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    This one made me weepy this morning. Girl finds out her bestfriend and roommate -- a 160-lb English Mastiff has terminal bone cancer and only has a few months to live. So armed with a bucket list of adventures she would like to share with her dog, they go off on canoe rides, road trips, visits to both busy spots and quiet spaces and, finally, spend a last day together by the ocean in Maine, where she finally finds peace and acceptance. This is real love, people.


    I still keep a journal despite having a blog. No matter how spill-all-my-guts-out open I may seem, there are many things I do and think that I'll just never tell. I've always thought it kept me sane to be able to express myself without fear of being censored or criticized. Whenever I pick up an old journal, even one from my 13-year-old self I realize that as much as I've changed so much is still the same. I just know how to dodge bullets faster and better. From: HUFFPOST Healthy Living, 01/20/15


    Which is why I've decided to keep this blog around, at least for a little while longer. I've always picked up a pen (or sat in front of a keyboard) any time I needed to make sense of my world; writing allows me to get into my head and get all my thoughts out without having to worry about how ridiculous I sound (that's where the editing comes in). From: The New York Times, 01/19/15
    This was lovely. The post is by a novelist who was asked how to encourage a young writer. It sounds eerily like the story of my life -- now all I need is to keep reading and keep writing (and, okay, start submitting). From: M Molly Backes' blog, 07/12/11


    Every day at work I see all kinds of female bodies: athletic, boyish, curvy, voluptuous, natural, enhanced, preteen, post-baby, postmenopausal -- thousands of different bodies I've seen up close and personal in my lifetime. This infographic shows that the description of the ideal female body changes every decade or so, going back hundreds of years. I hope that soon we define the "perfect" body as one that is simply healthy and functioning; that what matters is that we're comfortable in our own skin. From: Greatist, 01/15/15



    Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet
    The Normal Bar: Where Does Your Relationship Fall?
    All is Forgotten, Nothing is Lost
    Gun Dealers' Daughter: A Novel: A Novel
    Crazy Rich Asians
    The Undomestic Goddess
    The Geography of Bliss: One Grump's Search for the Happiest Places in the World

    Gigi's favorite books »
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November 01, 2005



Ah, Gigi, you've struck a nerve - this is a subject close to my heart. My mom says I began to read at age 2 (memorize more like), and I know I've never stopped. My only vice is books - I must have over a thousand by now, and I have kept many from my childhood and read them over and over again. People wonder why we do that - it's to relive the memories they evoke of the emotions felt you first read them. I have too many favorites to mention, but the first books I remember being my favorites are "The Wizard of Oz" and "Alice in Wonderland". I can wax rhapsodic over many, many books and authors, but the ones with the most staying power are those I read from the ages of 7 to 15, foremost among which is Tolkien (I read LOTR at age 9 in Grade 5 and I can remember Antipolo as my background).

I remember once my mom punished me for some infraction by taking my books away for a month or so. My rage and defiance were such that I simply started buying duplicate copies of the books, and when she realized her punishment didn't work she just returned them all. I don't remember what she tried as a substitute punishment - I had my books back and that was all that mattered. Even you can remember how my nose was always buried in a book, as my yearbook blurb will attest.

Funny though, I don't remember my parents reading to me, at least not often. I think I learned to read so early they never had to, or else I just have no memory of it. Now my daughter is showing signs of loving books too, and I just hope both my kids learn to love them as much as I do. I have so many to bequeath to them, and I have learned so much from them!

My tastes haven't changed all that much over the years - I still buy children's and young teen's books, and wish many had been around when I was a kid. So many books, so little time!

If you ever remember the title of your 3 monks story, let me know - I'd like to read it too, seeing the impression it made on you!


Wow Gigi, reading is also one of my earliest cherished memories as well. My grandfather (who was my father figure) read the newspapers everyday for as long as I could remember. Hope you don;t mind if I make a spin-off blog entry about this.


About a year ago, my sister asked me if I remember my parents ever reading to us. I never really gave this much thought til she asked. And of course, the answer was no. I learned to read at school. And I learned quickly. I remember the teacher making a big deal that I could read "big words" like butterfly or any word in a college book. I didn't see why. I mean I remember wondering why the rest couldn't and would limit themselves to short words like cat, duck.. I know it sounds mayabang but I really wondered what the big deal was. Since my books were limited then, I still remember all the images. I wish my mom had kept them well. Last week she was spring-cleaning and asked if she could throw them all away. I said, "No way! That's our childhood right there." The books were all rotten, torn, eaten but I refuse to let them go.

Later on, I remember my favorite reading material (for lack of them) was our 20-volume Merit Encyclopedia circa '73. I used to underline (in pencil) the topics I was interested in.

Enjoyed reading this post.


I was never a lover of books when I was still a student. All I read were the required materials given by the teachers.

But when I graduated from college, my mind somehow searched for new knowledge. And only reading could satisfy that.

I'm glad that no matter how late it dawned on me, I still learned the value of knowledge thru reading. My book collection has visibly caight up since then.

I just hope that if and when I have a child of my own, he or she learns to love reading very early on. And I guess parents can readily influence kids on this matter.


That was great Gigi. I remember you always loved Bookstar. My parents never read to me. Mom doesn't read well as english is not her first language. Now I read to them given my dad's vision is bad. I actually like reading to them even though it maybe a website about internment or just the mail. Funny, I think I'm going to enjoy ready to my future kids one day. And I'll remember your story when I get tired or cranky and save my best reading voice for them.


I remember you and Anna as being such bookworms! I like to read, too, but you two can run circles around me with a book in each finger (hayan ha, I didn't say on top of your heads).

So, how did you learn how to read? My family and I taught my daughter how to read thru phonics and our very own abakada system. She caught on fairly quick and started reading at age 2, which amazed my relatives. I think this helped her immensely in school since she has always been in honors classes. In high school, she participated in the honors and interbaccalaureate programs. She had prescribed reading requirements thru summer and winter breaks and had to read like crazy during schooltime, much more like college coursework. I remember lamenting once that she never read enough. Without a word, she gave me her reading list and pointed to all her books, saying, "Is that not enough for you, Mom?"

Interestingly, one of the books in her list was "Makes Me Wanna Holler" which I readily urged her to read. She was a freshman, and a third into the book, she commented that she couldn't believe that I made her read the book. She had just finished reading about a gang rape scene. I told her that, given the ages of the kids involved in the gang rape, it was important for her to know what goes on in the world. After all, I have never intended for her to grow up sheltered from the nasties of the world.

When she was in grade school, about 4th grade, I bought her "Anna Karenina", a book that I couldn't put down when I was her age. It bored her to death, but she kept reading anyway, especially after I told her that it becomes interesting eventually. The first comment she made, which made me laugh, was, "Wow! They're all related!!" I never thought of things that way, having grown up in Manila where everyone is related, even though no one remembers how (my cousin once joked that a distant relation was simply a neighbor). As she kept reading the book, eventually, the sniffles and tears came out, as I expected they would. Later, when she had to read "War and Peace" for school, she noticed that it was written by the same author and so was not surprised at how slow the book started out.

Like Anna, I have always loved books for children and teens. But I most love fairy tales, Filipino alamats and stuff. Then, when I had to read tons and tons of stuff for work, it was difficult reading at home. That was when I got addicted to brainless romances. I think Anna got me started on those. :-) So please, help me get out of those now!

But Gigi, I'm still waiting to read one of your books!!!


Wow, I haven't seen a blog this good since whenever. A storyteller and a programmer. Pin@y Blog of the Month!!!!


i'm tempted to say i hate people like you...but the truth is i just really envy you for your love of reading...about as much as i envy your talent for writing.

just in case there's any confusion, this is my attempt at paying you a compliment. :-)


love, love books. =) i'm not surprised that you learned to read early!

one of my favorite quotes from my lit professor in college is that you can spot a bookworm at a beach if he or she is reading a book. =D


One of my favorite topics in the world, READING. I love reading just as much as you do. It's actually a passion for me. Growing up, I remember trying to read even though the lights were out. Either I had a flashlight underneath a blanket or a candle burning on top of a coffee table just so I could read without waking up the other people in the house. My Aunts and Uncles are actually surprised I have such a good vision. They thought all my reading in dark days would affect my eyesight but it hasn't to which I'm very thankful for.

I try to read a book at least every two weeks. If I get sidetracked from the daily grinds I chastise myself. Reading is just as important as eating for me :).


Haha, I remember reading with a flashlight under my blanket too, as well as in fading light and shadows! I'm still amazed that I'm the only one in my family with 20/20 vision still, and I dread the day when old age takes its toll on my eyes. God was good to me and bestowed the gift where it was most appreciated.

My sister is an English teacher at Ateneo, and she used to teach English in Assumption High School. I used to help her correct her students' papers and in one of her writing assignments, I caught many instances of plagiarism that she missed. Just her students' misfortune I read so much!


Yey, I have yet to read Anna Karenina or War and Peace. One of these days, I hope to get around to it, especially now that you recommend it. In high school the heavy stuff I read was Ayn Rand's Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, though my favorite Rand was We the Living. I also attempted to dig into Shakespeare on my own - that was a struggle! I appreciate Shakespeare more now that I have actually seen some plays and movies, his language becomes easier to understand and is more beautiful when it's spoken! Also got into Leon Uris a lot in those days, particularly Exodus and QB VII. I don't like Dickens to this day, he used too many words to say a simple thing (there are many authors like that), and Hemingway is just not my style. Could never get into Salinger either. My favorites of the classics are Hardy (Tess of the d'Urbervilles), Austen (Pride and Prejudice) and Hawthorne (Scarlet Letter). I'm embarrassed at how few of the classics I've read.

And hey, I've enjoyed romances - I prefer those that aren't brainless, though I have read my share of brain-relaxing stories, they're a good way to unwind. Patricia Potter, Christina Dodd, Diana Gabaldon, Nora Roberts, Susan Wiggs - yes, I read them too and even recommend them.

But my favorites to this day are the mysteries (Anne Perry, Elizabeth Peters, John Sandford, Michael Connelly, Thomas H. Cook, Laura Joh Rowland, J.D.Robb [aka Nora Roberts], Jan Burke, J.A. Jance, Mary Stewart, etc.) and sci-fi/fantasy (Sharon Shinn, Katherine Kurtz, Mercedes Lackey, Tolkien and Asimov of course, Elizabeth Moon, Anne McCaffrey, Alan Dean Foster, Juliet Marillier, Jack Whyte, Raymond Feist, Jane Lindskold, David Weber, Steve Perry, Laurell Hamilton, etc, etc, etc). I wish I had more people share those with, it seems only we geeks really enjoy them. (And yes, I am a Trekker.) You really ought to try a few....

Sorry for going on and on like this, but like Dexie, books are a PASSION!


Hi all!
I'm not surprised most of you love to read -- I'll risk overgeneralizing and say that writers love to read. And since bloggers write...:)

Anna - Oh I've been trying to remember the title of that book. I'll know it when I see it -- but the problem is I suspect it's out of print, so it's going to be one of those lifetime searches. :( And yay, you said "trekker" and not "trekkie"!

Cathy - No problem! I'd love to read what you have to say about your love of reading and books, after all.

Chiqui - I'm so glad you also loved to read the encyclopedia; some folks used to say I was weird because my goal was to read all volumes of Encyclopedia Brittanica cover to cover (I never made it :( ).

Kulotski - You're so right. Many of my friends with young children read to them often and buy them books to "read" -- I've noticed through the years how that bonding experience resulted in an early love of books and reading. Still, it's never too late -- as you well know. :)

Gary - I'm really so touched you remember how I used to love Bookstar (because I had that discount card hehe). Anyway, I know that even your normal voice will make any book come alive. :)

Yey - I think one of the best things you did for C was to encourage her to read. No wonder she always excelled in her classes. Plus she's a smart cookie to begin with.:)

TatangRetong - Thanks so much for the kind words :) But the truth is I'm horribly low-tech, I can't even figure out how to play video games!

BlueEagle - Thanks for the -- ahem -- compliment. I think. :)

Sarah - My bestfriend would probably jump in and say you'd never see me at a beach. Truth is if you did, I'd be sitting in a hut or anywhere under the shade -- yep, reading.

Dexie - My husband always gets on my case for reading in the dark. I don't want to keep him up, and I usually stay up late reading (esp. if I can't put the book down). So I try to do so with as little light on as possible.


I was blog hopping when I stumbled upon your blog. First let me wipe my drool off...I was so impressed with your composition, I forgot to close my Anyway, I tried to search for that book, Three Monks, via Google, of course. And, if I'm not mistaken that could be Three Monks, No Water by Ting-xing Ye--a children's book. Try this link


How cute this story is!

Gigi, I'm a nincompoop when it comes to math because when I was in grade school, I'd spend my time reading and reading and reading till I fall asleep ... and often leave my math assignments undone. But how I wish I had the same "punishment" that they gave you. :)


lovely entry. reminded me of how much I too suck at Math, and my childhood Enid Blyton and Francine Pascal days. =)


So many bookworms... errr book-lovers here! Sige na nga, ako na rin... haha... love books but haven't been reading as much as I did when I was still in school - I guess I've realised early on that pocketbooks are far more interesting than text books.

Never liked romance novels, but fascinated with reads like Beowulf and works of Chaucer. Likes stuff like The Little Prince, and The Velveteen Rabbit.

But... but... YEY, Leo Tolstoy's works are a killer!... I nod off at every second page reading The Death of Ivan Ilyich.

Just sharing... :-) Hello Gigi!


Hi Morena - Thanks so much for your nice words and your search :) I saw that book you suggested during my hunt but unfortunately it wasn't it (sigh). The "No Water" book is based on a classic Chinese story, so I was hoping it was a retelling of "my" book -- kaya lang I don't remember a fire in my "Three Monks" book at all. :(

Hello bugsybee - Are you feeling better now? Anyway, I can't believe you're bad at math. If you could only hear my embarrassing math recitation stories, you'd think you were a genius compared to me!

Hi Reese - Enid Blyton! I've been feeling nostalgic for books I used to read when I was really young...and Blyton was one of my all-time favorites. Anyway, thanks for stopping by (and BTW I'm a CBTL --Coffee Bean -- addict too; have you ever tried a Pure Vanilla blended with cherries? Yumm!). :)

Hi Jovs - After reading all the comments thus far, I wouldn't be surprised if all of us formed a Book Club or something. It seems like more people are reading more now -- for instance, that new book on the Oprah list -- "Million Little Pieces" is completely sold out! I don't remember a time EVER when I couldn't find a bestseller anywhere.


Hi Gigi!
Whay a nice post you got here.
Happy week end!


Hi Jovs! Yup, I totally agree - Tolstoy's a killer! Just look at his books - someone always dies, hehehehe!!! But seriously, after "Anna Karenina", I could never get into any of his other books, even "War and Peace". I confessed this to my daughter after she finished reading "War and Peace" for school.

But she's had other interesting reads. One of the books she recommends to this day is the "Grapes of Wrath". One of her early years books, approximately during her first or second grade, is "It" by Dave Pelzer. It's the true story of the very worst child abuse case ever recorded here in the United States (although I've heard of worse cases in other countries). I gave her this book to read after she accused me of child abuse for making her do some chores. Needless to say, I've never heard complaints afterwards.


Yey, Dave Pelzer's was the third worst case of abuse in California history, and his story is a trilogy. The continuations to "A Child Called It" are "The Lost Boy" and "A Man Named Dave". I gave my copies to my sister. They are compelling stories.

His brother Richard Pelzer has also written his own account of abuse, "A Brother's Journey: Surviving a Childhood of Abuse", published Dec 2004. (I have yet to read it.)


I like what you said about reading being your first act of independence. It's almost so mundane a fact that we tend to overlook the truth in it, until someone points it out. Now I think it was mine too.

So hey, it's been a while. If I get this new recipe for baked chicken right, I'm going to do it again and invite you over, ok? :D


hi gigi :) my parents never read to me, but i did manage to read to my two older sons when they were small. i'm hoping that things will change soon in our lives that will allow me the time to read to my little girl as regularly as i did for her elder brothers. oh yes, and dads do have a way of redeeming themselves; mine does by calling me long distance whenever something goes wrong with his computer, he who had always wanted me to be something better than just a tinkerer :)


Hi Luchie - I hope you had a wonderful weekend too. :)

Hello Anna and Yey - I have two precariously high stacks of books I still need to read beside my bed. If you keep this up, I'll soon have three.

Hi Jet - It's our turn to have you over! Let's set a date before you guys get too busy. Baked chicken? Sabihin ko lang yan sa hubby, kakatok na siya sa pinto ninyo!

Hi Bambit - I suspect that even the few times you read to your daughter means the world to her. :) I know my dad (or mom) didn't read to me regularly or often -- and still, just knowing how he made me happy when he did still remains one of my happiest childhood memories.

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  • LISTEN: "Pluto" by Chamsom


    I don't have to understand Korean to love this song, although I think it's about a person who was in a rocky relationship that ended but still feels deeply for her former lover and is feeling lonely tonight. "You're like a little star that's far away from me and keeps disappearing." I suppose the title -- Pluto used to be known as the ninth planet from the sun but now isn't even considered one -- might provide a bit more context to the song's meaning. Spotify


    Immortal Perfumes is a Seattle-based micro-perfumery specializing in historically inspired, handmade perfumes. All perfume blends are original recipes made from a mix of jojoba, essential and fragrance oils. None of the oils used in this shop are derived from animals. Every bottle is handmade by JT Siems in her Seattle studio. I'm already in love with the fragrance inspired and named after Duchess Georgiana Cavendish. Notes: Black Tea, Lavender, Jasmine, Amber, Bergamot. Read her story here. #6mosnoshopping