Connect the Dots o Kung Paano Ko Kinulayan ang Aking Buhay ni Genaro Gojo R. Cruz

Connect the Dots o Kung Paano Ko Kinulayan ang Aking BuhayConnect the Dots o Kung Paano Ko Kinulayan ang Aking Buhay by Genaro R. Gojo Cruz

Format: Paperback, 295 pages
Published by Anvil Publishing, Inc.
Read on September 15, 2014
My rating: ★★★★

Netong mga nakaraang taon bilang isang mambabasa ay nakahiligan kong magbasa ng mga memoir mga awtor, lalo na ng mga Pilipinong manunulat. Labis talaga akong humahanga sa mga Pilipinong manunulat, nakaka-inspire ang kanilang mga tagumpay at mga naabot sa buhay; ngunit sa pagbabasa ng kanilang memoirs ay napagtatanto kong tunay na tao rin nga pala sila, na bago maabot ang mga tagumpay ay marami munang naranasang pagsubok at hamon.

Ang Connect the Dots o Kung Paano Ko Kinulayaan ang Aking Buhay ay koleksyon ng mga sanaysay ni Genero R. Gojo Cruz tungkol sa kanyang buhay. Karamihan dito ay mga alaala ng kanyang pagkabata, ngunit mayroon ding mga sanaysay tungkol sa kanyang maraming pagsusumikap upang makapagtapos sa pag-aaral. Bata pa lamang siya ay hindi na madali ang kanyang pinagdaanan sa buhay—nanggaling sa isang broken family, “bunsong napayabayaan”, nagsumikap na mapag-aral ang sarili mula elementarya hanggang kolehiyo, namulat sa kahirapan ng buhay—ngunit hindi naging hadlang ang mga bagay na ito sa pag -abot ng kanyang mga pangarap. Nakatutuwa rin na hindi naging dahilan ang kanyang mga hindi magagandang karanasan upang magalit sa mundo, bagkus ay nakita nya ang mga ito sa positibong paraan upang mas mapagbuti pa ang sarili at ang kalagayaan sa buhay.

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Kilala si Sir Gener sa pagsusulat ng mga kwentong-pambata, at nakapag-uwi na rin ng mga bigating parangal dahil sa mga ito. Naisip ko, marahil ay kaya siya naging magaling sa pagsulat sa mga kwentong-pagbata ay dahil halos hindi nya naranasan ang pagkabata. Hindi naging ideyal ang mga pangyayari sa kanyang buhay, nakakalungkot ang ilan sa kanyang mga pinagdaanan, at maraming pagsubok ang kanyang hinarap. Ngunit ginamit nya ang mga ito upang lalo pang magpursige at magsumikap. Marami man sa mga hamon na hinarap nya ay makapagdudurog sa ibang tao, nakita nya pa rin ang sarili nya bilang buo at matatag. Malamang ay maraming mga masalimuot na karanasan ang kanyang balikan sa pagsusulat ng mga sanaysay na ito, ngunit nakatutuwa sigurong balikan ang mga hamon na napagtagumpayan mo na at mapagmalaki sa sarili na nakaya mo ang mga pagsubok na dumating sa buhay.

Bilang isang mag-aaral din ng PNU (katulad ni awtor ng aklat na ito) at humaharap din sa mabibigat na hamon ng buhay, nakaka-inspire talaga na magbasa ng mga ganitong klase ng libro. Lubos ang paghanga ko sa mga manunulat na Pinoy, at ang pagbabasa sa mga akda nila ang nagbibigay sa’kin ng inspirasyon. Mahilig talaga akong magbasa ng lokal man o banyagang aklat, ngunit isa sa mga dahilan kung bakit tinatangkilik ko ang mga Pilipinong manunulat ay dahil mas “malapit” sila sa ating buhay, mas “totoong” tao; ang mga karanasan at ang mga akda nila ay kahawig ng sarili nating karanasan. Sa kasalukuyan ang nakikita natin sila bilang matatagumpay sa kanilang larangan at hinahangan ng mga tao; ngunit nakakapukaw ng damdamin ang isipin na marami silang napagdaanan na kagaya ng sa atin, na hindi rin naging madali ang pagtahak nila sa tagumpay, na marami ring balakid ang hinarap nila sa pag-abot ng kanilang mga pangarap. Ngunit hindi sila nawalan ng pag-asa, hindi sumuko kahit pa animo’y puro “dilim” ang naranasan, nagsumikap hanggang makamtam ang liwanag sa buhay.

Ang mga akdang katulad nito ang nagbibigay sa’kin ng insipirasyon. Ang pagbabasa ay nagbibigay sa’kin ng pag-asa na kung nakaya nila, malamang ay kaya ko rin.

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#30daybookchallenge Day 3 – Your favorite series

(For some reason I wasn’t able to continue the 30-Day Book Challenge, so here I am resuming the meme)

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My favorite series is definitely the Harry Potter book series. Unlike most fans who had been hardcore fanatics since the book one, I actually disliked Harry Potter when I was a kid. Before, I had this thing of not joining the bandwagon of mainstream stuff; and Harry Potter was really popular. I even haven’t truly watched the films although it had been shown in free TV through the years because the cinematography was too dark for my taste.

However, I finally gave in to reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone three years ago; and boy, how I liked it! I liked it so much that I went on to read the whole series within just a month. I actually regretted not reading it earlier, and not having Harry Potter as part of my childhood. Now I understand why the fans are so into the whole HP franchise.

I’ve actually read a couple of book series; most of them were in YA genre. I really liked some of them as a whole. However, there are some instances when a particular book in the series didn’t appeal that much to me, or a certain book kinda ruined my perspective on the series. The Harry Potter series was different. It was able to sustain my interest and capture my fascination throughout the seven books.

J. K. Rowling was actually able to create a new universe through the books, and introduced characters who are immortalized in our hearts even though the HP book series (and HP films) have ended. She was a genius! The plots were so amazing. Reading through the books really triggered a lot of emotions from me. There was never a dull moment when I was reading them.

I actually read all the seven books as ebooks, so I’d really love to have the physical copies someday.

Disclaimer: The photo in this post is not mine. I just Google-d it.

#30daybookchallenge Day 2: A book that you’ve read 3 times

For the Day 2 of the 30-day Book Challenge, the prompt is a book that you’ve read 3 times. And that book is Stargirl by Jerry Spenelli.

This is actually the first Spenelli book that I’ve read, making the author really close to my heart that i started collecting his works (which are mostly books I find in the children’s lit section of Booksales). I rated this with ★★★★ stars in Goodreads

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I have already read Stargirl back in 2011 as an ebook. But when I spotted a really decent copy of the book at Booksale for only 70 pesos (and it almost looked new!), I decided to buy it and reread the book. When I first read it I hastily gave it a three-star rating, but now I realized that adding another star in my rating is more fitting for this wonderful book.

Self-named Stargirl exudes nonconformity amidst the sea of typicality at Mica High School. Students are practically the same and follow this unwritten convention on what comprises “normal”. But Stargirl is a free-spirited individual who doesn’t care about rules. She has a unique personality and childlike innocence that she didn’t even care when people are being rude to her when she was only showing them kindness.

The book was really an easy read which celebrates individuality. In order to be deemed as “cool”, we teenagers often try to fit in and blend with others. But really, why fit in when you could stand out? We always have our own differences, and it’s just a matter of embracing our individual eccentricities in order to discover our true selves.

#30DayBookChallenge Day 1: Best book you’ve read last year

30-Day Book Challenge Day 1: Best book you’ve read last year

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Boy, I really tried to limit this to a book or two, but I just can’t left out the others! 2013 is such an amazing #reading year because of these awesome books!

  • Walong Diwata ng Pagkahulog by Edgar Calabia Samar (@ecsamar)
    This book is both difficult and beautiful. I simply loved the prose of the novel no matter how dizzying it is! The unconventional, nonlinear story plot also added an amazing touch in the story. I fell in love with the fantastic characters (humans or not) too.
  • Life of Pi by Yann Martel
    This book started by claiming that reading this will make you believe in God. Although I don’t think it really came to that, the novel was still exquisite. I felt that I was immersed in the story and Pi’s whole ordeal as I was reading it. The plot twist also made a great impact on me, and I kept on thinking of it even weeks after I’ve finished the book.
  • The Fault in Our Stars by JohnGreen (@johngreenwritesbooks)
    Who wouldn’t love this John Green’s best-selling novel? I fell in love with Hazel and Gus’s story: slowly, then all at once. Finished the book within a day and I just had to reread it immediately after because it was so excellent. And yup, cried buckets of tears because of it. Damn cancer.
  • It’s A Mens World by Bebang Siy
    No it’s not a typo. It’s really a world of “mens”. A collection of essays, this book tackles the life of Miss Bebang as she grows up with her family, her struggles and challenges told in a humorous way. I could really relate with this book as I was reading this. I even made my sister and niece read it! I highly recommend this to everyone.

The Pinoy books were actually signed copies. I rated all of them with 5 stars. Go read them now, if you still haven’t. You won’t regret it!

#30DayBookChallenge: Challenge Accepted!

I know it’s not the start of the month yet, but I would be doing this 30-day Book Challenge.

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I’ve been actually wanting to do this meme for quite a time now, so I’m pretty excited to start this. I’m primarily hosting the book challenge at my Instagram account; but I would also be cross-posting my entries here in my book blog since it’s a book-related challenge, and also so that I could expound it a little bit more (I tend to write a lot even in my IG captions). It’s also a great way for me to post more in this blog, since I can’t write a lot of reviews lately.

When I scanned the challenge, there were some days that I think I would be posting multiple books for that particular entry simply because I have a lot of answers for the meme. Or maybe I might even repeat the books that I posted for different days (but I’d try not to). So anyway, I’m really excited for this. I hope I could justify this challenge haha!

The Perks of Book Blogging: Free copy of Janus Silang

Someone is a really happy kid. Just look at what was delivered to our doorstep last Friday afternoon!

Actually, I was not in the house when the package was delivered because I was still in my summer service program. But I asked about it as soon as I arrived, and boy how happy I was when I learned that the package came!

Janus Silang at Ang Tiyanak na Tabon by Edgar Calabia Samar. This is the first book in Janus Silang series and the first (I think) YA book of Adarna House, Inc. This is just the first book of the series, mind you.

Here’s a brief synopsis:

Sa tournament ng TALA Online sa bayan ng Balanga, namatay ang lahat ng manlalaro maliban kay Janus. Sunod-sunod pa ang naging kaso ng pagkamatay ng mga kabataan sa computer shops sai ba’t ibang panig ng bansa. Kinontak si Janus ng nagpakilalang Joey, isa rin umano sa mga nakaligtas sa paglalaro ng TALA na gaya niya. Hindi inasahan ni Janus ang mga matutuklasan niya mula rito na mag-uugnay sa kanya sa misteryo ng kinahuhumalingan niyang RPG—at sa alamat ng Tiyanak mula sa Tábon!

Thank you so much Adarna House for delivering this free copy for me and to Ate Biena for referring me to this. I’m really very excited to read this! And this is the second time that I received a free copy of a book because of my book blogging activities. Yay! Book blogging really has its awesome perks!

Anyway, there’s actually an ongoing blog tour this week to promote the book. Check the book tour schedule here. I wasn’t able to join the blog tour, unfortunately, but I love Sir Egay so much that I’m still promoting Janus Silang in my social media accounts. By the way, use the hashtag #JanusSilang, okay? 🙂 I’d be also reading it this week, so wait for my review in this blog.

By the way, there will be a book launch of Janus Silang book on May 10 at SM North, as well as book discussion with Pinoy Reads Pinoy Books (book club I’m a member of) on May 24. The author will appear on both events, so come and join us! It’ll be definitely fun! Janus Silang would be available in bookstores this May, but you could already add it in Goodreads.

This blog post is sponsored by Adarna House. Like them on Facebook, or follow them on Twitter @AdarnaHouse. You can also like the official Facebook page of the series at Janus Silang Series.

The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown

The Lost Symbol (Robert Langdon, #3)The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown

Format: Hardbound, 509 pages
ISBN: 0385504225 (ISBN13: 9780385504225)
Published September 15th 2009 by Doubleday
borrowed, favorite
Read from October 25 to November 02, 2012
Rating: ★★★★★

Notorious worldwide for blurring the line between fact and fiction, best-selling author Dan Brown continued the adventures of Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon in this third book. The novel centers about one of the oldest and most mysterious brotherhood—the Freemasonry, along with its many “secrets”—making The Lost Symbol an enthralling and gripping novel difficult to put down.

Da Vinci Code created quite a stir when the movie adaptation was shown in the Philippines (and around the world, I believe), being a Christian country dominated by Catholics. Meanwhile, I have read the Angels & Demons nearly two years ago, and I could say that it was one of the most engrossing novels I have ever read. I have not yet read the Da Vinci Code when I read The Lost Symbol though (but I’ve already read it now), but I have watched the DVC movie after reading A&D, and I pretty liked it (though I find some of the parts hard to understand, so I think it’s better if I could read it). Then, a friend let me borrow her hardbound copy of The Lost Symbol, and having had a good experience from Dan Brown’s A&D, I immediately immersed myself to it.

In Angels & Demons, Dan Brown explored the secret society of Illuminati. Da Vinci Code is an international sensation because of its plot about Jesus’ alleged romantic relationship with Mary Magdalene. This time, in The Lost Symbol, Dan Brown crafted another compelling story by divulging the fraternal organization of Freemasonry. Being an old and exclusive brotherhood, Freemasonry—in reality—has a lot of controversies in its name, followed by countless conspiracy theories.

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