the soul of money


“Using money as a direct expression of one’s deepest sense of self is a powerful, miraculous thing.  It is a practice, however, and I’m still working on it.  I waste money.  I buy products that are part of the problem rather than part of the solution.  I get excited about money and disappointed about money and frustrated and conflicted over money issues.  But I am also on a path in a practice, that I’m sharing with you because I believe it is useful and important in our time.  I’m seeing that more and more of us are awake to our higher commitments, concerned about how we’re living, and this book is an offering to contribute to that process that is taking place all around us now.”

” I also invite you to live a larger life – to see that when we really look at what we’ve got and let go of trying to accumulate more, we have the capacity for much greater lives than just “getting” and “having”.  Everyone wants more than the good life for just themselves.  They want a good life for all, and when you realize there is enough, you get in touch with that possibility.  It becomes the natural outcome of shifting your context.  It worked that way for me, and I’ve seen it work that way for many others around the world.”

“I challenge you to imbue your money with soul – your soul – and let it stand for who you are, your love, your heart, your word, and your humanity.”

~ The Soul of Money, by Lynne Twist

I love this book.  This is one of the most important books I have read in my life.  Its message completely resounded in my soul.  I am looking for copies and buying every single one of my best girl friends one.


reading : the great gatsby

In the middle of The Two Towers of The Lord of the Rings series, I decided to pick up The Great Gatsby for re-reading.  I didn’t like it the first time; I thought it was too hyped up or something.  I went through it expecting something great and was disappointed.  Re-reading it has proven me wrong.  It IS great.  Maybe I was just younger then and didn’t know what was what.  I think this is something I will read over and over again from now on.  I find myself going through phrases or whole paragraphs just because I’m admiring the mastery of the syntax.  It’s one of those books you wanna chew slowly, relish every taste, and marvel at it’s nourishing effect.

I decided to re-read this because I’m looking for something.  Sympathy, maybe.  Some feeling of connection.  I’m looking for you, I guess.  It took me a while to realize why you were so familiar.  You came from reality that I did not recognize you right away: that you were a character from out of a book.  Perfect and real.  This may be a crazy thought.  Scary.  But it is what it is and you are what you are.  And here I am finding myself learning about life still and discovering that there is so much more about life that I have yet to experience and will experience if I open up myself to it.  And I open up myself to it.  Because you taught me, in a more subtle yet profound way, that I can be great; that I AM great just because you looked my way.

reading : harry potter and the sorcerer’s stone

Harry Potter is not the kind of book you can put down until you’ve finished — all seven of ’em.  It just can’t happen.  Believe me, I’ve read them twice and you just can’t get enough of the Harry Potter’s world of witchcraft and wizardry.  It is not something you get into lightly because it engages all your time and attention.  Given that, this is probably the wrong book I could pick out at the moment, what with applications for electrical connection, choosing between two shades of grays of tiles, inventories, and one final exam this Sunday (you read that right: Sunday).  But I miss laughing.  And I remember how funny the series could be.  J. K. Rowling is a witty, funny writer.  And I do need this, something that would engage all of my sense and feelings and attention, because it’s a diversion from this thing that doesn’t involve work but occupies me anyway.

Harry Potter, I need you to do your magic on me.  So far it is working.  I feel I’m back in my old self again.  I feel a little younger, more care-free, and happier.  I do wish I were eleven and just discovering life.  If I could meet my eleven year-old self I’ll tell her not to try and rush time, that being grown up isn’t what it was cut out to be.  Eleven meant games and play and snacks prepared for you… less of boys, less of money, less of these goddamned electrical wiring questions.

Anyway, here I am now, back at Hogwarts. 🙂

on 2011 reading goals

I totally forgot that I made reading goals for 2011.  I listed seven books that I had to read within the year.  I read a total of 24 books but only three out of the seven books listed.  The list included:

1. Noli Me Tangere by José Rizal

2. Swann’s Way by Marcel Proust

3. The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton (for re-reading)

4. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

5. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

6. A Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne (or any other Jules Verne)

7. In Cold Blood / Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote

I read items 2, 3 and 4.  Three out of seven.  Almost 50%.  Not bad.  Anyway, reading Swann’s Way was enough of an achievement for a year, I think.  I didn’t bleed with the effort as I thought I would.  I actually really liked it.  And I read it at a time when something else was particularly engrossing me and I couldn’t help but note that just when I started reading Swann’s Way –this book that I have been wanting to read forever, and I knew was very good, and that didn’t disappoint — then this singular, remarkable, out-of-the-blue thing happened to me.  It’s notable how there is a parallel between what we read and what goes on in our lives.  I always say that I seem to read just the right book at the right time of my life.  There was no connection between Swann’s Way and what was going on with me, except that I was really curious about it and I thought Marcel Proust controversial and I was feeling all sorts of controversial at the time.

I have read The Age of Innocence before.  I liked it well enough but it didn’t really hit the mark for me.  I re-read it to see if I would like it better but I felt the same as I did after the first reading.  Newland Archer, though, would remain to be one of my favorite male characters from a book.  The movie was really good, though.

Of Mice and Men.  John Steinbeck hit the mark for me with Grapes of Wrath: it is one of my all-time favorites.  This book, Of Mice and Men, is a short one and I really can’t comment on it except that I am thankful it’s crossed off my list.

This year, as I’ve said, I won’t be picking what particular books to prioritize.  I will go with whatever feels right at the moment and whatever would help me de-stress from my law studies.  There is one book that I know I will read before the year is over: Ulysses.  It is a done deal.

banned books week

In celebration of Banned Books Week I have obtained this list of Banned and Challenged Classics from the American Library Association.  It’s unbelievable how some of these have ever been banned, especially my favorite ones.  But I can understand how some of these at some point in time had been banned.  *Cough* D. H. Lawrence *Cough* And yes, I love lists and crossing out each item.  So here is the list of the 46 books.  I crossed out the ones I’ve read, a total of 21.  The rest are on my reading list with the italized ones already on my shelf.  The four underlined ones I haven’t heard of before.  The ones with asterisk are books that are some of my favorite books ever.  Obviously, my reading list is full of banned books.  Good thing we’re at liberal times.

The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger

The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck *

To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee *

The Color Purple, by Alice Walker

Ulysses, by James Joyce

Beloved, by Toni Morrison

The Lord of the Flies, by William Golding

1984, by George Orwell *

Lolita, by Vladmir Nabokov

Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck

Catch-22, by Joseph Heller

Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley

Animal Farm, by George Orwell *

The Sun Also Rises, by Ernest Hemingway

As I Lay Dying, by William Faulkner

A Farewell to Arms, by Ernest Hemingway *

Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston

Invisible Man, by Ralph Ellison

Song of Solomon, by Toni Morrison

Gone with the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell *

Native Son, by Richard Wright

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, by Ken Kesey

Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut

For Whom the Bell Tolls, by Ernest Hemingway

The Call of the Wild, by Jack London

Go Tell it on the Mountain, by James Baldwin

All the King’s Men, by Robert Penn Warren *

The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien *

The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair

Lady Chatterley’s Lover, by D.H. Lawrence

A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess

The Awakening, by Kate Chopin

In Cold Blood, by Truman Capote

The Satanic Verses, by Salman Rushdie

Sophie’s Choice, by William Styron

Sons and Lovers, by D.H. Lawrence

Cat’s Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut

A Separate Peace, by John Knowles

Naked Lunch, by William S. Burroughs

Brideshead Revisited, by Evelyn Waugh

Women in Love, by D.H. Lawrence

The Naked and the Dead, by Norman Mailer

Tropic of Cancer, by Henry Miller

 An American Tragedy, by Theodore Dreiser

Rabbit, Run, by John Updike


Have you read a banned book lately?

le petit prince

My long reserved and long desired copy of Le Petit Prince finally arrived today.

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s The Little Prince is one of my all-time favorite books.  I cherish it for its simplicity and directness.  As much as I love the book in its English version, I wanted to get the original French version as part of my (on-off) French lessons.  Every now and then I listen to my audios or watch a French Film to help me.  And I thought that making myself read a novel, even if it is only a children’s book, would help me in learning as well.  I know avec and nous and bonjour and asseyez-vous, but not much else.  At least I know some, and the desire to learn has never left me.

One day it’s going to happen: me speaking French fluently.



By the way, this copy was really hard to find.  I thought I might have to go to France to get me a copy.  Luckily, my favorite haunt of an online shop had a copy.  The hardbound English version was from there as well.  The shop has some really good selection of books.

re-reading : jane eyre

Either because there is an upcoming movie or because I have a new edition of the book, I have decided to re-read Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre.  It is my second favorite book but for some reason, unlike my first favorite book Pride and Prejudice, which I have read at least 20 million times, I have never re-read this.  It may be because, as much as I love this book, there were those painful moments I just cannot re-live again too soon.  I guess it is a testament to how great and lasting its impression on me that despite the many books I have read, and perhaps better understood (I mean, I got older so my understanding was better), great books by their own right, Jane Eyre remains to be one of my most cherished books.

I have gone through a few chapters already and I have forgotten how very good the writing was.  Parts of the story may be too fantastic and improbable, and the whole series of events not likely to happen to one person; but the book’s power does not lie on the story alone but mostly on the strength of the narrative.  Charlotte Brontë will always be one of my favorite female authors, if not my favorite author.  The pain,–the inexpressible pain!– and daily hardships of a person oppressed and miserable, she is able to put into words whilst some, like myself, may die trying but will never be able to put to light or make alive like a burning flame of a feeling: piercing and strongly felt…

I felt it was time for a Charlotte Brontë.  And I was right.