Dang, teaching is always harder than it looks and sounds. That being said, I love and hate every moment of it. I can now wholeheartedly say that I empathize with those who say they have a love-hate relationship with their job. ANYWAY. More on that once I get my new camera (savings are at 1/3, yay!)
In my downtime, I found that what relaxes me most these days is not Internet, Facebook and all that jazz, but my first love – reading. It’s amazing how, once you’ve gone to know, love and discover the joy in reading, you never ever seem to break the habit. I’m eternally grateful for the people who surrounded me with good books since I was small. This is mind, I’ll definitely ingrain in my children the good habit of reading books of substance.
Anyway, how did we get to talking about children? Off to ze books.
The first one I read was My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult:
It has a lot of alternate covers: this was the one I found in my dad’s library, given by someone who hadn’t bothered to finish the book. If you read the blurb at the back, it somehow warns you that it’s gonna be heavy reading:
“Anna is not sick, but she might as well be. By age thirteen, she has undergone countless surgeries, transfusions, and shots so that her older sister, Kate, can somehow fight the leukemia that has plagued her since childhood. The product of preimplantation genetic diagnosis, Anna was conceived as a bone marrow match for Kate–a life and a role that she has never challenged…until now. Like most teenagers, Anna is beginning to question who she truly is. But unlike most teenagers, she has always been defined in terms of her sister–and so Anna makes a decision that for most would be unthinkable, a decision that will tear her family apart and have perhaps fatal consequences for the sister she loves.
“My Sister’s Keeper” examines what it means to be a good parent, a good sister, a good person. Is it morally correct to do whatever it takes to save a child’s life, even if that means infringing upon the rights of another? Is it worth trying to discover who you really are, if that quest makes you like yourself less? Should you follow your own heart, or let others lead you? Once again, in “My Sister’s Keeper, ” Jodi Picoult tackles a controversial real-life subject with grace, wisdom, and sensitivity.”
Dayum. This actually shied me off from the book for a few days, but I did come back for it after a few days. What happened was I found myself in an engrossing read, and not just into some story crafted with fantasy good-to-be-true elements fiction. The story, happenings, emotions and struggles discussed here are real, which touched me. Leukemia and other similar diseases who take their toll not only on the person but also on the family always seemed so distant from me, but reading this book made me feel that I was so much more aware of their actual situations. I felt like I could sympathize properly with how these people really felt, because this book made me feel their pain.
Hats off to Jodi Picoult! She told the story masterfully through the point of views of the different characters, without losing the story as a whole. And without giving anything away – bam, the ending just struck me speechless, as in holding the book still and plain gaping.
So that was it, I finished the book, and… while doing Google Search for the book’s photo, I came upon this:
I knew the title sounded familiar. I saw this poster when it first came out – and realized that the book was not only from a few years ago, but was actually a best-seller. Now that’s a first for me – reading a best-seller and loving it without knowing its fame! 😀
Off to another one: Ghost Heart by Cecilia Samartin.
If I were to base it from Google Search, this book isn’t as popular as the previous one. I myself haven’t heard of anything about it until, again, I spotted it in my dad’s library.
It has an alternate cover with more pictures, but this is the one I had. Here’s the blurb, for starters:
“It is 1955 and two cousins, Nora and Alicia, are growing up in Cuba, where the sea is a beguiling turquoise and at night the lights glitter like stars along Havana’s shoreline. But revolutionary storm clouds are gathering, and as Fidel Castro comes to power, banks are closed, religion outlawed, and food shortages begin. Nora and her family emigrate to California; Alicia and hers stay behind.
But Nora has left her heart in Cuba with her cousin. As the years pass and she becomes a woman, Alicia writes of her marriage to Tony, the birth of her daughter, and the terrible privations ordinary Cubans are suffering.
When Tony is arrested for anti-revolutionary behaviour, and Alicia and her daughter’s survival becomes increasingly hand-to-mouth, Nora knows she must leave her privileged life in America and return to help them. But Cuba, and Alicia’s life as a single parent, is like nothing she has ever imagined…”
Sounds truly novel-y, no? I was bored and in need of a new story, so I grabbed this one. I can’t rave so much about this, except say that it contains a lot of elements that kept me interested in previous works of fiction I’ve read: lively description, gripping conflict, and inordinary solution. The climax was maybe a bit too inordinary, but hey, that’s fiction, so I’ll give it that. Haha!
In my opinion, while it’s not masterfully written, it’s definitely a good read, especially for those times when all you want to do is read a book. The front part can get monotonous if you’re impatient with building up the story and all that jazz, but the middle part definitely got me hooked up until the end. Hooked, that I squinted through the dark, dim lights of Pueblo por la Playa just to finish it. Insane!
While these aren’t mainstream nor “indie” books, it doesn’t matter. I believe a person isn’t as much defined by the books s/he reads, whether by choice or by accident, but by what s/he does with what she learns from the book. There’s something to be learned from every book, whether it’s written specially to provoke our thinking or written just for light reading. I don’t like the idea of judging books just because they got famous, or that they’re so unknown they get that “indie” vibe. What do you know, I’m reading The Hunger Games right now 🙂 and while I don’t need to write a review for it because there’ll probably be millions of them better by now, I do think that my having watched the movie before actually helps enhance the experience of reading this book. 🙂
So that’s another thing to think about! Does watching a movie based on a best-seller before reading it help or not? Or do we stick to the traditional idea of reading the book first?