December 2008


Halloooo!!!  I’ve been away from my blog for almost a month—way too long for me and for most of my blog viewers.  I’ve been on vacation and I still am, in modern, stylish Dubai.

In between shishas, sightseeing, partying, and foot-sore but heavenly shopping, I’ve been trying to finish Philippa Gregory’s The Boleyn Inheritance, mainly  for my new blog comrade,Verbivore, who had mentioned waiting for a review on this novel.  But I’ve progressed to only three-fourths of the book so my goal of writing a review before the year ends is hopelessly gone.  So regretfully, no reviews ’til I get home sometime in January.

Just dropped by, however, to greet my blog readers A VERY HAPPY, EXCITING NEW YEAR!!!


Cheers! May 2009 be a year of great literary encounters and for the gifted few,  a crack at that first novel.

The late months of 2008 have been very good for my three-month old blog.  I’ve never expected to get pretty good traffic.  To all of you, thanks a lot! You all make this little hobby quite worthwhile.






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Author : Mitch Albom

Release Date : July 24, 2003

Publisher: Time Warner Paperbacks

Paperback: 212 pages

ISBN-10: 0751529818

ISBN-13: 978-0751529814

“Have you ever really had a teacher? One who saw you as a raw but precious thing, a jewel that, with wisdom, could be polished to a proud shine? If you are lucky enough to find your way to such teachers, you will always find your way back…

The last class of my old professor’s life took place once a week, in his home, by a window in his study…The class met on Tuesdays. No books were required. The subject was the meaning of life. It was taught from experience.”

Mitch Albom writes his true story of his last lessons with his old college professor.

Morrie Schwartz was Albom’s favorite mentor who influenced him and guided him in his younger years. After a graduation promise to keep in touch, Mitch loses contact with him through the intervening years following college in which he worked to become a successful sports writer. One day, he learns that his old professor is dying from ALS, and grabs this second chance to see Morrie again. For this, Mitch gets the privilege of being Morrie’s student once more, a sole participant in the last classes for a course on the meaning of life. Every Tuesday, Mitch visits with Morrie who shares his views about our existence. He tackles death, fear, aging, greed, marriage, family, society, forgiveness, and purpose in life.

In one instance, Morrie says,

“Mitch, it is impossible for the old not to envy the young but the issue is to accept who you are and revel in that…You have to find what’s good and true and beautiful in your life as it is now. Looking back makes you competitive, and age is not a competitive issue. The truth is, part of me is every age. I am a three-year-old, I’m a five-year-old, I’m a thirty-seven-year-old, I’m a fifty-year-old. I’ve been through all of them and I know what it’s like. I delight in being a child when it’s appropriate in being a child. I delight in being a wise old man when it’s appropriate to be a wise old man. Think of all I can be! I am every age, up to my own…

How can I be envious of where you are when I’ve been there myself?”

Albom’s books are short reads but heavy with insights. Morrie’s lessons shift our paradigms so we get to look at things with new attitudes. The lessons are universal so I think people of different faiths may be able to relate to the truths Morrie was very clear about.

Indeed, this book is another inspirational gem by Albom. I laughed and cried with the professor’s lessons that really pare life down to its essentials. Another treasured addition to my bookshelf.

My Mark : Excellent

 

Author : Gabriel Garcia Marquez

 

First Release Date : March 12, 1988

Publisher : Alfred A. Knopf; 1st edition

Paperback Release Date : October 30, 2007

Publisher: Vintage Books

ISBN-10: 0307387143

ISBN-13: 978-0307387141

Pages : 368 pages

 

 

 

As you start reading through the first few pages, you know you are in the hands of a master writer. This is a beautiful old-fashioned love story, the kind with a rare level of passion, perhaps almost incomprehensible to today’s egocentric driven modern culture.

 

It is a story of a love that spans almost a lifetime in the strange but persevering character of Florentino Ariza, who as a youth, is struck by love when he spies the enigmatic Fermina Daza. He woos her, wins her for a time, but as fate and youthful caprice would have it, loses to her to a marriage with a more worldly and accomplished Dr. Juvenal Urbino. Despite his personal devastation, Florentino continues to love Fermina with a constant yearning for 51 years and through 622 affairs, which teaches him that there is not just one way to love nor only one person you can love; but there can only be that one true love. Florentino Ariza’s incredible depth for passion and obsession drives him to live for this woman and experience a love that endures the test of time.

 

But the story is not just all about Florentino Ariza’s invariable fervor, which is central to the plot. There is also the sub-story of Fermina’s and her husband, Juvenal Urbino’s love that started out simply as affection and which, through the years of marriage, grew as deep as in any blessed union.

 

There are many other little “loves” in this book that makes for a very romantic epic but one refreshingly devoid of mush. It owes its flavor to Marquez’s formal lyrical style which charms the reader to breathe in his moving, romantic prose. This is the type of book that you may want to go back to, after a while — for a little paragraph here and there, just to find the pleasure once more of absorbing exquisite phraseologies, the style of which I find quite unique to the author.

 

 

For incurable romantics, this is a perfect book for the heart. This is the stuff of nobility, where love is tenacious and its hope, eternal. I have yet to read a romantic masterpiece that can rival this one. It is written with such rich language and with such powerful evocative feelings that you will have missed something if you haven’t yet picked up this book. It’s just beautiful, beautiful, beautiful!

 

 

My Mark : Excellent

 

Note: I just wanted to point out that personally,  I found the affair between a minor and an aged Florentino quite disturbing and offending.  This is  the only part I wish the author did not let his character stoop to.  But perhaps, he wanted Florentino to have tried all sorts of love —  even those that have no prejudice toward age. This, however, does not change my overall opinion of the book which is to say, that this book is a GEM!