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Good morning everyone! Can’t believe April is almost over. Today is April 24th.

The last time I wrote a post here was three days ago. I deliberately didn’t write one because I was trying to finish a lovely and interesting memoir on Rome by no less than the gifted author of All The Light You Cannot See which I read three years ago.  I’ve been looking for  another book of Anthony Doerr since All The Light We Cannot See, winner of the Pulitzer Prize, a New York Times Book Review Top Ten Book, National Book Award finalist, more than two and a half years on the New York Times bestseller list. It was Goodreads’ choice winner for 2014.

Two days ago, I found one. Four Seasons in Rome is a lovely narrative on how he and his family spent a year in Rome, He knew nothing about the Italian way of life,  just simple words by way of greeting.  They were there when his twins turned one and then wrote  something about the crowd  at St. Peter’s  Square  when  St. Pope John Paul II died last April 02, 2005.  He was there when a new pope,  Pope Benedict was chosen to succeed JP II.

I love the way he described every places they have been too, the smell of pizza and cheese, the daily grind in the city.  And for each season, more adjustments too. I am reminded of another memoir  by another  author Peter Mayle who recently died. He wrote about Provence and its food and the daily life there. Anthony Doerr wrote about being a parent of twins,  the sleepless nights he suffered, the encounter with so many people who didn’t speak English.

I wish I could find more of his books in the future.

 

 

 

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Took care of our latest family member throughout the day.  He played with his  little pillow, balls and sat on my lap while I was checking my accounts online and while reading.  I laughed when he saw his image in front of our full-length mirror and he kept on barking. He must have thought there was another puppy looking at him.

Strange, I seemed to have picked up two books in a row all about India.  The Girl From The Tea Garden  was about the life of an Anglo-Indian girl who grew up in 1930’s.

The story revolved  on how she struggled with life  away from home without her family coming back  at the height of WW II to find her true love.   Learning about how tea is prepared, how  Indian summer feels like.

Janet MacLeod Trotter is quite new in my list of authors.  She has several books about India and this one is  part of a series.

Camron Wright is the author of The Orphan Caretaker.   I am almost done with this book.

Learning  more about Indian culture and traditions. The only thing familiar to me are the chicken masala  and samosa. Years ago, I received a big jar of Masala from a friend whose family stayed in Rome for decades.

Couldn’t put down the book, it is based on a true story. An Indian boy abducted from his home and adopted by an American family. He learned  the American way of life but still kept wondering about his Indian roots. It is also my first time to read a book by Camron Wright, an American  author whose genre is Historical Fiction and yes, Literature and Fiction too.  You can’t help but be touched by the story.

“We don’t use knives and forks,” Pranay replied, leaning forward, “because we are not at war with our food. We don’t need weapons. We have learned it is better to surrender to the flavors, to caress and embrace them. You see, eating for Indians is a passionate affair. Picking up the food with our fingers evokes a closeness, a feeling of warmth, a connection. It would all be lost if we started stabbing and cutting.”

Is this still done until now?  Wikipedia says that:  “The  etiquette of Indian dining varies with the region in India.  Typically, both in urban and rural settings, Indians wash their hands thoroughly prior to dining, then eat with their fingers, without any cutlery. This practice is historic and based  on the cultural premise that eating is a sensual activity, and touch is part of the experience along with the taste, aroma of the food, and its presentation such as on a Thali, or on a large plate made from washed banana leaf, or stitched and washed leaves.”

Some people do  it in informal  occasions here. they call it boodle fight where the food is piled on top of  banana leaves with rice at the center. The food is laid on long tables. A military style of eating,  a symbol of brotherhood and equality among Filipino military by sharing the same food without regard to rank.  They also call it “kamayan” style of eating.

 

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Call me a book addict or a bookworm  or the more high-sounding word bibliophile but I just love books.  Take that to mean a new book with the dust jacket still on, a second-hand find from a Booksale store, an e-book   on my tab or just about anything that spells b-o-o-k. 

I’ve just finished my 18th book this year  (according to Goodreads where I have a virtual library) last night.  And it is a story about books and maintaining a bookshop. I had a good laugh reading it and enjoyed all the lovely and inspirational  book quotes written there.

My tab with Nate’s photo as a screen saver.

Sometimes I forget to jot them down but I go back and write them in my new journal.  It is always nice to read words that take you to another place, another time  and experiences.  My reading  genre is an eclectic mix of cook books, memoirs, poems, historical novels, classic books and fiction.  Sometimes I feel as if I am the main character in the story.  When you experience the triumphs, the fears, the disappointments and the  happy moments, it means that you are into the story.

I am into my fourth journal of quotes from most of the books I’ve read in the past. I feel energized reading these inspiring and motivational words from different authors.

Don’t you just love the smell of new books or the  excitement of finding something on your wish list?   Don’t you just love that pile of TBRs on your night table?

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Just done reading a book by David Baldacci. It’s been on my TBR list for almost two months before I picked it up again. I was distracted by other books and new authors.

This is quite different  from the usual genre that Baldacci writes about. If you are used to the thrillers that he churns out,  One Summer is a story of a family struggling with being together after the mother dies in a car accident.  The pain of losing a wife, the adjustments one has to make  having the kids around, the daily battle with longing and missing a much-loved family member.  This is not as touching as the stories woven by Nicholas Sparks or Richard Paul Evans. It is a light read though.

This is my fifth read and Goodreads says I am three books ahead of schedule. I am still on the look out for classics.  In the meantime, I’ll make do with historical fiction.

Are you on Goodreads? Did you join the challenge for this year?

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Started the year with a well-loved classic, Little Women by Louisa May  Alcott. Wow, 150 years into its first publication. I’ve seen several volumes of this  book when  I worked at the  UST library as a student librarian way back in the seventies but I was never inclined to read it. There were so many choices then.

I am hoping I would enjoy reading it as much as those who have rated it five stars on Goodreads.  I am not really influenced by five-star rating, I’d rather explore it on my own but sometimes it helps one decide what to read next.  I have discovered so many talented and gifted  contemporary authors through this medium.  Maybe one of these days, I would re-read more of the Brontë sisters,  Charlotte’s Jane Eyre and Emily’s Wuthering Heights.  I have two books of the latter and an old copy of the former.

 

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This would probably be my last post for 2017. And you guess it right. It is about books.

Last January, I joined Goodreads’ 2017 Reading Challenge and I committed to read 150 books till the end of this year which is today. I finished the challenge though sometime last October and went on to continue reading. It was an eclectic mix of reading genre – from YA books to fiction, memoirs, classics, Psychology and a couple of self-help books.  Goodreads has this to say:

Congrats!

You have read 207 books of your goal of 150!  207/150 (138%) 

I found lots of new authors  too.  Discovering their works  is such a thrill and reading them are so inspiring.  A few days ago, I  found a new author  named Julie Cantrell.  Julie Cantrell is an award-winning New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, teacher, and speaker. She is into fiction, contemporary and spirituality. Her first book which I was lucky to find was Into The Free. It was set  in  depression-era Mississippi in the middle of the 1930’s.  It is a beautiful story of survival, family relationships and redemption. The book was full of  inspiring Biblical quotes.  There is book number two entitled When Mountains Move.  It is just as good if not better than the first book. I am still in the middle of it. Maybe it would be a continuation  to my reading list come 2018. I intend to join the 2018 challenge in a few days. Maybe I would lessen my goal and concentrate more on classic books that I haven’t  read yet if I can find them at a lower price in bookstores.

I can’t give up reading. There will always be a room in my life for it.

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The sky is dotted with grey clouds. I can’t understand this kind of weather. It’s been raining on and off since the start of December. There are times when one o’clock  in the afternoon looks like six in the  evening. That’s how dark it goes sometimes.

It’s been raining since noon today, that kind that stays for a few hours and you won’t want to get out of the house. Nursing your coffee mug, trying to start another  suspense thriller on your tab.  One feels a little lazy  and lethargic.

Three days ago, I found a copy of Paula Hawkins’s second book called Into The Water.  Goodreads  Choice Award 2017 winner under the mystery and thriller category. Back in 2015, her first book The Girl On the Train also won in the same group. I can’t help but compare  her second book to the first one. I actually gave them both three-stars but I like the first one better.  I got confused at first while reading the first few chapters of Into The Water. So many characters,   it’s a compelling read though – mysterious, eerie and full of suspense. I didn’t expect the ending.  I just started on the  Missing Child by Patricia  MacDonald. It’s my first book of this particular author, another suspense and  mystery thriller. The first few chapters are fast-paced, that kind that you would want to pick up again after setting it aside for an hour or two.  It is my 199th read on Goodreads this year. I finished my 150-book challenge  2017 the last week of October and continued on. So many books, so many stories to read, so many talented authors to discover. I guess this is the year that I  found so many authors but they were  not in my bucket list.  Mary Oliver’s poems come in handy when I am feeling low. I always find her works so uplifting.  I wish I could find some of her books here. I think National Book Store does not carry this author. I do read some of her works online though.

Books are the easiest companions you can ever have, they don’t complain, they don’t get mad, they just wait in a corner until you  have the time to hold them again.

What have you been reading lately?

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