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Posts Tagged ‘Thomas Merton’


tbr list for 2013

2012  – a lazy year of reading for me, I guess I could count on my fingers the books I have read this year but then I call it the busiest year that I accumulated more books on my shelf than I care to admit. There are still unopened books that I bought more than a year ago with the thought of replacing the ones we have lost a few years back.  A good friend who came home last October gifted me with thirteen books, some of which she brought home with her and the rest via UPS. She says that she  bought more books for me, newly published ones  that are on my wish list.

I love going to bookstores,  I love the scent of the pages of a new book.  National Bookstore, Bestsellers or the ever reliable Booksale, they are my favorite jaunts every time I have enough time to browse. Hopefully by 2013, I could read all of  these, my reading list is getting longer and here are some titles that I would make a priority of.

  • Breakfast At Tiffany’s  -Truman Capote …  Just read it a month back and found some videos on YouTube about this much talked about book for decades. Would love to re-read it  sometime  next year and re-acquaint myself with the quirky Holiday Golightly.
  • The Collected Works of Oscar Wilde… a thick volume of Wilde’s writings.
  • Alone  – Rod McKuen…  I love Rod McKuen, I love his thoughts and Alone is the kind of book that you want to absorb and  gives you that feeling that you can be a poet too, in simple words, that is.
  • The Poems and Prayers of Helen Steiner Rice …Who would not be mesmerized  by the words of this poet? Anyway, the poems and prayers of Helen Steiner Rice were a bright beacon to my college years. And I remember some of her beautiful quotes written in scented pens on my notebook. She was considered as  the “unofficial poet laureate of hope and optimism.” I finally have my copy, a new edition.
  • Everyday Grace –  Marianne Williamson … This is my first book of Williamson and I am really looking forward to read it this coming year.
  • Thoughts in Solitude – Thomas Merton … I’ve long been wanting to have a copy of any Thomas Merton’s books, this is it.
  • Their Eyes Were Watching God – Zora Neal Hurston …  Another gift from the same friend who gave me thirteen books this year. It’s included in the 1000 list of books you have to read before you die. Zadie Smith who introduced the book has this to say, “Their Eyes Were Watching God is one of the very greatest American novels of the twentieth century. It is so lyrical it should be sentimental; it is so passionate it should be overwrought; but it is instead a rigorous, convincing and dazzling piece of prose, as emotionally satisfying as it is impressive. There is no novel I love more. Well, what more can I say but just enjoy it.
  • A Wild Sheep Chase – Haruki Murakami …Who would not love Murakami?
  • Drums of Autumn, The Fiery Cross, Lord John – three  hard-bound books by Diana Gabaldon. I’ve always loved how Diana writes historical novels.
  • Irish Linen Andrew Greeley…  Greeley is a Catholic priest writer. I love his other books, I wonder if this one is worth-reading too.
  • Coming Home – Rosamunde Pilcher … She’s one of my favorite authors so I always look for her books every time I visit Booksale.  A year ago, I wrote about her, you can find it here.
  • World Without End  – Ken Follett … a sequel to one of my favorite books, The Pillars of the Earth. It’s a birthday gift from my daughter.
  • A Change of Altitude, All He Ever Wanted …two books by Anita Shreve, another author that I love.
  • More Glimpses of Heaven – Trudy Harris
  • Human Traces – Sebastian Faulks …It’ actually my first book of Faulks so I am excited to read it.
  • Critical – Robin Cook … I collect Cook’s books, they are all wonderful read about the medical field. Cook is a doctor.
  • Exile – Richard North Patterson… had this for years but it is so thick so I keep postponing to get it off the shelf.
  • A Prayer for Owen Meany – John Irving… Really looking forward to reading this one. It has excellent reviews.
  • Mary Oliver, New and Selected Poems…   Ah, my prized possession this year and it is the first time I ever had a copy of  a Mary Oliver book.

As if these are not enough, Odette (the same friend who gifted me with the thirteen books, three of which are all Richard Paul Evan’s latest) sent me this new year greeting with pictures of another two books that she bought for me, A Thousand Mornings which was just released last October and which inspired  me to make this blog of the same title and the new book of Richard Paul Evans entitled A Winter Dream. Aren’t I lucky?

happy new year by odette

I promised myself I would read more in 2013.

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It is still a lost cause for me finding even just one book by Thomas Merton. My friend Grace suggested that I go to the UST Library but I told her that I want to have a copy of my own. His most famous works like The Seven Storey Mountain, No Man is an Island, Thoughts in Solitude and some of his famous selected poems are still in my Wish list until now.I was arranging some of my old collections of quotations and my college journal when I found this inserted in one of my notebooks, writings of Thomas Merton which I have typed some thirty years ago. I cannot remember now which one of his works I got this from but I want to share it with you.

Thomas Merton is a Trappist monk and is one of the most influential Catholic authors of the 20th century.

SINCERITY (Thomas Merton)

We make ourselves real by telling the truth. We cannot know truth unless we ourselves are conformed to it. We must be true inside, true to ourselves, before we can know that which is outside us. But we make ourselves true inside by manifesting the truth as we see it.

Sincerity in the fullest sense must be more than a temperamental disposition to be frank. It is simplicity of spirit which is preserved by the will to be true. Sincerity in the fullest sense is a divine gift, a clarity of spirit which comes only with grace. the sincere man therefore, is one who has the grace to know that he may be instinctively insincere, and that even his natural sincerity may become a camouflage for irresponsibility and moral cowardice; as if it were enough to recognize the truth, and do nothing about it.

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.

It takes more courage than we imagine to be perfectly simple with other men. Our frankness is often spoiled by a hidden barbarity, born of fear.

In the end, the problem of sincerity is a problem of love. A sincere man is not so much one who sees the truth and manifests it as he sees it, but one who loves the truth with a pure love. But truth is more than an abstraction. It lives and is embodied in men and things that are real. And the secret of sincerity is, therefore not to be sought in a philosophical love for abstract truth but in a love for real people and real things – a love for God apprehended in the reality around us.

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