My Bookcase

Trojan Odyssey

This is the first Dirk Pitt novel I’ve read in years. I may have mentioned that I grew up with books – my own, my dad’s, mom’s and even my brother’s. Even when I was in gradeschool and highschool, I remember reading books that my dad bought for himself. You see, with the exception of my chick lit purchases, most books here are common property – everyone reads them (I think my mom reads chick lit now too). My dad was a Clive Cussler/Dirk Pitt fan and to no surprise, the whole family got hooked.

The first time I paid attention to Dirk Pitt, if I remember correctly, was when we vacationed at Hidden Valley Springs (oh my God, it must have been when I was around 9 or 10 – we went there several times) and my brother rented a video – Raise the Titanic! It was the movie adaptation of the Dirk Pitt adventure. When we went home, I gave reading the thick novels a try and I found that I actually liked them.

So two weeks ago, I picked up Trojan Odyssey along with several other books at the small bookshop in our building. I was surprised to learn about Dirk’s grown kids! So apparently there’s at least one other Pitt novel out there that we haven’t read before (Valhalla Rising) because the appearance of Summer and Dirk Jr was a big surprise.

The book gave me my dose of adventure, world history and mythology. Sometimes I really think that I didn’t major in the right subject in college. Why didn’t I study literature or archeology or even art history? Okay, they wouldn’t have suited me either. Hehe.

It was very interesting to read about the battle of Troy and Odysseus’ trip home to Ithaca and learn of other theories behind what or where it really happened. It was amazing how Cussler was able to tie in that story with what Specter was really all about. Truly genius.

I recommend this novel to anyone looking for an adventure though if you don’t know Dirk Pitt yet, I would suggest starting with the other novels because you got to have read other Pitt novels for you to really appreciate the talk of retiring and even of settling down with Loren.

These novels really do a good job raising environmental awareness, specifically consciousness of marine life which I don’t think gets the attention it deserves in this country. I had a Lit class held at the Marine Science Institute building in campus (because there were no other rooms available elsewhere) and that was the closest I ever was to Marine Science. Maybe in another life I’d take up Marine Science or something.

Little Earthquakes


This was the book my darling little dog chewed on two weeks ago. Too bad because it’s definitely a book I’d like to keep and reread someday. Good thing I got it from the used bookshop but it was in such good condition that when I got it, I felt it was a steal for being in very good/brand new condition.

It’s about four mothers who found friends in each other – who drew strength from one another to survive their own little earthquakes.

Of course I identified with Becky, a big woman who was happy and sure of herself. She had a near-perfect husband, and she was doing something she loved for work. Of all four friends, she seemed to be the one who was on top of things, she brought the most laughs and made the most sensible decisions. Even her mini crisis wasn’t so dramatic though issues with a mother-in-law are definitely serious business too.

I am not her and my life isn’t nowhere near hers, but she could be a mom and wife I’d like to be when I grow up.

When I do get pregnant, I’ll read this book again, and brace myself for motherhood and all that a baby would bring into my life. Along with What to expect when you’re expecting, I think this should be a must for every expectant mother. Plain, practical, non-glorified view of having a newborn.

Along with Weiner’s Good in Bed, Little Earthquakes is definitely one of my favorite books of it’s genre. It’s one of my favorite books. Period.

In search of lost treasures…


We first read Berry’s The Templar Legacy. I liked the action and enjoyed the adventure; I felt like I traveled through Europe through that book. I know I wrote two posts about reading it.

I wouldn’t say The Amber Room is exactly like it, it’s probably less complicated and less mysterious. But it is, nevertheless, also about looking for treasures long thought to have been lost. The difference here though is that there’s no shaking truth to be learned in the end. No beliefs to be shattered.

Disappointingly, it wasn’t the page-turner I had anticipated it to be though it did have it’s fair share of action. Christian Knoll came out more like a horny pig in the end than the calculated thief-killer that he was being played out to be at the beginning. I also couldn’t help but wish there was a different ending for Suzanne Danzer. She could have been so much more; and there was show of some remorse for the killing she had had to do in her life. I really thought she and Knoll would band together in the end.

What happened to the Cutlers was quite predictable, I mean, it was written all over. There was no clarity there though, in terms of why they had split up in the first place.

Their relationship made me think about my own relationships, specifically how having too much differences could be really hard on two people. In the past, boyfriend and I would speak harshly to each other – just as Rachel sometimes does to Paul – and then regret having said anything. I used to think that was more of Alfred’s problem, that he was the one who could really say hurtful things when he’s mad. He’s changed a lot after all these years and I do see his effort in restraining himself from saying anything he would regret. I remember saying in the past that we can’t take back words we’ve already uttered, even after saying sorry or being forgiven. The cut stays. I remind myself today not to make that mistake because I know I can be hurtful too.

Running from the Law

Those who have known me for awhile, specially those who have visited us at home (here at 19th street, back at Fairview, and especially back at our old house in the Seminary) would know how widely read my family and I are. Between all four of us, we own or have purchased hundreds of books through the years. In the last 5 years or so, second-hand or previously owned books have also graced our doors.

There is a small second-hand bookshop at The Loop, located at the ground floor of our office building and I’ve spent a lot of time there since it opened late last year. I passed by the bookshop twice last week, and ended up purchasing several books on each visit. There was one by Clive Cussler – a Dirk Pitt novel that managed to slip by my dad; a Scottoline that I knew my mom (and I) would enjoy; a Steve Berry novel that would also interest us all; a chic lit novel by Weiner that I’ve also been wanting to purchase but didn’t want to get at full price. And there were more.

From all the books I’ve bought recently, I’ve finished Lisa Scottoline’s Running from the Law. It probably isn’t her best work, certainly not the most memorable one that I’ve read by her, but it was a good read. It’s a lawyer/crime novel but it doesn’t get you feeling like you want to become one, unlike others in the same genre. It did nor reawaken my dreams of becoming a lawyer myself, certainly not. I guess what sets Running apart is that it focused more on the conflicts that the heroine was going through during that very important case of her career.

I guess what didn’t make it memorable was the author’s seeming conservatism in terms of letting us into the girl’s psyche. Readers will know there was something wrong, but never really why it had gone wrong. It left a lot to one’s imagination, which isn’t necessarily bad. There wasn’t much mystery in the court case, but there were lots in the protagonist’s personal life. There were questions left hanging, but maybe it was only so because I wasn’t totally into the book while I was reading it?

What’s all the mystery behind the Rita Morrone’s mother? How did LeVonne end up in Vito’s employ? What was the source of Rita’s commitment issues, was it simply because Paul wasn’t really the one for her? Okay, so that’s not a lot of questions, but that’s where I was left hanging.

Overall, it was well worth reading. At a stressful time in my life, it was the perfect novel – not too complicated, easy to digest.

The Color Purple

This book was one of several books I purchased months ago at this small used bookshop in our office building. I knew it tackled controversial, and emotional themes. It isn’t something you’d choose if you wanted light reading.

I picked it up last week to keep me company as I waited in line at the doctor’s clinic.

The language it is written in is definitely something you’d have to get used to, but not at all difficult to understand. I find myself at times reading it aloud because it sounds better, and it makes it easier to feel the words that way.

Reading The Color Purple is like eavesdropping in to a person’s conversations with God. It’s an insight to Celie-the main character’s soul.

It speaks of an awakening, a realization really, of what God means to one person. For all her life, Celie wrote letters to God until she realizes that maybe, she hadn’t known Him in a way that would make her appreciate her life and everything around her. And then finally, after a lifetime of abuse and another lifetime of being in a dark, she woke up and noticed the color purple, and everything else that was screaming for her attention.

We’ve all been told to stop and smell the flowers, right? Well, I think the book is trying to tell us that too, while it tells of a woman’s story of triumph over enormous adversity. It’s trying to remind me of how to appreciate God’s work in every little thing. When we live our lives in a way that makes us truly happy, we honor God. When we appreciate nature, and nurture what we can, we care for God’s work.

But, more importantly, it is about who a woman is.

All her life, Celie thought one thing of where a woman’s place is – at home, cleaning for the man, lying under the man, taking care of the kids, working at home and in farming. There were other women in her lives that did other things she woudn’t even have dared think about. To a certain extent, she envied them, and then she learned to admire them, to love them. She had to take a long journey to actually find herself, and build up herself. It took a long time, but she learned to live and get by, with the help of her beloved girlfriends.

There’s another theme there – about how meanness and doubt and disbelief could kill. Maybe that’s why the terminally ill people have peace, because they know they’re dying and they set out to make peace. It ends up giving them a better quality to their remaining life, doesn’t it? We should all learn from that. The world would probably be more pleasant if we just learned to own up to our fuck ups, confessed to our sins, and asked for forgiveness from the people we hurt.

It’s also about not knowing love, and finding love. Of falling in love, and then getting hurt. Then acceptance, and letting go.

Family is a central theme too – the family you are born into, and the family you build around you.

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