Monday, December 28, 2009

Boy: Tales of Childhood by Roald Dahl

If you're looking for a good storyteller, who do you call? Roald Dahl. This guy is a genius! Never once have I not been entertained by his stories. This one in particular, is truly fascinating, as he talks about his life and how it has influenced his stories.

Dahl's life at an English boarding school wasn't a bed of roses. Schoolmates were big bullies, the principal was repulsive (Mind you, he later became the Archbishop of Canterbury. Gasp!). He was abused by his seniors, caned by his seniors AND headmaster, and was ostracised. His mom wasn't aware of all that as his letters to home were monitored and changed. Once he had to fake his sickness, just to be home for a few days!

He also recounts those great moments he spent with his mom and sisters, and oh the prank he played on the sister's boyfriend! Yes, Dahl is one cheeky boy. Not to mention his famous Mouse Plot of 1924! And I really wonder how he survived the 'surgery' that took place when he met with an accident and almost lost his nose. (Note: There were no anesthetics then. **Ouch!!**)

With his vivid descriptions, these fascinating and fiendishly funny stories will definitely put a smile on your face :)

You won't regret reading any of Dahl's stories. I like what they wrote about him here:
Every book of Roald Dahl's was written in a little brick hut in the apple orchard about two hundred yards away from his home. He wrote them all in pencil ("I never could type"), sometimes with an old sleeping bag wrapped around him, since there was only a paraffin stove to heat the drafty hut. "When I am up here," he said, "I see only the paper I am writing on, and my mind is far away with Willy Wonka or James or Mr. Fox or Danny or whatever else I am trying to cook up. The room itself is of no consequence. It is out of focus, a place for dreaming and floating and whistling in the wind."

http://us.macmillan.com/author/roalddahl

Verdict: Thumbs up!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Fat Tuesday by Sandra Brown

Burke Basile is pissed. Wayne Bardo, who's responsible for the death of his partner, Kevin Stuart, managed to get off the hook. Thanks to his flamboyant, infamous attorney, Pinkie Duvall, who helps killers evade persecution. Soon after the verdict, Basile and his wife split. Then, tired of the corruption at his work place, he quit the force. But, he's still determined to nail that crooked lawyer and end his drug dealings. He came up with a marvelous plan, i.e. kidnap his most treasured trophy - his wife, Remy Duvall. And so, begins the cop-and-thief chase.

This is my first one of Brown's work. The book, though entertaining with its well developed plot, I find that it somehow still lacks in suspense. What kept me going was the characters, especially when 'Father Gregory' made his appearance. I'd recommend this as a light weekend read.

3 out of 5 stars.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

What to get for Christmas?

that's my Christmas tree :) Put it up with my hubby hehe If you haven't put up a Christmas tree before, I think you should give it a try with your family. It'd kinda give you a nice, warm, fuzzy feeling :D

Ok so anyways, I'm sure most of you are doing your Christmas shopping already. If you haven't and don't know what to buy for a bookaholic like me (heheh), check this out:

www.simplediary.com
Keel's Simple Diary. An assistant for life, a book for any occasion, for any person at any age. On every page, you will discover a taste of philosophy, a pinch of psychology and a twist of insight.

I am so itching to get one myself....gosh....JOE, IT'S YOUR FAULT! :P

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Small Wars by Sadie Jones

The story, set in the 50's, is pretty straightforward. It's about a couple whose marriage is strained due to war. Husband tried to do his best at work, so wife felt deserted, yet had to maintain an unaffected, bold front. Although this book has received rave reviews, I didn't really enjoy it. There were hardly any interesting characters, except probably Clara who was suffering in silence. I did quite like Davis too, but he somehow disappeared towards the end of the story.

Ok, I have not read 'The Outcast', so don't hate me if I tell you I did not like 'Small Wars'. I was dragging my eyes to read passage after passage of dry, boring, emotionless sentences. I just couldn't wait to finish it. *Yawwn*

But if you've read and enjoyed it, pls feel free to share your opinion/review with me :)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Running and Reading - The Key to Life



Great speech don't you think? I like the part which went 'Love what you do, do what you love.'

Hmm...This video somehow reminds me of Murakami's What I Talk About When I Talk About Running. Have yet to get my hands on that book...

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

I've mentioned before I don't fancy love stories because they're mostly so predictable,... Same goes for this one. Although I didn't thoroughly enjoy it, I didn't find it a bore either. This love story, set in the late 19th century, is one that is hardly believable, at least not to me.

This is about a story of a hopeless romantic's unrequited love. The pace is slow, melancholy and at times, pretty draggy. But it manages to capture the essence of love very vividly through the characters' thoughts, emotions and actions. I mean, if to feel strongly for someone, irregardless of what she thinks (whom by the way, said "It is as if he were not a person, but only a shadow", rejected him and married a wealthy man instead) or does (like rejecting him when he came up to her after 3 years of being away from each other), for 51 years, 9 months and 4 days, is not love, then I don't know what is. He did though, try to forget Fermina Daza, by sleeping with 622 women (yep he did!), only to realise, he thought of her even more. Fermina Daza the female protagonist, was everything to him.

Florentino's placid exterior that hints mystery is the opposite of Fermina's haughtiness which hides her insecurity. Well, I guess, opposites do attract. See, the thing is, I think deep inside Fermina does love Florentino, and what she feels for her husband, Dr. Urbino, is out of urm...shall I say, 'habit'? "Over the years, they both reached the same wise conclusion by different paths: it was not possible to live together any other way, or love in any other way, and nothing in this world was more difficult than love."

However, whether or not she loves Florentino, really didn't matter to him. All that mattered was, she was with him and that they're together. She is well aware of it, as she said it very plainly, "He is ugly and sad, but he is all love..."

This is my first time tasting Marquez's masterpiece....I can't say I don't like it. It was okay for me. But I was told to try 'One Hundred Years of Solitude'.

Well. Okay! :)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Pride & Prescience by Carrie Bebris

Thanks my dear friend, Rina Ali, for sharing with us her review on Pride & Prescience :)

Mr. and Mrs. Darcy, the joyous newlyweds from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, have not even left for their honeymoon when they find themselves embroiled in a mystery involving one of their wedding guests.

The lovely Caroline Bingley is engaged to marry a rich and charismatic American. Unfortunately this windswept courtship is marred by strange events – nocturnal wanderings, spooked horses, carriage accidents, and even an apparent suicide attempt. Soon the whole Bingley seems to be the target of a sinister plot, with only the Darcys recognizing the danger.

Sinister forces are afoot, and the Darcys must get to the bottom of this mystery before the blushing bride descends into madness – or worse.

In Pride and Prescience, the Darcys take center stage as the Regency era’s answer to The Thin Man’s Nick and Nora in search of the truth, universally acknowledged and otherwise.

Review:
She writes well with Jane Austen’s character. The way they talk and move gels well with the character’s already known to us from Pride and Prejudice. I don’t particularly like the mystery part of the story. Carrie Bebris is a better Austen fiction writer than a mystery writer. However, still a charming and enjoyable story. Her style of writing is a more modern and easier to read than Jane Austen’s. Perfect for a light afternoon reading for a fan of Mrs Darcy.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Interview with Andrew Matthews

What a privilege it was for me to be able to interview Andrew Matthews, the author of the well-known 'Happiness in a Nutshell', even though it's only via email. Special thanks to Odelia of Pansing for arranging this :)

1) Do you often get fans who say to you ‘Can you draw for me…’ at your autograph sessions? If yes, do you ever get tired of it?
I love to draw at autograph sessions. When readers come to meet me in bookstores they usually expect that I will draw cartoons. For me, drawing cartoons at autograph sessions is a joy and I find it far more interesting than just sitting at a desk signing my name.

2) What’s the most difficult question you get asked about ‘happiness’?
Sometimes people have just lost a loved one and they ask me, “how can I be happy I just lost my husband?” It is very tough when we lose someone we care about. Sometimes only time can heal.
At the same time, life goes on. My new book Happiness in Hard Times includes stories of people who have bounced back from just this kind of experience.

3) I know you get asked this a lot – Where do you draw your inspiration from?
Firstly, there is nothing more important than being happy. No matter how much money you have or how many degrees you have or how famous you are, it matters little if you don’t wake up every day saying, “I’m glad I’m me and I’m happy to be alive”.

4) What makes you happy?
Spending time with my wife Julie – and travelling with her, drawing cartoons, writing books, painting pictures, sailing, meeting new people in different countries.

5) Follow your heart. Easier said than done, don’t you think? There are so many things the heart desires to achieve, but due to commitments and other limitations, these desires become impossible. How then, can happiness be achieved?
My book 'Follow Your Heart' was really about taking time in your life to do things you care about. Some people will say, “I hate my job, how can I be happy?” If you hate your job, then in the short term you can still take time to do things that give you joy. Listening to music, making music, spending time with your family, spending time on your hobbies. Life is short – if certain activities make you happy, then you must make time for them – even if you have to get up one hour earlier to do it.

And if you dislike your job, then in the long term you need to consider improving your skills or look at other options for earning a living.

6) Money gives you happiness, because you'd get to do what your heart desires. True or not true?
It’s funny… Ask poor people if money would make them happier and they’ll tell you, “Of course – most of our arguments are about money”. Ask wealthy people when the happiest times of their life were, and they will mostly say, “Before I got the money…”

Money is important. We buy food, pay rent, pay the phone bill. You want to fly to Hong Kong to visit your mother. Your daughter needs an operation. Is money important?

Here’s the problem – money becomes your God. You judge people by how much money they have. You judge yourself by how much money you have.

Note: You can read all about wealth in Chapter 7 of his recent book, 'Happiness in Hard Times' ;)

Friday, November 27, 2009

Big Bad Wolf Sales: I came out EMPTY-HANDED

After queuing for 30 minutes to get in, I came out empty handed. The sales sucked lah...Not worth the time and wait. The previous one was better - more books, more variety, and more spacious. If you haven't been there, don't bother wasting your time if you've been to their previous one and the recent Pearson Warehouse Sales. My verdict for this sales? 1 out of 5. I was so disappointed with it, that my hubby decided to bring me to Kinokuniya instead to satisfy my insatiable hunger of seeing stacks of GOOD books.

Go there only if you're thinking of getting a great variety of children's books and probably, magazines too. Their fiction selection was disappointing! Anyways, this time's categorising of books was better than the previous one's. If you hate queuing, go around 3-ish, but be prepared to find a fewer selection of books. If you go in the morning, be prepared to queue.

Some however, loved it. They managed to get some really good reads, but I think they were the ones who went there early on the 1st day. Anyways, I hope BBW will do better the next time! Just please don't open up all your goodies on the first day....! And yes....a bigger venue pleeease....Dataran Hamodal was good!

Here are some pix from the BBW Sales Nov 2009. Yes, the queue and crowd....**faint** This was taken at 12.30pm.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Someone Like You by Sarah Dessen

It's very unlikely that I'd pick this book up for a read, unless it comes highly recommended. Coincidentally, my boss' daughter told me that I should give Dessen a try. So I did. Someone Like You is about 2 very good friends, Scarlett and Halley, who are going through the rough stuff of teenage life. Scarlett found out she was pregnant after learning that her boyfriend was killed in an accident, while Halley was in the journey of discovering what's it like to be in love.

Reading this story was quite a pleasure as it brought me back to my yesteryears. Those squabbles with my mom, emotional conflicts with boys, fear of not being accepted by my peers that felt so important then, seem so petty now that I have 'bigger' problems to solve. I guess that's how it is in life - we experience the ups and downs, make mistakes and learn from them, as they make us who we are today.

Pick this book up if you want to walk down memory lane. It could also probably teach you a thing or two about being a mom when your little girl/boy is going through her/his teenage life ;)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

You would want to take your time reading this book. The narration is breathtakingly beautiful (his words are almost poetic!), you'd want to savour each and every page you read. The storyline is really simple. It's about a boy, Daniel, who discovered this book titled 'The Shadow of the Wind by Julian Carax' in the Cemetery of Forgotten Books, a labyrinthine library of obscure and forgotten titles. Daniel was so intrigued by the story that he began on a journey of discovering who Julian Carax was. Little did he know that he wasn't the only one who's interested in Carax. Years go by and the mystery on Carax thickens...Daniel then hears a story about someone going from town to town seeking for Carax's books and burning them.

There are many characters in this story which play a vital role. Normally, one would get lost in all the names and their various backgrounds. But Zafon is such a good storyteller that he lures you into his story right from the start. There are many characters in this story that I've grown to love. Two of which are Bea and Fermin. I admire Bea's intelligence and maturity, and I so so love Fermin's sense of humour! He'd make you laugh, for sure!

One of my many favourite quotes from this book is:
'Every book, every volume you see here has a soul. The soul of the person who wrote it and of those who read it and lived and dreamed with it. Every time a book changes hands, every time someone runs his eyes down its pages, its spirit grows and strengthens...' (Note: You might want to hold a highlighter or have a pen with you, because this book contains many meaningful quotes)

So readers (bookaholics especially), go get yourself a copy NOW. Trust me, you won't regret it! :)

Picture taken from: http://media.photobucket.com/image/the%20shadow%20of%20the%20wind%20book%20quotes/sanyuja/BookCovers/ShadowOfTheWind.jpg

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The big bad wolf is baaaaaaack!!

Hello there booklovers

The Big Bad Book Sale is back! Due to popular demand, this time the book sale will be twice as big as before, with over 200,000 books and magazines coming in for the Big Bad Book Sale. Best of all, the prices are 70% to 90% off the recommended retail prices for all books!

So mark this in your diary:

The Big Bad Book Sale
Dae: 26 November – 2 December 2009
Venue: Level 3, Amcorp Mall (former cinema lot, opposite McDonald’s)
Time: 10am to 9pm
Get a free collectible bookmark with any purchase while stocks last!
Limited to one bookmark per customer.

Get ready to stock up your library as the Big Bad Wolf takes another big bite off the prices of books! Oooowwwwwoooooooo…

Howling his regards,
The Big Bad Wolf.
http://www.bigbadwolfbooks.com

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

If You Weren't There....

As promised, here's what the Pearson and Penguin warehouse sales looks like...


And this is just the other half of it :P So imagine...

You know what...I feel like going there again!!! :(


Deeeeear....Let's go! hehe (Sorry if the pix are blur...taken from my hubby's Blackberry hehe :P)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Map of The Invisible World by Tash Aw

I was looking forward to enjoying this book, but was greatly disappointed. It's not that I didn't enjoy Aw's great prose and use of language, I did. If not because of that, I wouldn't have survived 342 pages. What lacked in this novel, I find, was drama, suspense, thrill and the strength of the characters.

Almost all of the characters were given equal attention, so much so that it was so hard for me to fall in love with even one of them. Hence, I couldn't feel their loss, loneliness, sadness (there was hardly any happiness or joy in this book :P) and fear, as compared to Tan Twan Eng's characters in The Gift of Rain. Tan was so good that you could love every of its character. There were some parts I could hear myself saying 'Tan, you better not kill this character...pleeease....'

In Map of the Invisible World, I felt none. The story was hardly engaging, lack of drama and suspense. I'm so sorry Tash, but that's my truth. I mean, imagine lah, I didn't even feel afraid for Adam (one of the brothers in this story) when he was 'forced' to be a participant in an assassination plot.

To put it plainly, imagine this: After reading more than half the book, you can afford to skip some pages, and you still wouldn't miss anything important....

Next book please...

(Image of book taken from http://www.singaporewritersfestival.com/admin/data/Map-of-the-Invisible-world.jpg)

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Enough is Never...

Was there at the Penguin and Pearson Warehouse (Hereon, will be known as PPW) sales. I can tell you, IT's GOOD! (But I still think Big Bad Wolf's books are cheaper lah. You can't get RM8 books at PPW) Anyway, I personally think PPW has a better selection of books as compared to BBW, which was why,....I purchased more books at the Penguin and Pearson Warehouse sales haahhaha

Will post up the pictures here soon....Was supposed to do it last night, but was too tired...and my mind's in a mess!

Laterz.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Oh deeeeear.....SALES??! AGAIN?!!

2 to 11 October 2009

Pearson & Penguin Books Warehouse Sale!!!!!

Brands Offered

Pearson, Penguin, Ladybird, Longman, Peter Rabbit and more

Time : 10am – 7pm

Location

Pearson Malaysia Sdn Bhd, Lot 2 Jalan 215, Off Jalan Templer, 46050 Petaling Jaya, Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia

Source: http://www.shoppingnsales.com/2009/09/18/2-11-october-2009-pearson-penguin-books-warehouse-sale/

Who's going?????

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Weird Books

Found this on my friend's facebook wall...Cute haha

http://www.abebooks.com/books/weird/index.shtml?cm_mmc=nl-_-nl-_-g00-weirdbX-_-link2

Titles include 'Is Your Dog Gay', 'Doga: Yoga for Dogs', and 'The Sex Life of the Foot and Shoe' haha

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Dali & I: The Surreal Story by Stan Lauryssens

I LOVED IT! :) Finally...a good, satisfying read... A very straight-forward story, but great for those of you who love art and have heard of the name Salvador Dali. Think a weird, crazy clown who can paint. That's Dali.

His artworks have been sold for millions (USD, mind you)! Now, the word 'his' here is vague, because according to this book, half of Dali's famous paintings, aren't even Dali's! Shocking? It seems that he had 3 other painters who painted on his behalf :) So if you had previously purchased a signed, dated, and numbered Dali piece,...and paid a hefty sum for it,...you may have been taken for a ride :P ladida

This paragraph from the book jacket pretty much sums it all: Dali & I offers a behind-the-scenes view of the commerce and conspiracy that go hand in hand in the international art world, written by a man who has been to the top only to discover that it's not so different from the bottom...

My verdict? A MUST READ!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Once On a Moonless Night by Dai Sijie

Nice cover, not so nice story. Here's the synopsis:
This story revolves around a sacred text written on a scroll of silk, that was torn in two, by an emperor. A Chinese student living in France attended a meeting where she was asked to translate a professor's plea for re-establishing the truth about the movie, 'The Last Emperor'. After the meeting, she followed the prof who told her about this mysterious scroll. This intrigued the translator, who was determined to find out more. She then fell in love with a greengrocer, who happened to be the son of the translator of the language used in the scroll.

What I didn't like about the whole book is the way the story is brought forward. Too many narrators were in the picture. It got kinda annoying. And I got lost in all the inverted commas. Some are not even where it should be.

Siggh...it's been awhile since I enjoyed a good book!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett

If you need a good laugh, Good Omens it is (or The Bartimaeus Trilogy heh). Here's a synopsis:

It's about our world coming to an end. An Antichrist, came to earth in a disguise of a young boy, named Adam Young (Yes, Adam) and a hellhound, named 'Dog' was sent to help him (How it all started was hilarious! haha). The apocalypse prepared themselves for a final journey on earth, while the angel, Aziraphale, and the demon, Crowley, two earthbound supernatural beings, (who have been on earth for a long, long while, and don't wish to see it come to an end) witnessed the events unfold before them.

Be prepared for the many footnotes (just like the ones in The Bartimaeus Trilogy, which to me, are funnier) in the book. Some of which, are quite unnecessary, really. Nevertheless, overall, it's quite an entertaining read, with hilarious conversations between Aziraphale and Crowley, two of my favourite characters.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Gathering by Anne Enright

In a nutshell, The Gathering is about a woman who's coming to grips with her past, catching up with her present and trying to move on after her brother's death.

And I didn't enjoy it one bit. She rambled alot. Her story went back and forth so inconsistently and frequently that I got lost. Maybe I'm just not used to her writing style.

To be honest, half the time, I couldn't pay attention to the story, coz half of me wanted to finish the story as soon as possible, while the other half wanted to understand it since it won the Man Booker Prize. Since the latter half failed, I decided to skim through the book instead :P

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Been Busy....

Been so tied up at work lately I can hardly read anything, which explains the hardly-updated-book-review section. If you've read any good books recently and would love to share it with me, please feel free to drop me a note at hookedonbookz@gmail.com :) It can be a sentence or two...no problemo. I'm trying to finish 'The Gathering' by Anne Enright at the moment. Anyone read this book before?

Thursday, July 16, 2009

MORE CLEARANCE SALES!!

Yours truly ain't going...Saving the dough for something else heh :P

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Festivals and More Festivals!

If only I could split myself into quarters....Sigh....To those of you bookaholics who have yet to plan your holidays...you might probably want to consider some of these options...



If luck is on my side, I'd most probably be heading to Singapore...

Checking Out BookCross @ 1U, Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

I was in 1U on my birthday and I checked out bookcross :D It's a cosy, spacious area with comfortable sofas. Good reading place. Shelf's pretty empty and it definitely needs more recent books. Will probably donate some of my books. Let's just hope the books will be handled with care..


Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Book Xchange in 1U, Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

Furnished with cosy living room furniture with bookcase, lamps and sofas, BookCross@1U is designed as a convenient BookCrossing venue for booklovers whilst doubling as a special reading lounge for shoppers.

50 books are sponsored by MPH Bookstores every month and released at BookCross@1U. Regular book club meetings, author readings and BookCrossing sessions will also be organised at BookCross@1U by MPH.

10am – 10pm daily
Ground Floor Highstreet (near Zara and Parkson)
+603 7710 8118

1U – BookCross
www.mphonline.com

THANK YOU MPH!!! :)

Sunday, June 28, 2009

an Hour to Live an Hour to Love by Richard & Kristine Carlson

An easy read that teaches you about love, life and appreciation. What I enjoyed reading most is Carlson's favourite poem by Norma Cornett Marek, Tomorrow Never Comes:

The beginning is my favourite:

"If I knew it would be the last time that I'd see you fall asleep,
I would tuck you in more tightly, and pray the Lord your soul to keep.
If I knew it would be the last time that I'd see you walk out the door,
I would give you a hug and kiss, and call you back for just one more.

If I knew it would be the last time I'd hear your voice lifted up in praise,
I would tape each word and action, and play them back throughout my days.
If I knew it would be the last time, I would spare an extra minute or two,
To stop and say "I love you," instead of assuming you know I do.

So just in case tomorrow never comes, and today is all I get,
I'd like to say how much I love you, and I hope we never will forget.
Tomorrow is not promised to anyone, young or old alike,
And today may be the last chance you get to hold your loved one tight."

Thanks dear, for appreciating us everyday. I love you :) Mmmuax!

P/S It's a nice little gift for family and friends, as long as it's RM5 or below :P Anything more than that, a big no no. If you wanna read it, just borrow it.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Call for Help...

The Dram Projects is making this appeal particularly to those who know how books and reading can make a difference.

Let's pledge to give RM1 a day for the next 12 days.

Accept this invitation or email dramprojects@gmail.com to register for this fundraising exercise, and tell your friends whose lives have been changed or touched by books to pledge their RM1-a-day too!

Pledge Period: 22nd June to 3rd July 2009

Charity: Burmese refugee schools
The money collected will be used to buy books for the Burmese refugee schools supported by Bless Community Services.

The Dram Projects will publish your name and your pledge on Facebook, via email and on its website.

If you want to donate (RM12) you can do so by sealing the money in an envelope.

Or, you can write a cheque to:

Dram Projects Sdn Bhd

Or transfer the money to ...
CIMB Bank Berhad
Account number : 1209-0001698-057

Or you can post them to ...

c/o Daphne Lee
146-0-1 Villa Flora
Jalan Burhanuddin Helmi
Taman Tun Dr Ismail
60000 Kuala Lumpur

dramprojects.wordpress.com

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Little Face by Sophie Hannah

A mom returns home from the gym, looks for her baby in the nursery and finds that the baby isn't hers. She goes berserk and starts to suspect that her baby has been swapped for another. Nobody believes her, not even her husband. They think she's just suffering from post-natal depression. It is one-against-the-world battle for her, until when a previous family murder case unravels that people around her begins to wonder what the truth is.

'Little Face' is certainly not her best. I personally preferred her 'Hurting Distance' which was thrilling, disturbing and full of unexpected twists and turns. Unlike this one, you could easily tell who the devil in disguise is and foresee the plot. The storytelling rhythm was draggy to a point of exasperating. Don't bother guessing the ending, because it's exactly what you'd expect. (Well, close enough for me :P) By the way, the ending is disappointing!

My verdict? 2 out of 5 stars.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Lance Armstrong's It's Not About the Bike

Just the other day, a close friend of mine poured out his worries to me. Much have happened at his work place lately, both good and bad, and he's overwhelmed by doubt and fear.

Coincidentally, he asked me to recommend him some books to read. Prior to the conversation, I suggested the Bartimaeus trilogy (but, of course!). But after our little chat, I recommended him Lance Armstrong's It's Not About the Bike. Here's why.

When diagnosed with testicular cancer, the once confident, ruthless Armstrong, felt weak and lost, mentally and physically. But gradually, he picked himself up and decided to not give in without a fight. And it is this journey that we see how Lance turns fear into strength, uses it to fight his doubts, worry and disappointments with courage, perseverance, endurance and determination. And most importantly, to bring back once again, the belief in himself to be able to overcome a challenge. This part, best describes it:

"I believed in belief, for its own shining sake. To believe in the face of utter hopelessness, every article of evidence to the contrary, to ignore apparent catastrophe - what other choice was there? We are so much stronger than we imagine, and belief is one of the most valiant and long-lived human characteristics. To believe, when all along we humans know that nothing can cure the briefness of this life, that there is no remedy for our basic mortality, that is a form of bravery. To continue believing in yourself...believing in whatever I chose to believe in, that was the most important thing."


We're given only one life. So, whatever comes our way, embrace it. Whatever the challenge, face it. Whatever the outcome, accept it. But not without first giving your best.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Meeting up with Tash Aw

Met up with Tash Aw yesterday (Saturday) in MPH 1 Utama. Sad to say, the evening was kinda disappointing. We didn't have much time with him, and it felt like a rush, having to 'run through' my 'interview' with him. It was supposed to start at 7pm, but as usual, Malaysians, being very punctual, arrived only at about 7.30 or so. (Yours truly arrived at 7 sharp) By the time we were done with dinner, it was already 8.15pm. We were then ushered to a cosy area, where Tash sat right in the centre, and the rest of us sat around him.

After the quick introduction, Tash spoke for awhile before proceeding to the autograph session. I bought his book while I was there, just to get his autograph and to have an opportunity to 'chat' with him. He was quite friendly, a little aloof at times, and looked pretty tired (he had been travelling for 4 weeks). Asked me a few basic questions, like if I'm an MRC member, what does MRC usually do during the book clubs and what kind of books I read. Told him I just completed 'The Road', which by the way, he loved deeply and thought it was McCarthy's masterpiece. (I didn't have my chance give him my standpoint, as I felt that he kept looking at his watch and couldn't wait to end the 'chat'). But I managed to ask him 4 questions (initially I had only two, but I got carried away haha):

Me: How do you choose a good opening to your story?
TA: Well, that's a million dollar question. A tough one. To be honest, my initial opening was the one in chapter two. After much thought,it somehow didn't feel right, so I ended up writing another opening which is what you see now in chapter 1. When that happened, it just felt right.

Me: What about your title?
This one, 'Map of the Invisible World' was actually my working title. I had a few others, but kept falling back to this one, because it felt right.

Me: Do you find writing a chore?
No. Definitely not. I write because it's my job. (This part, I don't quite understand...I mean, if one writes because it's a job, isn't it like a 'chore' already? Something you HAVE to do and not something you WANT to do? I had many other questions to ask him. But because he kept looking at his watch, I stopped myself :P)

Me: May I have your email address?
Oh, to be honest, I rarely check my emails because when I write I like doing it in seclusion; away from every distraction possible - no tv, no internet, no emails, no telephones. So you might have to wait for quite awhile for my reply. (to which I answered: No problem! I'll wait patiently! And yes, he gave me his email add :P)


Picture courtesy of my hubby, Benny Khoo :)

I felt utterly disappointed with the whole arrangement due to the 'rush' and the tardiness of some Malaysians. If everyone was punctual, we'd have more time with Tash. The next time we have such 'evenings'...I beg you participants and members, PLEASE BE PUNCTUAL!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

Father and son on a boring journey of survival. Boring. Got nothing out of it. 3 days of wasted time. Too much repetition throughout. Couldn't feel the proximity of the father-son relationship. Conversations were boring too.

Love the font type though. What put me off really, was the non existent quotation marks, the pages that went on and on without chapters (almost sounded like the story teller was rambling to himself and caught in his own world), and some weird combination of words (2 words made into 1).

This is by far, the only book which I didn't enjoy reading. Sorry McCarthy. I just couldn't and didn't get it.

My ratings? 1 out of 5 stars

Image taken from: http://swingleydev.com/blog/wp-content/the_road_lg.jpg

Monday, June 1, 2009

Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Bartimaeus Trilogy

Two bookaholics recommended me this trilogy. Coincidentally, MPH was having a warehouse sales at the time of which I was on a hunt for it. As luck would have it, I found the trilogy at the warehouse sales, sold at RM25 each :) Thence, began my journey with Bartimaeus.

Here's a peek into what this trilogy is all about:
The story is told through Bartimaeus, Nathaniel and Kitty. It's set based on certain true events and people (like the American Revolution and William Gladstone), during a time when magicians governs Britain and the commoners (the non magicians) made up the rest of the society.

The Amulet of Samarkand mainly revolves around the rise and fall of London, and the introduction of the main characters - Nathaniel (John Mandrake, his magician name) who has a strong desire to be a great magician who wanted to be part of the government body, Bartimaeus (the first djinni he summoned at the tender age of 12) and Kitty, a commoner who was a member of a group called The Resistance.

The second installment, The Golem's Eye, we'd learn more about Kitty and what drove her to be part of the Resistance. In this 2nd book, Nathaniel, who was now member of the government, was sent out to crush the Resistance, capture the members and at the same time uncover the mysterious golem which caused chaos in the city, and once again, Bartimeaus was summoned to help him out.

Ptolemy's Gate brings the whole trilogy to a full circle, where djinni, magician and commoner come together for a common good - to save the government from being overthrown.

To note: I love Bartimaeus to death. This 5000 year old djinni is hilarious, sarcastic, witty, blunt, cheeky, intelligent and so full of himself! I loved him so much so that I got jealous of Kitty whom he grew a certain liking to (yeah, I am weird :P So what!) He speaks in footnotes too! Hilarious, this fella. I laughed so loud when reading his thoughts and sardonic comments my hubby thought I was losing it!

Now that I'm done with the trilogy, I'm missing Bartimaeus by the day. Once in awhile, I'd just leaf through the pages, and read some of his footnotes, just to keep him close to my heart :) haha

*Image from: http://www.fairrosa.info/rj/uploaded_images/barticover-732702.jpg

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Get in Touch with Tash!

Yep Yep TASH AW WILL BE IN KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA!
(nicked from thebookaholic.blogspot.com)

Monday, May 25, 2009

While awaiting...

I'm about to complete the Bartimaeus Trilogy (which I'm enjoying thoroughly. I so so love Bartimaeus! haha). While I'm at it, I shall feed you with some entertaining videos ;)



This is funny! hehe

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Have A Good Weekend with Rob Paravanian Pachelbel Rant

Am off to Penang this week for a press conference...

To those of you who dropped by, I'll leave you with Rob Paravanian's Pachelbel Rant! It's entertaining and funny hehe Till then, HAVE A GOOD WEEKEND!

Monday, May 18, 2009

On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan

Truth to be told. If it wasn't sold at RM8, I wouldn't have purchased it, 'coz it's only 166 pages and I ain't paying RM30 odd ringgit (the average cost of a book here in Malaysia) for a book that thin :P Here's the embarrassing part. This book is faaantastic. If I'd known, I wouldn't mind buying it at its original price (but the cheaper the better of coz :P).

On Chesil Beach is mainly about love and loss. The story is set in 1962 and is about a newly married couple, Edward and Florence, who decided to tie the knot, because they were in love with each other and thought it was only right to do so. The problem was, they hardly knew or understood each other, hence they were unable to express themselves openly, about sex especially. See, Edward wanted sex, Florence clearly didn't.

McEwan's ability to capture the characters' emotions and thoughts, was flawless. There were parts I cried, for I felt Florence's sadness and bitterness when she supressed her own feelings just to prove to Edward (and herself) that she loves him. At times, I couldn't help hating Edward's selfishness, as all he thought of, was having sex with Florence. Edward: When he heard her moan, Edward knew that his happiness was almost complete.

He was also able to describe the newlyweds' first night together at a hotel in Chesil Beach, after their wedding, so gently yet so exact; so poetically, yet so real, so raw, so tender.... Look at how beautiful this was written: She was doing all she could prevent a muscle in her from tightening, but it was happening without her, of its own accord, as inevitable and powerful as a sneeze. It was not painful as it clenched and went into mild spasm, this treacherous band of muscle, but she felt it was letting her down, giving the first indication of the extent of her problem. (page 85)

Reading this novella made me question the meaning of love and marriage. Is it about your happiness or your partner's? Was Edward to be blamed for the outcome of their marriage? Or was it purely Florence's fault? Were they both being selfish? Did they love each other at all in the first place?

One thing that left me somewhat unsatisfied though. The last part of the story felt like it was rushed through, and lacked McEwan's powerful narration. Wonder why... It was quite an anti climax :(

Nevertheless, this is one of the many books which I'd read again. And I will.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Crescent Warehouse Sales

If you weren't at the Big Bad Wolf Sales..., don't despair my dear friend...because, Crescent is here to save a bookaholic's day! Details as follow:

But I'm skipping this. Enough of sales for me for now haha

The Big Bad Wolf Chomps Them All!

EVERYONE must go to the Big Bad Wolf (BBW) Sales. Bookaholics especially, 'coz the Wolf's irresistible offer would make you oblivious to the damage he would do to your kids and your pockets. The best part is, the whole place is air conditioned, so you won't be sweltering :D A smart wolf huh ;)

It was a jungle out there I tell you...Kids were running amok at the sight of books that were at rock bottom prices, parents not knowing where to start (fiction/non-fiction/children??) and husbands helping their wives with the boxes of books. I even overheard (unintentionally lah!) this lady telling her partner, "Ok, I'm gonna start here. You go over there. We'll meet at the exit." LOL!

Anw, I bought 10 books for only RM77!! :D The picture attached was my purchase.

Despite what had been said about "other" book sales that were very disappointing, I didn't regret going to the MPH Warehouse Sales held recently, because the books I bought there, weren't sold at BBW :P **phew** Personally, I thought MPH Warehouse Sales had a wider selection of books as compared to BBW. But I was equally happy I was at BBW too.... :) In fact, the BBW Sales wins all of the other sales I'd been to, hands down! Get this: An Hour to Live, An Hour to Love (in mint condition) was selling at only RM5!!!!! How could anyone beat that?!

Monday, May 11, 2009

MORE BOOK SALES!

GUYS AND GALS! This book sales YOU MUSN'T MISS! Who's in??? (Saw this in The Star Weekender!) Carly, thx for dropping me an email too! I'm getting so excited!

A note from the founders:
There’s a new player in the book industry and the name is Big Bad Wolf Books!

Big Bad Wolf Books will bring you the latest in every genre in the book industry at the lowest prices possible.

From 14 (Thu) to 18 (Mon) May 2009, Big Bad Wolf Books will be holding its inaugural book sale, The Big Bad Book Sale and it's gonna be something you don’t want to miss! All books will be between RM5 and RM20 only! Check out
http://www.bigbadwolfbooks.com to see a selection of books available at The Big Bad Book Sale and their unbelievably low prices!

Big Bad Wolf Books is brought to you by the people behind BookXcess as we truly believe in helping people read more for less. So come along to the sale and tell your friends about it too.

We have set up a Facebook page
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Kuala-Lumpur-Malaysia/Big-Bad-Wolf-Books/74209335097 and event http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=86424504456 to give you and your friends all the information they need about this amazing event. Or you can simply forward this e-mail to any friends who might be interested.

Here’s to making BBW Big Bad Wolf Books a truly big, 'bad' player in the books industry and enabling them to not only bite chunks off the prices of books but also to bring you the latest bestsellers!

Come along with your family and friends to The Big Bad Book Sale this weekend. A free, limited edition bookmark will be yours with any purchase at the sale, while stock lasts!

See you at The Big Bad Book Sale!

Warmest regards,
Andrew & Jacqueline Yap.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Recommended, Read, Reading

I judge a book not only by its cover but also by recommendations (from sources who know me well ;)) These are some of the books which came highly recommended by friends.

1) Totto Chan - Read and Loved It! 4/5 stars
2) Oscar and the Pink Lady - Read and Loved it! 3/5 stars
3) The Bartimaeus Trilogy - Reading (and loving it more each day)
4) The Art of Happiness - Read 2.5/5 stars (Probably coz it's non fiction :P)
5) Pride and Prejudice - Read and Enjoyed it Immensely! 3/5 stars
6) The Monk who Sold His Ferrari - Read 2.5/5 stars
7) My Sister's Keeper - Read and Loved the dramatic storyline 4/5 stars

And recently, a friend of mine recommended these to me, all by Pearl S. Buck:
1) Pavilion of Women
2) The Time is Noon

Anyone read them before?

Shall look out for them soon! Thx Mah ;)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

MPH DISTRIBUTOR WAREHOUSE SALES!

WHERE?
Location (Tel 603 7958 1688)- Google Map
Ground Floor Warehouse
Bangunan TH
MPH Warehouse
NO 5 Jalan Bersatu 13/4
Petaling Jaya
[Opposite Dataran Hamodal]

The books weren't thaaaat cheap la...But at least they're cheaper than usual. Go check it out! ;) Was there, bought 8 books for RM129 (which included a pocket dictionary for only RM3! haha)

Monday, April 27, 2009

Oscar and the Lady in Pink by Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt

This, my dear friends, is a MUST READ for all! And the best part is....all it takes is probably 2-3 hours to finish this book! Isn't that grrreat? :) I owe this to Li Shian who found this book in BookXcess PJ and even gave me a copy of it! Thanks dear!

This story is about Oscar, who's only 10 years old and about to die. He meets Granny Rose whom he loves talking to. He thinks Granny Rose is the only adult who understands him most. Oscar doesn't believe in God until one day when Granny Rose successfully convinced him to write letters to God and tell Him about his thoughts, worries and fears.

What I liked most about this book is its honesty and witty charm. The ending is really touching and it shows how God works in mysterious ways. Don't get me wrong here. It's not a book about religion, but it's more about how we view life and death.

"People are frightened of dying because they're afraid of the unknown. But that's just it, what's the unknown? I don't think you should be frightened, Oscar, you should have faith in it. Look at God's face on the cross: he's suffering the physical pain, but he's not feeling any moral pain because he has faith. And as a result the nails actually hurt less." (Ponder on this for awhile.. :))

And this is one of my fav quotes from Oscar, when he was debating with Granny Rose about not having a solution to "Life", and Granny Rose says that there are several solutions to life and therefore no solution. But Oscar says this, "Well, this is what I think, Granny Rose, there's no solution to life except to live it." Isn't that brilliant? ;)

I'm sure you'd enjoy the book, reading the conversations Oscar has with Granny Rose and the letters he writes to God.

So go grab a copy now if you can! :)

Book image from: http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/images/n30/n153517.jpg

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

This story is set in a time when money, society and status are more important that true love and happiness. The female protagonist, Elizabeth Bennet, is a very opinionated young lady who loves her family dearly, especially her sister Jane. Elizabeth meets Mr. Darcy and thinks of him as very impertinent and proud, but Mr. Darcy on the other hand, liked her intelligence and straightforwardness, and without him realising it, falls for her deeply. She despises Mr. Darcy so much that she can’t even stand the sight of him. But her feelings towards him change when she finds out the truth behind all the rumours that have been said about him.

What I loved most about the story is its characters that are so flawed and real, its witty conversations, the relationship between Elizabeth and Jane, and the struggles of Elizabeth's thoughts and emotions upon discovering the real Mr. Darcy.

Yes, the language is pretty “heavy” and it does require more concentration compared to other books, but it’s definitely worth the while, because after a few chapters, you’ll get the hang of it.

Whether or not you’ve seen the movie doesn’t matter, because reading the book is a whole different experience altogether. Austen’s ability in capturing the essence of each moment of each scene is something I find, the movie couldn’t deliver well enough.

Book image from: http://www.kelston.org.uk/assets/images/pride_and_prejudice.jpg

Life Without Limbs

This video touches my heart every time I see it.



Thanks Dad and Adryan for sharing this with me.

To those who'd like to learn more about Nick, go to:
http://www.lifewithoutlimbs.org

Dear God, I'm here to execute your plans for me. Just lead the way. And thank you for all your blessings!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A Partisan's Daughter by Louis de Bernieres

Louis de Bernieres is well-known for his previous works like Birds with Wings and Captain Corelli's Mandolin. Unlike those two, his latest, A Partisan's Daughter, is somewhat different; it's simpler, shorter, and sublimely funny. But this story, like his previous ones, still grips your heart, and its words will still linger in your mind after putting it down. The theme of the story revolves around love, regret and seizing life's moments.

This story is set in London, in the 1970's. It is about a man in his 40's named Chris, who's unhappily married to his wife whom he calls, a Great White Loaf. One night, as he was roaming in London, a scantily clad lady standing in the streets, catches his eyes. He asks her very subtly if she's a prostitute. This is totally something new to him as he is "not the sort of man who goes to prostitutes." When she finds out his intentions, she tells him she isn't a prostitute, but would appreciate it if he could give her a ride home. To thank him, the lady, Roza who's in her 20s, invites him to come to her place for coffee whenever he's free. He takes up her offer.

Over the next few months, Roza tells Chris the stories of her past. Gradually, Chris begins to long to see her more and drops by her house more frequently. He starts questioning himself if he is indeed falling for her or merely wanting her company, hoping that she'd sleep with him one day (as he's still saving up that 500 pounds, an amount which she'd sell herself). The loquacious Roza on the other hand, isn't sure if she's attracted to Chris because he made her feel important by just listening to her and her stories, or because she really loved Chris.

The story alternates between Chris and Roza as narrators, which allows you emphatise with their character and thoughts.

Great for a weekend read. Can't figure out any food or drinks to go with it tho' haaha

My verdict? 3 out of 5 stars.

Image taken from: http://bookshop.blackwell.co.uk/images/jackets/l/00/0099520281.jpg

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck

A typical rags to riches story. But don't get this the wrong way. This Pulitzer Prize Winner has a very compelling storyline that's a page turner, and unforgettable characters that are sympathetic, flawed and real.

Buck also depicted the Chinese culture and how they lived during those days (around the 19th century) quite accurately. Reading it almost felt like I was watching a Chinese drama series shot during that era (late 19 century or so) when infanticide, foot-binding and concubinage were common practices.

The Good Earth started with Wang Lung, a hard working farmer who married a slave called O-lan. She bore him 5 children, of which 3 are sons, 2 are daughters. Together, both of them pulled the family out of poverty and earned enough money to buy more lands. And soon, they became rich enough to buy over the House of Hwang, a family of wealthy landowners.

Also, this novel explored the complexities of human emotions and behaviours in all its characters. For example, at the time when Wang Lung was rich and successful, he came to know one of the women, known as Lotus, who worked at a teahouse. Eventhough he felt guilty pursuing her, he still went ahead with it and consoled himself by saying he deserved it as he is now a man of success and wealth, he shouldn't feel so contrite about it. Wang Lung is actually a man with a good heart, but he is also a man marred by his own weaknesses.

Best read when you have no other distractions because you'd get very annoyed when you have to put it down. Trust me. I speak from experience :P

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

My Love Triangle

My relationship with Books wasn't serious before...especially during my college and uni years. Our relationship used to be more of a on-and-off thing, 'cuz on one hand, I couldn't stand not being around Books, but on the other hand, I couldn't help flirting with Parties and Men.

But now that I had enough of those two, and that age is catching up (:P), I decided to take my relationship with Books to a different level. I want us to be closer. I want us to spend as much time as we could together, without having to get rid of Work (and Hubby too of course haha). (Work helps me pay the bill and get to Books, Hubby gives 2-way-street love :P)

So these days, I bring Books wherever I go - the restaurant, my travels, shopping centres, toilet (oops. eek? :P), office, car, etc . It wasn't easy at first, because I was afraid to be associated with the Geeks and Nerds. But the fear wore off when I got used to it. Slowly it became almost like a habit. Now, I don't feel complete when I don't have Books with me. I'm happy to say that our relationship is growing stronger by the day.

Today, nobody can come between us :) (Ok fine, except my husband :P)

My attention now is 40% Hubby 40% Books 20% Work

Kidding dear! haha

Image taken from: http://images.paraorkut.com/img/pics/glitters/h/hug-8720.gif

Thursday, April 9, 2009

OOps....

Sorry my dear readers, World Book Day's on the 23rd of April which is 2 wks later, not today haha Look how excited I can get when it comes to books! LOL!

What's Love?

My hubby shared this lovely video with me, and I'd like to share it with you too :) It's really meaningful and touching...



I hope you guys liked it as much as I did :D

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Answers to Salihah's Questions

Hi Salihah,

To your question, "Can i know what r da interesting things of Haruki Murakami n Roald Dahl dat make u like their books? bcoz it was my 1st time heard their names hehe who knows i can be their fan too =) tq"

Answer: Haruki Murakami is because of his wild, beautiful imaginations....His stories are very surreal, almost hypnotic (to me at least! haha) and can transport out of this world. If you want to get a feel of his stories, try reading Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman :)
Best to read his stories at night ;)

Whereas for Roald Dahl, I like his dark humour. They'll make you smile (I enjoy his short stories) and the best part is...his endings are always with a twist! Give him a try ;)
Best to read his short stories when you're bored watching the repetitive TV commercials haha


Book image is taken from: http://www.boghallen.dk/Uploaded/9780099488668/blind-willow_20000_550.jpg

Thank You Li Shian!

Li Shian, thank you so much for featuring my blog in your papers, Kosmo! My counter went up, up, up! haha How nice if the share market works the same way too hehe

To those of you who'd like to read the story but didn't manage to get a copy of Kosmo!, here's the online version: http://www.kosmo.com.my/kosmo/content.asp?y=2009&dt=0408&pub=Kosmo&sec=Infiniti&pg=in_02.htm

To my hubby and all my friends, you have been an inspiration to me, thank you so much! If not coz of you guys, my blog would be dead by now too haha Hey Kavita, I really hope you're reading this, coz you're a big part of my blog! If not coz of you, this idea wouldn't have occured to me!

Btw, if you're wondering why I'm not updating my blog as regularly as before, it's coz just recently, I've been contracted to work part time, so my hands are kinda tied (to the steering wheel, that is. The traffic jam is killing me! By the time I get home, it's usually 8pm already! *sob*)

But I'd do my best to keep my blog updated as possible, especially on the 'Books' part :) I'm reading 'The Good Earth' by Pearl S. Buck and A Series of Unfortunate Events (Book 5) by Lemony Snicket at the moment. Once I'm done with either of them, I'll write the review ;)

Meanwhile, keep your recommendations and suggestions coming! :) Till then, take care and God bless!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Become an ECO Fren!

The KL Design Week (KLDW) team wanted to have a green agenda as part of KLDW that runs till April 4th (which is tomorrow). So anyway, they got designers from all over the world to participate and create designs for bags that urge people to save our environment.

These designer bags can be seen all over Capsquare, Kuala Lumpur, hung on 100 actual trees around its food and entertainment centre. And two of my friend's designs are out there too! Joe, if you're reading this, congrats! Good job!

KLDW, great effort! Keep it up!

Pictures courtesy of the designer himself, my dear friend, Joe Chan! Thanks Joe :)

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