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Posts Tagged ‘Nicholas Sparks’


I am going back to reading although it has become a bit slow for me. There was a time when I used to read three books a week, getting  older though made me quite a little slack doing some of my favorite hobbies, reading being one. Come to think of it, among all my books (probably  a thousand of them) there are only two signed copies that I treasure for the simple reason that they are the only signed copies that I have 🙂collageTwo years ago, my daughter gave  me a copy of Nicholas Sparks’ The Best of Me   as a birthday gift  on the condition that I attend his book signing at The Podium at Ortigas Center. There was an attached invite from National Bookstore but it was not an assurance that I’ll be able to have my book signed. Nicholas Sparks is more of Nissa’s favorite author so I’ve read almost all of his books. The book signing was right after my birthday so you can just imagine how nervous I was because I have never attended one before.  Read my adventures here on how the day went. It was an unforgettable event in my life. I was really tongue-tied when I met him face to face. All I can utter was “hello Nicholas”.

Richard Paul Evans is  one of my favorite authors. Hmm, let me amend that, he is my favorite author. I’ve blogged  about him so many times here. Last year, I received a signed, first edition copy of his book  The Last Promise , a gift from an online friend that I met at Multiply.  Look at how he signs his books. This may sound  crazy but I guess, the value of a book increases when it is personally signed by the author. Do you agree?

I am looking forward to my three  new books  which will be sent by another friend from the US, my copy of A Thousand Mornings by Mary Oliver and two more latest books by Richard Paul Evans.  Right now, I am in the thick of reading Anne of Avonlea (second in a series of the classic books by L.M. Montgomery).

And I wish that like the late D.J. Salinger, I could do this too, ““What really knocks me out is a book that, when you’re all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn’t happen much, though.”  It hasn’t happened yet because I don’t have  a terrific friend  who is a book author 😦

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A week ago, I wrote about my first ever experience with a well read and popular author when National Bookstore sponsored a book signing. I also wrote a short review when I read the book The Best of Me the following day. I had a pleasant surprise when I received an e-mail that Read Philippines featured it at their site. It’s a Pinoy readers community where one could discuss books and build a virtual library just like in Shelfari.com.

I was amused that hubby, probably out of curiosity read two books of Nicholas Sparks in a row.  He is used to reading other authors like James Patterson, Richard North Patterson, Robert Ludlum  and such thriller books but not love stories or stories about family. Anyway, it seems that he has finally come to terms with other genre, hooray!

And here is one more good news. Richard Marx is coming to Manila for a one-night concert at Araneta Coliseum. Breathe Arlene, you wish you could really see him in person, right?  Yes, I am right here waiting.

 

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I have started reading two books, Eat, Pray, Love (I’m giving it another go) and a lovely book on St. Francis of Assisi given by a priest friend from Rome. The latter is that kind of book that you don’t just read in one sitting, because every word is meant to be absorbed and reflected on. Nissa gave me Nicholas Sparks’ The Best of Me as a birthday gift though and I was kind of curious what the book was all about after queuing for a number of hours just to have the book signed last Friday, October 28 at The Podium.  I started it last night, abandoning the first two and I slept late trying to finish it in one go.

This is not your  typical book review though, I just want to share a bit of what I observed and felt while reading the book. I initially started with so much anticipation, this may be something special, better than Safe Haven which is the last book I’ve read of Nicholas Sparks. I  smiled at the thought that this particular book was signed by the author himself and I kept looking at his signature while reading it. Does that elicit a special feeling because I met him personally?  The answer is a big YES because I saw  him describe his previous books and how he was inspired by personal experiences in writing them. I’ve always said that when it comes to describing emotions (the high and low of it), why are guy writers seem to be more sensitive? I am not saying that they are better writers  than the rest.

I’ve read several of his books and I think that The Best Of Me is not really one of the best reads  I found. Or maybe I am expecting too much. I enjoyed reading it but the characters are forgettable except perhaps that of Tuck and Dawson. The first few chapters were okay and I even had a notebook on hand to jot down quotable quotes. At the latter part of the story, the character build-up has gone astray from the beautiful dialogue between Dawson and Amanda while they were reminiscing about high school days and how Tuck touched their lives. Seemingly at the end, all the minor characters were given equally important roles to play but the ending though was not predictable. I like the touch of paranormal that was introduced at the beginning and finally woven as one of the important aspects of the novel in the end.

I kept looking at the front cover of the book when I reached Chapter 12 and I quote:

The final stretch of the drive ended at a small cottage nestled in a grove of ancient live oaks. The weathered structure , with chipping paint and shutters that had begun to blacken at the edges, was fronted by a small stone porch framed by white columns. Over the years, one of the columns had become enshrouded  in vines, which climbed toward the roof. A metal chair sat near the edge, and at one corner of the porch, adding color to the world of green, was a small pot of blossoming  geraniums.

He has exactly described the picture on the book cover so you would not just imagine how it looks, it’s  right there jumping before your eyes and I love it.

I read somewhere  that this one will be adapted on the screen too. I really hope that one of these days, I could read a Sparks novel with all the trimmings of  a Barbara Taylor Bradford.

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I was a typical celebrity fan for a day, shouting, laughing and cheering with kindred souls while waiting for Nicholas Sparks at the Podium yesterday. Gosh, if Nissa was excited to give me her gift, I was just as excited to take a glimpse of one of her favorite authors, Nicholas Sparks.

The Best of Me.

It’s the newest book by Nicholas Sparks which was launched yesterday at the 2nd floor lobby of The Podium. I told Nissa earlier that I won’t be caught dead lining up for hours just to have a book signed. Signed or not, I could still enjoy reading it , right? Nissa asked me to just try since this is the first time that a very popular and well-known author is visiting the country.  I am sure there have been so many authors who visited the country before but Nicholas Sparks is “the Nicholas Sparks” if you know what I mean. So I decided to go to The Podium and take my chance on a raffle that would pave the way for my book to be personally signed by the author. What a frenzy, the excitement  was contagious, so to speak.

The Podium.

I arrived at The Podium before 11am and I was quite surprised to find that a lot of people are lining up the corners of the 2nd floor. I asked where the end of the line was and somebody pointed up, meaning, it’s on the upper floors. I reached the 3rd floor and it was the same, the 4th floor was like the first two. You could just imagine, I was finally able to join the line on the fifth level of the mall.  What would you do with six hours of wait if not to know people who are in the same line with you? Chat them up, right and discuss about books, Nicholas Sparks books in particular. There I met Abby and Cielo and even before we reached the registration counter, we have already exchanged e-mail addresses and had a few shots or two with my cam.  The line was very organized and it was fast.

The joys of being lucky to draw a YES for a signing pass. Earlier on, we said, what if we are qualified in the draw, are we going to shout for joy? We heard so much shouting of a YES when we were at the upper floors. When it was my turn, I silently prayed, “Lord, let this be another birthday gift for me”. Answered prayers! 🙂 Cielo wasn’t as lucky though. I met Cryss later and we had our pictures taken at the stage before I left for Robinson’s Galleria for lunch.

The Wait.

I went to Robinson’s Galleria for lunch at Kenny Rogers,  a favorite hangout with the kids. I was supposed to meet Tere, a friend at AFCC but they arrived late so we didn’t have the chance to see each other again. I spent almost an hour at Bestsellers. I was disappointed to see Samantha Sotto’s hardbound copy of Before Ever After  selling at P499.00 at Bestsellers, same price I bought my trade paperback copy. Bakit ganun? This is the first time I saw a book selling a the same price – a lovely hardbound and trade paperback  copy. Lesson learned: Ask before you buy!

By 3pm, I was back at The Podium and  saw almost everyone squatted on the floor, with a lively hum of voices excited to see the start of the event. I had a chat with another soul, Camille, who said that she only started reading when she was  in college and she said further that she missed all those opportunities of reading lovely and interesting books. I told her, it’s not too late.” Books will find you“, I said, ” not the other way around.” We talked about several things, her mom who died of cancer and how my treatment went.  It’s kind of funny that it was so easy to talk to people you have just met and all because you have one common subject to talk about – books.

At Last.

There was shouting when 5pm came, we were all eager to see Nicholas but he appeared on stage at around 5:20pm. There was a riot and everyone was standing but we were all disciplined. Cameras flashed and he was all smiles when he came up the stage. Oh my, since this was my first time to meet a well-known author, I was just like, “Oh gosh, it’s Nicholas Sparks!” Talk about the disadvantage of not being tall enough to angle your camera the right way. The guy in front of me was kind enough to take zoom shots from my camera.Nicholas  briefly talked about how he wrote all those bestseller books. He talked about loving all of them but one particular book stands out as his favorite, A Walk To Remember. The Notebook was his third book and  he was inspired to write it by the grandparents of his wife who had been married for more than sixty years when he met them. And when he said, “I am Noah”, everyone was shouting, probably thinking of the lovely book and the equally touching movie. I read the book twice and watched the movie adaptation several times.

There was this lady who was awarded the “early bird” . She was there at 2am. They called her up the stage and her book was the first one signed by Nicholas. Lucky, lucky lady. Then there was this other reader who wrote about her encounter with A Message In a Bottle.

It was worth the long hours of waiting.  It was quite tiring but who cares,  the personal encounter was just wonderful. When it was my turn to have my book signed, I said, “Finally, finally! Hi Nicholas.”  Then he answered “Hello”. I was in seventh heaven.  I had a picture with him, I really hope I can post it here soon.

(Thank you National Bookstore for these pics, thank you for giving us a chance to see Nicholas Sparks).

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I finally had my much-needed hair trim today at David’s. My favorite hairstylist assured me that the remaining  three weeks  before my daughter’s wedding is long enough to have my hair grow a little longer. I do wonder why  it gets unruly (because it has a natural curl) when I grow it longer than my usual boy’s bob (if you can even call it that because I have thin and fine hair strands) and it does not bounce like those what you see on TV commercial. I had a good chat with her as usual. It’s pretty common to befriend people in beauty salons. Believe me, if you do, you’ll get immediate attention and don’t forget the tip – something for the hairstylist and something for the assistant who shampooed, rinsed and blow-dried your hair with matching back rub while waiting for your turn.

Perfect time to make another visit to National Bookstore.  I am looking for a copy of Bible Diaries for 2012, the Claretian publication, but they told me that their orders haven’t arrived yet. I saw their ad on Nicholas Sparks’ book signing on October 28 at The Podium.  Yes, it’s that high-end shopping mall near Asian Development Bank.It’s only limited to 650 guests and will be done through raffle if you buy his newest book,  The Best of Me. Nicholas Sparks is the author behind those touching movies like The Notebook,  Message in a Bottle and A Walk to Remember, to name a few. I asked the saleslady why they don’t carry Richard Paul Evans who I think writes better than Nicholas Sparks. I am not being biased just because the former is an online friend at Facebook and I read most of his books too, some special finds in  my many trips to NBS.  All of my books of Nicholas Sparks were gifts from Nissa on several birthdays and Christmas holidays.

Next trip (sounds as if I’ve gone on a long one) was a visit to my book lady friend at Booksale. She was all smiles when she saw me and  she was excited to show me all the new arrivals on their shelves. If only I could bring them all home. I brought home two books though, after a thorough search on their shelves. The Cabinet of Curiosities by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, what more could you ask for?

I was quite amused watching the man behind the counter of Sisig etc. It’s one of those small stalls where you could buy cheap snacks inside the mall. He was chopping the  fried pork in rhythm, with animated hand gestures. It’s like watching a conductor in an orchestra, slow then fast music, only this time, it’s the music of the knife touching the base of the chopping board  until it ends with the pork chopped finely ready for the sisig he’s about to prepare. He must really love his work.  And attitude makes the difference, there was a long line of customers in front of his stall.

Observing people sometimes makes me smile. They have their own style of  being noticed and appreciated.  It was a lovely afternoon, alright.

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I want to say, it’s another one of those days. Stuffy and runny nose,  a bit of a headache, occasional sneezes – perfect ingredients for a lousy day. Yes, I still have a cold, going on for about three days now.  This weather is beastly too, it’s a little hot during the day and it rains at night.  I just could not stay long in front of the computer so I’ll make this the shortest blog possible.

I am  burying my nose reading books,  but I just don’t know where to start, not even a dent on my TBR list. So for want of better choices, I started reading Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks, a trade paperback which my daughter gave me a month ago.  I love how he writes and I have his earlier books, all gifts from her.  I promise, I’ll write a longer blog tomorrow. I just could not stand having to blow my nose every minute.

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