Showing posts from 2012

The Devil in The White City by Erik Larson

Title/Author: The Devil in The White City
Publisher: Vintage Books Pages: 447 ISBN: 0-375-72560-1
In a nutshell
Firstly, this is non-fiction. I bought thinking it was fiction! Silly me. Anyway, Larson combined tales of two very passionate men, who toiled (one of them, very surreptitiously) to achieve their ambitions, but both have one objective - to create history.

Burnham was the architect behind the legendary 1893 World's Fair, while Holmes was the cunning serial killer who used the fair to lure his victims to their death.

In the opening pages, you'll be introduced to them through their words.

"Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men's blood." - Daniel Burnham, Director of Works World's Columbian Exposition, 1893

"I was born with the devil in me. I could not help the fact that I was a murderer, no more than the poet can help the inspiration to sing." - Dr. H. H. Holmes, Confession, 1896
Thus began the story that has captured a wide readershi…

Books for my Niece

My niece has turned 4 months old and my sister wants to instill reading habits in her. She asked me what books are appropriate for an infant. Reading aloud to babies are very important, especially during infancy, not only because it can help instil reading habits, but also because at this stage, infants are very receptive to language and visuals. This is the time when neurons make connections, a brain process called "synaptogenesis", very rapidly, till the first year of life. Another process called the myelination continues and the neurons controlling hearing and vision become myelinated. Repetitions are very important at this stage. I suggested her to get board books that have big, colorful images and have repeated words. Those which have textures for them to touch will be great too. These are some of my recommendations:

How to read aloud to an infant: 1) Place them on your lap (not on the bed while you read aloud to them. They need to be able to see the images and colors,…

Decatur Book Fest 2012

It has been a loooonnnnggg while since this blog's been updated...One of the reasons, well, I haven't had any luck in reading a good book. I thought I'd have some luck with Wicked by Gregory Maguire (Fantasy), hoping it'd be as yummy as The Bartimaeus Trilogy, but I was wrong. I have problems finishing the last chapter now...Argghhh...

Ok, so what's new? As stated above, the Decatur Book Fest 2012 that was held recently in Decatur, GA from Aug 31 - Sept 2. And I've gotta check it out. My hubby and I took the train and to no surprise, there were big crowds in every station! One, because there was a football match. Two because there was also a big event - the Dragon Con that was happening in the same weekend. (My hubby and I will definitely check out Dragon Con next year, with me in COSTUME! Muahahaha)
So was the Book Fest good? I can't say it wasn't because books were sold at rock-bottom prices from as low as $5!! Of course I bought a few haha I was real…

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Title/Author: The Help by Kathryn StockettPublisher: The Berkley Publishing Group Pages: 530 ISBN: 978-0-425-24513-2
In a nutshell The Help is set in the 1960's and told by Aibileen, Minny and Skeeter's perspective. Aibileen and Minny are maids who worked for white families and regularly exchanged stories about their bosses they served.
Eugena "Skeeter" Phelan is the daughter of a white family who owns a cotton farm worked by African Americans. She just finished college and has returned home to find a job, hopefully as a writer. She finally got a job as a columnist at a local paper. This job sparked a bond between Skeeter and Aibileen, who reminded her of Constantine, a maid she loved and lost. She often wondered about Constantine's disappearance as they lost touch too suddenly while Skeeter was in college.
When Aibileen shared a story about the death of her son, she inadvertently told Skeeter about an idea he wanted to work on, "he say he gone write down what it…

Moloka'i by Alan Brennert

Title/Author: Moloka'i by Alan Brennert
Publisher: St Martin's Griffin
Pages: 383
ISBN: 978-0-312-30435-5
In a nutshell This novel is set in the 18t90's to 1970's. The female protagonist, Rachel Kalama grew up in Honolulu and is part of a big Hawaiian family. Her father, was a merchant seaman and she dreamt that she'd travel to places her dad had visited. However, at the age of 7, her dreams shattered as they discovered she had leprosy, ma'i pake and was sent off to Kalaupapa, the isolated leper colony on the island of Moloka'i, because the disease was believed to be contagious. As the disease reached epidemic proportions, the government felt isolation was the best and only solution.
There, Rachel found a new family - Healer, Haleola who became her adopted 'auntie', Sister Mary Catherine Voorhies, one of the many Franciscan sisters who cared for the young girls at Kalaupapa and Leilani who taught her love.
What I liked Kudos to Brennert for successfully do…

Alice I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin

Title/Author: Alice I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin
Publisher: Bantam Books
Pages: 365
ISBN: 978-0-385-34414-2

In a nutshell
Alice Liddell Hargreaves is the 'Alice' in Wonderland; the girl who followed the White Rabbit into a land of quirky characters such as the Mad Hatter, Queen of Hearts and the Cheshire Cat. If not for Alice, Lewis Carroll wouldn't have written Alice in Wonderland. If not for her, we wouldn't have known Wonderland.
This story takes us back to Alice's childhood. At seven, she was different from other girls her age; young, innocent yet wise beyond her years, who felt a special connection with Lewis Carroll (whose real name was Charles Lutwidge Dodgson). He loved taking Alice and her sisters out for walks and boat rides which they enjoyed immensely. However, Dodgson showed a special interest in Alice and his feelings were reciprocated. She felt he was the only one who understood her, who allowed her to be 'Alice' and loved her as she was.
Time …

The Story of a Shipwrecked Sailor by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Title/Author: The Story of a Shipwrecked Sailor by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Publisher: Vintage International
Pages: 106
ISBN: 0-679-72205-x

In a nutshell
In February 1955, eight crew members of the Caladas, a Colombian destroyer, were washed over-alive, on a deserted beach in northern Colombia. Several of them drowned shortly before arriving at the port of Cartagena de Indias due to the existence of overweight contraband aboard the vessel. Ten days after the shipwreck, one of the sailors, Luis Alejandro Velasco, turned up on a deserted beach and became a hero overnight. Therein began his telling and selling his story to the media, including El Spectador where Marquez worked. Only this time, he tells the whole story, one that wasn't sanitized or authorized by the Colombian government.

What I liked
The lesson learnt - accepting adversity and making the best out of it. Velasco was lost and alone on a drifting life raft, far away from civilization. Nature was his friend and foe. She tore him a…

The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb by Melanie Benjamin

I've been trying to finish reading my ebooks for a very very very long time and am still half way through most of them. I NEVER HAD TROUBLE FINISHING A BOOK BEFORE (except for really sleep-inducing ones)! So I told myself to stop with the ebooks and get back to paperbacks (I don't really fancy hardcovers either :P). And I MUST SOON as I need a good read for our trip to Florida. And so I did! It was tough choosing the RIGHT book. The book that SPOKE to me. Went to Barnes & Noble but none of the books displayed caught my attention. Checked out Walmart too. None. I almost gave up until we went to Target.
There...I found...The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb. Somehow, my hands just reached out for it. Browsing the first few pages was good enough for me to decide to get it. And my instincts were right :)
Title/Author: The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb / Melanie Benjamin Publisher:Bantam Books
Pages:458 ISBN 13:978-0-385-34416-6 In a nutshell: Mrs. Tom Thumb, or rather Mercy Lavini…

Would you let your children read these??

I'm a sucker for children's books; anything for ages 0 - 10; especially those written by Roald Dahl, Dr. Seuss, Julia Donaldson and Eric Carle. I normally pick books which are: * entertaining
* simple but educational
* has good vocab
* well written and conceptualised
* great illustrations! (for picture books)

Recently, I came across this article which listed 10 children's books and I was flabbergasted. Were these books REALLY MEANT FOR CHILDREN??? I won't ever read these books to kids. Would you or allow your kids to?

First, the title itself turned me off. Suck-a-thumb, and the illustrations seemed to aim at giving children nightmares...Definitely not something I wanna read to my children...

Ghastly, ghostly, gory...A HUMAN HEAD-SWALLOWING HEAD???! Is this Nightmare on Elm Street?? And check out its title...I dare not imagine what's in their ABCs

This one looks innocent enough. That little red thing on the left looked like a carved out potato to me,..but...after …

Awesome book clutches!

Look what I found while reading Vanity Fair - awesome, pretty book clutches! Find all of them here.

Now, guess the price. They start from 490 pounds :P

Handle with Care by Jodi Picoult

Title/Author:Handle with Care / Jodi PicoultPublisher:Hodder & Stoughton Pages:548 ISBN 13:978-0340979044
In a nutshell
Willow is born with Osteogenesis Imperfecta (commonly known as Brittle Bones disease) and her mom, Charloote, is offered a lifeline - to file a wrongful birth – suggesting that Sean and Charlotte (the mother) should have been made aware earlier on in her pregnancy that Willow suffered from this life-threatening condition. If they win the case, they'd receive a monetary payout which would secure Willow's future. And the doctor Charlotte would be suing is her best friend, Piper.

What's worse is filing for wrongful birth also means that if Charlotte had known in advance about the disability, she would have terminated the pregnancy, i.e. openly declaring it in court she would rather her daughter had never been born.
What I liked As with the other Picoult's books that I've read (My Sister's Keeper, Nineteen Minutes), it's thought-provoking. I lik…