Between the Covers: Stories from My Bookcase

Friday, November 26, 2010

Bridesmaids

ist2_13596560-bride-and-bridesmaids

How do brides choose their bridesmaids? Usually, these are close girlfriends, or family. Sisters, cousins. The picture above (from iStockphoto) shows what, for me, bridesmaids are: really good friends who will keep the bride grounded, sane, and happy. Smile 

At the rate we’re going in terms of attending weddings, I’m running out of would-be bridesmaids. Had I been first to get married, I could have had 6 bridesmaids and the bridal party would be so fun and beautiful. Smile Now, I’m down to just two other singles in my small circle of friends. Then again, if I want married pretty ladies with me as I say “I do”, who’s to stop me? There’s no rule against that, is there?

In our culture, preparations for a wedding are normally just carried out by the couple themselves, and maybe their parents. Apart from fitting for the bridesmaid dresses, and attending the bridal shower,  the ladies-in-waiting don’t really have any other participating prior to the wedding march. In the west though, the wedding party play a more active role in helping the couple get ready for the big day.

I don’t think any Pinay would think of getting a book to prepare to be a bridesmaid. But I think we should. Such books like The Bridesmaid Guide: Etiquette, Parties and Being Fabulous actually sound like a good resource!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Haulidays!

To my American readers, and everyone else celebrating today – Happy Thanksgiving! Smile

******************

I have yet to see any booklover who doesn’t go ga-ga over bargain books, and FREE books. So if you think yourself a book lover, then surely you’d be excited to hear about this booktastic giveaway!

 

 

Yes! Publisher Chronicle Books is greeting book lovers a Happy Haulidays! To enter, just build a wish list of Chronicle Books valued upto $500! If you don’t want the hassle of building your own list, or you don’t want to have to verify which titles are available from this publisher, then you can check their website for the list of bloggers who have already made up their list. Hop on over to their blogs, pick your favorite, leave a comment, and if that blogger wins, you win too! How easy is that?! Smile

Here’s the full list of blogs entered for the giveaway.

I’ve checked out a few of the links, and I’d have to admit, it isn’t easy to pick just one because each list is unique. Of course, for home bakers, Cakespy’s list will be a sure hit Smile

So finding out about this really got me excited. Until I read the Terms. Not open for international entries. Maybe though, if you’ve a US shipping address, just maybe, they’d consider you eligible.

What would be on your wish list?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Holidays!

As our American friends prepare for Thanksgiving, kitchens are abuzz for those making the feast, but computers are also humming for those who are taking advantage of Cyber Monday deals, and anticipating Black Friday steals!

Which one are you? Are you bent on making the perfect Thanksgiving Dinner? One of my favorite bloggers might be able to help you there. Check her out at The Pioneer Woman.

If you waited to buy your must-have gadget until this season, then go check out these Cyber Monday offerings!

Happy Thanksgiving, and happy shopping! Smile

Monday, November 22, 2010

Pocket Book

So this isn’t exactly the kind of pocket book I blog about here, but it is a mini book too in its own rightSmile

 

It is so cute isn’t it? I’ve been revisiting and discovering new digital scrapbooking haunts and this was one of my finds. Had I found this earlier (say a week or two ago) I would have created one for my friend who’s getting married tomorrow. I’m sure I can find a reason to make one some other time though. Smile

The project was originally a pocket calendar, but it could contain anything you could imagine. It could be a picture book with photos from one specific occasion. Or it could be a memory book for a group of friends, or family. So many possibilities!

If you make one, be sure to let me know about it!

Books That Made a Difference

I subscribe to Oprah’s online newsletter but, truth be told, I rarely read it. Except maybe for the section “Books That Made a Difference.”

It’s interesting to learn about the books that celebrities have read and enjoyed. It gives a glimpse of how they are outside of the boob tube or the big screen. Somehow, knowing what they like to read humanizes them to us. At least to me.

It’s nice to know that celebrities are not just concerned about their own industry, or their looks. They don’t just look at fashion magazines, the latest weight loss fads, or interested in the best diet pills for women. They really do seek books that give them intellectual stimulation. They laugh at funny parts, and cry at sad ones too. Just like the rest of us. Smile

Recently, they featured Rachel McAdams favorite books. Haruki Murakami’s Hardboiled Wonderland and the End of the World was number one on that list.

Hardboiled_Wonderland_and_the_End_of_the_World

I’d first heard of this book, and Murakami, about 12 years ago from my Philosophy 1 teacher. It was one of the books he recommended us to review. I chose to read and review Sophie’s World instead. At the time, I didn’t feel ready to read Murakami. And for years after that I’d browse through bookstores, see Murakami titles, lust after them but then end up not buying.

Soon, I will conquer you Murakami. And I’ll start with this title.

Have you read Hardboiled Wonderland and the End of the World ?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Overeating!

These past few days I've been eating too much. I know it's too much because I surprise even myself. How do I know? Yesterday, I had a Kripsy Kreme original glazed donut for breakfast. Then a few hours later, we had brunch at Slice n Dice where I had T-bone steak with rice, and Chocolate Ganache ice cream cake for dessert.

We walked around Cubao and waited at Globe Gateway to find out they had no stocks of the BB Curve and the Home Phone (bummer). We were supposed to then head to the Megamall to get these earrings I wanted from Forever21, but the boyfriend managed to convince me NOT to go (I had a bad headache). This decision later got me upset when I heard from a Facebook contact that selected items in F21 were marked down. :( Anyhoo, it was only around lunch time by then but I'd already told my dad we weren't eating home. I was sure that we'd be hungry again in a few hours if we went home without eating. So yes, barely two hours after brunch, we had a McDonald's lunch.

He had a Big Mac, while I had a cheeseburger meal with large fries and regular coke.

I think I had another donut for snack in the afternoon (upon waking up from my nap). And then the sinigang dinner was a good one. I'd have had more if the boyfriend didn't stop me, haha. :)

But every new day is a chance to start fresh. Uhm, if only I could lie and say that I did NOT have four pancakes this morning. Haha. :) Seriously, I'd take diet pills if I wasn't afraid of possible side effects of diet pills.

Harry Potter Mania

Harry Potter fans the world over have been eagerly anticipating November the 19th for that's when Part 1 of the end of the HP Series was released in theaters worldwide.

Have you seen it?



When the series started ten years ago (or is it more?) I was still a student at the University. One of my subjects was with the College of Education's Reading Department, on Children's Literature. Our professor eagerly talked to use about the wonderful world of children's books, including that of the wizarding world of Harry Potter. So before there was even the hype of the first movie, we were already hooked on Harry.

I must have bought book one on my allowance and shared the find with my brother. Later on, when book 2 was released with its hard cover, we both asked Mom to buy it for us. She asked why? We answered that in time, this series will be regarded as Classics, and buying will be considered an investment. :) The things we say just to get books for free. Hehe :)

But isn't it true though? Harry Potter is not only the biggest selling series (in books and movies) but it has made its mark in children's literature.

It is truly sad that I lost a few of my HP titles (hardbound at that) to Ondoy last year. I'll probably do an inventory soon so I know which ones are missing and slowly buy them again so I'll always have a complete set.

I haven't seen the movie but plan to see it next week. On IMAX of course. :)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Flowers for Inspiration

A good friend is getting married next week. Her color motif? Brown and orange, the colors of autumn. I wanted to get a dress in keeping with the motif, but I found a black dress instead that fit perfectly. And if you know me, you know how difficult it is to find a good fit for dresses, so I went ahead and snatched it. :)
Oh and was I excited about finding that dress! You know how they say that every woman must own at least one Little Black Dress (LBD)? Well, this is my first one EVER!
So because it’s black, I wanted to get an orange shawl with it but the boyfriend didn’t think nicely of that idea. I also want to get this pair of black earrings that I spotted at Forever21 some time back. The black earrings won’t add color, but I just want an excuse to get it, haha Smile I’m still trying to come up with other ideas to accessorize a bit to add some color and punch to my outfit. Flowers for a nice little brooch just came to mind and for further inspiration, I checked out this site for cheap flowers at Proflowers.
These colors in these two arrangements look so beautiful!
 
Violet is my favorite color and to see it mixed in on the second arrangement put a smile to my face. SmileThose orange/sunset lilies look so pretty don’t they? Maybe I can get some for my outfit? Or not. Winking smile

Free Books from Booksneeze!

On this blog, I have featured at least three books while crediting Booksneeze for my copy. Why?

There isn't much info on the company behind Booksneeze on their website, but from what I gather, it is a promotional arm of the publishing house Thomas Nelson. Booksneeze sends out free copies of their books to interested readers.

I review for BookSneeze

Free?

Free simply means that the reader does not have to pay for the book, nor for shipping. There is no monetary transaction at all with Booksneeze. They do, however, ask the reader to post a review of the book on any consumer website (Amazon is an example), AND on their blogs. I guess you may say that the review then is considered payment.

What happens if you don't post a review?

Simple, you won't be able to request for a new book until you submit your review. That's not such a bad deal. What's more, they don't require the review to be positive or neutral. If you didn't like the book, go ahead and say so.
Once I started receiving the books and checked out the selection of available titles, I realized that the publisher carries Christian titles. What does this mean? Most of the books are about spiritual growth, or at least tend to be inspirational in nature. I don't have a problem with that. Even if I'm not born-again Christian, I am open to these themes and even find them interesting. However, I am mentioning this here because friends who decide to sign up might wonder why there's only a limited number of titles available and why most (if not all) have religious undertones. It is not a warning because I don't think that it's anything against the service.

So if you want to receive free books, sign up with Booksneeze! (This is not an affiliate link and I don't get anything from Booksneeze for publishing this post)

Say NO to the Traveling Dolphin Show

On my first day at my new job last week, I already noticed the construction of what seemed to be metal buildings on the parking lot adjacent to our office building. I thought it was a stage, or possibly where the Araneta Center's famed giant Christmas Tree would be setup. The next day, I found out what it was: the site for a traveling dolphin show.

My reaction to this news was mixed: I was excited for maybe two seconds - I could take my nephews to see the dolphins for Christmas! But then I remembered a college friend's advocacy for dolphins. Immediately, I made a decision that I was not going to patronize the show. In fact, I join others in hoping that permits for the show don't get issued.

Here's why:

TRAVELING DOLPHIN SHOW - A CHRISTMAS GIFT FOR WHOM?


How would you feel if your child was taken away from you and made to travel in a small cage and dance everyday for a crowd of hundreds of screaming people? And what if the air around the cage made him go blind, and the din from the music made him go deaf?

And if this happened to somebody else's child, would you allow your own children to go and watch?

Of course, you won't. And that is enough reason to NOT go and watch a dolphin show this Christmas.

At the moment, two dolphins in Indonesia await export to the Philippines. They will be used for a traveling dolphin show by the Indofil Sea Wonders Co Ltd., and will be shown at the parking lot fronting SM at Araneta Center, Cubao. The advertised dates for the show are from 25 December 2010 to 2 January 2011.

Differentiated from the bigger and more expensive ocean parks, traveling dolphin shows are smaller and are actually temporary facilities where dolphins perform for a period of time after which they are moved to their next show location.

The shallow pools where the animals are kept are treated heavily with chlorine as the animals urinate and defecate in the same pools where they perform. Dolphins performing in such shows actually go blind due to prolonged soaking in chlorinated water. The repeated transport of dolphins and other aquatic animals are particularly stressful as these animals have to be immobilized for the entire duration of the travel. Dolphin experts such as Richard O’Barry (star of the Oscar-winning documentary The Cove) confirm that dolphins may actually die in the process of being transported. The inferior facilities of traveling shows—shallow chlorinated pools, inappropriate water treatment methods and the stress of the repeated transport of the animals have actually moved countries like the United States to ban traveling dolphin shows. Many other countries in Europe like the United Kingdom have also banned such shows. Latin American countries such as Brazil and Nicaragua have stopped the commercial showing of dolphins and Australia and New Zealand have also prohibited such entertainment in their territories.

There are certainly better ways to teach children about wild animals. The best Christmas gift we can give to our children is the gift of understanding and respect towards wild animals and the natural environment. If we stop these shows, we will give these animals a better chance to survive in the wild.

Our children and our children's children will then have more opportunities for close encounters with them in their natural environment, and on their own terms.

As parents, we can do the following:

Kindly contact Araneta Center to tell them to stop sponsorship of these shows:

Ma. Lorna Datiles-Fabian
Senior Leasing ManagerAraneta Center, Inc.9th Floor, Aurora Tower, Araneta Center...Quezon City 0810, PhilippinesTrunk Line: 911-3101 ext. 8313Direct Line: 912-8668Fax: 911-5328

VIA FACEBOOK:http://www.facebook.com/AranetaCenterhttp://www.aranetacenter.net/

2. Contact Department of Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala not to issue the import permits for the dolphins. (Note: Kindly send polite letters, thank you)

Information from:
http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=159837344052685#wall_posts
Dr. AA Yaptinchay, A.G. Saño, EEI Philippines
 Do also checkout the Facebook page Dolphins Love Freedom. (And hit the LIKE button while you're there!)

Friday, November 19, 2010

Pinterest

Have you heard of the site Pinterest? Well, I was blog hopping today and chanced upon a blog that mentioned it. I checked it out and found a lot of eye candy! Smile

On its FAQ page it says that Pinterest is a “social catalog service.” As I understand it, it’s a virtual pin board where you can tack pictures of things you found interesting. Remember when you used to clip lovely photos and stuff from glossy magazines and then tack them on your wall or paste them in scrapbooks? Well it looks like Pinterest gives you such a venue for stuff you find all over the Internet.

I tried signing up but the only relevant like about that is for requesting an invite. I received an email saying that they are in private beta and to wait for an invite they’ll be sending soon.

And of course I had to search if anyone put up a collection of pins with books, here’s a screencap of the results:

pinterest

Have you heard of Pinterest? Do you have extra invites? Hehe Smile

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Magazine Reading on the iPad

A few weeks ago, I talked about maximizing the iPad for reading. It's still been quite slow for me really, what with the many books still on my to-be-read list, there's been no lack of reading material.

I did download the Metro Magazine app for the iPad though, it is after all free from iTunes. I was so glad I did. Reading a magazine on that device is a whole new and wonderful experience. You can get up close and personal with the amazing photography.

But I'm not sure if the iPad version of the magazine has the same content as that of the printed version. I just felt that I went through the entire issue so quickly! I understand though if there were more articles or features on the printed mag. That version has to be bought after all.

I wonder what other magazines are available for free on the iPad? If you have an iPad and view mags through it, please do tell me about your favorites. I'd appreciate the recommendation. :)

Now I've been thinking abou this, would I be willing to pay a fee for the electronic magazines? I've never had to pay to view magazines online so I couldn't answer right away, but now I think I'd be willing to pay a fraction of what it would have cost to purchase the printed version. Note that, not the full price. :)

Here's a blogger's account of her Metro Mag iPad experience. Saves me from having to take photos of the app myself. :)

(Side story. This post has taken more than an hour to type because I'm also trying to watch episodes of a fairly new local news magazine show online [thanks to iWantv!]. They feature stories behind their jobs as beat reporters. Really interesting. Makes me wonder why I didn't get into that when journalism was a field I once dreamed of being a part of. Along with becoming an architect, interior designer, lawyer, I once thought of becoming a journalist. When I was a kid I thought I'd someday have a job, or a profession, and have stuff with my name plates on them because I was somebody so important. Haha. Something like that. :) )

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

What book is in your bag?

It’s normal to see books inside a student’s bag, but you don’t see one in just anyone’s bag. When I was in college, I’d manage to sneak a novel or non-school related reading material into whatever schoolbag I take with me. It doesn’t matter that it makes my stuff heavier.

These days, I’ve been toting this book along with me to work:

It’s one of the two books I received from BookSneeze last month. I posted the review for the first one a week after receiving them, but this one I have yet to finish reading. But truth be told, I liked the first few chapters that I’ve read. I think the gist of the message is to live your life in a way that after your death, your work lives on. Your life work outlives you.

And no one is excluded from that call to do something. No matter who you are, where you are, or what your circumstances are, there is always a higher calling for you. You don’t need to present detailed curriculum vitae or to have an extensive medical resume to be called to act. You can help in any way, or shape that you can.

I’ve still a few chapters to go, and I’m excited to do this review. Stay tuned! Smile

Now what about you, what book is in your bag?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

What do you consider a Vacation?

On my main blog, I talked about my brief StayCation. A week or so ago, on #sentisabado on Twitter, the topic was about childhood/memorable vacations.

All of a sudden, I realized that we’ve never really been on vacation, all we’ve gone on as a family are really just swimming trips. When I was a lot younger, we would go to resorts for the weekend, or the beach with the extended family. Are those vacations? I don’t think so.

I think that a real vacation is one where you can go check out sites, expose (or hopefully immerse) yourself in the place’s food and culture. Or maybe going somewhere known for something. If you just go there, swim, shack up in the hotel, then leave a few hours or a day later, then that doesn’t really sound like a vacation.

But then again, many people also look at relaxing and having some “me” time as vacation too. In that case, then the swimming trips would probably qualify.

Then again, definitions are probably not that important. Perhaps it doesn’t really matter what the proper definition for vacation is. The place shouldn’t matter much either. It doesn’t have to be something fancy like a trip to El Nido in Palawan, or something expensive like a European tour for the summer. It could be a weekend at home. But it must be something that allows you some time to yourself, or time for your family. A vacation could be your experiences from those Branson vacation packages your family used to have and enjoy together.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

I’ll Miss You, Pick-A-Book

There are so many people and things that I will miss from my old workplace, now that I’ve moved on and about to begin in a new company.

Probably one of those places I’ll miss the most from the building, is Pick-A-Book, my favorite second hand bookshop. I wanted to include in this post a photo of the bookshop, but I can’t find the one I snapped quite sometime ago.

That small hole in the wall has so many books packed in it, from different genres. They have romance, sci-fi, chick lit, thrillers, bestsellers, even reference books are found there. They have magazines too, and cookbooks, even books on landscape lights and gardening.

The staff are friendly too. They let me reserve books for pick up the next week.

Though I’ve had a moratorium on buying books lately, I still frequent the store, even at their new location near the food court section of The Loop.

*Sigh*

Friday, November 5, 2010

Adarna House Moving Out Sale

Good news! The Adarna House is hosting a Moving Out Sale at their current premises!

MovingOutsale

Adarna is a publishing house for children’s books. I grew up reading their books, mostly short stories depicting myths, legends, showcasing Filipino culture and promoting good values and right conduct.

There’s the story of the mythical bird Adarna, and then there’s Mariang Makiling. There are so many characters that I have known throughout my childhood. I can’t recall them just now but everytime I see copies of those books the memories of stories read to me by parents or my aunt come flooding back.

When Typhoon Ondoy struck, my collection of children’s books was among the casualties – my Adarna books included. I haven’t began rebuilding my collection, maybe this sale would be the perfect opportunity to do just that.

Image courtesy of Adarna House Blog and is linked back to them too.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Wedding Presents

My Internet connection is currently super slow. We called Sky Cable earlier today and they acknowledged that they had issues somewhere that was causing the problem. They anticipate that this will be fixed next week and they’ve offered us credit for the days that we’ve been inconvenienced. Although I appreciate the credit, I’d much rather have a working connection. I have the time now to tweak my template for the Newbie Photographer, but an unreliable connection does not help. This also would have been the perfect time to start work on the new health blog, but again, a slow connection would just annoy me to bits.

Thanks to Windows Live Writer though, I am able to write in peace and update this blog. So don’t be surprised to see so many posts come through in the last 36 hours Smile

Several times I have mentioned how it’s wedding season with all the weddings I’ve attended recently. In The Best Day of Someone Else’s Life wedding season proved to be very expensive for Vi.  She had to buy gowns, pay for gas, sometimes also stay at a hotel. And she had to spend on gifts. She sent one to all couples whose weddings she attended in that year and a half. Ouch. I didn’t give my friends wedding presents, with the exception of Mayeen and it was a shared gift with our friends.

Shameful. Sad smile I actually meant to get them all gifts. I just always put it off for later, until I eventually forgot – until wedding day. Tsk. But I’m sure they all understand, and would’ve hardly even noticed the absence of a gift tag with my name on it. Winking smile

Traditionally, couples are given household stuff to start them off with their new life together as husband and wife in their own home. There are bridal registries now to make it easier for guests to choose gifts, and to avoid duplicates too. Sometimes though, we want to be unique in our gift ideas, or want the present to be meaningful. So we depart from the registry, and try to be creative. Or, if you really just can’t be bothered to think and shop yourself, then gift checks or abt electronics coupons would be a good alternative. You at least give the couple the chance to spend the money on something they’d really like. Smile

Celebrate Christmas

Christmas is just around the corner. With starting at a new job on Monday, I’m sure time will fly and the season for giving will be upon us before I even start shopping for gifts. I haven’t even listed the lucky ones who will be receiving presents from me, hehe. Smile One thing’s for sure though, my Christmas wish list is ready, and it’s still growing!

Everywhere you look, there are Christmas adornments. You should go inside ELJ Building at ABS-CBN, you can’t help but smile and feel happiness creeping in with all the Christmas décor that abound on the first floor. Here I go again, I’m starting to miss the place. Sad smile

All over the blogosphere too you will see signs of Christmas approaching. Take for example Noypi’s Christmas card entry for Sulit’s E-card contest:

Last year, for the exchange gifts I joined in at work, I requested for books. I received two, The Kite Runner, and Jennifer Weiner's Certain Girls. The first I've read already (read my reaction), but the latter is still covered in plastic. I wonder if I'll be asking for books again this year, or shall I just direct them to my list?

What about you? Do you like receiving books for Christmas?

Reading from the iPad

I’ve owned my iPad for a few months now, and one of the things that excited me about it was the idea of reading books with it. It is no secret that to own an iPad here in the Philippines means shelling out a significant amount of money. I have the 64G Wifi version. In deciding to get it, I had to commit to a few months of scrimping. I watch my spending until now.

I’d like to think that most expenses I make are for ‘essentials.’ So the non-essential that I could definitely cut back on was on eating out, and buying books. If you’ve read about my book buying habits, you’ll know why stopping myself from buying more would actually translate to huge savings. SmileI told the boyfriend that it was bound to be easy – I’ve got tons of books waiting to be read, and when I ran out of those, I can just download and read ebooks from my iPad.

Well, again, refer to the post a few clicks down and you’ll know it hasn’t been that easy Smile

I also haven’t maximized my iPad as a book reader. Not yet.

ipad ibooks

I’ve got a few apps that comes with free books to read (The Art of War included), then of course there’s Winnie the Pooh that came with ibooks upon installation. The first thing I did was try them out of course, I browsed through the books, even flipped through the pages. But I haven’t actually read them.

While at the foot spa last week and trying to read The Kite Runner, I realized how the iPad would have been the perfect reading companion right then. Why? Well they promote relaxation while having your foot spa, reflexology and pedicure. They encourage you to snooze actually, which I avoid because I’m embarrassed by my snoring. So the lights are dim, it’s actually really dark. Not conducive to reading. Since the iPad is backlit, you can read there in the dark all you want.

Where else would the iPad be a wonderful reading gadget? While on a road trip I guess. It wouldn’t matter what time it was or if everyone else in the car or on the bus was sleeping. You don’t have to turn on the lights and disturb everyone else. Your iPad lets you read, while you even provide a nightlight for the others. SmileThe iPad is wonderful for road trips in general. Equipped with 3G (or your portable WiFi device) you can navigate with the maps, or check online for roadside assistance in case you run into car trouble. Haha.

But seriously, though the iPad will never replace the actual feel of owning books, having them and flipping through real pages, and smelling them too, it is a pretty good substitute. I must read from mine soon. Smile

What are your thoughts on this? Do you read ebooks, how does the experience compare to reading from actual print? Smile

Image from the Apple.Com website.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

BTC Comments powered by Disqus

So I hated not having the option for threaded comments, or having my replies to comments sent to the reader via the email they left in the default Blogger comment service. So I decided to try out Disqus because I’d seen many Blogger-hosted blogs using that service instead. I installed it earlier today without any problems.

BUT

I didn’t realize that it would hide all previous comments made on all posts, regardless of when they were posted. I checked and none of the posts show any comments. That’s sad. But they’re all just there from within Blogger.

I just tested the all-new Comments field yet it doesn’t look like commenters will receive my response to their comments via email. Aw, I was really counting on that. How else would you know I actually read and responded to your comment? Oh well, maybe it does work and my test was incorrect.

I’m still going to work on a few more tweets around here, so pardon the dust. Smile

In the meantime, go read about The Kite Runner SmileAlso find out about the Sweet November giveaway posted below.

Sweet November

Remember the movie with the same title? It starred Keanu Reeves and Charlize Theron. But I’m not really blogging about that today. Smile

I’d like to share something even more interesting, Phoebe Ann’s Sweet November Giveaway! It’s so easy to join, and there are so many goody bags up for grabs – ten in total. And each set is so worth the time it takes to blog, or tweet about the giveaway, even more! SmileImagine getting either one of her goodie bags for free at almost no cost to you, no need to make a purchase or battle it out in an online auction!

Here are two of the goodie bags that she’s giving away (I hope I get either one of them!):

thebodyshop

ponds

The other goodie bags are just as fully packed as these two. So head on over to PhoebeAnn.me and join in (or not, so there’s less competition for me? joke!). Smile

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

I finally finished reading this book. And boy, it really is something.

kite-runner

I had seen the movie so I pretty much knew what to expect, but reading it in print was just a whole different kind of experience. Not sure if it was because I was already familiar with the story, or if it really has that effect, but each page felt loaded. Like there was something you wouldn’t want to miss.

The reviews you will find online will tell you that this book is about the unusual friendship between the rich Amir, and the servant’s son Hassan. They will also tell you that these boys are also different not just by virtue of their economic status, but of their ethnicity too. Though both Muslims and Afghans, one is Sunni, the other Shi’a. Even long ago, the dispute between both groups, and the persecution for one, has existed. The turmoil that to this day exists, is deeply rooted as it seems.

Hosseini gave us a glimpse of Kabul through the eyes of Amir. I don’t think I will ever visit Afghanistan in this lifetime, but Amir’s memory of Kabul before the war and conflict ravaged it is enough to make me wish I could. I felt Amir’s heart break too, when many many years after fleeing the home of his childhood, he came back to see how decades of fighting, war, and poverty, has changed everything.

It must have been difficult to keep politics out of this novel, but I think Hosseini succeeded in that. Though it definitely touched on many themes, the senselessness of war included, it is above all about forgiveness, redemption, honor and friendship.

It also showcased how children deal with different situations in their own unique way. Hassan, though sexually molested by a bully, continued to be a strong and hopeful young boy. He even learned to read and write, and grew up to be a wonderful husband and father. I have no doubt that his experience that fateful afternoon running the last kite had given him a deep scar, but it did not torment him the way the knowledge of it tormented Amir.

This is as much a story of the two boys, as it is the story of Kabul. Amir was able to find redemption, not exactly from the hands of his dear Hassan, but through Sohrab. His father was also able to find it in seeing his young son grow up to be an honorable man. But when will Kabul be redeemed?

Monday, November 1, 2010

Book Buying Habits

I am currently reading The Kite Runner. This book was given to me for Christmas last year but I've had so many books waiting to be read that I only got to it now. There's one other book/Christmas gift out there somewhere, still wrapped in plastic. I'll get to it before Christmas 2010 :)

How many books do you have on your to-be-read pile? I'm referring to books you already own, but have not gotten around to reading just yet. I've lost count. There's at least 10, probably even more than 15.

I went through this phase several months ago where I'd buy pretty much every book I fancied from my favorite second hand bookstores. I think I was a bit depressed at the time, and buying books was a means to escape - if I ever got around to actually reading them. Since getting the iPad though and pretty much depleting my savings (while suffering a severe cut in paycheck) I'd vowed to stay away from buying more books. At least until I clear out my stash.

I stumbled two weeks ago though. I hitched a ride to the mall with my parents so I could pay the water bill as well as my credit card bill. After payments were made, we strolled around and I saw the stall of second hand books right outside the department store. I was checking out baking books, and silently wishing there'd be a good copy of a Jamie Oliver cookbook or something, but what I found was a treasure trove of titles from the author of Scarlet Feather. Maeve Binchy books!

As I hadn't seen those other titles in the stores I frequent, I felt compelled to buy! I ended up purchasing four titles. There were two more that I wasn't sure I owned already so I left them behind. It broke my heart to do so. Haha. I haven't started on them yet. I have this feeling that I should read my books in the order that I got them. Haha. Weird, no?

It's amazing how I still have the time to read really, with everything else I've been wanting to do (and already do). I think that's probably why my photography has taken a back seat for the meantime.

Sometimes I wonder whether the people manning the book shops read those books too. If I had their job, I probably would read to my heart's content. Although knowing me, I'd probably be sleepy most of the time for the lack of activity. I guess that's how everyone is, thinking about what it would be like to have a different job. I mean, like in the height of the TV series ER's glory, didn't everyone want to have healthcare jobs? Then in the time of Ally McBeal, people wanted to be barristers!

So anyway, back to the question, how many books do you have waiting to be read? What are your book buying habits? Do you go to the bookstore looking to get specific books, or do you browse and see what appeals to you? I'm really interested to know :)