Between the Covers: Stories from My Bookcase

Sunday, April 13, 2014

The Ladies Farm by Viqui Litman

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The book’s description over at Amazon starts with this line, and I immediately found out why:

Steel Magnolias meets The First Wives Club in a touching and hilarious novel of friendship, love, sex, dreams, and good hair.

The Ladies of THE Ladies Farm are what you’d call experienced ladies. They are past middle-age, and have been married once (even twice) before, maybe even widowed. It’s like chick lit for older chicks Smile And it was a fun read.

Together they built a wonderful home for themselves – a forever home, really – as well as a transient home for other ladies (young and old) where they could rest, nourish their spirit, relax, and have fun. 

The clincher is that more than one woman in the story was in love with the same man, and they didn’t know about it until after he died. How they stayed friends despite it, is what makes the story quite interesting.

When I picked this book up to read last week, I didn’t know what to expect. I flipped it over to find out where and when I had bought it, and saw this price tag:

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Pick A Book. This means I’ve had this book since before November 2010, which was when I posted about missing that old place. Good thing I finally got to read it. Smile Now it’s time to give it away. No, not for free. But if you’d like to have it, I’m selling this copy for PhP 100.00 plush shipping fee of Php 50.00. Just leave me a message.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Summer Reading Camp 2014

I’ve never heard of a reading camp before, but it sure sounds fun. Smile

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DiksyonaryoAtbp is a non-stock, non-profit organization that aims to encourage love for reading, and help raise literacy in the Philippines. They collect storybook and dictionary donations, as well as support scholars in Benguet schools.

Here are the details of the reading camp (lifted from an announcement in Facebook):

• READING CORNER –read all the books they want from Filipino writers c/o Adarna House Publishing
• ART CORNER – unleash their inner artist by engaging in art activities related to their favorite stories
• STORYTELLING CORNER – listen as your favorite Filipino children’s literature comes alive in the voice of the best storytellers around

Aside from participating in these events, parents/ children can also avail of Adarna House books on site, which they can donate for DiksyonaryoAtbp 's future projects or take home for themselves.

To register your child, please visit http://projectdiksyonaryo.com/summer-reading-camp-registration/

(Official Poster designed by Risa Angela Rodil)

This really looks like my kind of event. I wonder if Amir would be interested? Since this is a Saturday I doubt if Alfred can join us, so maybe I’ll ask the grandparents if they’d like to bring Amir. I’ll tag along but I’ll try to get some reading done under the trees myself rather than watch the little boy. Hehe.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Marie Forleo interviews Arianna Huffington re “Thrive”

What is our definition of success? Marie Forleo and Arianna Huffington discuss it in this insightful interview revolving around Huffington’s latest book: Thrive.

Well-being, wisdom, and wonder.

Sleeping. Being in the moment. Dropping things off your perpetual to-do list. And much more. Already, I’ve picked up tips I’d like to work on in my life.

The interview, specially Marie’s excitement, got me really interested in owning the book and reading it. I know my birthday isn’t for months yet, but if you’re getting me a gift, would you kindly choose this one please?

Anyway… do watch the video, it’s 15 minutes and well worth your time. Let me know if and how it inspires you too Smile

Saturday, March 22, 2014

1001 Movies You Must See (Before You Die)

I really like watching movies, but I’m not the type who remembers so much trivia about the movies years later. That’s why I find it hard to pick when asked what my favorite movies are.

One thing I also find hard to do, is recommend what movies one absolutely must see. Unless I recently watched the film. Anyway. I stumbled on this video today, and now I want to see all those films I haven’t seen yet.

If you have the actual 1001 titles, please share. Smile

 

Monday, March 3, 2014

Starting Over Again (2014)

It was a cool Saturday morning. The sun was up, but it was a cool and sunny kind of day. I had met up with my friend Vanette at the Amoranto Sports Complex Pool for a much needed swimming session. We hadn’t seen each other in a year and a half, but it was like no time was lost.

The pool closes for lunch, and we were the last swimmers out of the water. Truth be told, I required the help of the Lifeguards to get out of the pool. I’d be ashamed of it, but shame isn’t an emotion I invest any energy into. So moving on…  We were getting out of our swimsuits and into dry clothes when we decided to see a movie. We both haven’t seen the latest Star Cinema movie offering and it seemed like the best time to see it.

We dashed off to the new mall along Quezon Avenue – Fisher Mall. There are hardly any shops open yet, but the cinemas were in full blast. They’re good cinemas too, I hope they can maintain it.

Anyway, about the movie.

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I have always loved seeing Toni Gonzaga in the big screen. She’s a great comedian, and she does drama just as well. And Piolo, well, much is always expected of Piolo and he always delivers onscreen.  We see a different Toni here – she allowed herself to have a kissing scene, for one, and she also had a bed scene! Whew. Haha.

But seriously, I loved the film.

I liked the Mama Mary scene where Ginny, Toni’s character, was crying over having been rejected for the Mama Mary role in the school play. Her reaction upon learning that Marco (Piolo) already had a new flame, and was planning to propose. And again her reaction to seeing how she looked like.

Fueled by the words Marco used in his four-year-late email, Ginny was determined to win him back. It was unreal seeing a very well dressed celebrity looking lady brave our railways, and take the bus, and fight for a cab. You just don’t see that everyday. Yet she did it, in her quest to spend face time with the guy she still loved.

I like how the film showed us both perspectives – that of the man that was left behind, his heart broken into a million pieces – and that of the girl who left, her young heart just as broken.

I began to root for Ginny – they were good for each other. Marco supported her in her dreams, and she supported Marco in his. It seemed like such a waste of good history having had a chance to meet again and not get back together.

I’ve heard a lot say that the scenes between Ginny and her friend (played by Beauty Gonzales) was a favorite. It’s not hard to like it, seeing as they were alternately laughing and crying their hearts out. We’ve all done that at one time or another, with or without the influence of alcohol.

Ginny’s confrontation scene with Patty is also one for the books. Patty’s grace and restraint was remarkable. I don’t think I can muster that.

In the end, what can we learn from that love story?

Love has no room for fear. Yes, there are so many things we can be fearful of, but we need to trust in love. Trusting in love means coming out about what we fear, so something can be done about it. Even if it means possibly hurting the one we love. A little hurt isn’t so bad from time to time, specially if it means you come out better and stronger together.

In our early years as a couple, I would not be happy about something that the boyfriend does or says. But I would shut up about it thinking it would just hurt him to hear what I’d have to say. I’d rather keep it, than cause a rift between us. But doing that actually makes a bigger rift. And it does nothing to make us better versions of ourselves.

Like Ginny, there was also a time when I felt that my partner wasn’t applying himself enough. That he could be so much more than what he’s willing to expect from himself. Instead of fearing that it’s what all he could ever be though, I tried to be patient and supportive until  he found something he could be passionate about. After all, we need to find it within us to really apply ourselves, no one can tell us what or how. I am so glad I stuck around.

One mistake cannot define a whole relationship. Love can be greater than a single mistake. But there must be mutual love, and respect, and understanding. I have learned this too.

If there’s anything we deem important, let’s say it. Now. There’s no point in waiting for a later time. Later won’t be the same. Later might be too late.

And finally, no matter how life events seem like the end of us, we can always start over. Always. It’s not always easy, and it’s not like it can be just the way it was before, but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. It is just as well.

I’d love to watch it again, but until it’s replayed over and over on CinemaOne, I’ll have to be content with the full trailer. Sigh.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Always and Forever by Cathy Kelly

If there was anything positive about having sick days it would be not wanting to be in front of a computer and being in the perfect mood to curl up with a book. Oh and being pampered if there was someone available to pamper you.

Just this weekend, being down with some kind of stomach flu meant crossing one book off my endless To Be Read list.

I've read only one Cathy Kelly book before this - Best of Friends - and she instantly became one of my favorites. She writes of women, friendships, small towns, and the Irish.

 

Always and Forever is set in Carrickwell, just outside Dublin. Daisy, Mel, and Cleo, were each on their own paths that eventually diverge as they embark on even better and happier versions of their lives. What brings them together? The new spa in town - Cloud's Hill, and it's enchanting proprietress Leah.

I can identify myself with Daisy - curvy, has been in a long term relationship with a sweetheart she met while still in college, successful in her chosen career, wants to have a baby. But I don't have her inferiority complex. I also identify with young Cleo - fiery, confident, and speaks her mind like nobody's business. But I've learned to control my temper and be mindful of my words long ago. For Mel it was a juggling act every single day. She was hard put to find the balance between finding self fulfillment as a career woman and rearing her two daughters both under five years old. I can see myself in her too - although I find some fulfillment at work, my heart is mostly somewhere else. And when I get blessed with my own children, I will struggle each day to keep everything up in the air.

They each went thru a crisis that I hope to never have to go through. But if I do, it's good to know that all will be well. That I can overcome, like they did.

Leah believes that "The secret to surviving... Was opening your eyes and seeing the world and yourself for what they both were." She helps the women to take a step back and re-evaluate the situation with fresh eyes. It sounds so simple, but I do understand why it isnt always so easy to do. We each have a lens with which we view the world so we interpret things, actions, and words differently. And when we are set in our own ways, it's a challenge to un-set us.

The three women came to Leah and Cloud's Hill to relax and unwind. They left having been renewed and reenergized to face life head on and with more clarity too. It is true, we are only as beautiful outside as we are inside

Til now, as I write this post sitting up on a bed at the ER (sick day, remember?), I can't quite understand why the novel is entitled Always and Forever. I guess it's because the story reminds us that those we love and cherish, no matter what happens, will remain in our hearts always and forever. And knowing that, well, allows us to face each day with a brave face and a heartful of courage.

 

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Frozen (2013)

Almost three months after its release, and after hearing good reviews about it, I finally got to watch the Disney animated movie – Frozen.

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I really thought that the older sister, Elsa, new Queen of Arendelle, was the main character in the story. After all, you’ll see the posters featuring her in the middle. And the hit song “Let it go” was hers too (love the song, by the way).

What I realized though, is that it’s her younger sister Anna, Princess of Arendelle, that deserved the limelight.

In the beginning, Anna was the picture of a young girl, insisting on her kind of fun without thinking about consequences. When an accident prompts their royal parents to keep them apart, Anna wonders why her elder sister refuses to see her when they used to do everything together. When all grown up, she is still a giddy young girl, who falls in love with a Prince she just meets.

Elsa, on the other hand, was a dutiful daughter. More than anything though, I think she was terrified at what her powers were really about. She lived in isolation, hardly speaking or seeing the outside of her room, unless absolutely necessary. She is crowned Queen the day she comes of age, but she dreads the coronation, and having to welcome everyone into the palace.

Elsa shows us that sacrifice is loving too. She knew she could hardly control her power, so she chose isolation rather than hurt anybody.

Anna teaches us that no matter the odds, we should never give up on family. She braved the cold to find her sister and bring her back. And when confronted with a choice of saving her own life versus saving her sister, she made the ultimate sacrifice. 

So many lessons in that movie. Elsa even tells Anna that she can’t marry someone she just met! That one was really funny, and true too. This was also the movie where Prince Charming wasn’t all he seemed to be, and a smart, independent, young woman, rises to the top and rules a kingdom. I’m not sure what kind of lessons kids actually get, but it is a fun and entertaining movie, for sure.

Another thing I really loved about the movie is its soundtrack! Can’t help but feel proud that Filipino-American Robert Lopez and his wife were behind it.

Check out some of the songs from Frozen Smile