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Archive for the ‘literature and Fiction’ Category


Will this never ends? I found twenty comments on my spam folder with the usual sites before with the word sexy at the middle of the e-addy.  I am guessing this is only one person using different e-mails.  I don’t know what they get  out of such useless spam  comments. Waste of time really. I even noticed that my comments on two blog posts by friends  were  “liked” by a spammer with  the same e-mail address. What do you think?

Equinoxio21, an online friend advised me to bring back the re-blog button by going to “sharing” on “My Site”  menu   and clicking the “Sharing buttons”  and saving it. Voila, the re-blog button appears again. Thank you!

I found another book by one of my favorite authors (aside of course from Mary Oliver, Richard Paul Evans, Khaled Hosseini and many others) Nadia Hashimi.  Hashimi is an American doctor, a bestselling novelist and a women’s rights advocate.  Her parents are Afghans so she always write about life in Afghanistan.  Since I encountered Khaled’s Hosseini’s books years ago, I looked for other Asian authors and found her.  I’ve read three of her books before two of which I posted reviews here two years ago. When The Moon Is Low is Goodreads’ Best Book of 2015, I actually wrote short reviews about her first three books that I read. Here’s my take on this: One of the best books I read so far on the 2016 reading challenge. I wonder why I am always drawn to historical novels (I am an old soul) and stories about Afghanistan always make me cry.

The Pearl  That Broke Its Shell came second on my reading list although it was her literary debut novel. And I wrote: “A painful but riveting story about what life is like for women in Afghanistan.”The Pearl the Broke Its Shell interweaves the tales of these two women separated by a century who share similar destinies.” Here’s a lovely quote from that book.

“Life has typhoons. They come and turn everything upside down. But you still have to stand up because the next storm may be around the corner”.

The third book is entitled One Half From The East.  I am reading the fourth book now. Just like the first three books, this one looks so good. A House Without Windows is a haunting story about friendship and the plight of women in Afghanistan.

If only I could find her other book which I think is the newest so far.  When you find such gifted authors, you always look forward to what they write about.

Yes, I remember another author, Khaled Hosseini, Afghan born and also a doctor. His memorable book, The Kite Runner was adapted into film which Nissa and I watched years ago. We cried inside the cinema.

 

 

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Here we go again. I just checked my dashboard. Yes, I do check it once or twice a week before posting photos on my blog. They might eat up my remaining  free space. My goodness,  I received  20 spam comments  still with the same question “what”. They never stop, such irrelevant word. It is not even connected to any of my posts. And then there are about 5 comments that didn’t show in my notification and they were just labeled  “pending”. These glitches are sometimes really annoying.

I went back to reading. Just done with a lovely story about a Russian intelligence officer and a CIA.  Knowing how the KGB works and how the CIA trains its manpower is a very interesting subject. The author, Jason Matthews is a retired officer of the CIA’s Operations Directorate.  He worked there for more than thirty-three years and “engaged in clandestine collection of national security intelligence, specializing in denied-area operations. Matthews conducted recruitment operations against Soviet–East European, East Asian, Middle Eastern, and Caribbean targets.”

I seldom read books like this, I am more into historical books  that deal with WW II  and the atrocities committed by the Germans  in various concentration camps  in Nazi occupied countries. I love reading about the bravery and the resilience  of people who survived the  war.

I have yet to find a free movie adaptation of Red Sparrow.  And I understand there are sequels to this book.  It’s a trilogy actually but I could not find the others, Palace  of Treason and The Kremlin’s Candidate both published    in June 2015 and March 2018 respectively.

I am on my 67th read now according to Goodreads. I may be able  to  finish early  the reading challenge I set myself to do this year, that is reading 100 books until December.

Oh yes, I am so happy to have found a book of poems by E.E. Cummings. I have just started reading it, Selected Poems by E. E. Cummings. When I was in college, my colleagues at the library and I used to quote  his writings.  Our favorite lines are these:

“the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses”

“i carry your heart with me(i carry it in my heart”

“the most wasted of all days is one without laughter”

I am not really sure which poems carried these lovely words. We just loved them.

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It was one those lazy, lazy days. Yes I know, it’s just the start of March. Last January, I dreamed of  blogging every day but that’s not to be. There are days when  I can’t think of nothing to blog about. Ideas are hard to come by and a good content is not even in the offing.

I spent almost the whole day reading aside from an hour of loading the wash and ironing late in the afternoon.   For the last three days, I found two books that I rated five   stars and four stars  consecutively. One was entitled Summer At the Comfort Food Cafe by Debbie Johnson, my first book of the author.  It’s been sometime since I read a feel good story. Lovely characters, all of them.  It speaks about friendship, family relationships and love. It’s comfort at its best, a fantastic read. The other night I started on The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah.   I found the author some two or three years ago and I read a lot of her books.  The Great Alone is even lovelier than her famous The Nightingale.   This was set in the 1970’s. Alaska, a great and beautiful country  but has a harsh climate specially during winter. Winter lasts for six months and the sun shines for only six hours a day.  The wilderness, the beauty of it all. This is my 31st read this year.

I can’t help but write down some lovely quotes while reading it:

“Were you ever out in the Great Alone, 
when the moon was awful clear, 
And the icy mountains hemmed you in 
with a silence you most could hear; 
With only the howl of a timber wolf, and 
you camped there in the cold, 
A half-dead thing in a stark, dead world, 
clean mad for the muck called gold; 
While high overhead, green, yellow and 
red, the North Lights swept in bars?”

“Winter tightened its grip on Alaska. The vastness of the landscape dwindled down to the confines of their cabin. The sun rose at quarter past ten in the morning and set only fifteen minutes after the end of the school day. Less than six hours of light a day. Snow fell endlessly, blanketed everything. It piled up in drifts and spun its lace across windowpane, leaving them nothing to see except themselves. In the few daylight hours, the sky stretched gray overhead; some days there was merely the memory of light rather than any real glow. Wind scoured the landscape, cried out as if in pain.

 

I think I’ve reached another milestone in blogging.   I didn’t expect reaching more than 3,000  followers  since it is really not my number one priority. There are only a handful who regularly make comments and like my posts.  I am more into the number of visits the blog has garnered through the years.  The silent followers and visitors, those who  probably just read  one or two posts then move on. I don’t mind, what is important is  how one tries to reach out and  having  those wonderful visits  and followers is a bonus. Presently, I have  a total of 517,780  in my stats.

Blogging?  It is still a continuous fascination and joy for me. When my hands could no longer press the keyboard, when I could no longer think of something to write about, I’ll stop blogging. For now though, it’s still a GO 🙂

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Oh my, can’t believe this. I just finished my 14th book this 2018.  And I promised myself to finish a hundred books. Goodreads says I am 8 books ahead of schedule. Hooray!

The One Man by Andrew Gross.

It’s actually my first time to read an Andrew Gross book.   Back to the Holocaust and concentration camps.  Nazi persecution,  Auschwitz, gas chambers, murder of millions of Jews. It was a riveting read. Familiar story about WWII.  It is the first book I read this year with a five star.  That’s how much I enjoyed this book. Here’s a short summary  from Goodreads:

It’s 1944. Physics professor Alfred Mendel and his family are trying to flee Paris when they are caught and forced onto a train along with thousands of other Jewish families. At the other end of the long, torturous train ride, Alfred is separated from his family and sent to the men’s camp, where all of his belongings are tossed on a roaring fire. His books, his papers, his life’s work. The Nazis have no idea what they have just destroyed. And without that physical record, Alfred is one of only two people in the world with his particular knowledge. Knowledge that could start a war–or end it.

Nathan Blum works behind a desk at an intelligence office in Washington, DC, but he longs to contribute to the war effort in a more meaningful way, and he has a particular skill set the US suddenly needs. Nathan is fluent in German and Polish, and he proved his scrappiness at a young age when he escaped from the Krakow ghetto. Now the government wants him to take on the most dangerous assignment of his life: Nathan must sneak into Auschwitz on a mission to find and escape with one man.

More than 20 years ago, I discovered another writer and I read most of his books.  Leon Uris. Uris is American but his parents were Jewish  American. He writes  historical novels too, mostly about WWII and Poland.  Mila 18, QB VII and Trinity are my favorites.

Reading another Peter Mayle book at the moment.  Encore Provence, my third book of Peter Mayle.

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I can’t really believe he is gone  Peter Mayle, an author I discovered early  last year. He  was one of those authors that you would likely read again after reading one of his books.  I did.

I first read A Year In Provence, then the sequel Toujours  Provence  followed. Got this photo from his page at Facebook.

I wrote this very short review  (at Goodreads) when I finished reading A Year In Provence.  It is  a warm-hearted account of what Provencal life was like. I  actually rated it five-stars.

“Then you wish you had that glass of wine to go while reading this book. I am reminded of another book about country life in Italy with the book Under The Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes. People say that Provence is France’s Tuscany while Tuscany is Italy’s Provence.” 

Rest in peace.

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I think I need this for now…..

The Journey
 
One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice–
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
“Mend my life!”
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do–
determined to save
the only life you could save.
   – Mary Oliver
Mary Oliver is one of my favorite poets. I have two of her books. From time to time I visit her site to be updated.

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With nowhere to go but here, with nothing to do but open the one life we’re given, a journey begins in which we experience life rather than dreaming that we can escape it.
– The One Life We’re Given (Mark Nepo)

I’ve been following Mark  Nepo for quite a while now. He was recommended by a poet friend who loves his writings. I don’t have any of his books but I love reading his updates and quotes about his writings online. His site is a treasure trove of excellent and inspiring words.

Here’s one poem that I love. It is called  The Way Under The Way.  You can find him here.

For all that has been written,
for all that has been read, we
are led to this instant where one
of us will speak and one of us will
listen, as if no one has ever placed
an oar into that water.

It doesn’t matter how we come
to this. We may jump to it or be
worn to it. Because of great pain.
Or a sudden raw feeling that this
is all very real. It may happen in a
parking lot when we break the eggs
in the rain. Or watching each other
in our grief.

But here we will come. With very
little left in the way.

When we meet like this, I may not
have the words, so let me say it now:
Nothing compares to the sensation
of being alive in the company of
another. It is God breathing on
the embers of our soul.

Stripped of causes and plans
and things to strive for,
I have discovered everything
I could need or ask for
is right here—
in flawed abundance.

We cannot eliminate hunger,
but we can feed each other.
We cannot eliminate loneliness,
but we can hold each other.
We cannot eliminate pain,
but we can live a life
of compassion.

Ultimately,
we are small living things
awakened in the stream,
not gods who carve out rivers.

Like human fish,
we are asked to experience
meaning in the life that moves
through the gill of our heart.

There is nothing to do
and nowhere to go.
Accepting this,
we can do everything
and go anywhere.

 
 

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Honestly, I didn’t know there is such a thing as this. a special day celebrated for book lovers. All these years I was not aware of it until a friend on Facebook forwarded this lovely  photo from Chicken Soup for the Soul. It was celebrated yesterday. Today, in our country, it’s already August 10.

How nice to celebrate a special day for books and readers alike. I love this photo. it shows the beauty of having books around with maybe a hot cup of coffee or tea on a rainy day.

Cicero surely was thinking of me  🙂  when he said these words.  Garden and books, two things I both love.  How I wish I really have a small room for a library but all I have are several shelves for our accumulated books over the years. My daughter is a book nerd, she used to buy series of publications when she was here. I remember a complete set of the Harry Potter series, all hardbound copies which she reserved  at National Book Store when they were out in the market. I remember watching the movie adaptations with my kids.  Remember  Hunger Games, a trilogy of young adult dystopian novels written by the novelist Suzanne Collins? She also has hard-bound copies of  Stephanie Meyer’s books  Twilight. I haven’t read them, I am not fond of vampire stories and werewolves.

By the way, I am done with 145 books for my Goodreads’ 2017 Reading Challenge.  Five more books to go,  yahoo 🙂 I lately finished another memoir by Frances Mayes, author of the lovely book Under the Tuscan Sun . Under Magnolia is all about her coming of age, her growing up years in  Fitzgerald, Georgia. I love the photos inside the book.  It made me think of how she looked like when she was younger.

Though it’s late, I want to wish you all Happy Book Lovers Day.

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It’s a cloudy day for a Monday morning and it’s still dark outside. I hope I’ll be able to finish trimming our carabao grass this afternoon if it doesn’t rain.

I’ve browsed lately and read Lucy Torres’ articles  in the national daily Philippine Star.  She is a congresswoman from Ormoc City  in the south and a celebrity in her own right. She has a byline  almost every  Sunday and I read it online. I have read her  writings for a number of years  now and I like how she shares her life with her actor husband Richard Gomez and their only child Juliana. Time and again I’ll blog about her. I’ve found her old posts and she recommended a certain author by the name of Ruth  Reichl.  Ruth is an author on various books on food.  Lucy recommended  three of Ruth’s best-selling memoirs on food entitled  Tender at the Bone, Comfort Me With Apples and Garlic and Sapphires.  I read the summaries at Goodreads and all the three books have four stars each.  I wish I could find copies on my next foray at Booksale. I love memoirs.  I am presently reading another memoir of Francis Mayes called Under Magnolia. If you remember she is also the author of that lovely book Under The Tuscan Sun which was adapted into a film that I watched twice on tv.  I have several books on my  “currently reading list”. When I start one and couldn’t get into the story all that much, I look for another…haha!

Don’t you just love being curled under white sheets with a hot cup of coffee or tea while reading?  Don’t you just love finding titles and discovering new authors? Ah, the beauty of being a senior citizen, some wonderful days just spent reading and enjoying every minute.

What book is on your night table? Are you fond of reading too?

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Books and more books.

Just borrowed the title of Carlos Ruiz Zafón’s  book. An almost five hundred pages of engaging read. One of the best books I’ve read so far in this year’s challenge. It’s actually my first book of Carlos Ruiz Zafón.

I’ve heard of this Spanish novelist in one of our book club’s discussions but didn’t try to find a copy since I had so many TBR books at hand. Finally, I found time to make it as one of the priorities in my reading. It’ my 105th book  read this year. Forty five  more books to go until December and I’ll be able to complete Goodreads’ 2017 Reading Challenge.

I didn’t know what to expect of this book but it was all about antiquated books and libraries which are subjects dear to my heart. Like my other book reviews, I won’t even attempt to summarize the story here, it’s  for other readers to find out. Suffice to say, I enjoyed every page although it took me almost three days of on and off reading to finish it.  It’s worth every minute.  There are three books actually in this series and  this is the first one. I wonder if  I could find the other two.

As usual, I set aside gardening and blogging for two days while I tried to finish the book. Often, in most lovely books,  a book review would not be complete without Good quotes.

“So long as we are being remembered, we remain alive.”

“Fools talk, cowards are silent, wise men listen.”
“People tend to complicate their own lives, as if living weren’t already complicated enough.”
“Once, in my father’s bookshop, I heard a regular customer say that few things leave a deeper mark on a reader than the first book that finds its way into his heart. Those first images, the echo of words we think we have left behind, accompany us throughout our lives and sculpt a palace in our memory to which, sooner or later—no matter how many books we read, how many worlds we discover, or how much we learn or forget—we will return.”
I just started with a book called The Memory Child by Steena Holmes, another first on my list. What are you reading?

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