2019 Read: New crossroads, new dreams

January has been an eventful month for me, and in those days of remarkable life switch, these are the Kindle reads I have devoured – running and numerology stuff. The energy flow from these books helps me deal with the new year gracefully. Not included here is the 11th book (because album only allows 10).

Today’s Best Nonfiction
A book is a window, if not a door, to realities we are part of and yet we pay less attention to or care nothing about. The world has a lot to teach us and we can learn, for one, through reading. These are by far the nonfiction reads engulfing me this month.
I’ve been wandering the past few days, remembering the history of things, marveling at progress I wish for my country to experience, too, savoring the convenience of traveling in 🚊 subways, restoring my chi by being in harmony with Mother Earth, falling in love with some amazing persons from the same soul family, and spending quality time with the five of me. I read a chapter or two just right after. I peek into a window to a different experience and it always, always feels good.

Some people like to start their day with coffee and end their day with wine, I like to start and end mine with books. How’s your 2019 read going so far?

The Straw Men

My portal to Mui Wo. That’s what I call this book, a thriller story that centers around a secret organization later known as The Straw Men. The book does two things to me – it takes me back to the place where I found it, where a piece of my heart belongs, where I left a love that lasts, and it also anchors me to the reality that this world is cruelest to those who are weak and inferior. The Straw Men is only fiction but it tells so much about the harsh truths many of us choose not to believe. It’s a haunting fiction because it’s real.

I finished the book when I was having a retreat back home early this month, but I had this photo taken in Mui Wo last month. Ahhh, books are portable time-machines!

Uncle Al Capone
When my brother @ebrhym09 gave me this book gift, he assumed I knew Al Capone. When I asked him who Capone is, he was shocked. He questioned how come a wide-reader and a mind-reader Andromedan like me doesn’t know this Earth legend.  I don’t want to lose my brother’s faith in me, so I told him one of the reasons why I read a lot is because I only know a little, and I want to know more. I added that I was excited to learn new things from this book. It has the autograph of the author herself, a grandchild of Al Capone.

True enough, I learned so much – from The Prohibition years in the US to the state of Italian migration in America, the Chicago Outfit, the Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary, the St. Valentine Massacre of 1929, among others.

The book was not written to clear Al Capone’s name from his crimes but it was successful in carving an image of a man the mainstream media of those times won’t find interesting enough.

The Survivor 

My current read is another book gift from my brother @ebrhym09 .
It’s the kind of book you can’t put down easily because it hurts not to know right away what awaits in the next chapter. It is indeed a fast and furious read! It talks not only about the CIA but also of some secret intel about classified operations all over the world that sound legit.

My brother’s book-hauling skill is getting better. He’s now good at discovering non-mainstream brilliant authors.

J.S. Bach
Back in 2014, Bach’s music helped me conquer my downtimes. After reading this biography, I finally answered the reasons why. I’m not born a musician but I know how to feel the music, and I am also in tune with how music makes me feel.

I knew I was meant to meet Bach again five years ago. During his time he never would have thought and known that I’ll be healed by his music several decades later. The past few days, I’ve read him while playing my Bach playlist on YouTube.

If I remember it right, my best friend didn’t like Bach. I never understood why until after I got this book. A refreshing read after that mind-blowing Mitch Rapp book.

Order to Kill
The sequel to the Mitch Rapp book gift (from my brother @ebrhym09) is another eye-opener about the real world we live in. I discussed the story with my father who understands Rapp’s world better than I do.

The insightful convo with my father led me to NICA, which I never knew existed. It is our country’s version of the CIA of the 🇺🇸, the FSB of 🇷🇺, or the ISI of 🇵🇰 . But what surprised me more was what I found out after finishing the book. I looked into Vince Flynn and learned that he died of cancer back in 2013. That explains why Kyle Mills is the published author of the two Mitch Rapp books I’ve read.

Moving on, I’m currently into Jack Reacher’s world. Another book gift from my brother who knows the kind of worlds I’m drawn into.

P.S. I found another happy place. I conquered the mountains and a little bit of foreign urban jungle for the past days, and I’m going to spend the next few days meditating in a haven overlooking the beautiful sea 🌊. Carpe diem!

The Hard Way 60385187_131334838052406_624741024555920445_nJack Reacher’s story was one of my good reads last month. After I finished each chapter, I would call out my brother’s attention and tell him things he already knew about the book. Then he would tell me to wait until I unbox his new book finds for me. 😍 My future boyfriend should learn from my little brother.

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall 60150268_215232512784095_1442411082038286199_nI’m not a coffee ☕️ person but my awesome friends are. ✨ Old friends are like classic books – unforgettable, timeless, and often the ‘BESTsellers’. 😂🤓 No matter how many times a classic book changes its cover, it has the same old story you loved to read and you will always love to reread. Just like old friends, meeting them again will make you realize how things have changed since your last get together but they are still the same folks you enjoyed and you will enjoy spending crazy, fun, and random moments with. ✨

SenTEAmental post under the influence of @altspace.ph coffee. 💕 Thank you for the coffee that triggered happy childhood memories. 😸😸😸 Thank you for today, @owrange , @jimbocortes , @_girlfromthetropicssensei, and @carolinewanderlust . ✨

The Passion

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall had me crying to sleep even though it was a happy ending. Anne Brönte’s realism really gets you to the bone. Reading another classic in June but this interesting book by Jeanette Winterson got me, as well. “I’m telling you stories. Trust me.” Finishing this book over my fave Green with Envy at Yolk Cafe, my extended dining and living area.

Persuasion 61694186_351442375537354_7385203080899649268_nAnd just like that June ended, leaving my heart footprints of how I danced through the music and the noise of the days that have passed by swiftly. I lost count of all the good reads that have kept me company except for those I have had the time to photograph and publish here. Nevertheless, the first half of the year saw me failing and succeeding, crying and laughing, thriving, conquering, dancing, running, writing, and living blissfully with a book or two, no matter the genre, no matter the story. 🌟

Today, I finished another classic book, the author of which I have had the opportunity to read way back. Jane Austen explored the realism of her time through her books, the story of most centers on the dependence of women in marriage for convenience, economic security, and social status. I have my personal take on these matters but I’d rather not write here. 🤣

Anyhow, today I am welcoming July with an even more grateful heart. ✨ I am determined to face the second half of the year with utmost curiosity, just like how it feels when turning every new page of every new book. Bring it on! ⚡️ P.S. 👋🏻 I welcome book recommendations, too, so if you have a title or an author you’d love to share with me, please-please-please do. I’ll be happy to hear from you. 💕📚 Happy reset, Earthlings! 🌱

The Color Purple 66475418_2344343642348430_4739101150026865917_nI finished this book back in Hong Kong, on my first night, after getting lost around Central with @mis_tak and Gautham. I remember sending my sister @niz_autor a message the morning after, telling her how much I love the book that she let me borrow, and even if I didn’t tell her I knew she knew I cried. I did.

Alice Walker is a Pulitzer Prize awardee and she has won several other awards for her books on women empowerment and feminism. I told my sister that I want to become Alice Walker in this lifetime, too. I don’t mean to become an awardee but if that bonus happens, I would gladly accept it. I just want to become a writer who inspires. I don’t know how many people have read this book, perhaps fewer than the readership of many best selling authors of today, but I know that those who read her will read her more. I know they gained a much broader perspective of life and of being a woman in a patriarchal world.

Walker’s book was not even written in proper English grammar, and the plot is simple, but she made something extraordinary about the real stories of the lives of people, of women, and of a history that keeps repeating itself even until today.

This book is a treasure. Someday, I want to author a book people will keep in their bookshelves, too. One day! 🙏🏻 I miss the ladies I have been with while I was inside the pages of this book, and I miss HK, where I hesitated to turn to its last page.

Flux66800826_657815271359352_3976752881691593393_nI promised to come back whenever I am in Hong Kong so I did. 🇭🇰
My new portal to Mui Wo – a book about how women navigate the opportunities and constraints of our lives, both personal and professional.
P.S. What are the odds of me getting myself the same tea set at the Village Bakery! 💕

Oh, I can live on this island. ⛴

67420549_2199632976994551_3494957545370875205_nI was 11. I was inside this cramped, tiny public library in our town back home.
I was alone. I was reading a book and I remember it was a biography of the queens of England.

I left the place before dark. While I was on my way home, contemplating about the disparity between the lives of queens and the life of an 11-year-old dreamer from a place miles and miles away from England, I told myself, “I will never become a queen of England but I can definitely build my own library.” Ever since that day, I prayed for a future where I can buy books I want to read, especially the books that will choose to be part of my library.

I know this sounds weird but I’ve always believed that I will always have the books that will choose me as their steward.

Yesterday, during my @bigbadwolfbooks Cebu VIP Day c/o @zeelifestyle, these are the books that chose me. My heart is full. 💚

There Once Lived a Girl Who Seduced Her Sister’s Husband, and He Hanged Himself 68671759_159466045228618_3787270410599254363_nThere Once Lived a Girl Who Seduced Her Sister’s Husband, and He Hanged Himself is not your typical book of love stories. The tales of romances here happened in real life, in post-Russian Revolution Moscow. Each story in this book tells readers about the most enduring kind of love in this world. What do you think it is? 🤓

Ludmilla Petrushevzkaya is one of the greatest writers in Russia’s contemporary world of literature. This is my first book of Petrushevzkaya and she’s an author for keeps.
From 🇷🇺, boarding the TARDIS and heading to 🇩🇪. Happy time-traveling weekend, earthlings! 🌟

Max. Bestfriend. Hero. Marine67321023_969535933377809_5207380775350799374_nGrief is momentary,
Love lives on. 🐾

Know that you will
Always be in our hearts.
You gave us so much joy.
Know that we will
Always remember you.
You will always be our sunshine. ☀️

We lost a number of pet dogs and cats in the family ever since I could remember. Heartbreaking is an understatement but it was what it was.
It is always painful. Grief, though momentary, is inevitable. Even if love lives on, losing a pet you love is still something unbearable at the beginning. But as love lives on, we do, too.

Moving on, we have a new addition to the marine squad to date. The puppy’s name is Max. When I saw this book from #bbwcebu2019, I bought it without thinking twice. Our Max looks exactly the same. 😂

The Atomic Weight of Love 67849058_150931709340922_3179365130190957292_nThere are many types of authors. Let me mention two for now. There are authors who are read by many but whose stories you will eventually forget once its marketing ends; and there are authors who aren’t on best sellers list, not yet, but their stories will leave a mark in your heart for as long as you live. Most of them lived to write only one book, leaving us readers wishing they had written and published more.

Aside from rereading the famous diary of a young girl, in my seclusion I’m glad to have two prolific authors to keep me company – Betsy Tobin and Elizabeth Church – who made me marvel again in my own magic and mystery and made me trust more and more in my journey, my choices, my truth and my in-betweens as an empowered, sometimes misunderstood, Woman of this generation.

We will seldom find facts in fiction, but each page of every chapter speaks truthfully about pain, joy, love, confusion, and hope, among others, that bind us to one another. Here’s to hoping more Tobin and Church books will come and find their way to me. I hope these amazing women will continue to write and publish more while they are still on this planet. ❤️ I’m blessed to experience and learn more about life while journeying through their timelines. One happy time-traveler here. ✨

Next destination -> off to the darker side of Human nature with my fave Roald Dahl.

Lust 70128246_744514909334035_9193438742768026547_nRoald Dahl said, “If you have good thoughts, they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.” 💕

Dahl is indeed a prolific writer of stories for adults, as well. His book Lust is an exploration of our darkest impulses, and how these reveal the core of who we really are. What are your cravings? What are your desires? How far would you go to achieve them? 😎

Happy fall equinox in some parts of the world! Happy Mabon, witches! 🍁🍂

Theresa May, The Ruling Class, The Communist Manifesto70225939_1330227530487256_3494060394751478599_nLast Tuesday, I concluded my political reads with these books after my “lustful” reads with Dahl. 🤣 I time-traveled back to the different times of political and social upheavals, transitions, scandals, progress, and whatnot in the history of the United States and Europe. Somehow these reads affirmed some of my own take on some political and social issues I have been obsessing discreetly. I miss the people in my life whom I could discuss these topics like they are a daily staple food for thought, even if it means engaging in a long conversation, raising annoying voices, and agreeing to disagree. I used to tell myself I hate politics when I really meant I love the politics of everything except the people who make politics look dirty and awful. *sigh* 🤣

On other note, remembering what my brother told me, I’ve already brought home some of the books I’ve finished. I still don’t have a proper bookshelf back home but it feels good to gather all the books I have accumulated over the years in one treasure place. The piles and the smell of my books make my inner child happier than she already is. ❤️

Now, off to…my first ever book from Ireland. I hope your good reads are as good as your good hearts! Happy reading day everyday, sweetlings! 🍁

Groundwork 73031534_397747267834158_7395958538561430103_nYou are never on your own with a good book, Katherine Condon said. I couldn’t agree more. 💯

The book Groundwork by the legendary Robert Welch took me back to the historical events and legends of the Irish; a peek into the emotional DNA coding of the Irish through the human experience. It made me think of my own roots, of my family’s ancestors, too, and of my country’s past, and how everything that happened eons before I was born to continue to influence the people’s psyche, including my own.
I finished this book on my birthday, while waiting for my folks, who pulled off a simple green-themed burpday celebration for me. 💚 My Earth parents never cease to make me feel uber-the-moon. How did my siblings and I get so blessed? ❤️ The book has witnessed how I celebrated another blissful birthday with my Constants. I can’t thank the Universe enough for the heartwarming messages I got from my family from across continents. May Daddy God continue to bless them. 🙏🏻 💯

Some pages of the book absorbed my joy and tears, too. The joy of existing for more than 3000 years since I came here first, and for 31 years now in this reality; of no longer surviving but living. Tears of longing; of wanting to be with the person who makes me believe in everything I chose not to believe in love. Love isn’t always romantic. Love is always beyond that when you share it with your Person. I kept some cherished memories of me with my Person inside the pages of this book. That makes it a groundwork of a whole new unfolding story. ✨

73470491_601136837308225_6230207603446980864_nWomen. Oh, women. 💖

I didn’t major in feminine psychology but one of my alters is fascinated with women psyche, including the social, economic, and political issues confronting women all throughout our lives. The books I have read on the subject, fiction and non-fiction, and the ones I own are increasing over the years. Two of my go-to books are these – Flux by Peggy Orenstein and Women Who Run With The Wolves by Dr. Clarissa Pincola Estes.
These books inspire discussion and provide enlightening insights about us, women, including the daunting choices we make, our fears and fantasies, our multitude of stories, and everything natural to ourselves that we needed to embrace. There are beauty and madness in every stage of a woman’s life; there’s also wisdom. 💚 “Go out in the woods, go out. If you don’t go out in the woods, nothing will ever happen and your life will never begin.”

From Eternity to Here,  Grandma’s Letters from Africa, The Psychology of Women, Men Are Just Desserts, The Potential of Women, Marathon the Ultimate Training Guide, When (The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing) 

I read more non-fiction than fiction books this year. 📚

In the last quarter of the year, these are the titles that completed my lunch breaks, commutes, long waits, bank errands, me-time, and bedtime. ❤️ In 2020, I hope to buy less titles and read more from the current unread books piling up in my room, instead. ❤️

…currently devouring books for my #2020Read!

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