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Posts Tagged ‘books’


That’s  right, I am just borrowing the title from a book I have just read.

Have you ever chosen a book because the title and the book cover make you smile and make you remember something deep, memories that you treasure in your heart? I did just that, three days ago. In between re-reading inspirational and uplifting books for the season of Lent, I managed to find a lovely book by Kelly Moran. It is my first time to read a book from this author. Inspiring romance books are not really my cup of tea but I got curious that it received mostly five stars on Goodreads.  An easy read, amazing and heartwarming tale of  friendship, family relationships,  and getting on with life despite all the setbacks, finding love and meaning  in the end.  I don’t normally post a book review when I blog about a certain book that I’ve enjoyed reading, it’s for you to find out.

A friend once told me that when a book makes you cry then it must really be good. I love the poetic style of the author, the play with words  – I can almost imagine those intense moments, I can almost touch the pages of the family albums and commune with nature  the way it was told in the story. It’s actually one of my best reads so far for my 2015 reading challenge.  And as usual, I had my journal ready to write some quotes that I liked.

Don’t let the past get in the way of the now.

How many times has the past hindered us from making decisions in our life? How many times have we let the past rule our present life?  Learning to let go and learning to move on might not be that easy but sometimes we just have to do it for our peace of mind.

Home is where they love you and care for you. Home is where you go back to when there’s nothing left and you want to find peace again.

What a difference a moment can make.

Speaking of the 50 books I wanted to read this year, with no particular author in mind and no particular book on my list, I have just finished 12. Next in line though are memoirs and the books I have of Mary Oliver.  I want to reread Randy Pausch’ The Last Lecture, it inspired me when I was undergoing chemotherapy. I want to get reacquainted again with Mitch Albom’s Tuesdays With Morrie. My former surgical oncologist saw a copy I read at the hospital when I underwent surgery more than five years ago and he said it was a good book so I gave him a copy. My cardiologist who was a very caring doctor too saw my pile  and told me I had good choices of books to read. I gave him one too. They are both doctors so they could relate to what ALS is all about.

I just love books. The solitary hours are more meaningful when books take you to places you’ve never been, people you’ve never met and a world probably more interesting than your own.

When the leaves stop falling, you find love.

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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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Just started on my reading marathon (if you could call it that). I finished reading book one today, a nice first-novel  chick-lit by Deborah Meyler called The Bookstore. I promised myself that I would at least read 50 books this year. For a bookworm like me, that is not much actually. I know of some members from my book club who could and do manage to read books as much as a hundred.  As it has books on its cover and there is the word book on its title, I guess that made it my number one of the fifty books I want to read. I don’t have a list  because I don’t want to concentrate on just fictions.

I must admit I cheated a little since I started this one on the last days of December but  put it  on hold because of Christmas and New Year celebrations.  For a first time novel, I found it charming and nicely written. Here is a short summary culled from Goodreads.

A witty, sharply observed debut novel about a young woman who finds unexpected salvation while working in a quirky used bookstore in Manhattan.Impressionable and idealistic, Esme Garland is a young British woman who finds herself studying art history in New York. She loves her apartment and is passionate about the city and her boyfriend; her future couldn’t look brighter. Until she finds out that she’s pregnant.

Esme’s boyfriend, Mitchell van Leuven, is old-money rich, handsome, successful, and irretrievably damaged. When he dumps Esme—just before she tries to tell him about the baby—she resolves to manage alone. She will keep the child and her scholarship, while finding a part-time job to make ends meet. But that is easier said than done, especially on a student visa.

The Owl is a shabby, second-hand bookstore on the Upper West Side, an all-day, all-night haven for a colorful crew of characters: handsome and taciturn guitar player Luke; Chester, who hyperventilates at the mention of Lolita; George, the owner, who lives on protein shakes and idealism; and a motley company of the timeless, the tactless, and the homeless. The Owl becomes a nexus of good in a difficult world for Esme—but will it be enough to sustain her? Even when Mitchell, repentant and charming, comes back on the scene?

A rousing celebration of books, of the shops where they are sold, and of the people who work, read, and live in them, The Bookstore is also a story about emotional discovery, the complex choices we all face, and the accidental inspirations that make a life worth the reading.

I love going to bookstores. A trip to the mall would not be complete without visiting one. Even if it is only to browse and find new titles, it is a joy in itself.  I was a student librarian once when I was in college. I spent almost three years of my college life working part-time at the Humanities Section of the main library of University of Santo  Tomas. Where would you find such wonderful books in Literature, Psychology, Ethics and  Philosophy but there? Those days were the best years of my college life – learning the basics of a library work, finding joy in books, making new friends  from all the colleges of the university. Reading The Bookstore made me remember those long-ago days and it makes me smile just thinking of it.

Can’t wait to start The Goldfinch which won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2014.

 

 

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It should not surprise us that, at the end of a journey, our destination looks different than we imagined at the beginning. It  looks different up close.

I’ve missed you guys. It’s been a while. I got so engrossed reading that I was not so inclined to blog. Christmas stories, fiction or not are always the best reads during the Season. They give you that lift, something that inspire and teach the heart to appreciate simple things in life and enjoy those moments that are sometimes  overlooked in this busy cosmos that we live in.

There is one author that I’ve blogged about more than I can count.  He is an online friend at Facebook. Several years ago, I came across one of his books at National Bookstore but a P600 plus  price tag back then was so expensive for me. I bought it just the same. The first paragraph got me hooked, it was a love affair with Richard Paul Evan’s books since then. His books are not normally carried here so most of the copies that I have are gifts from friends who know  my penchant for collecting his works.  Too bad, I lost some of them five years ago when we were  hit by the disastrous typhoon Ondoy. A week ago, I was talking to a friend thru Viber when she said that she bought two copies of The Mistletoe Promise, the latest book of Richard Paul Evans. It’s one more lovely gift to add to my collection. A bookworm that I am, I searched the net if I could download an e-book copy. I finished it all in one day and he had me crying not because it was a sad story but it was so beautiful, uplifting and warmed my heart more than I care to admit. Richard’s books often make me cry. A story of redemption, forgiveness and love – subjects that I could wholeheartedly relate to. By the way, The Mistletoe Promise is a Christmas love story. I won’t attempt to make a review here, it’s for you to discover.  Richard has just started a blog and he is asking his readers  how often we want him to update it. I said I won’t mind reading a weekly post from him.

Do you keep a journal? I know some of you do. I just added a few wonderful quotes from Richard’s book. He said and I quote, “Anyone can open a book, not everyone can appreciate the beauty of the writing.” What I remember most though are these lines, “Everyone needs an emotional foxhole. A place to hide when life’s storms hit”. Even in the darkness of days, there are oases of joy.

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Sometimes you wake up and realize how alone you feel and your world seems a grey place. Sometimes you wake up and you  think of the times you were happy in some far off place and it puts a big smile on your face. Sometimes you wake up remembering a dream that keeps recurring and you don’t even know why. Your thoughts are just jumbles in your head. The best times are those moments seeing the beauty of the dawn, when the morning light slowly shows its face and you realize that even in  darkness, you can see the light, a wonderful vista of  twinkling stars. Somewhere up there,  you can see the brush strokes of a great Master and you feel blessed to be alive, to enjoy another day, to drink another cup of blessings.

It’s what I love about gardening, the hours spent quietly in the company of your own thoughts  – the stillness of the moment, the silence of the hour, a therapeutic  contemplation of the days gone by. Yesterday, it rained for a while and my rain lilies were happy. I smiled when I saw a few blooms while trimming the carabao grass. It is always a pleasant surprise to see something unexpected. It puts a smile on your face and the dogs think they are in for a treat. They are happy too when they roam around the garden and bark excitedly at every passersby that they see.

Rain lilies in bloom...

Rain lilies in bloom…

The last two days, I was engrossed reading two books.  Still Life With Bread Crumbs  by Anne Quindlen, my first time to try one of her books, a moving story, a journey into the life of a woman, her mind, her dreams, her career. It’s an e-book and e-books are sometimes hard to read. I read another fiction book , one of my stash from Books for Less. Imagine the joy of not expecting something lovely but it gives you  more than that, a feeling of joy  because you found a treasure.  Blessings! I would like to thank my good friend Pete Johnson for including my blog in his list and wrote an inspiring paragraph about it.  Visit his blog here. It’s a lovely and inspiring read.

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What does one write about on a rainy evening like this? My mind gets stalled not by lack of what to say but how I am going to say something interesting enough to merit even just one reader’s eyes.

On a night like this, I take momentary pleasures dwelling in a world of remembering the not so distant past. At least that would provide a change to the inane and inconsequential things one thinks about on almost any night but a rainy one.

I just enjoyed browsing three filled notebooks of previous writings and quotations from my readings from way back.  The beauty of reminiscing and getting in touch with the old self, the beauty of rediscovering  how life was many decades ago. I even found drafts of letters to friends during my college years.  And I found these,  two black and white pictures with Dad and my youngest brother. I had a good laugh at my brother’s  bell-bottom pants  and my short skirt (so seventies). Never mind, these were our school uniforms at the University  of Santo Tomas four decades ago. I just want to share them here, I am afraid I may misplace them again.

Those were the days and these are treasured shots with Dad.

Those were the days and these are treasured shots with Dad.

There is something so nostalgic about black and white or sepia pictures of long ago.  And I remember these because my dad received a gold medal as exemplary employee of the university. That is why,  the four of us kids  (my three brothers and I) studied in UST from high school to college and my two kids are Thomasians too.  I am grateful though and proud of being an alumna of  the oldest existing university in Asia. In terms of student population, it is the largest Catholic university in the world in a single campus.  The Pontifical, Royal Catholic University of the Philippines, that’s UST for you.

I started reading Captains and the Kings by Taylor Caldwell, another historical novel that reminds me so much of Frank McCourt’s  Angela’s  Ashes  and Trinity by Leon Uris.  I am always fascinated by Irish-American history.

What book are you reading now?

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Allow me to be a little sentimental once more so I quote:

“May I see you again?” he asked. There was an endearing nervousness in his voice.

I smiled. “Sure.”

“Tomorrow?” he asked.

“Patience, grasshopper,” I counseled. “You don’t want to seem overeager.

“Right, that’s why I said tomorrow,” he said. “I want to see you again tonight. But I’m willing to wait all night and much of tomorrow.” I rolled my eyes. “I’m serious,” he said.

“You don’t even know me,” I said. I grabbed the book from the center console. “How about I call you when I finish this?”

“But you don’t even have my phone number,” he said.

“I strongly suspect you wrote it in this book.”

He broke out into that goofy smile. “And you say we don’t know each other.”

Ah, the joys of discovering  what love is amidst the pain of  suffering.  Two months ago I read the book  The Fault In Our Stars by John Green, a new author in my list and wrote  a short review  about it here hoping that I’ll be able to watch the movie adaptation someday. I’ve finally watched the movie yesterday through Nissa’s phone while teaching my grandson Nate a few lines of the song Bahay Kubo, a timeless Tagalog folk song that every Filipino child knows by heart ( would love to make this into another blog). As a stand alone movie, it was very good and it strictly adhered to the story in the book. Isn’t that what movie adaptations should be?  Shaileen Woodley shines as Hazel Grace Lancaster, an intelligent sixteen year old teenager coping with terminal thyroid cancer. She was supported by Ansel Elgort as Augustus Waters, her love interest,who lost his leg because of osteosarcoma.  I won’t go into details of the story, I am sure most of you have read the book too.

When you are going through the same journey, it does not need much to understand how it is to be afflicted with a terminal illness. You would understand the pain and insecurities one goes through while undergoing treatment. You would understand the moments that you almost want to give up on life but still you hold on because there are people around you who love you just the way you are, baggage and all. Watching the movie reminded me of my pain of surviving cancer making it easier to relate. Believe me, I had a good cry. Nissa said she cried buckets when she watched it.  If you ever get the chance to see it, have a hankie nearby and a hot cup of coffee.

John Green says “there is no shortage of fault to be found amid our stars”.

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