My Bookcase

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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