Sunday, February 28, 2010

BookXcess is Spring Cleaning

I was half expecting a long queue outside BookXcess, Amcorp Mall in PJ. Thank goodness I was wrong. If you're planning to check out their Spring Cleaning sales (26th Feb - 10th Mar 2010), go during their off-peak hours - Lunch hour 12-ish till abt 3pm.

Yeah, I was there for about 2 hours or so. I had, at first, 4 books in my hand, only RM9.90 each! Yep. But the kiasu me wanted to stretch my ringgit to the max so I had my husband google all the titles to check out if they were worth my ringgit (Cuz you'll never know if they are going to have an 'Opening' / 'New Location' Sales haha In the end, I picked 1 out of that 4 :P The book I decided worth my RM9.90 was 'Dream Angus: The Celtic God of Dreams by Alexander McCall Smith. Overall reviews on Amazon.com were 4-4.5/5.

The other books I decided to forgo were Margaret Atwood's Oryx and Crake (don't ask me why), John Burdett's Bangkok Tattoo and Robert Harris's The Ghost.

Before leaving the shop with just one book in my hand, one of Sherlock Holmes's titles caught my attention. So I bought that too. (This one was not on sale though)

Overall, the choices of books on sale were okay, although not as good as Big Bad Wolf's and Pearson's. Let's look forward to more!

Image from: kosmo.com.my

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Interview with Graham McEune, Author of Upcountry (Published!)

GRAHAM MCEUNE overstayed in Asia for 15 years, but he is still welcomed, especially after capturing the lives of Malaysians so humorously, sometimes explicitly, in his book, Upcountry: Adventures & Misadventures in Malaysia. JEE WAN catches up with him after a book reading.

GRAHAM MCEUNE, who was born on a pig farm in rural England, left the comfort of his Wellington boots for a budget journey to Southeast Asia.

He stayed for 15 years.

Upcountry is the result of this extended trip. His fresh and witty observations about Malaysia—from our languages and our cultures to our food and our animals—are a joy to read. One of my favourite lines in the book is: “The Orang Asli (the indigenous people) wear very little, and used to wear nothing at all until the road was put in. Even today, it is not uncommon to see a woman with her milk-secreting glandular organs swinging freely or a man out hunting with two blowpipes (the one he made himself and the one God gave him).”

How can you not laugh at that?

Throughout the book, he brings the reader along on a journey filled with all the adventures and misadventures you could wish for, such as a weird encounter with a sinseh (a traditional Chinese physician), getting lost in the jungle, some scrapes and near-scrapes on Malaysian roads, and the time he ate some petai and woke up the next morning thinking he had “picked up something ‘orrible” and was dying.

How would you describe yourself in less than 10 words?
I am young, handsome, witty, intelligent … and prone to exaggeration!

What’s the one thing you know about Malaysia that you think other Malaysians may not be aware of?
That most people outside of Asia don’t know where Malaysia is.

What are you reading at the moment?
On my bedside table are Che Guevara—A Revolutionary Life by Jon Lee Anderson, Holidays in Hell by PJ O’Rourke, and The Smile Method—How to Avoid Dentures by V. Gardiakos.

If you need or want a good laugh, read the complete interview at: http://quill.mphclick.com/2010/02/25/from-pig-farm-to-malaysia/#more-488
(Yes, it is published on Quill's website! hehe)

-------------------

Quill is a magazine on books and the reading life in Malaysia. Since 2003, Quill has been recommending the best and upcoming titles in bookstores. The magazine supports Malaysian as well as international authors, providing exclusive interviews and coverage of events.

Famous Malaysian authors that have graced the pages of Quill include Whitbread-winning Tash Aw, Man Booker Prize-longlisted author Tan Twan Eng, Orange Prize-longlisted Preeta Samarasan and Chiew-Siah Tei. International authors such as JM Coetzee, John Boyne, Hari Kunzru, Miguel Syjuco and Mohamed Hanif have also been interviewed. Local personalities such as Tourism Minister Dato’ Seri Dr. Ng Yen Yen endorses Quill for encouraging the reading habit among Malaysians.

For the aspiring writer, Quill has columns on developing the writing craft, written by established authors. Find reviews of noteworthy fiction and nonfiction, and business trends currently discussed in professional books. There are travel, food, foreign, and lifestyle columns of interest to everyone.

In 2008 and 2009, Quill sponsored exclusive literary issues of the magazine for the Ubud Writers & Readers Festival. Quill also collaborated with the National Arts Council of Singapore to produce an exclusive magazine for the Singapore Writers Festival 2009.
Quill is free to MPH Readers’ Circle members. Non-members may purchase it at newsstands nationwide.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Alice in Wonderland by By Camille Rose Garcia, Lewis Carroll

Oooh, I CAN'T WAIT FOR THE MOVIE! And....I MUST HAVE THIS BOOK!!!! :D

Look at the illustrations! AWwwwWesome innit????


Browse Inside this book
Get this for your site

Skin and Other Stories by Roald Dahl

There are altogether 11 short stories in ‘Skin and Other Stories’. When reading any of Dahl’s stories, always expect to be startled, surprised and satisfied! In this collection, I especially enjoyed ‘Lamb to the Slaughter’, ‘Galloping Foxley’, ‘The Wish’, and ‘The Surgeon’. ‘Lamb to the Slaughter’ tops this list. It’s about this lady, who killed her husband with a big frozen leg of lamb and got away with it. I shan’t reveal more than that, as it’d give away the twist of the story.

If you’ve read ‘Boy’ you’d have noticed that he relates some of his childhood experience in ‘Galloping Foxley’. William Perkins thinks that he saw one of his ex school bully in a train he frequents on. He contemplates on approaching this man and thinks of what to say when he does. I really liked how Dahl builds his suspense in this story :)

‘The Surgeon’ is one of the most entertaining! A doctor recently saves the life of a Saudi Arabian prince, who rewards him with a very, very large diamond. Excited about it, the doctor rushes home to show it to his wife. They don't know what to do about it and where to keep it, as they will be going away for the weekend. In the end, they decide to keep it in a place they thought safest (I don’t wanna tell where haha). When they return, they are shocked to see that their home has been broken into. Did the thieves manage to steal their diamond? This story is a must read!

Price: RM26.00 (Popular bookstore)
Verdict: 3.5/5

Image from google image.

Harry Potter plagiarism lawsuit could be billion-dollar case, says claimant

Friend of Willy the Wizard author Adrian Jacobs says addition of JK Rowling to suit raises possibility of multi-jurisdiction action

Publishers could face legal action worldwide over claims that JK Rowling stole ideas for Harry Potter from a British author's book called The Adventures of Willy the Wizard.

The estate of the late Adrian Jacobs yesterday added Rowling as a defendant in a case originally filed in June against Bloomsbury Publishing, Potter's UK publisher, for alleged copyright infringement.

Max Markson, a PR executive representing the estate, told the Guardian the addition of Rowling's name to the action opened up the possibility of multi-jurisdiction action.

"We believe that she [Rowling] personally plagiarised the Willy the Wizard book. All of Willy the Wizard is in the Goblet of Fire. We now have a case which is not just against Bloomsbury."

Markson, who was a friend of Jacobs, said Rowling was added to the lawsuit after it was learned that the statute of limitations to sue her had not run out as previously thought. She is named in the suit under her married name of Joanne Kathleen Murray.

"I estimate it's a billion-dollar case," Markson said. "That'll be the decision of the courts, obviously."

Rowling denies the claims. "I am saddened that yet another claim has been made that I have taken material from another source to write Harry. The fact is I had never heard of the author or the book before the first accusation by those connected to the author's estate in 2004; I have certainly never read the book," she said in a statement.

"The claims that are made are not only unfounded but absurd and I am disappointed that I, and my UK publisher Bloomsbury, are put in a position to have to defend ourselves. We will be applying to the court immediately for a ruling that the claim is without merit and should therefore be dismissed without delay."

The suit claims Rowling's book Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire copied substantial parts of Jacobs' 36-page book The Adventures of Willy the Wizard – No 1 Livid Land. The plagiarism claims stem from both Willy and Harry being required to solve a task as part of a contest, which they achieve in a bathroom assisted by clues from helpers.

For the full story, go here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2010/feb/18/harry-potter-jk-rowling-willy-wizard

"The claim was unable to identify any text in the Harry Potter books which was said to copy Willy the Wizard." <-- Hmm...then how can they sue her for plagiarizing?!

Image taken from google image.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Books You Must Read Before You Die

Hey fellow bookaholics, I came across this list, just thought you might wanna have it too :)

"1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die"

2000s
1. Never Let Me Go – Kazuo Ishiguro
2. Saturday – Ian McEwan
3. On Beauty – Zadie Smith
4. Slow Man – J.M. Coetzee
5. Adjunct: An Undigest – Peter Manson
6. The Sea – John Banville
7. The Red Queen – Margaret Drabble
8. The Plot Against America – Philip Roth
9. The Master – Colm Tóibín
10. Vanishing Point – David Markson
11. The Lambs of London – Peter Ackroyd
12. Dining on Stones – Iain Sinclair

13. Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell
14. Drop City – T. Coraghessan Boyle
15. The Colour – Rose Tremain
16. Thursbitch – Alan Garner
17. The Light of Day – Graham Swift
18. What I Loved – Siri Hustvedt
19. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time – Mark Haddon
20. Islands – Dan Sleigh
21. Elizabeth Costello – J.M. Coetzee
22. London Orbital – Iain Sinclair
23. Family Matters – Rohinton Mistry
24. Fingersmith – Sarah Waters
25. The Double – José Saramago
26. Everything is Illuminated – Jonathan Safran Foer

27. Unless – Carol Shields
28. Kafka on the Shore – Haruki Murakami
29. The Story of Lucy Gault – William Trevor
30. That They May Face the Rising Sun – John McGahern
31. In the Forest – Edna O’Brien
32. Shroud – John Banville
33. Middlesex – Jeffrey Eugenides
34. Youth – J.M. Coetzee
35. Dead Air – Iain Banks
36. Nowhere Man – Aleksandar Hemon
37. The Book of Illusions – Paul Auster
38. Gabriel’s Gift – Hanif Kureishi
39. Austerlitz – W.G. Sebald
40. Platform – Michael Houellebecq
41. Schooling – Heather McGowan
42. Atonement – Ian McEwan
43. The Corrections – Jonathan Franzen
44. Don’t Move – Margaret Mazzantini
45. The Body Artist – Don DeLillo
46. Fury – Salman Rushdie
47. At Swim, Two Boys – Jamie O’Neill
48. Choke – Chuck Palahniuk
49. Life of Pi – Yann Martel
50. The Feast of the Goat – Mario Vargos Llosa
51. An Obedient Father – Akhil Sharma
52. The Devil and Miss Prym – Paulo Coelho
53. Spring Flowers, Spring Frost – Ismail Kadare
54. White Teeth – Zadie Smith
55. The Heart of Redness – Zakes Mda
56. Under the Skin – Michel Faber
57. Ignorance – Milan Kundera
58. Nineteen Seventy Seven – David Peace
59. Celestial Harmonies – Péter Esterházy
60. City of God – E.L. Doctorow
61. How the Dead Live – Will Self
62. The Human Stain – Philip Roth
63. The Blind Assassin – Margaret Atwood
64. After the Quake – Haruki Murakami
65. Small Remedies – Shashi Deshpande
66. Super-Cannes – J.G. Ballard
67. House of Leaves – Mark Z. Danielewski
68. Blonde – Joyce Carol Oates
69. Pastoralia – George Saunders

You can find the rest of them here: http://www.shelfari.com/groups/11271/about?ActivityId=123055791

Monday, February 8, 2010

GONG XI GONG XI!!

Hi all!

CNY is finally here! So to those who are celebrating CNY, here's wishing you a happy and prosperous New Year! May you be showered with lots of love, joy and peace too!

This will be my 2nd year giving out Ang Pows. Big big hole in pocket this time, coz we're officially celebrating it here! Last year, we only celebrated the last few days of CNY, so damage wasn't that bad haha :P

Till I busy myself with books and blogging again, take care and have a wonderful holiday!

Yours,
Bookaholic.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

An Instant Classic: Oprah's Private Library

When does one of the world's busiest people find the time to read? Her answer is surprising: "I don't watch television," she says. "I don't have to, because my friend Gayle watches more television than anyone—she couldn't believe I wanted to have a house without a TV room!" Oprah continues, laughing. "Honest to God, true story: Stedman and I had been in the house four or five months when he said he was going out to a friend's to watch a football game. Suddenly I thought maybe I'd seen a television set somewhere upstairs. When we found it, Stedman said, 'You mean there's been a TV in this house all this time?'" Given how Oprah looks forward to her reading time—"It's a ritual," she says—it's easy to see how a lone television might have escaped her notice. "This is the thing," she explains. "I come here, and I'm so fulfilled. I will rarely go out. I can just entertain myself."

The other evening, Oprah says, she made a nice fire. Then she gathered up her dogs, a hot cup of tea, and, of course, a pile of reading—and thought to herself, "Now this is happiness.''

Because she is given so many books, Oprah occasionally needs to do some weeding. But then she has to face what to do with her castoffs. "I can't throw books out. I can give them away. I box them up and send them to hospitals and women's prisons, but I can't put them in the trash," she says. "I've tried, and even gone back to get them out of the trash. It's disrespectful." It doesn't matter whether the book is good or bad: For Oprah, what's significant is the effort someone put into writing it.

For more, go here: http://www.oprah.com/oathome/Inside-Oprahs-Private-Library/1

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

RIP, Salinger

The novelist, well known for the iconic The Catcher In The Rye, died on January 27th 2010, aged 91. What a great loss to those who've enjoyed some of his published works.

I've only read The Catcher In The Rye (reviewed it here: http://worldliteratures.suite101.com/article.cfm/review_of_catcher_in_the_rye_by_jd_salinger) which I loved. As reported in AFP, the author's death has reignited speculation over whether he may have left behind some valuable works which could be published posthumously.

Salinger did reveal in a 1980 interview with the Boston Sunday Globe that he was still producing - albeit not for an audience.

I loved what he said: "I love to write, and I assure you I write regularly. But I write for myself and I want to be left absolutely alone to do it."

A great author who rejected fame and fortune. And yet there are so many writers out there struggling to get noticed, to get published, to get their stories made into movies. Did you know there have been many attempts made to film The Catcher In The Rye? (Even Steven Spielberg!) But each time they were rebuffed by Salinger.

My hats off to this novelist, whose intention to write is so pure, but, so...selfish to an extent? I mean, great stories should be shared right? Look at how much his Catcher has affected people from all walks of life! Despite the profanities and vulgarities, people could connect to dear Holden.

But then again, being recognised for one's great works would boost or burst the ego, and would automatically create this want/need within the artist to please his/her audience. This hunger to please, will slowly eat one up (Maybe that's why so many great artists turn to drugs?).

I think an artist would and could be more true to his works, and 'happier' when left alone. Because pleasing oneself is hard enough, what more the world! And Salinger knew he'd be happier left alone. (Probably that's why he could live till 91!) Hmm...but if Heath Ledger and Michael Jackson had followed Salinger's path, I guess we might not had been able to see their great works, huh...? So this means one can only choose to be either: blardy rich, blardy famous and make their fans happy (and never be left alone), or be not so rich and not so popular, but at peace...Hmmm....Tough choice, if you ask me.

Well, I hope Salinger had been happy with his choice and had lived his best years (I think he had: http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2010/feb/01/salinger-widow-privacy)...Let's hope his 15 unpublished stories could be released!

An interesting article here: http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/films/news/jd-salinger-documentary-being-readied-for-spring-film-festival-1886507.html

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