My Favorite-Book List: #1) Louise Gluck: The First Four Books of Poems (a collection of poems by Louise Gluck)

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This book is a must-have for literature enthusiasts looking for the best poetry with themes most women would easily relate to. I am a very ardent admirer of the author’s writing.. She definitely deserves the stature accorded to her in US poetry.

Here is one of the poems from the book:

The Pond

Night covers the pond with its wing.
Under the ringed moon I can make out
your face swimming among minnows and the small
echoing stars. In the night air
the surface of the pond is metal.

Within, your eyes are open. They contain
a memory I recognize, as though
we had been children together. Our ponies
grazed on the hill, they were gray
with white markings. Now they graze
with the dead who wait
like children under their granite breastplates,
lucid and helpless:

The hills are far away. They rise up
blacker than childhood.
What do you think of, lying so quietly
by the water? When you look that way I want
to touch you, but do not, seeing
as in another life we were of the same blood.

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Lang Leav: Simply One of the Best Poets

One of my most favorite poems by the Australian author, Lang Leav. She was in the Philippines last February for book signing sessions and these were all jampacked! Wish she would come back next year…..

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In Two Parts

— Lang Leav

You come and go so easily,

your life is as you knew—

while mine is split in two.

How I envy so the half of me,

who lived before love’s due,

who was yet to know of you.

An English Major’s Choices: Unforgettable Lines from my Favorite Love Stories in Philippine and Asian Literature

I was an English major in college and I had the privilege of having access to the best collections of Philippine and Asian literature in English thanks in part to the University of the Philippines Main Library at its Diliman campus and in part to my very well-read professors. I have come across some stories I would like to recommend to those who would like to know more about classic Philippine and Asian lit. For starters, here are some quotes from some of my favorite love stories I was introduced to at school:

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1. This Earth of Mankind, a novel by multiawarded Indonesian writer Pramoedya Ananta Toer (translated by Max Weber)

“My own name… for the time being I need not tell it.” – Minke, an ardent Native admirer of the half-White Annelies

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2. “Dead Stars”, the first Philippine short story in English (written by Paz Marquez Benitez in 1925)

Those six weeks were now so swift–seeming in the memory, yet had they been so deep in the living, so charged with compelling power and sweetness. Because neither the past nor the future had relevance or meaning, he lived only the present, day by day, lived it intensely, with such a willful shutting out of fact as astounded him in his calmer moments.

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3.  “May Day Eve”, a short story written by Nick Joaquin, Philippine National Artist for Literature

“Mirror, mirror, show to me him whose woman I will be,” – young Agueda

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4. South of the Border, West of the Sun, a novel by Japanese literary giant Haruki Murakami (translated by Philip Gabriel)

“I was always attracted not by some quantifiable, external beauty, but by something deep down, something absolute”

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Cyberspace Therapy in the Vast World of the Web

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Photo: Because of popular and “democratizing” applications like Pixlr, even amateurs can indulge in some form of “express-yourself” therapy. The Internet can either be an empowering or destructive tool largely depending on a user’s net routines.

Currently comprised by billions of pages, blogs and articles on almost anything and everything, the world of cyberspace has spurred countless possibilities that would intimidate even a time traveller coming from a world just fifteen or twenty years before ours. Who would have thought that in the Philippines today, the idea of government spying on how Filipinos use their computers to “like” Facebook posts would spur heated public debate – just fifteen years ago such issue would have seemed too farfetched even for homegrown science fiction.

I read an imported science fiction novel entitled Flying to Valhalla sometime in the late 90’s. That time, I found it hard to believe in its idea of a time in the future when people could instantly get information on anything they’d like to know more about by just searching for it on an information source using a computer. It was the age before the Internet became popularly used, the time before Wikipedia killed the business of Colliers Encyclopedia. The idea presented in that sci-fi book seemed so impossible back then. Nowadays, even grade school kids are turning to the likes of Wikipedia and Google for their information assignments.

Given how obiquitous the Internet has become, urgent social challenges have to do with making sure its use is tempered for the common good. That it serves to draw friends and colleagues closer, not destroy their relations as what some “chats” gone awry have done several times in the past. That it is used to build up self-esteem but not as a tool for displaying life excesses. Vanity and self-adulation destroy the reason behind the Internet’s invention, which is to make interconnections.

The Internet officially has billions of pages based only on the number of indexed ones. Definitely one way of keeping oneself from getting all lost and alienated in its vast, vast sea and swarm of pages and applications is by creating Internet routines that are not draining but are “therapeutic”. For destressing I now turn to Indian chillout music on YouTube.

For spiritual upliftment, I never forget to read the blog of Bro. Eli Soriano. His blog esoriano.wordpress.com has won in the 2009 Open Web Awards presented by an international tech-and-media site, the very famous Mashable.com. Truly something every Filipino at heart would be proud of.