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Friday Finds || The Blue Castle — Lucy Maud Montgomery

How are you all doing? Hope you are doing well!

It’s been ages since I’ve written a book review–I’ve been reading a lot of books but I haven’t put pen to paper. Or rather, in this case, fingertips to keyboard with regard to how I feel about them! I’m going to review one of my favourite author’s little known work.

Reading Lucy Maud (LM) Montgomery’s work is always a treat. I’ve fallen in love with Anne of Green Gables as a little girl. In many ways, I related to Anne Shirley. I still do, actually. While I have many good friends and I love them dearly, there’s only a few with whom I have the same wavelength–I share her viewpoint in having a friend that’s also a ‘kindred spirit’.  I still read the books in the series because there’s something about worth revisiting in Anne Shirley’s world: She never changes who she is, and she does her own thing. For those who have never read the series at all–IT IS NEVER TOO LATE. It’s totally worth your time. The eighth book in the series is actually my favourite!

Okay, back to LM Montgomery’s little known work. This is another book of hers that I have fallen straight in love with. No, seriously. In classic Montgomery style, the beginning of The Blue Castle was riveting enough to make me want to stay up until late at night to finish it.

In a nutshell, Valancy Stirling (such a delicious name!) was the nonentity of her family. Plain, unmarried, dull (to her family), she had a bleak future in front of her,  because she was twenty-nine, and with nary a marriage proposal to her name.

Things became more exciting when Valancy felt the need to see a doctor. One of her own choosing, mind, as her family had their own go-to doctor. And the prognosis was not looking good. This was the turning point for Valancy. From that moment on, she decided to say whatever she wanted, wear whatever she wanted, do whatever she wanted. After all, she had only one year left to live and she wanted to take her life into her own hands.

And boy,Valancy’s in for a wild ride.

What I love about The Blue CastleThere was never a dull moment reading this book. LM Montgomery had the knack for great dialogue and detail. And the mood! The first chapter really did set the tone of the story–a morose, grey beginning that had you wanting to know why it was so, and it would make you wonder if things would change.

Another thing I love about The Blue Castle and Montgomery’s writing in general is that the narrator makes the reader get inside her brain and know exactly what she was thinking, dreaming, planning, dreading…or even plotting.

Let’s not forget the character development of each of the characters. Initially, I liked Valancy’s Cousin Olive, and thought that Valancy was a bit unreasonable over her apathy towards her cousin. Eventually, I finally realised that Olive was meh (and she’s a bit of a cow). Other relatives such as Uncle Benjamin I found too easy to dislike –there are many people who are like Uncle Benjamin! He, however, redeemed himself at the end of the book.

I loved Valancy’s spunk once she decided to take her life in her own hands! One of my favourite conversations in the story were of Valancy, her friend Barney and her Uncle Wellington.

“Valancy, how came you here!” he said sternly.
“By chance or God’s grace,” said Valancy.
“With this jail-bird—at ten o’clock at night!” said Uncle Wellington.
Valancy turned to Barney. The moon had escaped from its dragon and in its light her eyes were full of deviltry.
“Are you a jail-bird?”
“Does it matter?” said Barney, gleams of fun in his eyes.
“Not to me. I only asked out of curiosity,” continued Valancy.

If you’ve never read The Blue Castle or any of Lucy Montgomery’s work, they’re certainly worth a read! Completely tempted to write more–and gush more about this book, but at the risk of sounding spoilery, I decided that I’ll leave it to you to read The Blue Castle!

Events || Otucan Fun Run II: An invitation!

The Friday Book Club supports the Otucan Fun Run 2, an activity set by the Igorot Trailer Runner group.

The Fun Run is an outreach run which is supported by many partners, one of them being our very own The Friday Book Club! 🙂 The event will take place on June 30, 2018, Otucan Sur, Mountain Province, Northern Luzon.

Confirmation of attendance or participation is only until Friday, 15 June.

For further information, you can drop by this Facebook group page, or this event info.

See you there! 🙂

Image credit: Igorot Trail Runner

Events || More Cards for Humanity! :)

Help us spread good news to the world by giving humanity a chance!

Let us know which card and we’ll be sure to send you random letters collected from different people who wish to change the world—just like you!

With every card purchased, you also have the chance to send your own letter, be published in our next batch of cards that will be sent out to another person who will do the same.

Each card is uniquely written and randomly selected to be sent to each one of you!

Who knows which letter will arrive in your mail?

Part of the proceeds will be used to fund the series of Young at Art events planned for 2018!

*Artworks featured were made by the children in Luneta Park during the recent Young at Art event last November 2017.

Cards are 25php each (100 php for a set of 5)
Exclusive of shipping fee

You can inquire about our cards here! 🙂

Events || Ta da, ta da! :)

Sorry for the radio silence, but again, we’ve been busy with so many activities. We’ve had four major activities: the Art in the Park (aka Young At Art) story telling and mini-art workshop, which had a huge number of participants! The team takes its hat off to Joana Verdeflor–our awesome founder, with her team of storytellers and artists–Paula Czarina Potencia, Blew David, Marvic Therese Villoso, Melissa Basmayor, Joanna Rechelle Fungo, among a few in making this activity possible. This activity was held in Luneta Park, Manila, last November 25.

We’re sharing some snaps from that lovely November afternoon.

The artwork the children made was turned into card art! We all loved their work, and thought it was only right to feature their art in greeting cards that we sold at the Better Living Through Xeroxography (BLTX) event that was held in December 15. To promote this event, a promotional poster was produced by our very own Joana! 🙂

Since not all of us could be there, Joana’s shared some of the event’s (best) memories. And speaking of best, we’ve sold all of the cards. Sold out. Now, isn’t that the best news ever?

We thank our lovely supporters Melissa Basmayor (who was also there at the BLTX event to promote and sell her zine) and Mayi Oropesa for dropping by our booth! 🙂

The year ended with two more activities: Ang Pasko Ay Sumapit is an outreach activity with Jhastine Silva of Jhastine’s Kitchen and Jeriemine Cruz. We thank those who have sent their donations, support and prayers. They are very much appreciated and cherished. As there are many of them, we are afraid of thanking them one by one, lest there would be individuals we forget to thank! May God bless you. 🙂

Ikaw Ang Aking Superhero is the last activity of the year, held in Luneta Park, on December 28, in partnership with National Parks Development Committee. We enjoyed working with the Committee, and we hope to work with them once more!

Ikaw ang Aking Superhero.jpg

We’re excited to see how 2018 unfolds for us! 🙂

Image credit: Joana Marie Verdeflor

Friday Finds || The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets–Eva Rice

How are you? How was your Valentine’s Day? Hope it went well. 🙂

This is a book that I’ve been dying to review–but I re-read this book over and over to do this review justice. 🙂 It’s definitely my favourite book at the moment, and it’s been totally worth it to buy on Amazon. Because sadly, it’s not available in book shops in the Philippines. Yeah, I’m talking to you National Bookstore, Powerbooks, and Fully Booked. And people are missing a lot not reading this book! Well, at least I think so.

Eva Rice’s The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets takes place in 1950s England, a country still recovering from the effects of the Second World War, and still coping with rationing. At the same time, England was also invaded by America.

Musically, that is. Penelope’s brother Inigo thinks nothing else but rock and roll and Elvis Presley, and running away to America to be a singer.

Penelope Wallace, our heroine, meets her new friend Charlotte in the most unusual manner–being invited by Charlotte to a tea party. A one of a kind tea party, that is. Pretty soon, Penelope gets involved with more interesting people–Harry, Charlotte’s sardonic cousin hung up with Marina, an American who is engaged to another man named George; Rocky, an enigmatic American who becomes besotted with Penelope’s mother, the beautiful Talitha. And Harry’s mother Clare, who met Penelope’s father Archibald before he married Talitha.

The real adventure begins when Harry invites Penelope to a dinner to make his former girlfriend jealous. Penelope’s not sure that she’s willing to participate. Will she? And what’s in store for her if she does?

What I love about this story is that Eva Rice really made me feel like Penelope, her family and friends were real people. I could easily imagine what their slowly deteriorating country home would look like. Or being a guest in one of their parties. would feel like.

Miranda Hart–yes, that Miranda Hart from Call the Midwife–wrote about the characters in the foreword: “This might sound weird, but can we be best friends?” I could easily ask Penelope, her friends and family that question if they were real people. Reading The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets felt like Penelope and Charlotte let me tag along in their adventures. There was never a dull moment in the book–and the dialogue was witty and charming, and had me giggling a lot!

Possibly my favourite part was the ending–it still made readers wonder if Penelope and Harry got together, and while it didn’t actually say so, I had a good feeling they both had their happy ending.

This book gets five stars from me. 🙂 I’m all praises! 🙂

Image source