- The Giver Series - The first installment, The Giver, just absolutely killed me. Gathering Blue and Messenger were equally riveting reads but Jonas is by far my favorite protagonist of the three. I haven’t read Son, the last book yet, though
- The Harry Potter Series - Order of the Phoenix and The Deathly Hallows. Even if Sirius, my favorite character gets killed off on the 5th, it’s still the book that weighed the heaviest for me. As for the 7th, I don’t think anyone else finishes a series as seamlessly as JK. She tied off all the loose ends without making it seem rushed or forced. She wasn’t too keen on spelling everything out for the readers either; some of the elements in the series she left unsolved, for the readers to ponder on
- Percy Jackson Series - Percy Jackson and the Olympians: the Battle of the Labyrinth, just for Calypso’s bit. I’m in love with that part of the story. The Heroes of Olympus: The Lost Hero. Leo killed it in the Lost Hero. Son of Neptune was okay, I adore Percy more than Jason, but the Lost Hero was more action-filled, the characters more engaging, and did I mention Leo was amazing here? Haha
- Twisted Series - The Twisted Menace because that’s the first one I read off the series and I remember laughing my butt off at the school library (I eventually lost that book from the library and ended up replacing it. When I became a teacher in that same school I planned on stealing it haha) What Jessica Zafra does to me
- The Giver trilogy
- The Harry Potter Series
- The Percy Jackson Series
- Twisted Series
Considering I have a very short attention span, it’s something when I read a book thrice. I don’t know why I get drawn to children’s fantasy themes, but I must have read the Harry Potter series about 10 times (who hasn’t?). The Percy Jackson series I think I’ve gone over three-four times, except the Kane installments because Egyptian mythology confuses me.
I’m planning to rape my Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns copies (I’m on my second round of reading them) until I shed tears no more for Hassan and Amir and Mariam and Laila, but I doubt it’ll ever happen.
If you’re an introvert, you also know that the bias against quiet can cause deep psychic pain. As a child you might have overheard your parents apologize for your shyness. Or at school you might have been prodded to come “out of your shell”— that noxious expression which fails to appreciate that some animals naturally carry shelter everywhere they go, and some humans are just the same.
Hurt people hurt people. That’s how pain patterns gets passed on, generation after generation after generation. Break the chain today. Meet anger with sympathy, contempt with compassion, cruelty with kindness. Greet grimaces with smiles. Forgive and forget about finding fault. Love is the weapon of the future.
10 Great Quotes from Francis Chan
We say things like, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” and “Trust in the Lord with all your heart.” Then we live and plan like we don’t believe God even exists. We try to set our lives up so everything will be fine even if God doesn’t come through. But true faith means holding nothing back. It means putting every hope in God’s fidelity to His promises.
Our greatest fear as individuals and as a church should not be of failure but of succeeding at things in life that don’t really matter.
If life were stable, I’d never need God’s help. Since it’s not, I reach out for Him regularly. I am thankful for the unknowns and that I don’t have control, because it makes me run to God.
We are consumed by safety. Obsessed with it, actually. Now, I’m not saying it is wrong to pray for God’s protection, but I am questioning how we’ve made safety our highest priority. We’ve elevated safety to the neglect of whatever God’s best is, whatever would bring God the most glory, or whatever would accomplish His purposes in our lives and in the world.
Christians today like to play it safe. We want to put ourselves in situations where we are safe “even if there is no God.” But if we truly desire to please God, we cannot live that way. We have to do things that cost us during our life on earth but will be more than worth it in eternity.
To be brutally honest, it doesn’t really matter what place you find yourself in right now. Your part is to bring Him glory—whether eating a sandwich on a lunch break, drinking coffee at 12:04 a.m. so you can stay awake to study, or watching your four-month-old take a nap. The point of your life is to point to Him. Whatever you are doing, God wants to be glorified, because this whole thing is His. It is His movie, His world, His gift.
This is the God we serve, the God who knew us before He made us. The God who promises to remain with us and rescue us. The God who loves us and longs for us to love Him back.
God has allowed hard things in your life so you can show the world that your God is great and that knowing Him brings peace and joy, even when life is hard.
A friend of mine once said that Christians are like manure: spread them out and they help everything grow better, but keep them in one big pile and they stink horribly.
It is easy to become disillusioned with the circumstances of our lives compared to others’. But in the presence of God, He gives us a deeper peace and joy that transcends it all.
You deserve someone who loves you with every single beat of his heart, someone who thinks about you constantly, someone who spends every minute of every day just wondering what you’re doing, where you are, who you’re with, and if you’re OK. You need someone who can help you reach your dreams and protect you from your fears. You need someone who will treat you with respect, love every part of you, especially your flaws. You should be with someone who could make you happy, really happy, dancing on air happy.
—Love, Rosie, Cecilia Ahern (via spacesxmargins)
John Green has shown a lot of promise. The Fault in our Stars was okay. Not bad, but it wasn’t great, either. Just okay. And as a writer, you never settle for “just okay”.
But it looks like he’s been doing it a long time. TFIOS was the latest book he has published. His first books were even more painful to read.
And I don’t mean the painful, gripping, heart-wrenching kind.
Case in point (# 1): An Abundance of Katherines.
It took me three months to finish this. I never read a book that long, unless it’s something really boring. And this book was just that, every bit of it. It was a struggle. I kept waiting for the book’s big left hook, that which will keep me wanting to turn the page, but it never came. Instead all it gave me were empty flirtings between obviously-manufactured-boy-genius Colin and quintessential pop kid Lindsey, and hollow and unfunny punchlines delivered by the sarcastic (the annoying kind) sidekick Hassan. I felt like I wasted 215 pages, 3 months, and P400 on the kind of material you wiped your ass with. It was THAT bad.
There was a slight moment of almost-brilliance when all things came unfolding and we all found out about the cheating and the drama and I was like, “Now we’re talking”, but I guess Green specializes in anticlimaxes, because after that one page of climax was nothing. Nothing. If the goal of the book was to underwhelm its readers, then congratulations, you’ve succeeded.
My friends said I should read Looking for Alaska because it’s better than Fault and Abundance. Hence—
Case in point (#2): Looking For Alaska
I don’t know if I’m prejudiced against Green or the book was really just as bad as the rest of them, but I really did not enjoy it. There, glad I got that out on the first paragraph.
I think the problem with this (as with Abundance and Fault) is it ignores the fact that his readers are from 12 years old up. Green’s books are slightly based on his life, his experiences, just exaggerated versions. His readers must be able to relate to his characters. In a society where we encourage teenagers to be themselves, to be unique, what the hell are we trying to do making them identify with rigid stereotypes? Why do we need to show them that nerds and geeks are losers and get dumped 19 times and get duct-taped and mummified on their first day in school? That’s hardly encouraging.
It’s also irritating that his characters are damn too smart for their age. I’ve said it before with TFIOS. Colin’s probably a special case since he’s a child prodigy. But Alaska and Pudge and the Colonel and all that talk about Buddhism and the “labyrinth of suffering” is kind of pretentious to me.
These books are required reading in some schools in the US. Imagine reading about blowjobs and smoking and drinking and random acts of promiscuity in 10th grade English class. Someone once said that there are times when you should write for yourself and not for the public, but I guess this is not one of those times. Especially when you’re targeting young adults. This is not to say that we should shield teenagers from the big bad world that awaits them and make them live in a pretend environment of rainbows and butterflies, but I don’t think it’s right that we should shove it to their faces just as well.
At the end of the day, John Green is a businessman. The Young Adult genre is the in thing nowadays, just as Chick Lit was in the early 2000s and the Vampire-Werewolf-Fairie-Angels-Shadowhunters-Tikbalang genre was in vogue in the late 2000s. He wants to sell copies. If he’s lucky, he’ll get all of his books signed on to become movies (and he seems to be very fortunate in that aspect). He has a following online called nerdfighters, for crissakes. Would it still matter if he wrote crap? He’s rich. It’s all good.
My best friend’s wedding. But unlike the movie, there was no drama. No Cameron Diaz getting married to the best friend, No Julia Roberts kissing the groom. Just a maid of honor seeing off her best friend of 14 years live her dream.
And what a dream it was.
We have known each other since practically kindergarten, been with her through every milestone of her life.Very few people stick with friends from childhood, because let’s face it, we change, we fall out, we make new friends. But Emma and I were not like that. We’ve seen each other through habulang taya to baby fat, to boys, to four graduations. We’ve fought at school and got both our parents called by the teacher to discuss our scuffle. We even joined a pageant together (where she won the title and I was runner-up—give us a break, it was kindergarten). I’ve seen her fall in love with photography and tennis and food and Jesus Christ.
I was there when she didn’t think she’d ever get married because the proverbial Mr. Right hasn’t darkened her doorstep yet. She was not worried—Emma was never the type who worried, her friends actually do the worrying for her because she couldn’t be bothered haha—but she didn’t expect THE guy to show up anytime soon. She was young and successful and living her life after all.
She has always been funny, with her laugh that could migrate a flock of birds, but I don’t think I’ve seen her laugh so much than whenever she was with Myk. They are such a joy to see together, their happiness so contagious that you always want to be with them. The day she walked down the aisle was the happiest I have ever seen her—and that’s saying a lot, I’ve known her for almost two decades after all.
It wasn’t grand, though everybody looked elegant in Grecian attire and the food (THE FOOD!!) was heavenly, but the wedding was the kind that stuck to you even after long. Maybe it was the funny AVP (where Ems and Myk were interviewed separately and gave different answers on when they met haha) or the vows (where Myk crafted a creative poem, and where Emma promised to listen to Myk’s stories, “kahit paulit-ulit na sha”), or the kiss, or just seeing Emma comfortable and content beside the man she once thought would never arrive. What I loved most about the day was when Emma kissed and hugged one of her brothers, Dan, and whispered, “I love you”. I will always see her that way.
Here’s to Emma and Myk. To love that waits. To love that gives. And to a future of little Emmas and Myks, playing habulang taya with little Nicoles.
Thank you for making us believe again. :)