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.
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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
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10 book quotes from my recent reads

I missed last week of  The Artsy Reader’s Top Ten Tuesday so here I am catching up. 🙂 Given that I do not have much to share about books with fall covers, please allow me to post about: Favorite Book Quotes (these could be quotes from books you love, or bookish quotes in general).

Suppose permission is granted, here are the lines that moved my heart from my most recent reads. 🙂

1. “Heaven knows we need never be ashamed of our tears, for they are rain upon the blinding dust of earth, overlying our hard hearts.” ― Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

2. “Remember: the quality of the answers we get in this life is based on the quality of the questions we ask.” ―  Charles R. Johnson, The Way of the Writer: Reflections on the Art and Craft of Storytelling

Not Here

3. “No one wants to be alive when they’re forgotten.” ― Hieu Minh Nguyen, Not Here

4. “If you want to know why people sacrifice everything for love, you have to start by asking how they fell in love.” ― Stephen Westaby, Fragile Lives: A Heart Surgeon’s Stories of Life and Death on the Operating Table

5. “You have to have a home first to be uprooted from it. You have to know what love is to feel alone.” ― Etaf Rum, A Woman is No Man

Things My Son Needs to Know about the World

6. “Life is all about small margins. A few inches here and there.” ― Fredrik Backman, Things My Son Needs to Know About the World

7. “Every time you sat down to create something your soul was at stake. Every page—indeed, every paragraph—had been a risk. Every sentence had been a prayer.” ― Charles R. Johnson, Night Hawks: Stories

Sea Prayer

8. “You know a bomb crater
can be made into a swimming hole.

You have learned
dark blood is better news
than bright.”
― Khaled Hosseini, Sea Prayer

9. “What is pertinent is the calmness of beauty, its sense of restraint. It is as though the land knows of its own beauty, its own greatness, and feels no need to shout it.” ― Kazuo Ishiguro, The Remains of the Day

Children of the Land

10. I thought about what I had lost, what I continued to lose, and I realized it was the same thing we had been losing for centuries, the ability to say “enough.” ― Marcelo Hernandez Castillo, Children of the Land

What are your favorite book quotes? Share them below with your TTT, too!

10.06.2020
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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
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top 10 book covers i love (with quotes!)

Are you guilty of judging the book by its cover? I have to admit sometimes I do that! I asked because the The Artsy Reader’s Top Ten Tuesday today is a Cover Freebie (choose your own topic, centered on book covers or cover art).

Instead of just sharing the 10 covers I adore the most, all of them I have read once or more, I also want to share today some verses from each book to give you a sneak peek of the world inside their lovely skins.

1. The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom

The Five People You Meet in Heaven

Life has to end. Love doesn’t.

2. Manuscript Found in Accra by Paulo Coelho

Manuscript Found in Accra

Only he who gives up is defeated. Everyone else is victorious.

3. The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

The Rosie Project (Don Tillman, #1)

Our first relationship with a male is with our fathers. It affects how we relate to men forever.

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

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

I think prime numbers are like life. They are very logical but you could never work out the rules, even if you spent all your time thinking about them.”

5. Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult

Leaving Time

I think grief is like a really ugly couch. It never goes away. You can decorate around it; you can slap a doily on top of it; you can push it to the corner of the room—but eventually, you learn to live with it.

6. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

The Lovely Bones

Because horror on Earth is real and it is every day. It is like a flower or like the sun; it cannot be contained.

7. The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto by Mitch Albom

The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto

“All humans are musical. Why else would the Lord give you a beating heart?”

8. All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

All the Bright Places

“The thing I realize is, that it’s not what you take, it’s what you leave.”

9. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Eleanor & Park

Eleanor was right. She never looked nice. She looked like art, and art wasn’t supposed to look nice; it was supposed to make you feel something.

10. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Gone Girl

My mother had always told her kids: if you’re about to do something, and you want to know if it’s a bad idea, imagine seeing it printed in the paper for all the world to see.

Share the book covers you love below and your TTT, too!

09.15.2020
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10 books for my younger self

It is Tuesday and it is the time of the week again — The Artsy Reader’s Top Ten Tuesday !

The topic for the 8th of September is: Books for My Younger Self (These could be books you wish you had read as a child, books younger you could have really learned something from, books that meshed with your hobbies/interests, books that could have helped you go through events/changes in your life, etc.).

This means it’s time to dig into my Goodreads again and find the reads which I think my younger-self could learn a lot from. Here we go…

Books 1-5: Reads which could have taught me a lot about poetry

Dream Work by Mary Oliver; Helium by Rudy Francisco; Anna Akhmatovaby Anna Akhmatova; And Still I Rise by Maya Angelou; The Captain’s Verses by Pablo Neruda 

As the name of the blog suggests, I am a reading writer. I used to read for leisure, and write professionally at my work. Come 2015, after a virtual poetry workshop here on WordPress, I have rekindled my love for writing poems.

Since then there was no turning back. After two poetry collections which can be found here: https://areadingwritr.wordpress.com/portfolio/published-work/, I still have a lot to learn about the world of rhymes, rhythms, and lyrical verses. And the books above helped me with that, and it would have been lovely if my younger-self was exposed with these books as well.

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind

Book 6: Lessons about human history

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari

When Breath Becomes Air

Book 7: Lessons about mortality, fairness of life, living every moment

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

Gitanjali

Book 8: Lessons about the world outside my country, life and love beyond what I knew when I was young, and the power of words when weaved right

Gitanjali by Rabindranath Tagore

Between Shades of Gray

Book 9: Lessons about the strength of a human heart, finding hope during one of the darkest chapters of history

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

All the Bright Places

Book 10: Lessons about the joy and pain of young love

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

What are the books which you would suggest to your younger-self?

Share them below, along with your TTT, too!

09.08.2020
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Questions for my favorite authors

Among the several authors I admire, I have two who have never failed to stir something inside me whenever I read their work. They are Mitch Albom, author of Tuesdays with Morrie, and Maya Angelou, the poetess and writer behind I Know Why the Caged Birds Sings.

The Artsy Reader’s Top Ten Tuesday this week allows us to ask questions to our favorite authors, either still here with us or not, so below are mine.

  1. Why do you or did you write?
  2. What time of the day do you usually write?
  3. Agatha Christie munched on apples while bathing to have plot ideas, do you have a way to call for your “muse”?
  4. Have you encountered writer’s block? How did you overcome it?
  5. Who among the characters you’ve written do you see yourself the most?
  6. What is the first novel or poem you’ve read?
  7. Who are your writing influences?
  8. What makes a powerful read?
  9. What is the most important lesson that you want to impart to your readers?
  10. How can a writer affect their readers as well as you do?

That would be all. Looking forward to reading your TTTs, too!

08.23.2020
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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
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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
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In response to That Artsy Ready Girl’s Top Ten Tuesday today:

August 11: Books I Loved but Never Reviewed

6 Lessons I Learned from Little Fighter, Chika Jeune (perhaps a book review)

41UhSvXGagL._SX343_BO1,204,203,200_

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

Chika Jeune was born three days before the devastating earthquake that decimated Haiti in 2010. She spent her infancy in a landscape of extreme poverty, and when her mother died giving birth to a baby brother, Chika was brought to The Have Faith Haiti Orphanage that Albom operates in Port Au Prince.

With no children of their own, the forty-plus children who live, play, and go to school at the orphanage have become family to Mitch and his wife, Janine. Chika’s arrival makes a quick impression. Brave and self-assured, even as a three-year-old, she delights the other kids and teachers. But at age five, Chika is suddenly diagnosed with something a doctor there says, “No one in Haiti can help you with.”

Mitch and Janine bring Chika to Detroit, hopeful that American medical care can soon return her to her homeland. Instead, Chika becomes a permanent part of their household, and their lives, as they embark on a two-year, around-the-world journey to find a cure. As Chika’s boundless optimism and humor teach Mitch the joys of caring for a child, he learns that a relationship built on love, no matter what blows it takes, can never be lost.

Told in hindsight, and through illuminating conversations with Chika herself, this is Albom at his most poignant and vulnerable. Finding Chika is a celebration of a girl, her adoptive guardians, and the incredible bond they formed—a devastatingly beautiful portrait of what it means to be a family, regardless of how it is made.

Whenever I was asked about the book that has changed my life, my answer has always been Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom. It will be followed by the story of how I have read it twice when I was 20 and jobless for almost a year despite my medals, and when I was 25 and drowning in the river called a quarter-life crisis. Both times I have discovered lessons and have found strength on Morrie and Albom’s wisdom.

Fast forward to 2019, after reading all his books in between, Mitch has announced his latest one — Finding Chika. It was launched November last year, but I did not buy it until my husband gave it to me as a surprise gift for his birthday last December. (Yes, it was his birthday and he gave me the gift. HAHA).

Almost a month after I first held this purple-coloured paperback, I found the courage to open it and finally read the story of Chika.

chika_princess_dress

(Photo from https://www.mitchalbom.com/)

I know how special Chika is for Mitch Albom as I follow him on social media (being the fangirl that I am). I have also read about this little girl’s courage and bravery fighting a cruel tumour inside her young brain. Knowing these made me doubt if my heart is ready to read the inside story of their little family. But before Chika’s birthday, which is today January 9, I finally opened its pages and allowed myself to laugh, melt, learn, and weep, for them and with them.

Instead of reviewing the book, how it was written, how the story unfolded, what language was used, I choose to share the six life lessons I have learned from Mitch’s raw and honest anecdote of him, of Chika, and of their family with Janine. I believe they will move you and stir something inside you just like how they did to me.

Before that, if you may, please purchase a copy of the book as proceeds will be for the Have Faith Haiti Mission.

Here are the six lessons from the story of the birthday girl, the little fighter, Chika:

Lesson #1: There are many kinds of selfishness in this world, but the most selfish is hoarding time, because none of us know how much we have, and it is an affront to God to assume there will be more.

Lesson #2: The most precious thing you can give someone is time, Chika, because you can never get it back. When you don’t think about getting it back, you’ve given it in love.

Lesson #3: Everything in this world is music if you can hear it.

Lesson #4: One of the best things a child can do for an adult is to draw them down, closer to the ground, for clearer reception to the voices of the earth.

Lesson #5: There is no affliction like hopelessness. I believe it is worse than anything that strikes the flesh.

Lesson #6: What we carry defines who we are. And the effort we make is our legacy.

Happy birthday, dear Chika. I may not have known you but your story have touched and inspired me. I am sure you will never ever be forgotten. ❤