Love and Misadventure by Lang Leav: A Book Review

loveandmisadventureI do love reading  poems, but  I am not a certified poet; nevertheless, I can write one whenever I get down, or have an epiphany or sudden insights into something.

Writing poems is an art. It is an emotional   way of human expression, but some  poems are obvious while some  are latent. So, the good benefits it can give to us is   emotional catharsis; it is a good way for us to relieve  stress.

Love is the common theme of poems which are  apparent in works of  some famous poets such Shakespeare, Oscar Wilde, Thomas Hardy- you name it.

This is Lang Leav’s book debut  – a collection of poems which all deal with the stages of LOVE:  Misadventure, Circus of Love, and  Love based on her personal experience.

However,  most of the readers on Goodreads  at the very least  have given it a thumbs down; they did not care about giving it 1 star which means I did not like it as the rating system on Goodreads. Unclear  about their reasons, but I surmise that , since I gave it a try, maybe  the problem about  her poems is that they are  superficial as in shallow, as if even an elementary student can write such poems. ( I am sorry to put it.)  Her prose is not as creative enough to move or inspire  a down-to-earth reader who may have never been head over  heels in love as other famous poets’.  Most of her poems are short  , just nothing; you might not feel nor imagine anything. In fact, you might end up finding them childish  or puerile which  can add to the fuel of your disappointment since the author herself is an adult. Nevertheless, there are a few  long and remarkable though. By the same token, her book is too feminist, fit for young   female readers, notably she has some cute  and fairy-like illustrations of a “kikay” (chick).

On the contrary, I came to the realization that reading poems in any forms or structures  are not that easily comprehensible at all; we all have different perspectives. In other words, there are many beholders in the world. We may not be sure of how we understand the poems we read as they are unless they are all crystal-clear in their words. Bear in mind that   poems  could be enigmatic or  euphemistic.

Thus, what is the advice to us readers whenever we read something beyond our understanding? Read between the lines. This superannuated  cliche is  absolutely  applicable to  us readers whenever we do not get at what an author tries to drive at, notably to reading poems just the likes of Leav’s. Read between the lines. You may not get at the fact that what Leav intends to express in  her poems are all about LOVES. Read between the lines. Admit it, although the prose of the short poems   is simple, but you still couldn’t get  the meanings behind them. If so, re-read and ponder over them.  Read between the lines. Not all poems should be par excellence. Some famous poets  do likewise. Try to read the poems  by E. E. Cummings. You might cringe at them too, but still  they are widely-read.

In the end, I want to be subjective for  giving it 1 star. Let me be in your conspiracy, fellas!  Simply because her poems are not my cups of tea; I prefer  love  poems that  could make me do a somersault  like Danton Remoto’s and J. Neil C. Garcia’s erotic poems. (laughs) Don’t be green-minded, buddy! ^_^   How about Marcelo Santos III’s a la poetic quotes or the beloved Senator Miriam Defensor  Santiago’s cracking pick-up lines?  In foreign poems, aside from E.E. Cummings’s I have mentioned above, how about Thomas Hardy’s, Emily Bronte’s, and Emily Dickinson’s compelling poems? Their poems are “hugot na hugot”.

Maybe I’ve been borne upon the  literary  standards of poem or upon the award-winning poems I have been taught since elementary.  Uh-oh, enough said! Any genres  can be praiseworthy. ^__^

Rating: 1/ 5 stars ( I did not like it.)

The Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values, and Spiritual Growth by M. Scott Peck: A Book Review

speck1

This best –selling book of Dr. Peck is a must –read for those loners who have niggling questions such as:
(a) Why don’t I have a boyfriend or a girlfriend?
(b) Do I need someone whom I will love, or someone who will love me?

On the other hand, this book can throw light on common problems among couples in terms of:

(a) A peaceful, stable, and long-lasting relationship
(b) Role of a woman and a man in a relationship

This book, in addition, can somehow answer the apologetic and philosophical questions about LOVE such as:

(a) Is love innate?
(b) Where does it come from?
(c) How does it develop?
(d) Is love indispensable in our lives? Could we live without love?

At the end, I concluded that we need to love and to be loved to be healthy people; and likewise, we can be good people by loving ourselves rather than by choosing to love others.

Thus, this book is peppered with soothing and enlightening advice which is a favorite reference among counselors whenever someone turns to them for advice . So here are the lines that shattered all my illusions on LIFE, notably on LOVE :

“Life is difficult. This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult-once we truly understand and accept it-then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters.”

“Human beings are poor examiners, subject to superstition, bias, prejudice, and a PROFOUND tendency to see what they want to see rather than what is really there.”

“Once we truly know that life is difficult — once we truly understand and accept it — then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters.”

“Problems call forth our courage and our wisdom; indeed, they create our courage and wisdom.”

“When we love someone our love becomes demonstrable or real only through our exertion – through the fact that for that someone (or for ourselves) we take an extra step or walk an extra mile. Love is not effortless. To the contrary, love is effortful.”

“Problems do not go away. They must be worked through or else they remain, forever a barrier to the growth and development of the spirit.”

“Our view of reality is like a map with which to negotiate the terrain of life. If the map is true and accurate, we will generally know where we are, and if we have decided where we want to go, we will generally know how to get there. If the map is false and inaccurate, we generally will be lost. While this is obvious, it is something that most people to a greater or lesser degree choose to ignore. They ignore it because our route to reality is not easy. First of all, we are not born with maps; we have to make them, and the making requires effort. The more effort we make to appreciate and perceive reality, the larger and more accurate our maps will be. But many do not want to make this effort. Some stop making it by the end of adolescence. Their maps are small and sketchy, their views of the world narrow and misleading. By the end of middle age most people have given up the effort. They feel certain that their maps are complete and their Weltanschauung is correct (indeed, even sacrosanct), and they are no longer interested in new information. It is as if they are tired. Only a relative and fortunate few continue until the moment of death exploring the mystery of reality, ever enlarging and refining and redefining their understanding of the world and what is true.”

“Another characteristic of human nature—perhaps the one that makes us most human—is our capacity to do the unnatural, to transcend and hence transform our own nature.”

“The best decision-makers are those who are willing to suffer the most over their decisions but still retain their ability to be decisive. One”

“My time was my responsibility. It was up to me and me alone to decide how I wanted to use and order my time.”

“Genuine love is volitional rather than emotional.

“Dependency may appear to be love because it is a force that causes people to fiercely attach themselves to one another. But in actuality it is not love; it is a form of antilove. It has its genesis in a parental failure to love and it perpetuates the failure. It seeks to receive rather than to give. It nourishes infantilism rather than growth. It works to trap and constrict rather than to liberate. Ultimately it destroys rather than builds relationships, and it destroys rather than builds people.”

“Love always requires courage and involves risk.”

Note: For more quotes, you can click this site: https://www.goodreads.com/work/quotes/2747475-the-road-less-traveled-a-new-psychology-of-love-traditional-values-a

Dr. Peck focused on anatomizing LOVE. He used his experiences in supporting his propositions. However, there are instances that he should not have overlooked the holistic approach to understanding the psychological problems among his patients. I guess he knew what I meant.

Rating: 3/ 5 stars ( I liked it. )

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett: A Book Review

secretIt is now one of my most favorite books, along with A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry, Frank McCourt’s trilogy ( Angela’s Ashes, ‘Tis, and Teacher Man) , and Lord of the Flies by William Golding.  ( I have just realized that most of the books above have something to do with children. Eureka!  ^_^ )

Its major theme about gardening excited me so much that I  slept  through  it  for one night  ;horticultural skills run in my blood . I love planting and gardening.

When I was in my   kindergarten, I did build my own little  garden behind our nipa hut in our province. I planted different invasive and flowering plants . So,   my neighbors were all amazed   at me because I was still too young to build one. However, I can no longer build a garden since my family and I live here in Manila. I did one when I was  in elementary but failed because the soil here  is not as arable as in our province. Besides, I don’t have time to do so.

If  gardening  were such a highly paid job, I would surely grab it and devote my life to it and at the same time read a book surrounded by the plants and flowers. Presto, it would be  beautiful and enchanting ambiance.

Like in the story how Frances Hodgson Burnett describes the ambiance, I am familiar with the smell of leaves after pouring down in torrents,  of the river  which  water smells  brackish wafting up in the air,  with the warm welcome of the sunshine in the breaking dawn, the marvelous blossoms of flowers in a garden, the  canopies of the huge trees in a forest. Also, I experienced to climb   the trees and trying to reach   the end parts of their  boughs laden with  clusters of enchanting fruits. But the more thrilling one  was  that I tried to bother the nests of birds laid  up  on  the trees. I was a naughty and pesky boy too. ^^  I miss my provincial life!

It may   not be  beautifully-written but if you read it in hindsight, you will realize that  it  is really  meaningful, intended to inculcate good virtues in readers.

  1. Hope

In the story, Mary Lennox   hopes that the garden has the big potential to revive its spirit. With her  great effort , she will  plant some  sorts of flowers again with the help of of her newly-met friend  , Dickon, whom she is very fond of. Also,   with the great impact of the Secret Garden upon Mary, she will help her mysterious cousin, Colin Craven , to be positive in life. He was born bed-ridden in the assumption that he is an invalid.

“At first people refuse to believe that a strange new thing can be done, then they begin to hope it can be done, then they see it can be done–then it is done and all the world wonders why it was not done centuries ago.”
Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

2. Love and Loyalty

This virtue is  illustrated by Ben Weatherstaff, the  gruff elderly gardener who introduces Mary to the robin redbreast. He clandestinely tended the garden during the ten years in which it was locked, out of love and loyalty for the Mistress Craven.

“To speak robin to a robin is like speaking French to a Frenchman”
Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

3. Secrecy

 Since the title of the book is The Secret Garden, no matter what your   ideology about  honesty, you will learn  more the importance of secrecy.  This principle reminded me of a famous etiquette writer’s question that, “ When someone let you her/ into her world, would you tell the other people outside what you saw inside?” My reply to it, however, is ,” It depends on the situation.”

4. Friendship

Mary’s friendship with Dickon and Colin Craven teaches me to be congenial toward other people as well as love my best friends.

“You can lose a friend in springtime easier than any other season if you’re too curious.”
Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

5. Positive Attitude

I liked Mrs. Snowby’s  , Martha’s mother, positive attitude. She influences all the main characters.  For instance, she sends a skipping rope for Mary because she is aware of the fact that  Mary   has   poor health. Also, she sends her healthy milk to put on weight. In fact,  Mr. Craven and Mrs. Medlock both look up to her wisdom despite her poor and austere way of life.

“Everything is made out of Magic, leaves and trees, flowers and birds, badgers and foxes and squirrels and people. So it must be all around us.”
Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

The story is also interesting to ponder over in the context of psychology, religion, sociology, and philosophy.

In addition,  I was challenged by reading some dialogues with Yorkshire accent. I tried to turn over the contracted words in my mind until   my nose bled a great deal. But later on I learned to love and imitate it as did Mary Lennox.

However, I want to make a fuss over  three things :

  1. Where is Camilla? If you have seen its Japanese TV animation series,  you may know the fortuneteller and healer, Camilla. I can’t forget her  because  I liked the character she played in the story. She is also a symbol of a wise woman aside from Mrs. Sowerby, but scared because of her dour and somber aura.
  1. Also, I can’t forget the scene when Mr. Craven walks through the woods where he finds out that someone is hunting there without his permission. This scene gave me an idea then that he has  aristocratic authority.
  1. As far as I remember, Dr. Craven is a crafty character who intends to weaken Colin’s health since he knows that Archibald Craven has been crest-fallen since his wife died. When he dies, he will inherit all his wealth.However, in the story, he turns out to be an uncle who knows what ” flesh and blood “ means.

Anyway, I just guessed that the   story may have been added with some ideas  since it was adapted for  a Japanese TV  animation series .

Thanks to my student for this book present. Without my literary intercourse with her, I would not know that Frances Hodgson Burnnett is also the author of  the other  two famous children’s novels such as  A Little Princes, known as   Princess Sara and Little  Lord Fauntleroy.  So, I’m gonna read them too. ^^

Rating: 4/ 5 stars ( I really liked it. )

Twinkle Twinkle by Kaori Ekuni: A Book Review

twinkleMahal ko o Mahal ako? ( I Love or Loves me?)To make it grammatically clear, it means the man I love or someone who loves me? ) This is the title of the love song by our very own Filipino singer, KC Tandingan, which is now  popular in our country. According to the song, a woman has love affairs with two men. At the end , she has to choose between them: the man she loves or the man who loves her but she does not love. The story has complete resemblance to this book Twinkle, Twinkle. The only difference is that it is homosexual Mitsuki, who is in conflict with two personas: Shoko, alcoholic whom he married because of the pressure his parents foisted upon.; and Kono, his secret long-time boyfriend. Then, Mitsuki and Shoko will live together under one roof without making love. They will just live for the sake of companion love, but at the end, Mitsuki has to choose. ..

I could feel in the story the self-restraint of each character as though a lump in my throat blocked my desire to let off steam . Mitsuki is so understanding. He still considers Shoko’s feelings, whereas she can feel that he loves his boyfriend Kono more than her. I bet it is the conservative tradition that determines the personality of the characters. Mitsuki considers his parents’ and Shoko’s family values as well as prejudice against homosexuality. It is a matter of enduring love after all. So, such restricted emotional expression punches in my chest.

This is now my second Japanese novel, and reading another ones strikes my fancy more because I notice that Japanese novels- although I have not read Haruki Murakami’s completely yet, and I am now reading his first novel- seem to bear all the hallmarks of superficiality, gentleness, and idiosyncrasies. So I cannot brush the idea aside that Japanese literature has one distinction. Sooner or later I will get the wind of it.

Rating: 3/ 5 stars ( I liked it. )

By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept by Paulo Coelho: A Book Review

by-the-river-piedra-i-sat-down-and-wept-book-cover“All love stories are the same.”
Paulo Coelho, By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept

If I were an idyllic reader, I would give it 5 stars. Paulo Coelho wrote something unique about the twists and turns of the common story.

If I were a dreamer, I would give it 5 stars. I would dream and work. ^^
If I were a deeply religious reader, I would give it 5 stars. Paulo Coelho inspired people to be more faithful.

If I were a Creative Writing and World Literature teacher, I might give it 5 stars. Paulo Coelho is such a genius; he writes a book peppered with beautifully and poetically written passages. But if I were an absolute atheist reader, I would give it 2 stars. Luckily, to some extent, Paulo Coelho put some emphasis on the traditional customs of Christendom beyond human logic and reason.

Also, if I were some kind of bookworm with taste for horrors, thrillers, or cliffhangers, I would give it 1 star. I would find it boring.

The story is about a woman who has “forbidden love” for her childhood friend who later on sought his life by leading a monastic life. A story that is very common in TV dramas and films. Thanks to Paulo Coelho’s writing skills. He is indeed a wizard; he can make readers fix their eyes on it IN TRANCE. No doubt he is one of the most beloved writers of our time.

Writer wannabes have difficulties in putting their ideas in a sentence, particularly how they begin with their first draft, so in doing so takes a lot of time. One needs to draw a deep inspiration from one’s experiences. So you might wonder how the writer of this book forms such inspirational passages, enough to convert a wisdom of atheists to a mosque of Muslims, to a church of Catholics, to a temple of Buddhists, or to a mandir of Hinduists.

The remarkable thing is that Paulo Coelho is a Brazilian. Kudos to the translator.

The book, on the other hand, might cause the skeptical to raise some questions:

(a) Does love originate in religion?
(b) God is found in everything since one can never find God in any books of religions. Therefore, this kind of ideology is an example of New Age.

For the satisfaction rating, I found this book pretty good. I want to try his other books more, especially the Alchemist

Rating : 3/ 5 stars ( I liked it. )

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein: A Book Review

TreeAside from the Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry( 5 stars ), this is another book influenced me to read children books. Besides, had my nun student not hyped it up on Facebook, my interest in reading children books would not have erupted more from its dormant state. This experience is sort of juvenile recidivism.

What I like about reading children books is their colorful illustrations. In its case, I was like a child fascinated by its thinly green- shaded apple tree laden with one apple while the cute boy is extending his hand up to the tree.

Alas, my parents were not educated enough to encourage me to explore the library of children books.

While reading this book, I was thinking of that the story might be about the relationship between a mother and a child. But after doing research, particularly in Wikipedia, I have found out that the relationship could be interpreted in four situations (some kinda hermeneutic):

(a)The tree represents God or Jesus and the boy represents humankind.

(b)The tree represents Mother Nature and the boy represents humankind.

(c) The tree and the boy are friends (i.e., “the message of the tale is seen as a relation between adults”).

(d)The tree and the boy have a parent-child relationship.

I would absolutely agree with the second, third, and fourth ones. ^^

This is the kind of short story I enjoy much. No need unnecessary embellishments to impress a reader like me. Telling the story point-blank , seething with moral lessons ,will do. ^^

Rating: 4/ 5 stars ( I really liked it. )