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Posts Tagged ‘literature and Fiction’


“Your idea of me is fabricated with materials  you have borrowed from other people and from yourself.  What you think of me depends on what you think of yourself.  Perhaps you create your idea of me out of material that you would like to eliminate from your own idea of yourself.  Perhaps your idea of me is a reflection of what other people think of you.  Or perhaps what you think of me is simply what you think I think of you”.   Thomas Merton

It was written on the first page of my tattered journal (tattered now anyway since I had it like  more than forty years ago).  I love quoting Thomas Merton. I used to devour his writings when I was still a student librarian at the University of Santo Tomas Main Library.   I wonder where I could buy copies of some of his books.  Two of his books are still on my wish list until now.

In the Dark Before Dawn

The Seven Storey Mountain

Some years ago, a friend gave me a copy of Merton’s Thoughts in  Solitude along with the pretty volume of Breakfast at Tiffany’s  by Truman Capote. They are two of the books I treasure.

 

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It’s been a while since I posted my reading materials here. I was cleaning one of  our cabinets then discovered all my journals, some are still blank waiting to be filled and  some of my brand new books still unread.  A couple of years ago, I took a photo of them.  They are now wrapped in plastic covers.

Except for the small volume  of Breakfast at  Tiffany’s, a glimpse of Helen Steiner Rice’s poems and reading Mary Oliver’s book from cover to cover,  my other books remain unread.  Would love to start on Haruki Murakami’s Kafka On The Shore pretty soon. That’s Oscar Wilde collected works is a treasure. I have previously bought a small volume (paperback edition) and that’s what I’ve been reading in fits and starts. The words are pretty small so I am finding it hard to read. I got used to e-books where you can enlarge the prints or even change the background color to your liking. I have read  Thomas Merton’s  Thoughts on Solitude before but it is really so nice to finally have my copy.  I used to have almost all books by Diana Gabaldon, trade paperback editions but I somehow lost them all during the flood in 2009.  John Green’s five-volume books are still in their original cartoon cover. I enjoyed reading A Fault In Our Stars before so maybe these books are good too.

As I am done with my 2017 reading challenge in Goodreads, I am presently trying new authors, thrillers and historical fiction.

What’s on your to-be-read list? Anything interesting?

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With nowhere to go but here, with nothing to do but open the one life we’re given, a journey begins in which we experience life rather than dreaming that we can escape it.
– The One Life We’re Given (Mark Nepo)

I’ve been following Mark  Nepo for quite a while now. He was recommended by a poet friend who loves his writings. I don’t have any of his books but I love reading his updates and quotes about his writings online. His site is a treasure trove of excellent and inspiring words.

Here’s one poem that I love. It is called  The Way Under The Way.  You can find him here.

For all that has been written,
for all that has been read, we
are led to this instant where one
of us will speak and one of us will
listen, as if no one has ever placed
an oar into that water.

It doesn’t matter how we come
to this. We may jump to it or be
worn to it. Because of great pain.
Or a sudden raw feeling that this
is all very real. It may happen in a
parking lot when we break the eggs
in the rain. Or watching each other
in our grief.

But here we will come. With very
little left in the way.

When we meet like this, I may not
have the words, so let me say it now:
Nothing compares to the sensation
of being alive in the company of
another. It is God breathing on
the embers of our soul.

Stripped of causes and plans
and things to strive for,
I have discovered everything
I could need or ask for
is right here—
in flawed abundance.

We cannot eliminate hunger,
but we can feed each other.
We cannot eliminate loneliness,
but we can hold each other.
We cannot eliminate pain,
but we can live a life
of compassion.

Ultimately,
we are small living things
awakened in the stream,
not gods who carve out rivers.

Like human fish,
we are asked to experience
meaning in the life that moves
through the gill of our heart.

There is nothing to do
and nowhere to go.
Accepting this,
we can do everything
and go anywhere.

 
 

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There are books and there are books out there.

Funny how sometimes a certain book is included in the list of classics but when you attempt to read it, you can’t relate. One such book I really wanted to finish is The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco. I started a few chapters only to abandon it again. Readers rated it five stars on Goodreads but how come I could not finish even five chapters? The proverbial question is, is it me or is it the book?  I love history, I admire those writers who really make those researches when writing a historical book.  Those Latin phrases really turned me off. A few months ago, I attempted to include Anna Karenina in my book challenge for this year but I gave up reading in the middle of the book. Russian names are hard to pronounce, haha.  Got confused by the story.  I finished reading  Doctor Zhivago though by Boris Pasternak. I  even watched some trailers on YouTube and enjoyed listening to Lara’s Theme. Another book that I started years ago but still pending in my TBR list is A Prayer for Owen Meany. This book got more five stars on Goodreads. A Widow For One Year  is another Irving book that is pending in my shelf.

Are you a fan of Gabriel Garcia Marquez? We used to have two trade books of his in our small library which Nissa bought years ago, Love In The Time of Cholera and One Hundred Days of Solitude.  I enjoyed the latter but could not finish the former. I wonder why.  Enough of  Florentino Ariza and Fermina Daza. Do you remember that famous film by Meryl Streep entitled Julie and Julia? I  enjoyed watching the film version but didn’t finish the book with the same title  by Julie Powell, a food blogger. Another book Eat, Pray, Love  is prominently displayed in my shelf but the first few chapters were a disappointment to me. Maybe one of these days, I’ll read Elizabeth Gilbert.  Maybe I’ll give the book another try.

I am presently reading  The Winter Siege by Ariana Franklin,  a book set in 12th century England.  A wonderful historical book. In 1141, England was engulfed in civil war between King Stephen and his cousin, the Empress Matilda over who would wear the crown.  This book is so engrossing. This is my book number 162 out of a goal of reading 150 books this year.

What are you reading at the moment?

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I was suddenly reminded of this lovely children’s book while perusing my shelves on authors beginning with “W”. Pete, a friend here  on  WordPress has just ended his posts on alphabetical listings of books and authors.

Charlotte’s Web.

I was not really that familiar with the story until my kids were growing up and we stacked on children’s books to read every night before they went to sleep.

One is never too old to appreciate a good book.

E.B. White is the same author of the more familiar  Stuart Little  novel  which was adapted into a movie not too long ago. Charlotte’s Web is a story of Wilbur, a little pig and Charlotte,  a spider. It is a story of friendship, life, love and death. It’s full of lessons that we could all learn from.

There are several inspiring quotes from Charlotte’s Web, words of wisdom from a child’s book of fairy tales.

“Why did you do all this for me?’ he asked. ‘I don’t deserve it. I’ve never done anything for you.’ ‘You have been my friend,’ replied Charlotte. ‘That in itself is a tremendous thing.”

“I wove my webs for you because I liked you. After all, what’s a life, anyway? We’re born, we live a little while, we die. A spider’s life can’t help being something of a mess, with all this trapping and eating flies. By helping you, perhaps I was trying to lift up my life a trifle. Heaven knows anyone’s life can stand a little of that.”

“And then, just as Wilbur was settling down for his morning nap, he heard again the thin voice that had addressed him the night before.
“Salutations!” said the voice.
Wilbur jumped to his feet. “Salu-what?” he cried.
“Salutations!” repeated the voice.
“What are they, and where are you?” screamed Wilbur. “Please, please, tell me where you are. And what are salutations?”
“Salutations are greetings,” said the voice. “When I say ‘salutations,’ it’s just my fancy way of saying hello or good morning.”

“It is not often that someone comes along who is a true friend and a good writer.”

This is just as good as another children’s book, The Velveteen Rabbit which my kids and I love.

 

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Last night, I received this precious badge from Goodreads together with this lovely message:

Congrats!
You have read 150 books of your goal of 150!”

Almost nine months and I am done. It was nice to discover new authors whose  books were just as lovely as those I have read before. It was nice to discover new places.  It was just lovely to add more books on my shelves and on my tab.  I was even on a quandary what book to read last but I finally settled on Palladian.  I was reminded of the book Jane Eyre at the outset.  Palladian was first published in 1946, more than ten years before I was born.  Much as there are negative reviews on the book, the positive ones far outweigh them. Such poetic prose,  a string of words that warms the heart.  Summaries and various reviews are posted on Goodreads,  that is, if you have time to visit the site.

Hoping I could find more lovely books to read, reread those books that inspired me over the years, discover more memoirs, poems and fiction in the process.

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Josef came home last night and gave me a small bag. Inside was a lovely wallet designed like a webbed mat.  He is really that thoughtful. I guess when there is no particular occasion and you receive a lovely gift, you’ll be surprised too. This is not the first time he did this. One time he bought me a thick book at National Book  Store on how to make candles.  He knows that I would appreciate it. Yes, I used to make candles but I gave them as gifts to friends. I haven’t sourced materials for a long time now.  We often eat out when he is around or when I am so lazy to prepare something in the kitchen, we would order a take-out.

Even Nissa always brings something every time they come to visit us. It’s mostly toiletries and body lotions or moisturizer or make-up.  Nate would ask his dad to open the trunk of the car when they get here and he would give me those gifts always with a smile and something like, “We have a gift for you Nonna.”   I am so blessed my kids grew up the way they are – loving, giving and thoughtful.

I found a copy of  The Godfather by Mario Puzo. The first time I read it was way back in college and  I already forgot the details of the story except the name Don Corleone and the Italian  mafia. Over the years, it turned into a classic with two more film sequels. I haven’t watched it though but I found a full movie on YouTube. Gonna watch it after I finish re-reading the book.  This is my 130th read on the 2017  reading challenge. Twenty more books to go until the end of the year.  Hooray! After this maybe I’ll go back to memoirs and contemporary books.

Have a lovely week ahead.

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