Monday, May 28, 2012

Where the Heart Is by Billie Letts

"Where the Heart Is" is a book encompassing friendship, love and family and how each one proves its significance in a person's life. The story begins with the introduction of Novalee Nation, a true believer of superstitions;unlucky sevens to be particular. She's only 17 years old carrying a seven month old baby in her womb heading to California with Willy Jack, her boyfriend (and I thought I'd only see a case of teenage pregnancy on MTV).  Due to someone's inconsideration and selfishness, Novalee finds herself stranded at a Wal-Mart in Sequoyah, Oklahoma. Novalee, only having $7.77 in her pocket, faces a seemingly troublesome life that is pending to unfold before her and her baby. Yeah, I know. Seventh month old baby, 17 years old, $7.77, talk about unlucky sevens. Anyway, as she builds a temporary home in a Wal-mart, she encounters these incredible people willing to give her a hand to forget the past, start a new life and learn new things with the person closest to her heart, her baby.

As a book lover, as much as possible I open my horizons to various types of books simply because I get bored when I stick my face on one book genre. Moreover, books of the same genre get predictable for some reason. I used to read books written only by Nicholas Sparks and after finishing a couple of his works, I got a little bit uninterested due to the fact that every book of Sparks that I own seem to revolve around love and its bitter-sweetness. Upon realizing that, I found out that I am man in pursuit of variety in terms of book types.

Going back to Billie Letts' masterpiece, this book has taken me to an emotional roller-coaster ride for it does not tackle only one aspect of a person's life but it also deals with the importance of family and friendship. As embarrassing as it may sound, I should say that this is one of the few books that made me teary-eyed. It's filled with dramatic scenes that get more intense as you go through the motions of every character in the story. Lastly, I like the way the story runs from the very beginning to the end. There's no boring segment in it which some books unfortunately have. If you like to find out the moving, funny and unforgettable journey of the 17 year old Novalee Nation then give this a try. 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Taking a look back

The unrelenting downpour of rain drops from the dusky firmament disturbed the seemingly irrepressible cycle of eerie pictures playing in my sleep. Wishing to be stuck in a blissful dream once barged in my head but logically, hoping so is like wishing for death and I've never intentionally wanted that in my 20 years of living.

Anyway, when all my thoughts scurried a place in my mind, I effortlessly pursued for my phone and by effortlessly I mean not moving a single muscle but my right hand. My phone usually ends up under my pillow after being placed on the side of my bed at night. When I got a hold of it, I lifted my head with such effort to check the time and I saw that it was six in the morning. I let go of my phone, dropped my head on my bed and I was ready for a few more hours of sleep. 

Somehow, I knew what await me today. Having that prediction tied up around my head might  have sucked all the energy from my body. It would probably explain the incessant craving for more sleep and the laziness to get up from bed. I knew that I had to go through the same old motions of the day. I was aware that there were dirty dishes in the sink again, the puppies were as filthy as a pig and my room needs tidying. 

I am stuck in a spiral of mediocrity and the repetitive role that I have to play every day is slowly burying me in the ground of unhappiness and depression.

However, despite the apparent dullness gradually creeping from all sides of my life, I am convinced that nothing is permanent in this world and in a sudden spin of fate, things will definitely change, somehow.

In a few weeks from now, a new semester will kick in. New people to meet and new things to learn. I'll probably be so busy I may wish for a month of doing nothing. So I guess, I'll try as hard as I can to enjoy the remaining weeks of summer vacation and possibly learn to cease any unnecessary grumbling about insignificant stuff.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin

Give yourself a minute to take a look around. Take a sight not just at what your eyes can reach but at how far your imagination can go. Imagine the places on the other side of the world. See what's making people busy. Are they happy or are they sad? Tell me, what do you see? For some people, it only takes awareness before they realize that there's something that must be done. Others have to be pushed until they realize the importance of their initiative to make a change.

For Greg Mortenson, it didn't take days or weeks or years before he knew that action must be taken when he found himself in a spiral of problematic chaos in Pakistan and Afghanistan. The apparent hopelessness of people presented itself right before Greg's eyes. In the process of getting to know the villages he stumbled upon and its inhabitants, what really caught his attention and what broke his heart into pieces was the suffering of the educational system and institutions of the people there.

He knew right then and there that a lot of children were more than willing to get an education but their dreams of getting a degree was gradually being crushed by seemingly unavoidable societal issues. He didn't waste a second before he formulated his plan to build schools for the young generation. He didn't waste a second to shower hope upon these people even if that meant risking his life for them. He didn't waste a second to set his personal life aside and put his mission as his top priority. His mission to promote peace and build a better future for the children.

Upon reading this book, I wasn't that much concerned on how the remarkable story of Greg Mortenson will be narrated for as long as the message of hope will come across as clear as the blue sky because I think that's the sole of purpose of having printed the book in the first place. And that is to inspire and give hope especially to those people who think world problems can never be solved anymore. However, I have to say that David Oliver Relin did a very good job in writing Greg's uplifting story. He did write about Greg's life very well which helped me grasped the meaning of Greg's life and the path that he decided to take.

When I got to the ending, the story of Greg Mortenson convinced me more that there is still hope for us despite the persistent predicaments unfolding from left to right. I feel re-energized knowing that there are people out there on the move, doing what they believe is right.

Based on "Three Cups of Tea",  it takes full awareness of the problem backed up by sincere continual action to make a change. 

Haven't read the book yet??? I suggest you give it a try.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

A Crappy Reality

A few weeks before the summer season stepped into the country, I already visualized how my summer experience would exactly turn out. The final picture wasn't as exciting and fun as I wanted it to be though. I guess that was what being realistic is all about and sometimes reality is nothing but a piece of crap.


There I am, lying on a white satiny sand with a cold mango smoothie in my hand. My sleeveless shirt with a shark printed on it that says "Bite Me" matches my board shorts with bright colors, probably shouting "It's Summertime!". While the sea breeze gently massages my skin, burger patties are on the grill, releasing a mouth-watering aroma that tickles the hungry. The symphony of the ocean water created through its irrepressible brush against the sand couldn't sound any better.  I took a sip of my ice cold smoothie whilst I slowly close my eyes to enjoy every second of this one in a million moment in my life.


There I am, lying on my not so velvety bed with a flowery bed sheet (mother's choice) that is slightly messed up caused by my relentless pursuit for a comfortable napping position. My sleeveless shirt with a fading print on it matches my shorts with a pale shade of blue, probably shouting "I'm Bored!". While a gust from nowhere abruptly disturbs the stillness of my room's window curtains, I am profusely sweating making me feel sticky. The symphony of cars and tricycles that my ears tried to ignore couldn't be more annoying. I took a glass of ice cold water whilst I slowly close my eyes and sincerely pray for a miracle. 


That's why reality sometimes is as crappy as a dog poop. It usually goes against what you really prefer.

Anyway, I may not have had fun this summer season but I am really looking forward to the new semester. I can't wait to meet new people, study new subjects and be a busy hardworking student again. But for now, I'm going to try to relish the remaining weeks of summertime and hopefully do something fun and memorable before the first semester kicks in.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

What I Saw and How I Lied by Judy Blundell

Most of us believe that the truth will set us free, but what if speaking the truth will put the people we love in jeopardy, will we still think of our own freedom? 

It was this question that haunted Evie, the main character in this novel, when she got into a situation where she was torn between doing the right thing and protecting the most important people in her life. The supposed fun vacation in Palm Beach, courtesy of her father Joe, turned her life into a movie, playing a series of unfortunate circumstances right before her eyes. When she thought Peter Coleridge, who used to work for Joe, would be the love of her life turned out to be holding a very dark secret that could break her family apart. The exchange of every event in Evie's life breathed confusion, realization and somehow, the truth.

This mystery novel was written by Judy Blundell who is known to write books for middle grade, young adult and adult readers. You may be familiar with her other masterpieces, Premonitions and The 39 Clues.

First of all, I must say how much I love this novel. One of the many reasons is the fact that the author was able to fill a 280 page novel with a very effective mystery. The perfect mystery that can cause you an incessant longing for answers. As a matter of fact, I found myself hanging with so many questions chapter after chapter which I like in a typical mystery book. Every character connected with the conflicts that arose seemed to have been hiding something which I personally believed would clear Evie's confusion with what's going on around her.

The way Judy Blundell described every character, every place and every scene in the book definitely created a blockbuster movie in my mind. 

The characters are given enough spotlight for me to figure out their significance in the story and their respective descriptions made it possible for me to draw a visual illustration of what I think they look like. I also like it when there's not too many characters in a novel because I only get stuck in a spiral of confusion if so, making me lose my interest of reading another word in the book. "What I Saw and How I Lied" has a perfect number of characters to create a very strong story foundation.

The selected places in the novel seemed to have been taken from real life making the whole point of the book realistic. Every scene that took place are well-written I could actually feel every emotion that it conveys.

In a nutshell, I like this book so much I recommend you guys reading it if you haven't read this book yet.