Friday, April 30, 2010

WINNERS OF THE MOTHER'S DAY CONTEST!









THIS MONTH'S WINNERS ARE...

Liew Yuen Hong: Summer at the Villa Rosa by Nicky Pellegrino + I love you Mom! by Juicy Lucy
Lim Kuan Ming: One Last Summer by Catrin Collier + I love you Mom! by Juicy Lucy
Kyeli Wong: The Perfect Man by Naeem Murr + I love you Mom! by Juicy Lucy

CONGRATULATIONS TO THE WINNERS! And thank you to all who participated. Don't be disheartened if you didnt' win, as there will be more giveaways coming up! Keep your eyes peeled! ;)

The answers were:
1) Problem Solving 101 by Ken Watanabe
2) Message from An Unknown Chinese Mother by Xinran
3) The Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler

Monday, April 26, 2010

WHAT? 3 FOR RM10?!!!

Yes, my dear biblioholics, there is another SALES! This one's in Bangsar, KL. Here are the details:

Venue: 4th Floor, Annex, Bangsar Shopping Centre, 283 Jalan Maarof, 59000 Kuala Lumpur
Date: 30 Apr - 9 May 2010
Time: 10am to 9.30pm



POW WOW STUFF!

Up to 90% OFF
Triple Deals!! 3 for RM 10, 3 for RM 20, 3 for RM 30


So biblioholics, GO...SPLURGE!!! :D

*Sings* Go, tell it on the mountains, over the hills and everywhere! Go, tell it on the mountains, that there is another sales!

To those living in Kota Damansara area, you're in for a treat as, TIMES BOOKSTORE IS GOING TO BE SO NEAR YOU!!

* Outlet opening on 28th April 2010
* Opening Promotions: 20% discount on cook books, 20% discount on VCD & DVD, FREE gifts with purchase of RM 50 & RM 100 etc until 31 May 2010
* UOB tie-up: 15% discount on all books (except magazine & other promotions)

Times, can you have one in Shah Alam too please? haha
:P

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

World Book Day: When, Why and Wow...

First of all, HAPPY WORLD BOOK DAY EVERYONE!! :) Let's spread the joy of reading, not only today, but every other day by sharing great reads with your friends and family, also, if you have too many on your shelves, give them to those in need...I came across this on guardian.co.uk and thought that I'd share it with you...

"With or without TV debates, most thoughts at present in the UK are turning to the choice we will make in the forthcoming general election. However, the stark fact is that very many people in the UK will not be a part of that process; not because they don't want to necessarily, but because they lack the most basic skills to do so. They can't read. They cannot make a choice. It is a truly terrible democratic deficit." (More...)

The thought of parting with your favourite books can be painful. To be honest, I had problems giving mine away. But just thinking of the impact it can make on a person's life helped the 'parting' a whole lot easier. I've not done this in awhile, but this year, once I'm done with this project (that's taking 90% of my life), I'm going to organise another book charity drive. To those who are interested, please drop me an email: hookedonbookz@gmail.com Let's improve the world's literacy rate.

So. Since I couldn't partake in all the book sales that are going around, I decided to sit back (feeling terribly sick for not being able to hit the stores *sob*), and google about World Book Day. Here are some interesting stuff I found from a few sources:

From wikipedia:
The connection between 23 April and books was first made in 1923 by booksellers in Spain as a way to honour the author Miguel de Cervantes (his first novel, Don Quixote) who died on that day. This became a part of the celebrations of the Saint George's Day (also 23 April) in Catalonia, where it has been traditional since the medieval era for men to give roses to their lovers and since 1925 for the woman to give a book in exchange. Half the yearly sales of books in Catalonia are at this time with over 400,000 sold and exchanged for over 4 million roses.

In 1995, UNESCO decided that the World Book and Copyright Day would be celebrated on this date because of the Catalonian festival and because the date is also the anniversary of the birth and death of William Shakespeare, the death of Miguel de Cervantes, Inca Garcilaso de la Vega and Josep Pla, the birth of Maurice Druon, Vladimir Nabokov, Manuel Mejía Vallejo and Halldór Laxness.


From elsewhere:
In the UK, however, World Book Day is celebrated on the 4th of March, inspired from Catalonia where roses and books are given as gifts on St George’s Day.

Book Bite
The World's LARGEST BOOK!!
Apparently, this book measures seven feet across when open, and weighs nine-and-a-half stone!!! WOWW.... (More...)

Last but not least, don't forget, I'm giving away free books! :) Click here for more details.

PLUS.....In conjunction with World Book Day, I'm giving out some of my books tomorrow, 23rd April, 2010! (All in mint condition!) If you're interested, kindly drop me an email at hookedonbookz@gmail.com

Brothers by Yu Hua

Title/Author: Brothers/Yu Hua
Publisher: Picador
No. of pages: 641
ISBN: 978-0-330-45275-5

In a nutshell
‘Brothers’ is about two stepbrothers, Baldy Li and Song Gang, who were brought together by death. Song Gang’s dad married Baldy Li’s mom after Baldy Li’s birth dad died tragically in a grotesque and comical incident. In the beginning I was a little put off by some of these explicit scenes and the constant use of vulgar language (and not to mention also the detailed descriptions of butts!). But after putting up with all of that, I was then rewarded by a very heart-rending story of the stepbrothers who grew up in Liu Town, a small town in Shanghai, during the Cultural Revolution. Baldy Li, crafty and crass, while Song Gang, his total opposite, honest and gentle, are fiercely loyal to each other until they both fell in love with lin Hong, the most beautiful woman in Liu Town.

What I liked
Definitely the humour and charm that made up for its vulgarity. There was this scene where a bunch of kids were supposed to relay Baldy Li’s undying love for Lin Hong by saying, ‘Baldy Li wants to court you. Are you ready?’ Curious, they asked Baldy Li what’s ‘to court’, to which Baldy Li replied, ‘To court means to marry someone, to sleep together at night.’ Giggling, they repeated his message to Baldy Li, ‘Baldy Li wants to court you! Get married! Sleep with you! Are you ready?’ and trod off. Baldy Li called out to them not to mention about the sleeping and marrying part. Half way through their journey to meeting Lin Hong, they totally forgotten the word ‘court’ and they happened to chance upon Poet Zhao (One of Baldy Li’s nemesis) who overheard them arguing about it. So Poet Zhao told them the word should be intercourse. So when they arrived at the knitting factory where they were supposed to call out that message to Lin Hong, they ended up shouting, ‘Baldy Li wants to have intercourse with you!’

I salute Yu Hua and his translators for being able to capture such an important element - their brotherhood - of the novel so well that I cried and laughed with the stepbrothers throughout the whole of volume 1. As different as night and day they were, the stepbrothers were inseparable. Song Gang, being the elder brother, made a promise to Li Lan, saying, ‘Even if I only have one bowl of rice left, I’ll give it to Baldy Li to eat, and even if I have only a single piece of clothing, I’ll give it to Baldy Li to wear.’

‘Brothers’ would be a pleasurable read if you can put up with the perversion and vulgarities. But Yu Hua kind of prepares you for it at the very beginning, because if you can’t bear the explicit descriptions of Baldy Li’s butt-peeking experience and the grotesque narration of Baldy Li’s stepfather, Song Fanping, hoisting Baldy Li’s father from a cesspool, then you either put the book away or be mentally prepared for more outrageous ones like hymen-inspections and talks of women body parts.

To Note
Originally printed in two parts (2005 & 2006), ‘Brothers’ has officially sold more than a million copies in China. (The current version I have, are the two volumes combined into one book) The first part tells how the stepbrothers live through Cultural Revolution and how they looked out for each other when they had nobody else to rely on. The second is about how everyone was trying to survive during the ‘shift’ of China’s economy.

My verdict?
4/5

Book Bite: Another novel by Yu Hua, “To Live,” was made into a film by the director Zhang Yimou. It won the grand jury prize at the Cannes Film Festival in 1994, catapulting Yu Hua to fame and making his novels best-sellers in China. In 1995 he published “Chronicle of a Blood Merchant,” the tale of a man driven to sell his blood to make ends meet, which also became a best-seller.

(Please exclude this review from the Mother's Day contest. All reviews should be the ones written BEFORE the Mother's Day Contest)

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Queen Victoria: Demon Hunter by A.E. Moorat

Title/Author: Queen Victoria: Demon Hunter/A.E.Moorat
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
ISBN-10: 144470026X/ISBN-13: 978-1444700268

In a nutshell
A.E.Moorat is the pseudonym of author Andrew Holmes whose first novel, Sleb, was shortlisted for the 2002 WHSmith New Talent Award in the UK. His other novels are All Fur Coat, 64 Clarke, and Rain Dogs and Love Cats, all of them dark, funny thrillers which were critically well received in the UK. In Queen Victoria: Demon Hunter, A.E.Moorat had successfully weaved an entertaining historical gothic horror (a genre that he loves) and dark comedy (he started out as a comic writer). The book is best summed up in two words: Bloody funny (Mind the pun).

When young Victoria was crowned Queen of England, she was expected to protect her country, especially from demons who were instructed by the dark one to remain on earth and spread evil. The protective Prime Minister, Lord Melbourne had warned her not to trust anyone because these demons could take on the human form and there had been incidences of dogs turning on their owners, mothers killing babies and husbands killing wives. So does this mean she couldn’t and shouldn’t trust Lord Melbourne? What about her husband who had been kidnapped by demons? Was it really the demons’ intention to kidnap him or were they using him as bait to lure her into captivity? She knew she had to make a choice – to save her beloved Prince Albert or her country.

What I liked
When you embark on this demon-hunting journey, be prepared for lashings of glistening entrails, deceitful succubus, vicious vampires, and ghastly decapitations that would bring you deep into the dirty and downtrodden side of 19-century England. See if you can digest the below details (Don’t worry, no spoilers):

“…. Miss Stanley, tore a significant chunk of flesh from Fanny’s throat and sat back on her haunches with her chin aloft, all the better to gulp down the still-warm meat, which she did with evident gratification, greedily licking the blood from her fingers as the last strip of skin disappeared between her lips.” (p 54).

If you’re regurgitating already, I’d suggest you stay away from this book, as it would get from bad to worst later in the story.

But, should you wish to sit in the Clarence with the Queen and be part of her adventures, bring along a bullet-proof dictionary (or be lost in some big words), swift sword skills, boxes of tissues (for the blood) and a strong heart (so you won’t puke and wince at the gory details) for you have truckloads of demons to fight off. You’d also meet characters such as the infamous Acheriders – the dead horsemen who are half-entity, half-horse, who served the Prince of Darkness; Turpin – a dog known to have killed 102 rats in 5 ½ minutes in Raticide; and Førse – the descendant of Baal, whose face can morph and change as and when he pleases.

There were a handful of likeable characters in this book. Some of my favourites were the redoubtable Mary Brown who’s the Royal Protektor and the leader of the Demon Hunters, the frivolous, debauched member of the aristocracy Quimby and his butler Perkins whose life came to an unexpected end (this book wouldn’t be complete without this funny duo!), and the wise, indefatigable, kind Queen Victoria. As many passages there were in this book that would make you wince, there were also those that would make you chuckle, mostly when Quimby and his manservant Perkins were in the picture. Quimby’s cluelessness, Perkin’s blind loyalty, coupled with their close-to-death encounters tickled me to the core. They made such a great pair, those two.

To note
Reading this is like putting the movie The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Lemony Snicket’s Series of Unfortunate Events in one book. Yep, definitely not for the faint-hearted! But, if you love horror and humour, you’d be definitely entertained. It would be a good weekend read (As long as you don’t eat or drink while you’re at it), great when you’ve got time to kill, or when you got tired of reading the atrocious news in the papers and want to be away from it all, and be in touch with your sadistic self.

Be warned though, after reading this book, you’d never look at your medium-rare steak the same way again.

My verdict
3.5/5

(Please exclude this review from the Mother's Day contest. All reviews should be the ones written BEFORE the Mother's Day Contest)

Friday, April 16, 2010

One Day by David Nicholls

Title/Author: One Day/David Nicholls
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
No. of pages: 437
ISBN: 978 0 340 89698 3/99468 9

In a nutshell:
Boy meets girl, girl likes boy (very, very much), 'hooked up' on graduation night and had a short date the day after. Confident, rich, handsome Dexter and independent, one-liner queen, Emma, continue to meet on the same date, every other year for the next twenty years. Hence, the title, "One Day", David Nicholl's third novel.

We catch up with them throughout the years, as we find out whom they dated or are dating, what they did or achieved, etc. It's abit like watching Ross and Rachel of Friends, only here, we only get to know what happens or had happened to them, on that date, 15th July, the date they first met in 1988.

What I liked:
The witty conversations and Nicholl's detailed descriptions. I liked how he described Emma's room from Dexter's POV:

"In his last four years he had seen any number of bedrooms like this, dotted round the city like crime scenes, rooms where you were never more than six feet from a Nina Simone album, and though he'd rarely seen the same bedroom twice, it was all too familiar. The burnt out nightlights and desolate pot plants, the smell of washing powder on cheap, ill-fitting sheets. She had that arty girl's passion for photomontage too; flash-lit snaps of college friends and family jumbled in amongst the Chagalls and Vermeers and Kandinskys, the Che Guevaras and Woody Allens and Samuel Becketts." (pg. 8)

He managed to not only create a clear visual of Emma's room, but to also imply Emma's personality/character. I also liked how he engages the reader using conversations, like this one when Em and Dex (as they are affectionately known) talked about their jobs (pg 70).

She started to laugh. "I've been offered the job of a manager."
Dexter sat up quickly. "In that place? You've got to turn it down."

"Why do I have to turn it down? Nothing wrong with restaurant work."

"Em, you could be mining uranium with your teeth and that would be fine as long as you were happy. But you hate that job, you hate every single moment."

"So? Most people hate their jobs. That's why they're called jobs."


Why I liked it? Because I could so relate to it haha I like what I do, hence, I always have people telling me, "Get a REAL job."

Oh and I liked the cover as well.

To note:
If you like Nick Hornby's stuff, you'd probably like this one too. BUT if you dislike those typical love-hate-'hide-and-seek' BGR stories, DON'T READ THIS. It might just annoy the hell outta you (At times, I found myself saying, 'Oh, get on with it already, will ya?!') - the hide-and-seek plot too draggy and the love-hate feelings between Em and Dex exasperating.

Is there such a thing called 'bloke/lad lit'; like chic lit? If yes, I'd put this under that category.

Click here to watch book trailers and download free podcasts.

Psst...there are rumours flying around suggesting that Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess will be starring (as Emma and Dexter of course) in an adaptation of this book.

My verdict:
2.5/5

Source for David Nicholls's pic above.

(Please exclude this review from the Mother's Day contest. All reviews should be the ones written BEFORE the Mother's Day Contest)

Fantastic Giveaways for Mother’s Day!


This May, in conjunction with Mother's Day,

Hooked On Bookz is giving away some really fantastic, great reads!




Summer at the Villa Rosa by Nicky Pellegrino (Rated 5 stars in Amazon.com)
Raffaella Moretti is the new housekeeper at the Villa Rosa in the Italian town of Triento. But this is not the life she imagined for herself. Just a year ago, she married th eonly boy she ever loved - now she is a still-beautiful widow, attracting both pity and suspicion from her neighbours. As Raffaella struggles to recapture her lost happiness, those around her have their own problems. Then, Raffaella is pulled into the centre of a conflict that threatens to divide Triento - and destory all she holds dear.
Readers overall comments for this book were it being a perfect holiday read!

One Last Summer by Catrin Collier (Rated 5 stars in Amazon.com)
East Prussia, 1939: Charlotte von Datski's parents hold a glittering ball to celebrate her eighteenth birthday and her engagement. But Europe teeters on the brink of war and Charlotte will be forced to leave behind her beloved homeland and flee to England, carrying a secret that both strengthens and torments her. Years on, Charlotte's granddaughter, Laura, is shocked when the truth of her grandmother's past comes to light. As Charlotte rereads her diary and recalls the one great love of her life, she must finally face the demons that have haunted her for over half a century...
One reader commented: "It is a beautiful book and very movingly told. The introduction reveals that the book is based on the author's own family experiences, and this shines through as she deals with what is a very difficult subject with great sensitivity and aplomb."

The Perfect Man by Naeem Murr (Rated 5 stars in Amazon.com)
Young Raive Travers hasn't had much luck fitting in anywhere. Born to an Indian mother who was sold to his English father for £20, Raj abandoned by his relatives into the reluctant care of Ruth, an American romance writer living in Pisgah, Missouri. While his skin color unsettles most of the townsfolk, who are used to seeing things in black and white, the quick-witted Raj soon finds his place among a grouop of children his own age. But breaking free of demands of their families and community, comes a devastating price: As the chilling secrets of Pisgah's residents surface, the madness that erupts will cost Raj his closest friend even as it offers him the life he always dreamed of.
One reader commented: "I've just finished this novel, Murr's third published work which was longlisted for The Booker this year, and am amazed that I have heard relatively little about this author. This is definitely one of my top twenty books of the year and to my mind as good as the best of the 2006 shortlist."

I love you Mum! by Juicy Lucy is a collection of little messages of love for the best Mum in the world. These love messages are beautifully illustrated with great designs based loosely on angels and fairies. Would definitely appeal to young girls! :)


TO ENTER:
1) Answer this correctly: “What are the 3 most recent books that Hooked On Bookz have reviewed?”

TO WIN:
1) Get ALL correct.
2) Your entry is one of the first three* picked from the other entries with the correct answers.


Terms and Conditions:
1) You must have a Malaysian mailing address.
2) Your entry must reach hookedonbookz@gmail.com before 30th April, 2010 before 12 midnight.
3) Please include your full name and your blog site (if you have one).
4) One entry per person.

The three* winners with the correct answers of this contest will win…


Combination 1: Summer at the Villa Rosa by Nicky Pellegrino + I love you Mom! By Juicy Lucy
Combination 2: One Last Summer by Catrin Collier + I love you Mom! By Juicy Lucy
Combination 3: The Perfect Man by Naeem Murr + I love you Mom! By Juicy Lucy

*The three winners will be picked randomly. The first winner picked will get combination 1, second combination 2 and third combination 3.

These books are courtesy of Pansing. THANK YOU, PANSING! :)

Special note to winners: Once you've completed these reads, could you ever so kindly, lend them to me pleeeease? haha Kidding, kidding!

Looking forward to receiving your entries! Good luck!

Monday, April 12, 2010

THE Big Bookstore

Right. So here it is. THE Big Bookstore in Atria Shopping Mall, Petaling Jaya - The everyday-sales bookstore :D Many reasons why I'm gonna be a frequent visitor of this place:
1) CHEAP CHEAP books
2) Ample parking space (FOC on Sundays! Not sure about Saturdays though...)
3) A wide variety of titles
4) The store is huuuuuge and spacious


Meet my four new tenants:





Could have bought more if not for my splurge at Pay Less haha Cost me only RM16.90 each, except for Illustrated Tales from Shakespeare, which was RM29.90, I think. Anyway, anyone living in the vicinity, should pay The Big Bookstore a visit :) And if you're a bookaholic just like me, make sure, you have ONE whole day! (If you can, try not to splurge anywhere else before that? :P)

Sunday, April 11, 2010

My Latest Loot from Pay Less Clearance Sales!

Ooooo I feel so guilty. This weekend, I went to two places to splurge. One of which is Pay Less's Clearance Sales which Jien Sing told me about...THANK YOU! :) Mostly non-fiction. Oh...and guess what I found in one of the books? A lesson plan from 1974!! Type-written! Cool, right? ;) I tried looking for a love letter or some sort...but nothing much :( Can't wait to read Marv though...Loved the illustrations! The other 2 titles, The Metamorphosis and Girl with a Pearl Earring came highly recommended by two friends of mine...So I thought, why not, since it's only RM5 and RM6 per book hehe :P

All that for ONLY RM47 :D Thanks to my dear hubby for bringing me there and paying for all of them! *big grin*

Next, my loot from Big Bookshop from Atria in Petaling Jaya...(Thanks Lai Peen for the recommendation :) And thx hubby for allowing me to splurge, once again LOL) THIS PLACE...I MUST MUST BLOG ABOUT :) But first, let me take a picture of the books I bought. Not many, as I didn't have much time...Look out for this space k! ;)

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Neil Gaiman's New Book!

To all fans of Neil Gaiman's, you'll LOVE THIS!! :) It's Neil Gaiman's latest book called Illustrations, a collaboration of Neil and award-winning fantasy illustrator Charles Vess. It will be launched on 27th April!

"Remember your name.
Do not lose hope—what you seek will be found.

Trust ghosts. Trust those that you have helped to help you in their turn.

Trust dreams.

Trust your heart, and trust your story
.

The words of renowned storyteller Neil Gaiman’s instructions for navigating a treacherous and deceptive fairy-tale landscape are brought to vivid life by award-winning fantasy illustrator Charles Vess, acclaimed for his illustrations of magical and mythological landscapes, in their first collaboration since the bestselling
Blueberry Girl. Instructions guides a traveler safely beyond magical gates and enchanted cottages, by gardens and woods populated by princesses, wolves, and witches, past a riddling ferryman, and through sea and sky on the backs of enchanted creatures. Its message of the value of courage, wit, and adventurousness makes it a perfect gift for anyone embarking on a journey, especially graduates of any age."

Click here for the book trailer, and enjoyyyyyy! :)

For more of Neil's books for young readers, click here.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Solve It with 'Problem Solving 101' by Ken Watanabe

Title/Author: Problem Solving 101 (Hardcover)/Ken Watanabe
Publisher: Vermilion

No. of pages: 112

ISBN: 978-0-091-9296
-64

In a nutshell
The title of the book explains itself. Unlike other books that are of a similar kind, this one's filled with simple lessons conveyed in a very straightforward manner, that you could finish it in one read. Watanabe teaches you how to analyse your problems, make decisions and live a more proactive life using helpful problem-solving tools. In the beginning, he identifies some common characters among most people - Miss Sigh, Mr. Go-Getter, Mr. Critic and Miss Dreamer, who aren't problem-solvers and very often end up not achieving their goals, or taking a longer route in achieving them. Then, he explains what it takes to be a good problem-solver and what exactly is problem solving.

What I liked
The simplicity of his explanation and the use of fantastic illustrations and tables to convey his message and ideas. He uses 3 different simple scenarios to explain his problem-solving techniques.

1) The Mushroom Lovers: How its band members, Miss Mushroom, Eggplant and Tofu (love them! hehe) face problems in increasing their concert attendance;
2) John Octopus: He wants to become an animator and a Hollywood movie director, but is clueless about computer-generated animation and doesn't even own a computer.

3) Kiwi: She's an aspiring football player who wants to move to Brazil to train and to be a world-class player. H
er parents agree to allow her to pursue her dreams only if she promises to balance football with school work and she must pick a school where the tuition fees is less than $3000 per year.

Throughout the stories, we'll learn how all of them, who have different dreams in life, overcome their problems and ultimately achieve their goals as planned.

W
hat I learnt
I confess that whenever I'm faced with a big problem, I'd try it once, twice, thrice and then, take the easy way out - forget it. Yeah...you can say it to my face, "LOSER!" :P And I never really bothered to read books on problem-solving. I browsed the pages, yes, but it always looks so complicated, boring and tedious with all the tables, diagrams, jargons, and endless scenarios.

But this book did make me ask myself, is problem-solving really that easy? Like all other problem-solution methods, it involves these steps: 1. Realize there is a problem. 2. Identify the root cause. 3. Develop an action plan. 4. Execute and tweak until the problem is solved.
Same-o-same-o, I thought at first, until I saw how he presented his answers in simple tables, charts, the hypothesis pyramid, and yes/no and logic trees. He made problem-solving look and sound so simple, that it got me interested. But I can tell you, as far as I'm concerned, it's not as easy as it looked. The execution part would take time. But I figured, rather than ending up being a complete failure, why not take some time, learn to use those tools, and make things happen, right?

My verdict: 3.5/5

So, now. Let me attempt my very first BIG problem.

Lost literature: the unknown unknowns

Yes, I know I posted alot of stuff today. Just that this one is too good to be left out... The article is fantastic! I loved it so much I just have to keep it on my blog.

Click here for the full story.

Image from: bbc.co.uk

A love story kept between the pages of a second hand book....

Honestly, I'm not a real fan of second hand books, (unless of course, they are still in pristine condition, which is rare) purely because it aches me to see the book not being given its TLC. But secondhand books are places where you can find stories of their previous owners, which could go waaaay back. For example, this writer found, between the pages of Isaac Asimov's early short stories which she bought at a local fair, letters that hinted a "love story". If you're too busy to read entire story, you can read the gist of it here: (You'll love this!!)

"When I got them home I found, stuffed between volumes two and three, a small envelope bearing 12p-worth of stamps and a franking mark that seemed to admonish the writer for the lack of postcode. The date said 20 February, 1981, and the letter was posted on the Sussex coast, several hundred miles from the West Yorkshire town where I bought the books.

There were three-and-a-half letters in there. The three complete ones, between Piers and Kathryn, hinted at a burgeoning romance from almost 30 years ago. The first letter drops us right into the midst of what could be a courtship from 100 years earlier: "I hope you will feel even slightly disappointed when I tell you that it wasn't me who sent you a Valentine's card. But it doesn't matter and I don't mind at all being disturbed, in fact I like it."


The next letter is dated 20 March, when Kathryn writes to Piers: "I hate to disappoint you, but I'm afraid that I cannot go to see Motörhead. You see, it's my Father. Mum's not too bad, but he still thinks I ought to get 12p for washing the car. I'm awfully sorry, but I hope you enjoy yourselves."


So a picture begins to build of Piers. He reads science fiction and listens to heavy rock. I can almost picture him, trapped in the amber of these 1981 letters. I would have been 11 then, and much like Piers in music and fiction tastes.


The final letter isn't dated so I'm not sure where in the sequence it falls, though it does seem to have a dramatic finality about it: "I am not sure whether to say yes or no to your question, until I know why, so you better get writing quickly."


What was the question? Did Kathryn ever provide an answer? Did their quiet courtship ever amount to anything? Only one clue remains: the half-letter I mentioned earlier. This is a reply from Piers, or at least the last page of one. And it was evidently never posted. It ends halfway through a sentence that makes little sense out of context, but the postscript is telling: "Where were you the Sunday before last? I think I know." Followed by a PPS: "Time waits for no one."


I wonder why Piers never posted the letter, or whether he did and it was returned to him at some point. I wonder where Piers and Kathryn are now, and whether they were ever together. I read Asimov's stories after that, and they were as good as I recall them from my first reading, which was probably around the time of Piers and Kathryn's epistolary relationship. But somehow, after those letters, Asimov's stories seemed too tidy, too organised. The unanswered questions left by the correspondence go to show that while literature can emulate life pretty closely, life is seldom as neatly concluded as fiction."


Beautiful story, isn't it? And I love how she concluded it, the last line especially...

Makes me wonder...what would my books tell of me when someone else owns them one day? Hmmm let's see...most of them are my receipts...some scribbles here and there...what else...oh yeah....I had letters....but can't recall which book(s) I left them in...hmm...

Do you own a secondhand book that tells a story of its previous owner?

Image taken from: www.flickr.com/photos/lecercle/13789210/

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Fantastic, Gorgeous Book Covers!

Good book covers are attention grabbers, great icebreakers, and make great, affordable collector’s items. Imagine how they’d looked on your shelf (Assuming they have nice, gorgeous spines too)! Once, I was so taken by this book that this lady was reading because of its cover that I went over to the lady and asked what she was reading. Can’t remember the title, because it was too long haha :P

As I mentioned, book covers are great icebreakers. As you can see how Chris Cleave’s The Other Hand saved me from being known as an anti-social!

When I read a book donned in a beautiful cover, I feel proud strutting it with me haha Oh have I mentioned, I love books that are printed on good paper material (read recycled paper) as well? Hehe

For more of these gorgeous covers, go to The Book Cover Archive (thanks for the link, Izam!), and the ones here, are some of what I liked :) (Some I like it for their concept, some the idea, and some, purely aesthetics :))

What's your favourite book cover?

And here...I spotted some similarities....Coincidence, maybe?

Monday, April 5, 2010

Mom vs Book-Obsessive Daughter

First, let me clarify this. This is half fiction, half real life ok :P It's a little bit of me and a little bit of my wandering mind. While clearing my bowels this morning, this conversation started playing in my head. So, I decided to write it here haha

It's a conversation between a mother and her book-obsessive daughter, who recently quit her job and decided to take a break from the corporate world. The mother was very displeased about it.


Scene: Dining room in one of the many Malaysian homes. Mom fixing lunch.


Mom: What you doing? (Her back facing her daughter.)

Daughter: Aiyoh, reading lah. (Rolls her eyes. Sensing what's coming.)


Mom: Don’t you have anything else to do? (Sounding a little annoyed as all she sees her daughter does all day is reading. It was so difficult to get her to read when she was a child, and now she’s reading like there’s no tomorrow!)


Daughter: Yeah, after this, write review.


Mom: You get paid for doing this?


Daughter: Nope. (Rather nonchalantly, wanting desperately to end this much-discussed topic.)


Mom: Then, why you doing it? (This time, raising her voice a little, wanting to let her daughter know she’s unhappy.)


Daughter: Because I like it? (Her eyes still glued to the book)


Mom: But you don’t get paid. How you going to pay for your bills ah? Food? Don’t expect me to be feeding you while you're jobless ah. (She places a plate of fried rice in front of her daughter.)


Daughter: I have my savings and I’m enjoying every minute of my day. Even if I die tomorrow, I’d die happy!


Mom: Your…

Daughter: Wait. (Puts up her hand. She has to read those last few sentences of that page to complete the chapter before continuing her point…)


I rather do what I like doing than getting paid to do what I don’t like doing. (She thinks this line sounded familiar. From a movie or something. If not, she feels rather smart that she came up with it, and plans to put it up on Facebook later.)


Mom: Okay, then why not get a job that pays you to do what you like doing?


Daughter: I’ve done it before and you know that. And I was unhappy. You know that too.
With the blardy office politics and all. That’s why I quit! (Getting vexed. She wanted to stand up to prove her point but decides against it. Too much energy. Her book needs her undivided attention.)

Ma, can we stop this topic and let me finish this book ah? I’ve not reviewed any books in the past week!


Mom: Your pa is angry. He’s complaining you’re not doing anything with your life.


But the daughter ignores her comment and pretends not to hear anything, thinking, 'I’m clearly doing something with MY life! Doing what I like doing! That’s living MY life! Forget it, old people won’t understand.'


2 months, 4 books and multiple book purchases later, her savings ran dry and she had zilch to spend on books and food. She was devastated. She knew the only way out is to work. So, against her will, she rejoined the world of blood, sweat, tears, office politics and many late nights, where she gets paid. She thinks to herself every night, that she will repeat her stint when she has saved enough.


Image from: bookseller.com

Sunday, April 4, 2010

My First Post as A Guest Blogger!

Remember I wrote a review on Katz Tales and had a blog interview with its author, Ellen Whyte? Well, she has so kindly invited me to be her guest blogger on her Monday Writers Craft Online on How to Be A Book Reviewer (Not that I'm an expert or anything lah :P But I just shared with her my experience as a book blogger...) Here's the post:

Thank you, Ellen for giving me the opportunity to guest blog. To answer your question as to how hookedonbookz.com started, let me first introduce myself. I am a book-obsessed person, as in, I love reading, wrapping (yes, wrapping), buying (my husband says I should see a doctor about this) and hoarding (and this too) them. But I have never thought of having a book blog (Duh, right?).

It all started when I was working with a health magazine a few years back, which had a column for book reviews, and that was when I met Kavita, the marketing person for Pansing. Meeting new friends in life is great, but nothing beats meeting another bookaholic! After a few bookish chats, we formed a strong bookish bond and continued our bookish relationship even after I left the magazine. During one of our chats, she suggested that I set up a blog for books, and I thought it was a brilliant idea.

After setting up hookedonbookz.com, Kavita continued feeding me with books, as I continued reviewing and blogging, and feeding myself with more books at sales and fairs. I was also given the opportunity to meet, interview and chat with authors from around the world, thanks to the people at Pansing for arranging them for me. But sometimes, I'd have to do it on my own and I've learnt that not all interview requests will be entertained. Nevertheless, that never stopped me from trying.

I never knew how to market my blog, and only recently thought of posting up my reviews on Facebook and Twitter after getting a request from one of my readers. My reviews are usually short and simple (Slightly longer ones for the books I enjoyed reading J), but usually, I keep it at not more than 400 words. Besides reviewing books, I also post up news and stories on books; book sales and events; interesting or entertaining videos, and bookish stuff I come across in the papers or Internet.

For more of her Monday Writers Craft Online, click here to go to her blog.

Easter Treats for Everyone!

Happy Easter, everyone! I'm late I know :P Been busy with Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter. Anyways, I've picked some bookish Easter treats for children of all ages from here: 'Easter Treats For Older Readers'. I thought, maybe, you might be interested in checking them out too :) (I do read children's books once in awhile hehe I used to love reading them aloud to my niece and nephew!) Oh yeah, I chose them based on their book covers. Yes, yes, I judged them by their covers :P

The Boy Who Climbed into the Moon by David Almond
Paul believes that the moon is not the moon, but is a great hole in the sky. Like many strange ideas of his, he has never told anyone about this until he meets Molly, his irrepressible neighbour, who begins to convince him that his theory might just change the world. Together with some highly irregular characters and helped by a very long ladder, Paul takes to the sky. But his astonishing discovery there can't keep him away for long – what is waiting for him back at home is turning out to be better than he'd ever imagined...


Dang
er by Moonlight by Jamila Gavin
This book is based on the true story of a Venetian jeweller, Geronimo Veronese, who visited the Moghul court of Shah Jehan in the 17th century and is believed to have inspired the Shah to create the Taj Mahal. In this version, Filippo, a twelve-year-old Venetian boy, was held ransom by kidnappers in Afghanistan when he sets of on a journey to save his dad, the famous Venetian jeweller, Veronese, whom he has never met before. His journey, filled with adventures and encouters with bandits, warlords and greedy shahs would keep any 10-year-olds hooked.


Tassie
and the Black Baron by Katie Roy (My possible Favourite!)
Judging from the reviews, this should be a hilariously funny read. I mean, just look at its cover! I love it! Brutus, the dastardly Black Baron, has challenged his wimpy cousin, Prince Billy, to a duel to the death. But his cousin, who writes badly rhyming poems ('Be proud my pounding heart, my knocking knees knock less. Stand firm my armour! (And my underpants and vest!), only wants to marry Lady Violetzka. Enter Tassie Ripley who travels back in time with a cunning plan to save the Prince. As you’d expect, this has a happy ending, and a lesson to be learnt. But what is it?
(A Bookaholic’s note: Hmm…maybe I should consider getting this book heh)


Click here for the full list.

So what did I read, or is still reading for Easter? 'Lovers in the Age of Indifference' by Xiaolu Guo. What about you?

Friday, April 2, 2010

YEAYYY! ANOTHER BOOK SALES!!

Thanks Jien Sing, for sharing this with me!! **big grin**

To all book lovers living in Malaysia or who will be in Malaysia that weekend, IT'S TIME TO SPLURRRRGE AGAIN, cuz here's another book sales!! :) Book prices are as low as RM1!!! I'm checking it out for sure! See you there? :)

Click on image to enlarge.

For more info, go to www.payless.com.my

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