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

Saturday, September 22, 2012

It's the Weekend!

Dearest Readers,

Friday!  Friday!  Friday!  Yesterday was a Friday.  That day of the week always excites me because the day after it means I can forget, for two days, about the office and all of its pressures and challenges.

Saturdays for me amounts to doing the laundry and tidying up the living space for the first part of the day.  And be lazy and read for the next half of it.  What joy!

While I was doing the cleaning this adorable dog is doing what she does best:
being cute!

Currently reading...
I'm half way through "The Swan Thieves".
Book review coming soon.

thinking about a post for the other blog...
Looks like I may be out of ideas for now :(

and a reward or two...
For a healthy digestion ;)

How about you dear reader, how do you spend your weekend?

Saturday, September 15, 2012

A Book Review: Holiness Day by Day, by Jerry Bridges

"The Holy Spirit's work in transforming us more and more into the likeness of Christ is called sanctification.  Our involvement and cooperation with Him in His work is what I call the pursuit of holiness.  That expression is taken from Hebrews 12:14: 'Strive for [literally pursue]... the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.'

...the pursuit of holiness must be anchored in the grace of God; otherwise it is doomed to failure."
~Jerry Bridges

I'm not a big fan of devotionals but I absolutely love this one.  It's a gem of encouragement for everyday to live in a way that pleases God.  It contains tidbits, but chunky ones, from different books by Bridges' such as Transforming Grace, The Pursuit of Holiness, The Gospel for Real Life, The Discipline of Grace, Respectable Sins, and The Fruitful Life.

While reading this it is hard to not examine my own heart, to see it in its fallen bankrupt state and to see what it has become through God's grace found in Christ.  Jesus paid the price for us to be able to live in the way that delights Him.  Ain't that just wonderful?

Bridges' love for God is so catching you will be heartened to begin a journey with Jesus or to continue in the journey of pursuing holiness.

Book: Holiness Day by Day: Transformational Thoughts for your Spiritual Journey
Author: Jerry Bridges
Publisher: OMF Literature Inc.
Price: PHP 250
Available at: OMF Lit book shops

Monday, September 10, 2012

Inspiration Dior: Coffee Table Inspiration

I rarely buy coffee table books because they tend to be more expensive than the regular good ol' book.  This book is one of the few I have.

Inspiration Dior.  I got a glimpse of this magnificent exhibit held at the Pushkin Museum though a newsletter in which when the link was clicked it took the viewer through a breathtaking 3D interactive tour of the exhibit.  For those who can't be in Russia at that time, the virtual tour was the next best thing.  And so is this book.

This book chronicles the evolution of the House of Dior: the fashion, silhouettes, and inspirations, the perfume bottles, bags, and jewelry.  It also tells us a little bit about Mr. Dior and how a small cast-iron shaped into a star spurred him on to his legacy.

Dior paved the way for femininity to once again take over over the masculinity that enveloped women's fashion.  And until the current time that house keeps on redefining the feminine to be more relevant in today and tomorrow's masculine and androgynous mainstream.

Overall, this huge book is packed with photographs of Dior's best dresses and gowns that rocked their time. It is expensive and I cannot say if it is worth the price but those looking for fashion inspiration will enjoy this visual feast.

Book:  Inspiration Dior
Pages:  327 (including captions and acknowledgements)
Publisher:  Abrams
Price:  PHP 5,625
Available at:  Fully Booked (check for availability)

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Author: Antonia Fraser

"Fraser brings a completely sure hand to everything she writes.  A lot of historians have a flair and panache but in the end it turns out that it wasn't 1810 it was 1812...  You never have that with Antonia Fraser.  When she says Marie Antoinette wore green you know that she wore green."
~Amanda Foreman (Quote Source: The Guardian)

Photo Source: Wikipedia
Lady Antonia Fraser, the eldest daughter of the 7th Earl and Countess of Longford, has a colorful life as those who she writes about.  She got married, had children, wrote several very good books, almost got killed by an IRA carbomb, got divorced, got married again, and went on to write even more very good books.

She is said to have promoted history into what it has become today: interesting and accessible.

I have read several books by Antonia Fraser, Marie Antoinette being the first.  Her books aren't my favorite but I got to say they are the ones that got me into reading biographies.  The information she gives her readers are tremendous and accurate.  She can give you information on what Mary Queen of Scots had for dinner while sailing from France to Scotland.  She writes intellectually, which, I find enjoyable to read.   Her heart for her historical subjects make her extremely sympathetic and much biased.  But maybe those are some of the things that make her books stand out.

Have you read any historical biographies by Antonia Fraser?

Sunday, September 2, 2012

A Book Review: House, by Frank Peretti and Ted Dekker

A collaboration between two of today's best thriller writers: Frank Peretti and Ted Dekker.

The result is...

...a really. scary. book.  I'm a bona-fide scaredy-cat, so, I don't know if other readers will be as creeped out as I was.

House is a story that follows 7 characters trapped inside a haunted house who are forced to play a game imposed by the serial killer, Barsidious White.  While they play along they will have to kill one in their group if they want to get out of the house alive.  As the game progresses they each will face their own fears and the darkness of their hearts.

The reader is taken through twists and turns until you can see the characters for who they really are.

Overall, this book, though creepy, is a lightweight and very good read.  The symbolisms the authors entwined throughout the plot is remarkable.

Book: House
Author: Frank Peretti and Ted Dekker
Number of pages: 372
Published by: Thomas Nelson
Price: PHP 550

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