books i read because of recommendations

Do you have fellow book lovers whom you call when you need book recommendations? I asked because The Artsy Reader’s Top Ten Tuesday this week is Books I Read Because Someone Recommended Them to Me .

My answer to the question above is yes, I do have a handful! And here are the books they recommended!

Great Expectations

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens – recommended by the husband as he said this is one of the rare classics he actually liked.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid – recommended by bonu, my sister in law who is a fellow book lover!

Bread, Cement, Cactus: A Memoir of Belonging and Dislocation by Annie Zaidi

The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yōko OgawaStephen Snyder (Translator)

On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong

These books were part of a “Nameless Reading Group” I was a part of since April, founded by the brilliant writer that is Anmol. It was my first time joining a reading group and I definitely discovered new genres and writers because of them.

My Talisman: The Poetry and Life of Alexander Pushkin

My Talisman: The Poetry and Life of Alexander Pushkin by Julian Henry Lowenfeld – suggested by my Rodnoy, my brother in pen, who I have lost early this year. He introduced me to Pushkin, Baudelaire, Leonard Cohen, and more.

The Best of Ruskin Bond by Ruskin Bond

Sesher Kobita, The Last Poem by Rabindranath Tagore

Die Trying (Jack Reacher, #2) by Lee Child

Calling Sehmat by Harinder Sikka

Capping this list with four more recommendations from the husband. 🙂 Because of him, I have discovered the wisdom and eloquence of Ruskin Bond and Rabindranath Tagore.

Have you read any of these books? What are the books you read because of recommendations? Did you enjoy them? Share your thoughts and your TTT below!

10.20.2020
©2020 Rosemawrites@A Reading Writer. All Rights Reserved.
Photos via The Artsy Reader and Goodreads
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10 books with long titles

The Artsy Reader’s Top Ten Tuesday ‘s theme for the week is about October 13: Super Long Book Titles. I looked back at the books I’ve read to see if I have some on my lists. Out of the over 300 titles I was able to read, a huge 90% are titled with few words, some just one or even just two.

So I am not sure if the below novels really do have “Super Long” titles, but these are the ones which I think would fit the prompt best. 🙂 As a fan of quotes, I’ll do a bonus sharing here, too! Here we go:

1. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon

“I want my name to mean me.”

2. Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami

“The human heart is like a night bird. Silently waiting for something, and when the time comes, it flies straight toward it.”

3. The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared (The Hundred-Year-Old Man, #1) by Jonas Jonasson

“Revenge is like politics, one thing always leads to another until bad has become worse, and worse has become worst.”

4. My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry by Fredrik Backman

“Because not all monsters were monsters in the beginning. Some are monsters born of sorrow.”

5. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (Maya Angelou’s Autobiography, #1) by Maya Angelou

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”

6. Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy by Sheryl SandbergAdam M. Grant

“Let me fall if I must fall. The one I become will catch me.”

7. David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants by Malcolm Gladwell

“Giants are not what we think they are. The same qualities that appear to give them strength are often the sources of great weakness.”

8. The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World by Dalai Lama XIVDesmond TutuDouglas Carlton Abrams (Translator)

“Wherever you have friends that’s your country, and wherever you receive love, that’s your home.”

9. Finding Chika: A Little Girl, an Earthquake, and the Making of a Family by Mitch Albom

“The most precious thing you can give someone is your time, Chika, because you can never get it back. When you don’t think about getting it back, you’ve given it in love.”

10. My Talisman: The Poetry and Life of Alexander Pushkin by Julian Henry Lowenfeld

“But flaming youth in all it’s madness
Keeps nothing of its heart concealed:
It’s loves and hates, its joys and sadness,
Are babbled out and soon revealed.”

Have you read any of these books? Do you have a favorite novel with a super long title? Share your thoughts and TTT below!

10.13.2020
©2020 Rosemawrites@A Reading Writer. All Rights Reserved.
Photos via The Artsy Reader and Goodreads
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

10 books on my Fall 2020 TBR

Amidst the chaos and division happening, there is one thing I think we all can agree in. This year is challenging, physically, emotionally, spiritually, psychologically, and all the -ly’s I missed to write here.

As I try to look at the bright sides of life (to keep me sane as I near my 7th month aloneness in a foreign land as an expat), 2020 has been a productive year for my reading-self. My target was just to read 24 books and as of now, I have finished 47 books! Oh, and in case you want to know about the best reads (so far) for the year, you can find them here.

How will this year wrap-up in terms of the “reading” part of A Reading Writer? We’ll see today as this week’s The Artsy Reader’s Top Ten Tuesday is about Books On My Fall 2020 TBR (or spring if you live in the southern hemisphere).

I divided them into genres, for easier reference. 🙂

Category: Contemporary Fiction and a Re-read

The First Phone Call from Heaven

I’ve read The First Phone Call from Heaven by Mitch Albom back in 2014. Currently, I am re-reading it via virtual storytelling sessions with my husband whom I last saw earlier this year because we’re stuck away from each other. #LoveInTheTimeOfCovid, that is. I read to him almost every night, one chapter per day. It will take time but sharing moments together despite the miles is a key to keeping the love alive, I guess. 🙂

Category: Classic

Great Expectations

I have mentioned quite a lot of times that I am (forgive me) not a classic fan but Great Expectations by Charles Dickens is suggested by the husband, hence I am braving this 500+ pages novel and let’s see how it goes!

Category: Asian Writers (descent)

Aside from trying some classics this year (like Wuthering Heights), I also made a pact with myself to read more from Asian writers. The definition can be those who still live in this continent or Asian in terms of descent. I’ve read a couple this year and I am following them up with these three: The Leavers by Lisa Ko , A Place for Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza, and The Refugees by Viet Thanh Nguyen.

Category: Non-Fictions for my Writing Heart

As you may know by now, the half of “A Reading Writer” is a “poetry writer” and a corporate writer. Hence my interest towards the craft extends to my “reading”-half, too. Currently, I have The Way of the Writer: Reflections on the Art and Craft of Storytelling by Charles R. Johnson, On Writing
by Charles Bukowski and Why Poetry by Matthew Zapruder. I am excited to learn a lot from these amazing voices.

Category: Poetry

And this list will never be complete without poetry books. This time I want to celebrate the women poets! I have read Mary Oliver‘s Pulitzer-winning collection — Dream Work, and I was fascinated by how she uses concrete images, simple words, to convey deep emotions and realizations to her readers. So to cap of the list, here are Winter Hours: Prose, Prose Poems, and Poems and West Wind both by Mary Oliver.

Have you read any of these books? How do you think of each category? What books are in your TBR for the rest of 2020? Share them with your TTT!

09.22.2020
©2020 Rosemawrites@A Reading Writer. All Rights Reserved.
Photos via The Artsy Reader and Goodreads
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

10 books as Netflix shows or movies

So the title may make you think that I am a fan of novel-turned-movies or series but, a quick disclaimer, I am not.

When I was younger, I used to be a fan of Nicholas Sparks and I’ve watched all his novels’ adaptations and not a single one is better than the book version.

But The Artsy Reader’s Top Ten Tuesday this week is about “Books that Should be Adapted into Netflix Shows/Movies (submitted by Nushu @ Not A Prima Donna Girl)”. So let’s see how this will work. 🙂

 

1. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harariwhat i love most about this book is how it was able to share a lot of hardcore, historical scientific facts in an engrossing way. Would be nice to see this, somehow, in a documentary format.

2. The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto by Mitch Albom – Albom turned into a full-blown novelist on this one and I think, if the screenplay will follow the storyline of this book, it would be an epic film.

3. A Woman Is No Man by Etaf Rum – this novel is so close to reality that you can feel the characters personally. If adapted nicely, this can be a powerful movie.

A Woman Is No Man

4. These Ghosts Are Family by Maisy Card – this debut novel follows multiple perspectives and stitched their connections eloquently, which makes it a candidate for a great immigrant visual story.

These Ghosts Are Family

5. The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See – such a touching which i think can touch and educate a lot of hearts if it becomes a motion picture.

The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane

6. The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell – there are scenes in this haunting book which i felt like i am watching a movie than reading a book, so there you go!

The Family Upstairs

7. My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry by Fredrik Backman – i am huge backman fan and with this novel’s right mix of magical and realistic aspects, i believe it will be appreciated by film fans, too. (i’ve read that rights for this has bough already, so it may well be on its way!)

My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry

8. The Unwanted: A Memoir of Childhood by Kien Nguyen – memoirs have a different pull for my heart. this story is true and is cruel but is powerful.

The Unwanted: A Memoir of Childhood

9. When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi – speaking of memoir, this is one of the best ones i’ve read so far. reading its title clenches my heart, already. i’ll probably cry my eyes out if this becomes a movie.

When Breath Becomes Air

10. The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult – Picoult has a lot of movie adaptations on her sleeves and i believe this historical fiction of her should join that roster.

The Storyteller

That’s it! Share on the comments your own reads which you want to see in big (or small) screen!

08.11.2020
©2020 Rosemawrites@A Reading Writer. All Rights Reserved.
Photo via Goodreads and The Artsy Reader
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10 books i loved but never reviewed

After a quick check on my Top Ten Tuesday tab, I’ve figured my last entry was June 7, 2016 (four years ago!!!) where I shared the 10 reasons why I love reading. I cannot believe that it has been that long ago as I still vividly have the joyful memory of revisiting the books I’ve read to be able to submit my entry for the week.

Now that I think I have a lot of time (and I need a lot of distraction and source of fun to keep my mind sane), I am going back to this block to make my reading heart happy.

So, after almost 300 books, here are the ten books I loved but never reviewed (some intentionally, some just because I’m pure lazy).

1. Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom (The book that changed and will continue to change my life.)
Tuesdays with Morrie

2. Para Kay B (o kung paano dinevastate ng pag-ibig ang 4 out of 5 sa atin) by Ricky Lee (The Filipino writer I look up to.)

3. A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman (A book that can make you giggle and cry in the gentlest way and with the simplest words possible.)

I’ve shared five quotes I loved from this book here: LINK

4. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (Craziest and most unforgettable somehow-whodunnit I’ve ever read.)

Gone Girl

5. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell (The best YA I’ve ever read. Tender and odd and warm for the heart.)

6. Gitanjali by Rabindranath Tagore (Perfect read to get introduced to the epic writers of India. Exquisite poems await those whose willing to travel through time with this book.)

7. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari (Never thought a heavy science non-fiction book can be this engrossing.)

8. Maya Angelou: The Complete Poetry by Maya Angelou (Her words prove that she is a phenomenal woman, through and through.)


9. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (ONE. OF. THE. BEST. BOOK. ONE. CAN. EVER. READ!!!)

10. The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto by Mitch Albom (My love for this story goes beyond my love for Albom. This book’s twists and turns had me staring at the ceiling for a minute or two, letting what happened sink in. It’s a pure, poignant story.)

Want a sneak peek of this book? You can see my 10 beloved quotes from this book here: LINK.

08.11.2020
©2020 Rosemawrites@A Reading Writer. All Rights Reserved.
Photo via Unsplash
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

In response to That Artsy Ready Girl’s Top Ten Tuesday today:

August 11: Books I Loved but Never Reviewed

The Entertainer Book Tag

(Note: This tag is stolen from my dearie Jade. I am guilty beyond reasonable doubt; I am willing to pay the price of this crime. ^___^ )

It’s a Monday morning and my work email is (surprisingly) quiet and empty. Perhaps like a little street in a province at 12:30 AM. So I decided to tag myself on The Entertainer Book Tag which I enjoyed reading in my dearie’s blog! (If you want eloquent and emotive poetry, funny and heartfelt and sometimes grim fan fiction and fiction, you better follow her! Come on! Do it noooow! 😀 )

It has been forever since I wrote for a tag and about books, which is a pity! So here I am! Answering these five bookish questions! Let’s goooo!

1.) Your favorite form of reading (ebook, audiobook, etc.)?

Image result for librocubicularist gif

I’m definitely a librocubicularist. I prefer my bed soft, my coffee hot, and my book printed! (Although majority of my read books are via ebook because I got no book budget before. Please forgive me, books. -_- )

2.) If you could trade places with any other MC in their fictional world facing the same problems as them, who would you trade places with?

(Another confession: I googled MC because, seriously, what is MC? I feel so old. HAHA. For those who are so uninformed like me, it means Main Character. *facepalm* )

I think I would choose to be Annie of The Next Person You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom . I have yet to read this book (courtesy of my dearie Jade!!! ❤ ) but I know Annie is the little child Eddie saved in The Five People You Meet in Heaven .

Image result for the next person you meet in heaven

I am excited to know what happened to her; I am sure she will be someone I can relate with because Mitch has that talent–creating characters that will resound to me. ❤

3.) Favorite Movie?

Geez. I am not a movie person but I really love Anne Hathaway’s Princess Diaries!

Image result for princess diary movie gif

I can’t remember today if this preference has been updated. So please, don’t judge! 😁

4.) What do you wish you could see more of in books?

I want to see more realistic, odd but inspiring and touching characters. Like Alice of Still Alice by Lisa Genova and Ove of A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman. 🙂 These books are truthful, funny, and inspiring without bending with common novel cliches. 🙂

5.) Favorite first line from a book?

“When I was three and Bailey four, we had arrived in the musty little town, wearing tags on our wrists which instructed – ‘To Whom It May Concern’ – that we were Marguerite and Bailey Johnson Jr., from Long Beach, California, en route to Stamps, Arkansas, c/o Mrs. Annie Henderson.” – Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

That’s it, friends and poets! You can (also) steal this tag with my consent! 😀 Cheers!

©2018 Rosemawrites@A Reading Writer. All Rights Reserved.
Photo via Unsplash, Google, Goodreads

5 Quotes Why I Love A Man Called Ove

A Man Called Ove

A 59-year old widower. Grumpy. Trying and failing to kill himself, many times. Here’s an odd, funny, yet utterly moving story.

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

Rating: ❤❤❤❤

The first novel by the Swedish author Fredrik Backman, A Man Called Ove is a balance between heart wrenching and thought provoking lines as well as chuckle-inducing dialogues.

Backman has successfully created an old character who’s relatable to all ages. He eloquently presented Ove as the sad and odd man that he is, yet he successfully and ever so gently laid down his main character’s back story. His love. His grief. The reason why a man called Ove is the man called Ove.

Here are five (05) of my (many) favorite lines from this worth-reading novel.

  1. “He was a man of black and white. And she was color. All the color he had.”

  2. “One of the most painful moments in a person’s life probably comes with the insight that an age has been reached when there is more to look back on than ahead. And when time no longer lies ahead of one, other things have to be lived for. memories, perhaps.”
  3. “But sorrow is unreliable in that way. When people don’t share it there’s a good chance that it will drive them apart instead.”

  4. “All people at root are time optimists. We always think there’s enough time to do things with other people. Time to say things to them. And then something happens and then we stand there holding on to words like ‘if’.”
  5. “It is difficult to admit that one is wrong. Particularly when one has ben wrong for a very long time.”

  6. “Loving someone is like moving into a house,” Sonja used to say. “At first you fall in love with all the new things, amazed every morning that all this belongs to you, as if fearing that someone would suddenly come rushing in through the door to explain that a terrible mistake had been made, you weren’t actually supposed to live in a wonderful place like this. Then over the years the walls become weathered, the wood splinters here and there, and you start to love that house not so much because of all its perfection, but rather for its imperfections. You get to know all the nooks and crannies. How to avoid getting the key caught in the lock when it’s cold outside. Which of the floorboards flex slightly when one steps on them or exactly how to open the wardrobe doors without them creaking. These are the little secrets that make it your home.”

©2018 Rosemawrites@A Reading Writer. All Rights Reserved.
Photos via Goodreads and Unsplash

Book Review: When Breath Becomes Air

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
Rating: ❤❤❤❤

What is it about: At the age of thirty-six, on the verge of completing a decade’s worth of training as a neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. One day he was a doctor treating the dying, and the next he was a patient struggling to live. And just like that, the future he and his wife had imagined evaporated. When Breath Becomes Air chronicles Kalanithi’s transformation from a naïve medical student “possessed,” as he wrote, “by the question of what, given that all organisms die, makes a virtuous and meaningful life” into a neurosurgeon at Stanford working in the brain, the most critical place for human identity, and finally into a patient and new father confronting his own mortality. 

What makes life worth living in the face of death? What do you do when the future, no longer a ladder toward your goals in life, flattens out into a perpetual present? What does it mean to have a child, to nurture a new life as another fades away? These are some of the questions Kalanithi wrestles with in this profoundly moving, exquisitely observed memoir. 

Paul Kalanithi died in March 2015, while working on this book, yet his words live on as a guide and a gift to us all. “I began to realize that coming face to face with my own mortality, in a sense, had changed nothing and everything,” he wrote. “Seven words from Samuel Beckett began to repeat in my head: ‘I can’t go on. I’ll go on.'” When Breath Becomes Air is an unforgettable, life-affirming reflection on the challenge of facing death and on the relationship between doctor and patient, from a brilliant writer who became both.

What I Love: Die with dignity.

It’s the clarion call of Paul Kalanithi’s words carried in his posthumously published book, When Breath Becomes Air.

I ended up sobbing, with eyes swollen but it is a worth it less-than 200-page journey.

Travelling inside the mind and heart and soul of a dying doctor, who had always searched for life’s meaning is enlightening and moving.

Reading about death has always woke up the mortal in me. This is maybe why I am so fond of Mitch Albom’s books. Books about dying breathe life back to my purpose. My life’s meaning.

Why am I here?
What am I doing?
What makes life worth living?

What I Don’t Love Much: While the ending made me cry, it’s moving. So I have nothing to not like about this book.

Wise Words:

“I can’t go on. I’ll go on.” 

“You can’t ever reach perfection, but you can believe in an asymptote toward which you are ceaselessly striving.” 

“Life wasn’t about avoiding suffering.” 

“Human knowledge is never contained in one person. It grows from the relationships we create between each other and the world, and still it is never complete.” 

“The main message of Jesus, I believed, is that mercy trumps justice every time.”

©2018 Rosemawrites@A Reading Writer. All Rights Reserved.
Photos and Story Summary: Goodreads and Unsplash

 

 

ANNOUNCEMENT: Between My Bleeding Lines (Extended Edition)

Yes, you read that right. Between My Bleeding Lines Extended Edition will be up for pre-order soon. 🙂 YAY!

The Rule of Eleven (aka The Blue Sky Tag) Part 2

After answering the 11 witty questions via The Rule of Eleven (aka The Blue Sky Tag) from Jade her blog, my dear NJ joined in the fun and answered my questions! 😀 And to keep the getting-to-know-you posts, I will answer NJ’s questions too!

So…

Image result for let's begin gif

  1. What is your name and the name of your blog? Why did you choose it as your blog name?

I am Rosemarie Gonzales of A Reading Writer. My author name is R.C. Gonzales. My friends here fondly call me Rosey or Rosema or Rosemarie. (any will do :D)

A Reading Writer is a result of a random thought that struck me when I was thinking of a blog name. I do not want to try hard, thus, I resort to a simple phrase that constitutes my prominent interests, reading and writing.

It should have been A Reading Writer Who Sings, because I am a singer as well, but I thought that would be too long. I choose the article ‘A’ instead of the ‘The’ as I am not a ‘The’ yet. 😀

  1. What, according to you, is your best quality? Why is it so?

For me…. *thinking*… I think it will be my being kind? I always get the comment that I am sweet but for me, I am just kind. There are too much hate and sadness on earth so I want to stay kind as much as possible. 🙂

  1. Choose a movie that describes you and tell us how?

Tough question. HAHA. Hmm… I would pick Still Alice. It is an empowering story about a woman with Alzheimer’s and the main message is to make each moment count. And that is what I am trying to do. 🙂 (P.S. This is based on a novel by Lisa Genova and it is a great read, guys! :))

  1. What’s your favourite dessert? And why?

Cheesecake!!!! Because I looove cheese and I loooove cakes and when you combine them we’ll get, tadah! Cheesecake! 😀

Image result for cheesecake gif

  1. Are you a forest or a beach person? What is it about your choice that you like?

Beach! There is something calming about the cerulean sky and the deep sea. The way the waves hugs the shore. The way the birds sing. The way the sun sets as if it is being eaten by the sea…. (there. :D)

Image result for beach gif tumblr

  1. If you were born as a tree, which tree would you pick? And why?

I want to be a wisteria because it bloooooooms and ages beautifully. ❤

Image result for wisteria tree

  1. If today was your last day, name one person you’d like to say something to? What would you tell him/her?

I would like to say I love you and thank you to my parents. 🙂

  1. Which is your favourite childhood game?

It would be………….. scrabble! 😀

  1. If you could be an inanimate object, which would you pick? And why?

I want to be a pen! Because it’s a weapon that cannot kill but can breathe life back!

  1. What is your favourite mode of travel?

Buses! It is where I do most of my writings. 🙂 (I wrote about it here.) 🙂

  1. Who is your 3AM person? And why?

For now it is myself. But someday, *with dreamy eyes* I hope to share my 3AMs and beyond while ceaselessly sharing thoughts and banters with that someone. (Where are you? I’m waiting…)

Image result for dreamy waiting gif

That’s all for now.

Please participate if you want. 😉

Note: Photo and gifs are not mine. 😉