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Oh I know, it’s probably a “no big deal” for some but it is an achievement for me.

I am finally done with my reading challenge at Goodreads for this year. Here is a message from Goodreads:

Congrats!

You have read 120 books of your goal of 120!

120/120 (100%)
The last book I read is entitled Flowers in the  Snow by Danielle Stewart.
“Sometimes a hug is the only way to squeeze someone’s worry away.”
Racism.
I read a few books before about this subject matter but this one grips you like no other. Come to think of it, I didn’t know this was a series until I read it is book #1. I would love to read the others if I am lucky enough to find them.
When you and your family are divided by your own beliefs and ideologies, you try to find people who would understand. This is a story of three friends, one is black but she found friendship with two others who belong to the other side of the fence. And those two found a lasting friendship with the family of their black friend.
This was told through flashbacks on what happened in the past but it was a lovely read. Easy on the eyes and easier still to get into the story.
Here’s a synopsis of the story from Amazon.com:

In the 1960s, Edenville, North Carolina is full of rules. Sagging under the weight of racism and segregation the small community finds itself at a dangerous tipping point.

Eleven-year-old Betty Grafton believes the world is fair. She knows there are worse places to live than Edenville. Unaware of the wars waging around her, she spends her days patting horses in the field and running errands for her mother. The world she doesn’t see, full of turmoil and unrest, is hiding just below the surface. One day, she has no choice but to see what’s been right in front of her all along.

Alma knows where to walk. She knows who to talk to and which fountain she can drink out of. Her mother, Winnie, spares no opportunity to remind her how dangerous it is to be a little black girl in the South.

When a chance encounter puts Betty face to face with the peril that exists in her own hometown, everything she knows turns upside down. The world isn’t as fair or safe as she’d imagined. Her family is the Klan. Her friends are the enemy. And nothing makes sense anymore.

Although the world demands they stay apart, Alma and Betty forge a secret friendship. One that could cost them their lives.

I gave this five stars in Goodreads, a nice ending of  a book for this year’s challenge.
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On my way home from SM Megamall where I bought a bottle of Vitamin D, I chanced upon this freshly harvested cassava and bought more than a kilo. I’ve always craved for this when it is in season. Cooked simply boiled in coconut cream, it is so yummy.

Are some of you familiar with this? I wonder if it is also grown in other Asian countries like ours. Some also make cassava cake out of this. But that is more difficult to do than simply boiling it.

Oh my, I just finished my 106th book for this year’s Goodreads challenge. Only 14 more books to go then I am done. It’s been a while since I read a biography. Most that I encountered were memoirs, written by the authors themselves. This one is about the life of an unknown Kennedy and her struggles.

Knowing more about the Kennedys. This time a daughter who was hidden from the world because of mental illness. When I read the book Johnny We hardly Knew Ye a long, long time ago, I was fascinated by JFK’s political career and it was a good read. Rosemary was loved by her family, she was given all those choiced schools and caregivers so she could live a life close to normal. She reached a ripe old age of 86. It was nice reading about how the Kennedys survived the ordeal of having a mentally challenged daughter compared to her gifted and intelligent siblings.

Rosemary: The Hidden Kennedy Daughter

She was the oldest daughter born to Joseph Kennedy, Sr. and Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy, sister to Pres. John F. Kennedy and to the senators Robert and Ted Kennedy. She was intellectually disabled and had a separate schooling from other students.

I’ve always been an admirer of the Kennedy clan and  I enjoyed looking at all the pictures included in the biography.

One good read for this year’s challenge.

 

 

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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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For the past days, I finished two books, one is actually a Christmas story that happened a century ago. I wonder why, sometimes I am hooked with those stories of survival, of family, of friendship and love. When a horse and a buggy were the only means of land transportation, when winter was the most harsh climate you could ever encounter, when people depended  on their own lands to make both ends meet….love those!

I recently found this engaging book set in New York back in the sixties. It’s entitled Park Avenue Summer by Renee Rosen.

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I just love it. I didn’t know that it was  based on Helen Gurley Brown’s life as seen from the perspective of her secretary who is fictional in character. Helen Gurley Brown was an American author, businesswoman and publisher. She was the editor -in-chief of the Cosmopolitan magazine for 32 years. 

It’s nice to be able to see in pictures the actual characters in a story. It adds to the appeal of the book. This is actually my first book of Renee Rosen. I’ll try to look for some of her other books.

It also reminds me of the book The Devil Wears Prada which I have read and watched a few years ago. When you find something nice to read, you are inspired to read more.

 

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Saw this on “my memory”  app at FB yesterday.  I can’t help but repost it. The value of reading….priceless.

I marked this quote when I started another book yesterday. It’s by  Martin Luther King.

Faith is taking  the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.

Gosh, I just love, love this book. For a first time author, Amy Markstahler is pretty good.

Love, family life, second chances – they’re all here. I cried at the scene when Tyler gave a eulogy on the death of Elsie’s dad. That was so sweet.

Another book that I read in one day. It was that good. I was clearly surprised seeing that the author just followed my review at Goodreads. I hope I could find more stories like this.

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Read this in one day and that’s a feat. Another John Grisham book that I love. Although most of his stories are about the lives of lawyers, I love most of his books although I don’t regularly read them.

I love courtroom scenes but this has not much of it. It’s more on  the three characters, Mark, Todd and Zola, law school students thriving on student loans. Though their school is not a top-notch one, a diploma mill,  they try to finish their degree despite individual problems in their families. Zola, although she was born an US citizen, her parents and two brothers are undocumented immigrants. Mark’s brother has his own problems. Todd works as a bar attendant. They were on their last semester of law school and with no job to look forward to and  mounting student debts, so they decided to put up their own law firm despite being unlicensed and undergrads.

This is quite fast-paced, never boring but a little bit unbelievable that just mere law students could dope people. They succeeded for a while until they were on the run. You’d think of course they will be caught in the end but of course the ending is favorable. I am giving this four-stars. Another winner from John Grisham.

 

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This book is simply “it”. Amazing, lovely,interesting story line.

The last time I read about time travel was when I encountered The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. We have two copies in the shelf, one is a mass produced book and a trade paperback.

I understand this was published lately back in January 2019. A science fiction fantasy that takes you to two worlds, century apart and how life was then and now. An adventure-filled story in the life of Kin Stewart, his family back in the 21st century and his future in the year 2142.

I really hope there would be a movie adaptation someday. I gave this five stars at Goodreads. It’s my 46th book by the way for this year’s challenge.

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