Book Review: Me Before You

I stumbled upon this book one evening while peaking at photos in Instagram.  One photo captured my attention – teary-eyed Lovi Poe holding a book by Jojo Moyes.  I was intrigued with the photo and with the caption that the actress finished reading the novel despite her busy schedule.  It must have been a really nice novel!  So, I gave it a try.

Photo grabbed from Lovi Poe's instagram post

Photo grabbed from Lovi Poe’s instagram post

As a self-confessed bookworm, I immediately took a plunge and didn’t even bother to read the synopsis or any blurb written about the novel.

At the start, I thought that it is just a typical rich-man-meets-poor-girl story.  It was a bit boring at some point.  Too boring that it took me more than two weeks to finish reading it.  Or, blame my #AuthorProject!  (Yes, I’m publishing my own book soon!  More stories about it on my upcoming blogs!).  🙂

Eventually, I find reading the novel enjoyable that I often have extended comfort room usage to read a few pages of the book.  (Ssssshhhh!  Don’t tell my toddler!)

The characters of Will Traynor, Lou Clark, Treena, and Mrs. Traynor are unforgettable!  Each of them has a story to tell.

I didn’t cry a bucket of tears after reading the novel.  But it gave me a new learning.   I guess more than the emotions, my key take-away in reading books is the additional knowledge that I gain.

In the novel “Me Before You,” I learned about the “Dignitas” – an advocacy group based in Switzerland with a mission to “Live in Dignity, Die in Dignity.”  “Dignitas” is know for being an assisted-suicide facility when I researched online.  But as I dig for information online, they have also done various ways on counseling members and on preventing suicide attempts.

I guess it’s not the love story that made the novel heartbreaking, it’s the story (#hugot) that inspired the novel.  It’s so sad that while we stress over trivial things, a small population is contemplating on whether to go to Dignitas or not.  It’s just so heartbreaking.

But, I guess life is a matter of perspective.  It’s a blessing if you wish to see it as a blessing, and it is a curse if you feel trapped in it.

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Seeing life as a blessing,
Mumay

 

My Favorite Childhood Book

Day 12.  My favorite childhood book is not your typical fairytale and knight-in-shining armor kind of book that bemuse young adults about the topic of love and happily ever after.

20150804_125402Mine was a book entitled, “Missing Pieces” which I think I scored from a book sale.  It proudly survived three home transfers since I bought it 20 years ago and is kept safely on our bookshelf.  I only read it once but I can still remember one important life lesson it gave me:  Endings are closures;  It doesn’t “always” have to end happily.

It was great to travel and witness Jessie’s adventures and misadventures as she trace her roots.  It’s saddening how Jessie, abandoned as a child, endured the heart-breaking search for her father only to cowardly withdraw when she’s an arm away from her search.

The book's synopsis

The book’s synopsis

I was still a tween when I read the book and I could still remember how heartbreaking the journey was.

I know that when I read it again today, I will be reading it from a perspective of a matured woman and I know that the emotions will be different this time.  As a mom, it’s disheartening for me to witness any child to be abandoned by a parent to feel too coward to face rejection as he/she grows old.

Here’s a synopsis of the book in case you want to get a glimpse of the story.

I guess my favorite part of the book is the last part when Jessie promised to herself that when the day comes that she’ll be given a chance to speak to her father, she would say, “I just want you to know I’m related to you.  I just want you to know this is who I am, and this is how I turned out.”

Enjoy reading and learning,
Mumay

Fight the Good Fight!

In the past, I never write something about a book unless I’m already done reading it.  Though, I seldom (almost never) read synopsis of books I choose to read, I’m not comfortable recommending or ranting about a certain book unless I’m done reading up to its last pages.

The Pilgrimage

Yet, I consider Paulo Coelho’s The Pilgrimage as an exception.  I’m not yet even half-way through with the novel, but I have gained so much bits of wisdom already.  One of which is just so apt for what I’m feeling right now.  Here it goes:

“The good fights is the one that’s fought in the name of our dreams.

When we’re young and our dreams first explode inside us

with all of their force, we are very courageous,

but we haven’t yet learned how to fight.

With great effort, we learn how to fight, but by then we no longer

have the courage to go into combat.

So we turn against ourselves and do battle within.

We become our own worst enemy.

We say that our dreams were childish, or too difficult to realize,

or the result of our not having known enough about life.

We kill our dreams because we are afraid to fight the good fight.”

 

Though I’m not a very religious person and I’m growing tired of Paulo Coelho’s writing (Oooopppssss!  Am I supposed to say that?), I feel committed into finishing this novel.  Who knows what additional words of wisdom I will stumble upon reading this.

 

Fighting the good fight,
Mumay

Book Review: The First Phone Call from Heaven

first phone call

The First Phone Call from Heaven is the latest novel written by the American best-selling author Mitch Albom.  I have read most of Mitch Albom’s novels (Tuesdays with Morrie, The Five People You Meet in Heaven, For One More Day, Have a Little Faith, and The Time Keeper) and made reviews of them on this blog.

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This recent novel tells a story of a small town in Lake Michigan that is getting worldwide attention when its residents claimed to be receiving phone calls from the afterlife – from their loved ones who passed away.  While everyone is so engrossed as to who received the first call, how it is to be in heaven, and how these phone calls have changed the beliefs or strengthen the faith of churchgoers, a grief-stricken Sully Harding is determined to find out the truth behind this greatest miracle (or massive hoax).

The First Phone Call from Heaven may not be one of my favorites among Mitch Albom’s novels because I find the ending a bit predictable.  Nevertheless, I wouldn’t forget my favorite quote on this book which I think came from Sully Harding, “You have to start over. That’s what they say. But life is not a board game, and losing a loved one is never really “starting over.” More like “continuing without.”   Indeed, it is true.  How many times do we always tell those who lost their loved ones either thru death or thru other circumstances that “they have to be strong and start over?”  I guess, nobody is strong enough to admitted the fact that we can still continue and move on even after a loss.

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From National Bookstore’s Facebook page (Photo taken during Mitch Albom’s book signing in Manila)

Overall, the book is amazingly inspiring and heartwarming, but not my favorite.  J

Inspired and happy,
Mumay

Book Review: And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini

goodreads

And the Mountains Echoed is a novel written by Afghan-American author Khaled Hosseini.  It was published in 2013 and won the Goodreads Choice the same year it was published, which made me so curious about this novel.  This is the third novel of Khaled who has also written best-selling novels such as The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns.

This novel is one of the best books I have read so far.  I admire how Khaled intertwined the lives of the many characters in the story.  It was like watching a primetime telenovela or a TV series that you would gratefully indulge on watching.  The book gave me mixed emotions – love, hatred, happiness, sadness, delight and disappointment.  I admire Khaled in successfully writing untold stories of the poor families in Afghanistan and the war that even made their lives worse through Saboor, an impoverished farmer from the fictional village in Afghanistan.

Though the story did not end like a typical fairytale happy ending stories, I couldn’t think of any better ending than how Khaled brilliantly wrote it.  I wish I could describe how well Khaled ended the novel but I don’t want to give away any spoiler on this review.

If there’s one thing I learned after reading the book it is to: “Never hesitate to love someone unconditionally whether that person is a sibling, a parent, an employer, or a neighbor.  It doesn’t matter.  If one chooses to love, there should be no hesitation, no boundaries and  no fear even if he/she cannot love you back.”

Loving unconditionally,
Mumay

mountains echoed

Book Review: Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg

Finally!  I was able to blog again after more than a month of indulging into blogging hiatus.  Admittedly, I was too lazy writing these past weeks because I am too busy reading.  I read a couple of books which is the reason why most of my upcoming blogs, starting with this actually, will be more of book reviews.

Lean-In-Inspiring-Empowering-and-Why-You-Should-Read-It

The book Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg was introduced to me by a very good friend whom I also consider a mentor.  She’s a former-officemate-turned-friend whom I still keep in touch from time to time.  During one of her visits in our office, she told me to read this book that empowers and encourages women to lead, inspire, and pursue rewarding careers. I read this book during one of those “20-minute of insane courage” stages in my life.

The author, Sheryl Sandberg is Facebook’s COO, who despite many job offers to be a CEO accepted to work for someone who is decades younger than her.  The stories Sheryl shared in this book is very inspiring making me want to work for Facebook at a certain point in my life.  🙂 The book is like a generous store of many bits of inspiring messages and quotes that will encourage anyone (men and women alike) to remain positive and motivated despite of many challenges they encounter.  Here are some of those inspiring messages I found in this book:

lean in

Photo by Fotolia

On leadership:
“Leadership is about making others better as a result of your presence and making sure that impact lasts in your absence.”
(Harvard Business School definition of leadership)”

On finding a mentor:
“We need to stop telling [women], “Get a mentor and you will excel.” Instead, we need to tell them, “Excel and you will get a mentor.”

On courage:
“If you’re offered a seat on a rocket ship, you don’t ask what seat. You just get on.”

On women liberation:
“In the future, there will be no female leaders. There will just be leaders.”

On finding a lifetime partner:
“When looking for a life partner, my advice to women is date all of them: the bad boys, the cool boys, the commitment-phobic boys, the crazy boys. But do not marry them. The things that make the bad boys sexy do not make them good husbands. When it comes time to settle down, find someone who wants an equal partner. Someone who thinks women should be smart, opinionated and ambitious. Someone who values fairness and expects or, even better, wants to do his share in the home. These men exist and, trust me, over time, nothing is sexier.”

Proud to be an empowered woman,
Mumay

Ways on How to Love your Job, Revealed!

Bored? Demotivated?  Used? Abused?  Do you currently use these words to describe your situation when asked about your work?

Are you torn between leaving your current job and staying just for employment stability purposes?  Do you feel like losing your self-esteem because you feel that you don’t get much credit from your work as much as your boss capitalizes on your outputs to get a better raise and a promotion?  Do you feel that your needs are being set aside by your company and that your superiors are only after having you get the job done no matter what the cost?

Admittedly, there are moments in my life that I entertain negative thoughts like this.  However, these thoughts are so powerful that they creep in to my soul causing me sickness, disappointments, and further trouble.  I feel blessed that I stumbled upon this book written by the best-selling author of inspirational and self-help books.  The book “You can heal your life” really did its amazing job in healing my life.  It’s like a best friend, a confidante, and an adviser that you can bring along with you wherever you go.

You-Can-Heal-Your-Life

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Here’s an excerpt from the book where Louise Hay talked about “Work.”

“I am deeply fulfilled by all that I do.”

Wouldn’t you love to have the above affirmation be true for you?  Perhaps you have been limiting yourself by thinking some of these thoughts:

I can’t stand this job.

I hate my boss.

I don’t earn enough money.

They don’t appreciate me at work.

I can’t get along with the people at work.

I don’t know that I want to do.

This is negative, defensive thinking.  What kind of good position do you think this will get you?  It is approaching the subject form the wrong end.

work affirmation

Photo by Fotolia

If you are in a job you don’t care for, if you want to change your position, if you are having problems at work, or if you are out of work, the best way to handle it is this:

Begin by blessing your current position with love.  Realize that this is only a stepping stone on your pathway.  You are where you are because of your own thinking patterns.  If “they” are not treating you the way you would like to be treated, then there is a pattern in your consciousness that is attracting such behavior.   So, in your mind, look around your current job or the job you had last, and being to bless everything with love – the building, the elevators, or stairs, the rooms, the furniture, and equipment, the people you work for and the people you work with – and each and every customer.

Begin to affirm for yourself that, “I always work for the most wonderful bosses.”  “My boss always treats me with respect and courtesy,” and, “My boss is generous and easy to work for.”  This will carry forward with you all your life, and if you become a boss, then you be like that, too.

If you want to leave your job, then begin to affirm that you release your current job with love to the next person who will be delighted to have it.

Know that there are people out there looking for exactly what you have to offer, and that you are being brought together on the checkerboard of life even now.

If there is someone at work who bother you, again bless them with love every time you think of them.  In each and every one of us is every single quality.  If this person is critical, begin to affirm that he or she is loving and full or praise.  If he or she is grouchy, affirm that this person is cheerful and fun to be around.  If he or she is cruel, affirm that this person is gentle and compassionate.  If you see only good qualities in this person, then that is what he or she has to show to you, no matter what behavior is displayed toward others.

Louise Hay

Photo by Fotolia

If you like your job but feel you are not getting paid enough, then begin to bless your current salary with love.  Expressing gratitude for what we already have enables it to grow.  Affirm that you are now opening your consciousness to a greater prosperity and that part of that prosperity is an increased salary.  Affirm that you deserve a raise, not for negative reasons, but because you are a great asset to the company and the owners want to share their profits with you.  Always do the best you can on the job, for then, the Universe will know that you are ready to be lifted out of where you are to the next and even better place.

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Having read Louise Hay’s book, I am reminded to be more grateful with my blessings, more generous in sharing what I have – my talents, my earnings, and even my love and compassion, and more positive with my perspective about life, relationships, money and career.

 

Healing my life,
Mumay