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Archive for the ‘reading’ Category


We are almost in the middle of the month and before we know it, January is gone.

Oh my, I missed this blog for three days. Kind of not inspired enough to blog. And to my blogger friends, I am sorry for not even commenting on your posts. Trying to catch up.

I joined Goodreads Reading Challenge again this year. I committed myself to read another 100 books. It is really a challenge for me finishing that much for the year. Started with a historical novel, two books which are some kind of a series, a paranormal story and a thriller and courtroom scenes by Connelly. I found a book about dogs too. The cover was just too tempting because the pictures looks like our dog Noki. It’s my sixth read.

How are you getting along with this Covid environment? Funny how the department of health prefers the vaccine from china which is more expensive and not as effective. They are letting the local governments procure their own and the latter prefer Pfizer. I wonder if they’ll have enough facilities to restore those vaccines.

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The bond between two sisters broken by circumstances beyond their control.

Beautiful.

The sounds, the smells and all textures come into play.

And I wonder why I shelved this for a while in favor of another book which I read in one day.

Renita D’ Silva is quite new in the league of  new authors that I follow. I don’t normally summarize the story when I review a book. Suffice to say, it was told in a perspective of both sisters when they were growing up. They had alternating narratives.  I had another glimpse of India, how the poor struggle to make both ends meet, how arranged marriages are made and such.  D’Silva tells the story in such a way that the words are pure bliss, how poetic. I am posting some excerpts here close to the end of the beautiful book.

“And seeing her son encircled in her sister’s arms, Puja, for the first time in twenty years, gets a glimpse into a future that is unburdened by the follies of the past, but lifted up on the tentative wings of optimism, bright as light percolating into an overcast day and feeding it the promise of the brilliance to come. She breathes in deeply and tastes buoyancy, the soft pink of a tender bloom unfurling cautiously in the caress of spring.”

“We are only human in the end.”

“We waste the little time we are given in this world on immaterial things, not the things that really matter. And then, when it is far too late, we long for one more moment together, a moment which, if bestowed, we will draw out and treasure, a moment in which we will say all those things left unsaid, a moment into which we will cram a lifetime’s worth of good times.” 

I seldom give 5 stars to a book but this is one of them. Wow, 27 books ahead of schedule.

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I spent some time in the garden early this morning. Removed the old and dried Zinnia together with my drying Four O’clock.  They have self-propagated, small seedlings that don’t need replanting. A few more mornings then I’ll be able to finish pruning and weeding too. Such a hard job but it has to be done.

Aren’t I lucky? I tried searching for John O’Donohue’s website on Facebook and what do you know, I finally found one and some of his writings are posted there. The page is maintained by the Director of John’s Literary Estate, Ann Cahill, in partnership with the O’Donohue Family. Beautiful! I won’t need to go to other sites except to his home page.

It is more complete and is being managed by his brother. Wow, I am enamored by  his words. Echoes of the past that create beautiful and lovely memories of the author.  You look behind and you look back and it seems like one does not really goes away but he stays because of his words. This is what we experience when we find something wonderful like a good book that lets you live and visit the places  with the author. Such thrilling adventures created by words alone.

Another author whose words touch my soul is Mary Oliver. Like O’Donohue, she left some wonderful works of art in her books of poems. She died last year. And this reminds me of another favorite author whom I discovered  a  few years ago and like Oliver and O’Donohue,  Peter Mayle died two years ago. And they have something in common, they all passed away in the month of January.  They were all gifted writers.

I am on my 94th read on Goodreads 2020 Reading challenge. Another lovely book I found  about India.

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It was first published 98 years ago long before our time. I remember my uncle who was our teacher in our place in the province in Grade 3 and Grade 4  (yes, they handled two classes back then) who usually read this during lunch break in our place. He would leave it for us to browse (I was not that interested then) and see all those ads in between.  I was already in college working as a student librarian when I got interested reading Reader’s Digest.

Points to Ponder, Laughter’s The Best Medicine, Life Like That, All In The Day’s Work, Quotes, Word Power.  I could still remember all these until now. I used to buy one when we went grocery shopping until it became so thin and eventually stopped. I didn’t know the exact date. Until now, I still have those hardbound and condensed copies of  Reader’s Digest books (usually four books in one) which I bought at Booksale years ago.

Memories of old, one reminisces with a smile.

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Yeay, seems like my reading has taken a back seat.  Though I still enjoy it, I am now more focused on the latest news and sometimes watch senseless (at least to me) hearings  of the the Dept. of Health. This is another good for nothing secretary out there who used to say in the first few days of when news broke out about the coronavirus that it was not yet time to concern ourselves about it.  This time it seems that they can’t explain to the public how they would deal with this virus. Come to think of it, we don’t even have testing kits. Pathetic!  And duterte surfaced yesterday after a five-day absence, surfaces as a medical expert and seer saying it will die a natural death. Then we learned about the fatality and he said “there is a shortage of face masks because there is a virus outbreak. if there is no virus outbreak,  there would be no shortage of face masks”. Few kind words from a “supposed” head of the nation (sarcasm there).They keep defending their good friend china to the detriment of our own countrymen. They are still playing politics.

I reread another children’s book last night for the nth time in between my regular reads. The magic is still there after all these years. Charlotte’s Web and The Velveteen Rabbit  belong to my favorite books. A few weeks ago. I got hold of Shel Silverstein’s The Giving Tree, it is a very short story written with illustrations about a little boy and an apple tree. I love it too.

I am presently reading A Hundred Little Flames. The author, Preeti Shenoy is Indian, her work has been translated to many languages. There are several Indian bloggers here that I follow and one of them always features the beauty of Kerala which is one of the places described in the book. It is nice to  learn another culture through books and blogs.  A lovely way to know something beyond the border…..beautiful.

 

 

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Take a guess!

I promised myself to blog every day at least during the month of January and I did until the other day.

Bam!

I missed one yesterday. I was again sidetracked reading new books for my Goodreads’ 2020 Reading Challenge. As I have said in one of my previous blogs, I want to read at least 100 books this year, perhaps a far cry from the 150 books I read last year. I am choosing what to read first, start the year right by inspiring myself in the process.

The Law of Moses by Amy Harmon.

Started reading Amy Harmon last year and I am quite surprised about her books. This is my fifth book of Amy Harmon, different subjects except for the two books done in two series. A unique, powerful, intense and emotional story about an abandoned baby who grew up to be an artist and a girl who believed in him despite the odds. A story of before and after, of new beginnings and happy endings. I ‘d like to think this is a love story but there is more to it than just cuddles and kisses, it will tug at your heartstrings. Moses, someone you’ll probably hate in the middle of the story but those redeeming qualities show in the end. Georgia, love her character and her strength, a forgiving soul who just loved.

Noel Street by Richard Paul Evans

Perhaps you’ve read a lot about him here before. He is one of my favorite authors. This is his latest book given by a friend last week. It is the third book in the Noel Collection. Luckily, I have all three. It was just published last November 2019.

How’s this for a start?

Every story is a road. And on all roads there are potholes and bumps, detours and unexpected encounters.

I love those quote in every chapter of the book. It’s another Christmas book. The story line maybe predictable but it was a good read. Done reading it in one day.

Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

My first book about nature and the first novel by Delia Owens. She writes non-fiction and is a nature writer. I wonder why some readers at Goodreads are not so impressed by her writing. I was though. A coming-of-age and a possible murder. I love the court scenes. I always loved court scenes in books I have previously read. It’s 2018 Goodreads Award Nominee for historical fiction.

Some quotes I like here:

“His dad had told him many times that the definition of a real man is one who cries without shame, reads poetry with his heart, feels opera in his soul, and does what’s necessary to defend a woman.”

“Autumn leaves don’t fall, they fly. They take their time and wander on this their only chance to soar.”

“Most of what she knew, she’d learned from the wild. Nature had nurtured, tutored, and protected her when no one else would. If consequences resulted from her behaving differently then they too were functions of life’s fundamental core.”

Would you believe, I gave the three of these books four stars?

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Don’t look now but I just joined Goodreads’ 2020 Reading Challenge. Lessened the books to 100 for the year. I am not a fast reader anymore.

culled from someecards

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Know why I haven’t been posting lately? I am trying to get done with my challenge at Goodreads for this year, a total of 120 books, much less compared to the years before.

I make it a point to include at least one or two classics in every reading challenge that I do every year. I reread Pride and Prejudice at the start of the challenge  and this would be my second book this year. I’m done with an eclectic mix of YA books, historical novels, fiction, a couple of  memoirs, another book by Nora Ephron called I  Remember Nothing, Michelle Obama’s Becoming, three books about Korea and two poetry books of my beloved author Mary Oliver, Upstream and Devotions. 

To think that the title David Copperfield was quite familiar to me since I was in high school but I never got the chance to read it.  This time it has pride of number  as my 118th read this year.

It was first published in 1849 and is quite long with 882 pages, an equivalent of  two books averaging more than 400 pages. I am giving myself the challenge to finish a well-known and a long classic story. According to some reviews, it has  autobiographical elements about Charles Dickens’ life.

The last two books would probably be Eve by William Paul Young and  Finishing Touches by Patricia Scanlan.  This would be my second book of Young, the first one being The Shack which I enjoyed a few years ago. After these, I’ll be free to choose those short fiction and other historical novels.

What have you been reading lately?

 

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My gosh, I got so engrossed reading another book about Korea that I only opened my WordPress blog for a few minutes this morning.

It’s North  Korea this time. It’s entitled Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives In North Korea by Barbara Demick.

Nothing To Envy follows the lives of six North Koreans over fifteen years—a chaotic period that saw the death of Kim Il-sung, the unchallenged rise to power of his son Kim Jong-il, and the devastation of a far-ranging famine that killed one-fifth of the population. 

By the way, Kim Jong-un became the supreme leader of North Korea in 2011, succeeding his father Kim Jong-il.

The book speaks from the eyes of defectors who are now living in South Korea or China.  Getting a look inside this closed country, seeing the outside world though the eyes of those who escaped. If Pachinko was a riveting tale of how Korea was before the country’s division and during the Japanese Occupation, in this book you get to see how  people lived in North Korea when it was finally divided. It’s like a continuation of where Pachinko left off.

Here’s how the author described a world of those who were indoctrinated since birth.

“North Korea invites parody. We laugh at the excesses of the propaganda and the gullibility of the people. But consider that their indoctrination began in infancy, during the fourteen-hour days spent in factory day-care centers; that for the subsequent fifty years, every song, film, newspaper article, and billboard was designed to deify Kim Il-sung; that the country was hermetically sealed to keep out anything that might cast doubt on Kim Il-sung’s divinity. Who could possibly resist?”

I haven’t actually finished the book yet but it is even more interesting and riveting than the previous book I read about the country.

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“You can find magic wherever you look.  Sit back and relax, all you need is a book!” – Dr. Seuss

Nissa said:  “So nice to see you interested in reading and bringing your book everywhere – and a real novel at that, not a picture book. We’ll make a bookworm out of you yet”.

I was so curious so I asked what book it is.

She answered: ” The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer Holm”

Wow 🙂

Way to go Nate. I’ll buy you more books when you grow up. Read the one I gave you too, the one entitled Stuart Little. 

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