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Posts Tagged ‘books’


It’s been a while.

It’s been raining cats and dogs here for the past days and I only saw the sun showed its face briefly early this morning (for a few minutes actually)  then she played hide and seek  with the thick clouds  never to show up again the whole day.  We were alarmed when Marikina River reached almost critical level because the rain dumped so much in thirty minutes causing the river to swell. Marikina is adjacent to our town so they have to open the eight gates of Manggahan floodway which is so near to us.  There are pockets of water in some areas until now. Old folks call this “siyam-siyam”,  nine days of prolonged rained brought about by the southwest monsoon.  Well, it is the rainy season so what can we expect but I am praying hard that flash floods won’t be a problem for us  during this wet season.

You wonder what the smell of rain is. It threatens but at the same time the sound of raindrops gently falling on the roof is quite soothing. The drizzle is quite nice for the plants but the downpour makes them swim too much in water. And when it rains, you have so much time in your hands to read. I have just finished my 79th book on Goodreads’ 2016 reading challenge, 18 books in advance.  When you are lucky to find a subject quite different from your usual reading genre, you devour it with gusto. I found a treasure in reading The Secret Ways of Perfume. You would think that a scent of a perfume is just that, something you like but we don’t know the complexities of how it is made, you need a detailed study on the combination of scents (the essences of flowers, herbs and spices). There is something that soothes, energizes, inspires. lavender, bergamot, roses…learning the world of perfume creation. How nice!

How was your Sunday?

 

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It’s a wet and cold morning and it’s been raining on and off since the start of the weekend.  Hanging habagat  (southwest monsoon) is definitely here. It was a busy weekend though. It’s a good thing we were able to finish some gardening chores early.

When you are forced to stay at home because of the weather, you either keep busy or you relax to your heart’s content.  I did both…haha! Aside from gardening, I was able to find time to read two books over the weekend and to watch two movies on YouTube.  Yes, you heard it right.  For the first time in so many years, I caught myself finding some inspirational movies that would lift the soul and strengthen faith. The Song of Bernadette did just that. I could not remember the last time I watched this movie. I found a version in Blu-Ray. The Song of Bernadette is a 1943 drama film that tells the story of Bernadette Soubirous, a young visionary of Lourdes  who later became a saint. From February to July 1858 in Lourdes, France, she  reported eighteen visions of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This  film is based on the true story of Bernadette Soubirous, and adapted from the book written by  Franz Werfel.  What a lovely, lovely way to spend two hours straight infront of my computer and see this film.

Lately, I was lucky enough to find more books on faith and redemption and how beautiful life could be  despite the treacherous journey  and the unfaithfulness of mankind.  Alicia Ruggieri  is new on my list  of authors  and I like her writing style. She writes grace-filled and Christ-centered fiction. If you have time, try to read her A Time of Grace trilogy. The first book made me really cry and think of life, it’s beauty and its angst. The Fragrance  of Geraniums is such a beautiful book.  I am in the middle of reading the second one entitled All Our Empty Places  which picks up the story where it left off in the first one. I wonder if I’ll be able to find the third and the concluding book in the trilogy. I am not really into trilogies but this one is worth it. There are those stories that make you feel they’re real and you get into them like you would a story of a friend or yours, you feel the sadness, the triumphs and the pain. You feel that hope is not a dead thing but a journey that makes you look forward to another day.

A friend  suggested another writer and poet. The blog is truly inspiring. I searched the link. You may visit it here.

It’s raining still  and I am caught with these words, we are all special in God’s eyes.  God’s grace overflows.

 

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WOW!

If there is a rating more than five stars, I’ll give this book a six. It’s one of the best books I’ve read to date, my 70th out of the 100 books I challenged myself to finish for  Goodread’s 2016 Reading Challenge. I am afraid my review would not be enough to describe the beauty of this book, how well-written it is so I won’t even attempt to write one. Suffice to say, this book is beautiful, inspiring, awesome…..beautiful, inspiring, awesome. Truly a masterpiece. Lisa Wingate is a gifted writer.

prayerbox-standingcover I didn’t know I was on the last page when I read these lines.

“None can contain the magnificence of a wave kissing sand or the perfect spiral of a shell drying translucent in the sun or the fire of morning over endless water.

Or the beauty of a hummingbird as it hovers just an arm’s length away, mysteriously out of season on the day before Thanksgiving, it’s wings stroking air,rapid, invisible, powerful. Frozen in time for only an instant.

And then it flies away, growing smaller and smaller against the blue of an endless sky. Until finally it disappears into heaven.”

There are so many lovely quotes that I found in this book that  I copied  to my journal.  The prayer box reminds me of another blog post I wrote exactly a year ago. My  thought box is a discarded chocolate tin which contains  square  scratch papers of different size and color (filled with words, quotes, single lines, messages and reminders) which I have to sort out again  whereas the prayer box is a treasure trove of  inspiring words and letters religiously documented over the years.

When a book touches  you where it matters the most, it is certainly a winner.

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Oh my gosh, 62 books out of 100. I really can’t believe that I am 11 books ahead of schedule on my 2016 Goodreads Reading  Challenge. And before you say I have lots of time to appreciate the written word, it rains a lot every day so gardening is always relegated to the back seat and sometimes reading takes priority. I was able to start trimming the carabao grass this afternoon  (a back-breaking job every month)  but the sudden shower made me run indoors.

To discover new authors, what bliss! Goodreads provides a list of new books every month and a list of all time popular books but what I appreciate most is discovering new authors who are just as good and as talented like your favorite writers. One such author is John Hart. Where were you all this time John?

I seldom give five-stars to the books I read, just maybe about 6 in 50 books but Redemption Road  had me from page one, a gripping page-turner from beginning to end.  I don’t normally summarize a book as a  kind of review, it’s up to the other readers to find out. Well, I’m back to chick lit and memoirs and historical novels.

Did I say reading Redemption Road is worth your time?

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“I guess that’s all forever is…Just one long trail of nows. And I guess all you can do is try and live one now at a time without getting too worked up about the last now or the next now.”— Nicholas Evans (The Horse Whisperer)
“Sometimes what seems like surrender isn’t surrender at all. It’s about what’s going on in our hearts. About seeing clearly the way life is and accepting it and being true to it, whatever the pain, because the pain of not being true to it is far, far greater. “— Nicholas Evans

I am looking for that last book published by Nicholas Evans. It’s now on paperback. I  wish I could visit National Bookstore soon and buy a copy. I have copies of his four books published earlier than The Brave, have re-read them all because I simply love the stories.

theBraveNew

Nicholas Evans was born and grew up in Worcestershire, England. He studied law at Oxford University, graduating with first class honors.  He is one of my favorite authors.

 

 

 

 

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Allow me to borrow a book title for my blog post today. I have just finished reading this, a book about a family’s struggles while fleeing war-torn Afghanistan. I have just encountered Nadia Hashimi’s book, my first one of her actually but based on Goodread’s  short bio about her, she is a very gifted author. This book  was simple but so elegantly written that I can’t help but fill my small notebook with quotes that ring and vibrate throughout the story.

I never base  my reviews on book summaries but how it affected me while reading it. This is one of those books that is comparable with the works of  another Afghan author that I admire so much, Khaled Hosseini. Don’t ask me why but ever since I started reading I have always been fascinated by history and historical novels.  I think I am old soul. I am reminded of those times when I searched and bought almost all of Leon Uris’ published books and reread  Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead.

One learns a lot when you read about other people and other countries’ cultures.  You learn how their lives are shaped by their beliefs and their love for their families. You learn that everywhere, there is something similar about the culture you grew up  in. Family represents a binding force always. And lest I forget, let me quote some of those words I’ve jotted down while reading this book.

  • – Love can grow even in place where there is hardly air to breathe.
  • There are truths and lies and there are things in between, murky waters where light gets bent and broken.
  • Love grows wildest in the gardens of hardship.
  • – Some things are clearer from a distance.
  • – It takes a lifetime to learn your parents. For children, parents are larger than life. They are strong arms that carry little ones, warm laps for sleepy heads, sources of food and wisdom. It’s as if parents were born on the same day as their children, having not existed a moment before. As children inch their way into adolescence, the parent changes. He is an authority, a source of answers, and a chastising voice. Depending on the day, he may be resented, emulated, questioned, or defied. Only as an adult can a child imagine his parent as a whole person, as a husband, a brother, or a son. Only then can a child see how his parent fits into the world beyond four walls.

There are more  wonderful quotes that I’d like to share with you but these will do for now. Next on my list is a book about Lou Gehrig’s disease. The last time I encountered ALS ( Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) was when I read Tuesdays With Morrie several years ago. I hope I won’t cry as much as I did when I read Mitch Albom’s book. I remember giving copies to my two doctors when I had sigmoid surgery. It is a gift to know that you can be strong even if you are dying.

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I have a library of books I have read which I have uploaded on Facebook via Goodreads app. I could not count the times that I blogged about books and reading and occasionally post bits of book reviews all these years. I used to update my books at shelfari.com, an online library where I personally met my reading buddies through a book club.  Since our well-loved books were destroyed by typhoon Ondoy back in 2009, I  got lazy updating the site and forgot those thousands of book titles that I’ve uploaded there. Lately though, while I was updating my journal I found a printed copy of all my books there. Yes, back then, you can easily print a list of books you have in your shelves.  I even have a wish list printed too.  I have marked those I have finally found while browsing at Booksale and getting copies of those hard to find  titles which a generous friend  brought home.

A friend got curious and asked me what my favorite books are so I am reposting this list of old-time favorites. They are just twenty  titles,  some of which  I have reread over the years. I bet if you are a reader, you have some of these in your shelves too.

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.

A few minutes ago, I saw a picture of Viktor E. Frankl on Brain Pickings. He was  the author of that riveting  and profound  book called  Man’s Search For Meaning. He  was an Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist as well as a Holocaust survivor.  I read it twice, once when I was in college and again when the kids were growing up.  It’s about his personal experience as a concentration camp inmate during the Holocaust.  I marked it as five-stars on Goodreads.  Maybe, reading that somehow shaped my views on history because until now, I am still  reading fiction and-non fiction books on  WW II.  Finding the Diary of Anne Frank cemented it though. I read Schindler’s List a few years ago, followed by another favorite entitled The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. I collected books by Leon Uris too and most of them were all about Poland and WWII.

I digress.

I remember  copying lots of quotes from Frankl’s book and seeing him featured today on Brain Pickings  made me search for my three notebooks on quotations.  Weird? Maybe to some but I chronicled all those inspiring words religiously.

“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”

And  the following line is  my favorite.

“Those who have a ‘why’ to live, can bear with almost any ‘how’.”  
Here’s more.
“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
“Love goes very far beyond the physical person of the beloved. It finds its deepest meaning in his spiritual being, his inner self. Whether or not he is actually present, whether or not he is still alive at all, ceases somehow to be of importance.”
I probably might not  have answered the “why”. Suffice to say, I love visiting places and knowing how it is to live on the other side through books.
Today is Resurrection Sunday. May you all be blessed.

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