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Posts Tagged ‘books’


It’s good to be back.

I haven’t been feeling well the past days so blogging has taken a back seat. Arrggh…the aches and pains of getting old. It’s quite nice to read other people’s thoughts  once again and  look at the lovely photos after a self-imposed absence from blogging.  Sometimes, I feel so lazy to even boot the computer and  check my e-mails.  I just checked my stats and saw some previous posts which kept appearing on my most read/top posts.  This blog entry is actually my 1675th one.  I think I’ve already covered almost every subject that I wanted to share in cyberspace.

In between taking naps now and then and drinking lots and lots of water and buko juice (young coconut juice), I’ve finished three books in four days. I would have wanted to visit Nissa’s family last  weekend but I always find it a challenge to commute on my own.  Nate had fever too, so with Nissa so we survived on Viber, Skype and text messages. Thank God we are okay now. Hopefully, we could be together either on Saturday or Sunday to celebrate Josef’s 31st birthday.

A friend recently commented on one of my notes at FB about the books I have on my list. I couldn’t remember how many books I’ve read before including those  of Nissa’s  that she used to collect (Charmed series, Sweet Valley High and Sweet Valley University).  You would probably classify them  now as YA books, chick lit or contemporary ones. I grew up on M & B  when I was in high school and all books were borrowed from the library. I have some all-time favorites though. They taught me so many things. Here’s my short list:

1. Markings – Dag Hammarskjold
2. Seasons in the Sun – Rod McKuen
3. All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten – Robert Fulghum
4. The Little Prince – Antoine de Saint Exupery
5. The Prophet – Kahlil Gibran
6. Tuesdays With Morrie – Mitch Albom
7.  Letting Go – Morrie Schwartz
8. The Heart of Loving – Eugene Kennedy
9. Gift from the Sea – Anne Morrow Lindbergh
10. Jonathan Livingston Seagull – Richard Bach
11. Why Am I Afraid to Tell You Who I Am – John Powell
12. Simple Moments – Fr. Jerry Orbos, SVD
13. Charlotte’s Web – E. B. White
14. I Like You Just Because – Albert Nimeth, OFM
15. Man’s Search for Meaning – Viktor E. Frankl
16. The Fountainhead – Ayn Rand
17. Embraced By the Light – Betty J. Eadie
18. It Was On Fire When I Lay Down On It – Robert  Fulghum
19. A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
20. Grow Something Besides Old – Laurie Beth Jones

I actually blogged about this on 15 Books, 15 Minutes  years ago (list of 15 books you can recall in 15 minutes). I hope  you’re not getting bored  reading a blog post all about books. I just started on my second book of Lisa Genova called Love Anthony and it’s about autism. Remember Still Alice?

 

 

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That gentle calm you experience listening to good old music and re-reading some lines from a book of poems. I’ve often blogged about books and music together. They go hand in hand when I want to  just relax my mind from the topsy-turvy world of the living.  Believe me, there are moments when you just want to listen to the soothing music of yesteryears – be they be instrumental, ballads, slow rock , mellow touch, it doesn’t matter much as long as I could divert my attention for a while but of course it is better when  you listen to old-time favorites.  There are times when singing along is the best way to do it or otherwise I let the music flow from one end to the next.

Ah, Rod McKuen.

You may not be familiar with the man  but he was so popular back in the 70’s. Years ago, I  found two of his books  (Alone and Seasons In the Sun) that I treasure until now.  He was an American singer-songwriter, musician, poet.  His words  (he wrote about solitude, spirituality, love)  sometimes make me cry.

“It’s nice sometimes to open up the heart a little and let some hurt come in. It proves you’re still alive.”

“Eternity sneaks in her arms full of wild promises.”

No speeches have been written for us and so we never speak.

But still they move in front of me.

Unmet.

Detached.

What common language could we know

I wonder

What words of sensibility are left?”

One other small volume that I keep re-reading is Gift From The Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh. Finding words of wisdom , the profound need sometimes to be alone and reacquaint and listen to your inner voice, the voice that you sometimes hear but refuse to understand.

“Don’t wish me happiness I don’t expect to be happy all the time… It’s gotten beyond that somehow. Wish me courage and strength and a sense of humor. I will need them all.”

“The sea does not reward those who are too anxious, too greedy, or too impatient. To dig for treasures shows not only impatience and greed, but lack of faith. Patience, patience, patience, is what the sea teaches. Patience and faith. One should lie empty, open, choiceless as a beach—waiting for a gift from the sea.”

“I must write it all out, at any cost. Writing is thinking. It is more than living, for it is being conscious of living.”

The innermost pain is most felt without crying, it’s the pain that comes from the heart.  You feel alone but the soothing music lifts you up and those lovely words make you smile.

(WordPress says this is my 1,673rd post)

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6035141 Seldom do I finish a book in one sitting but this one had me mesmerized from page one. It it my first time to read a book written by a Japanese author. I don’t even know who Banana Yoshimoto is but her words, her words get to you in a way that you could relate.

It’s a story of two good friends who both lost their mothers and how they coped with  life without their treasured parents by their side. Two vastly different people living different lives but finding each other in their hour of grief through a window. Standing not quite far, looking at the silhouette of someone who has the same fascination watching  the open window right across the street.  That’s how the story started…so far.

One thing that I noticed about this author is her simple writing style but it moves you to feel and experience what she wants to convey. It’s like describing  a good conversation between two close friends, sharing past heartaches,coping with pain  and having enough confidence to share what one has been through that changed one’s perspective in life somehow.  I wrote down some wonderful quotes from the book. I am not sure if you will agree with me but they speak of the simple truth on what life sometimes deals us and though it is a work of fiction, it’s like reading your own story somehow.

“But I have my life, I’m living it. It’s twisted, exhausting, uncertain, and full of guilt, but nonetheless, there’s something there.”

“When someone tells you something big, it’s like you’re taking money from them, and there’s no way it will ever go back to being the way it was. You have to take responsibility for listening.”

“Everyone knows that hidden pull is there, but we go on living our lives, pretending we don’t. We keep our gazes fixed, day after day, on the things we want to see.”

“Things look different depending on your perspective. As I see it, fighting to bridge those gaps isn’t what really matters. The most important thing is to know them inside and out, as differences, and to understand why certain people are the way they are.”

Life is not perfect. We are not perfect but we could motivate and inspire someone who is as broken as we are. It makes you realize that it is the simple things that give life’s meaning  and worth.

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It’s another “it’s been a while” post that you would probably get from me from time to time.  It was a busy weekend and another busy day for gardening. I am taking advantage of the cloudy afternoon skies and the cool early morning breeze.  We have occasional thunderstorms lately but PAGASA says it is not yet the official start of the rainy season.  It has become even more humid in fact so the afternoon showers are welcome.

Gardening is hard, who says it is not? I have to dig and uproot stubborn and unwanted weeds, trim the Green dust plants, do a perfectly imperfect round shape of  my several Fukien Tea plants and dig, dig some more. I am getting good at it…haha!  To think I haven’t even started  trimming our carabao grass but at least the concrete stepping-stones are now  clear of unwanted  overgrown carabao grass. It is hard to maintain a garden no matter how small it is. One has to invest one’s time  and extra effort to make everything grow. If the weather permits, I’ll be harvesting Calamansi  (Philippine lime) this afternoon.

One thing good about gardening is the time you spend  by yourself, alone in your thoughts. You let your mind wander and you can even create a nice story while looking at your fingers full of dirt and stain.  It is all worth it though, gardening is a job that you have to do and happens to enjoy (not all the time).

I’ve switched back to another reading genre.

I’ve been reading so much chick lit the last few days, funny and sad stories of women from wonderful authors that I’ve  seen on Goodreads. This time though, I found two books by Michael Palmer, an American author who is also a doctor. I’ve read one or two books of him before  when I was searching for ways to cope with the boredom of being bedridden for half a year. I love medical thrillers and the jargon is quite familiar. There was a time when I was obsessed collecting all the books by Robin Cook, another American novelist and doctor whose writings deal with medicine and  other such topics affecting public health. If you have seen the movie Outbreak,  he is the author of the book where it was lifted from. It’s nice to read fast-paced stories again. I haven’t taken a single picture lately but I found a lovely shot which I took several years ago while traveling North to our hometown. would love to share it in another post. By the way, thank you for continuously visiting my blog, reading old posts that I have somehow forgotten. I was thrilled to find that my stats have reached an amazing 335,461 at the moment. Thank you, thank you so much.

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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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Maybe I am lucky or perhaps I am really blessed.

When I was working as a student librarian back in college, I was assigned to this lovely section of the UST Library called Humanities, that’s where you find all those books on Philosophy, Ethics, Psychology, Literature, Fiction and all the lovely reading materials that encompass what humanities mean. Nowadays, some  people might think that it is a boring subject and has nothing to do with Math or Science but it adds life to one’s existence. It allows you to see the beauty of how to feel and see the beauty of your thoughts and relate to such experiences by others in a world where it is undoubtedly dominated by science. I had a book buddy who used to say, nobody reads anymore. I don’t agree because some people couldn’t live without books, I am one of them.

I digress.

There was this Arts student who used to borrow books by Sylvia Plath. He would come to the library either to renew the due date of a book or borrow another one, all of Sylvia Plath. I got curious so I tried to read one of her books.  I remember reading Ariel  and learning that we had the same birthday. It’s sad though that her life has to end at a very young age of thirty. Such a tragic death for one so gifted. All these years, I looked for her most popular work called The Bell Jar. It’s been on my wish-list for quite sometime now. She is not exactly a favorite but I love her words.  I was lucky to find a copy of her book, The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath. I cannot wait to start reading it as soon as I finish the two chick lit books that I am enjoying at the moment. I am curious why she committed suicide at such an early age. I am curious why people still read her works until now. Here is a quote that garnered more than 10,000 likes in Goodreads.

“I can never read all the books I want; I can never be all the people I want and live all the lives I want. I can never train myself in all the skills I want. And why do I want? I want to live and feel all the shades, tones and variations of mental and physical experience possible in my life. And I am horribly limited.”

Maybe I am  just lucky or perhaps I am really blessed to find her again.

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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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