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Showing posts from January, 2010

Albert Jack's Ten-Minute Mysteries

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If you're looking for a quick, no-brainer read, this could be the book for you. Here we have author Albert Jack, using his detective skills, digging up the truth behind some of the world's mysteries. So what can you find buried in these pages? You'd learn about The Bermuda Triangle, Agatha Christie's mystery, crop circles, the famous fairies found in the garden, and Lady Fatima to name a few. Some of them I enjoyed, some I didn't. Oh and by the way, don't expect all the 'whys' to be answered.

Albert Jack is a writer and researcher. His first book Red Herrings and White Elephants, which explored the origins of well known phrases in the English language, sold more than 250,000 copies.

Best to read it when: you know you'll be in busy places/waiting for a friend.
Verdict: 2.5/5
Price: RM20 (Bought it at the Pearson and Penguin Warehouse Sales)

Reading your way out of depression

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Read this from guardian.co.uk which I thought was rather interesting :)

I suspect you need a very individual prescription, but I know that Saul Bellow helped lead me out of a very dark time...

This week I was saddened to read Marian Keyes's announcement that she is taking a sabbatical from writing because of crippling depression, while on Radio 4's Front Row Joyce Carol Oates admitted that she currently has no plans to write a new novel as, since the death of her husband in 2008, she lacks "the psychological strength or concentration" required.This reminded me of the old joke about a famous clown who, suffering from depression, visits the doctor. The doctor doesn't recognise the celebrity without his make-up and says the best thing he can prescribe is a visit to the circus to watch the famous clown at work. Physician heal thyself, indeed.For, while I don't believe that literature alone can cure depression (the importance of therapy, counselling, medication, lif…

The book pirates of Peru: Boon or Bane?

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Book piracy exists all over Latin America and the developing world, but any editor with regional experience will tell you that Peru’s problem is both profound and unique. The combined economic impact of the informal publishing industry is roughly equal to that of their legitimate counterparts. Pirated books printed in Lima are shipped all over the country, and have been seen in Bolivia, Ecuador, Chile, and as far away as Argentina. Here, an authorised edition of a Charlaine Harris novel on sale in Lima bookstore underscores the gravity of the situation. The red sticker reads “Buy Original”. Most new books printed in Peru carry similar appeals.

Please read more here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/gallery/2010/jan/18/book-pirates-peru?picture=358180760

Among Thieves by David Hosp

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This story is based on the largest art theft in history where an estimated value of $300 million were stolen from a museum in Boston in 1990. Till today, this case remains unsolved.

In this book, it starts with Devon Malley being imprisoned after getting caught from stealing at a woman's boutique. So he hires lawyer Scott Finn and his team, Koz and Lissa, to fight for his case. But we'll soon discover that Devon is part of a really big heist i.e. the art theft.

In a nutshell, I found all the characters too weak. Thank goodness the plot was good enough to make me turn the pages! Honestly, I much prefer Brown's Fat Tuesday to this.

Verdict? 2.5/5
Price? Hmmm must go search for my price list. Again! :(

Next!

Amsterdam by Ian McEwan

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Three men are involved in the life of a much-adored photographer, Molly Lane. Two of them, who are long time friends, meet at her cremation - Clive Linley, a famous composer and Vernon Halliday, an editor of a struggling newspaper. The third is Julian Garmony, a government official who is in line to be the Prime Minister of Great Britain.

Vernon Halliday is determined to expose some information that would tarnish the image of Garmony in order to save his position in the company, while Clive, who loves his work and is dying to create a masterpiece, ignores the helpless cries of a rape victim.

This book is very much about ethics and righteousness. Put yourself in Vernon's position, would you or would you not have exposed Garmony's secret even if it means destroying the trust of a good friend? Would you or would you not have helped a rape victim when you're in a midst of arriving at a climax of your composition (that would give you one great masterpiece), something you know you…

Amazon e-book sales overtake print for first time

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Online retailer may be on target for sales of 500,000 Kindle e-readers over Christmas Katie Allenguardian.co.uk, Monday 28 December 2009 19.29 GMTSpare a thought for the humble hardback this Christmas. It seems the traditional giftwrapped tome is being trumped by downloads, after Amazon customers bought more e-books than printed books for the first time on Christmas Day.As people rushed to fill their freshly unwrapped e-readers – one of the top-selling gadgets this festive season – the online retailer said sales at its electronic book store quickly overtook orders for physical books. Its own e-reader, the Kindle, is now the most popular gift in Amazon's history.Amazon's shares rose sharply today after it updated investors on a strong Christmas performance. On its peak day, 14 December, the retailer said customers ordered more than 9.5m items worldwide, the equivalent of a record-breaking 110 items a second.The Seattle-based company's top sellers in its home market include…

The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo

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It's about Despereaux, who is a reaaaaally tiny mouse with unusually big ears. He knows how to read, loves music and is in love with a princess (totally out of character for a mouse!). One day, he breaks one of the sacred, not-to-be-broken rules of conduct for being a mouse. He speaks to a human. And so, he is sent to the dark, dingy, dungeon of the castle.

In this dungeon, there lives a rat community, and we're introduced to two of them, Chiaroscuro and Botticelli who know nothing but treachery, deceipt, and revenge, and will do anything to get what they want. So would Miggery Sow, a poor deaf serving girl who wants to be a princess. All of them are brought together for one reason: to get what they want. The question is, how?

Reading this story makes me feel like I'm reading one of Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events, which is good :) The Tale of Despereaux is a really charming story that will keep anyone hooked right from the start. Oh moms, you might want …

The Chimney Sweeper's Boy by Barbara Vine

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Gerald Candless, a famous author, has just died of a sudden heart attack and is survived by his wife, Ursula, and his two daughters, Sarah and Hope, whom he loved dearly. After his death, Sarah embarks on a memoir of her father, only to end up finding out her dad's true identity, which isn't Gerald Candless. She assigns a college student, Jason Thague, to help her out with her research. The entire story revolves around digging up her dad's roots and why he changed his identity.

I was really expecting something more out of this book since it was categorised a 'thriller'. But I found it too draggy. It could have been better if shortened. Hmm...tell you what. Just turn to the final chapter of the book and you'll find out why Gerald Candles (real name John Ryan) changed his name and identity. See what I mean? :)

Verdict? 1.5/5 stars

Price: RM15 (Bought it at the Penguin & Pearson book sales. Sorry Xuan, really don't know the real price :( )