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Posts Tagged ‘books’


Saturday.

It was another lovely day spent with my daughter’s family. They came over to visit us after almost a month of not seeing each other. We survived on Viber calls and Skype messages. Nate has grown. He has grown taller and his words now are in a complete sentence. I haven’t taken any picture the last few months because my camera broke and always when they come over, we tend to be  busy catching up on news, playing with Nate  and just happy being together.

Last Saturday, I had  a chance  to take a few shots, pics of Nate and Mom, Mom and Nissa, the three of them, Josef and Nate. As always , I was behind the camera. He was thrilled to see his new book which a friend gave two weeks ago for his birthday.  I call him our little bookworm. He easily identified all the animals included in the nursery rhymes. I was amazed.  Maybe their various trips to the zoo helped a lot. We learn from a child right? Unafraid, ready to explore and always curious about things.  So trusting, so confident,  secured that he is loved.

Yesterday, I received a message from WordPress saying that I have made one hundred posts on Our Little Bundle Of Joy. I started it a few days before he was born last November 2012 with the thought of documenting every precious moment with him. I showed his pictures once and he said “Nathan, Nathan”.  Nissa is making an album of their trip last year to Dumaguete City and Siquijor.  I love those pics showing Nate enjoying the beach and the kiddie pool. Nissa has a way with words, the photo descriptions are just lovely. She’ll have it printed later. I wish I could make a similar one but I am not familiar with the program she is using.

Here’s a lovely book quote for kids  (using Nate and Josef’s pic which is included in my latest blog post). Our Little Bookworm The happiness of teaching a child to love books and reading. Someday, we would explore bookstores together.

Do you remember your favorite books when you were kids?

And did I tell you that Nate wants to be an astronaut? I asked Nissa how that came about. she said that he remembers the movie/pictures he saw of astronauts. Such a big dreamer for one so young, he is only 2 years and 4 months old.

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Hi everyone! How have you been? It’s been a while and there is no valid reason neglecting this blog except that I was just busy. It’s Holy Week  next week so I have to finish everything (gardening included) so I could at least spend it in quiet reflection and visit some churches for our annual Visita Iglesia.  Hopefully, Josef and I could do the Manila loop on Holy Thursday. I wish mom is strong enough to join us in the Stations of the Cross. I love visiting churches nearby during the season of Lent but I haven’t ventured in the churches of Manila yet  We have done the Rizal area as far as Morong and Cardona and several towns in Laguna.  Rizal province and Laguna have the most beautiful century old churches in the Eastern loop, well-preserved and they have lovely facades. One time, we tried the churches  in Marikina City, Josef was driving and we got lost along the way. Marikina has a lot of one-way streets and it was quite confusing.  Hopefully, we could do it again and I suggested if we could just take a commute since most churches in Manila are near each other.

I am catching up on my reading. All the Light We Cannot See is my first book of Anthony Doerr. It’s Goodreads’ choice 2014 winner. It is a historical fiction set during World War II, a  wonderful and moving account on the lives of two teenagers, a blind girl from France and a German orphan boy  who grew up in an  industrial and mining town  in Germany. I love reading about WW II, be it fiction or a true account of what happened. My parents  have their own personal account of it when the Philippines was occupied by the Japanese. The book is another facet of history as told by Doerr. I love Markus Zusak’s  The Book Thief  (read it twice actually) and almost all the books of Leon Uris about  the war in Poland and what life was like in Ireland during the Industrial Revolution, subjects that keep me awake for hours until my eyes  can no longer decipher the words. Here are some interesting quotes from the book. I jot them down as I read them.

“Open your eyes and see what you can with them before they close forever.”
“We rise again in the grass. In the flowers. In songs.”
“I have been feeling very clearheaded lately and what I want to write about today is the sea. It contains so many colors. Silver at dawn, green at noon, dark blue in the evening. Sometimes it looks almost red. Or it will turn the color of old coins. Right now the shadows of clouds are dragging across it, and patches of sunlight are touching down everywhere. White strings of gulls drag over it like beads.

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I am getting frustrated. Maybe this is the wrong time to upload pictures because our internet provider is so slow. I wonder why. This morning I made a backup of all the shots I took since January. I copied them to my hard drive including the pictures of Nate that Nissa forwarded to me. Better be sure than sorry.

Since I posted the pictures I took of my garden blooms earlier in another blog, I am sharing  them with you. They are in high-resolution format. Again, my problem here is lack of free space for uploading. At least at Gardens and Empty Spaces, it’s just my 86th post. Come visit my other blog if you are not yet subscribed to it.

Do you know that I also collect key chains as a hobby? It started with just one gold-plated gift from a former boss one Christmas  season thirty years ago. I have  more than two hundred pieces from different countries mostly in Asia. All of them are gifts from family and friends. Those who know my penchant for collecting don’t find it hard to give me gifts. Yes, key chains are enough. I recently received two from Nissa, one is from Singapore and the other one is from Brazil (Football Connect). Last Saturday, Reymon, one of my friends who came over for our small party gave me two more. He visited Malaysia and Hongkong late last year and bought some lovely key chains. After all these years, they haven’t tarnished.  I wish I could find some from Europe like Spain or France or Netherlands or UK, I don’t have those yet. I have a Bible key chain too, the only one I bought years ago but I could not read the words since they are too small. The wonderful world of collecting.

A friend recently signed me in to another book group, this time at Facebook. I’ve missed attending their monthly meetings since I could not keep up with their discussions. Every month, they hold it in different places with assigned moderators. Two questions that elicited so many comments were these: 1) What are your three favorite books of all time? 2) What are you reading right now? I love reading their comments and what books really  influenced them or inspired them that these are their favorites.  Number one on my list is A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith. I reread this for the third time when I found a paperback copy at Booksale a few years ago. It made an impact on me when I read it way back in college. Number two is Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom. I can truly relate to this. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint Exupery comes close to third of my favorite. I got two more actually, The Road Less Travelled by M.Scott Peck and Man’s Search For Meaning Victor Frankl. What about you, what are your favorite books? Would really love to hear from you :)

Oh, this Smartbro is really so slow :(

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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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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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