were hired from an agency. Some tenants are just waiting for their contract to end. I asked one of my favorite shops there, a small entity that sells all things Japanese, meaning, their shelves are full of things made in Japan if they are going to transfer too and the cashier said they don’t know. I  always visit this place every time I go to Ever because I love looking at their small kitchen gadgets, I love looking at their tea sets and Japanese mugs/cups used in tea-drinking. Come to think of it, we have an SM mall at every nook and cranny of Metro Manila and suburbs, I am just wondering how many more they would build in the future. Do we really need all that much? It will always be a welcome development of course, I am just wondering what will happen to those small enterprises which are still existing in the area.

Yeay for good books. I finally found some books that I’ve long wanted to read. Some of them are e-books which will be part of my 2015 Reading Challenge. Here are some of the titles I’ve added to my TBR list. So excited to read them all. I am six books in advance for  this  challenge. I hope I make it this time.

  • The First Phone Call From Heaven by Mitch Albom. I’ve been on the lookout for Albom’s books since Tuesdays With Morrie.
  • The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd. Just started reading a few lines. This is my third book of this author after the legendary The Secret Life of Bees  and The  Mermaid Chair. I wrote a short review of The Secret Life Of Bees long ago and watched the movie too. If I have time, I will look for the movie adaptation of The Mermaid Chair on YouTube and will watch it too.
  • The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco. Finally, after a long search :)
  • The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. My book club friends rate this as a five-star. War torn Barcelona, 1945. So curious about the story.
  • The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera. I’ve long wanted to read this too but I could not find a copy.  I wonder why it belongs to the 500 must read books and one of the 1000 books you have to read before you die. It’s a friend’s favorite book.
  • The Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy and Hard Times (Book 1)by Jennifer Worth. Set in East End slums of post-war London.
  • Shadows of the Workhouse (Book 2) by Jennifer Worth
  • Farewell To the East End (Book 3) by Jennifer Worth. I read the short summaries of these three books on Goodreads and I can’t wait to start plus the book covers of two kids on the last two say a lot. I love memoirs.
  • First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen. I’ve read books of this author before and I love the magical touch of paranormal in her stories.
  • The Bookseller by Cynthia Swanson. I love every title with the word book in it, that’s why. A first novel so maybe it’s worth it.

I wonder how long it would take  me to finish these ten titles. We’ll see. How about you? What books are you reading now?

 

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That’s  right, I am just borrowing the title from a book I have just read.

Have you ever chosen a book because the title and the book cover make you smile and make you remember something deep, memories that you treasure in your heart? I did just that, three days ago. In between re-reading inspirational and uplifting books for the season of Lent, I managed to find a lovely book by Kelly Moran. It is my first time to read a book from this author. Inspiring romance books are not really my cup of tea but I got curious that it received mostly five stars on Goodreads.  An easy read, amazing and heartwarming tale of  friendship, family relationships,  and getting on with life despite all the setbacks, finding love and meaning  in the end.  I don’t normally post a book review when I blog about a certain book that I’ve enjoyed reading, it’s for you to find out.

A friend once told me that when a book makes you cry then it must really be good. I love the poetic style of the author, the play with words  – I can almost imagine those intense moments, I can almost touch the pages of the family albums and commune with nature  the way it was told in the story. It’s actually one of my best reads so far for my 2015 reading challenge.  And as usual, I had my journal ready to write some quotes that I liked.

Don’t let the past get in the way of the now.

How many times has the past hindered us from making decisions in our life? How many times have we let the past rule our present life?  Learning to let go and learning to move on might not be that easy but sometimes we just have to do it for our peace of mind.

Home is where they love you and care for you. Home is where you go back to when there’s nothing left and you want to find peace again.

What a difference a moment can make.

Speaking of the 50 books I wanted to read this year, with no particular author in mind and no particular book on my list, I have just finished 12. Next in line though are memoirs and the books I have of Mary Oliver.  I want to reread Randy Pausch’ The Last Lecture, it inspired me when I was undergoing chemotherapy. I want to get reacquainted again with Mitch Albom’s Tuesdays With Morrie. My former surgical oncologist saw a copy I read at the hospital when I underwent surgery more than five years ago and he said it was a good book so I gave him a copy. My cardiologist who was a very caring doctor too saw my pile  and told me I had good choices of books to read. I gave him one too. They are both doctors so they could relate to what ALS is all about.

I just love books. The solitary hours are more meaningful when books take you to places you’ve never been, people you’ve never met and a world probably more interesting than your own.

When the leaves stop falling, you find love.

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Just started on my reading marathon (if you could call it that). I finished reading book one today, a nice first-novel  chick-lit by Deborah Meyler called The Bookstore. I promised myself that I would at least read 50 books this year. For a bookworm like me, that is not much actually. I know of some members from my book club who could and do manage to read books as much as a hundred.  As it has books on its cover and there is the word book on its title, I guess that made it my number one of the fifty books I want to read. I don’t have a list  because I don’t want to concentrate on just fictions.

I must admit I cheated a little since I started this one on the last days of December but  put it  on hold because of Christmas and New Year celebrations.  For a first time novel, I found it charming and nicely written. Here is a short summary culled from Goodreads.

A witty, sharply observed debut novel about a young woman who finds unexpected salvation while working in a quirky used bookstore in Manhattan.Impressionable and idealistic, Esme Garland is a young British woman who finds herself studying art history in New York. She loves her apartment and is passionate about the city and her boyfriend; her future couldn’t look brighter. Until she finds out that she’s pregnant.

Esme’s boyfriend, Mitchell van Leuven, is old-money rich, handsome, successful, and irretrievably damaged. When he dumps Esme—just before she tries to tell him about the baby—she resolves to manage alone. She will keep the child and her scholarship, while finding a part-time job to make ends meet. But that is easier said than done, especially on a student visa.

The Owl is a shabby, second-hand bookstore on the Upper West Side, an all-day, all-night haven for a colorful crew of characters: handsome and taciturn guitar player Luke; Chester, who hyperventilates at the mention of Lolita; George, the owner, who lives on protein shakes and idealism; and a motley company of the timeless, the tactless, and the homeless. The Owl becomes a nexus of good in a difficult world for Esme—but will it be enough to sustain her? Even when Mitchell, repentant and charming, comes back on the scene?

A rousing celebration of books, of the shops where they are sold, and of the people who work, read, and live in them, The Bookstore is also a story about emotional discovery, the complex choices we all face, and the accidental inspirations that make a life worth the reading.

I love going to bookstores. A trip to the mall would not be complete without visiting one. Even if it is only to browse and find new titles, it is a joy in itself.  I was a student librarian once when I was in college. I spent almost three years of my college life working part-time at the Humanities Section of the main library of University of Santo  Tomas. Where would you find such wonderful books in Literature, Psychology, Ethics and  Philosophy but there? Those days were the best years of my college life – learning the basics of a library work, finding joy in books, making new friends  from all the colleges of the university. Reading The Bookstore made me remember those long-ago days and it makes me smile just thinking of it.

Can’t wait to start The Goldfinch which won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2014.

 

 

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