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Posts Tagged ‘memoirs’


I’ve just finished a Patricia Cornwell book called Postmortem. It was my 109th read.  Fast paced and riveting. It’s a crime fiction.

This made me smile. Early this morning I saw the shout-out of one of my favorite authors Richard Paul Evans on Facebook, (we are online friends for a number of years now). His newest book is coming out on October 27 and I commented, “That’s my birthday”. And he answered, “That’s a sign Arlene”. Haha,  I am excited to get hold of it, if I could find a copy here.

My reading list was derailed again. I found more lovely books which are not really lined-up for me to read until the end of the year. The Prisoner of Heaven is a continuation of Daniel’s story in the Shadow of the Wind, Marina by the same author.  I am also looking forward to Memory Wall by Anthony Doerr.  He is that same author of All the Light We Cannot See which won Goodreads Choice 2014.  John Jakes’  The Warriors is also on the list  of my TBR. Pilgrim At Tinker Creek is  a memoir by  Annie Dillard. It will be the first time that I’ll read one of her books.  I guess I’ll start it tonight.

What have you been reading lately?

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Intriguing title, right?

But I just borrowed from a book I am reading at the moment that I simply could not put down. It is actually a memoir  but it is a contemporary YA book.

Zimbabwe.

It’s the first time I read something about this country, formerly called Rhodesia, a land-locked country located in Southern Africa.

How one letter changed two lives is the main theme of this book. Two teens exchanging letters from two continents.  They are pen pals. A Zimbabwean boy and an American girl. The former is dirt-poor, on a hand to mouth existence  while the girl came from a well-off family. I cried so many times reading this book and I have only finished two-thirds of it but I can’t ignore writing about it. Besides, if I could, I promised myself to write every day until the end of September. Another challenge, I guess.

Caitlin and Martin –  and the lovely narrative simply written. I almost forgot that this is a memoir.

Back in college, I had an opportunity to meet two Japanese girls and an Australian  via pen pal writing. It came about when a fellow student librarian gave my name to them and they started writing to me. I could still remember their names until now – Junko Yao, Satomi Hasegawa and Suzanne Gilding. Wouldn’t it be nice if I could find them now? Junko was the more diligent writer and she sent me some packages before – Japanese green tea, chopsticks, Japanese candies, a hair accessory ( a lovely Japanese comb)  and stationeries. I am just sorry I stopped  corresponding with them when I started work at the bank.

I  Will Always Write Back is just an awesome read.

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The last time I really read a good memoir was when I discovered Peter Mayle’s books two years ago. I read all of his three books entitled A Year In Provence (giving it  a five-star rating on Goodreads), Toujours Provence and Encore Provence. Back then, I couldn’t get enough of how he described his adventures and life in the south of France. I even googled all those places that he mentioned in his books.  I got sad though when he died last January 18, 2018 at the age of 78. He was a British author.

Then here comes another book that got me hooked up to the last page.

Becoming by Michelle Obama.

Of course we all know who Michelle Obama is, the first African-American First Lady of the United States. The book of course is not about politics. It’s about the life of a future First Lady from when she was a child growing up with her brother Craig on the South Side of Chicago.  She belonged to a middle class family, graduated from Princeton University and Harvard Law School. The book speaks of the times when she was a child until her family left the White House after eight years.

From time to time, I would read some quotes of hers but I was never curious to know how she lived her life as a mother to two beautiful kids and the wife of Pres. Barack Obama. Becoming is an intimate account on how experiences have shaped her, a warm story-telling of her life as a daughter, a sister, a wife, a mother and eventually as the First Lady of the United States of America. With honesty and wit, she described her disappointments and triumphs in life.  Her beauty, elegance and intelligence were clearly manifested in her detailed descriptions of how life was back then.

Here are some  quotes that I jotted down while reading the book.

“For me, becoming isn’t about arriving somewhere or achieving a certain aim. I see it instead as forward motion, a means of evolving, a way to reach continuously toward a better self. The journey doesn’t end.”

“For every door that’s been opened to me, I’ve tried to open my door to others. And here is what I have to say, finally: Let’s invite one another in. Maybe then we can begin to fear less, to make fewer wrong assumptions, to let go of the biases and stereotypes that unnecessarily divide us. Maybe we can better embrace the ways we are the same. It’s not about being perfect. It’s not about where you get yourself in the end. There’s power in allowing yourself to be known and heard, in owning your unique story, in using your authentic voice. And there’s grace in being willing to know and hear others. This, for me, is how we become.”

“Now I think it’s one of the most useless questions an adult can ask a child—What do you want to be when you grow up? As if growing up is finite. As if at some point you become something and that’s the end.” 

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