Monday, December 6, 2010

A the Crow Flies; A Book Review






Some of us do not know the idiom “As the Crow Flies” it is based on the fact that crows, very intelligent birds, fly straight to the nearest food supply.
http://www.answers.com/topic/as-the-crow-flies

My current read which is entitled “As the Crow Flies” by Jeffrey Archer negates the idiom because the novel itself has many twists and turns but still in the end gets there. A classic story of “rags to riches” Charlie Trumper challenged himself in every way to prove that he is more than a boy with a barrow. A barrow which was given to him from his grandfather. This novel will take readers from different eras of London starting from the First World War into the 1960s. During these times Charlie will have to prove himself time and time again, challenging himself and his family for the sake of a dream. How will a simple boy with a barrow reach his dream and unto what means is what readers need to find out.

The read for me was very exciting no doubting on that. The author is brilliant when it comes to twisting the story from one chapter to the other which will make readers cling on to the book untirelessly. Characters inter mingle each other to make a collage of chaos which is in a way necessary in this novel to produce a story that is absolutely thrilling.

I might not had the chance to dine or shop in Harrods (yet) or even glance it for that matter but this is where the author took his inspiration from which I believe readers should pick up from reading the novel, if not then at least I have given you a little insight.

At ONE point I did lose patience because in a way once chapter become very dragging but still it was an interesting read at the end.

I give this novel a three and half stars out of five.



M.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Nadia's Song; A Book Review


My current read is a book for all women, for mothers and daughters alike. “Nadia’s Song” by Soheir Kashoggi is an inspiring story of women who struggles through life proving that they are more than just mere women.

Karima is not only a woman; she is born to a poor Moslem family who (sometimes) regards women unequal to men. Just like any Moslem girl she was taught to fear men for they rule society a fear that she ignored because she fell in love with the “pasha’s” son, Charles a handsome English gentleman. Too many worlds set them apart, she a servant he the master’s son, she an Egyptian he and English man but still they resisted everything to prove their love but tragedy torn them apart and the only thing that eased the pain is for Karima to sing her sorrows which eventually was heard throughout Egypt making her the “Karawan” or the Nightingale. Her love for Charles bore them a beautiful daughter Nadia, but she lost her in one of Egypt’s social tragedies. Where did Nadia end up with and will mother and daughter reunite again? This is one reason why you should read this novel. More than that it brings readers through a family saga which is torn and bounded by love amidst the social turmoil all set in Egypt.

I for one have been drawn to novels/books which focus on the strength of women like “The Colour Purple” and “A Thousand Splendid Suns” these books are written to inspire women of all ages. It gives awareness on the plight of women before and how time has moulded women to become stronger today. Aside from that the novel “Nadia’s Song” tells a forbidden love story between lovers and how it changed their lives and of the people around them.

I give this book a four out of vie stars.

M.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Birds of Prey; A Book Review




My current read is a delectable novel for it is so thrilling and full of adventure that it will make you shout AARRGGGHHH!!!

Yes my current read is based on the lives of seamen and pirates “Birds of Prey” another well written novel by Wilbur Smith will sweep everyone away in its pages with the large masts of an English naval ship to discover war, love, adventure, deceit, of strange land and of course the rich hidden bounty.

Follow young Hal who has to captain a ship after his father Sir Francis Courtney has been deceitfully executed by the Dutch East India Company. Find out why this deceit is inevitable and take the journey with young Hal with his noble men who have been suspected as sea rats and pirates. The quest will take readers from the depth of the sea, to the African continent where slavery and wealth contrast each other. Pages will drift you as you sail to discover strange lands and animals, discover love and jealousy, murderous villains, and holy relics all rolled up in this book. Truly a quest anyone should not hesitate to go on board.

Wilbur Smith would have to be one of my favourite authors because he puts so much passion in his books. There is no doubt that this novel is well researched aside from being well written. The whole book has its own callous character of a sea farer and treacherous as a sea-rat.

This is no doubt a five out of five!

I end this book review with these few words from the villainous Cumbrae:


“Smartly done, you canty bunch of sea-rats. The easiest fifty guineas you’ll ever put in your purses. Give yerselves a cheer, and cook a snook at the devil.”

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Eat,Pray,Love; (Filipino point of voiew book review)




"(And) Love is always complicated. But still humans must try to love each other, darling. We must get our hearts broken sometimes. This is a good sign, having a broken heart. It means we have tried for something.”
-Felipe


I think that sums it all up with the “LOVE” chapter of the book “Eat, Pray, Love”. In the memoir Liz is went to Bali, Indonesia not to look for love but to find balance since according to her the Balinese are experts of living a balance life of pleasure and devotion. She found balance indeed in Bali when she found love. More than that love she found in Bali is a conscious choice for her not an addiction unlike before. At the end the island of Bali taught her how to keep herself grounded once again through a unique way of meditation, sitting still and smiling which was taught by her by the warm hearted medicine man Ketut Liyer which became a new way of devotion. The pleasure she found by falling in love with Felipe and simply taking a plunge with him into LOVE made her a differnet person. A very good ending to a memorable and inspiring memoir.

When we were young love seems so dreamy with pictures of a Prince rescuing a damsel in distress and when we had the chance to know what real love is we realized that it is not all bliss because you have to feel pain to know what real love is. Love might be complicated to a lot of us but it something everyone is searching and needing for. I am blessed that I have found real love. We have different meanings of love depending on what we went through with our partners but more importantly love is being selfless, to put the other person’s needs first than yours. You need to erase yourself for the sake of the other that is what love is for me just pure unconditional love.

Love will always be difficult to comprehend but once you have it in your life it really does not matter anymore as long as you have it.

The book has enriched many people including mine. It has given me the chance to know the possibilities of life and of love. I am blessed that I am given the chance to live life today to the fullest and this I treasure most.

If we believe that we are bound for more and if we work on it the universe will help us. I pray that everyone of us will have the chance to know find our simple pleasures in life may it be through food, travel, friends, family, or as simple as laughter. I pray that we might find our simple devotions in life which will help us shape our future. I pray that we will find one true love which will inspire us more to live life to the fullest.

EAT, PRAY, LOVE.....these are the three of the few ingredients to make one’s life full, if you have one you are already blessed. Cherish life because it cherishes you.


M.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Eat,Pray,Love; (Filipino point of view book review)




"PRAY "

Today it is hot like an Indian summer reaching to 100degrees. I write the “PRAY” chapter from the book “Eat, Pray, Love” while looking over the sea from our balcony, crickets chirping, humid weather, sitar playing in the background from a player, and thankful to be in our little temple tucked in a paradise we call home.

Liz Gilbert went to India to find spiritual union with God. Four months in an ashram tucked in a remote village in India gave her the freedom to let go of her past and concentrate on the present. Her life went tumbling down after she decided to let everything go but still she was holding back all the pain inside her like her love for her lover David and her ex husband. Before she found God she has to let go of the pain and focus on the NOW. After everything that she went through, her struggles of meditation, her restless mind, she finally found solace just by keeping still and then God appeared in a glimpse before her. She found union just by keeping still.

Prayer will always be essential to my growth as a person. How I have grown in the two years from a mere religious person to a more spiritual one. I am blessed that my spiritual quest brought me to books which gave me more insights on how spirituality moulds lives. One of the many books is the one that I am writing a review on now. Prayer before is always a plea or thanks to someone unseen out in space. Today my prayer is not a plea or thanks to someone but to EVERYONE and unto MYSELF. Today my God is not wrapped in one person alone, today my God is one and all. As Liz said that we have the freedom to choose our religion like we are picking cherries, and so I did. My religion resides within me, it has a simple name and it has one goal for me to grow as a person. My religion is LOVE.

It might be hard for Filipino Catholics, as I was, to let go of our religion. But I have already but I am thankful that the Christian faith has taught me to look myself deeper and look for my inner heaven. As Jesus said:


“The Kingdom of Heaven is within you.”

And so I honestly believe that it does. What is the worth of freedom of religion when we can’t exercise that freedom because our religion is automatically handed out to us like our culture? I need to make a culture of my own and that includes my own religion.

Spirituality only has one aim to guide everyone to realize their TRUE being and their ego, segregating YOU and EGO so that one can grow. Growing spiritually is never easy but it is the path that only the few venture, it is a calling that a few like Jesus, Krishna, Buddha, and Rumi has answered its call.

But everything starts with one simple prayer.

Pray and grow.


M.


Watch out for my "Love" review on the book.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Eat, Pray, Love ( Filipino point of view book review)


It has been two years now since I have read one of my all time favourite book “Eat, Pray, Love” a memoir Of Elizabeth Gilbert and after two years I decided to open its pages again and savour it before I watch the film version of the story of course, Julia Roberts is the main actress. This book review is unlike my usual book review since I am going to write my it based on the three chapters of the story.

As I open the few pages of the book I could not believe that it has been two years, I first read the book March of 2008 (all of my books are dated) and from that time on I have learned and grown in a lot of ways. After two years I can relate more to Elizabeth, before it was like a dream like state of reading because I have not had the chance to experience what Elizabeth has written or went through and after two years somehow, I can relate to the story.

The synopsis of the story before Elizabeth’s travel began is depicting her as a jaded person who just wants to experience MORE FROM LIFE. In a way she has been influenced by what society is expecting her to do, have a good marriage, good career, financially stable, and the fine gorgeous house. But she starts to think.... does it really matter? A woman who is trapped found the courage to LET GO OF HERSELF including her marriage, her finances, her house and even her career just to feel alive again. So what does she do TRAVEL!!!






“EAT”

Elizabeth decided to travel to Italy for one reason to learn Italian but instead she not only fell in love with the language she even fell in love with the food.

As a Filipino our cuisine is a mix of different culinary influences. From Chinese, Spanish, Malay, Indian and American the Filipino cuisine comes out with all types of flavors in one dish. Talk about sweet and sour lapu-lapu, the spiciness of Bicol express, the flavours in our popular chicken adobo, salt from soy sauce, tanginess from vinegar and spice from peppers. Filipino cuisine will always bring an explosion of the taste buds!

In the memoir Elizabeth fell in love with Italian food because of its simplicity and its freshness. Two years ago I could not understand why this would be decadent as Elizabeth wrote:

“I walked home to my apartment and soft-boiled a pair of fresh brown eggs for my lunch. I peeled the eggs and arranged them on a plate beside the seven stalks of the asparagus (which were so slim and snappy they didn’t need to be cooked at all.) I put some olives on the plate, too, and four knobs of goat cheese I’d picked up yesterday from the formaggeria down the street, and two slices of pink, oily salmon. For desert-a lovely peach which the woman at the market had given to me for free and which is still warm from the Roam sunlight.”

For an ordinary Filipino who is only exposed to Filipino cuisine this would be a boring dish. Thankfully I had been exposed (thanks to my partner) to a variety of European food. European food has only one aim savour the REAL FLAVOR OF THE FOOD. How can you appreciate fish flavour if you dump sweet and sour sauce, instead why not bake fish with lemon grass and olive oil? The ingredients are so simple and are only used to highlight the flavour of the fish and not to cover it. That is how European food is cooked simple savoury dishes. Filipino style pasta will always be cooked with tons of sauces and minced meat while European style pasta is cooked only so light with chopped tomatoes perhaps with basil and garlic. I am so drawn to simple pastas now that I would crave for simple pasta with pesto. The cold cuts are heavenly from pepperoni, pastrami and ham with some good homemade bread or REAL cheese like mature cheddar, Danish blue (my favourite), gorgonzola, brie and camembert with some plain/salted cracker is to die for. Escargot done with garlic and butter are scrumptious! Shoulder of lamb with rosemary, roast chicken smothered in butter, prime steak is honestly mouth watering. Black caviar might be a snobbish delicacy but not too snobbish for me. The wine, wine, wine!! The one thing that I am interested in savouring very soon is foie gras.

I am thankful because I am able to savour and understand the essence of flavour from both sides of the world from extreme dishes of Asia to subtle palate of Europe. I would be content any day to have a sweet and sour fish with rice, or baked potatoes, tomato, garlic with Hungarian sausage because the essence of food is always in the flavour.

Eating and dining will always be a pleasure but the trick to enjoying food is to always have an open mind with the dish that is served.

Savour the flavours of life as much as you savour the flavours of your food.

Wait for my “Pray” review in a couple of days.
M.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Crimson Petal and the White



“She turns her face, astounded to feel the warm, tickly tears springing out her cheeks. What terrifying ichors flows through her veins; what hopelessly foul innards she has, poisoned by putrid memories and the bitterness of the want! If only she could drive a blade into her heart and let the filth spurt out, let it gush away, hissing, into a crack in the floor, leaving her clean and light.”

Taken from my current read “The Crimson Petal and the White” by Michel Faber. The book is passionately written as readers walk WITH a prostitute through the novel’s pages. Like his characters that are crude but passionate in both life and in bed the author wrote in complete abandon.

Walk with Sugar an eccentric prostitute who does not hesitate to cater to any needs of her high class clientele on the streets of 19th century London. Where filth is utterly disgusting and class is ostentatious will a prostitute like Sugar be bound for nothing or will she gain a better life?

The book is for mature readers who love history and poetry. It might get tedious for anyone who is not used to reading a heavy book filled with details and intricacies which plays a major part of the story. But this novel is a total delight to anyone who fancies an intellectual read.

I give this book a three and half stars out of five.


M.


Sunday, July 18, 2010

Aesthetic Vedanta/ Rasa Lila; A Book Review


I was about six years old when I first saw a poster of a plump child with curly hair and almond eyes but his skin was purple. I could not understand why this child would have such skin but I know I was drawn to it. Years passed my curiosity for spirituality grew which lead me to the ancient Indian mysticism and religion. Not even knowing I was again drawn to another photo of the a young man playing a flute for a girl but what struck me again was this young man with the flute had the same purple skin. Years after I would know that this young man was Lord Krishna and Radha her beloved. Without knowing I was once again drawn to songs/mantra sang in Hindi and Sanskrit and has always been playing in my own temple, my home, songs about praising Krishna and Sri Radha.




The first Indian literature that I have read enthusiastically was the ”Ramayana”, later on I came across the “Bhagavad Gita” where I was finally introduced to Lord Krishna. Lord Krishna would be the equivalent to Jesus Christ or Buddha, Hindu’s incarnation of God himself. And on my quest to know more about spirituality better I came across the book “Aesthetic Vedanta” by Swami B.V. Tripurari. This would be my first time to know better Lord Krishna on why he is always pictured out with Sri Radha or with the Gopis. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Krishna If Jesus Christ had 12 disciples Krishna had the Gopis. The book would take readers in to the deep and passionate love affair of Lord Krishna with the Gopis especially Sri Radha or the “Rasa Lila”. This love affair was misinterpreted by some people tying it up with exoticism or the Kama Sutra but that only makes the “Rasa Lila” limited for the love affair between Lord Krishna and the Gopis have a deeper spiritual connection as what the book explains.

This book is a challenge for me since I have no prior knowledge about the “Rasa Lila” or have limited knowledge about Lord Krishna but if there is one thing that resonates in the book it is pure devotion through passionate LOVE. If one devotes himself in passionate love (Krishna) one can find FREEDOM. This is also the ultimate commandment of Christ TO LOVE. This book is only meant for mature minds for there are a lot of verses in the “Rasa Lila” that would be misinterpreted by a young mind.


Growing up as a Christian I know by heart the stories told in the Bible now that I have grown I am drawn to know more about all other religion which is all tied up in pure spirituality.

Ponder and never stop being curios because it helps one to grow.
I give this book a three out of five stars.


M.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Religion; My Thoughts




There is something in me today that just want to write down my thoughts. It is like an insect bite that I cannot ignore but scratch it. All of these are my opinion.

Religion. I believe they were made to make civilize men but today they are one of the reasons that degenerates all of us. I was once a religious person brought up in a Catholic Filipino family going to Sunday mass was a MUST. Prayer was one of the first things that I learned. In a lot of good ways religion has become one of the foundations of our family life just like any other Filipino.

I admit that I took my religion seriously, yes I was pious. But I came to the point when I start to ask questions. It started with; will religion matter when I get to the gates of “heaven”? (if there is such a place). Will God categorize all of us base on what we believe? Is Heaven subdivided upon Christians, Moslems, Hindu and Buddhists? I answered this question quite simply. God is not limited and separate us because of our religion. I believe God only is keener on what we have done on Earth rather than who we believed in. It does not mean that you are a Pope, a Lama, an Ulama that you have full access to the gates of heaven because we are all judged on what we have become in our lifetime.

The September 11 catastrophe made me more aware of how religion is used by so many of us for different objectives in life. Religious scriptures are twisted back and forth leading to different interpretations just for the sake of REASON that GOD is behind them and their cause. Are all of these horrid crimes of humanity for the sake of God or religion? This would not only happen today because even the Christians would go to the extent of cutting heads off to all non believers as witnessed in the Crusades and the Spanish Inquisitions. I do not believe that Christ mentioned “Off with their heads to non Christians.” Or did Krishna created the caste system for oppression and rank sake? How far do we have to go to take religion and using it for an insane mantra?

It did get worse and getting worst. I opened my eyes one day to see beggars lining up with tin cans outside an affluent Church. I thought the church that I so believe in is bound to poverty, chastity, and CHARITY. As to POVERTY, many churches today milk their devotees so that the men in cloak will live a comfortable life and worse a luxurious life. My church that holds Christ to a very high esteem never lived in the status they have now. My Christ rode on a humble donkey and NOT on a Rolce Royce. My Christ wore a simple white tunic and leather sandals and NOT an expensive silk robe, gilded with rings in fingers with designer leather shoes. As for CHARITY, I wonder why they concentrate more of their own gilded Charity Offices but ignore the beggars at their doors? On why they would still pass around charity basket during Mass knowing that most of their devotees are poor? Is my Church not rich enough to share their wealth to everyone? Or has GREED got a new name.....CHARITY? As for CHASTITY, how many men in cloak would go to the extent of perverse acts to quench their thirst of the flesh, to dehumanize children to sexual acts is truly unacceptable. And how does my Church solve the problem? They turn a blind eye, ignore the issue and hide the culprit.

My eyes are open and no longer will I be part of a Church that takes advantage of their devotees. My eyes have seen that the true vampires of society cloak themselves in light but hide in the shadows of darkness, a true epitome of a wolf in sheep’s skin.

Today young minds are ever so curios and I am one of those. I have to step out of the circle to see its shape. Today I have drifted from being a pious and religious person to a more spiritual and conscious individual. The world is changing and the religion that once built a civilization will be one reason for civilization to crumble. Today the ancestor of modern religion which springs from Paganism base on Spirituality is having a rebirth. Modern religion will always resist, just like all entity it will fight for its existence but there will be no denying that spirituality will conquer religion in the end. I pray for one belief and faith, a RELIGION which grows with and for SPIRITUALITY.

At the end I hope that we do not sit idle and being complacent with society. We need to learn to be curious because what is the worth of our existence if we do not ask WHY?

Think and ponder for it helps one to grow.

M.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Midnights With The Mystic; A Book Review


WHO ARE YOU? If you are stripped with your name, family, education, accomplishments, and possessions what will be left in you, what is your inner core? WHO ARE YOU behind all of the labels that modern society has given you on which you have accumulated willingly? WHO ARE YOU?

I have read a few books both fiction and non-fiction regarding one’s search for spiritual growth. For me it has become an ultimate search for me to know the mysteries of life. My current read has brought me once again to helping me find the real and essential ME behind the mask that I have accumulated through time.

“Midnights With The Mystic” by Cheryl Simone and Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev would become one of my bibles which helped see life in different light, a better light. The book is based upon the conversations of a true sceptic Cheryl with her guru Sadhguru. There are poignant questions that Cheryl was given the chance to asked Sadhguru regarding basics of our human life and how we reach our highest potential as human beings. The book will make you question your existence and of your reality.

This would not be the first book that I have read which deals with the stripping of ego and being conscious of the REAL YOU which is hidden under layers and layers of labels/ego. We all have one aim in life. TO LIVE A FULL AND HAPPY LIFE but Sadhguru triggers one question...How can you be happy when you do not even know your REAL SELF?

The book SHOULD be read with an open mind. I have to go back and forth on some important details that Sadhguru points out because I want to understand it. Books like this should never be read with haste but one should savour and understand it.

This book as good and as inspiring as it is I will ONLY recommend it to someone who is ready for it because if you are NOT you would just throw it away and would think it as a load of rubbish. When you start to ask “WHO AM I” beyond all the clutter? Then this book is a MUST READ for you.
Also I am not encouraging anyone to get in touch with Sadhguru and his program, I am not here to advertise anyone. I am ONLY here to encourage everyone to read.

A Five out of five stars.


M.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Song of a Cuckoo Bird; A Book Review


Fairy tales are always focused on damsel in distress locked up in an enchanted castle waiting for their prince charming to rescue them and living happily ever after. But in reality some place in the world damsels in distress do not live in castles and nor are they rescued by any prince charming at all. These damsels in distress might not live a happily ever after life and are content in just simply living.

“Song of a Cuckoo Bird” a novel by Amulya Malladi is based upon these damsels in distress. Damsels of a little town in India washed away by destiny to live in an ashram by the Bengal River. This book is a journey of these women from the day they set foot in the ashram until they grew old with it. The ashram became their refuge from harsh society some of them orphaned, born of wedlock, and born in the wrong caste lived their lives in the ashram. The novel focuses on their decisions in life which was influenced largely by the ashram changed their individual lives forever. A peek into the day to day struggles of Indian women all mashed up into one novel.

The novel for me has heart but lacks concrete conflict. It is an interesting read but might not be interesting enough to get anyone hooked. It turned out to me like short stories of the characters in the novel and their life within the ashram. Sadly I expected more from it, but it turned out to be a simple fictional memoir of different Indian women.

With that I give this novel a three out of five stars.
M.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

A Dangerous Fortune; Book Revie


Define a page turner?

A very interesting, exciting, or suspenseful book, usually a novel.


Or as simple as reading a book like “A Dangerous Fortune” by Ken Follet.

Set in the late 19th century brings five public school boys in a lake one afternoon, an afternoon that will change their lives forever. How can a death of a thirteen year old boy change the lives of the other four? That is the reason why this book is complete page turner.

This book chronicles the different lives of family in England, families who value their family fortune and social status. The Pilasters for one focuses on the young Hugh and Edward who has been dragged into family intrigue and turmoil because of money. Hugh was brought up penniless and was on the mercy of Edward’s (cousin) family. Both opposite but only one thing is set in their mind, who will earn the right to be Senior Partner of the Pilaster Bank. Deadly plots after the other, scheming and rebelling, backstabbing, death, gossip makes this novel so riveting.

This book gripped me immediately! The characters intertwined with each other as the story progresses. The shifts and turns will surprise everyone and the cunning antagonist Mrs. Augusta Pilaster will make you want to turn page after page. She is one reason why I cannot wait to read on because I was eager to know how this evil scheming woman would end up in the story. She clearly defines antagonist and so much more.

Like other Ken Follet novel this is a MUST READ! Very entertaining and very gripping indeed!

No doubt that I am giving this a five out of five stars.

M.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Spanish Bow; A Book Review


“(Duarte’s) cello was a glossy caramel colour, and the sound it produced was as warm and rich as the instrument looked. It sounded like a human voice. Not the high warble of an opera singer or anyone else singing for a stage, but rather the soothing voice of a fisherman singing as he mended his nets, or of a mother singing lullabies to her sleepy children”
-The Spanish Bow; Adromeda Romano-Lax

The first time I heard a cello on the radio I had goose bumps, I was younger and unfamiliar of the instrument being played but I fell in love with the melody of Camille Saint-Saen’s “The Swan”. To this day it will be one of my favourite musicale pieces and one of my favourite musical instruments. My recent read is based on the power of cello and the man who creates history by creating music with his powerful bow.

The book “The Spanish Bow” by Ardomeda-Lax is based on a love story between a cellist, his bow, his country, his musicale companions, and a woman. You might think that this is the cello version of the “Red Violin” by it is not. The protagonist of the story is Feliu Delargo who inherited a simple cello bow which changed his life forever. Born with a deformity he grew up reclusive and retreated to playing the cello. He mastered the instrument and for years he brought his passion with him as a cellist playing during troubled times in Spain influencing others through music and growing with it not only as a cellist but also as person.

The author is superb in combining music and history. I believe she has written something grand for anyone to appreciate music and at the same time insert perfectly Spain’s political history through the eyes of a master cellist.

This book is highly recommended for anyone who is interested in both music and history. A novel filled not only musical sonatas and concertos it is also filled with Spain’s deep political history from it’s oppression to the country’s freedom.

A FOUR out of five stars.
M.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Odd Thomas; A Book Review

My recent read is actually something new for me, not the usual book that I indulge myself in but because I want variety of books not only to read but also to share my thoughts through my reviews so I decided to read “Odd Thomas” by Dean Koontz.

It is a story of a man who is gifted with a sixth sense, yes he sees dead people. It is “considered” to be scary with a bit of thriller. I was drawn to the book because the author’s recent release “Odd Hours” have good feedbacks and I want to start (supposedly) Odd series with this book.

The novel reminded me of “Hardy Boys” series/novels though Hardy boys did not have any sixth sense unlike Odd Thomas who gets help from the dead to solve A particular crime. The story was alright, an easy read actually, uncomplicated but sadly I got bored with it. It is predictable in a way because for novels like these about crime and suspense the outcome mostly comes out that the crime gets solve. And yes it did get solved with the help of his sixth sense but honestly the way the author describes the dead is a bit...boring. I did expect to get scared and get tangled up with the suspense trying to figure out who killed who. That did not happen as well. The author threw away the identity of the suspects like a hot potato, no thrill at all. I went into the phase where I just wanted to flip the pages without reading it, which is very easy to do by the way, because the author wrote unnecessary details.

Overall I give it a two and half out of five stars. The only good thing about it is .... it is an easy read.


M.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Bhagavad Gita; Literary Classic






I have always been drawn to classic literature. I’m always intrigued with stories foretold and passed from one generation to the next, stories that will never cease and will live on forever. How these stories defy time is a mystery, a mystery that I want to know and learn its secrets.

Aside from Greek classic stories the Indian literary classic stories is one indulgence I love to feast my mind into. Like the Greeks the Indians and their classic literary stories involve man and his relationship with their gods and goddesses. I have read quite a few Indian classical stories one of them is the Ramayana and my recent read is the “Bhagavad Gita” (The Song of God) translated by Swami Probhavananda and Christopher Isherwood, introduction by Aldous Huxley.

A poem which is written approximately 500-200 BCE is something that readers like me is intrigued about. What is in the poem that lasted for these centuries and became one of the fundamental teachings of Hinduism and is relatively similar to Buddhism and Christianity? This is not only a poem between Lord Krishna and Arjuna before he sets off to battle his enemies. The poem itself is wrapped with pure mysticism on how human beings then, now and in the future can find everlasting bliss or as the Hindus and Buddhists call it Nirvana for Christians it is called heaven. A thin pocketbook filled with so much insight, a poem which became a foundation for great minds like Mahatma Gandhi.

Just a brief description “Bhagavad Gita” revolves around the philosophy that all being in this world carries in him/her a piece of God and it is within himself/herself to tap into the inner God and therefore finding Nirvana/Heaven in this world. I was amazed to know that some books that I have read like “A New Earth” by Tolle, and “The Witch of Portobello” by Coelho have very similar thoughts and philosophies of this aged story. I never realized that such philosophies are not new and recent. What is going on at present is the rebirth of this old aged Philosophy.

I advice anyone who would want to read the book to get a good translation of the Bhagavad Gita because the poem itself has depth that author(s) need to translate well. The translated version that I have read is highly recommended.

Reading classic literature like Bhagavad Gita always leaves me a sense of humility since I am given the priveledge to read a scripture that is as old as time.

A five out of five.

M.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

River God; A Book Review


The warm wind this summer has brought me another precious jewel from the pages of a book based upon a slave and eunuch “River God” by Wilbur Smith is pure summer delight.

Taita slave and eunuch with his story will make you turn each page with shrill excitement loosing yourself in the depth of the river Nile to the unforgiving deserts of Africa. Each page filled with the lives of ancient Egypt where a weak Pharaoh is in turmoil of losing a dynasty and he needs a lowly slave like Taita to change his destiny. Will Taita deliver or not? With plotting and deceit around the palace how will a slave make way for a dynasty to continue? To what extent will this eunuch do to preserve Pharaoh’s dynasty?

This summer is a good time for anyone to be enthralled with a book based on the people who once worshiped the sun god Amon-Re a book about ancient Egypt. I have been waiting for a substantial book based on warm Egypt and then I found this book and like the river Nile I was swept away with it. “River God” is a rich book that will take readers to the lives and customs of Ancient Egypt. The pages will bring you to the gorgeous palace of Thebes with colourful murals. Festivals and wars will make you leap with excitement. Love, intrigue, deceit, passion are a few reasons why this book is a page turner. I believe this is a true classic. A MUST READ!

Brilliant...simply brilliant!

FIVE OUT OF FIVE STARS.

M.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

WHY READ?



Why read?

I sometimes do think....why read? There are a lot of people today who would ask me THE question....WHY READ?

For me the answer is simple..... BECAUSE IT IS A GIFT & PRIVILEGE. I don’t want to go on with rhetoric on what reading is all about because we all know the essence of reading. To read means to learn but we all know it is more than learning.

I think I have written about this matter once but I really want to express my thoughts and feelings on why I love to read and why I believe everyone should as well. I have mentioned already that reading for me is a gift because it clearly is. Not a lot of us living today can read or some don’t understand what they are reading. It is a gift for someone to have the chance to read and understand what he is reading, don’t you agree?

I miss the “good old days”, so they say when every nook and cranny readers are everywhere. Where are they all now? Have they become one of the endangered species as well? Is it because of global warming?

Twenty years ago reading is the hobby. How can I forget since I am one of those kids who would go home with a pocket book, anything to read on the week end? My sisters as well have their favourite romance pocket books and we would sit on our little corner and just read. Those days are long gone when kids would rush in their school library just to take home a favourite book.

I do feel sad at times when I see teenagers who spend more time on their cell phones, PSPs and computer. They always say they do it because it cuts boredom or it is “fun”. Well grab a book and for sure you will get more from it than wasting your time with cell phones, computers, and PSPs. It will cut boredom if you are open to the thought that reading can be FUN. Have a little imagination and it will go a long way. Why do think most films as popular as Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings are FUN to watch? Because they are all based on books. Most good films these days are based on good books and novels.

As for the adults we always say “we don’t have time to read”. Yes I can honestly understand that with work home and kids to look after why bother to read? I AM SO BUSY and reading will never fit in my schedule. I heard that one too, coming from myself. But I did find time eventually to read, an hour or two on the weekend, 30 minutes before going to bed, doesn’t matter how long you read as long as you do. Pick up a book that interest you and start reading a few pages, yes it will make you feel little drowsy at first but work yourself to finish that first ten pages or chapter. If you don’t understand a sentence or phrase read it again until you do. Do not pressure yourself from reading, because I know I have not before it takes me a month to finish a 300 page book. So what? No one is keeping track except me as long as I kept on reading that’s all that mattered.

Why am I so adamant with books and reading? Because I have simply found a GIFT that I want to share with everyone. BORING you might say. But honestly I have learned a lot just by reading. No not books about quantum physics but books that simply caught my attention and those that speak to me. Now you might say I am really going gaga. What I mean is books that interest you. I started with C.S. Lewis’ “The Witch, the Lion, and the Wardrobe”. From then on I have grown as a reader. Who cares if you would even start with fairy tale books as long as you read because all I know for sure is all readers evolve. And as an evolved reader I have read substantial books that made me realize things in life, and to think I have read it on fictional books. Strange isn’t it? Reading has shown me a lot of things in life that I ponder on. Both good and bad but I always keep an open mind.

Why do I always go out of my way to write a book review ever so often? There is only one reason. BECAUSE I WANT EVERYONE TO READ. As much as I want to and I do want to admit it I want people to know that reading has gone pass being nerdy as of now it is cool and officially FAB! I want to encourage anyone who does stumble into my book review blog that reading is more than interesting. I want to encourage people to read because it creates not only knowledge but culture as well. More than that it is obviously known that reading was, is and will always be used as a tool for us to grow so why not take advantage of it? It is our PRIVILEGE TO READ why don’t we take it?

Books for me have become my treasure chest. Each one more precious than Ali Baba’s hidden treasure for the jewels found in each page is something that will always linger in me and will never be lost nor stolen.
M.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Marie Antoinette THE LAST QUEEN of FRANCE; A Book Review


Have you ever dreamed of becoming a part of a Royal Family with a life full of luxury and exclusivity? But have you ever thought that some Royal blood would trade their life just to be a commoner.

Such is the life of “Marie Antoinette THE LAST QUEEN OF FRANCE” a well researched book written by Evelyne Lever.

Coming from the east I only know Marie Antoinette as the frivolous last queen of France who had a tragic death on the guillotine and nothing more. But after reading this book I gain so much respect to a Queen misunderstood. A Queen who went to the extent creating her own fairy tale in the corners of her Petit Trianon where she disguised herself as a commoner. A Queen who wants to get away with palace intrigues and abhors royal etiquette and formality. A Queen who only wanted to have a simple life but somehow ended up with fabulous expensive frocks and eccentric hairdo just to escape her own reality.

What I admire about is the author’s extensive research and putting it all together to let readers know the real Marie Antoinette. Readers will have the chance to understand the complexity of becoming Royalty and the responsibility one carries. Life in a grand palace like Versailles with its world known Hall of Mirrors might be grand on the outside but are the people living in it at that time really content and happy with their lives? This is where the pages will take you into the real lives of the last French Royal Family.

I will end this book review with the author’s last word:

“Today the last Queen of France is no longer considered one of history’s great criminals. Instead, she tends to arouse interest and compassion. After her death on the scaffold, Marie Antoinette entered the world of legend and became a mythic figure. We seek to penetrate the secrets of her romantic and tragic life. Though repeatedly and tirelessly put on trial, this sentimental and frivolous princess, who was completely unprepared for her heroic fate, knew better than any other sovereign how to bring to perfection the aristocratic art of living of prerevolutionary France.”

I give this book a four out of five stars.


M.

Friday, April 23, 2010

A Separate Peace; A Book review


How can you send someone you love into a catastrophe? How can you hurt them and you end up hurting yourself even more?

This is the resonating thought that the book “A Separate Peace” by John Knowles brings. Two young gentlemen bonded not only in the corners of Devon School but more than that they are bonded of a special friendship. Finny & Gene are vibrant spirits ready to face the world even if it is at war but what drives one to hurt the other and thus lead both of them changed and hurt forever.

The book might be short but it is beautifully written. I want to share my favourite phrase:

“Very gradually, like one instrument after another being tentatively rehearsed, beacons of colour began to pierce the sky. The ocean perked up a little from the reflection of these coloured slivers in the sky. Bright high lights shone on the tips of the waves, and beneath its gray surface I could see lurking a deep midnight green.....as pure as the shores of Eden.”

A beautiful description of the sea while the sun is rising. You could not describe it more beautiful than that.

I really did not mind the details that the late author wrote because it was descriptive and beautiful at the same time. It is an easy read to a point that it might get predictable but I ignored the thought because the author wrote it simply well.

I give this book a three and half out of five stars.


M.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Reading in Paradise


I am lucky to be reading here in Paradise.
To find out where please visit www.thecovehousepanglao.com
M.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

TOP 5 Summer Must Read


If you are going on a summer holiday I encourage everyone to bring a book or two to read. Either way you can always read a book this summer. So here are my top five summer must reads:

1) Beneath A Marble Sky by John Shors- I have chosen this novel because it is an epic story based on the eternal beauty that is Taj Mahal. It is not limited to how the Taj Mahal is built but it is also a story of adventure, love, deceit and plots and a novel based on exotic India is always appealing. A PAGE TURNER!!


2) The Witch of Portobello by Paulo Coelho- this novel might be short but it will put readers to ponder on themselves but more than that on LIFE too. I highly recommend this book because in a way it has influence me in a positive way. It triggers thoughts within readers on what we are missing in life. And if you are in a search for yourself this book might change you this summer.


3) Love In A Time Of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez- this will always be a classic summer must read for me because it involves LOVE, an overwhelming love that contains someone. The setting is beautiful which is in Colombia and the plot is undying.


4) Odyssey by Homer – I chose this one because age will never tire classics like this. It is very refreshing to go back to classics plus it involves travel.


5) Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert- this too will always be one of my highly recommend books to read during summer. It doesn’t only involve a woman’s quest in looking for herself in this modern world but it involves travel, food, and romance. A great combination all wrapped in one memoir.


So these are my top five SUMMER MUST READS. If you want more recommendation don’t hesitate to ask. I hope you will have a gorgeous summer.


M.

Friday, April 16, 2010

The Enchantress of Florence; A Book Review


Simple pages bring me to exotic lands and let me drift into the unreal, let me read your passages and let me ponder. Let me savour your imagination and for once let this dream inside your pages be real.


Particular stories are written so that readers will be transported from the real to the unreal. But once the readers start to read everything within the novel’s pages becomes real.


My current read is an adventure filled with mysticism. A story so unreal it makes it so enchanting.


“There was once, in Turkey, and adventurer-prince named Argalia or Arcalia, a great warrior who possessed enchanted weapons, and in whose retinue were four terrifying giants, and he had a woman with him, Angelica....Angelica, the princes of India and Cathay...”


This is the famous line from the novel “The Enchantress of Florence” by Salman Rushdie. Once again I tumbled into a book that was left in one corner of a bookstore. Not realizing that this book, an award winning novel (Booker Prize) would end up being as enchanting as the stories of Arabian Nights.


Who is this Enchantress of Florence? You will be surprised who she is! But before you will meet her you will be drifted away to exotic India where a lowly traveller keeps a secret only fit for an Emperor’s ears. An Emperor who might have conquered many kingdoms but yet to conquer himself. From here on the story will flourish with a lot of magic, religion, travel, wars, beauty, ugliness, loyalty, deceit, dreams, failures, love, lust and a whirlwind of secrets that readers will unravel as you turn each page. Indeed an adventure so refreshing that you need to read on.

I give this book a four out of five.

M.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Ponder With Life




I always have this urge to write on nights like this. Tonight is one of those nights. A night when something inside me wants to explode if not it will choke me from within.

I am on the stage of my life that mysteries surrounding me are trying to peel off like an onion trying to reveal its true colour--- purple to white. Like an onion you might cry peeling but the scent and the taste is all worth it.

I am slowly grasping the essence of life. I am here not because of HOW but of WHAT. What is life’s essence? Ask the right question and it will be revealed to you in time. I know some of the great minds in our times will always and will be considered eccentric, but all eccentrics always know behind something secret and taboo in this modern age, if we do call it modern.

Life will always be a mystery, and I am here now to slowly unravel it. It a choice that I had made and will continue to make. I don’t want to die and rot in the ground like all of us will end up and not realizing for a certain glimpse what is LIFE’S ESSENCE. Do you? Do you want to go on living just for the sake and not living with a certain purpose aside from survival, aside from breathing?

I am not projecting an inner guru I am only projecting myself which I hope you can relate to. I am in the point of the my life where I can see people’s aura. I can distinguish happy and contented people from sad and troubled ones.

I have a neighbour who is full of rage. A woman who is not content in her life but to pull everyone around her down. Why is she doing this? Not because she is happy in tormenting everyone including us but because she is a very sad person. I don’t know what she has to go through in life but one thing is for sure. She thought life has taught her to be strong but in reality life has shattered her and made her rough as any common rock. I bet if someone with the right aura would hug her tight, she will cry all her fears and pain out. A person who doesn’t have peace with himself will always manifest it one way or the other. How sas she is, that is how I see her. A crab in its totality, hard in the outside but easy to break in the inside. How fragile can one get?

Everyone in this world will never find peace not until we will be buried six feet under, will we? But I ask you will you wait for that when life has sucked everything out of you? I WON’T! I am in a journey to find my inner peace and bliss. I don’t need to wait for the earth to eat me all up to know what it is. As much as I can I will gather all of my strength and ability to know what I am ENTITLED TO KNOW about life and its mysteries.

There will be a lot of people who will laugh at me. Just like Christ, Just like Buddha and Muhammad they have to be laughed at and scrutinize even died in the cross just to make a point. That we need to seek out a path that will lead us to grow as human beings. We call ourselves today as modern society but I have seen and experienced in my own eyes that we are becoming degenerate and we as human beings have become lesser animals. How can we call ourselves human when we don’t know how to become a REAL MAN?

I don’t know about you but I am not willing to become one of the mediocre Homo sapien in this time and age. I know that some people who grasp unique wisdom and knowledge are commonly laughed at but that is the price the wise has to pay. All I am eager to know is the REAL LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL.


Ponder Ponder.....DO PONDER AND NEVER STOP.

Mykee

Friday, April 9, 2010

The Color Purple; A Book Review

Would it be strange if I say books tend to pop out of the shelves eager for me to read its pages? Because this one did it was hidden in a corner shelf and only two copies were sold but it called to me. Again this current read of mine is something I have to wait, I have to be patient like the main character of the novel so that I too can grasp its meaning; Celie, the ever so patient Celie of “The Color Purple” written by Alice Walker.






I have heard of “The Color Purple” years ago but since it is an old book it was really hard to find a copy in the bookstore nor have I seen the film until today. Sadly the Philippines too don’t have good libraries so I waited with patience. I am happy though that I did for the books that I have read recently have one common thought “Growing through Spirituality”. The books that I have read recently have linked accidentally and unexpectedly one to the other that made me think....what is LIFE’S ESSENCE?


I know I was into something really good just by reading the preface of the novel. Alice wrote “...it remains for me the theological work examining the journey from the religious back to the spiritual...” that for me is important and that I was about to read a book that will linger in me and I was right.


Dear God,


That is how the story begun how Celie confide her worries to someone greater than her we all call God. The first letter written by Celie to him was full of hurt which in turn made her a strong woman. Celie is an epitome of patience and strength. Just as she said when she is beaten by her daddy or by her husband Mr. ------ she thinks of herself as tree so she won’t feel anything. She did not realize that for her to think of herself as a tree she grew and grew and grew with strength, patience and wisdom.


I thought at first that the novel was about the classic story of slavery but I was wrong. It still has the thought of slavery but within the backyard of the black people. Men mistreat their woman just because she is more than that because she is a black woman. How hard life can it be to be in Celie’s shoes? Very hard but very inspiring indeed. Her journey will bring her to meet different people especially women like her which will help her to grow and change for the better.


As what Shug Avery (Celie’s friend) told her which for me one of the essences of the story is:


“God is inside you and inside everybody else. You come into the world with God. But only them that search for it inside find it. And sometimes it just manifest itself even if you not looking, or don’t know what you looking for. Trouble do it for most folks, I think. Sorrow, lord. Feeling shit.”

This novel empowers not only women but for anyone who is open to grow as a person.

I give this novel a five out of five.

M.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Life Of Pi; A Book Review


“I know what you want. You want a story that won’t surprise you. That will confirm what you already know. That won’t make you see higher or further or differently.”

Life of Pi


It is the one quote that readers of the book “Life of Pi” by Yann Martel should take into consideration once you have finished reading it. I was intrigued by the book for some time but I was torn because the reviews for the novel are both good and bad. Now that I have read it I will put on my review.


First of all I want to give a brief description of what the story is all about. “Life Of Pi” is a story of survival, of a sixteen year old boy named Piscine Molitor Patel who got stranded in a life boat with a two hundred fifty pound Bengal tiger named Richard Parker. Why is the story interesting for me? Because it reminds me of a classic story; “The Jungle Book” also I wanted to know if Pi has survived this ordeal and if there is something he has learned from the circumstances that I too can learn.


The book for me has high points and low ones. The first chapter, the base of the story was really interesting on how the author defines animals and their instincts, and on how human beings are different from them. He will also redefine a Zoo for you. More than that he gives a good thought about religion and God this for me are the high points. The second chapter will bring readers to the essence of the story SURVIVAL. I honestly got bored since there were too many details that I believe not essential for my reading; sometimes I just want the author to get to the point like describing on how Pi meticulously constructed a raft which for me was unnecessary. The third chapter would give readers the truth of the story.


The novel for me failed in a way since the last chapter gave it all away in just a few pages. I don’t want to dissuade readers but I got disappointed after reading the last chapter. But I always say my reviews are based on my views, if you are still interested please read the book if not then you won’t lose anything. In my opinion I don't understand why it received the Man Booker Prize since it lacks something.....something essentially gripping that all readers can relate to.
Im giving it a two and half stars out of five.
M.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

A Very Poignant Book

How do you write a review on a book that left you with poignant thoughts and feelings? I do not know if my review to this next book will surmount to what I have learned and realized from my current read. But never the less I will try.


I think it has been two years since I saw this pocket book on the shelves of a bookstore, but I always ignored it. I try to go with eccentric reads, books that most people might think boring but certainly has so much appeal to me. Yes I was once one of the few who went with the band wagon and picked the best sellers as well but when you grow as a reader you tend to know which books call you. This book has been calling my attention for two years but I ignored.....till now. I ignored it since I thought it might be a mediocre read and media attention to the author just made it interesting to some readers and I was not planning to get all my good reads from the “best seller list.”


Before I reveal it I want to give a brief background about my journey towards getting this poignant book. I have been drawn to books that I know I can learn something spiritually either fiction or non-fiction. The first book perhaps that left me to ponder is a classic, Pearl S. Buck’s “The Good Earth” and then I read into the pages of Tolle’s “A New Earth” years after which is truly enlightening.


A week ago I was back on a bookstore, I was about to pick a novel with story surrounding a cellist and lovely Spain, who wouldn’t want to read about that? But then I saw this pocket book again and yes it called to me once more. I picked it up for the first time and read the review at its back


“How do we find the courage to always be true to ourselves---even if we are unsure of who we are?”


That statement itself made me want to read the book----- “The Witch Of Portobello” by Paulo Coelho.


I thought the book would tell a tale about an oppressed witch who came out and won over life and love which might sound like the novel “Wicked”. But I was wrong because it is so much more. A witch might have negative connotations today which was a way to abolish “paganism” but in this novel a witch is sacred because through her love, life, wisdom, reality, time, and so much more flows and though everyone is invited only few responded, afraid to break away from the norm and structured life that the so called modern society expects them to follow.


More than that the book evokes the reader to be conscious with his life stop complaining and celebrate each PRESENT moment, as present means gift we should be thankful that we have today. If you read the book with an open mind you will clearly realize things that you might not realize before. I already know that being spiritual has more essence and life than being religious and this book only reassured my faith. It won’t be radical to say that I believe in my faith that I was brought up to being a Christian but I don’t believe in the institution that it is in which I believe is slowly crumbling. Today I don’t want to associate myself with any sect and religion because in truth spirituality begins from within and not in four corners of a temple, church, mosque, or synagogue. I want to cultivate my own faith which will help me grow as a person.


I believe the core question that “The Witch Of Portobello” has left me after reading its few pages is


“Why am I here?”


I am blessed in a way that I waited for two years to read this book because if I have read it two years ago I would not be able to grasp its essence as much as I understood it now. I hope I have today, I pray that I have.


I evoke anyone who is challenged to know more about life’s mysteries to grab this pocket book. This book won’t demand anything from you at all, in fact it is listed in FICTION. But it will really leave you to think as much as it left me with poignant thoughts.


I think it would be understatement to rate this book because what I have learned just by reading a few pages will always be priceless.

M.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Growing by Reading


Reading for me has become a very good teacher. I know everyone learned through reading but at present after leaving all textbooks that I need to read to pass a subject in college I devoted myself in reading books that help me grow as a person.

You might think I indulge myself in “self help” books but not really. Yes I admit that I am one of the people who went with the band wagon in reading books like “A New Earth” by Tolle which for me is very awakening and a book that I would recommend as well.

I realized quite recently that I have evolved as a reader. Books before has become a scapegoat for boredom but today I treasure reading because as cliché as it might sound you do get valuable lessons just by reading a story. I think if you contemplate on the book that you are reading you do get something valuable from it. Also I know how to be open minded in so many ways just by reading. It exposes me different values, cultures, beliefs and faiths but more than that if you pick the right book you will find not only find knowledge but wisdom as well.

When you evolve as a reader do you become more particular with books that you are reading? I think evolved readers are not bothered with book genres, authors, or titles. I think you go beyond that part and you are open to a certain point of learning.
I also learned that readers are always subjective to books that one is reading or have read. A particular book might be substantial to me but not to you. We all have personal choices even on the books that we read no doubt but at least the books that we reading can communicate with us. I hope they do, and if they don’t get another one. The book should speak to you and able to bring you to its pages because I believe that is one of the essences of reading and of books.

The message/knowledge/wisdom whatever you want to call it, that I have learned through reading is like the sea, vast, mysterious, colourful, unchartered, beautiful, serene, and so much more.
I believe I am lucky that I have the chance to read and to grow from reading. I hope it has for you as well.



M.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Two Caravans: A Book Review




I am glad that I picked up this book by Marina Lewychka entitled “Two Caravans” since I really needed a book that I don’t have to concentrate and keep track on everything. There is nothing wrong with that in fact I find it a therapy. When I just finished reading a heavy book I always balance it by reading a light one afterwards, if you know what I mean.
It is about two caravans, immigrant workers mostly Polish and Ukrainians in England to pick strawberries. But instead of picking strawberries they all ended up in a whirlwind joy ride of their life with a very heroic dog (not to forget dog since I am a dog lover myself). So what can ever happen to them and their joy ride?


Alright for my review I shall give it three out of five stars. The author certainly knows how to hook her readers right away and so you just want to read on and humour is her cup of tea. The book as I mentioned is an easy read so don’t expect too much. There is no depth to the story an advantage if you just don’t want to bother but a disadvantage if you are searching for a book with substance. Clearly not much can be learned from a joy ride except the adventure. In short if you want to read something interesting, no stress reading, read this book but if you want a “meaty” book get yourself something else. Mind you after reading the book.......made me think twice of eating chicken...no not strawberries but chicken. If you want to know why READ THIS BOOK for the author certainly took her time on how dressed and “undress” chickens are treated.
M.
Reading book in paradise- www.thecovehousepanglao.com

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Water for Elephants; A Book Review





I love the circus, who doesn’t? Though I have only been into one circus and I wont forget being in awe with all the acts, the clowns and especially the animals. When I have read reviews about this book “Water for Elephants” by Sara Gruen they were filled with praises. I did not doubt it because I know circuses are always magical and mystical and to have a novel with a circus plot seems very interesting.


Sadly the book for me became a boring circus. I don’t want to be too critical, because I know I have never been when it comes to giving book reviews. I really expected the book not only to be fascinating but I also expected to be gripping. Sadly the book is like one of the lions in the story, fierce but no teeth. One of the comments of readers pointed out that they could not put the book down and I know why after reading the whole book…..the conflict of the story is defined only when you reach half of the book like the elephant as well. So all I did was wait for the conflict to rise and since I was already half way through I decided to finish it anyway. I always expect good reads to define the conflict of the story at the first few chapters but not this book. Also the end was so mediocre I could have guessed the end of the story myself.


I will give it two and half stars. Pretty disappointing but this is my opinion it still boils down to you if you want to give it a try.
M.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Beneath A Marble Sky; A Book Review


"If Mother had been married to another, and you were only friends, and could never be lovers, would you...could you have endured?"


He shook his head. "Would a bee be content to sip water all his life, when there's nectar for him? Would a stag live in a valley, when there's a mountain he could climb? No, my sweet child, I would never have known contentedness. Indeed, I'd be much sadder than I am today".


Emperor Shah Jahan


I wantto start this book review with my favorite quote from the novel "Beneath A Marble Sky" by John Shors. A novel based on one of the most amazing man made structure the Taj Mahal. A true Monument of Love.

As I read its first pages I was swept away back into time, back into Hindustan. Where an Emperor loved his wife deeply and adored their children. Emperor Shah Jahan might have many wives and concubines but he will never share the same feeling he shared with Mumtaz Mahal (means the chosen one of the palace). She bore him children and three of them are most favored by the Emperor. Dara the Artisan, Aurangzub the Warrior and Jahanara the Princess. But is she only but a Princess? For this story does not only revolve around the building of Taj Mahal but it also revolves around the strength of a muslim Princess named Jahanara and how she remained strong for her father and mother, brothers, friends, for her country and for the man she loves who carved Taj Mahal into a "A Tear drop On The Cheek Of Time", Isa. An epic story created with great inspiration like the Taj Mahal is a story worth reading. One of my favorite reads.

It is February the month of love and I am pleased to have read an amazing book filled not only of love but of war,history and culture, nobility and family, allies and enemies, of secrets plots and spies, of voyage. A book that will keep you enthralled the whole time you are reading it. It did not dissapoint me at all. I like so many others have been enchanted by the Taj Mahal (Mahal in Filipino means Love) and when I found this book I barely put it down. Though I already know the history of the Taj Mahal, the author wrote something fascinating to breathe new life to its story. I will be waiting patiently for the movie release. For sure it will be spellbounding.

ASTOUNDING! A 5 out of 5 stars.


M.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Memory Keeper's Daughter


All of us have our own stories to tell based on our past. Stories that mold our life at present. Our present indeed has come because of our past. But what if your past is filled with so much pain, secrets, and lies....what will become of your present and ultimately your future.

The Memory Keeper's Daughter is a book based on one man's secret Dr.David Henry. A secret he tried all of his life to hide, to escape from but of what consequence. It started on a snowy night, his wife Norah was in labor. He with a trustworthy nurse Caroline delivered twins Paul and Phoebe. But Phoebe is different. Wanting to protect his family from the pain of having a child with Down's syndrome David decided to keep a lifelong secret, and lied to her wife and ultimately his son Paul that Phoebe died in delievery. Caroline who was suppose to leave poor Phoebe in an instituiton decided to keep her own secret. She took Phoebe away and raised her as her own daughter.

How will this secret mold the lives of these people. Will they ever know what happened on that cold 1964 night that a special child named Phoebe was not dead but only hidden.

I give this book a three stars out of five. The book for me doesnt have a lot of grip and suspense. Ultimately the one thing that kept me reading was that I wanted to know if both lives will emerge in the end.

That's all for now.



Enjoy your reads because I am here http://www.thecovehousepanglao.com/ !!



M.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Marriage Bureau for Rich People

I will admit that this next book review might be a little biased because I for one am interested in Indian culture and everything related to it. "The Marriage Bureau for Rich People" by Farahad Zama takes readers to Vizag,India and into the world of Indian wedding customs, matchmaking, and arranged weddings.

After a long historical read (Forever Amber) I decided to pick up an easy read. And this book was it. Our main characters are Mr.Ali who just opened a matchmaking service after retirement, one way for him to get away from boredom and his secretary Aruna who is in search for love as well. But can someoe like Aruna ever find love when Indian culture expects traditional girls like her to be wed to someone within her caste (Hindu) and to be wed to someone arranged by her parents. The Indian culture is somehow so diverse and interesting in a lot of ways that this book will keep you hooked into it. Mr.Ali gives advices to his clients as much as he gives advices to his secretary Aruna on how to find love. Whether LOVE found after being wed from the conventional arranged wedding or LOVE found before being wed, which is very liberal for Indian culture. Readers will have to find out if Aruna will marry someone for LOVE or marry someone for culture sake?


It is an interesting book. Readers will be drawn to Indian culture,religion,castes, and how the modern world and culture shape their lives as well.


I give this book a four out of five.



M.



Waves swept me away to this Paradise http://www.thecovehousepanglao.com/

Friday, January 22, 2010

Wondering.....



Is anyone really interested in reading today and reading my blog. Would love to hear from readers of my book review blog. Would love to know what you are reading. What type of books do you love? Leave me a comment.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Forever Amber; A Book Review



I started reading Forever Amber by Kathleen Winsor about 5months ago. And yes it is one of the longest read that I ever had. It is about 1,000page novel base on English History during the 17th century. So it really covers a lot of British history.


So that is the base/foundation of the book. The heroine of the novel is Amber St.Claire who was orpahned and made her way up through the ranks by English society by sleeping with or marrying richer and important men. All for sake of marrying one man Lord Carlton. It is an interesting book for me since I really wanted to know more about English histroy for one. The book itself will bring you through important English history like the Bobonic plague and The Great Fire of London. More than that the book is well written. As I always say it comes down to details. All about the details and the author exquisitely wrote detail after details. From fascinating and grand architure, to fabulously sewn gowns it was a delight to be in 17th Century London just by reading.


The book covers LOVE & OBSESSION of Amber to Lord Carlton. The problem with English society at that time is that marriage is mostly arranged so this is where the problem of the story comes. Will Amber have Lord Carlton in the end? Will her love and obsession for him gain anything?


I will give this book a 3 star out of five. Though it is beautifully written it is long and most readers wont be drawn to it. If you love history or want to know about English history then this book is for you. But let me remind readers that th end is a SHOCK!



That's all for now.



M.



Im reading my current reads in this paradise check it out http://www.thecovehousepanglao.com/