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Posts Tagged ‘literature and Fiction’


I can’t believe April is almost gone.  The lazy bug caught me again and blogging has taken a backseat for a while. Gone are the times when the day is not complete without writing a few words and posting them here.  I feel comfortable now blogging once or twice a week but I still read posts/updates from friends every day.

You won’t believe this, I’ve become so obsessed with books lately that sometimes I laugh at myself how  I’m gonna read these books  that I have collected all these years and some  e-books that I have on my phone. Hugging a book close and the comfort of turning the pages, loving the scent and smell of the printed pages. Yesterday, I took note of the recommendations of Goodreads based on similar subjects that I have read before. Historical fiction, memoirs and contemporary books still top the list. There was even a time that I visited the list of the 1000 books you have to read before you die but I narrowed it down to the top 500 but not necessarily followed it to the letter. If that is not a book obsession, I don’t know what is.  They call it bibliomania :) I haven’t gone that far yet…no….not yet.  I have a long list which I wrote in my notebook about new authors and new books that I want to read. I am trying to discover Asian authors and so far Khaled Husseini is the best although I found more names who are quite new in the field of writing.

I remember reading On Writing by Stephen King a few years ago, a book borrowed by Nissa from their Stress Management Office then found a brand new hardbound copy later  (still with the dust jacket on) in one of my trips to Booksale. Imagine the joy of finally owning a copy.  He said and I quote “Books are a uniquely portable magic.” “Reading in bed can be heaven, assuming you can get just the right amount of light on the page and aren’t prone to spilling your coffee or cognac on the sheets. ” That’s another line from Stephen King’s book and I laughed out loud when I read it before because it happened to me not just once but several times. At least it was just a glass of water and not a hot cup of coffee :)

When I encounter people who say that they are not fond of reading, I try to compose my facial expression not to frown and say “you are missing  a lot”.

P.S. Goodreads says I have read 28 books (56%) out of the 50 books that I challenged myself to finish this year. Maybe, I could add 10 more, what do you think?

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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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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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MaryOliver bday

This particular quote is one of my favorites.  She’s a sunshine on a gloomy day.

Happy 79th birthday Mary Oliver.  I pray that you will continue to touch us with your lovely thoughts and inspiring words.

 

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He said, “we must come back here”.

Oh yes, why not? Fancy my son being so supportive of my hobbies. Although he is not into fiction books like I am, he loves accompanying me to bookstores and  letting me find more books to explore and read. Yesterday was one such lovely day that we got to spend together after a lightning trip to the supermarket to buy groceries. Grocery-shopping, reading labels  and nutrition facts, finding something  new, making list of items that we need to buy – purely routine for some but it’s a joy for me to do.

Last week when he saw  what I bought at Books for Less, he promised to go with me to buy more.  Who would not be thrilled with that? I thought he would be put off by the gargantuan  and riotously arranged books  on display there but he found out something to his interest, a hard-bound book on games  (cards, magic tricks etc.) and he was hooked. He was even surprised that all books on sale are at P10 pesos each.

And more books.

When I think of all the books still left for me to read, I am certain of further happiness. ~Jules Renard

When I think of all the books still left for me to read, I am certain of further happiness. ~Jules Renard

I found two more books on Christmas, one is a collection of short Christmas stories by Rosamunde Pilcher  and a novel by Debbie Macomber.  I found a copy of Taylor Caldwell’s Captains and the Kings.  I watched the tv series decades ago. That was mid-seventies, I think when television programs were something to look forward to, not the sort of teleseryes  (soap operas)  that they have now that I never bother to watch. I remember watching it with Mom and Dad along with the television  sitcom John and Marsha, the longest running comedy series that made us  all laugh.  I love history even if they are just written through fiction books. It is now hard to find mass-produced copies of novels written by great writers from way back except maybe in second-hand bookstores  and I was lucky to find Captains and the Kings. It has mostly five-star ratings on Goodreads .  I am also excited to read Los Alamos, a first novel by Joseph Canon. I have just finished reading the second book of  Ken Follett on WWII and  this would be a nice follow-up since its setting was at the end of WWII. How lucky could one get, right?

Yes, of course.

Yesterday, when Josef said that we have to come back and add some more to my loot, I readily answered, “Yes, of course”  with a smile on my face that says, what a lovely day!

What books are you reading at the moment?

 

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Each day is a stepping stone into future days on the upward path. Enrich each day with gratitude and a time of quiet. – Lillian Marshall

Gosh, you won’t believe this! Yesterday I braved the traffic by taking  a commute   to visit the book sale at Books for Less in Pasig City. It is right in front of La Consolacion College where my two kids spent their high school so the place is quite familiar. This is the first time that I visited  BFL and I was  like, “Oh, Oh, I don’t know what books to buy”.

There were so many volumes on so many subjects  that I was in a quandary which to choose. Some look practically new with the dust jackets still intact but of course, BFL sells secondhand books.  I don’t mind buying secondhand books, I’ve done it for years at Booksale. I only get to buy new ones on the works of authors I am collecting  and those lovely editions that one can’t help having on one’s shelf. Sometimes, I just close my eyes and don’t look at the price :)  This time though, I enjoyed an hour looking for well-known authors that I like, discovering some fiction books that look interesting.  I was able to buy twelve books in all,  including a small volume  entitled Stepping Stones (meditations in a garden) with lovely flower illustrations on each page. I just love it. I also found another collection of short stories by one of my favorite authors, Rosamunde Pilcher. It was such a joy to see two more volumes of L. M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables, classic stories that never grow old with time. I hope I will be able to find the missing three more volumes to complete my collection. There was also a memoir and a children’s book for Nate (which looks  new) and the rest are fiction books of authors that I haven’t read yet.  Josef  told me yesterday to go back there and we would bring the car so I don’t have to commute but he has to buy a replacement for our submersible pump for our small pond.  I am comforted by the thought that the sale would end on August 31 so I still have plenty of time to buy books. Did I tell you that I only spent P120 pesos for those twelve books?  Each one costs P10 pesos,  easier on the pocket, I must say. My book shelves are close to  bursting.

Today is the Feast Day of St. Dominic. Happy Feast Day to all  of my Dominican friends.  Fr. Lovell, O.P. (my adopted son)  texted and said that he is praying  for and offering his masses for the family.  I told him it is a noble gift to be prayed for always. What a blessing! I am sad though to learn that the former Rector of UST, Rev. Leonardo Z. Legaspi, O.P.  passed on this morning . He  was the first Filipino UST Rector.  He was a part of my high school and college life in the 70’s.   He died on the feast day of St. Dominic and on his  episcopate ordination anniversary, two special events that would make  it easy for his friends and family to remember. He would always say “Good morning” every time he meets students at the UST campus.  Requiescat  in pace. I’ll remember you in  prayers.

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Hello, sun in my face.
Hello, you who made the morning
and spread it over the fields…

Watch, now, how I start the day
 in happiness, in kindness.

– Mary Oliver

 

I am sure one of my favorite authors,, Mary Oliver would not mind if I borrow the title of her poem. I often blog about her and how I enjoy reading her writings, simply worded and yet they have deep meanings that touch the heart and the soul.

The sun is up and I could feel its warmth on my face although at the moment it is playing hide and seek with the clouds. We are still experiencing southwest monsoon and there is another storm coming but at least we could enjoy the weekend without worrying about flash flood and heavy downpour.

Yesterday, I finally finished cleaning our bookshelves, sorting books  and arranging them according to authors. The books  Nissa, Josef and I  have collected over the years  are all placed on the higher shelves  along with the lovely ones (craft books, Calvin and Hobbes comic books which my son collects, mythology and some non-fiction).  Every time I do some dusting here, I always read a few titles and remember the times my kids and I bought them. Some are gifts from close friends who know of our penchant for reading. I can’t  resist  re-reading  the boxed set of Nick Bantock’s The Griffin & Sabine Trilogy. IMG_6174Years ago ( I don’t remember now), my sister-in-law sent me this set as a birthday gift and it is one of the treasures that I have in my book collection. IMG_6176IMG_6175 The three books are actually my introduction to an epistolary novel, work of fiction written through letters but what makes it so lovely to read is that, the letters are  actually written on real stationeries with attached envelopes to boot.  It makes me smile reading these lovely letters again.  The Griffin and Sabine story is an extraordinary tale of love, beauty and art.

Believe me when I say that I again found duplicate copies of some books from authors that I collect. It’s a good thing they are just mass-produced paperbacks. For a while, I enjoyed reading e-books, but there is nothing like holding a good book in your hands, lovingly turning the pages and exploring  another world in another time.

Do you love reading? Do you also collect certain authors in your bookshelf?

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