Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Book Review: Signs of Life, David Jeremiah

"We need to freely dispense the same grace God has shown us."
~David Jeremiah

"Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity."
~1 Timothy 4:12

The Christian life that genuinely belongs to Christ will not only manifest itself inwardly, in the heart, but also outwardly, through the actions.  Signs of Life is designed as a 40 day reading plan which will encourage Christians to live the servant heart and reach out into the world that needs to experience His grace.  Each reading explicates a particular biblical wisdom and illustrates it in action by the use of anecdotes.  And at the end of each is a one sentence summary making the lesson easy to remember, a Bible verse that will corroborate the lesson, and an application question that will make the readers reflect.

I find this book very practical and timely.  It is quick to become indifferent in a culture that is bombarded by permissiveness, selfishness, materialism, greed, and lack of compassion.  This book is provoking one to go against the grain of what society teaches and live that quality of life that evidence's Christ round the clock, all year round, even on holidays ;)

Book: Dusty Shoes, Rolled-Up Sleeves, and other Signs of Life (Back to the Basics of Authentic Christianity)
Author: David Jeremiah
Number of pages: 276
Published by: Thomas Nelson
Price: PHP 600
Available at: OMF Lit book shops

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Jose Rizal on Convictions

Jose Rizal.  That man had convictions.  He advocated freedom through non-violence, encouraged his fellow citizens to love God, their parents, and their country, to be courageous and prudent, to have self-control and to be selfless.  His patriotism and convictions got him murdered by means of firing squad.  They might have succeed in killing him but what he stood up for one hundred and sixteen years ago still echoes today.

"A man ought to die for his duty and his convictions.  I maintain the ideas that I have expressed concerning the state and future of my country and gladly, I'll die for her, to obtain justice and tranquility for you.  I have always loved my poor country and I'm sure I shall love her until my last moment, should men prove unjust to me.  I shall die happy, satisfied with the thought that all I have suffered, my life, my loves, my joys, my everything, I have sacrificed for the love of her.  I wish to show those who deny us patriotism that we know how to die for our duty and conviction."
~Jose Rizal

Have you got convictions?  What are they?  Is it for the good or the bad?  Is it for love or spite?  Whatever you stand up for, be it in your private life or public will not only affect you but also those around you and those of the future generation yet unborn.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

A Book Review: The Diary of Anais Nin, Volume Three: 1939-1944

"Let him remain a poet and reveal magic coincidences and magic possibilities."
~Anais Nin

I first came upon Anais Nin while reading about Henry Miller.  She is best known for her unstructured bohemian lifestyle that was the life blood of her diaries.  As a diarist, she is very aware of herself in relation to her environment and those with whom she interacts.  She is decadent and affront.  She can be sympathizing but sometimes highfalutin.  In most of her pages she records her obsession for love which I find narcissistic and foolish that my eyes roll inadvertently all the way to the moon while reading.  Regardless, she's a good, though not great or awesome, writer.  She can bring color to her opinions on art, writing, and everydayness by means of poetic locutions.
"Proust and Dostoevsky are opposite poles in the study of love.  Proust studied its fragmentations, analyzed its disintegrations,  the malady of doubt and jealousy.  Dostoevsky studies the exaltations of instinct and impulses, the dangers of emotional passions.  In Proust duality, in Dostoevsky an effort to dissolve dualities and conflict by a Christian self-annihilation, lost of the self in the ecstacies of sacrifice.  In Proust disintegration of analysis.  In Dostoevsky through passionate instinctive blind impulses, masochism, the chaos of nature.  In Proust the tragedy of lucidity, in Dostoevsky the tragedy of blind emotions, obscurantism, mysticism, contradictions."
~Anais Nin
  September, 1941

Book: The Diary of Anais Nin, Volume 3: 1939-1944
Author: Anais Nin
Number of pages: 327
Published by: A Harvest Book (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc.)
Price: *
Available at: *
*I got this book via ebay.  I'm not sure if local bookstores in Manila got 'em.

Thursday, February 7, 2013


Sometimes life gets so tough.  The more painful it becomes the easier it is to forget about God.  It's much easier to throw in the towel and sulk and hate those who have caused worlds to crumble.  Pain alters its wounds to anger that fuels a hardened heart as an act of self-preservation.  But the Lord has loving ways to call those He loves back to Him.

So breathe now, He's got your back.
So forgive those that ripped your heart, He's your strength.
So live in love, He's the one to please.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Poetry: Robert Browning Hamilton

I walked a mile with Pleasure,
She chatted all the way;
But left me none the wiser
For all she had to say.

I walked a mile with Sorrow,
And ne'er a word said she;
But, oh!  The things I learned from her,
When sorrow walked with me.
~Robert Browning Hamilton

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Would You Read a Book that is Insanely Difficult?

"The Interpretation of Dasein in its everydayness, however, is not identical with the describing of some primitive stage of Dasein with which we can become acquainted empherically through the medium of anthropology: Everydayness does not coincide with primitiveness, but is rather a mode of Dasein's being, even when that Dasein is active in a highly differentiated culture - and precisely then."
~Martin Heidegger

Two months ago the search for the world's most difficult books came to an end.  The adventurous and brave reader will be dared to give them a try.  Click over to Publishers Weekly for the list.

When boredom strikes or when the mind needs some push, I love to be challenged.  It adds that spice in everyday that one needs once in a while.

This is why I picked up Heidegger's Being and Time.  I got this in 2009, about the same time as The Million started its quest for the most difficult books.

I've read, reread, and reread it over and over for more than the number my fingers and toes can count but I can never get past page 77 or part 1.  And each time I end up with more forehead wrinkles accompanied by a headache.

"The 'essence' [Wesen] of this entity lies in its "to be" [Zu-sein].  It's Being-what-it-is [Was-sein] (essentia) must, so far as we can speak of it at all, be conceived in terms of its Being (existentia)."

...See what I mean?
The book drives me crazy!
His intelligence is so demanding!
But those are some of the things that makes the world of reading fun.

Back to the question: Would you read a book that is insanely difficult?

Saturday, September 29, 2012

A Book Review: The Swan Thieves, by Elizabeth Kostova

"Marriages are like certain books, a story where you turn the last page and you think it's over, and then there's an epilogue, and after that you're inclined to go on wondering about the characters or imagining that their lives continue without you, dear reader.  Until you forget most of the book, you're stuck puzzling over what happened to them after you close it."
~ Elizabeth Kostova

This book is a detective story without the frills and thrills of a typical hollywood mystery or "it" novels.  Each chapter peels a thin layer after another slowly revealing the secrets of the plot and its characters.

My first impression upon reading the prologue is boredom.  But it was nothing of that.  As I continued to read, I became interested in the characters, what made them the way they are.

The first half of this book searches and finds answers on who Robert Oliver is.  The other half explores the mystery of his obsession.

As beautiful as the storyline is how the author wrote it.  She can bring to life the paintings she pictures and the settings she puts her characters in.  She introduces her characters with such skill that readers will understand their insights, feelings, melancholy, and mania.

Overall, this book is timeless.  Might even be a classic.  I would compare the beauty of this book to the quiet morning breeze.  It will take patience to read through it but satisfaction comes in following their stories until the very last page, until the very last word.

I know Kostova's first book, The Historian, is about vampires.  I am repulsed by books that depend on vampires or the paranormal to make it interesting.  But after reading her writing in The Swan Thieves I think I will someday be giving The Historian a try.

Book: The Swan Thieves
Author: Elizabeth Kostova
Number of pages: 607
Published by: Sphere
Price: PHP 299
Available at: Fully Booked

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