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Archive for the ‘literature and Fiction’ Category


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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Allow me to be a little sentimental once more so I quote:

“May I see you again?” he asked. There was an endearing nervousness in his voice.

I smiled. “Sure.”

“Tomorrow?” he asked.

“Patience, grasshopper,” I counseled. “You don’t want to seem overeager.

“Right, that’s why I said tomorrow,” he said. “I want to see you again tonight. But I’m willing to wait all night and much of tomorrow.” I rolled my eyes. “I’m serious,” he said.

“You don’t even know me,” I said. I grabbed the book from the center console. “How about I call you when I finish this?”

“But you don’t even have my phone number,” he said.

“I strongly suspect you wrote it in this book.”

He broke out into that goofy smile. “And you say we don’t know each other.”

Ah, the joys of discovering  what love is amidst the pain of  suffering.  Two months ago I read the book  The Fault In Our Stars by John Green, a new author in my list and wrote  a short review  about it here hoping that I’ll be able to watch the movie adaptation someday. I’ve finally watched the movie yesterday through Nissa’s phone while teaching my grandson Nate a few lines of the song Bahay Kubo, a timeless Tagalog folk song that every Filipino child knows by heart ( would love to make this into another blog). As a stand alone movie, it was very good and it strictly adhered to the story in the book. Isn’t that what movie adaptations should be?  Shaileen Woodley shines as Hazel Grace Lancaster, an intelligent sixteen year old teenager coping with terminal thyroid cancer. She was supported by Ansel Elgort as Augustus Waters, her love interest,who lost his leg because of osteosarcoma.  I won’t go into details of the story, I am sure most of you have read the book too.

When you are going through the same journey, it does not need much to understand how it is to be afflicted with a terminal illness. You would understand the pain and insecurities one goes through while undergoing treatment. You would understand the moments that you almost want to give up on life but still you hold on because there are people around you who love you just the way you are, baggage and all. Watching the movie reminded me of my pain of surviving cancer making it easier to relate. Believe me, I had a good cry. Nissa said she cried buckets when she watched it.  If you ever get the chance to see it, have a hankie nearby and a hot cup of coffee.

John Green says “there is no shortage of fault to be found amid our stars”.

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One is never too old to read wonderful fairy tales of our childhood.

One is never too old to read wonderful fairy tales of our childhood.

“What is REAL?” asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side
near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. “Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?”

“Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that
happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play
with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.”
“Does it hurt?” asked the Rabbit.

“Sometimes,” said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. “When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.”

“Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,” he asked, “or bit by
bit?”

“It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a
long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or
have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you
are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you
get loose in your joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all,
because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand”.

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Each day is a stepping stone into future days on the upward path. Enrich each day with gratitude and a time of quiet. – Lillian Marshall

Gosh, you won’t believe this! Yesterday I braved the traffic by taking  a commute   to visit the book sale at Books for Less in Pasig City. It is right in front of La Consolacion College where my two kids spent their high school so the place is quite familiar. This is the first time that I visited  BFL and I was  like, “Oh, Oh, I don’t know what books to buy”.

There were so many volumes on so many subjects  that I was in a quandary which to choose. Some look practically new with the dust jackets still intact but of course, BFL sells secondhand books.  I don’t mind buying secondhand books, I’ve done it for years at Booksale. I only get to buy new ones on the works of authors I am collecting  and those lovely editions that one can’t help having on one’s shelf. Sometimes, I just close my eyes and don’t look at the price :)  This time though, I enjoyed an hour looking for well-known authors that I like, discovering some fiction books that look interesting.  I was able to buy twelve books in all,  including a small volume  entitled Stepping Stones (meditations in a garden) with lovely flower illustrations on each page. I just love it. I also found another collection of short stories by one of my favorite authors, Rosamunde Pilcher. It was such a joy to see two more volumes of L. M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables, classic stories that never grow old with time. I hope I will be able to find the missing three more volumes to complete my collection. There was also a memoir and a children’s book for Nate (which looks  new) and the rest are fiction books of authors that I haven’t read yet.  Josef  told me yesterday to go back there and we would bring the car so I don’t have to commute but he has to buy a replacement for our submersible pump for our small pond.  I am comforted by the thought that the sale would end on August 31 so I still have plenty of time to buy books. Did I tell you that I only spent P120 pesos for those twelve books?  Each one costs P10 pesos,  easier on the pocket, I must say. My book shelves are close to  bursting.

Today is the Feast Day of St. Dominic. Happy Feast Day to all  of my Dominican friends.  Fr. Lovell, O.P. (my adopted son)  texted and said that he is praying  for and offering his masses for the family.  I told him it is a noble gift to be prayed for always. What a blessing! I am sad though to learn that the former Rector of UST, Rev. Leonardo Z. Legaspi, O.P.  passed on this morning . He  was the first Filipino UST Rector.  He was a part of my high school and college life in the 70’s.   He died on the feast day of St. Dominic and on his  episcopate ordination anniversary, two special events that would make  it easy for his friends and family to remember. He would always say “Good morning” every time he meets students at the UST campus.  Requiescat  in pace. I’ll remember you in  prayers.

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Woke up this  morning to the persistent sound of my son’s cellphone  which he left inside my room last night. Gosh, it was 4am. I tried to sleep a few hours more  but it was a useless exercise. I guess, it is a perfect time to visit this blog, the internet connection is quite fast.  The rest of the world (from our end) must still be asleep.

Wow, a hot cup of coffee with hot pan de sal to boot. A few minutes ago, I braved the five-minute walk to our neighborhood bakery to buy  pan de sal.  It is a bread roll that is a staple in most Filipino families’ breakfast. You can pair it with scrambled eggs, coco jam or what we call matamis na bao,  slivers of cheese or even sautéed   sardines. Take your pick, it goes well with everything. I’ve long wanted to learn to bake pan de sal  but it is more practical  to buy it.

I went back to reading e-books , discovering new titles, excited to acquaint myself with new authors.  Last night, I started  reading Letters From Skye by Jessica Brockmole. It’s my first encounter with the author. Fancy a different approach to writing a book – conveying a story through letters, no dialogue, a perfect spin of two stories fused together. Since I am still in the middle of reading it, I will reserve my five stars later. I love receiving letters, in any form but there is nothing that beats a real one with stamps attached on the envelope with that pasted smile on your face anticipating what’s written inside. It is even exciting when there is no written address and you guess who suddenly thought of you to send a letter by mail. When I was in college, my friend and I used to write letters to each other every single day although we were together at work as student librarians in our university. It was quite fun to write at the back of date due slips while absorbing the silence that a library setting brings. She is now based abroad and we get in touch through private messages on Facebook. Years ago, my sister-in-law gifted me with a complete set of Griffin and Sabine, a trilogy written by Nick Bantock. It is one of the precious collections I have in my small library.  In every page, you’ll see a facsimile of a postcard or a letter actually enclosed in an envelope, hand-written letters that excite. Imagine reading a book in  real letter format.  Reading the trilogy made me more in love with letter-writing.

The rain last night and the gentle drizzle  this morning made my plants happy. They are dancing in the rain and I love to dance too.

P.S. WordPress says this is my 1,400th blog entry.

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You might think I am obsessed with books. I must admit, that’s a big yes, books  are almost always what I give Nissa on every special occasion that warrants special gifts and she appreciates them  until now.  And since we no longer have those children’s books  that we  have collected back when they were kids, I am starting to buy  and search for  books that I would love Nate to have.  Nissa bought several Brainy Baby DVDs complete with instrumental music CDs that she used to play when Nate was still in her womb. There is nothing like a good, sturdy book though that he can appreciate and hold. And this is the best time I guess to introduce him to his learning alphabet.  I am just amazed that books for kids have gone sky-high and I could no longer find those with thick leaves that won’t easily crumple and tear.  Anyway, I have found a set of Enid Blyton books  while arranging our small library yesterday and they were still in plastic, unopened and unread. I remember Nissa bought them a few years ago but maybe forgot all about them.
IMG_5065

Nate might still be too young to appreciate these but Nissa reads to him a lot and who knows in a few years, he’ll be reading by himself. I never  had the opportunity to read books by Blyton because when we were kids, reading was not a priority except those textbook stories written in the vernacular. I started serious reading when I was in high school  and my love affair with books has not waned through the years.  I spent the past few days catching up on reading, both e-books and those I bought on my several trips to Booksale.

And yes, reading brings you magic and adventures.

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