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."

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:
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.

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.


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