Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks

First sentence:
Staring out the bedroom window, Ronnie wondered whether Pastor Harris was already at the church.

My favorite book written by Nicholas Sparks is definitely "A Walk To Remember."  Actually, if you'd probe deeper, I'll tell you that I like the movie better than the book.  I've read the book once and watched the movie several times and never tire watching.

Since I started my quest last 2009 to not read two books by the same author - at least not consecutively or at such a short interval - I never looked for anything written by Nicholas.  But wandering at the bookstore before Christmas, I found this book on trade paperback and could not resist not to buy it, for such a cheap price of Php 75.00 (about a $1.50).  So, since I wasn't reading anything at that time, I immediately started as soon as I got home and got the chance.

What's on page 68:
Will stood in the well beneath the Ford Explorer in his uniform, watching the oil drain while simultaneously doing his best to ignore Scott, something easier said than done.  Scott had been haranguing him about the previous evening on and off since they'd arrived at work that morning.
"See, you were thinking about this all wrong," Scott continued, trying yet another tack.  He retrieved three cans of oil and set them on the shelf beside him.  "There's a difference between hooking up and getting back together."

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift

The first sentence:
My father had a small state in Nottinghamshire:  I was the third of five sons.
Again, this is a random choice from a sea of eBooks.  I guess the title attracted me, too, because as a child, I saw bits and pieces of the story on tv, but never really sat down and watch it in its entirety.

All I know (as a kid) was that he was captured by these little people in the land called Liliput.  I could still remember Gulliver lying down with these little people climbing the stairs that was placed somewhere in his torso.  I do not recall hearing a line said by any of the characters though.  Probably because I was only half-attending to the tv at that time and that I really wasn't interested.

I told a reading friend what I was reading lately.  He is reading Paul Theraux.  He told me good luck on reading Gulliver and I don't really know what he meant.

I replied that I chose the book by random and was only filling the vacuum.  I was on page 58, and at that time, Gulliver had just escaped the land of little people.

I told my friend that I thought it was kid's stuff.  But I thought it wrong when I reached page 110.  It totally changed my thoughts about the book.  Yes, it could be for the young adult, but I guess I am really wrong in calling it kid's stuff.

What's on page 68:
The farmer, by this time, was convinced I must be a rational creature.  He spoke often to me, but the sound of his voice pierced my ears like that of a water-mill, yet his words were articulate enough.  I answered as loud as I could in several languages, and he often laid his ear within two yards of me:  but all in vain, for we were wholly unintelligible to each other.  He then sent his servants to their work, and taking his handkerchief out of his pocket, he doubled and spread it on his left hand, which he placed flat on the ground with the palm upward, making me a sign to step into it, as I could easily do, for it was not above a foot in thickness.  I thought it my part to obey, and for fear of falling, laid myself at full length upon the handkerchief, with the remainder of which he lapped me up to the head for further security, and in this manner carried me to home to his house.

Friday, December 9, 2011

He made it around the world

This is my last post for this book.

So, with all the efforts and all the means, Phileas Fogg made it around the world.  Together with Aouda and Passepartout, he ended up in London not via the China but through some other else's boat.

I leave it up to you if he made it in eighty days.

The adventure was worth the reading.

I know this is classified as a 'young adult' book, but I didn't really mind reading it.  I actually enjoyed reading the book and really couldn't wait to find out how it will turn out.

The meridian has always been pointed out in this book.  Passepartout was lectured on the meridian but like me, I didn't really pay too much attention about what Jules Verne was trying to say.  All I know is what Jules Verne calls the meridian is the time zone in my simple terms.  But I was really glad to know that time zones are actually meridians.  I didn't realize it until I read this book.

Talking about Passepartout, I guess I shouldn't have questioned his loyalty to his master.  I guess it served its purpose that he didn't tell his master about the thing he discovered while on the journey.  This might have turned everything on the wrong side of things.  This gave me the lesson of not always getting too emotional on things.

What happened to Aouda and Phileas is not something of a surprise really.  Although I haven't paid too much attention about them most of the time, I know that there is a coming out for this after Phileas Fogg accomplished his goal.  One thing that was a bit surprising for me though, was how the coming out was revealed.

I am sort of tongue-tied as to the developments on this book.  I want to avoid spoilers so my apologies for talking only about bits and pieces of the whole journey.

I suggest you read the book.  It's short, but full of adventure.

The last sentence:
Truly, would you not for less than that make the tour around the world?

On Trains as a Mighty instrument of progress and civilization

Thus, we celebrated the inauguration of this great railroad, a mighty instrument of progress and civilization, destined to link together cities and towns which do not yet exist.
This train ride of Phileas and the rest of the group made me think back when I was young.  I remember taking the trip from Manila to Possirubio, Pangasinan as a way to get us to Baguio for the first time.  I remember looking at the window and seeing rice fields as the train passed by.  At this point, I was a kid with no idea what is Baguio and how far was it from where we were.  I also remember enjoying the train ride more than the bus from Possirubio to Baguio.  The bus ride was boring.  But the train ride compensated.

Still with trains, I wonder why this form of transportation was never given importance by our government.  When I was in college, I remembered that there were almost no trains operational in the country.  I wonder if the government paid more attention to building railroads from Manila to the other points of Luzon.  Would our country have been more progressive today with all those trains?  I believe so because I believe in what Jules Verne said that it is a mighty instrument of progress and civilization.

Crossing the bridge

Passepartout's idea would have been the most prudent after all.

But the other passengers didn't think as him.  They all wanted to cross the bridge as soon as possible.  Well, Passepartout also wanted to.  At this time, his sentiment goes out to his master and sometimes, he is even more anxious than his master to get their goal done.

I am not sure though whether he thought about what would happen to the bridge after doing what the others wanted to do.  But his idea would have done less harm to the bridge.

The Medicine Bow collapsed after their train made it through at the move suggested by the majority of the passengers.  The train made the leap and Passepartout was not even heard of of his plan.

With this, I commend Passepartout's thinking.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Oh, you, Passepartout!

Passepartout got himself into trouble and I believe this is because of the fact that he has not been telling things to his master.  But sometimes I can't blame him for he doesn't really know what his master is really into.

He was separated from his master and found himself alone in Japan.  Alone... and hungry with not a shilling in his pocket.

But his master found him again:  His master exhausted all his efforts to find him.  And I was really quite surprised that the master did not even ask him what happened.  He told his story and his master believed him outright.  And I am not happy that he did not exactly tell his master what really happened.

But if there is one thing that I could not believe at this point, it is the fact that after all that happened to him because of Detective Fix, he could still say:  No, they are not friends, but they could do be ALLIES.

How dare you, Passepartout!

I fear of dreaming of wringing Passepartout's neck when I sleep tonight.


I never paid attention to him when they left London.

But when his actions became quite noticeable, I began to take note of him.

What happened at the temple annoyed me although it wasn't enough to make me hate him.  Maybe because of the fact that they or he got away with it.  But, did he really get away with it?  We may soon find out in the coming days.

But I grew more and more concerned about his relations with Detective Fix, more than I am concerned with his relationship with his master.  I don't know if his master never even bothered to tell him more about the trip.  But if it was me, I would have told him things from time to time.  Of course we didn't have enough time leaving London, but once we set out, things should have been said time and again.

Though I couldn't blame his master.  He was very concerned about his goal that he really couldn't care less about other things.  His indifference is probably one thing.  But it also pays to be a little in touch with things.

Right now, they are both on bail.  For something that his master never even cared to know the details of.  He probably thinks there will be enough time to think about it once they got back to London.  Because the thing right now is just to get back there in time.

Meanwhile, I don't know how far could Passepartout figure out what is really happening.  I just wish he figures out more so that he could be more careful.  He needs to gather his senses before I start dreaming of confronting him and telling him to just shut up.

Monday, December 5, 2011

The book and my coffee time with a friend

I should have seen it coming.

Yesterday, I met with a friend who had just been to a trip to the Holy Land.

And for all of you who knew about it, I guess you'll say that the Suez Canal is part of that trip.  Well, my friend has been there and told me about that connecting route that was just built recently.  That connecting route was supposed to take you from one continent to another - Asia and Africa in just a matter of short time.  At least that's how I understood it.  I admit that it's really funny that I somehow couldn't relate.  I understand her fascination about the whole trip so I didn't want to mess with her enthusiasm.  Because somehow, I know I would have felt the same thing had it been the other way around.

So, now, the more I need to google and learn more about not only the Suez Canal itself, but right now, I think I want to know more about the Holy Land.

I requested her get some pictures of the highlight of the trip and put it on her iPad so that next week, when we meet for coffee, she could show me the pictures of (at least) some of those places that they've been into.

It was really timely that I get to choose the book to read nowadays.  At least, her trip to the Holy Land is still fresh and I am still savoring Phileas Logg's supposed adventure of the world.

Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne

The first sentence:
Mr. Phileas Fogg lived, in 1872, at No. 7, Saville Row, Burlington Gardens, the house which Sheridan died in 1814.
And this is my second eBook random choice for this year.

Image copied here
I guess I am longing for an adventure that's why I randomly selected this book.  I turned to for a short list of eBook titles, and went to to download their version.  This is the most convenient way so far since keeping track of the pages won't be a problem if I downloaded the books from goodreads.  But of course, you can also get it from planetebooks if you're not really particular about the pages.


I guess I've been wanting to travel that's why I randomly selected this book.  It's like I imagine myself travelling around the world in just eighty days without leaving my home.  I guess this is also the product of watching too much TLC on tv.  Anthony Bourdaine was in Italy the last time I watched and I was really fascinated about the lifestyle of the folks there.  They still make their own cheese, grow their own cattles, extract their own pork lard, make their own pasta, and call themselves as the best makers of their own produces.  How I wish I could taste them for real.

So, that's tv.  But with books, I want it to take me back in time.  And this book took me back in those days when it took days to get from one country to another (when now it's only hours) and read about how it looked like at that time.

I am already on page 29 at the time of this writing and the boat Mongolia with Phileas aboard was just about to get to the Suez Canal.  This brought me to google about the canal since I wonder why there seems to be many Africans on board.  Yeah, yeah, I need to learn more about geography.  And maybe that's why I chose this book, too.

At page 68:
Phileas Fogg, self-composed as if the judgment did not in the least concern him, did not even lift his eyebrows while it was being pronounced.  Just as the clerk was calling the next case, he rose, and said, "I offer bail." 
"You have the right," returned the judge. 
Fix's blood ran cold, but he resumed his composure when he heard the judge announce that the bail required for each prisoner would be one thousand pounds. 
"I will pay it at once," said Mr. Fogg, taking a roll of bank-bills from the carpet-bag, which Passepartout had by him, and placing them on the clerk's desk.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

I guess I am not yet ready for Thomas' rainbow

And with this, I decided to just rest for a few days before I start a new book again.  Be it an eBook or not.

It was such a tough decision.

I wanted to continue with the book.  But I really couldn't.  In spite of the encouragements I read from Twitter and commentators from, it was really hard for me.

I don't know if I am just using my condition as an excuse right now to finish the book.  But sometimes, really, I find it hard to dig through his statements.  Those many characters and descriptions just messes up the story for me.  I find it hard to remember who's the psychologist, his girlfriend, that Mexico is a name and not a place or a country.  And I also need to remember what Mexico does, or if Mexico even has a girlfriend.

The funny thing is by default, has only three choices:  read, to-read, reading.  And then I discovered you can add another category.  And that was my deciding point.  At the moment that I found out I can make a category 'Unfinished,' I knew it was my sign that I had to stop with the book.  See the list here for my categories.

This brings to mind my high school classmate where I actually learned the book from.  In one of his comments years ago, I remember him saying that after reading more than half of the book, he still doesn't know if he's getting it.  Since we lost touch years ago, too, I wonder if he ever finished... until now.

Maybe I should send him an e-mail and ask.

As in any dream, I woke up...

This post is the last for this book.  And this has long been overdue.  I didn't have the time to write before I got admitted for my seventh cycle of chemotherapy that's why I am writing this just now.

My first reaction is that maybe I am just a little too old for this book.  But I have this idea that no book is to passe for anyone.  No book is old nor new for someone who wanted to read, who wanted to experience.  But sometimes, it just has a difference if you read the right book at the right age.  I know I would have had different reactions in some of the scenes had I read it when I was younger.


I found it fascinating that the the characters were all made of cards.  I initially thought it kind of funny.  But the fascination continued when the cards have their numbers as their names, and that they have their own roles in the adventure.  The knave was tried for something that I didn't even find out if he did or did not do.  I don't really know if I wasn't just paying too much attention to the book or the book really didn't tell.  This happens to me every once in while.

Anyway, this book reminds me of a local movie.  That one with Ai-ai delas Alas entitled "Ang Tanging Ina" where all the offsprings of the mother were named by numbers.  But of course, not to be to obvious, it was Uno, Dos, Tres and so on.

The last sentence of the book:
Lastly, she pictured to herself how this same little sister of hers would, in the after-time, be herself a grown woman; and how she would keep, through all her riper years, the simple and loving heart of her childhood; and how she would gather about her other little children, and make their eyes bright and eager with many a strange tale, perhaps even with a dream of Wonderland of long ago; and how she would feel with all their simple sorrows, and found a pleasure in all their simple joys, remembering her own child-life, and the happy summer days.

I don't know if I ever mentioned (since I have been very forgetful these days, that I read this on e-Book.  And here is the link:

Friday, November 25, 2011

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll

I have been reading using natural light for about a while now.  So, that meant I have most of my reading time in the afternoon when the sunlight is strong.

So, recently, when we have been having grey and gloomy days, I decided to use the computer so that I can read even if the lights are low.

Image copied here
I turned to Google Books to find an e-Book that I could start reading and I figured that I would not search or try to choose from a million books.  I'll just start reading the first book that I could lay my cursor into.  And this is what I found.

The first sentence:
Alice was beginning to get very tired of sitting by her sister on the bank, and of having nothing to do:  once or twice she peeped into the book her sister was reading, but it had no pictures or conversations in it, "and what is the use of a book, " thought Alice, "without the pictures or conversations."
For some, this was a reading requirement maybe in grade school, or a bedtime story that their parent(s) read to them.  But since I went into a public school here in our country, reading a novel was never a requirement - even if it was a book by a local writer.  So, part of my quest was to read these classical books that inspire children to read and write.  My parents never read to us during bedtime.  But it was never a problem for me.

It's a good thing that I got myself into reading even if it wasn't a requirement in school.  I guess it was my dad's persistence that I read his collection of Reader's Digest - a collection which he kept so that we, his children could have something to read on.


Since it's an eBook, I don't have an image that I took of myself.  This is the image cover that I took from the site where I downloaded the book itself.

Here's what's on page 68 of the book:
"He must have imitated somebody else's hand," said the King.  (The jury all brightened up again.) 
"Please, your Majesty," said the Knave, "I didn't write it, and they can't prove that I did: there's no name signed at the end." 
"If you didn't sign it," said the King, "that only makes the matter worse.  You must have meant some mishief, or else you'd have signed your name like an honest man."

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon

The first sentence:
A screaming comes across the sky.
I bought this book back in 2009, when I was still in Dubai.  I read about the book from a high school classmate who is also into reading classic novels.  Somewhere in his journals, I read that he was already somewhere in the pages of the book and still couldn't understand a lot of things.  I'm afraid this is happening to me now.  I'm already a few pages on, and still, I couldn't seem to dig the author.

Apart from the many characters of the book, there are a lot of (what I call) insertions that distracts me from the plot of the story.  At least that's what it is to me.  I am close to putting it off and not finishing it when I decided to read the comments of the readers of the book from  One of them gave several advises and one of the advises was to have a little patience, at least until you reach the second part.

I am still a long way from the second part (I am only on page 64 of 902 pages), and I am trying to gather all the patience I have in putting it off and not finishing it at all.  At these point, a lot of characters are being introduced and the only one I can remember was the psychologist (whose name I need to remember).  There's a guy named Mexico who at first I thought was the country.  And there's a girl in a relationship with one of the characters.  Again, I need to remember her name.

Still, one of the advises said that it would be better to read the V book first.  But I don't think I'd go through that.  I am in this reading quest where I am to read one classic book from one author and that's it.  I just need to experience the author, his style, the way he makes the story, and how the world looked like at the time he wrote the story.  That's just about it.  Now, if Thomas Pynchon wrote about the future, then I may have a little problem with that.  Because one of the reasons why I am reading classical novels is to read about the past.

I guess I may have bought the wrong book for my quest.  But I still have the patience to read it right now.

I don't know how further more my patience will take me.  But I do hope that it's all worth it.

What's on page 68:
Mind to mind, tonight up late at the window while he sleeps, lighting another precious cigarette from the coal of the last, filling it with a need to cry because she can see so plainly her limits, knows she can never protect him as much as she must - from what may come out of the sky, from what he couldn't confess that day (creaking snow lanes, arcades of the ice-bearded and bowing trees... the wind shook down crystals of snow:  purple and orange creatures blooming on her long lashes), and from, Mr. Pointsman, and from Pointman's... his... bleakness whenever she meets him.  Scientist-neutrality.  Hands that - she shivers.  There are many chances now for every shapes out of the snow and stillness.  She drops the blackout curtain.
* Please note that on this page 68-quote, I double-checked my typing and there are no errors.  It's just the author's style of writing.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Each of us has our own nemesis

This will be my last post for this book.  

I finished it in a day, since it was only a few pages(123 pages to be exact) and the font is big, like that of a children's book and with several full-page illustrations.  

And this post is long overdue.  If you visit my account, you'll see that I've started with another book already. It's really hard for me to sit down and write these days.  Most of the time, I just read and I get a little pre-occupied with computer games every now and then.  But now I figured I really have to since I'm lagging behind the books that I've started reading since this one.

Dr. Jekyll is a good person.  And I believe that many of us are, too.  But like anyone of us, he has his own weakness.  

One of the illustrations in the book
The only thing different about Dr. Jekyll was he was too bright to think of a way to go on and deal with his weakness and not get caught.  Like many of us, we do things and not get caught. But I think Dr. Jekyll wanted to always take his nemesis one step higher.  And that's the reason why he had to find a way to conceal his weakness.

I wouldn't say that he is such a lucky guy for being wise.  Because his intelligence took him too far.  

We, the normal people, can only do so much.  We deal with our temptations once in a while but we do not let it rule us.  We try hard to overcome it, we try hard to resist it.  

But Dr. Jekyll was  the other type.  Rather than resisting it, he tried to think of a way to cater to his weaknesses.

If this were for real and many of us could think like Dr. Jekyll, how many of us will end up like him? 

The last sentence of the book:
I am now about to end the unhappy life of Dr. Henry Jekyll.

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

The first sentence:
Mr. Utterson the lawyer was a stern and serious-looking man who seldom smiled.
This is the first time that I ever tried to read an illustrated classic.  And this will probably be the last.  It's not that it's no good.  It's just that it felt like it's a condensed version although I am not really sure.  The best thing to do to prove this wrong is to probably read it again and this time not the illustrated version.  That is aside from the fact that I felt like it's actually catered for children.

But anyway, the main reason why I tried the illustrated version is because of the price.  The second is that I just wanted to have an idea of the story.  When I bought this book, I was thinking that if I like this one, I'd probably  buy other titles on illustrated. But honestly, I did not enjoy it at all.  I have nothing against the edition.  I guess it's just probably me.

What's on page 68?
"Thank you, Sir." Poole said before quietly leading away the lawyer from the locked door.  He asked Mr. Utterson if the voice they heard belonged to Dr. Jekyll.   
"If it was, it changed a lot," Mr. Utterson said. 
But Poole was certain it was not his master's voice.  "I have been working twenty years for my master," Poole said.

Monday, November 21, 2011

What he really wanted

This will be my last post for this book.

What he really wanted is something that we don't know.  Well, when his sister asked him, he didn't know, too. It was hard for him to answer.

Holden was lucky enough to have the chance to a good education.  But unfortunately, he wasn't lucky enough to not know what he really wanted.  He doesn't know how to deal with his room mates, his classmates, his friends. After several schools, he still couldn't figure out what he really wanted.

If this is indeed one of the reading requirements in schools in the U.S., I don't know how this could really affect the students.  He could be a bad example and a bad influence to them not to follow.  But on the other hand, he could become some students' role model in dealing with life.  Some students might thought that he was having a good life drinking night and day.  I guess it would just be a matter of how the reader would take it.

I want to know what kind of childhood did he have.  But as what was the first sentence of the book, he didn't talk about it.  I want to know what kind of parents does he have.  But one thing I'm sure of, they are not as bad as I think they are for having Holden as their kid, because D.B., his brother, is very different from him.

I guess it's just him and his confusion.

In the end, I ask: Would he change?

I could only wonder.

The last sentence of the book:
If you do, you start missing everybody.

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

First sentence:

If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you'll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don't feel like going into it, if you really want to know the truth.

This post is long overdue.  I was done with this book a few weeks ago already.  I got out of my writing mood and couldn't go back.  I couldn't even update my personal blog, let alone this book blog.

I started this book while I was at the hospital.  I brought the book just in case.  It was already my sixth cycle and I never brought one since the first.  But I guess I got a little more interested and started reading it instead of watching t.v.  I found out months back that this is one of the most controversial books in the U.S. although I've been looking for it since I was in Dubai.  It is my quest to explore classical authors that made me want to find the book.  It's actually the same with my previously-read book, "To Kill a Mockingbird."

What are the first five sentences on page 68?
She's all right.  You'd like her.  The only trouble is, she's a little too affectionate sometimes.  She's very emotional, for a child.  She really is.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

It's a sin to kill a mockingbird

This is my last post for the book.

Who killed Bob Ewell?

Certainly not Jem. I do not believe it was Jem at all.  Jem may have saved Jean Louise from Mr. Ewell bu definitely he wasn't capable of killing Mr.  Ewell.

What I know is that Arthur 'Boo' Radley saved them both. He was the one carrying Jem when he fainted.  Arthur carried Jem to their house.  Arthur saved them.

The sheriff Mr. Crenshaw stood by his ground, too, that Jem did not kill Mr. Ewell.  He was true to his word that Mr. Ewell got himself killed with his own knife when he slipped off the root of the oak tree and turned the knife into his own body.

I don't believe Mr. Crenshaw.

But what I believe is what Atticus said, "it's a sin to kill a mockingbird."  Because he says all it does is sing good songs to us.

The last sentence of the book:

He turned out the light and went into Jem's room.  He would be there all night, and he would be there when Jem waked up in the morning.

Monday, October 24, 2011


It is never an insult to be called what somebody thinks is a bad name.  It just shows you how poor that person is, it doesn't hurt you.

Jem and Jean Louise are getting tired of what the people call their father.  They've bee into fights whenever they hear their classmates call them names.  And one of them was Mrs. Dubose, an elderly woman who lived near their home.  Every time they pass by her house, she calls their father names that hurt them.

So, as a child with a quick temper, Jem wasn't able to help it one day.  He tore all the plants at the front yard of Mrs. Dubose's house and later on, he was called by his father for penance.  He was to read for Mrs. Dubose for two hours a day for a month.

A month had passed and his father said it's not done yet.  He has to read some more.  He was vengeful about this since that's not what they talked about.  But his father told him how he was helping Mrs. Dubose.  Hers was an addiction that was cured when Jem started reading for her.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

The first sentence in the book:

When he was nearly thirteen, my brother Jem got his arm badly broken at the elbow.

I have been wanting to read this book ever since I can remember.  I looked for it on eBay but it was expensive.  So, I settled that I might not have the chance.  I looked for a free e-book copy but didn't find any.  I'm just not sure if I didn't look that hard.

Then, of all places, I wasn't expecting to find it here in our local bookstore in the province.  I didn't look that hard.  It was by chance.  I was actually surprise that they are now carrying a few books by John Grisham and Nicolas Sparks.  But it is more surprising to find classical books like this.

Here's the first five sentences on page 68:

Jem and I were leaving Miss Rachel's front steps one night when Dill stopped us:  "Golly, looka yonder." He pointed across the street.  At first we saw nothing but a kudzu-covered front porch, but a closer inspection revealed an arc or water descending from the leaves and splashing in the yellow circle of the street light, some ten feet from the source to earth, it seemed to us.  Jem said Mr. Avery misfigured, Dill said he must drink a gallon a day, and the ensuing contest to determine relative distances and respective prowess only made me feel left out again, as I was untalented in this area.

Dill stretched, yawned, and said altogether too casually, "I know what, let's go for a walk."

Saturday, October 22, 2011

It was a surprise.

Kathy Jones.

I never thought the ending will be on her.  I thought she was the one who got killed in the war.  But she survived.  Although she had a limp, she survived.  Of all the characters I remember, I think she's the only one who made it through.

She got a long letter from Skip.  He told her he believed he loved her.  But what else is there to do now?  He was in Malaysia, she's in the States.  And Skip has a Filipina common-law-wife living in Cebu and he has two offsprings there.

Skip also wrote a letter to Eddie Aguinaldo in the Philippines asking him to find about about his family there.  He believes he will be a little less worried if he knows that Eddie Aguinaldo will sometimes pay them a visit to know if everything is all right.  That's the last thing he could do.

At this point, Skip had no choice.  He was left with no choice but to stay in Malaysia.

The last sentence of the book:
All will be saved.

I want the truth

Colonel Sands is dead.

Some say he isn't.

Some say he is.

I can't seem to know what to believe anymore.  With just a few more pages left to read, I feel like I still have a lot of questions that I need to find the answers to.

What happened to Skip?  Why was he in Malaysia?  Is he really going to die out there?  I can't believe that after all the war he's gone through, after they lost and he left Vietnam, is he in Malaysia to die?

Like Jimmy Storm, I wanted to find out, too.  But is it worth it for Jimmy to travel all the way just to find out the truth about Colonel Sands?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

James, I am disappointed.

And I guess your mom is, too.

You said you're going to send part of your money to your mother, to help her out there.  Bu after three consecutive remittances, you stopped.  And spent it all on your booze.  Sure, I can't blame you.  It's lonely out there.  But just a little amount to help your mom out wouldn't have hurt your finances.

You ended up like your big brother, Bill.  The only difference is that he didn't send anything at all.

Right now, you're both back in the States and discharged because of the awful things you've done.  And I think you both are looking for your future which I couldn't find for you guys myself.

Sunday, October 16, 2011


"Sands hadn't revealed himself as a Catholic.  Perhaps he wouldn't.  Maybe, he thought, I'm tired of my faith.  Not because it's been tested and broken, like Kathy's.  Only because it's gone unexercised."

Another letter from Kathy Jones

It's been ten days since he arrived in Vietnam.

And as Hao promised, he came back with Skip's mail, plus cardboard boxes and some commissary for his pantry.

But it was Kathy's letter that remained with me.  She writes deep thoughtful letters to Skip.  To me it looks like Kathy doesn't really have someone to talk to over there about her deepest thoughts.  And I know that it's not that she isn't friendly.  But instead, it could be that she finds it hard to connect with just anybody else.  She finds it hard to open her heart to just anyone, and I think probably it has something to do with the issue of trust.

If I were her, I guess I would be cautious in talking to people.  That's my number one rule when I am not in my own land, not in my own country.  And this makes it even more complicated.  She is in a land at war, and would never know who her enemies are.

And like me, I know it's safer to talk about the things that bothers me to friends back home, or in some other country; just not with just anyone from where I am at.  This is just being careful.  This is staying out of danger.

So, she writes letters frequently.  But as she said at the end of her letter:

"Are you even reading this?"

What's the word?


This is what the Vietnamese women in a bar offer to the soldiers together with beer.

"No.  Beer now.  Bo-jup later."  That was what James said.

But it took him some time to understand what the word means.  Certainly not Vietnamese because they were talking to them in English.  And he was completely blown away when he finally figured it out.

I could not help but feel sorry for these women.  Well, I guess this happened in the Philippines, too, at about the same time.  This is what feeds them.  The money they get from it is the one that sustains their lives.  This is reality.  This is true then.  And this still holds true now.

Only, these days, it's not confined to the bar.  You can find it in the streets, at the movie house... everywhere.

The sad fact is that someone once said, "it's just worth a burger, or an order of chinese noodles."

Saturday, October 15, 2011

It started in the Philippines

This came as a surprise.

Rarely do I find foreign books that has Philippines on it.  The last time was probably with the book, "Five People I Met in Heaven" by Mitch Albom and the character there was Tala(star).

This book started right here, particularly in Subic.  And the year was 1963.  I must admit that I am poor in History, particularly with the war, that I won't be able to put it exactly in what date did this happen.

But anyway, I always feel joy when our country is mentioned.  But, then again, it was kind of short-lived.  Because after that beautiful beach description comes the Filipino women and their not-so-good role during the war, which I'd rather not mention.  But of course, there were good things.  Only, that doesn't come into one's mind at first glance.

But the book seems to pacify my frustration.  I am amazed that Denis Johnson was able to talk about the aswang and its folklore.  He even related the story of how it all began.  Although again, it's not one of the best of the Philippines, it was good that he was able to research more thoroughly on that.  Because I myself do not exactly know the tale.

Then, comes our famous San Miguel Beer.  From the way these soldiers talk, especially the colonel, it seems that this is probably really one of the best beers in the world.  And I take it positively since it comes from a soldier who had traveled around the world.  I really wonder what sets it apart.

After Subic, one of the characters, William 'Skip' Sands, was asked by his uncle to go to Mindanao.  This was his assignment prior to Vietnam.  Skip wants to go to Vietnam, and I wonder why.  I wonder what his intentions are, his motives, his beginnings that makes him wants to go to Vietnam.

While in Mindanao, he met Kathy, who at that time, was waiting for any news about her husband Timothy.  By the time she heard about him, she ended up going to bed with Skip.  And right now, a few pages after, I still wonder if it was lust or frustration that made her do what she did.

Whatever Skip's assignment in Mindanao was, I leave it up to you to read about.  It was just a short trip with a rendezvous with a married-woman-who-became-a-widow.  And that rendezvous didn't end there.  She wrote him letters when she got to Vietnam.  And this one really moved me:

They were born into a land at war.  Born into a time of trial that never ends.
What I don't think has been talked about is the fact that in order to be Hell, the people in Hell could never be sure they were really there.  If God told them they were in Hell, then the torment of uncertainty would be relieved from them, and their torment wouldn't be complete without that nagging question - "Is this suffering I see all around me my eternal damnation and the eternal damnation of all these souls, or is it just a temporary journey?"  A temporary journey in the fallen world.

Kathy is in Vietnam.  And that is how she sees the place.

How bad was it really?

Right now, James Houston just landed in Vietnam with two other guys named Evans and Fisher.  I think James thinks he's in the wrong place.  I think James was expecting something else.  But right now, I think all he can do is wait til his next assignment, if there would ever be another.

Skip is now in Vietnam, too.  And the colonel just handed his new passport.  William French Benet.  Canadian.  I need to find out about this change.

Meantime, it has been five chapters and five years.  I am having a hard time with a book of so many characters.  James is a brother of that Seaman Houston who was in the Philippines back in 1963.  Seaman Houston is now also in Vietnam and I wonder if they would ever get to meet.  Again,  there are so many characters in the story that I need to go back to a certain chapter o refresh me.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Tree of Smoke by Denis Johnson

There is this store in our town that started by selling school and office supplies, later on adding second-hand books.  It's been standing probably fifteen years already but I rarely buy from them.  I find it quite expensive for my budget, that's why.

But a few weeks ago, I saw this book and its price got me interested.  Not the title. Not the author.  Not the story.  Just the price.  I don't know if I ever mentioned in one of my posts here that I am into exploring authors although my all-time favorite is Stephen King, followed by Sidney Sheldon.  Just in case I already did, well, this goes for my new readers now.

This is the reason why I never stuck to one genre, one author.  If you noticed in my list, I even have read classic novels from classic authors.  In fact, that's the genre that I wanted to explore more.  Yes, most of those books are available online for free.  But, after several times of trying, I still love the printed word.  I still love the smell of a book as you flap the pages, I still love the way a book feels on my hands.  Not to mention the fact that I don't find any thrill in reading a book on a monitor.  It just seems like it doesn't take me to the place.


I bought this book for Php 45.00 (about a few cents more than a dollar) on that shop, without having any idea about the story.  At that time, I was thinking that there is nothing to lose in reading any book anyway.  We learn something from it one way or the other.

So, here is the preview (page 68) of this book:
"And who," said Pitchfork, "was I fighting in the Malay jungle in '51 and '52?" The same Chinese guerillas who helped us with the Burma business in "40 and '41."
Then the colonel said, "We've got to keep hold of our ideals while steering them through the maze.  I should say through the obstacle course.  An obstacle course of hard-as-hell realities."

Full Circle

This is my last post on this book.

Ayanna talked to Nicole.  She wanted their relationship to come into full circle.  Of course, Nicole will decide.  She always makes the decisions for the three of them.  But this time, Nicole was hesitant.  I think this was what led her to quickly come into a decision.

She went to Darrell's hotel  to tell him about the plan.  But Darrell used this moment to use his power.  And I really hated him for doing so.  Of course, Nicole was furious; this one even made her strengthen her decision.  And I know that it was just what is was supposed to be.

In the morning, Ayanna came.  And all three of them started to run.  This time, they're doing the same routine that Ayanna and Darrell took a few days back - where Ayanna and Darrell made a bet and Ayanna lost by a hairline.  And her lost was my lost, too, because I wanted her to win.  The pot was anything, anything you want.  Ayanna wanted Erick to leave Oakland.  And leave Nicole alone.  Not even an e-mail.  What Darrell wants?  The same thing, of course.

And this was when it happened.

And this is exactly the reason why I smelled disaster.

While they were waiting for help, they both knew that they had to do something.  She was lying unconscious on the road and they went over to her.  CPR.  As the author said, he was her heart and she was her lungs.  Then, after a few seconds, he was her lungs and she was her heart.  This was beautifully said.

At the hospital later, some nurse asked them who administered CPR, and they said they did.  Nurse said, that saved her life.

She was in a coma for twelve days.  And when she finally gained consciousness miraculously, they helped each other with her rehabilitation until she was back home and back on her feet.  At this point,  Darrell has to claim his prize.  And he said to her, "Just be nice to her forever."

Then, it was time for Darrell to decide.  He fell in love with two women in entirely different ways.  To help him move on, he told himself that he will remove one of the seven bracelets (she gave him seven - one for every year) every six months until the last one.  This bracelet is exactly the same as what Ayanna and Nicole have.

This time, Nicole doesn't make the decisions.  It was him who decided for the three of them.  And he knows that whatever he decides will be good for all of them; all means not only for the three of them but for all of their families.

I wanted to talk about who gets who in the end.  But I know it would be a spoiler - if this isn't yet.  This is also the reason why I just used to pronoun her at some points on this post.  Probably the only thing I can say that I hope is not a give away is the fact that I am quite surprised by the way things ended.  And I really admire Erick Jerome on how he put the twists in order to come to the end.

Just one more thought.  I think the explicit scenes were just an exhibition of the author's articulateness and creativity.  But for me, it was really unnecessary.

I gave this book four stars.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Wast it intentional?

The tape clicked.

And Ayanna was startled.

I don't know if Darrell did that intentionally or he just forgot that he pushed the record button.

But either way, Darrell sensed power with the tape.  But I smell disaster.  Whatever the tape holds should just be between Darrell and Ayanna.  And I say not one more soul.

There isn't a part of me that says that Nicole should hear the tape.  Because even if Darrell senses he could win over Ayanna because of this tape, I say that nobody wins when this gets out between them.  I just hope I could talk to Darrell to stop him from getting this to Nicole.  I just hope that I can help Ayanna stop him.

Darrell got ready to leave.  Ayanna asked if he is going to see Nicole, but he didn't answer.

My heart beats fast.

How can you put this book down on this part?

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Darrell meets his friend

It's always good to talk to friends, especially during those times when you couldn't decide on a very important matter.

It's not that her opinion would count on your decision.  They're being there help us a lot to clear things out, to sometimes look at it from the outside or simply just to hear ourselves talk about what bothers us.

And it's even better to have friends who could give us insights without being judgmental.  They can hear us out and still love us.  They can hear us and still give us the unbiased opinion we could hear.  Well, it's true that they can be biased sometimes, but then again, they still help us see things from a different angle.

Darrell had to clear his mind.  It's a good thing that his friend was also in a town where he is doing some book signing.  He talked about the issue and his friend listened.  He just listened.

What's bothering Darrell?

Nicole wants him them to try and bring their relationship to the next level.  But Darrell thinks he is not ready yet.  Or rather, Darrell thinks there is no point of even bringing their relationship to that level.

I really couldn't believe that it even came from Nicole.  It would have been kind of trivial if it came from Darrell.  This brings me to wonder what kind of woman Nicole is.  What is her level of satisfaction?  What is it that she's still looking for, when she seems to have everything she wants?

A man who loves her.  A woman who loves her.  A career that is rewarding.

What makes her think about bringing their relationship to that other level?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Between Lovers by Erick Jerome Dickey

This book was lent to me by a friend and I didn't even know what it was all about when she handed it over to me.  At that time, I was just looking for any book with large fonts, big enough for me to read, because I was having trouble with my vision.  After a while, I got to have a new specs and started this right after that thing about cameras.

Here's the preview:
"No.  Love it.  I miss this.  We used to be like this all the time.  Damn near every night."

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


I got this book on sale.  And while reading it and finding out that it was written before the age of digital cameras makes me wonder if it is even worth it.  But it is still.  Since he's talking not about the technicalities of a camera, but rather what is it to be a photographer and what is an artist.

I am actually searching for something else inside the book.  Something that I didn't find until the end.  What is it?  I am not sure yet.  But I feel like there should be something else.

In between the chapters, I wrote on my notepad something about photoshop.  He did actually discuss something about it and I couldn't help but write my thoughts about photoshop.

I don't know photo shop, and didn't have the urge to learn.  When I see a picture so neat, I sometimes react this way:  It's photoshpped.

It just seems so ordinary these days that people can take pictures and do something with photoshop to make it look good - to make it look even better.

The author is trying to define the line between being a photographer and and artist.  And when photoshop came into the spotlight, I begin to wonder.  Would you say that a person who is good with photoshop is an artist?  And I think this is what the author is also trying to point out.  A person who is good with photoshop did not create the image.  And even if he was the one who shot it himself, applying photoshop only means that he wants to alter that moment.  The one who shot the picture is the photographer- or the artist.  The photoshop person only applies his knowledge in photoshop to alter the image.  And if he is both the one who shot and the one who photshopped, what talent does he possess?  Is he a photographer or a photoshopper?

Does this make him an artist?  Or just a photographer?  Or just a photoshopper?

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Something to learn about my frustration

I started "Letting Go of the Camera" by Brooks Jensen yesterday.  I bought this book second hand at our local book shop.  They had a buy-one-take-one promo and I got this together with "Angela's Ashes" by Frank McCourt for a mere Php 150.00.  If you ask the date, I already forgot but it was even before April of this year.

I used to own a Nikon Fm camera back in college and was able to practice photography back then.  I filed all my negatives in a shoe box together with the information for each of the shots that I took (whenever it was possible).  But they're all gone now.  The big flood Reming took away a lot of my memories, this one included.

Anyway, I have yet to get myself a DSLR camera but I want to read about photography, hence, the book.

Here's the first five sentences on its page 68.
     If you are not prepared for this subconscious overload and the subsequent overflow of creative ideas, you run the risk of diffusing much of the workshop's benefits.
     Play a game with yourself before the workshop.  Imagine the workshop instructor is with you in photographing or darkroom sessions over the week and months before the workshop.  (Most workshops require advance registration; so you probably know far in advance that you are going to attend.)
     At every opportunity, think what you would like to ask the instructor at that moment of peak activity.  Jot this question down..  

Full of Profound Thinking

I'm finally done with the book.  My account said that I started it somewhere in August and it took me over a month.

The book is full of profound thinking.  The wisdom contained are countless and as deep as they can be.

I must admit that I stopped reading for some time.  Some of those days are actually because of my treatment.  I have been  undergoing chemotherapy since April of this year and at times, I couldn't bring myself to read.  Actually, I haven't been reading since April.

Some of those times are because of the internet, which is my greatest distraction on reading.

The last reason is the fact that it was really quite hard for me to bring myself to pick up the book because of its profound nature.  That is, at least to me.  There are a lot of things that needs time to actually think about.  The kind that you need to go to a somewhat quiet place, read a chapter or even just a page and contemplate on what St. Therese is really trying to say.  And a quiet place is one of the hardest to find these days.  Not to mention, again, the internet distraction.

However, I might want to read the book again.  There are passages embedded on the book that are really worth ruminating on.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Story of a Soul by St. Therese of Lisieux

This entry is really late.  Because I used to do this even before I start a book.  My page 68 entries are done that way.  So, my apologies.  I know that my chemotherapy treatment should not be an excuse but that's all there is.

My mood swings are really bad especially during the first few days after the drip.  I can't even bring myself to read even if I wanted to so much.

But I know that after five cycles, I know I have to fight this.  If you have noticed, I added a widget that shows I challenged myself to reading six books before the year ends and I really hope and I'll really try to meet this goal.

So, here we go.

On page 68 of this book, it's blank.  So I decided to move forward to the next page with writings, which, in this case is page 71.
While I was speaking about the visit to the Carmelites, I am reminded of the first visit which took place shortly after Pauline's entrance.  I forgot to speak about it, but there is a detail that should not be omitted.  The morning of the day I was to visit, I was thinking things over in my bed (for it was there that I made my profound meditations, and contrary to the bride in the Canticles, I already found my Beloved there).  I wondered what name I would be given in Carmel.  I knew there was a Sister Therese of Jesus; however, my beautiful name Therese could not be taken away from me.  

Thursday, July 14, 2011

I can't find her.

I am already in the middle of the book, but there really isn't much to write.  Her essays mostly point out to her experiences as a single woman who chose to be and stay single.  Most of them were realizations and turning points.

I tried to google her - Theresa "Jew" Lariosa.  But the funny thing is the number one site that came out is... this page... and most of them are only online catalog of her book on e-lib.  I couldn't find a facebook profile, well, not even a friendster profile (if there is still friendster). 

I wanted to find out more of her - like which newspaper does she writes for or magazine.  But I couldn't find anything.  I wonder. 

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Bulalo Soup for the Sole: Jew Lariosa

She had found someone who loved her truly, regardless of the conditions that society imposes on us.. 
He loved her enough to sit through the whole ceremony in front of three priests and a huge crucifix looming overhead.  He loved her enough to endure the coaxing for friends and family to drink some more.  He loved her enough to beam at his wife and dance with a bunch of sloshed cousins, though he was burning with fever.  He loved her enough not to say a peep when they served pork at the table where he dined.

Still no go after second attempt

Again, it's been a while.

Apart from not bringing myself to read these days because of the effects of chemotherapy, there are still other reasons.  Chemotherapy effects make me sleep a lot of times, especially when I'm on the fifth day after the cycle.  But, needless to say, I stopped reading long before the third cycle started.

I guess I would have to admit that I was having difficulty reading between the lines.  James Joyce is really hard to decipher, but that doesn't make him less of a writer for me.  I guess the timing isn't just right and I am not ready for a James Joyce book.

I stopped on the part where Stephen Dedalus and his friends were somewhere on river - this I am not sure - and some of his friends ready for a swim.  I remember they met someone - a navy or a sailor - and was trying to teach them some things.  Halt!

So, this brings me to a point where I have to look over my old books to see if there were copies whose fonts were large enough for me to read.  I don't think this is what I need, because I think what I need is a new pair of glasses.  This thing has been with me since 2006.  But anyway, there weren't old books with fonts large enough so there goes my motivation for reading.

Then, a good friend of mine who learned about my medical condition voluntarily sent some two books that I could devour.  She said she wanted to send one more but she checked and I've had that book as a gift to me since I can remember.  That book - the gift - was also a spiritual book which I stopped reading by the time I reached the third chapter.

I must admit that seeing those two books she sent for the first time, I wasn't interested since the first one that caught my eye was a spiritual book and I felt like I am not inclined to that one... at least not yet.  So, both of the books sat on the table for days until yesterday when my hunger for reading was growling louder than my stomach upset.

The first book I opened of the three was the gift to me.  It was Rick Warren's "The Purpose-Driven Life."  I started reading the first chapter and hopefully I could go on to finish it in forty days, as per his recommendation.

I skipped the second book which was "Story of a Soul: The Autobiography of St. Therese Of Lisieux." I think I'll start it later.

This brings me down to the third book.

It's not a spiritual thing.  "Bulalo Soup for the Sole" by Theresa "Jew" Lariosa.

She's a local writer.  And the book is a compilation of her "Essays for Savoring Life as a Single Woman."  That's what the title of the book says.

I wonder why I haven't heard of her nor her writings.  Was it because when her book was published - 2007, I was in Dubai?  And the whole time that she was writing articles I was in Dubai?  And if so, where is she now?  I haven't heard about her now and would have wanted to hear more of her at least on the tube.  I can google her whenever I want but I want to hear about her on the news.


I'm going to finish this book this week.

Friday, June 24, 2011

I'm back with Ulysses on my hands

I started "Ulysses" today... again... and from the top.

It's a good thing that I started it from the top, because even in just in the first paragraph, there were things that I didn't understand the first time I read it.

I hope I can sustain reading it this time.

The reason why I stopped the first time is that I can't seem to relate to it.

And the reason why I am getting back to it now is that those other paperbacks that I have right now have fonts that are too small for me to read nowadays, even with my reading glasses. And it's a good thing that I bought trade paperbacks back then.

I would have started with Stephen King's "The Dark Tower" series which I have read way back in college. I have read it until the fourth book, the last one at that time. I was able to buy illustrated books (I don't know what to call this editions) when I was still at the call center, four of them. BUT, I just discovered and remembered that I wasn't able to find the first book, "The Gunslinger," in the illustrated edition. So, this means that I can't start this series. I don't want to start the series again until I get the first book. I wonder if I can get the same edition as the four that I already have.


I just wish that I could sustain reading and writing about Ulysses this time. To say the least, I am on my way to my third chemotherapy cycle and sometimes I don't really get the mood. I've been lagging behind my reading. My Shelfari says that I haven't read any book this year, so that's how bad I've been lagging.

I'll post something about the book tomorrow.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

No, it was not a good move.

No, it was not.

Blogging about the books I read on my other blog is not good, at least for me.  I think it's not going to work for me since it will get mix up with my other posts that is not even related to books.  It's going to be hard for me to get back to those previous posts whenever I feel the need to.

But at this point, there is really nothing to worry about yet since I haven't been reading since my first entry about the book, Dubliners.  I kind of lost the appetite to read.  Well, I got preoccupied with a lot of other things aside from this little business that I am starting just recently.

I am hoping to get back to reading some time soon.  I do not want to say when because that would be very definitive.

But I definitely will... soon.

Friday, January 28, 2011

I am moving this blog to my main blog.

From now on, my entries about books will be posted on my main blog here.

Thank you to all my followers and readers.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Dubliners had to wait.

I already started with the book. But the season gave me some loot to get hold of the eighth book by our local writer, Bob Ong.

"Ang mga Kaibigan ni Aling Susan." The Friends of Aling Susan, translated literally in English, written by Bob Ong.

I've been kind of following him. But not really since I haven't read some of his books. The irony of things is that when I have the loot to buy his books, I was out of the country and cannot just get it from bookstores there. And now that I am finally back home, I couldn't just buy his books, too, but now it's because it's not on top even included in my budget list.

The book was short. A hundred or so pages.

But it was entirely different; entirely fucking different from his previous books.

Bob Ong's seven previous books are all about humor. His humor amazed me, caught me, engaged me. Well, that goes to say that in about those several books that I've ready by him.

This one is mind-boggling, thrilling, horror.

I don't normally read reviews, but this time I wish I had. Because I wouldn't have bought the book and read it had I known the plot.

But on the other hand, it's a good thing that I didn't read any reviews.

Because had I read reviews, I wouldn't have discovered that Bob Ong is also good in writing horror/thrilling books.

The book is the diary of Galo. It started as a school project. Something that I used to do, or we used to do in high school as a requirement. But after that project, he went on writing by himself and for himself.

And I guess this is the reason why the book has many loop holes.
  • The fact that it was started as a school project, he wouldn't, shouldn't couldn't write anything that was happening around him.
  • The fact that it started as a school project and he continued it all by himself, all we can see is what he wanted to document; deprived of the actual things that were actually happening.
  • The fact that it started as a school project and that he continued it all by himself made it more magical, because the diary slowly began to have a life of its own.
My sister (she read it because she got curious by my remarks as I read the book) and I both agreed that this is just the beginning. There are still things to find out.

What is there in the town of Tarmanes?
Who are those that live in Tarmanes?
Where is Tarmanes?

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