If there’s one area in my life that is doing really great, that would be my reading life. My bookish heart was filled with joy this when James and I started the month with a book hunting day. We hopped to three all three branches of Booksale in metro Cebu (Robinson’s Fuente/Emall/SM City) and took a few gems with us at a very cheap price! Here’s my October book hoard:
The Choir Boys by Sophie Hannah (Php20 @Robinsons)
Lost Girls by Andrew Piper (Php83 @Robinsons)
The Bookseller of Kabul by John Krakauer (Php154 @Robinsons)
The Poet by Michael Connelly (Php83 @Emall)
Grendel by John Gardiner (Php10 @Emall)
Blowfly by Patricia Cornwell (Php83 @SM City)
The Abortionist’s Daughter by Elizabeth Hyde (Php50 @SM City)
A Thousand Splendid Suns (ordered online for Php250 @bookprojectph)
The Swallows of Kabul (ordered online for Php175 @bookprojectph)
Fidget verb -to make a small movement, typically a repeated one, with your your hands or feet -an act that often reflects discomfort, restlessness and impatience
I guess this word sums up my month. I have been fidgeting with my blog and posts — making two steps forward yet taking two steps back.
But while I am feeling uneasy with my virtual life here, the real world has been kinder to me. The best news of all is that I have found the drive to read my pile of books again. So far, I have ticked off two from my TBR list:
As for writing, I’ve decided to continue sharing that old poems from IG that I haven’t shared here in WordPress. Since I am not in a creative mode yet, I’ve decided to focus on tinkering with my website.
First, I’ve added two new widgets: Goodreads and Instagram. Second, a new profile picture is up — one that shows (slightly) a face. Haha. For a long while, I’ve been hiding my avatar behind a book. I guess now it’s time to slowly reintroduce the fidgety little girl behind this blog. 😁
Hope you are all doing well on your side of the Earth. Have a great day! 💛
Do not go gentle into that good night, Old age should burn and rave at close of day; Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Though wise men at their end know dark is right, Because their words had forked no lightning they Do not go gentle into that good night.
Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay, Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight, And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way, Do not go gentle into that good night.
Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay, Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
And you, my father, there on the sad height, Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray. Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
I have been feeling a lot of pressure at work with our new quota for writeups and I found courage and inspiration in this piece. I know it is Dylan’s message to his dying father but we all have different kinds of death, right? We must also remind ourselves to rage against everyday challenges, knocking depression and more.
Yesterday, I listened to an awesome reading of this poem on loop. Please give it a try here — I promise it will be worth your time. Kudos to the man for giving it so much emotion and force.
P. S. Who would have thought it was also Dylan’s birthday, on this day, in 1914. Coincidence or fate? 🤗
I shared a shortened version of this quote in my recent post, Book Review: By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept by Paulo Coelho. I love the simplicity and the reality of this line, and it is something that strikes a chord within me. I hope we all find courage in our hearts to be who we are, do what we want, and go wherever we want to be. Carpe diem!
Short Synopsis: Rarely does adolescent love reach its full potential, but what happens when two young lovers reunite after eleven years? Time has transformed Pilar into a strong and independent woman, while her devoted childhood friend has grown into a handsome and charismatic spiritual leader. She has learned well how to bury her feelings… and he has turned to religion as a refuge from his raging inner conflicts.
Now they are together once again, embarking on a journey fraught with difficulties, as long-buried demons of blame and resentment resurface after more than a decade. But in a small village in the French Pyrenees, by the waters of the River Piedra, a most special relationship will be reexamined in the dazzling light of some of life’s biggest questions.
What I Liked:
Coelho delivers a love story with added depth. On the surface, it is about two childhood sweethearts reunited. But as the story unfolds, it becomes an intricate weave of life and love, faith and spirituality, fear and trust, mistakes and forgiveness, fighting for one’s dream and surrendering to one’s destiny — all these and so much more. The book is a retelling from Pilar of how she ended up weeping for this nameless man, but I love how it didn’t have to go way far back to establish the story. There were no unnecessary backstory of their early lives or past loves. You just have to be in the moment and watch how these two characters navigate through uncertainties.
It’s a character-driven book that brims with food for the thought and for the soul. Like the rest of Coelho’s works, this one leaves points to ponder on each page. It raises questions that require self-examination and at the end, you not only discover something about the characters but also about yourself.
I love how the story includes two of the subjects that I am fond of: stories of apparitions and mountain climbing. I am not a very religious person but I grew up in religious family and community. During my childhood days, we used to have a collection of postcards of several saints. I would read their stories at the back, stare at their young photos and wonder if one day, an angel or the Virgin Mary herself would appear before me. The stories of Francisco, Jacinta and their cousin Lucia particularly stuck with me for a long time, and it feels good to be reminded of them again. As for mountain climbing, I love how Coelho relates finding our purpose in life to it. Most of the times, we have no idea what lies ahead and the path we are treading can be lonely and cruel. To the common spectator, every step is ordinary and the same. But to the mountain climber, it means courage and braving the unknown.
What I didn’t like: None. Only the fact that I did not get to read Pilar’s letters by the river. I would have loved be spoon-fed more of Coelho’s wisdom and beautiful words. Yes, no doubt!
“You have to take risks, he said. We will only understand the miracle of life fully when we allow the unexpected to happen.”
“Joy is sometimes a blessing, but it is often a conquest. Our magic moment help us to change and sends us off in search of our dreams. Yes, we are going to suffer, we will have difficult times, and we will experience many disappointments — but all of this is transitory it leaves no permanent mark. And one day we will look back with pride and faith at the journey we have taken.”
“And happiness is something that multiplies when divided.”
“Pitiful is the person who is afraid of taking risks. Perhaps this person will never be disappointed or disillusioned; perhaps she won’t suffer the way people do when they have a dream to follow.”
“Our universe require that we avoid getting glasses fall to the floor. But when we break them by accident, we realize that it’s not very serious.”
“It’s one thing to think that you are on the right path, but it’s another to think that yours is the only path.”
“Go and get your things,” he said. “Dreams mean work.”
Final Thoughts: By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept is the first book of Coelho’s And On the Seventh Day trilogy. It’s a series that is linked by concept rather than characters, wherein human frailty and strength are explored in a span of one week. This novel is about distinguishing who we are, who we want to be and who we are destined to be. It’s about carving own path and accepting the challenges that come with it. It tells a story that is worth every second of your time. I promise.
Grendel, the murderous monster in Beowulf, tells his side of the story in this John Gardner book. The first few pages speak of Grendel’s anger. He was angry at his mother, humans, their living condition. He was angry at life. I would have continued if he only haunted the moors, went on rampage and made hell on Earth. But by Chapter 2, Grendel’s anger turned into nihilistic ramblings. He began thinking, exploring and questioning the meaninglessness of life.
Then, I was worried.
Knowing my fragile mental and emotional state, I knew I wasn’t ready to take in Grendel’s troubles. I have my own existential crisis to manage. It’s the healthier choice. Me first. Perhaps one day, when life gets a little kinder, I’ll have a better reaction to Grendel’s view that “the world is nothing but a mechanical chaos of casual, brute enmity on which we stupidly impose our hopes and fears” other than nod.
Have you tried switching books? Did you feel guilty for not being mentally/emotionally ready for a certain read? 🥺
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Arthur Conan Doyle’s collection of 12 short stories, was first published on this day (October 14) in 1892. Here’s one of my favorite lines from one of Holmes’ locked room mystery, Adventure of the Speckled Band.
Do you believe in karma (good or bad)? Have you experienced one?
i wouldn’t call us a mistake this empty valley that we left behind once flourished with laughter and though the poppies were long gone and the river’s drained with love i have memories— i’d go back to them as I trudge the earth until, one day, the trails lead you back to me
“Wake me up when September ends,” so the song says.
The world felt like it fell into a slumber for the past months. Everything came to halt, a state of inactivity where plans were suspended. Each of us developed our own ways of getting by these COVID days. Some turned to binge-watching, others turned to gardening. Some read, others wrote. Some took the time to clean the dusty corners of their homes, others took the time to cleanse the dusty corners of their minds.
September finally ended. And here we are… awake.
For me, it has been a rollercoaster ride. I’ve had equal parts of ups and downs in life but, overall, I could say that I have slowly learned to adapt and manage my emotions. Work is still work, life is still life. As for my virtual presence here in WordPress, I am guilty of missing out a lot.
Things I’ve written…
Last August, most of my posts were musings about life, writing and my journey as a writer. This month, I wrote pieces that remain incoherent in my drafts. I did manage to share one musing about life and mountains in Monday Musings: Extra Baggage.
Remember Ernest Hemingway’s For Whom the Bell Tolls that I did not finished in July and I skipped in August to read Albom’s Human Touch? Ta da! It remained unopened this September. It did not bore me, it was in fact getting interesting along the way. It’s just that I am having a reading slump, which leads me to another problem (or is it?): BOOK HOARDING.
I did however listed to audiobooks in LibriVox and treat myself to some good ol’ fairytales such as Andersen’s Fairy Tales and Grimms’ Fairy Tales. I’ve also listened to poetry readings in PoemHunter and fell in love with these poems once again:
Last week, my friends and I — for the first time — got back on one of those trails after 6 months of hiatus. At last!
Posts I loved…
I’ve been mostly out of WordPress these days but I was able to read some remarkable posts in my feed. Go check these links out.
A Reading Writer’s top 10 book covers i love (with quotes!) – a treat for book lovers and hoarders alike! Rosema’s Top Ten Tuesdays are always insightful and she shares a lot of interesting books that you could add on your TBR list.
Jade M. Wong’s [Poetry] Bridge – a beautiful poem by a poet who writes from the heart. This piece speaks of hope in the midst of uncertainty. A must-read.
Mich’s Who Murders Halloween? – a timely piece for the coming Halloween. This pandemic has completely changed how we view and live life. Mich reminisces the little things that make this occasion fun and the reaper that came to take it all away.
October… will this month be any better? I guess we’ll find that out, one day at a time.