Between the Covers: Stories from My Bookcase

Monday, July 30, 2012

Finding Nemo

Apparently, a sequel to the 2003 animated film Finding Nemo will be released soon. That probably explains why it was shown on cable this afternoon.

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And guess what? It was the first time I saw the film from start to finish. And now I know why it was a hit for kids and adults alike.

Before today I only knew that Nemo was taken by a diver and was placed in a tank. But I didn’t know that before Nemo hatched, he had lost his mom and siblings. I didn’t know that his Dad was an overprotective single parent. I also didn’t know that Nemo had a lucky fin. But now I know all of that, and more.

Marlin is the master of social networking! And he mastered it even before it became fashionable. Dory, of course, had a lot to do with it. She also had a lot to do with teaching Marlin about letting go and learning to trust in Nemo’s own capabilities. But going back to social networking. It was amazing how Marlin’s search for Nemo spread through the ocean. Without the news going around, it would have been more difficult for father and son to be reunited.

My favorite character has to be Dory. But I also love Squirt and Crush and their posse of cool century-old sea turtles. Nemo’s new friends, the Tank Gang, are a lovable bunch too. I love how they welcomed the little guy, and how they came together to help him out.

This movie could be used to educated young ones on marine biodiversity. It would be fun learning all the species of fish that appeared in the film. And who has heard of the East Australian Current before this? I haven’t! But it sure is quite fascinating.

Finding Nemo 772 Wallpaper


What were your impressions when you saw this movie?

Monday, July 16, 2012

The Jefferson Key by Steve Berry

Steve Berry is yet another author whose books are read by everyone in the family. Other titles from the author that I’ve also read are The Third Secret, The Templar Legacy and The Amber Room.

In The Jefferson Key, Berry weaves a conspiracy that links all 4 US presidential assassinations. In truth, all are unrelated. But Berry poses a believable story that shows how they could be connected. All masterminded by pirates. Pirates who call their organization the Commonwealth.

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In this novel Cotton Malone goes Stateside. He is called out of retirement by his old boss and friend from the Magellan Billet, one of many intelligence agencies of the US government. His girlfriend Cassiopeia Vitt plans a romantic time for them in New York after he takes care of business, but all is spoiled when Cotton finds himself in the position to stop an assassination attempt on the US President.

Although Cotton has retired from service and has chosen to live a quiet life in his bookshop in Europe, he is first an American. And an American intelligence covert operative. He couldn’t not do anything. He could not walk away.

But Berry didn’t open the book with that scene. Some historical reference came before it. This time, a foiled assassination attempt. There was no Cotton Malone to rescue the president, the president himself confronted his attacker. He also did more than that – he guaranteed that the people behind the attempt on his life would suffer. Oh they did. For more than a hundred years they suffered for it.

The Commonwealth is not an unruly bunch of fish-smelling pirates. They’re a very organized bunch actually, with a hierarchy and rules that they follow. They’re a very serious bunch. Very rich too. They don’t have to hide their gold in their ships. They need not limit their trade to the high seas. They invest and control legitimate corporations. But yes, they still do a lot pirating or as they call it privateering. No, it’s not about digital media piracy either. I can’t explain it myself, but you’d have to read the book to understand how they served the great United States in the wars they have won.

I love that Berry doesn’t just have a hero in Cotton, but he also has very strong women in this book. There’s the head of the Magellan Billet, Stephanie Nell. Cotton’s girlfriend who has a colorful history, Cassiopeia Vitt. And even the First Lady’s confidant, Shirley. Each woman has a story to tell. Each was able to show her unique strength.

Berry writes in a way that grips us. It was good how he was able to show us the story as it happened from two or even three perspectives. Simultaneously. He would switch from one voice to the other. It was almost like how they’d do it in movies splitting the screen to show two or more views of the same scene unfolding. Brilliant really.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Bagged it!

The bag won in the battle of Bag vs Books!

my Epona
It is definitely Christmas in July for me. My birthday is a week away and yet the boyfriend has already given me the best gift ever. We went to the #SuperSaleBazaar to checkout Sinude’s Riviera II, it was there, but we saw this new design and fell in love.

It’s the Epona in Smoky Gray. So new that it isn’t on the Sinude blog site yet. I absolutely LOVE it!
But the bag wasn’t the only one we brought home yesterday, I’ll be sharing the rest of my loot later on at Verabear.Net so watch that space. Smile

Friday, July 13, 2012

Bag vs Books

My birthday is coming up and the boyfriend is eager to get me the best gift. He’s been asking me what I want and the answer keeps on changing!

For awhile it was half the cost of the Polaroid Z340. I was going to order from Amazon. But then I decided that I didn’t want to spend so much on another toy. Not this time. Not even when it meant that he was paying half of it.

Then he thought of sponsoring my digital perm. But I wasn’t really sure I could commit to curls. So we trashed that idea too.

I actually thought of asking for an additional EHD, after all, one can never have too many hard drives for storing photos and digital scrapbooking goodies. But then I remembered that I probably have enough space if I took time to organize the stuff I have.

Next, we eyed this Sinude bag:


I tweeted the sellers and found out that it will be available at the Super Sale Bazaar happening this weekend.

So when I wake up tomorrow morning I’ve got to decide whether to:

  • Proceed to the World Trade Center and go bag shopping; or
  • Go to Fully Booked at Bonifacio High Street and get more books!

Fully Booked at BHS is celebrating its anniversary by marking down books.


I don’t understand why I’m having such a hard time deciding how to spend someone else’s money! haha Smile

If it were your choice – would you choose the bag, or the books?

Saturday, July 7, 2012

The Amazing Spiderman (2012)

We had seen and liked the Tobey Maguire Spiderman movies and loved them. When I first heard about the new one, and that everything was starting from the beginning again, I didn’t like the idea. So soon. The story, then, wasn’t finished yet and here we are circling back to the where it all began. It is too soon.

But on Wednesday we headed out, had a nice filling lunch, and sat back to be amazed by the new Spidey -


I felt that this adaptation is more realistic. We meet Peter Parker as a teenager. His antics spoke of high school. And his first love, Gwen, is truly a guy’s girl too. Lovable! She’s got a good head on her shoulders and she knew she was in it bad with this boy.

Aunt May is also more expressive. Uncle Ben was different here too. Both are very credible veteran actors, so no surprise there. You kinda wish Uncle Ben didn’t die too soon but you knew it was part of the story anyway.


(image courtesy of Get Glue’s The Amazing Spiderman sticker)

Andrew Garfield as the new Spiderman works for me. I love him already.

Some say that the movie lacked action. That was all fine for me, I’d trade the action with the good character development highlighted in this version. The action was enough, he’s a newbie superhero after all. Take it as an introduction. Of course, it means we’re looking forward to so much more in the next movies.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

This Means War (2012)

This was such a fun movie to watch. I love that it wasn’t a spy movie. The two lead actors are spies, but it wasn’t about that really.

Image source:

I love Reese Witherspoon. She’s got movies that I don’t mind watching over and over again. This one was fun, but was met with a lot of criticism when it was released. Reese is starting to look old, not that it’s a bad thing. The two guys – gorgeous! Any woman would go crazy having to juggle between the two – or having to pick just one!

This probably won’t make it to anybody’s top ten favorite romantic comedies, there aren’t really any memorable scenes nor quotable lines. But if you just needed to take your mind off things this is the movie to watch. Just try not to consider that real spies might be using taxpayer’s money this way, and don’t mind the blatant invasion of privacy. Smile

Here’s the trailer:

Monday, July 2, 2012


Saturday was all about the movies for Alfred and myself. We stayed in and watched movie after movie after movie. It was a good way to catch up. Back in the day, we watched at least one movie per week, sometimes two. But that got quite expensive. Not only do you have to pay for movie tickets, there’s the food too. So in recent years, we’ve found ourselves missing out on a lot of good movies in their theater runs. We would always plan on going, but one thing or another would come up and we’d end up postponing. Eventually, we’d miss the movie altogether. Because of rising costs and shifting priorities, we didn’t really push the matter. If we wanted it badly, we’d find a way to make it happen.

One of the movies we saw this weekend, in the comfort of home, was Tangled. Who doesn’t know the story of Rapunzel? I love this Disney version.


(Source for images on this post:

I particularly love the way Rapunzel’s character was portrayed in this retelling. The wicked witch in this story wasn’t so bad either. She didn’t appear soooooooooooo evil, considering. Rapunzel grew up believing she was her mother. She would come home with presents and pretty much allowed the girl to do as she wishes, except to go out into the world.


In the above picture you’ll see Rapunzel’s tower. She lived there for 18 years. Pascal (the green chameleon) was her only friend. Though she was literally the witch’s prisoner, she didn’t live like one. She read books, though she had limited options, she drew colorful pictures on the tower walls. She cooked and baked too! She always looked outside her window and was even able to chart the stars. She was smart and she figured out that the lights she saw every year on her birthday weren’t stars.

That she didn’t try to escape, or that she planned to come back after an excursion, was testament of her good character. For that, the wicked witch must be given some credit. Everyday she is left on her own with nothing but the height of the tower keeping her from going outside. She could let herself out and back in without Mother knowing, but she chooses to stay. She loved Mother, and didn’t want her to be upset. Or, she could really be scared of the unknown. But she really was just being a very good daughter.


Rapunzel reminds us to keep on dreaming. It was her dream of someday seeing the moving lights up close kept her going all those years. Without the dream, life wouldn’t have made sense. And we shouldn’t be afraid when our dreams are finally within reach. It doesn’t mean that we’re at the end, only that we can move on and dream again.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

The Copper Beech by Maeve Binchy

Shancarrig is a small Irish town. Its cultural center is probably the schoolhouse where all its children have gone to school. The schoolhouse is sheltered by a huge copper beech tree. It’s leaves and branches not only provide shade, its huge trunk is also sort of a yearbook for all-time. At the end of each school year, it is here that all students carve their names and those of their loves. There it remains for all time.

I got a second-hand copy of this book from Pick-a-book, my favorite used bookshop at ABS-CBN’s ELJ building (is it still there?). That means I got it before I moved companies, almost two years ago. It was only 130 pesos. Money well spent. Smile

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Maeve Binchy is one of my favorite authors. Whenever I see any of her books on the shelves, I’d check if I have it, and most likely buy it when I’m sure I still don’t. I don’t even care what the plot is, that’s how sure I am that I will like it anyway.

This is the first of her titles though that I didn’t quite like right away. Or maybe it was because the first person whose story was shared was Maddy Ross. She was Junior Assistant Mistress at the Shancarrig School who lived with her mother in a small cottage. I generally liked her, but not the direction that her friendship with the young Father Barry took. Or maybe because it took awhile before I could make sense of where it was all going. What was the point of it all?

In other Binchy books I was already used to her style of character building. And I liked how she weaves the stories of each character into a big picture. For Copper Beech though, that big picture was a long time coming.

No matter how small Shancarrig is, though everybody knows everybody, there are still secrets. Secret hopes, dreams, secret lives. One cannot fully understand the reasons behind people’s behavior by just mere observation. Not everything is always as they seem.

I don’t have just one favorite character from this small town. It’s a toss up between Maura, Nessa, and Eddie. Maura was such a hard worker. I hated that Gerry O’Sullivan for leaving her after the birth of Michael. But she kept her home and she raised him well. I think a lesson or two could be learned from Maura’s life. She knew she wasn’t much good for academics, so she sought work that she was sure she could do and she was good at it. I see that as technical skills’ education and application versus pursuing a college degree.

Eddie I liked because he was such a good son. He was different from all the other boys and he was okay with it. He found love in an unusual way (for his time). And I love his wife too, she truly belonged with them.

I didn’t like Nessa when Maura’s story was being told. They were supposed to be school friends, why had she been that way? Why did she have to follow what her mom told her? But she’s got her own strengths. She was smartest of all the girls in their batch definitely, but I did wish she was more sensitive about what her other friends were going through. She could have been there more for poor young Leo Murphy, or even for Maura. She grew up to be like her mother, a better version definitely. I think that if parents shared their stories with their children the way Mrs. Ryan did with Nessa, there’d be more lessons learned and lesser mistakes.

So what was the bigger picture?

The school Master and Mistress were assigned to a new school, and Shancarrig school eventually closed maybe 15 years after the characters graduated from there. The schoolhouse was up for sale and its former children were very much interested in buying it. Each with his/her own reason. Who prevails? That is the question.