The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood - The Handmaids Tale

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood deviates from a society standard of writing that will (hopefully) haunt and awaken its readers.

Had I read The Handmaid’s Tale in my teens or early adulthood, I would have been deeply disturbed. Such genre called “speculative fiction” as Atwood classifies it, is an unthinkable read in those days. Fast forward to 2017, when the likes of Westworld, The Game of Thrones, The Hunger Games, etc. reflect on today’s society and allude to a dystopian future if we lose our moral sensibilities… It is terrifying and continues to leave us the question, “What have we learned after all these years?”

Or if today one simply shrugs and continues with life unruffled by inhumanities… Sadly, they have not ceased to exist. Are they becoming normal? Have we become desensitized? Has compassion become selective?

Indeed, what have we become?

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© rooks 2017

The Fate of the Furious (2017)

The Fate of the Furious

My cruising thoughts on The Fate of the Furious (FF8). Read at your own disposal as it may contain spoilers.

1. The opening race is one hell of an idea.
2. If you think 7 is emotional, go and see 8.
3. The choreography and hustle of car stunts keep this franchise fresh and new.
4. After the alleged death of Letty in 4 and her surprising sighting in the mid-credits of 5, no twist amazes me that much anymore. With 8, the appearance and cameo role of an English legend is one of my pleasant spins.
5. 2 English men and 2 English women with their accent is music to my ears.
6. There is no tough guy in front of a mother scolding him like a child.
7. Family even in the oddest of situations will always be first.
8. Action with some funny dialogues blend together.
9. Saying grace before meals never get old. It brings a family together.
10. 2 sexy women hackers sizzle.
11. A woman villain with no man boss is kick ass.
12. FF as a growing family is exciting.
13. A 9 definitely looms.

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© rooks 2017

The Little Prince and The Single Rose

The Little Prince and The Single Rose

While the earth shook one night last week, I happen to be privately chatting with a friend through social media. We were randomly talking about artists, books, and everything in between. Unexpectedly, she asked me what my favorite book of all time is. As a book lover, several titles and authors came into mind. But a simple yet life changing book touched my heart ever since I first read it. I now have my third hard copy because the first and second got lost in between home renovation and something else I do not remember. I simply had to have a copy of it on my bookshelf. My first reading of it came at the right time in my life and made a difference in my perception of life in general. As my friend said, “… the book prepared me for adulthood.” I could not agree more. Coincidentally, her favorite book is also my dearest of them all. The Little Prince.

From a book fair last year, I came across The Single Rose (Life After the Little Prince) by Andrea St. Thomas. It was curiosity at first sight. Indeed, how was life for the Rose after the Little Prince left? Because of other priority readings, it got parked until this weekend. I had no expectations on The Single Rose as I do not want it to ruin my love for The Little Prince. I first re-read The Little Prince and then read The Single Rose. The classic (The Little Prince) remained ever new while the new (The Single Rose) renews the classic. It was a beautiful journey to relive and move forward. St. Thomas beautifully delivered with style.

2 authors. 2 books. A blend of nostalgia and making sense of the present (and future) without altering eras of creativity and wisdom. It is a matter of consequence (or importance) that these 2 books be read.

Another book lover, friend shared with me that she has a friend who re-reads a specific book every year. It was my first time to hear such kind of engagement. It intrigued me as I never did the same yearly. I am always looking for something new and contemporary. But, as I have just re-read and still enjoy a favorite classic, I might indulge in the habit of reading it yearly. Maybe.

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© rooks 2017

My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem

Gloria Steinem - My Life On The Road

I love biographies. I read at least one biography a year. But I hope to increase the number this year as I truly enjoy reading them. The struggles and triumphs of the biographer inspire and give hope.

In Gloria Steinem’s My Life On The Road, it made me appreciate and respect more of human experience as a reality to define. The apparent and at the same time unconscious reason of conflict and hate between us nowadays is because of our predetermined views of another’s reality. There is so much scrutiny and criticism in everything we do and by being simply you (yes, even by one’s presence) – a human being who have inalienable rights to live and be free.

Though I am not from the Cherokee nation, the origin of my given name, Cherokee, came from the Cherokee Rose for which my father named me after. Knowing for the first time about the first female chief in Wilma Mankiller and the impact she has made for her people and her country through this book is an honor and a privilege. I researched for more readings about her. Thanks to the internet and technology. A glimpse of her life is readily available. Very inspiring.

My Life on the Road is one of those books for which I have to pause for a long time and be in awe and deep thought after reading. One of my differing views on the issues discussed is on abortion. I firmly believe that life begins at conception. Thus, a human being comes to life from that moment. But while I hold this value close to my heart, I do not condemn those who believe otherwise nor have engaged in such. Everyone has a story that has to be respected.

The richness and mystery of human experience that is lived to the fullest is one of life’s greatest triumph. Steinem, in all that she could be, lived hers. I hope to truly live mine.

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© rooks 2017

2016 Read Log

Kindle

Like the shock (for most) in various ways, this year, 2016, has brought, I also surprised myself by finally owning a Kindle.

Albeit the expensive tax fees I spent and the (still) feeling of lack of a reading experience as compared with a tangible book (all book nerds will understand what I mean), it is a lovely purchase that is worth the favor and the expenses due to its handiness especially when I am on travel and the reading ease it brings to my eyes.

With 24, 2016 is my most read year ever since I started counting in 2014. It is almost half of my (very ambitious) annual goal of 50.

Looking at my accomplished line up, a theme coincidentally (or not) ensues – unconventional.

The books have astonished me in different ways; how unique and original the writings and how they challenge the linear perspective the world knows. I am very grateful to have discovered and read them. Thank you to these inspiring authors who have allowed us (me) to temporarily reside and have a glimpse of their beautiful minds.

See my 2016 log below.

12.31 – The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher
12.27 – Star Wars: Before the Awakening by Greg Rucka
11.02 – A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
10.29 – Daring & Disruptive (unleashing the entrepreneur) by Lisa Messenger
10.23 – Kindred Spirits by Rainbow Rowell
10.11 – Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz
10.07 – Think Like An Artist and Lead a More Creative, Productive Life by Will Gompertz
09.25 – Chic (Tips on Life, Style, and Work) by Daphne Osena Paez
09.24 – Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs
09.12 – Originals (How Non-Conformists Move The World) by Adam Grant
09.10 – Hollow City by Ransom Riggs
08.08 – Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – Parts One and Two (Based on an Original New Story by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, & Jack Thorne)
07.16 – The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George
06.16 – Shoe Dog (A Memoir by the Creator of Nike) by Phil Knight
05.22 – essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown
05.15 – The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith
05.07 – Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
05.01 – Everyone Can Be Creative: Inspiring Habits from an Ex-Nun by Merlee Cruz-Jayme
04.30 – Quiet (The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking) by Susan Cain
03.24 – Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee
03.24 – Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them (Newt Scamander) by J.K. Rowling
03.12 – To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
02.27 – How Google Works by Eric Schmidt & Jonathan Rosenberg
02.13 – After You by Jojo Moyes

*** Indicated dates are completion dates.

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© rooks 2017

Miss Saigon 25th Anniversary Movie

Miss Saigon 25

I was young, naive, and lived on a college allowance when I first watched Miss Saigon using complimentary tickets that gave me and my cousin the opportunity to watch it live from Balcony 2 of the PICC. We were giddy and very excited. For what seems to be a curse by a roommate who gave it to us because she had a huge fight with her then boyfriend that they decided to cancel their theater date, it was heaven sent for us. We felt we won the lottery. We were ecstatic.

Ms. Lea Salonga is not exaggerating with her high praises on the performance of Rachelle Ann Go as Gigi and Jon Jon Briones as the engineer in the Miss Saigon revival of 2014. In fact, it is an understatement. Truly, Filipino talent is world class. Thank you for sharing your gift to the world.

Experiencing the amazing Miss Saigon in my youth, I never stopped watching and loving theater from then on. I still have most of my paper tickets as souvenirs. To see the progress I have made from free tickets to only able to afford a balcony seat to VIP is a personal achievement. I can only be grateful.

My theater timeline with Ms. Lea Salonga.
  They’re Playing Our Song (2000)
  Cinderella (2008)
  Cats (2010)
  Fun Home (later this month, Nov 2016)

Of all my theater adventures (with or without Ms. Salonga as cast), Miss Saigon is still number 1 in my heart in many ways. It is my first theater love. And even after 15 years, it is still too much for one heart. I am always in awe of the musicale’s genius. I hope to watch it again on a live performance. On the other side of the earth… why not!