Reading again

I am hoping I am well on my way to starting on my 6-book quota for the year.  It’s July (yes!) and almost August (!!) and I have made a promise to myself I WILL do the 6 books AT LEAST.  (Ambitious, I know..)  It’s not for a lack of books to read.  It doesn’t help that I have the books in my Kindle which I’ve barely opened in the last couple of months.  I also received some books from cousins and friends from the last visit to Manila.

And while the hardbound books I so love are such a load impinging on my 100-lb baggage allowance for the trip home, I also managed to get Armida Siguion-Reyna’s book.  I had to seriously debate with myself about getting Enrile’s tome.. but I managed to get that somehow in the last couple of weeks, straight from National Book Store.  I know, my politics are showing here, but I am always in for a good read.  I am hoping that these two will be part of my 6 for the year.

I had gone to Barnes & Noble last weekend to get some books requested by my nephew and my niece, and the one requested by Audrey, A Work in Progress: A Memoir by Connor Franta was being offered on a “Buy-2-get-the-3rd-free” table so I had to make a decision on which other two books I was getting.

After going through the books displayed on that stack, I decided to pick up The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky which I am currently reading, and The Shell Collector: Stories by Anthony Doerr (for later).  What’s interesting is that as I was paying for my purchases at the counter, the young lady at the cashier gushed about Chbosky’s book and told me she reads it over and over again.  (Comments like that make me think about one of two things: the books IS that great.. or she is seriously messed up for not wanting to read something else.)  Well, the book has been made into a movie which I will watch after reading it, and that the story was picked up for the big screen (not to forget that it spent a considerable amount of time on the NY Times Bestseller’s list) should say something about how good a read it must be.

If you’re expecting a book review, this isn’t one so I’m sorry to disappoint.  I’m merely reporting what I am reading and what’s up next.  It’s not a heavy read but I’ve learned how to reserve my judgment for how heavy or light a story is for until after I close the book for good.  Some of the better books I’ve read have taken me on a journey from one emotion to the next, and there is no single feeling to describe the story that was told.

It is easy to read because it’s written from the perspective of a teen.  Another lesson learned is not to dismiss young adult reading as being “juvenile,” more so after I’ve read the entire Twilight Saga.  And yes, I’ve read the Harry Potter series, but I have stuck to one reading of all these books.  (I can’t understand why one would read something over and over again except if it’s Holy Bible.)  But again, who am I to judge.

I don’t have the luxury to  sit down and read it uninterrupted, but I’m savoring the fact that I’m actually holding the book in my hands.  There is something about reading the old-fashioned way, much as writing in longhand these days is a unique experience, that makes reading a book fulfilling.  I’m not saying I’m not ever going back to the tablet — I will.  But from time to time, it pays to actually hold the words in your hands.

I like the break that my mind gets from the real world when I have a book in my hands.  For a moment in time, I am part of someone else’s story that plays in my mind and heart as if I were watching it on screen.  And yet there is a profound difference in the way the scenes and feelings form inside me because of the words written by the author.

You should try it again some time if you’ve been enslaved by your reading tablet or worse, if you haven’t been reading at all.  (Horrors!)  Wish me luck with this one.

Then again, on second thought, I think I’m good.  Let me get back to my reading..
the Perks of being a wallflower

A Shared Passion for Reading

One of the things I regretted leaving behind (and having to give away in the process) when I moved to New York in 2000 was my then rather modest library of books I had collected through the years.  I leftthe paperbacks back in San Juan but I selected friends to whom I gave away the hardcover books and CDs I had decided were too cumbersome to bring with me as I moved across the oceans.

I have always loved to read.  My dear Auntie Lydia had turned me on to reading fairy tales and nursery rhymes as soon as I could do my ABCs.  I still remember how she introduced me to Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales by gifting me with a children’s version when I turned 7.  (And that book remains to be one of my most precious possessions, finally making it back to New York with me in 2010.)

She also introduced me to Reader’s Digest when I was in first grade.  Then I discovered Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys sometime in grade school.  I managed to read around 75% of the books on the list and to this day I regret not having completed all the Nancy Drew mysteries.  My encyclopedia set at home came with an accompanying set of children’s books which I loved to peruse and read.  In that series I was introduced not only to our beloved children’s fairy tales but fables and Greek mythology as well.

In high school, I read more purposefully and while reading homework took a lot of my time, I continued to try and read a wide range of books, spurned on primarily by our guidance counsellor’s advise to read and read when I asked about how I can increase my IQ.  (That’s another blogpost altogether.)  But who can forget Antoine de Saint- Exupery’s The Little Prince which I love to this day.

In college, I decided I would start my own collection.  I discovered my now favorite authors Richard Bach (more popularly known for “Jonathan Livingston Seagull” but whose “Illusions”  touched me more profoundly); friends from the service organization I joined in college, Opin and Carol (a.k.a. Beauty)  introduced me to Frederick Forsyth via the The Day of the Jackal and Robert Ludlum via The Bourne Identity.   My bestfriend from high school, Gina, introduced me to  Leo Buscaglia whose “Living Loving and Learning” remains to be one of my favorite gifts to friends.

In this day and age of e-readers, I continue to share my love of reading, giving one of two kindles I received two Christmases ago to my sister, Ofie.  And just recently, I shared the wonders of Kindle for PC with a dear friend who now has the books in my e-library to peruse and pore through.  It’s such joy to find someone who loves the written word as much as I do — sifting through the stories and plots and immersing one’s self in another’s point of view.

I feel like a “Book Santa” who has opened new doors for a friend to continue reading again.  As someone who loves reading and chalking up “books read” on my list, I know what getting to the end of the story feels like — and how it signals you can go to the next book on your list.

Enjoy the books, and when you read them, I hope you feel me right there beside you reading them, too.  I look forward to the conversations on the common books we read — and will read together — in the coming days.

Catching up on the reading: My Bookshelf, My Kindle

I have actually vowed NOT to buy any books until I can jumpstart my reading again, and while I have been cradling my Apple iPad and my Kindle  and keeping them handy in my tote, I haven’t really done much reading in the last couple of months.  Not good, I know.

Right now I have around 5 hard bound books waiting to be read, and I’ve gotten nowhere with Betty White’s “If You Ask Me: (And of Course You Won’t)(Note to self: Hoping to finish THIS weekend!) and I’ve practically given up on Neil Gaiman’s “American Gods: A Novel(One more try?).  What I’m raring to start reading (which is going against what I just said I had vowed) is George R. R. Martin’s third installment of  “A Storm of Swords (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 3) which I just downloaded.

So maybe — just maybe — I’ll finish American Gods.. and get on with reading Agassi’s “Open (which was actually Ofie, my sister’s pick), and get on with catching up with the Grisham books I have yet to read.  (Soooo way behind with that one, too!)  I know I want to read more than I actually manage to.  I can certainly do better.  With theKindle just a touch away, I really have no excuse.  And there are the other books I downloaded which I hope to eventually get to.. if I can get a 48-hour day.  LOL

My books have always been a source of solace and pride for me.  Solace because they have provided me with a place where I can enrich myself without actually going anywhere and spending for more than what the book would’ve cost.  Pride because I count them as a personal accomplishment when I think about the books I HAVE managed to read.  It makes me feel as though I am actually doing something proactive to keep my brain cells alive and kicking. =) Let’s see how many books I will manage to finish reading this 2012. 12? That’s a modest and reasonable goal. Let’s hope I meet it.

And the week has begun..

Mondays are usually good days for me, even if it means going back to the grind.  I’ve been here at  my desk taking care of business so to speak, although I’ve been itching to write for quite a while now.

I’m happy to report that I finally finished A Game of Thrones which is  George R.R. Martin’s first book in his popular series A Song of Ice and Fire.  Today, I move on to the next  book, A Clash of Kings (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 2) and I’m excited to continue the story from where it left off.  Even if there’s no way that I can make it in time for the release of his fifth book in mid-July, I’m reading voraciously to hopefully “catch up” with next year’s Season II on HBO.  (Book signing alert: George R.R. Martin is scheduled to have an author event on July 24, at 7pm at Barnes & Noble in Union Square.)

I am totally hooked!  I’m just happy that I’ve gotten to reading seriously again and adding to my bookshelf.

At the same time, I’ve managed to create a few pieces last night but which somehow got left behind in my rush to leave home today.  (So I guess I’ll be posting them tomorrow.)  I’m hooked on teeny-tiny freshwater pearls that I had acquired from a huge pearl sale here last year and from stocks sent to me by my sister-in-law from Manila.  I sat at my work bench until I realized it was past midnight and sadly, I had to put my pliers down to get some much needed sleep.  * sigh *

I was so happy to find some left over half-drilled freshwater pearls which I glued onto some gold findings I had purchased some months back but the piece actually has a loop for a dangle that I am still trying to make up my mind about.  (I can go the way of more pearls or just a single gemstone brio, perhaps.)  I’m still creating more stack stick dangles — this time using labradorite mini teardrop beads.  I know I have apatite beads with the same cut which I can make into a similar pair but I was hoping to post the labradorites first. =(

Between catching up with some chores yesterday while Alan and the tyke attended a birthday party in Long Island, I had a restful Sunday.  The late night date with my tools, though, has my body screaming for some sleep.  Later — in the bus on the way home.  There will  be time enough to indulge in that.

I think I’m getting on quite fabulously with trying to convert my “dormant” stocks into actual pieces.  Once I make up my mind about design, then it’s easy executing the piece and converting it from a plan to an actual accessory.  I am being drawn towards other possibilities but I am trying to stay focused.

Sadly, I haven’t been able to do anything for my Art Journal Every Day project, and it’ll be July already next week!  =(  Maybe I’ll be luckier in July.  We’ll see…

Rob Lowe in the Flesh

I haven’t quite gotten to reading his book just yet, but already, I’m getting oohs and ahhs over the photos that I got from this mini-encounter with Rob Lowe.  See for yourself!

So the wait in line wasn’t all that bad.  I hied down to Barnes & Noble at 12nn and waited until just past 1pm to get my books signed.  This is not my first book signing but Rob gets many thumbs up for personalizing which other authors will NOT do.  Also, the staff of the Fifth Avenue branch were very organized and had actually had one staff member on hand to take your camera and take your picture while he was signing the book.

Of course it helps that the book seems to be getting very good reviews.   I’ll give you my own as soon as I finish the current read I have on my kindle.

Monday.. and hoping to see Rob Lowe

Rob Lowe is doing a book signing at the Barnes & Noble on Fifth Avenue today as part of his book tour for his book, Stories I Only Tell My Friends: An Autobiography.  I am writing this before I walk down to 47th street, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that there is not too huge a crowd to hussle and tussle with to get this book signed.

Rob Lowe is very much a part of my generation’s coming of age, and (1) I would love to see him in person, (2) I have a small collection of autographed first editions, and (3) I have heard good reviews about the book.

I always try to catch the events in the nearby bookstores although I haven’t paid that much attention to this in recent months.  On Wednesday, there’s Shania Twain, but I’d take Rob Lowe over Shania anytime.  More later…

Monday and then some…

I’ve been trying to create my first Art Journal Every Day entry for the month of March all morning — to no avail. So I finally gave up after ruining several drafts pieces and decided my hand was too unsteady and my mind too fickle at this point to keep trying, and I put my pen down.

Not that I’ve been zero on the creativity front. I actually created several earring drops last night, but I had to postpone attaching them to earwires until tonight because I had to “undo” a few pairs. But I’m quite happy with what I came up with, and I must say I can’t make up my mind as to which ones to sell and to keep for myself. (Ha! The benefits of being able to create one’s own accessories.)

I recently finished the first book in the Hunger Games Trilogy, The Hunger Games and I have to admit I’m hooked, and eagerly trying to ready on to get through all three. I didn’t even know about this series until my goddaughter Eeya told me about it as I tried to probe her if she read and what kind of literature she is into, etc. I had my own ulterior motives for asking (which I cannot reveal here because she takes a peek into Ninang’s blog from time-to-time), but she told me about trying to get her hand on a copy of the third installment of the Trilogy, Mockingjay (The Final Book of The Hunger Games).

So I went to Amazon and got the trilogy for Kindle , and now I feel as though we are reading together.  I just started the second book in the series, Catching Fire and just when I thought it couldn’t stir up any more excitement, it does as a new element of the story is introduced.  (Okay, no spoilers here.)  I’m just happy to be back into reading again, and as Eeya said, although she hasn’t had the time to go back and get to the third installment, she figures by the time I start, she will be reading it, too.

Surprise of surprises!

I haven’t really had the chance to seriously sit down and post but the first thing I usually see are the comments that have come in between posts.  Although I get an e-mail alert when one comes in, I don’t really get the chance to pore through them and see which ones are spam and which ones are actually legitimate.

Today I was totally blown away to find my Art Journal Every Day guru and artist idol and total source for happy thoughts, Julie Fei Fan Balzer had actually stopped by to write a comment here ON MY BLOG..

{pausing to enjoy the moment}

I am truly humbled. I was going to use the subheading font size but figured it didn’t look quite humble as if I were screaming although that is what I am figuratively doing.  Just about the kind of push one needs when all the attempts for the day ended up in the trash can… I will be scribbling in the car, I am almost sure. LOL.  Thank you, Julie. And thank you, too, for the recognition, as I found my work getting special mention in your blog.  Me?  On Julie’s Blog????? For someone “just giving it a try”, I feel this is a very touching affirmation I should keep trying. (HA!)

Time to calm down now.  Back to earth for me.

Kindle with Me: Reading Goals, 2011

I got my Kindle last Christmas and have looked at it with a sense of fulfillment and pride each day, even if I haven’t sat down to earnestly read longer than a half hour. “Dinna’s Kindle.”. (I type that and a smile forms on my face.)

Last year was a big disappointment in the “Catch Up with the Reading” department, so much so that the “Bookshelf” app on my Facebook account seems to have disappeared for being inactive and untouched. (Yes, my El Fili in English has disappeared somewhere in the coat closet as well.).

One month of 2011 has gone and I haven’t chalked up anything read as yet. The good news is, I have quite a few under “being read” so I thought I’d start a widget here on the blog sidebar for books I am reading now. I am hoping that will be a visual reminder of my longstanding goal of getting back to the habit of personal enrichment through reading.

I will not set any goal beyond finishing a book every month. So between this weekend to the end of Feb, the goal is to read two books.  Reasonable enough.

The great thing about Kindle is that its e-book library offers many classics for free, that is why I’ve downloaded Pride And Prejudice and Complete Stories and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe. Thanks to the influence of my friends Fe, Jher and Jerome — I am intrigued by Mr. Darcy.

I am optimistic that this time around next year, I will be able to chalk up 12 books read (AT LEAST), hard copy or otherwise.

Wish me luck!