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I recently visited (crossover, hahaha) some blogs at Blogger where I follow some Filipino book bloggers who also belong to my book club, Flips Flipping Pages. Most of them are not my friends but their blog posts about books are a joy to read. For the past six or seven years, I haven’t attended their monthly discussion but I get updated through FFP’s page on Facebook.  Then I saw this list somewhere, BBC’s top 100 books you have to read before you die. I wonder why there is that phrase “before you die”, I am not in a hurry to read books just because it is a must to read them before you take your last breath.  I read books because they give me that endless joy and discovery about other people and other places. I’ve seen similar list of places you have to visit before you die.  I think this is BBC’s latest list because prior to this they have included the titles of the seven Harry Potter books.  Blame it on how curious I am if  I made a dent on their list. Twenty seven books and if I were to add the other six books of JK Rowling which they have listed as a series, that would be 33 total. Not bad, not bad at all. Here’s the list I copied from a site (I could not remember now) on BBC’s top 100.  Some books I have highlighted are mine and some were borrowed from the UST Library and read them when I was still in college. Harry Potter’s hardbound copies are Nissa’s collections.

1. Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen

2. The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien

3. Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte

4. Harry Potter series – JK Rowling

5. To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee

6. The Bible (still reading it daily)

7. Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte

8. Nineteen Eighty Four – George Orwell

9. His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman

10. Great Expectations – Charles Dickens

11. Little Women – Louisa M Alcott – on my TBR list

12. Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy

13. Catch 22 – Joseph Heller

14. Complete Works of Shakespeare

15. Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier

16. The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien

17. Birdsong – Sebastian Faulk

18. Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger

19. The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger

20. Middlemarch – George Eliot

21. Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell

22. The Great Gatsby – F Scott Fitzgerald – on my TBR list

24. War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy – on my TBR list

25. The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams

27. Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

28. Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck

29. Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Caroll

30. The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame

31. Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy – in the middle of reading it

32. David Copperfield – Charles Dickens

33. Chronicles of Narnia – CS Lewis

34. Emma -Jane Austen

35. Persuasion – Jane Austen

36. The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe – CS Lewis

37. The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini

38. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Bernieres

39. Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden

40. Winnie the Pooh – A.A. Milne

41. Animal Farm – George Orwell

42. The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown

43. One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez

44. A Prayer for Owen Meaney – John Irving – on my TBR list

45. The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins

46. Anne of Green Gables – LM Montgomery – read three volumes

47. Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy

48. The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood

49. Lord of the Flies – William Golding – on my TBR list

50. Atonement – Ian McEwan  – couldn’t get further than chapter 2

51. Life of Pi – Yann Martel – watched the movie adaptation and was not inclined to read it

52. Dune – Frank Herbert

53. Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons

54. Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen

55. A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth

56. The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon – on my TBR list

57. A Tale Of Two Cities – Charles Dickens

58. Brave New World – Aldous Huxley

59. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon

60. Love In The Time Of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez

61. Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck

62. Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov

63. The Secret History – Donna Tartt

64. The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold

65. Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas

66. On the Road – Jack Kerouac

67. Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy

68. Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding

69. Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie

70. Moby Dick – Herman Melville

71. Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens

72. Dracula – Bram Stoker – haven’t finished reading it yet

73. The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett

74. Notes From A Small Island – Bill Bryson

75. Ulysses – James Joyce

76. The Inferno – Dante

77. Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome

78. Germinal – Emile Zola

79. Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray

80. Possession – AS Byatt

81. A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens

82. Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell

83. The Color Purple – Alice Walker

84. The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro

85. Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert

86. A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry

87. Charlotte’s Web – E.B. White

88. The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Albom – on my TBR list

89. Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

90. The Faraway Tree Collection – Enid Blyton

91. Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad

92. The Little Prince – Antoine De Saint-Exupery (In French)

– read it several times but not in French

93. The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks

94. Watership Down – Richard Adams

95. A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole

96. A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute

97. The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas

98. Hamlet – William Shakespeare

99. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl

100. Les Miserables – Victor Hugo

If you ask me,  I would not even include Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code on the list and Alice Sebold’s The Lovely Bones would not even make it to the top 500 but that’s me talking.

How many books have you read on this list?


Yesterday,  I experienced the slowest connection to our internet browsers. Tried Chromium, Opera and Mozilla Firefox without success. Lately, I’ve noticed the so-slow connection while browsing and it sort of gave up on me yesterday. Josef has to back up all my files to my hard-drive and he made a clean slate of our Windows and re-install everything but the problem was since the connection was too slow, he could not install new browsers to my PC. I tried it a few minutes ago and surprisingly,Windows explorer was a bit fast compared to last night.  I’ve been using my tab to visit Facebook and WordPress but it was kind of weird typing on a smaller gadget compared to my 16″ Ganzklar screen.

I tried installing the latest version of Mozilla Firefox and what do you know – success! Can’t help that smile on my face. Browsing now is a bit faster than before and since almost all files on my documents were empty, there is no reason why it should not be.  I am afraid to install  the Zoom Browser EX of my Canon camera though since I am not familiar with it. I guess I have to use my hard-drive to browse those saved photos for my blog.

Electronic gadgets and such –  sometimes it makes us insecure that we could not access social media and be updated on what’s happening around. They have become such a necessity instead of being just lucky that we have them for daily use at all hours of the day.

I am one of those who read news online. I react (silently in front of my PC) when I read those dreadful and nasty comments from netizens  who won’t think twice in lambasting a particular would-be candidate for the 2016 presidential election. It’s something like getting the pulse of everyone who has internet access. I hope their complaints and shocking comments would translate to a vote for someone who spells good governance, not corrupt, and has the good of the entire country in his/her agenda. I miss those previous election periods where every candidate are required to have public debates on television and show their platforms of government. Let’s see how the Filipino electorate have grown in their choices and let those voices translate to a clean and honest election. I hope we will all learn from our mistakes in the past.

I am digressing again. Just happy to tell you internet access is quite good now :)

A Reminder Of Summer


canvas

It rains every day now

and seeing these late Gardenia blooms reminds me of summer,

those days of lovely sunrise and sunset.

Life is good.

Life is wonderful.

And I always remind myself to take time and appreciate what nature brings.


The other day, a friend who is a newly qualified teacher sent me a message looking for a poem All I Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten.  She needs it in her value education class in a public school. I told her it is not really a poem but a title of a book by Robert Fulghum, a summary of life’s little treasures that made a big impact on me when I read it several years ago. It’s actually my first encounter with Robert Fulghum. I was lucky enough to find three more of his books and they have pride of place in my bookshelves.  I thought we all need to be reminded of those things our parents and our teachers taught us when we were kids, practical tips that still hold true until now. It all boils down to the basics, right? It’s the Golden Rule summed up in a few words.

Share everything.
Play fair.
Don’t hit people.
Put things back where you found them.
Clean up your own mess.
Don’t take things that aren’t yours.
Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody.
Wash your hands before you eat.
Flush.
Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.

Live a balanced life – learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.

Take a nap every afternoon.

When you go out into the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands, and stick together.

Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup – they all die. So do we.

And it is still true, no matter how old you are – when you go out into the world, it is best to hold hands and stick together.

Living a balanced life – it’s all work and no play so they say. We are all engrossed and so busy with work that we sometimes forget to relax and feed our minds and our hearts with activities that make us happy. We are so busy living a life (the way we want and understand it) that we forget the passing years not knowing how to smell the flowers, how to appreciate nature at its best, how to just be.  You would think that is easier said than done and it’s true that in this busy cosmos of life, you will just be surprised that you’ve grown old, with white hairs slowly showing and you ask yourself, “Where have all the years gone?”  Then you dream of those things that you wanted to do when you were young.

Life is short and the untrodden paths are sometimes the best way to see what is on the other side. Your attitude towards any situation would always make a difference.

“It doesn’t matter what you say you believe – it only matters what you do.”


It’s 3:45 am  on a Monday morning.

One feels that inner peace and quiet at this time of the morning.  I’ve been awake since 3am. My eyes got used to waking up early again. It’s nice to sit here in front of my PC  while having a hot cup of coffee.  Drinking coffee has become a temptation again. Argh!

I’ve just checked my stats and I was surprised to see these figures – 346,061. It may not be that significant to other bloggers but it matters a lot to me. I haven’t been posting regularly like I used to, sometimes once or twice a week is enough but I am grateful to my loyal readers who still visit and read my older posts. It’s been six years and one month since I started my journey here and it is truly an amazing feat that I have reached these numbers. I may not have  a lot of followers  but I appreciate those comments and likes  from a few who read my posts. No matter how we deny ourselves that these numbers are not that important, to me, they are. Reaching out, touching a bit of some people’s lives, inspiring a few and  learning from some made blogging truly worthwhile. This is my 1,699th post per WordPress’ count. I remember those days when I was just starting here and was brave enough to join the 2011 Post A Day challenge, when every post you make, WordPress has a lovely word to describe it. I miss those days but I doubt if I could challenge myself to do another one again.  You can’t force yourself to write when you don’t even know where to start, right?  I’ve always said, time and again that blogging has somehow become a way of life, just like craving for a hot cup of coffee early in the morning, the day is not complete without it. Having lots of followers or a significant number of visitors are a bonus.

This is a bit funny, I’ve been on a reading marathon the past few days and in between finishing Anna Karenina, all the books I’ve read so far are about food, chefs and cooking. It’s not by choice, they just happened and now I am craving for upside-down cake. And it should be not just any fruit, it has to be those sweet pineapple rings  on top of it. Back in high school, this was the only cake that I bought in our canteen. It’s been years since I’ve tasted a slice. Josef suggested that I buy a loaf but I told him I’ll bake my own one of these days, that is. See what a book can do to influence one’s life?

Finally, my gardening task is finished and the garden looks pretty now with the stepping-stones highly visible among the cut carabao grass. We still have to tackle the vacant space outside though, the grass grows there by leaps and bounds. It rains everyday now so it is quite hard to garden when the grass is wet. The life of a reluctant gardener…..sometimes.

I am having a problem with Firefox but it’s hard to navigate other browsers that Josef uploaded on my PC. It’s hard to learn something new when you are not that decisive to do it so Chromium and Opera would have to wait.

Good morning, have a good day :)

 

 

 

 

Musings


How are you guys? It’s been a while and I mean I haven’t actually read posts on my reader feed and posted something in mine. Do you know that feeling that you have neglected something, something precious and maybe you will agree, blogging has done that for me.

It was a busy weekend and it will be a busy week too. I got some blisters on my fingers. Wearing gardening gloves is a useless exercise. We have let the carabao grass grow thick and it is hard to skirt around the  concrete walkways. I am halfway through and have to finish it before the rain comes.

August is here, one of the rainiest months of the year and there is a typhoon coming although it would just pass through the Philippine area of responsibility but it would bring monsoon rains to the north. We’ve been having  thunderstorms the past days but I am praying the  monsoon rains would not inundate Metro Manila. There is still that inner fear that I feel every time the rainy season sets in.

It’s still dark outside, a perfect time for that hot cup of coffee before I go out and finish the task of trimming our carabao grass.  I am looking forward to catching up on my reading once I finish it. Lately, I was engrossed reading news and comments on social media  about  politics here in our country although my head aches with all those negative comments. The way a certain politician would do anything to win, by hook or by crook  makes me puke. If he wins, we are doomed. I am praying that the electorate would think twice and discern enough before deciding who to vote for and not be swayed by dirty politics. We never learn, some of us  have that sadistic tendency to vote for someone who does not deserve our votes. Sorry, I always try to avoid writing political blog post but this one takes the cake.

How do you greet each morning when you wake up? Do you start it with a prayer like I do? Or do you spend a few moments just watching the day unfolds?  Do you welcome the day with gladness in your heart? Do you celebrate each day with anticipation? Are you thankful for another day of blessing?

Good morning, I’m off to garden :)

Today’s Quote


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