Between the Covers: Stories from My Bookcase

Monday, March 28, 2011


Last week, when I decided to give my iPad another chance at seeping into my daily routine, I actually pored over two apps and spent a good two hours going through my social network feeds. I’ll talk about one of those apps today.


Flipboard is your own magazine. The content is exactly what you would want to read about because you control the feeds you get through it. Add your Facebook account, your Twitter, and feeds from websites you like frequenting. Indeed, it’s your personalized social magazine.

What I love about it is that it allows me to view photos, videos, and links shared by my friends without having to leave the application. That’s wonderful! I can delve into what they’ve shared without having to leave the timeline – I can go back and go through the rest of the shares without a problem.

You have to experience Flipboard to understand why it’s one of my favorite apps. If you have an iPad – get it and download this app, you will not regret it. In fact, you might even jump for joy! Yup, jump as if you were taking off one of these trampolines New York! Smile

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Outlive Your Life by Max Lucado

I have had this book for as long as I’ve been working in Cubao. I’ve also tried to write a review many times but have come up black on all those times. But don’t let that lead you to thinking that it’s because I didn’t like this Max Lucado title. I did. I do.

Maybe the fact that I picked it up as I was starting a new life at my new job wasn’t the best time to take it all in.

Outlive Your Life is a call to action. It provides the nudge to open ones eyes to how much each of us can contribute to make the world a truly better place – that we can all make a difference.

It starts with the story of a ship blown off-course and what the sailors found in uncharted waters. The captain steps foot on Father Benjamin’s island, and sees how the natives lived. He asked where Fr. Benjamin lives they pointed to all that he has helped built and develop for the inhabitants of the small paradise. Fr. Benjamin may be dead, but he continues to live through his work. Those were his legacy.
The author continues on to cite the problem of world hunger, and then the hard truth: there is enough resources to feed the world’s hungry. We have enough supply, but the problem is in distribution. What are you doing to help change that?

With so many things going on right now in the world, the disaster in Japan, the attacks on Libya, and the millions of homeless and hungry all over the world, we are given an opportunity to do something that will live beyond our last breath. To reach out and help. To make a difference in someone’s life.
The book builds up on this idea and reinforces the message as you go through the chapters like a guide book for living a life for others.

I received this book from Booksneeze.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Movie Review: The Reader (2008)


The Reader is a 2008 movie that I saw on cable in 2011. It was one of those films that I didn’t plan on seeing, but show started just as I was channel surfing and passing through Star Movies (or was it HBO or Cinemax?). I knew what it was about and have always wanted to see it and I was glad to finally have seen it one night last week.

Michael Berg is the reader. He started reading to Hanna Schimtz, a lady perhaps almost twice his age, right after recovering from Scarlet fever as a very young man. Hanna helped Michael get home when she found him outside her apartment fever, disoriented and vomiting. It was the day Michael got the fever. Three months later, he brought flowers to the lady who helped him get home. And that’s how their secret affair started.

But the film is not about illicit affairs or May-December relationships. No. Not really. In a way it is about how people come to terms with happened in Nazi concentration camps. To me, it speaks about judgment, and forgiveness.

I hated Michael as a law student. Why didn’t he speak up? Why didn’t he attempt to speak with Hanna and help with his defense? Was he embarrassed to be connected with her? I guess Hanna’s secret is as much his. Perhaps he was embarrassed not because of Hanna’s role in the death of so many Jews, but he just couldn’t admit that he had an affair with an older woman. But if it had meant a choice between life and death, between liberty and lifetime in prison – couldn’t he have stopped thinking of himself?

Maybe what happened to his family life was a result of his guilt – no, his resentment over himself. Perhaps taking up those books and recording them for Hanna to listen to was his way of redeeming himself in her eyes – though she wasn’t aware that he had known all along and didn’t do anything to help. So in a way I understand his decision then to remain quiet – in his mind he was respecting Hanna’s secret. If she didn’t want anyone to know of her illiteracy, then that’s her business.

Then where was justice then? Was it just to have sentenced her – a guard just like the other women, of equal rank possibly – to five times as many years behind bars than the rest? She was a guard. She was performing a duty. She made no judgment of the people under her ‘care.’ To her, what she did was not a choice. It was just something that had to be done. As she aged in prison, all alone, she had nothing and no one else. When the tapes started coming, it was as if she had a new lease on life. She had something to look forward to. And perhaps for the first time in her life, she had the drive to learn to read (and write) on her own.

But I still hated Michael. When she finally taught herself to write – why didn’t he respond to her letters? Has he not forgiven her for breaking his heart? Or has he believed in her guilt as a Nazi guard? So okay, she was a Nazi – but did she really understand what she got herself into?

I hated him when he went to visit her. To me, it was his fault Hanna did what she did in the end.

Putting her in prison for the rest of her life did not make a difference to anyone. I don’t think it made any difference to the two remaining survivors of the fire that killed 300 women during the death marches for which Hanna and the other guards were held responsible for. She could have done more good for herself, and for society in those years she spent in prison. But okay, someone had to be accountable. Someone had to be made accountable. That was her role.

But she was finally coming out. And she finally saw a familiar face – one that she might have even loved. But there was nothing familiar there. No love. Just… bitter cold. It was an obligation to be there. And he had judged her.

What was left for her? What else was there to live for?

Now this is also just my opinion of the movie. Nazi reign was a nightmare for many. Until now, many are still seeking justice. Finding closure. Seeking answers. I speak only about what was on the movie, I speak of Hanna and Michael and the circumstances they were in. I speak of their characters who could have lived in another time. Do not measure my words and assume that I am saying something I am not.  Smile

Friday, March 4, 2011

Reading Goals

Do you have them for yourself?

Bookworms of the world, do you set reading goals? I don’t. But I was really hoping to finish a book this weekend. But thanks to feeling awful (cough, colds, and a slight fever) there goes my weekend. All I’ve been doing is crashing in front of the TV, some Internet time, sleeping, and eating.

But really just a lot of sleeping.


Sometimes I feel like going on vacation just so I can shack up in a hotel room, or lounge by the pool/beachside and read good books to my hearts’ content. Anytime I’d feel sleepy or heady, I’d just take a dip in the cool waters of the sea or of the pool. A no pressure vacation where I don’t need to go around touring the place – all I’m expected to do is relax and maybe take advantage of the pine beds they have to offer, or of the various comfy lounge chairs I could imagine all around my chosen resort. Oh well. I can always dream…

So anyway, do you set reading goals? Care to share? Smile

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Book of Me (Video Review)

I receive Hummie’s World’s feeds and her video book review caught my attention for two reasons:

1. I’d never thought of making a book review using video before; and

2. The Book of Me sounded like something I needed to kick off some scrapbooking inspiration.

It was a wonderful review! But I realized something too, it’s not really about the medium of the review but rather the way Hummie talks about the book. You can tell she genuinely liked the books and had so much to share about them. If you’re into scrapbooking, you’ll come out from watching the video really wanting to buy the books Smile

Here’s the video, but I encourage you to check out her blog too. She is the queen of video tutorials I think, she has loads of them!