This week on The Broke and The Bookish’ Top Ten Tuesday: Ten books that have been on your shelf or “To Be Read” List that you still haven’t read yet.

I am reminded of this Japanese term that so precisely describes this phenomenon. “Tsundoku” is Japanese slang, derived from “tsunde-oku” (to pile things up ready for later and leave) and “dokusho” (reading books). It literally means “reading pile” and it describes the condition of acquiring reading materials but letting them pile up in one’s home without reading them; it also pertains to books still in the bookshelf for later reading.


While I have since given up on some books I will surely never ever read anymore, there are still a few I’m still holding on to, with hopes that I will be able to find the time to finally read and put closure on them.

1. Les Miserables, by Victor Hugo. I’ve listened to the soundtrack numerous times, watched the movie a dozen times, and have read the books at least thrice… but they were all abridged versions. I have yet to conquer all 1461 pages of the complete and unabridged version from Signet classics. It still is one of my goals to be able to read this magnificent piece of work… and watch the play too. 😎


2. The Lord of the Rings, by JRR Tolkien. I tried, I really did; I even tried to psych myself when the movies were shown. 😮 But I never got beyond the first few chapters. Though I enjoyed Harry Potter and the Chronicles of Narnia, I guess this kind of fantasy adventure is too much for me. Anyway, I’m still keeping this in my shelf, still hoping to be able to read it in the future.

3. Watership Down, by Richard Adams. My girlfriends luv this book; my wedding Ninang (mom of one of said girlfriends) even wrote a prize-winning review of it in one of the local dailies. I started reading it, but it was during a very busy time in my life, so I never progressed beyond a few pages.

4. Tales from Watership Down. This was given to me by one of my girlfriends, as a supplement to the main book. I planned on reading it after finishing #3 above.

5. Her Fearful Symmetry, by Audrey Niffeneger. I luv The Time Traveler’s Wife. I thought I’d feel the same for her next book, but the synopsys didn’t intrigue me as much as TTTW. It’s still just there lying in my shelf, as I am undecided whether to give it away or give it another chance.

6. A Spot of Bother, by Mark Haddon. Again for the same intentions and motivations as #5 above. I enjoyed his “The Curious Incident of Dog in the Night-Time.”

7. The Weight of Water, Anita Shreve. I’ve read her “A Wedding in December” and though I didn’t enjoy it as immensely, thought I’d give her another chance. Read better reviews for TWOW, but I never got around to finding out myself.

8. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. I bought this on a whim; thought I’d try other genres.

9. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, by J.K. Rowling. It’s just a short book, I know, but it reads more like a textbook. (Well, it is a textbook at Hogwarts!) It could do well with some illustrations so that it’s not boring to look at. Perhaps the movie script with an actual story would be more engaging.

10. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, by Marie Kondo. Yep, I haven’t finished reading this book yet. Though I am proud to say, I’ve been decluttering and organizing more. 😉

What’s on your long-overdue reading pile? Share in the comments below. Or better yet, join the link party! 🙂


One Day More

Don’t you just luv  Les Miserables? There is always a song that resonates at a particular phase or major event in one’s life (from becoming friendzoned, to being patriotic 😛 ).

In light of tomorrow’s national elections, I am posting this video here. God bless our nation.


“Tomorrow we’ll discover
What our God in Heaven has in store!
One more dawn
One more day
One day more!”

Mercy for The Miserables

Les Miserables is in Manila! And it’s playing at The Theatre at Solaire Resort and Casino for a limited time only. I wish I could go and watch the live performances, but the logistics of travel to and from Manila, accommodations, braving traffic (the thought of this alone is most discouraging! 😮 ), and leaving my still-breastfeeding baby is probably not sulit. Maybe someday, when Elmo is old enough to sit still in a theater and appreciate this kind of shows (I would love for him to be able to watch this. 🙂 ). But for now, I will just content myself with listening to the OST. It is my favorite and most listened to soundtrack. (For the longest time, “On My Own” was my theme song. 😛 )

Les Miserables is several love stories intertwined: Fantine’s self-sacrificing love for Cosette, Valjean’s fatherly love for Cosette, Cosette and Marius’ love at first sight, Eponine’s unrequited love for Marius, the revolutionaries’ friendship and love for country, and above all, God’s forgiving and transforming love. 🙂

We all know the story of Jean Valjean. Nineteen years in prison, “just for stealing a mouthful of bread”, and he has become a broken and bitter man. 😡 He “had come to hate this world; this world which always hated” him. When a kindly bishop takes him in, he steals the man’s silver and escapes, only to be caught shortly thereafter. Instead of turning him in, the bishop claims that he gave the silver as gift, and Valjean was able to avoid another prison sentence.

The bishop’s actions made Jean Valjean rethink his life and start anew. The generosity and kindness he received has rippled into various directions and touched many lives, including the townspeople which he led as Mayor, the employees in his garment factory, and in particular, the single mother Fantine and her orphaned Cosette. He saves one unnamed man who got mistaken for him from being sent to jail, delivers Marius from death, and even allows Javert to escape.

If Valjean is the personification of grace in this story, Javert is the archetype of the law–cold, rigid, uncompromising, unforgiving. 😡 He lives by the adage that “those who falter and those who fall must pay the price!” Valjean may have been the ex-convict, but it is Javert who is the real prisoner, of his own beliefs and prejudices.

Les Miserables is not a Lenten season staple (unlike say, “The Passion of The Christ”). But I love how it has poignantly and popularly tackled Law vs. Grace without being overtly preachy and moralistic. That Grace always trumps Law 🙂

“And remember
The truth that once was spoken
To love another person
Is to see the face of God!”

This Holy Week, we commemorate Jesus Christ’s death on the Cross. It is not enough that we only remember, but that we should respond to His sacrifice. That the grace and mercy we have received from Him will transform us to be good and do good. Not out of a sense of obligation or fear of punishment. But out of thanksgiving. Out of love. ❤

Have a blessed and meaningful Holy Week everyone! 🙂