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Archive for the ‘literature and Fiction’ Category


PAGASA has finally declared officially yesterday that we are now into summer. They say that we really don’t have summer because we only have two seasons of the year, the dry and the wet. People got used though to calling the dry days and months summer here. It would lasts until probably the last week of May when thunderstorms in the afternoon are regular occurrence.  It is not yet that hot within the day but there are almost no clouds in the sky. For those of us who love the beach, it’s time for that much-needed dip. Just don’t forget to have sunblock in your bag. Days would be longer than nights.

Finally too, I am almost done with my gardening job – trimming the grass, weeding and replanting some of my ornamental plants.  I haven’t touched  anything outside our perimeter wall yet but I guess, the weeds outside our fence need to be uprooted too. They are growing  tall and unmanageable.  Our Santan  plants need trimming too. That would have to be postponed for a while because they are presently in bloom. I love those red flowers, they are lovely under the sun.

I haven’t blogged for two days but I noticed the decline in my views yesterday. It’s down to a little over a hundred compared to the previous five days before that where it reached more than two hundred a day. I remember that those times when I blogged every  day were the same days that my stats went  up. Really, we are only good as our last post although I noticed  that there are some posts that always stay at the top.  I have some favorites but they are no longer viewed now.  I guess participating in writing one post a day really helps. Back in 2011, I did that but it was never repeated. It was  kind of taxing thinking of what to write about every day for the entire year. Maybe in the future I’ll do it again.

I’ve put aside reading for the last three days but I am trying to catch up again with Lang Leav’s poems and Mary Oliver’s thoughts mixed with my fiction books.  It is always nice to get to know other people’s thoughts and dreams. I am inspired by their writings. Sometimes I  wonder where they get all the inspirations to write those lovely texts. I am envious.  I’ve been an admirer of  Mary Oliver for so long but I only have two of her books. A friend bought me a copy of Upstream,  (my 3rd one) her latest but we haven’t seen each other yet.  I read the reviews of the book, read some excerpts from it and I am really looking forward to have that book on hand.  I follow her on Facebook that is why I am updated.  I like almost all of her poems but this one is a favorite. Would love to share it you.  It’s called 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.”

It is summer now, let me correct that, it’s the beginning of the dry season here.  Would just love to enjoy the sun  and reading.

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Hello!

I went back to my internist after a month of taking medications for high BP and elevated sugar. Although my sugar level has gone back to normal, he prescribed same medicines for at least two months more. I have to go back there in a week or two  because he is monitoring my blood pressure which always has a tendency to go up. I am not stressed but I wonder why my BP is always on the rise. I relax by reading, gardening and yes updating this blog and reading other blog posts. I discovered new ones which I recently followed. They have nice  and lovely photography blogs.

For the past week, I’ve been reading e-books. I recently discovered this author Elizabeth Cox. She has written several books but this is my first time to read one of them. A Question of Mercy really made me cry. It’s a story of a  mentally disabled young man and his teenage step-sister. His family love him but he was misunderstood by many of their neighbors until the former decided that he undergo sterilization and lobotomy in a state-supported asylum. The day before he was due for the operation, he was found dead in a river near their place. The cover made me decide to try this one. The lush landscape of North Carolina was vividly described in the story.  You can’t put a price in the love  of family. It should always come first, shouldn’t it?

It’s nice to be back reading e-books again. It took me a long time to appreciate e-books because there is nothing like holding a real book in your hands. I got used to it eventually.  Lately, I’ve been reading books by Australian authors.  Done with 56 books, 31 % of my reading challenge.

How was your weekend? Have a nice and beautiful Tuesday everyone.

 

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This is my 3rd blog post for this month. Hopefully I would be able to  make one every day. Wishful thinking so to speak.

For the past month and the past few days, my blog post Another Year To Be Thankful For has been on my most read blog, I don’t know why. Maybe it got stuck there for a time but it earned the usual number of visits. It was my birthday post more than three years ago.  Just a simple thank you to all those who made my birthday a lovely one.

a-man-called-oveI am about to finish the book A Man Called Ove.  It is the story of a retired man who is disgruntled about life in general. He could be your typical grandfather or your neighbor.Deep within with his close friends and loved ones, he is a softie.I found out that it was adapted into a movie  but I am not sure if it is as good as the book.  I think this is one of my favorite books for this challenge, so far that is. I may encounter more along the way but this book is so good. What an excellent writing  a different kind of reading altogether. The author is Fredrik Backman from Stockholm, Sweden. The book is  one of Sweden’s most popular literary exports.  Find out for yourself, if you haven’t read it yet.

Yesterday, we celebrated Ash Wednesday. Went to mass early for the imposition of the ashes. It was a day of fasting and abstinence for those reaching 14 to 59 and a day of abstinence  beyond that.  Ash  Wednesday is the beginning of Lent in the Catholic church’s liturgical calendar.  My co-admins and I are busy at the Catholic page which we maintain at Facebook. These are those times that we could share lots of reflections, news and anything about Catholicism.

Thank you WordPress for the nice numbers. Thank you blogger friends for always commenting and liking my posts.  Love you all.

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I know, I know. I am trying to get into the mood of writing a blog post again. It’s really been a while. I am excited to get back but when you haven’t written something for quite a long time, its hard to get back all over again. And I really mean one week without a post is like a month for me.

I was again engrossed reading instead. Quiet days, quiet nights without the internet. Opps, one can do it  but I miss writing my thoughts here.  Have I told you that I have advanced reading 17 books? Yes, I have finished reading 35 books in all as of today, a little over  23%  of my committed 150 book reads, It is nice to read a series  again for  a change. I could not find the latest books though. I tried looking for them online but I could not find them.  Susan Rodgers is one of my favorites now. I am planning to reread the saga of Diana Gabaldon. I have several books of hers, some I haven’t started yet. Maybe one of these days I will.

Went back for more laboratory tests. I have to consult my doctor  in a week.  My blood sugar level has significantly gone down but  I still have high blood pressure. Hopefully, this would correct after I have taken several medications. It’s quite hard when you are not 100% fit to do the daily chores you have to meet at home.

I miss blogging, who doesn’t? It’s wonderful to know that slowly my number of followers is building up and my stats  is on a steady climb. I must admit that when you don’t blog regularly, you also lose some friends who follow your blog.  Sorry folks, same old sour grapes all over again.  You are all important to me.

This coming Saturday, there is another reunion  for our old buddies at the bank where I used to  work. Most of us have left and retired but some are still working there. I miss them although we get in touch through social media. It’s a bit different when you see each other personally and make “kumustahans”.

Getting back in, quite a hard task really.

 

 

 

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13158800Beautiful. Magnificent story. One of the best reads for my 2016 challenge. It was Goodread’s Choice 2012 winner and I didn’t know it was recently adapted into film until I finished reading it a few minutes ago. Read some reviews, some are the same as I felt in the middle of reading the book….I cried at the last few pages. I watched the 3-minute trailer on YouTube..wow! The ocean lighted by that lone lighthouse was lovely. I have always admired seeing lighthouses from a distance but I have never seen one lighted at night.

This is my 96th book for this year, four more to go and I am done. I am thinking of rereading The Godfather by Mario Puzo, getting a start at Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak (there is a full movie adaptation on YouTube) and maybe another inspiring book by Alicia Ruggerie, if I could find one.

“There are still more days to travel in this life. And he knows that the man who makes the journey has been shaped by every day and every person along the way. Scars are just another kind of memory….Soon enough the days will close over their lives, the grass will grow over their graves, until their story is just an unvisited headstone.”

“Sometimes life turns out hard. Sometimes it just bites right through you. And sometimes, just when you think it’s done its worst, it comes back and takes another chunk.”

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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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