Book List: February 2020

What are you reading this month? Today I wanted to show you the books on my bedside table. It’s normal for me to have more than four books at any given time … What can I do?, reading is my entertainment every night and where I give myself permission to splurge.

  1. Becoming by Michelle Obama: I’m going halfway through the book and I’m totally at awe with this book. I have always felt a lot of admiration for Mrs. Michelle Obama, and this book just gave me the motivation to continue to grow my love for the Obama Family and legacy. This book is motivating, hopeful, full of nobility, love, and loyalty to this country.
  2. The New Writer’s Handbook: This is a library book. I am trying to improve my way of writing and expressing myself, additionally, I do try to get at least one book from my local library.
  3. Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert:  I am really very happy with this book because it tells us about the power of being creative, letting creativity take the wheel and letting go of the fear to the unknown, it is so important to me to believe that we have the power to create beautiful things.
  4. The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon: I have already read this book in Spanish, now I am reading it in English. With our scheduled trip to Barcelona in three weeks, ​​this book is once again making me want to make time go faster so that I can finally make it to Barcelona.
  5. The Power of Self-Coaching by Joseph J. Luciani: This book changes lives, we should all read it. I am a Life Coach and for me, this book has to be read in order to understand the true power that we all carry inside and the ability that we have to change our lives and achieve our goals.
  6. 1000 Books to Read before you Die: My Christmas gift from Barnes and Noble, gives me a guide to the books I want to read and I am putting them on a list … the first two I have already bought and will be on my March list.

What are you reading? How many books at a time? What is your favorite subject? Your favorite Author? Do you also read many books at the same time or one by one?

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Weekly Book Review by Mari

We have a soccer player in the family (my 9-year-old son) and for years soccer has maintained a very important place in our lives.  As a family and individually we love the sport. My dad recommended this book, he brought the book from Panama for me to read it. He spoke highly of the book and its author and I was pleased to agree with him. It is my first book written by Argentine novelist Eduardo Sacheri and I have lined up already a few more books including The secrets in their eyes which was turned into the same-name film and won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film in 2010.

The story centers on four friends and their never-ending passion for soccer.  After Alejandro “Mono” dies of cancer, the remaining three friends (Fernando, Russo and Mauricio) work towards securing that Alejandro’s daughter is economically taken care of.   However after Alejandro invests all his money in a promising soccer player that slowly falls behind reaching the full potential, the friends get into a complicated, funny, and at times heart-breaking plan to make sure Alejandro’s investment returns the needed profit.

The book is as funny as it is touching, is a declaration of friendship and family that is rooted in love, devotion, and loyalty.  It is the story of a friendship rooted in childhood that grows stronger as their lives take different roads maintaining in common their strong bond and the passion of soccer.  If you love soccer and believe in the power of friendship, I recommend this book.

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Mari’s Book Review – The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

mari's book review

I picked this book from my dad’s library in one of my visits to Panama. Actually, I picked book number 3 without knowing it is a 4-book series and started reading it. Soon enough I realized that I needed to stop and get books 1 and 2 immediately. I remember I was on a weekend getaway in Austin with my family and insisted I needed to go to the bookstore to get the books right away, I could not wait until we got back to Houston the next day.  I got the book number 1 at the bookstore and bought 2 and 4 online. I was one happy girl.

I must disclose that I read them in Spanish which is my native language.  I do read both in English and Spanish, but for this particular series, since I started in Spanish I decided to continue in Spanish. 

The book was mesmerizing. I submerged myself in the Barcelona of 1945  following the end of the Civil War, and at the beginning of the first chapter, I was captivated. As I imagined myself inside the “Cemetery of Forgotten Books”, a secret library hosting millions of forgotten books and where you have to choose one book out of all the books to take with you, I was hooked in the storytelling and drawn to the main character Daniel after he chooses the book “ The Shadow of the Wind” by Julian Carax.

The book is a fictional gothic drama, beautifully written, filled with mystery, intrigue, and characters that you simply can’t put down.  The characters are so well defined, and bring the story alive as each of their past is revealed. The city of Barcelona is described with great detail, and with a tangible love for the city, its restaurants, its streets, its avenues, and its people.

The author’s storytelling draws you inside the narrative, as a witness of the unraveling storyline, making you complicit of every discovery, every new clue, and every new plan.  Carlos Ruiz Zafon is a unique writer with a capacity to make you witness the emotional rollercoaster that each character goes through the story.

100% recommended.  

 

Additional Information as found in Goodreads

Paperback, 487 pages

Published: January 25th 2005 by Penguin Books (first published 2001)

Original Title: La sombra del viento

ISBN0143034901 (ISBN13: 9780143034902)

Edition: LanguageEnglish

Series: El cementerio de los libros olvidados #1

Literary Awards :Barry Award for Best First Novel (2005), Gumshoe Award Nominee for Best European Crime Novel (2005), Borders Original Voices Award for Fiction (2004), Dilys Award Nominee (2005), Humo’s Gouden Bladwijzer (2006) Prix du Meilleur Livre Étranger for Roman (2004), Prix des libraires du Québec for Lauréats hors Québec (2005), One Book One San Diego (2015), Premi Llibreter de narrativa Nominee (2002)

 

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7 Tips for making a bedtime routine that works for you…

CREATING AN UNIQUE BEDTIME ROUTINE

With years of trying to perfect multitasking (and never really accomplishing), I have come to the conclusion that following a routine makes it easier for me to accomplish all that is needed to be done. I have a morning routine, a working routine, an afternoon routine, and a bedtime routine.  I have already shared with you morning routine tips and now want to share tips for making a bedtime routine that can work for you as it works for me.

My bedtime routine starts right after the kids go to bed and my “mom role” is turned off, here are my tips:

  1. Finish cleaning the kitchen / tidy up the living room:  I take the time to clean the kitchen, do the dishes, clean the stove, wipe and tidy up the kitchen island, swipe the floors and tidy up and declutter the living room.  Since I do this every day, it really takes no more than 15 – 20 minutes to complete this task and there is no better feeling than waking up to a clean and fresh kitchen.
  2. Check the calendars and to-do list: I take 10 – 15 min to answer any pending emails, check my family calendar and update my to-do list for the next day. Also, any bills or home expenses are done or updated at this time. 
  3. Take a shower: There is no better way to put an end to a day than by taking a shower. It’s the best way to wash off a hectic, crazy, and non-stop day.
  4. Beauty routine:  I am turning 40 in June so the closer I get to this date the more I pay attention to my beauty routine.  I keep it simple, by cleansing my face well and using face oil or serum and finishing with a face and eye cream. Twice a week a do a facial, usually a sheet mask.
  5. Read a book: From a self-help book to a mystery thriller to a romantic novel or a magazine.  Reading is a way that I calm down and take the time to relax and let my mind enjoy the wonderful world of books. I personally keep about 5 books in my nightstand and go one after the other.  If you are not a fan of reading, you can take this time to write in your journal or listen to a book, rather than reading it.
  6. Practice Gratitude:  You can use an app or say it out loud or write it in your journal.  Acknowledging what you are grateful for will give you inner peace, love for the people in your life and faith for a better tomorrow.
  7. Meditate:  Take 5 – 10 minutes to meditate right before you go to bed, it can be a breathing exercise or a guided meditation and you can use an app or even a YouTube video as a guide.  Meditation is key in helping you be present in the moment.
  8. Turn off the light… is nighttime!

No matter what your bedtime routine consists of, having one will create a sense of accomplishment at the end of your day.  It will also allow you to make sure that the last part of your day are dedicated, in part, to your self-care.  These tips are meant to inspire you to create your own, from adding a time to watch TV to going for a run or doing yoga, create a routine that works for your interests and passions.  And if for any reason, we have to deviate from our routine, it’s fine… there is always tomorrow’s bedtime.

 

 

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A poem to share: A Short Story

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I have been revisiting my past journals looking for some inspiration and I found this poem which I wrote when I was 22 years old (it feels like a lifetime ago).  It’s hard to connect with the feeling of sorrow and heartache that I felt at that time, but I can still feel the inspiration when I was writing it.

 

There is no darkness when we want to see

There is no tiredness when our will wants to continue the road ahead

I have come to realized that years are days

And that a lifetime can be summarized in a short story…

I believed you were the one, 

I believe we were meant to be eternal,

But you are just a short story…

You are just a day.

 

Mari Park 2002

 

It is not easy to share intimate stories written by our souls at some painful time of our lives, but as I look back, there is no intimacy attached to it any longer, I guess I grew up and now is just part of long lost past.

Do you have old journals treasured in some forgotten drawer?

 

 

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First Book Review of 2020!

Black and Yellow Quotes Book Literature Facebook Cover

“The Bookshop of Yesterdays” was an incredible read. It was funny, dramatic, sad, insightful, hopeful, romantic, and for the avid reader, an adventure through books and their meaning in our lives.

I recommend this book to anyone who wants to have an adventure of self-discovery, forgiveness, resolve, courage and love.

♥♥♥♥ Four hearts out of five!

Additional info as found in Goodreads

Book: The Bookshop of Yesterdays
Author: Amy Meyerson
Published: June 12, 2018
Publisher: Park Row
Genre: Fiction
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased in Barnes and Noble

Synopsis

A woman inherits a beloved bookstore and sets forth on a journey of self-discovery in this poignant debut about family, forgiveness and a love of reading. Miranda Brooks grew up in the stacks of her eccentric uncle Billy’s bookstore, solving the inventive scavenger hunts he created just for her. But on Miranda’s twelfth birthday, Billy has a mysterious falling-out with her mother and suddenly disappears from Miranda’s life. She doesn’t hear about him again until sixteen years later when she receives unexpected news: Billy has died and left her Prospero Books, which is teetering on bankruptcy, and one final scavenger hunt. When Miranda returns home to Los Angeles and to Prospero Books–now as its owner–she finds clues that Billy has hidden for her inside novels on the store’s shelves, in locked drawers of his apartment upstairs, in the name of the store itself. Miranda becomes determined to save Prospero Books and to solve Billy’s last scavenger hunt. She soon finds herself drawn into a journey where she meets people from Billy’s past, people whose stories reveal a history that Miranda’s mother has kept hidden–and the terrible secret that tore her family apart. Bighearted and trenchantly observant, The Bookshop of Yesterdays is a love letter to reading and bookstores, and a testament to the healing power of community and how our histories shape who we become.  (Goodreads)

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