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:

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