Josil Gonzales Reviews

Letter to an Editor
Josil Gonzales

Hi Lindy,

I have been thinking about your influence in my life when it comes to reading. You had “A Good Book Guide” that you shared with us from time to time... Your love of books has rubbed on all of us at the editorial staff. Your room was a haven for booklovers. And how can I forget your book sale on a box? I purchased a number of them, including a treasured copy of a summary of Shakespeare plays.... You are a true Librokado! Mabuhay ka!

Books I Read In 2008

1. Talent Is Never Enough, John Maxwell. 5 stars. The book is about choices that will take me beyond my talents. Maxwell, the go-to guru for business professionals across the globe, insists that choices people make, not merely the skills they inherit, propel them into greatness.I enjoyed reading this book.

2. Heart and Mind, Paulynn Sicam. 3 stars. I finished the book in just two days as part of my celebration of the 7th anniversary of EDSA 2. Not as good as I expected. It was not able to sustain my interest.

3.The Next Generation Leader, Andy Stanley. 4 stars. Now this is a real surprise. I didn’t expect it to be this good. He emphasized five qualities – competence, courage, clarity, coachability and character. He made a lot of sense.

4. Noli Me Tangere, Jose Rizal. 4 stars. A new translation by Harold Augenbreuum and released by Penguin Classics. I was surprised by some scenes. Though I have read this novel before, it was like reading it for the first time. This is my fourth time (or it could be more) to read it. And I intend to read it again. I read it as part of my celebration of EDSA Revolution 1.

5. Finishing Well, Book One, Bob Buford.3 stars. This is about the second life, for people age 50 and above. This is about life after “half time”. People on this mode will shift from success to significance. I read the whole book while waiting for friends at Serendra/MarketMarket. Good decision to read it while I was waiting.

6. The Very Best of Fraiser 3 stars. Read it for a whole day. I found it entertaining. I can write this kind of stuff, I told myself. The TV series must have good actors and director to make it work like magic.

7. A Question of Heroes, Nick Joaquin. 3 stars. Nick shows the other side of heroism – not flattering at all to these heroes. He debunks the accomplishments of some heroes. He calls Rizal and Aguinaldo anti-heroes.

8. Dispatches from the Edge, Anderson Cooper. 2 stars. With the subtitle, “A memoir of war, disasters and survival.” Not as good as I expected. I could write better than him.

9. The Last Full Moon, Gilda Cordero Fernando. 4 stars. With the subtitle “Lesson on my Life,” it is a fascinating book. But towards the end, it becomes more sketchy. The first half was really absorbing. I finished the book in one day.

10. The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini. 4 stars.The third fiction book I’ve read for this year. (I’m improving. Out of the ten books I read in the first three months, three were fiction titles. But I'm still partial toward non fiction books.)I find this novel unnecessarily complicated towards the end. One big question – why would a twelve-year old boy commit suicide? I finished the book in two days' time.

11. Simplify your Life, Elaine St James. 3 stars. A surprise booklet. I didn’t know there were gems in this book. Ones that I can really apply to my own life.

12. Everything you Wanted to Know about Shakespeare, 3 stars. I bought this book in Colombo. Gives you a good introduction about one of the greatest writers in history.

13. Finishing Well Book 2, Bob Buford. 2 stars. I find the first one more exciting to read. I guess I need to read it again to profit more from this book.

14. Simplify and Live the Good Life, Bo Sanchez. 5 stars.The subtitle is “How to be really wealthy in all areas of life”. Another surprise book. One of the best books I’ve read this year. Highly recommended by Raymond Tan. Bo reintroduces me to Henry David Thoreau. A book worth rereading.

14b. Simplify and Live the Good Life, Bo Sanchez. 3 stars. I read the book again and it was a disappointment. It was not as gripping as when I first read it. The question is – how come I gave it a rating of 5 stars in my first reading. And now only 3 stars. What happened?

16. The Letters of Vincent Van Gogh, ed by Mark Roskill.3 stars. With passages that will make you think about art and writing. I can really appreciate the life and works of Van Gogh. I am really a fan of this great Dutch painter. I picked up a phrase from the book that became the title of a devotional message.

17. Van Gogh, Ingo F. Waither. 4 stars. One of the best books I’ve read this year. It gave me an insight on the life and work of one of the greatest 19th century painters.

18. The God who is There, Francis Schaeffer. 2 stars.One of those books you need to read as background information. Hard to read, you have to plow through it.

19. The Last Lecture, Randy Pausch. 4 stars. A good book to read, lessons on life from a dying man.

20. Modern Filipino Heroes, Edited by Asuncion David Maramba. 5 stars. Every Filipino should read this book. We must imitate heroes – real heroes and not just celebrities. I must ask the question – who are my heroes? Who are the people I most admire?

21. The Secrets of Alexander. 2 stars. Not as helpful as I expected. This is not about Alexander the Great, but Alexander as a technique for physical well being. It helped me to pay attention to my posture which I should not take for granted.

22. Your Mind Matters, John Stott. 5 stars. A good work on why our mind matters. A book I bought from Christian book.com via the internet.

23. More than Words, ed by James Calvin Schaap. 5 starsCompiled and introduced by Philip Yancey. Twenty two contemporary Christian writers commending the works that have largely influenced them. So you get to know more than 40 authors who are the best in their craft.

24. The Art of Teaching, James Parini. 3 stars.A little book that packs a lot of ideas. It is a good book to read, can be recommended to friends.

25. The Writers’ Wives, ed by Narita Gonzales. 5 stars. A very interesting book to read. I felt reassured that I am a writer. I am in good company.

26. One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, Alexander Solzhenitsyn. 5 stars. It is a shattering portrait of the life inside Stalinist Russia. At first it was a hard reading for me. But eventually I was able to appreciate it more.

27. The Hunt for Red October, Tom Clancy. 4 stars. My fifth fiction this year. I must admit that I enjoyed the experience. But Clancy seems to have added details that are too technical for me. I finished the 400-page book in just four days. This is a record!

28. The Man Sent from God, Dr. Benjamin de Jesus and Debby Cowles. 3 stars. The life story of Rev. Florentino de Jesus. This will be the basis for the book that I will be writng about his life. Read it while travelling to Zamboanga City, Jolo and Isabela. I was on the chapter, “Anywhere but Jolo” when I flew to Jolo.

29. Prayer, Philip Yancey.5 stars.A good book on prayer. I read this before and now I have to re-read it to see how the mind of Yancey works. Thank you Lord for I am able to read a lot of books this year.

30. The Hobbit, JRR Tolkien.3 stars. My sixth fiction book to read. This is my second time reading this book. The first part was good but when I came to the middle part, I found it less interesting. I must learn to sustain my passion.

31. Mountain Rain.3 stars. Subtitle is “Biography of James Frazer.” A good introduction on what it means to reach out to tribal people in China. The book emphasizes the need for prayer. Written by Frazer's daughter daughter.

32. Basic Christianity, John Stott (an audio book). 5 stars. My very first audio book for the year. I listened to it several times in my car.

33. In His Steps, Charles Sheldon (comics version).5 stars.As a Marvel Comics/Nelson Comic book, 92 pages. The plot revolved a simple question – what would Jesus do? When a respected pastor, Rev Henry Maxwell, vows to attempt every attitude and action in his own life in exact imitation of Christ, his astonished congregation is challenged to follow him. The small town of Raymond, Virginia is changed forever. This was published in 1896, an inspiring tale of the eternal struggle of the human spirit between faith and temptation.

34. Vision Casting, Willow Creek Leadership Conference. 5 stars. My second audio book for the year. This is a compilation of messages given by Bill Hybels, Rick Warren, John Maxwell, Ken Blanchard, etc.

Josil Gonzales is one of the founding members of CWF. He is active in the communications department of a missionary organization.