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Posts Tagged ‘2015 reading challenge’


completedHow’s this for a first post this month?

When I started this reading challenge this January, I was not even sure if I could finish 50 books in a year because sometimes, lulls in reading are more frequent than the number of times I  hold a book in my  hand. It’s a great leap from the 35 I managed to read in 2014.  Goodreads says, “You have read 50 of 50 books in 2015.” Chick lit, YA, fiction, a memoir, some inspirational books and contemporary stories made up my reading list for the challenge. And it helped that I have my new tab because I could read at night without interruption. Now it’s time to concentrate on the classic books that I wanted to read for a long, long time but didn’t have the time to start. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy is on the list, so with the L.M. Montgomery series ( I love Anne of Avonlea), Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak, my new and still unopened  copy of The Collected Works of Oscar Wilde  (the complete plays, poems and stories  including The Picture of Dorian Gray and De Profundis) and maybe cap it with the Outlander Series  (a re-read) by Diana Gabaldon before the year ends.

There is this sweet lady I follow here on WordPress.  Lately, she was able to publish a book based on the series of books and authors she has read in a year. Her blog is aptly called A Year of Reading the World. She sourced books from different authors in different countries.  I dream of doing that too, some day, not the publishing of a book but reading several authors like she did. I love this quote from William Styron:

A great book should leave you with many experiences, and slightly exhausted at the end. You live several lives while reading.

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Life has been quiet but busy lately.  I am taking advantage of the cloudy afternoons and sometimes  short-lived spatter of rain to stay in the garden for the past several days. Finally, we were able to clean the side yard outside of unwanted weeds that seemed to grow by leaps and bounds. Maybe it would take another month before we could clean it again.

I pity those poor souls who could never distinguish what is right and proper to share on social media. When you use the power of social media for your own selfish end, it truly becomes ugly. There were these two incidents that have become viral lately on Facebook. A mother of barely a year old child tied her naked son  and fed him like a dog and posted several offensive pictures of him which earned the ire of netizens and prompted the Dept. of Social Welfare and Dev. to take custody of the child  who will have to undergo psychosocial assessments and evaluate the “crazy” mother if she is really fit to be one or not.  According to DSWD Sec. Soliman, this is clearly a case of child abuse under Rep. Act 7610 or the Anti-Child Abuse Law. No one in her right mind should do this to a child even if the child is her own. I could not bring myself to post pictures, that’s adding insults to injury, so to speak. A few days after that report became viral, there was another one with pictures of another baby with cigarettes in his/her mouth and those around the child were even saying, it was unlit. My goodness, these two incidents clearly speak on the wrong values taught to children. Are good manners and right conduct not important anymore?  Social media abuse is one thing and learning how to be responsible in what you share plays a big role  in influencing those who can’t clearly distinguish what is right or wrong.  Teach children good values which they will carry throughout their lives.

37 books read out of 50 books,  72% of 2015  reading challenge.  Here’s another Sylvia Plath quote that you might like. It’s truly a joy to read The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath.

“let me live, love, and say it well in good sentences”

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Finally, finally, I am back.

I’ve missed all of you guys. I’ve missed reading your blog posts  the past days. I’ve been busy with household chores, gardening and organizing my book shelves.  Funny how, there are books from my favorite authors in which I have two copies.  I gave some paperback copies to a friend. There is another friend I know who intentionally buys two copies each of her favorite books, one for reading (usually a paperback) and one kept inside a glass book shelf (either a trade paper back or a hardbound one). One thing I lack though is enough space for our books, Nissa’s are mostly hardbound, Josef’s books take up space too. We have a big Lexicon that weighs a ton.  I have to list those earlier finds that are now classic books. I’m 60% done with my 2015 reading challenge on Goodreads and I  am planning to save the best for last – memoirs and classics.

The carabao grass needs trimming so instead of waiting for Josef to have his days off, I started it three days ago. I only garden early in the morning while the sun hasn’t shown its face yet, an hour or two but not beyond two hours at the most.  Can’t stand being outside at 8am (it’s really hot) so I have to wake up early to water the plants, trim the grass and do a little deadheading of my Gardenia blooms.  I can’t exactly remember now but a few months ago, our neighbor gave me a little pot of Ginseng plant.  It has tiny red buds now about to bloom. I know it is a medicinal plant and I can’t wait to see its flowers in bloom.

Last Friday, I bought my first ever tablet (My Pad 4/Tierra).  Lucky for me, it was on sale and I bought it for a lot less than it cost two weeks ago. It’s a 7.8″ Android tab with 3G, an 8MP autofocus rear camera and a 5MP front camera and an 8GB built-in memory. It has an expandable memory up to 32GB.  Josef bought me a 32GB micro SD, a jelly cover and a screen protector along with a new SIM card and prepaid  card too. Since I intend to use it mostly for my e-books, I installed the Aldiko e-Reader (it is the most user-friendly I guess). I tried the Moon + Reader too on my other phone.  If you ask me which is more convenient, nothing can compare to the smell of new books and lovingly turning the pages while you discover a different world out there but having e-books is okay too especially when you read at night because you can always adjust the brightness and the font size plus there is a night mode  too. For now though, I am loving my e-books conveniently arranged alphabetically on my e-reader.  I can’t wait to read Charles Dickens’  David Copperfield (the last time was during my college days), William Golding’s Lord of the Flies, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina to name a few and all the lovely chick lit that makes me laugh and cry a little.

I couldn’t ask for more.

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I can’t believe April is almost gone.  The lazy bug caught me again and blogging has taken a backseat for a while. Gone are the times when the day is not complete without writing a few words and posting them here.  I feel comfortable now blogging once or twice a week but I still read posts/updates from friends every day.

You won’t believe this, I’ve become so obsessed with books lately that sometimes I laugh at myself how  I’m gonna read these books  that I have collected all these years and some  e-books that I have on my phone. Hugging a book close and the comfort of turning the pages, loving the scent and smell of the printed pages. Yesterday, I took note of the recommendations of Goodreads based on similar subjects that I have read before. Historical fiction, memoirs and contemporary books still top the list. There was even a time that I visited the list of the 1000 books you have to read before you die but I narrowed it down to the top 500 but not necessarily followed it to the letter. If that is not a book obsession, I don’t know what is.  They call it bibliomania 🙂 I haven’t gone that far yet…no….not yet.  I have a long list which I wrote in my notebook about new authors and new books that I want to read. I am trying to discover Asian authors and so far Khaled Husseini is the best although I found more names who are quite new in the field of writing.

I remember reading On Writing by Stephen King a few years ago, a book borrowed by Nissa from their Stress Management Office then found a brand new hardbound copy later  (still with the dust jacket on) in one of my trips to Booksale. Imagine the joy of finally owning a copy.  He said and I quote “Books are a uniquely portable magic.” “Reading in bed can be heaven, assuming you can get just the right amount of light on the page and aren’t prone to spilling your coffee or cognac on the sheets. ” That’s another line from Stephen King’s book and I laughed out loud when I read it before because it happened to me not just once but several times. At least it was just a glass of water and not a hot cup of coffee 🙂

When I encounter people who say that they are not fond of reading, I try to compose my facial expression not to frown and say “you are missing  a lot”.

P.S. Goodreads says I have read 28 books (56%) out of the 50 books that I challenged myself to finish this year. Maybe, I could add 10 more, what do you think?

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Back to the grind. Ah,  I mean back to blogging! It’s been a while.

I got so engrossed finding new books and new authors for Goodreads’ 2015 reading challenge. I’ve finished  twenty-three books out of the fifty that I promised myself to read this year. YA books, Chick Lit, classics, fairy tales, you name it, it’s a random list of them all.  My last read would be the memoirs of course, save the best for last 🙂 Back when I worked as a student librarian at the Humanities Section of the UST Library, I encountered so many classic books but I didn’t have the chance to read them except for a few titles like Gone With The Wind, Crime and Punishment, A Tree Grows In Brooklyn and of course some of the  books of the Bronte sisters. Balancing a full load in my Economics course and a six-hour job at the library was quite hard and I missed the chance to read all those classics.  When I started working, my reading genre changed a lot. I found new authors, more books to read and collect. Anna Karenina and Doctor Zhivago remained on my wish list though over the years. Yesterday, I found a copy of the latter and just started reading it a few hours ago. A fellow blogger and a friend at Facebook sent me the link to Lara’s Theme, the soundtrack of the movie adaptation of Doctor Zhivago.  What a lovely idea, I got more inspired. It’s a long read…perfect for the summer days ahead.

This morning, our ISP was changed from SmartBro to HomeBro. HomeBro is owned by the largest telecommunications company here in our country, PLDT. Since SmartBro is now under PLDT we have to switch to  the new one. HomeBro Ultera includes a built-in wi-fi router so we have to set aside our old router. I quizzed the three installers who took care of the installation and they said that this is definitely faster than the old one. We’ll see. I don’t download much, it’s more of internet search and blogging.

I wonder who is more excited, the mommy or the baby. Nissa has enrolled Nate to summer  school and today is his first day in class. She wants Nate  to learn to interact with other kids. I think it is a 12-session class at one hour and a half every other day. Kids nowadays are so smart. Last night he said, “I’m going to school Nonna”. Pretty excited too, I guess.

Are you shy Nate?

Are you shy Nate?

What am I doing here? haha...

What am I doing here? haha…

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How long has it been since I last posted here? It’s almost a week  and I need to catch on the many blog posts that I missed over the last few days. Busy, busy, busy – busy gardening, busy searching for books to read, busy reading at night until my eyes hurt from the glare of my cellphone. Oh well, it is nice to be back. I am just glad to know that even if I’ve been away for a while, I finally reached 320,000 plus (320,180 as of this writing). Not that it matters much but it is important to me that some readers go back to my earlier posts and leave comments. Having more followers of course in the last two weeks are an added bonus.

Last night, some thoughts were playing in my head but I was just too lazy to jot them down. Regrets come always late of course because I could not remember them now. I’ve been to my once-a-month  hair trim at David’s this afternoon and as usual I had a nice chat with some of the staff and their other customers there. My hair stylist told me that they will be transferring to Oasis hub by June and I asked her why and she said that the present site will be converted into a mixed-use structure with a mall and residential units.  When it comes to the latest news, they are always updated.That pretty started our conversation about developments in the area. Ever Gotesto mall which has been here for almost two decades will finally close its doors on Sunday. I asked them why and they told me that it was sold  to a larger entity whose owner is the richest man in the Philippines and included in the Forbes list of billionaires in the whole world. “You mean we will be having another SM mall here in our area?” They nodded in unison and a customer exclaimed “Good luck sa traffic”. I wanted to buy some kitchen towels but when I reached the mall, almost everything is packed and even the grocery shelves are almost empty. I felt sad for those employees who will lose their jobs because they were hired from an agency. Some tenants are just waiting for their contract to end. I asked one of my favorite shops there, a small entity that sells all things Japanese, meaning, their shelves are full of things made in Japan if they are going to transfer too and the cashier said they don’t know. I  always visit this place every time I go to Ever because I love looking at their small kitchen gadgets, I love looking at their tea sets and Japanese mugs/cups used in tea-drinking. Come to think of it, we have an SM mall at every nook and cranny of Metro Manila and suburbs, I am just wondering how many more they would build in the future. Do we really need all that much? It will always be a welcome development of course, I am just wondering what will happen to those small enterprises which are still existing in the area.

Yeay for good books. I finally found some books that I’ve long wanted to read. Some of them are e-books which will be part of my 2015 Reading Challenge. Here are some of the titles I’ve added to my TBR list. So excited to read them all. I am six books in advance for  this  challenge. I hope I make it this time.

  • The First Phone Call From Heaven by Mitch Albom. I’ve been on the lookout for Albom’s books since Tuesdays With Morrie.
  • The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd. Just started reading a few lines. This is my third book of this author after the legendary The Secret Life of Bees  and The  Mermaid Chair. I wrote a short review of The Secret Life Of Bees long ago and watched the movie too. If I have time, I will look for the movie adaptation of The Mermaid Chair on YouTube and will watch it too.
  • The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco. Finally, after a long search 🙂
  • The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. My book club friends rate this as a five-star. War torn Barcelona, 1945. So curious about the story.
  • The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera. I’ve long wanted to read this too but I could not find a copy.  I wonder why it belongs to the 500 must read books and one of the 1000 books you have to read before you die. It’s a friend’s favorite book.
  • The Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy and Hard Times (Book 1)by Jennifer Worth. Set in East End slums of post-war London.
  • Shadows of the Workhouse (Book 2) by Jennifer Worth
  • Farewell To the East End (Book 3) by Jennifer Worth. I read the short summaries of these three books on Goodreads and I can’t wait to start plus the book covers of two kids on the last two say a lot. I love memoirs.
  • First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen. I’ve read books of this author before and I love the magical touch of paranormal in her stories.
  • The Bookseller by Cynthia Swanson. I love every title with the word book in it, that’s why. A first novel so maybe it’s worth it.

I wonder how long it would take  me to finish these ten titles. We’ll see. How about you? What books are you reading now?

 

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I set myself to read 50 books this year. Just random titles that I could find in no particular order. I started with e-books but I have a  stash waiting to be read.  I love Goodreads since I am able to view some reviews of several books that I like  to read  including memoirs, biographies and  book of poems but most are fiction books that I found in several trips at Booksale.  There are several volumes (all brand new) that a friend brought home from the US, books that I’ve long wanted to have but never got the chance to find them here. Ah, I forgot, there is one particular book that I want to read this year which was recommended by a fellow blogger. It’s One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are by Ann Voskamp. Maybe when I look and search long enough, I’ll find a copy. Wish me luck.

There was a time when I kept a virtual library at Shelfari but then I forgot my password and most of the books I have listed there are now gone so I have started to create another online library at Goodreads.  I am not pissed off  by some negative reviews of the books I am reading, their choices, their taste in reading and the way they admire the stories are not mine. It does not always follow that when one reader gives it a two-star, you would put it aside because it is not good. Sometimes I am even challenged to read a book with low ratings/reviews.

Goodreads says I am two books ahead of schedule which is roughly translated to 6% of the 50 books I promised myself to read this year.  I am on my fourth book now, a book by Nicholas Sparks. It’s been a while since I read one of his works and the last time was when I joined a large crowd at The Podium for his book signing in 2011. It was the only book-signing event I attended so far but it was a lovely and unforgettable experience.

I found these beautiful  book quotes that I want to share with you.  It’s amazing how reading could take  you anywhere you want to go.

photo courtesy of notecouture.com.au

photo credit:  notecouture.com.au

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