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Posts Tagged ‘literature and Fiction’


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There have been so many excellent books written about the Holocaust both true accounts and fiction. There is Man’s Search For Meaning by Victor Frankl which I’ve read three decades ago, Schindler’s List by Thomas Keneally which was adapted into a movie and  Mila 18 by Leon Uris.

Irena’s Children is one of them, a newly published book about the life of Irena Sendler and how she helped save thousands of children affected by the war (when Germany invaded Poland).

Such a riveting story of loss of millions of lives because of war, selflessness, love of family, love of country, courage, life and death.

Gosh, I can’t believe it. this is my 99th read and I am almost, almost done. One more book to go. I am in a quandary which to read first, Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak which I’ve been eyeing to read since my college years or The Kitchen House which is another historical novel. Or maybe, toss coin na lang, which is which..haha 🙂

Sometimes,Iwonder why I am always drawn to history, fiction or not. Maybe I am an old soul.

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13158800Beautiful. Magnificent story. One of the best reads for my 2016 challenge. It was Goodread’s Choice 2012 winner and I didn’t know it was recently adapted into film until I finished reading it a few minutes ago. Read some reviews, some are the same as I felt in the middle of reading the book….I cried at the last few pages. I watched the 3-minute trailer on YouTube..wow! The ocean lighted by that lone lighthouse was lovely. I have always admired seeing lighthouses from a distance but I have never seen one lighted at night.

This is my 96th book for this year, four more to go and I am done. I am thinking of rereading The Godfather by Mario Puzo, getting a start at Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak (there is a full movie adaptation on YouTube) and maybe another inspiring book by Alicia Ruggerie, if I could find one.

“There are still more days to travel in this life. And he knows that the man who makes the journey has been shaped by every day and every person along the way. Scars are just another kind of memory….Soon enough the days will close over their lives, the grass will grow over their graves, until their story is just an unvisited headstone.”

“Sometimes life turns out hard. Sometimes it just bites right through you. And sometimes, just when you think it’s done its worst, it comes back and takes another chunk.”

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I am excited. Truly.

A few days ago, I saw this on Mary Oliver’s timeline. Her new book Upstream will be released in a month and I just hope this time I would be able to find a copy.

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It’s the newest collection of Mary Oliver’s essays.  I’m always on the lookout for Mary Oliver’s quotes online  and luckily I found one on Blogger. Would you believe, the author quoted  a poem of Mary  every day for a year and did a short write-up of what those words meant  in  her life?  I am still on the first few entries but I was able to find some poems which are not included in the only two books I have of Mary Oliver, New And Selected Poems, Vol. 1 and the lovely edition of A Thousand Mornings.

Then I found these on her wall too and I was l smiling like crazy. Her words inspire me, lift me up and give me that boost I sorely need when I feel down. To appreciate  the beauty of the  natural world around us, what bliss!

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One of my favorite poems is this, The Wild Geese.

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

 

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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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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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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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