book


This year I’ve decided to balance everything or at least I’ll try. By balance I mean, I’ll try to listen to music, watch movies, write a post and read books. With the 1st three items, I don’t have a problem I get to listen to music in a minimum of 10 hours a day, I try to watch a movie at least once a week and I write 5 blog posts on the average in a month.  And my worst among these media is reading. I don’t really like reading long articles may it be an email, news; name it I won’t probably read it.

But my recent travel paved the way for me to finish a book. It made me realize what I was missing. There’s a different kind joy about reading not to mention that it’s fulfilling, too. You’ll get to improve your vocabulary and learn new words as well. Aside from that, what I really love with reading is the power of the mind to travel and imagine the situation with no limits. It’ll bring you to places and traverse a world where everything is possible.

Anyway, let me  go back to the book that I’ve read it was Neil Gaiman’s Coraline. I first saw the movie by Henry Selick and I loved it. My friend Erna lent me her book so I could appreciate Gaiman’s novel. At first, I wasn’t really sure if there’s a need for me to read that aside from the reasons I stated above. I just find it a waste of time since I was able to see the movie and it was animated so I thought there wouldn’t be any difference. Since it is animation all I thought was there wouldn’t be any alterations with the novel because there’s no casting constraint and everything is more controllable unlike if it was made as real deal movie. But I was mistaken.

There were things in the movie but weren’t part of the book like Wybie, Wybie’s grandmother and the doll. And vice versa, there were things in the book but weren’t captured in the movie like when Coraline went to the store by herself and bought limeade and apples when her parents were kidnapped. Another is when Coraline got a box of chocolates in the theatre where Spink and Forcible performed. Lastly, when the Other Father was punished for revealing too much information and Coraline found him locked in the cellar and ends up attacking her.

Now let’s go to the story and why I liked it. The movie can be best summarized by its tagline “Be careful of what you wish for”. The story was about Coraline’s longing for a Stepford-like family, a world near to being perfect. Where her mother could cook a real meal and her father could take a time off his work and find time for his family. Doesn’t sound too much for me, in fact, I think everyone would actually want that. But in the story, Coraline’s boredom led her to discover a different parallel world in which there is an Other Mother and Other Father who are tailored-fit images of what she wants but there was something unusual with the almost perfect world, her other parents have buttons for their eyes.

For me, what the story was trying to tell me was to be satisfied with what you have. There’s no such thing as a perfect family and world. To quote Coraline from the book, “What kind of fun would it be if I just got whatever I wanted?” I don’t see the point in living and aspiring for perfection aside from the fact that it doesn’t exist, it’s actually boring. You wouldn’t appreciate happiness when you haven’t been lonely. There’s a purpose for everything. The pain, the negative things in our lives, the imperfection, it gives a whole different meaning to happiness, joy and fulfillment. It makes these things meaningful and it gives true value to life.

Yes, it’s best if you get the things that you want when you want it but when you do, the notch gets higher and higher. There’s no stopping to human’s desire. It has no end, it’s limitless, and it’s never satisfied. To which I go back to my main point again, life isn’t about being happy when everything is perfect, it’s about deciding to see life beyond the imperfections.

Coraline is a disturbing and haunting movie for kids, the book is more horrific. Gaiman is a genius and Selick was able to give justice to his work. I’m posting a YouTube link of the trailer. If you’ll have a chance to watch the movie, I strongly suggest that you read the book, too or vice versa.



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My latest read is the Book of Laughter and Forgetting by Milan Kundera.  My first read from him is the Unbearable Lightness of Being and despite of major confusion caused by the alternately changing set-up of place and characters considering that there are just four major parts.  I got lost with his style but still managed to buy two more of his works when sheer luck brought me on book sale and, I’ve decided to buy and give it a try again so I can overcome my disappointment.

 

Milan Kundera’s style in writing is romantic but (at least based on my observation) will always have something to do with politics.  I guess because during his time was a war era with full of injustice and struggle for peace.

 

Anyway, this post is about the Book of Laughter and Forgetting.  The first quote that really struck me is this, “The struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting.”  After having read that, I immediately called my friend and we had a 10 minute conversation with that one line.  The line is such a very simple saying but it’s very wise words to be uttered.  At least based on my opinion, he’s saying that the hunger of men for power and the memory to be forgotten are inevitable.  Funny thing is most politicians are hungry for power and most of our voters are having problems with their memories.

 

You see in the Philippines doing something wrong and being in a public service wouldn’t be impossible thing.  I guess I have to blame our ever forgiving hearts.  I don’t really want to talk about politics.  It is one of the reasons why I don’t read the newspapers.  Ironically, I have always been fascinated with history and as a subject in the school it is one of my strongest subjects.  But, dealing with the current issues and events is really something.  I refuse to listen and be active on such matters.

 

But that’s just one quote here’s another, “We must never allow the future to be weighed down by memory. For children have no past, and that is the whole secret of the magical innocence of their smiles.”  This is the part that I really liked from the book.  It has lines that are so simple yet when you try to analyze and share it with others, you feel that there’s a lot from where you’re getting it.

 

Basically, the book is trying to tell its reader that we should not be stopped by our memories.  Funny thing is it’s like it’s telling me that I shouldn’t be amazed or feel disgusted with how forgiving our hearts as Filipinos when we try to vote.  Yes, some politicians do commit mistakes and they still win and take office.  Maybe, what it’s trying to tell us is to give people a chance at the very least.  Redemption is something that we should give to people especially if they are really sincere.

 

You see today, while I am writing this, I just realized that this book is really something that I can relate to especially right now.  Aside from the fact that I’d like to forget something and laugh it off, I guess I need to be reminded of the fact there are some memories we have that we need to let go of to see and be where we need to be.

 

This may sound a little deep and I can’t even believe I’m writing this. Haha!

 

Lastly, Milan also would like us to know that when people die it’s not the future that we lose but on the contrary it is the past that we are losing.  It is where “the struggle of memory against forgetting” makes sense. 

 

What he’s trying to say is that we shouldn’t put too much worry on losing our future but we should try more to leave a legacy so we can be remembered.  So when we leave our imprints behind and the people we know are all gone, our memories will go against forgetting.

I love books. I have always dreamed of having a library of my own. Whenever I have free or waiting time, going to the bookstore is an effective killing time for me. But I have one problem, I’m a slow reader actually and I hate it…it’ll take me thousand years to finish a book. Well, one reason is I am a television addict, and I am more of a couch potato than a book buff.

But one of these days, I’d sit back and relax and I’d find my way back to an equal attention between the two medium.

“Sacrifice is part of life. It’s supposed to be. It’s not something to regret. It’s something to aspire to.”

Anyway, this quote is what I’ve loved from “The Five People You Meet in Heaven” by Mitch Albom (writer of Tuesdays with Morrie) and this was mentioned on his second person. I was really struck by his words on sacrifice.

Why? You might wonder why, maybe this is because of (like him) I have made an unintentional sacrifice in the past. And again, I quote from his work… “Sacrifice … You made one, I made one. But you were angry over yours. You kept thinking about what you lost.”

Yeah, this is so true, and the truth is I have blamed myself for losing someone. I have kept something inside of me for a long time for the fear of losing him. I have no intentions at all to tell him. But, someone did it for me and being the person that I am, I made the ultimate sacrifice of confirming the harsh truth. And in the process, I have lost him. And that’s the thing… sometimes, we sacrifice and in the process we lose something precious. I have cried, I have fallen and I regained consciousness and stood up. I was furious with the situation, I felt depressed and devastated. I was desperate…became bitter…I kept too focused on what I’ve lost. Forgetting and neglecting that it’s not worth the effort. Before I know it, I’m already losing myself in the long run.

And then finally, I told myself that I have a life to live and I better pick up the pieces before it can get worse. But still I can’t discount the fact that I should thank him for making me happy. For those days that he has showered joy and color in my barren days, I have to say, he has made my imperfect world perfectly fine. And I have to thank him, too for making it easy for me to let go.

Mitch says that we shouldn’t think of sacrifice as losing something… we should instead put it in this way… “You’re passing it on to someone else”

I have awakened… given up… stood up and finally I have moved on…

 

 

 

 

I have just recently finished reading a book lent to me by a friend.  It is entitled Happiness Now by Andrew Matthews.  This book is an easy-to-read, inspiring and eye-opening book.  When you look at its website, it says that this is for the busy people.  It is about balancing relationships, finding career success, prosperity and peace of mind.

 

Ever since, I’ve been a very jolly person.  For me, life is too serious and I don’t have to take it seriously.  I just hate to be someone who acts like it is the end of the world when they have problems.  I don’t worry about it too much because I believe that God wouldn’t give us problems that we can’t handle.  Aside from that, I also think that there are always positive things around that we can actually enjoy. 

 

I can even recall year 2002, I had a serious talk with my friend, and he asked me if I can have three things in life what would it be?  That time, I easily answered him that I want to find love.  That came really easy because he was the one and I want to be with him.  Ha-ha!  Too bad he is too insensitive that time.  Then, I told him that the second thing is happiness.  I have always believed that when you are happy, you are successful in your own right.  You don’t expect too much, you are satisfied in everything.  I don’t need to have a big mansion, own millions of cash and drive a luxurious car.

 

And if you want to be happy, you just have to be happy.  It is that easy.  Happiness is a state of mind.  And six years after that, I do still accept it as true today.

 

I just want to share with you the part of the book that I truly see myself to.  It is under the chapter, “One Day at a Time”.  The topic was Laughter it is said there, “Life is not that serious.  We should take humor more seriously!” 

 

I laughed and realized that like Andrew I totally agreed on this matter.

 

He even wrote this,

All kinds of wonderful thing happen when you laugh …

  • Your lung capacity expands, improving respiration and oxygen consumption
  • Your immune systems is activated – so you can better fight infection
  • Endorphins – your body’s natural painkillers – are released into your brain, decreasing stress.

Laughter not only reduces physical pain.  It reduces mental pain!

 

This is a short, fun to read book, so if you have time to go the bookstore, go get and grab yourself a copy.  It is a very practical thing to read and I can assure you, you’d end up happier after reading it.

 

Remember, anyone can be happy.  You just have to embrace it!