Sunday, August 24, 2014

And this is how I got through it.

It's no secret that the feelings I harbor for books is no joke -- just because time after time, they help me cope with whatever it is I'm undergoing. Here's one story that I don't know if I've already shared. But I'll share it nonetheless...

Back in 2012 and early 2013, I've been jumping from one book to another. And that includes Norwegian Wood, Hold Still and The Fault in our Stars. I admit that I'm a bit morbid when it comes to my reading choices but whatever. In any case, if you've read all of the three, you'll notice that they have one thing in common -- and it is DEATH. See the connection now, I look back and think about how I responded to these books and it was so real and raw that it also felt like somebody in my life died and I am feeling the book character's pain and loss.

And then it happened. Back in the middle of 2013, my mother died. And I know that this is such a really hard topic to talk about but I'm bringing it up nonetheless just for me to fully express how these books have helped me navigate through life.

These books didn't take the pain away -- no, that's pretty impossible. But what they did was make it bearable. Because even though those three books centered around death and all (TFioS may be a bit different here), what I learned from it as well was that there is still life after the lossThat feeling the pain is inevitable, but that too shall pass.

These books made it a bit bearable, I must admit. Sometimes I look back and I was just left amazed and stunned in awe at how perfect the timing was. I hate to think of it as a premonition-of-sorts of the things to come -- but I just really can't shake the fact that it prepared me. 

Maybe God really wanted me to read those at that exact moment. 
Maybe it's His way of saying that "it's going to be fine". 

I'm not really into the idea that things in life are predetermined and that the path we're taking would eventually lead to a pre-set destination -- but it's things like this that make me sometimes question my thinking.

Some say I've been too busy living my life inside the pages of the books that I'm reading. Sure, as the quote above is saying: "real life should be lived". But what they don't know is that I'm reading my way through each day to equip myself on how I would live my life and how I would react to it. Reading has provided me a deeper insight, a different view of things. Relatively speaking, I don't even know if it is more that what most people who don't even bother to open a book has. But I can say that I'm happy with how everything's going, and how everything has turned out -- how I turned out. And I can't anymore be thankful for the gift of "deep reading" that God has given me. :)

How about you? Do you have any experience that you got through with the help of books? Comment up and let's talk! :)

Saturday, August 23, 2014

#HalfBakedList: Books that stayed with me.

Howdy! It's been a long time. I would like to apologize for being gone for so long. I've been trying to hold it together, to update as much as I can... but something always comes up, and other things seem infinitely more important and more urgent than sitting down in front of my laptop to type my thoughts away. But in any case, I'm still doing fine if you want to know. :) I'm just here to post a random snippet of what I came across today -- just a short update before I lose my drive to share this and/or another thing might catch my attention again.

Soooooo..... after a really exhausting two-day catching up with my long-time friends, I went home and immediately caught sleep. When I woke up, I scanned my Facebook feed and I saw my friend tagging me in her status that goes like this:


10 books were listed, and I was absolutely giddy when I read that. So yeah, naturally I jumped into it. I was a bit guilty because I peeked into my Goodreads account to check out my "read" shelf  before making this list but whatever. Haha. Here're the ten books that hit me right through the kokoro:

#1 - Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami
#2 - Hold Still by Nina LaCour
#3 - Sputnik Sweetheart by Haruki Murakami
#4 - The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
#5 - Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman by Haruki Murakami
#6 - Hard Love by Ellen Wittllinger
#7 - Para Kay B by Ricky Lee
#8 - A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin
#9 - The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffeneger
#10 - Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Why, someone's a Murakami fan here. >.< Well, guilty as charged. I am an absolute fan and I am not ashamed to admit that every Murakami writing that I've encountered broke me and affected me in all these unexpected places. Something in his prose really attracts me and I find myself absolutely wanting more after every book/story. 

Norwegian Wood and Hold Still were one of the books that I've been skimming from time to time even long after I finished them. They were the books that presented death and its after-effects as real and as close to my heart as possible. See this post for a more in-depth description for this.

Hard Love was a close call as it is one of the earliest books that I've declared as my favorite. The mother-son relationship was the one that caught me off-gurad here. I don't really have a very complicated relationship with my parents back then but I find myself unconsciously crying when I read it because I can totally feel how weird things got and how empty that feeling was.

Para Kay B was the sole book here written in Filipino. It was my favorite local book out of all the ones that I've read. It has its fair share of highlights for all the quotes that hit me right in the heart. I remember undergoing a phase where I always kept it close beside my bed pillow to scan through it every once in a while. It honestly helped me through those pseudo-heartbroken moments I had when I was in college. Lol.

A Storm of Swords was included here mainly because of all the emotional trauma that I got after i read about all those brutal deaths that befell some of my favorite characters in that series. Just imagine the horror.

The Time Traveler's Wife, I believe, must be included in the list of everyone who have once read it. If this book and its story did not shatter you to pieces... then I don't know what will, you filthy robot.

And last but not the least... Fangirl: where Rainbow Rowell managed to translate my whole persona into words. From all my awkwardess, my strange devotion (love) for fictional characters, to the paranoia and craziness lying underneath, even to my ideals. It was so spot on, it's scary. 

source
There was a reason why I don't necessarily (and outright-ly) label the things that I post after I read a book as a review. I prefer to call it book thoughts, if that makes sense. It is because I don't necessarily critique them. No, I'm far too inexperienced to do that. I don't look at a book as a technical work waiting to be torn into pieces, to be dissected -- to find its flaws and where in the world did it go wrong. I'm not looking at those tiny specks of dust. 

This is art we're talking about, and like my love, Park Sheridan, has said: "Art is supposed to make you feel something.

I dwell in the feelings that a book brings out of me. These unexpected, drowning emotions that stems out of nowhere -- with just an emphasis of a phrase, the arrangement of the words, how beautiful a thing is described, or even just the right positioning of punctuation marks and the right use of capitalization. It's all these little things at once that make up a good book. A good book for me is something that inspires the person reading it -- inspires him/her to feel. And it is such a very rewarding experience when you find a book like that. Right?

RUNNER UPs:
Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
Everyday by David Levithan
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

*Perks was not included in the main top ten just because I don't like the way my mind is going whenever I am reading it. It's scary, but it definitely did spark something in me. :)

I've been tagged. And I've already tagged some of my friends, too. I saw some lists and it was really entertaining to compare with each other. This could also be a good avenue to search for the next book that would give you all the #feeeeeeeeeels. 

How about you? What are the TOP TEN BOOKS THAT STAYED WITH YOU? You can make a post out of it (don't forget to link it to me so I can read it) or you could just outright comment below! In any case, let's talk. :3

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Random Morning Ramblings

It's 5 in the morning... and as to why I'm choosing to blog instead of sleep, I don't even know. But staring at the ceiling far too long than necessary convinced me that maybe, somehow, there's something I need to take out of my chest right now -- before it's too late and the drive to write it down leaves me again, uncertain as to when it would return.

It's takes too much effort to clear my mind these days. I am not loving it, but I am not exactly hating it either. I promised to post as much as I can...but in the end, that "as much as I can" turned out to become "once in a blue moon". Recently, someone mentioned to me that you can't really write [blog] if you are not in the mood.That even though you have too much to say, so much on your head... it takes timing to be able to extract it from your mind and translate it into paper, into words.

"Which is why I’m writing this book. To think. To understand. It just happens to be the way I’m made. I have to write things down to feel I truly comprehend them.” ~ Toru Watanabe, Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami [see, rel: That hits home!]

It was a laid out fact. But the mood thing gets me. Writing my thoughts down is supposed to be my nature, it's not supposed to be a struggle.

These past few months have been a continuing effort of coming out of my shell. I did improve, I'd like to believe that. And it is a good thing right? That I'm starting to open up. Started sharing my thoughts, not just vomiting them out through my keyboard to a computer screen. I keep blurting out my thoughts to others, but at the end of the day, there's this bitter taste in my mouth that translates to: "Everything feels so cheap and feeble."

It's hard to properly and fully explain this, but sometimes I think I am loosing the ability to think deeply and reflect. Extroversion is too exhausting. And for people like me, trying to adapt to it and practicing it on a daily basis more than necessary reduces something in me -- that something that years of thinking and keeping my thoughts to myself have taught me.

I can't properly map out my thoughts these days. And since I am not writing as much as I used to, I can't fully comprehend what's in my head -- I can't fully understand myself. I always get this feeling that writing about something makes it more real. Like thoughts translated into something concrete. Talking about it does not have the same effect, though. It doesn't take much to realize that I would always need writing to tame my thoughts and put them in order. It's my sole solid ground when everything feels like it's spinning uncontrollably.

I can see tiny specks of light breaking through my bedroom window now. It's morning. Maybe this is just me needing some sleep.
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