Posts Tagged ‘literature and Fiction’

The other day, I was updating my journal, transferring some quotes and one-liner words that I have accumulated in my thought box when I saw this printed list of books that I have culled from my account at shelfari.com, the first virtual library that I have painstakingly updated when I started using social media (think Friendster and Multiply) several years ago. I could no longer access my account there since I have already forgotten my password. When most of our books were destroyed by typhoon Ondoy last September 2009 I haven’t visited the site as much as I wanted because it pains me to  see the titles of those volumes  and book titles. It makes my heart bleed just seeing that all those lovely books that I have collected over the years are now gone. The Shelfari site was where I met book nerds not just here in the Philippines but from some other countries too. From there a friend created a book club which is still active until now though I haven’t attended the monthly sessions for a number of years.  When I got sick, I stopped joining the group in their book discussions but I follow a number of those who have separate book blogs  both at WordPress and at Blogger.

I now keep tract of the books that I’ve read and the books that I want to read via Goodreads. My wish list back then was quite long but I have found several books through the years of searching for those copies either at National Bookstore or at Booksale. There is nothing like finding one particular book in your list when you least expect it. Here is my updated wish list for 2016. It would be nice if I could find even half of the remaining ones that I haven’t read yet.

  • Ada by Vladimir Nabokov
  • The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
  • A Farewell To Arms by Ernest Hemingway
  • Caught In The Quiet by Rod McKuen
  • Happy All The Time by Laurie Colwin
  • Hello From Heaven: A New Field of Research-After-Death communication by Bill Guggeinheim
  • I Am David by Anne Holm
  • If Not Now, When? (Penguin Twentieth-Century classics) by Primo Levi
  • In Search Of Lost Time by Marcel Proust
  • In The Dark Before Dawn: New Selected Poems of Thomas Merton by Thomas Merton
  • Looking For A Friend – Rod McKuen
  • Love’s Been Good To Me – Rod McKuen
  • One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey
  • Rites Of Passage by William Golding
  • Tender Is The Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • The Christmas Box Miracle: My Spiritual Journey of Destiny, Healing and Hope by Richard Paul Evans
  • The Devil In The Flesh by Raymond Radiguet, Alan Sheridan
  • The Graduate by Charles Webb
  • The Heart Of A Woman by Maya Angelou
  • Honorary Consul by Graham Greene
  • The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler
  • The Seven Storey Mountain by Thomas Merton
  • The Trial by Franz Kafka
  • Too Many Midnights by Rod McKuen
  • Traveling Light by Max Lucado
  • Watch For The Wind by Rod McKuen
  • West Wind by Mary Oliver
  • Witness To Hope: A Biography of Pope John Paul II
  • Your Name is Renee: Ruth Kapp Hartz’s Story As A Hidden Child in Occupied France by Stacey Cretzmeyer.

And last but not the least is P. Anciers’ Libertine’s Destiny. I read this when I was in college and the only copy of  UST’s Main Library was never in the shelf. Back then, when somebody returned the book, there was always someone who wanted to borrow it. The story started in Germany during WWII. If I were to rate it now, I’ll give it five stars. There is a discussion group on Goodreads about this book and some have sourced different libraries in the US to no avail.

What about you, do you have a favorite book that you want to reread and makes you smile just remembering  it?

A book is a dream that you hold in your hand.–Neil Gaiman

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I recently visited (crossover, hahaha) some blogs at Blogger where I follow some Filipino book bloggers who also belong to my book club, Flips Flipping Pages. Most of them are not my friends but their blog posts about books are a joy to read. For the past six or seven years, I haven’t attended their monthly discussion but I get updated through FFP’s page on Facebook.  Then I saw this list somewhere, BBC’s top 100 books you have to read before you die. I wonder why there is that phrase “before you die”, I am not in a hurry to read books just because it is a must to read them before you take your last breath.  I read books because they give me that endless joy and discovery about other people and other places. I’ve seen similar list of places you have to visit before you die.  I think this is BBC’s latest list because prior to this they have included the titles of the seven Harry Potter books.  Blame it on how curious I am if  I made a dent on their list. Twenty seven books and if I were to add the other six books of JK Rowling which they have listed as a series, that would be 33 total. Not bad, not bad at all. Here’s the list I copied from a site (I could not remember now) on BBC’s top 100.  Some books I have highlighted are mine and some were borrowed from the UST Library and read them when I was still in college. Harry Potter’s hardbound copies are Nissa’s collections.

1. Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen

2. The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien

3. Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte

4. Harry Potter series – JK Rowling

5. To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee

6. The Bible (still reading it daily)

7. Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte

8. Nineteen Eighty Four – George Orwell

9. His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman

10. Great Expectations – Charles Dickens

11. Little Women – Louisa M Alcott – on my TBR list

12. Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy

13. Catch 22 – Joseph Heller

14. Complete Works of Shakespeare

15. Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier

16. The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien

17. Birdsong – Sebastian Faulk

18. Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger

19. The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger

20. Middlemarch – George Eliot

21. Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell

22. The Great Gatsby – F Scott Fitzgerald – on my TBR list

24. War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy – on my TBR list

25. The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams

27. Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

28. Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck

29. Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Caroll

30. The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame

31. Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy – in the middle of reading it

32. David Copperfield – Charles Dickens

33. Chronicles of Narnia – CS Lewis

34. Emma -Jane Austen

35. Persuasion – Jane Austen

36. The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe – CS Lewis

37. The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini

38. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Bernieres

39. Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden

40. Winnie the Pooh – A.A. Milne

41. Animal Farm – George Orwell

42. The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown

43. One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez

44. A Prayer for Owen Meaney – John Irving – on my TBR list

45. The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins

46. Anne of Green Gables – LM Montgomery – read three volumes

47. Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy

48. The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood

49. Lord of the Flies – William Golding – on my TBR list

50. Atonement – Ian McEwan  – couldn’t get further than chapter 2

51. Life of Pi – Yann Martel – watched the movie adaptation and was not inclined to read it

52. Dune – Frank Herbert

53. Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons

54. Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen

55. A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth

56. The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon – on my TBR list

57. A Tale Of Two Cities – Charles Dickens

58. Brave New World – Aldous Huxley

59. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon

60. Love In The Time Of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez

61. Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck

62. Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov

63. The Secret History – Donna Tartt

64. The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold

65. Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas

66. On the Road – Jack Kerouac

67. Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy

68. Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding

69. Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie

70. Moby Dick – Herman Melville

71. Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens

72. Dracula – Bram Stoker – haven’t finished reading it yet

73. The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett

74. Notes From A Small Island – Bill Bryson

75. Ulysses – James Joyce

76. The Inferno – Dante

77. Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome

78. Germinal – Emile Zola

79. Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray

80. Possession – AS Byatt

81. A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens

82. Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell

83. The Color Purple – Alice Walker

84. The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro

85. Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert

86. A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry

87. Charlotte’s Web – E.B. White

88. The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Albom – on my TBR list

89. Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

90. The Faraway Tree Collection – Enid Blyton

91. Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad

92. The Little Prince – Antoine De Saint-Exupery (In French)

– read it several times but not in French

93. The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks

94. Watership Down – Richard Adams

95. A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole

96. A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute

97. The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas

98. Hamlet – William Shakespeare

99. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl

100. Les Miserables – Victor Hugo

If you ask me,  I would not even include Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code on the list and Alice Sebold’s The Lovely Bones would not even make it to the top 500 but that’s me talking.

How many books have you read on this list?

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“I have a surprise for you”.


It was quite a surprise alright. My daughter’s family visited us yesterday and it was a day full of happy moments, exchanging ideas, talking about a small business which Kev has started, delving on life’s angst and yes, our talks were mostly about food.

The Kite Runner.

Back in 2003, Nissa and I encountered a new author with an equally lovely and beautiful book called The Kite Runner. The author Khaled Hosseini was born  in Kabul, Afghanistan and his family sought political asylum in the United States where he earned a medical degree. The Kite Runner, his first book was published in 2003 and has become an international bestseller and a beloved classic. Nissa bought me a copy. It was my first time to read an Asian author from war-torn Afghanistan. They released a movie adaptation back in 2007. Nissa and I watched it on the big screen when it was shown in Metro Manila and cried unashamedly while we watched it.  I remember giving the book  five-star on Goodreads.  To summarize it briefly, it is a heartbreaking story  of  friendship between  a wealthy boy and the son of his father’s servant.  It’s a story of redemption, friendship, betrayal and lies set against the political turmoil in Afghanistan.

And the nice surprise? Nissa gave me an original DVD copy and I am so excited to watch it again. Hosseini published two more books which are both equally good, A Thousand Splendid Suns and And The Mountains Echoed. If you  haven’t read nor watched The Kite Runner yet, perhaps you can give it a go and you will surely enjoy it.

“It may be unfair, but what happens in a few days, sometimes even a single day, can change the course of a whole lifetime…”

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completedHow’s this for a first post this month?

When I started this reading challenge this January, I was not even sure if I could finish 50 books in a year because sometimes, lulls in reading are more frequent than the number of times I  hold a book in my  hand. It’s a great leap from the 35 I managed to read in 2014.  Goodreads says, “You have read 50 of 50 books in 2015.” Chick lit, YA, fiction, a memoir, some inspirational books and contemporary stories made up my reading list for the challenge. And it helped that I have my new tab because I could read at night without interruption. Now it’s time to concentrate on the classic books that I wanted to read for a long, long time but didn’t have the time to start. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy is on the list, so with the L.M. Montgomery series ( I love Anne of Avonlea), Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak, my new and still unopened  copy of The Collected Works of Oscar Wilde  (the complete plays, poems and stories  including The Picture of Dorian Gray and De Profundis) and maybe cap it with the Outlander Series  (a re-read) by Diana Gabaldon before the year ends.

There is this sweet lady I follow here on WordPress.  Lately, she was able to publish a book based on the series of books and authors she has read in a year. Her blog is aptly called A Year of Reading the World. She sourced books from different authors in different countries.  I dream of doing that too, some day, not the publishing of a book but reading several authors like she did. I love this quote from William Styron:

A great book should leave you with many experiences, and slightly exhausted at the end. You live several lives while reading.

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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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Hello again. I’ve just finished a wonderful inspirational fiction called Angels Walking by Karen Kingsbury. I have just one or two  criteria for a good book and most of you won’t probably agree – when it makes me cry because it touches me, when it touches something deep in my soul, when the words are like balm to my wounded spirit – then it’s on my A list. Angels Walking did just that. As usual, I am not writing about it to make a book review because you can find various book sites where the story is more detailed and more concrete. I leave that to bloggers who could and would make an honest assessment of what a wonderful book  it is. There are several things though that I learned reading this book. We should not seek perfection in our lives because God alone is perfect. Learn to forgive. This is something so easy to say but so hard to do. Some of you may not believe in angels but I do. As I have said before, angels come in several disguises but we don’t really recognize them as such. Faith could move mountains, right?

When a person starts to live for God, when he steps out of the box of rules and rehearsed ways of living, he becomes real.

That’s one quote from the book that I’ve written on my journal. Recently I received two nominations from fellow bloggers. I regret though that I’ve long decided that this would be an award-free site although in the past years, I accepted  nominations and forwarded them  to some deserving bloggers. It’s quite redundant for me to be saying the same things about myself as a sort of introduction. I believe that those who regularly read my posts would see a more concrete glimpse of who I am. Anyway, I would love to say a big THANK YOU to two bloggers who nominated me. Joselito Caparino who calls his blog Caps Bulletin  included me in his list of Versatile Blogger Award.  abOOkishOwl nominated me for the  Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award but I declined for the simple reason that I am not really a book blogger. The questions there are all about books. Rarely do I make book reviews, I just share why I like them in a few short words. This made me smile. Really. I am happy. Yesterday, I received two lovely key chains sent by a niece who recently took a trip to Romania with a friend. They toured the old monasteries in different places in Romania. When she saw these, she thought of me. They are so lovely, a bit heavy and are gold and silver-plated. More addition to a growing collection :) IMG_6720 How was your day? I hope it made you smile too.

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