Traveling the World through Reading

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Reading takes you places. As Dr. Suess said, “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” Where in the world will your next book take you?

When I was young, I dreamt of seeing the world. Coming from the back country of the Philippines, I was curious to know what other places look like. I did not get out of Batangas, my home province till I went to college in Manila. I always had that nagging feeling to go abroad and widen my horizon.

When I went to college, I thought of majoring in Foreign Service or Journalism so I could get out of the country. But Dad got a different idea and I ended up in Accounting. He needed an accountant in the family. But that did not thwart my dream of going abroad. I pursued my dream and in 1966. in spite of my fear of flying, I left the Philippines on my first trip abroad when I went to Hongkong and then Japan. There’s an interesting story about that trip which should be an interesting post for later. A year later, in 1967, I left for New York.

While working in the business world, I had no time to read. So fast forward to 2011 when I retired to South Carolina. I started reading in earnest. Here are a few of the books I read which took me to interesting places:

1.      Sarum by Edward Rutherfurd – United Kingdom

2.     Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett – 12th Century Feudal England

3.     A Woman of Substance by Barbara Taylor Bradford – England

4.    At the Water’s Edge by Sara Gruen – Scotland

5.     A Monk Swimming by Malachy McCourt – Ireland

6.    Helen of Sparta by Amalia Carosella – Paris and Troy

7.     The Bells by Richard Harvell – Switzerland, Austria, Italy

8.    Raised from the Ground by Jose Saramago – Portugal

9.    Winter of the World by Ken Follett – Germany, England, Russia and Washington DC.

10.  The Amber Keeper by Freda Lightfoot – England Lake District and Russia

11.  One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn – Russia Federation, Soviet Union

12. The Archimedes Codex – Constantinople, Greece, England and New York

13. The Winter Rose by Jennifer Donnelly – England, Africa

14.Through a Glass Darkly – Karleen Koen – England, France

15. The Spy Who Came in from the Cold by John le Carre – England, East Germany

16.Hawaii by James Mitchener – Hawaii, Bora-Bora

17. Day of Infamy by Walter Lord – Pearl Harbor

18.   The Good Earth by Pearl S Buck – China

19.The Fall of Japan by William Craig – Okinawa and Tokyo, Japan

20.   Rescue at Los Baños by Bruce Henderson – WWII Philippines

21. Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder – Peru

22.  The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers – Iraq

23.    The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini – Afghanistan

24.    Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande – India and New York

25.   Don’t Fall off the Mountain by Shirley Maclaine – Virginia, New York, California Africa, India and the Himalayas.

26.   Inside the Dream Palace: The Life and Times of New York’s Legendary Chelsea Hotel by Sherill Tippins – New York

27.   Brooklyn by Colm Toibin – New York and Ireland

28.   A Wilder Rose by Susan Wittig Albert – Wisconsin, Kansas and New York

29.   The March by E.L. Doctorow – Georgia to the sea and up the Carolinas (Civil War)

30.  The Only Way to Cross: The Golden Era of the Great Atlantic Liners – From the Mauretania to the France and the Queen Elizabeth 2 by John Maxtone-Graham. – Atlantic Ocean Voyage

 

There you have them – 30 of my most memorable books that I read and travelled worldwide. I hate plane rides and ocean voyages but I have travelled the world through books, experiencing new authors and cultures along the way. I will keep on reading because as Irwin Shaw said, “There are too many books I haven’t read, too many places I haven’t seen, too many memories I haven’t kept long enough.”

 

Until next time. Stop and Smell the Roses.

Rosalinda

 

 

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TEN WORDS TO IMPROVE YOUR VOCABULARY THIS MONTH

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English is not my native language but I am curious enough to learn a new word all the time. When I read a book and come upon a new word, I have a habit of checking it in my Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary. I have been doing this since I was in high school. It’s a great way to enlarge your vocabulary.

Do you know that studies have shown that your income and wealth are directly related to the size and depth of your vocabulary? I’m still working on this and working hard at it I must say.

Here are this month’s words, so you can impress your friends and colleagues, and maybe even fatten your wallet!

 

1.       abatis – (noun) – a defensive obstacle formed by felled trees with sharpened branches facing the enemy

2.      cockade – (noun) – an ornament (as a rosette) worn on the hat as a badge

3.      comestible – (noun) – food usually used in plural.

4.      corduroyed – (verb) – to build a road of logs laid side by side transversely

5.      espiègle – (adjective) – frolicsome, roguish

6.      feint – (noun) – a mock blow or attack on or toward one part in order to distract attention from the point one really intends to attack

7.      integument – (noun) – something that covers or encloses

8.     meerschaum – (noun) – a tobacco pipe of a fine light clayey mineral that is a hydrous magnesium silicate found chiefly in Asia Minor.

9.      orgulous – (adjective) – meaning proud, haughty

10.  suppurate – (verb) – to form or discharge pus

 

Have you encountered a new word this month? Share it on the comments section.

 

Until Next time. Keep on reading.

Rosalinda R Morgan

Author & Garden Writer

What was the inspiration for your recent novel, “The Wentworth Legacy”?

I’ve been asked a few times about my inspiration for “The Wentworth Legacy” and so here it is.

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When we moved to Long Island in 1971, I was exposed to the life of the old money. My mother-in-law had remarried after her husband died to a member of what I considered the upper class of the North Shore of Long Island. As such, I was lucky to see some of the homes of the wealthy families of the North Shore which somehow got into the pages of my book. I came to dine at Piping Rock Club in Locust Valley and Colony Club in New York, both are exclusive country clubs for the old money. No, my husband and I were not members of those clubs although he was a member of the Knickerbocker Club in New York. My mother-in-law was a member of both Piping Rock and Colony.

I saw and heard stories about the life above and below stairs from people around me. It was both fascinating and intimidating at first but as the years went on, I learned to be comfortable with the new aspect of my married life. It was a far cry from where I came from – a small town in the Philippines.

We are often asked if we are related to J.P. Morgan. We are not. My husband said they came on different boats. People often wondered why my husband knew so many old money in the community. My husband’s parents were not rich although I sensed his grandmother was. They were comfortable but their social standing was far above most of the people I knew.

So, the idea of writing a book about the old money came from being around some of them. This time, the North Shore in “The Wentworth Legacy”, next time, the South Shore in “?????”. Stay tuned.

 

Goodreads Giveaway ends Feb. 28

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Wentworth Legacy by Rosalinda Rosales Morgan

The Wentworth Legacy

by Rosalinda Rosales Morgan

Giveaway ends February 28, 2017.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

 

Don’t miss the chance to win a signed copy of “The Wentworth Legacy” by Rosalinda R Morgan at Goodreads Giveaways. Enter for a chance to win now. Giveaways ends on Feb. 28 at 11:59 pm. Open only to Goodreads members in U.S.

 

“This plot-driven, emotionally complex tale effectively details Spencer’s determination to sacrifice his own happiness in favor of his family’s success. An engrossing love story. . . ”  – Kirkus Reviews

 

An urgent telegram from his family’s attorney to come home immediately interrupts Spencer’s carefree life in England in 1927. Spencer A Wentworth, a scion of an old wealthy banking family of the New York Gold Coast in Long Island, returns from a three-year Grand Tour with a big surprise waiting for him that he is not prepared to handle. Thus begins a series of events putting pressure on his personal life. With the stock market about to collapse, he can lose everything including Wentworth Hall, his ancestral home which he was determined to save at all cost even if it means losing the only woman he loves.

 

Until next time. Stop and smell the roses.

Rosalinda R Morgan

Author and Garden Writer

Last call of Goodreads Giveaways

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The Goodreads Giveaways for The Wentworth Legacy ends tonight at 11:59 pm, Nov. 3. Enter now to win one of 3 signed copies of The Wentworth Legacy, a Long Island Story. It is a tale of responsibility, love, betrayal and suspense during the Gilded Age. Reminds one of Downton Abbey except this is on U.S. soil.
https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/sh…

 

Until next time. Stop and smell the roses.

 Rosalinda Morgan, The Rose Lady

 Author of “The Wentworth Legacy”

 www.rosalindarmorgan.com

 

Goodreads Giveaways End Soon. Enter for a Chance to Win Now.

Goodreads Giveaways for “The Wentworth Legacy” end on Nov. 3, 2016. Don’t miss the chance to win 1 of 3 signed First Edition copies of “The Wentworth Legacy” by Rosalinda R Morgan. Enter for a chance to win now. Open only to Goodreads members in U.S. and Canada.

 The Wentworth Legacy Kindle Cover Revised

An urgent telegram to come home interrupts the carefree life of Spencer A Wentworth, a scion of an old banking family of the New York Gold Coast in Long Island, that can change his life forever when he returns from a Grand Tour. Thus begins a series of events putting pressure on his personal life.

With the stock market about to collapse, can the family save the family fortune including Wentworth Hall and retain their way of life as the country gets deeper into the Great Depression? As Spencer struggles with his financial problems, he has to find a way to save his legacy at all cost even if it means losing the only woman he loves.

A tale of responsibility, love, betrayal, and suspense during the Gilded Age.

 

“The Wentworth Legacy” is available now at amazon.com

 

 

Until next time. Stop and smell the roses.

Rosalinda R Morgan

Author and Garden Writer

Excerpts from “The Iron Butterfly”

The Iron Butterfly Cover

Chapter 3, page 31-35

The orderlies placed Eugenio on the far end of the ward. Dr. Contreras went back out of the emergency room and came back with a surgeon in tow. The doctor acknowledged Regina’s presence by merely nodding his head and went right to take Eugenio’s vital signs. His pulse was terribly weak and his breathing was short. He was barely conscious. His skin was so hot.

“His fever is dangerously high. How long has he been like this?” the doctor asked, putting the thermometer once more in Eugenio’s mouth.

“Since yesterday,” Regina said lamely.

He timed the thermometer, then pulled it out. The mercury had not moved. “Good God. Still one hundred and five. Has he vomited? Any headache?”

“He had all that,” Dr. Contreras said, looking at Eugenio who was barely aware of what was going on.

Hearing all that, the doctor looked at Regina and said, “We have to operate now.” Regina just nodded and pressed Eugenio’s hand tightly waiting for a response. Nothing came. She suddenly felt a knot on her stomach. She felt worried.

The doctor called a nurse and gave her instructions. In no time, she wheeled Eugenio from the emergency room to the operating room.

The surgeon went ahead of them to the operating room where a team of doctors and nurses had assembled to help in the operation. The surgeon put on a clean white gown, went to the sink and scrubbed his hands. The nurses, already had their white apron on and went to work assembling a tray of instruments. Another doctor began administering the anesthesia, waving it across Eugenio’s face. Eugenio was half conscious, half asleep. He coughed and turned away. He was now becoming very drowsy.

“Scalpel,” the doctor said.

“Right here,” one of nurses said.

The surgeon saw the nurse press an oxygen mask over Eugenio’s face. He took three deep breaths then stopped breathing altogether. His chest sank. The nurse took the oxygen mask off and started chest compression. Behind her, two doctors traded worried glances. One of them motioned to the nurse and he took over.

“One . . . two . . . three . . .,” he counted, pushing his palms in the center of Eugenio’s chest. He pumped hard and fast. When there was no reaction, he stopped.

“He’s gone,” the doctor said quietly. He stepped back. The surgeon, still holding the scalpel which was never used, stared in disbelief.

Shaking his head, the surgeon said, “I wish they had brought him earlier. I could have saved him.”

“We tried. There was nothing more anyone could have done. It was too late.”

The surgeon looked at Eugenio, at his lifeless eyes. The doctor shut his own eyes. He took a deep breath, but it didn’t help. No matter how many operations he did, he still felt down if he could not save the lives of his patients. He then gently closed Eugenio’s eyes. One of the nurses snapped open a sheet and draped it over Eugenio. Eugenio developed peritonitis, an acute inflammation of the abdomen caused by a rupture of the appendix following appendicitis.

The surgeon came out of the operating room looking drained and talked to Dr. Contreras who was waiting just outside the operating room. At the sight of him, Dr. Contreras knew the surgeon was not able to save him.

“He is gone. We tried to save him but it was too late. He developed peritonitis,” the surgeon said. Dr. Contreras placed the heel of his right hand on his forehead. He felt awful. He did not know how to break the news to Regina. They conferred for a while and then they went to see Regina to tell her the news.

Regina and Lucio sat patiently in the waiting room while Eugenio was being operated on and it was agony waiting for the doctors to come out of the operating room. The clock seemed to stop. It felt like eternity.

At last, Regina saw the doctors coming their way. She stood up and approached the doctors. Lucio was by her side. She held Lucio’s hand tight finding strength in it and fearing the worst. She was holding to a sliver of hope, hoping for a miracle.

“How’s my husband?” Regina asked. The surgeon looked at Dr. Contreras who nodded, then dropped his eyes. Regina waited a minute. Then looking at the surgeon straight in the eye, she asked again nervously, “How’s my husband, Doctor? Can I see him now?”

“I’m . . .” The doctor faltered.

“What’s wrong? Something is wrong.” She looked at Dr. Contreras. “Please tell me. I want to know what happened.” Fear began to trickle through her veins.

The doctor cleared his throat nervously. “I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news. Eugenio’s appendix had burst. We did everything possible but it was too late. We could not save him.”

Regina gasped, put her hand over her mouth. She did not want to believe what she was hearing. She shook her head. Lucio stood by her side incredulous at what he heard. He grabbed his mother’s arm instinctively.

The doctor continued, “His blood was poisoned. He developed peritonitis. I’m sorry.”

Regina did not hear all that. There was a buzzing sound in her ears. She felt numb. She felt like somebody hit her on the head and she was going down into an abyss with no bottom in sight. She felt the world was going round and round and she was getting dizzy. She was going to faint. Lucio saw it coming and came to her aid. He sat her down on the nearest chair. Dr. Contreras put his hand around her shoulders and tried to comfort her. Lucio knelt by his mother and held her hands. She tried to hold her tears. Her whole world was falling apart and she did not know what to do. Her mind was in turmoil.

She looked at Lucio and she could see the agony in his eyes and fear of what lay ahead. The boy was bravely holding his tears. Her heart felt the sadness in Lucio’s heart. If he could be brave, so can I, she thought. She could not fail Lucio and her other children. She had to do something. She could not let her emotion get the better of her. She had to be brave and strong for her children. She quickly resolved she had to get over this stupor and act quickly.

Regina looked around. Dr. Contreras, Lucio and the surgeon were silent all waiting for her to calm down. She composed herself in an instant, stood up erect and with a solemn look on her face swallowed hard and spoke to the surgeon, “I thank you all for what you did for my husband. I do appreciate it very much.” She extended her hand and shook his hand.

The surgeon said, “I am truly sorry. We tried everything.”

“I know you did. When can we see him?” She reached for Lucio’s hands and tried to hold her tears.

“Just give us few minutes.” Then both the surgeon and Dr. Contreras left them in the waiting room.

“She’s a remarkable woman,” the surgeon said to Dr. Contreras.

Regina did not know where she got the strength to hold back her tears. She promised not to cry in front of everyone. It could be construed as weakness and she could not allow that. Not now, maybe later. She needed all the courage she could muster. She looked at Lucio, the eldest son, the head of the family now: always serious and dutiful and hugged her son tightly. Her eldest son will now take the responsibility left by his father. She felt very sad for him. He was only 15, too young to bear such a heavy burden for the family. Her heart ached for her eldest son. It was not fair, she thought.

It dawned on her that she was now a widow at 36 with a big responsibility to take care of nine children. Her head was spinning. She held on tight to Lucio’s hands which gave her strength. She lost her voice and could not say another word. She turned around and saw the chair she was sitting on before and sat back down again, numb and lost.

It was Dec. 23, 1928, 2 days before Christmas.