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:

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.


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