Friday, December 31, 2010

Christianity in China (and HAPPY NEW YEAR!)

I've managed to finish one book by today, and I'm halfway through the second one. For the second post in a row, the common element is Geographical, although these books (there are three in total) are focused on history rather than prophecy.

And if anyone is wondering, all these books were lent to me, which is why they're not the kind I usually read, because I have no idea these books exist OTL....

Anyway, even though I don't take history, I find it really interesting (the only reason I don't take history is subject limitations, and that I refuse to sacrifice Literature for History). But I've realised that not taking the subject is liberating, since I can just read any part of history, instead of having to follow a certain textbook. E.g. When I was studying World History (which thankfully is broad enough to encompass lots of stuff), what I borrowed from the library was mostly limited to WWII, just because I figured that if I was gonna read history, I might as well study at the same time. But now, I can read about any subject I want~

The two books I read/am reading are God's Chinese son, which is about the Taiping Revolution (Which I've never heard of until yesterday) and Christianity in China, which is helping me understand and see the complexity of the Chinese culture and the (possible) influences of the Christian faith on it. I've realised from these books that I actually like China and Chinese Culture, but I don't like modern China, because I'm opposed to communism (So it's only the present China - PRC that I don't really like).

And HAPPY NEW YEAR!! God bless ^_^

Thursday, December 30, 2010

The End Times

"And still the rockets scream. Still the innocent dies. Still the hatred boils." (Once an Arafat Man)

Yesterday-Today I read two really interesting books; while the subject matter isn't exactly the same, it's within the same sphere. And that would be the Middle East, in the End Times. I normally don't like to think about this, mainly because there are so many different opinions, and I'm not sure which to trust. That, and this topic scares me. I think the End Times isn't something that people want to talk about, but it's something we need to hear. And what I gleaned from the two books was a sense of how the current Middle Eastern crisis is related to the End Times.

Now, this is a contentious issue, and most views seem pretty polarised to me, so I'm gonna say right write now (and maybe later too), that all the views expressed are my personal own, and I'm not attempting to force them on anyone. If you don't like it, please don't read it. But I am a Christian and I'm going to rejoice at God's goodness and faithfulness (:

-Random Interlude- I'm taking the liberty to be be random here because the rest of the review is gonna be pretty serious, and I do have things to say that doesn't make a coherent whole with everything else. Alright, lemme see.... Well, when I was typing the title, I accidentally typed "Endo" by mistake (This is due to the EE research I did just before this), I was going to start with a joke about studying too much, but I decided to use the quote since this topic shouldn't be treated lightly, in my opinion. And speaking of quotes, I've noticed an awkward tendency for me to start essay (for school) with a quote. This probably shows my lack of originality in crafting the English language, and the fact that I really can't think of any better way to start an essay. Now, back to the matter at hand....

The first book I read was Once An Arafat Man by Tass Saada with Dean Merrill, and tells the amazing story of how an Islamic Terrorist found Christ and turned his life completely around. And, if you haven't noticed by now, where the starting quote comes from. It's an engrossing read and gives hope to Christians by showing (not just telling) that there is a Christian revival in the Middle East. But what really struck me was the message that the Ishmaelites are also the descendants of Abraham and have been blessed by God. He talked about how the feelings against the Jews was (to him) a reaction to the rejection they felt by Abraham when he sent them away. Now, while it's hard to support the terrorist activities taking place, this has helped me understand the need to pray for the Jews AND the Ishmaelites.

Now, while the first book is a memoir, the second book is filled with more facts. Epicentre is written by Joel C Rosenberg, who has apparently written "prophetic" books (which I now really really really want to read). While most non-fiction books on current affairs will become outdated in a few years, (e.g. one book I read on using Sun Tzu's Art of War in business cited Japan as going to overtake the US), and especially about the Middle East, where the situation is in flux, this book is relevant, probably it's main sources are taken from the timeless and eternal book, the Bible. While there is a lot of reference to current affairs and interviews with key players in the Middle East, what the book does is to piece all the separate pieces of information into a coherent whole, and make an educated guess about how prophecy from Ezekiel could be fulfilled. If I were to even try and summarise the book, it would still take too long, so again, I recommend that everyone reads it. And thank God, from the book, I learnt that yearly, 6 million Muslims convert to Christianity. (I am sorry if that sentence offends anyone, but that is my personal feelings about the subject matter).

I know there are lots of books around about the End Times, and many of them are going to have different views on how the end times happen, but it seems that one thing they are all in agreement is is that: The End Times are near, if not already here. While that scares me (I really want a peaceful life), I hope that anyone who reads it pauses to reflect on their life: If and When the End Times come, what's going to happen to you? Are you too focused on this life to think of the next's?

Books and Bookstores

I realised last night, as I was about to sleep, that I neglected to review this book, which I had to wait many many weeks to get (building up all my anticipation). But, since I couldn't just jump out of bed to write a review (ok, I could, but I'd get into a lot of trouble with my family), I decided to wait until morning to post. (:

The King's English (TKE) by Betsy Burton is subtitled "Adventures of an Independent Bookseller" and was bought, ironically, over Amazon (instead of an independent bookshop like Littered with Books). Unlike my past purchases, I actually had to wait an inordinately long time to get this book ): But when I finally got it (: I spent Christmas Eve and Christmas reading it~ And it was as good as expected.

Because I really like books, and I think Business is fun, I have considered opening up my own bookstore. But, I'll probably end up working another job. However, if you're going to read TKE to learn how to operate a bookstore, this is not the right book. This book is a chronicle of one store's personal experience (in working with partners, fighting against the Big Chains like Borders, Barns and Noble, etc) rather than a How-To guide. But as for me, I prefer reading this "mini-memoir" because it seems more personal. And anyway, if you want to learn how to run a business, you can always pick up a business book.

This book is warm and engaging, and recommends lots of books to read. (I did, however, end up skipping over lots of lists in order to continue reading the narrative.

I originally titled this post "The King's English (Betsy Burton)", but as soon as I wrote the words 'mini-memoir', I was reminded of yet another book I read recently "Reading Lolita in Tehran", which is subtitled "A memoir in books". Hence, the new title "Books and Bookstores".

The premise of Reading Lolita in Tehran is of an Iranian Literature Professor, and her life teaching (if I remember correctly) Modern History. She taught through the Revolution, and by what she writes, she sounds like an amazing teacher, as she managed to get her students to think beyond the norm, as seen when she let them put The Great Gatsby "on trial" when a student condemned it, instead of immediately taking a position.

This book, apart from giving me a another literary perspective on books (such as reading Lolita not so much as the rape of a little girl, but as the imprisonment of one life by another), is also a social commentary on Iran at those times. The author writes about how she refused to wear the veil, explaining that it was her personal decision, and she refused to turn the veil into a political symbol. By also describing the lives of some of her students, she also lets the reader see how the Iranian government has taken 'control' over their lives, in a manner that reminds me of Fahrenheit 451.

This book is many things, a memoir, a social commentary, a history book (it does chronicle the lives of people during a historical event, so I think it can be considered a history book), but most of all, it should be read as a book about literature, and how literature has the power to change ways of thinking (which can lead to changed lives).

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Orthodoxy (G.K. Chesterton)

I've been at YI Camp for the past few days (So Much More), and so, I've only read 2 books: The Hiding Place (Which is the story of Corrie Ten Boom, who hid the Jews from the Nazi's in WWII, and was a Christmas Present), and Orthodoxy by G.K. Chesterton (Which was Xiao Wen Lao Shi's book, but I got bored).

Even though I've read Orthodoxy before, it still seems like a first reading to me (maybe it's because I've not read it for so long?). And I realised on the second reading, that G.K. Chesterton's style of writing reminds me of C.S. Lewis's, and he's another awesome writer.

But, during the reading, I was suddenly reminded of ToK, from a line about reason being/needing faith, which led me to think about the various Ways of Knowing, which of course, led me to panic about my ToK essay, yet, Ryan says not to think about it....

But, the book is really beautiful, and is practically poetic is certain passages. I'm pretty certain that I've annoyed quite a lot of the campers because I went around asking them to read this one passage that I love. Maybe it shows the poetry of the English language and combines that with a new way of looking at fairy tales (a new interpretative framework?).

Sigh, I'm quite worried about the 2 big essays I have to finish, but I'm sure that with God's grace, I'll get things done in time.

Anyway, I shouldn't be worrying, when there's such a cool book to review, even though I'm not sure what more I can say. Seeing as all the praise I heap upon the book can't compare with reading the book itself (since I'm just an anonymous reader), I'll just reccomend that everyone reads this book. And since I'm sure some won't be able to find the book (or will be too lazy to look for it), here's the link to the online version from Project Gutenberg (Isn't it great that copyrights expire?):

And this is my favourite passage in the entire book. I don't know about anyone else, but I find it full of meaning and poetry (I bolded what I feel is the 'essence' of the passage). (:

But I deal here with what ethic and philosophy come from being fed on fairy tales. If I were describing them in detail I could note many noble and healthy principles that arise from them. There is the chivalrous lesson of "Jack the Giant Killer"; that giants should be killed because they are gigantic. It is a manly mutiny against pride as such. For the rebel is older than all the kingdoms, and the Jacobin has more tradition than the Jacobite. There is the lesson of "Cinderella," which is the same as that of the Magnificat— EXALTAVIT HUMILES. There is the great lesson of "Beauty and the Beast"; that a thing must be loved BEFORE it is loveable. There is the terrible allegory of the "Sleeping Beauty," which tells how the human creature was blessed with all birthday gifts, yet cursed with death; and how death also may perhaps be softened to a sleep. But I am not concerned with any of the separate statutes of elfland, but with the whole spirit of its law, which I learnt before I could speak, and shall retain when I cannot write. I am concerned with a certain way of looking at life, which was created in me by the fairy tales, but has since been meekly ratified by the mere facts.

Friday, December 17, 2010


I decided to be more selective about the books I post because:
a. I honestly read too many books
b. This gives it a sense of coherence.

So today, I decided to post about the 2 chocolate related books I read yesterday: A true history of Chocolate and Chocolate (By The Knowledge).

A True History of Chocolate is a rather scholary treatise, looking at chocolate from Maya-times to modern times, even looking at the origin of the word. It's very very precise (i.e. well referenced), which I could probably learn from). But even if it's very scholarly, it's also very interesting to read, and it gives a good social context of the use of chocolate, how it gains its popularity and such.

But reading this, I realised that even in History books, there is bias (here comes the ToK lessons). The bias is more obvious in this book, as the author admits that there is dry wit and opinions in the preface, but I did realise that opinions are also hidden in innoucuous statements such as those about the Marquis De Sade and how he has been unjustly judged. On the other hand, it is really hard to write a completely neutral piece of work, since everyone has their opinions, and asking them to be completely objective is impossible. So I suppose it's up to the reader to sort our what is fact and what is opinion.

The other book was Chocolate (I forgot the title) by The Knowledge. It's also a history of chocolate, but aimed at kids/teens. Which is why even though the gist of both books is the same, this book has less details, and chooses interesting trivia to present to it's readers. Futhermore, it has a bigger emphasis on chocolate as a solid. But that makes it interesting, since they have all the history and trivia of the well known chocolates such as Cadbury's Dairy Milk, Mars bars, Snickers, etc.

I suppose with two different books aimed at two very different audiences, the approach will naturally be different. But that makes them enjoyable in their own way (:

Thursday, December 9, 2010

T for.....

I was going to title this post Tough Customer (by Sandra Brown), but then I remembered that I also read two Terry Pratchet books, so the common denominator is the letter "T".

Lemme see... Tough Customer is one of those Thriller/Detective/Romance novels, which I suppose is fairly typical. It's not a bad story line, although the twist in the plot is really unbelievable, and feels like a cop-out by the author. I suppose this will be one of the books that you only need to read once.

On the other hand, Terry Pratchet books can be read over and over again. (: Today, Mong lent me (and I finished) The Light Fantastic (A reference to the phrase Tripping the Light Fantastic) and The Colour of Magic, which were both hilarious. They're both easy reads and really lots of fun. So I'd reccomend them to anyone and everyone with a sense of humour.

This two books talks about the the wizard Rincewind (which is the first time I'm reading the part of the series about him). I find the books very interesting, although I'd still prefer the Night Watch series to this (which Mong has agreed to lend me more of). That's probably because there are more diverse characters/protagonist in the Night Watch, with really really amusing villians (Like the Assassins Guild).

And I guess, I like satire about city life best of all(:

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Debbie Macomber

I was reading some Chic-lit that Aunty Florence lent me, which were Sisters-in-law by Nina Bell and Reluctant Cinderella by uh.... I forgot *sheepishsmile*. Both of them were fairly interesting, all though a bit generic, but what I didn't like was that it had uh.... graphic descriptions in them.

But the third book I read, which was The Shop on Blossom Street by Debbie Macomber totally blew me away, it was that good. For one thing, the plot was really interesting, and second, there wasn't any graphic stuff inside. It's basically about 4 ladies who became friends through a knitting group at a knitting shop called A Good Yarn. And for some reason, I like knitting too, although I can only do the knit stich and nothing else >.<

Although the book was outwardly secular, I kept getting the niggling feeling that Debbie Macomber was a Christian, I guess from the passing (but respectful) references to God. But I wasn't sure, so at that time, I was just very happy that I found a book series (the Blossom Shop Street) that didn't have nudity or anything else.

But the next day (which is today), I read One Simple Act, which took me a few chapters to read before I realised that it was by Debbie Macomber, and *shout and flourish* she IS a Christian. Praise God! One Simple Act (subtittled Discovering the Power of Generosity), is about incorporating thankfulness in our lives, and allowing God to use that to work through us. The book is very inspirational, and I really really love it.

Although, like the old me, I didn't put it into practice straightaway. I woke up almost 40 minutes late today, which wrecked my schedule, so I was a little upset when I was leaving the house. But on the MRT there, I read (and finished) One Simple Act, and on the MRT back, I was thinking about being thankful. I guess that to be thankful for that would be I got more sleep (always a good thing) and I probably set my record of getting out of bed, folding my blankets, eating breakfast, changing into uniform, eating medicine and leaving the house in 15 minutes flat. (:

But during the day, I was still upset at little things, such as when almost all the group members (6 out of 10) people, left during lunch and didn't come back til the end of the session (during tea break). And since they came back late, they asked me to help "cover" them, which was getting hard because the organisers started taking attendence. But thankfully, I didn't have do anything, because they got booked, so I didn't have to falsify anything (ok, this is really weird, and probably a little mean to be thankful for - I guess my real intention is to say that I'm glad I didn't have to lie or anything).

And on the way back, I was even more upset, because I went to Popular at Brash Pasah to buy the 50th anniversary edition of To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee) and Never Let Me Go (Kazuo Ishiguro) since I'm a Popular Member (mostly for the Harris Bookstore in Johor) and got a $20 voucher (though I'll infinitely prefer one by Kinokuniya, Borders or Littered with books! (But I don't think Littered With Books have them)). But when I get there, To Kill A Mockingbird was completely sold out, even though I saw it 2 days ago! And this was the main branch! But it didn't make sense to just buy a $17 book (cause TKAM is only $9+ so the $10 voucher won't cover it); so I more or less left in a huff. But after thinking it over, the good thing about this is that I have an excuse to buy more books from Popular and that I can probably find TKAM cheaper from Littered With Books, which I will be going to anyway on Friday to return Aunty Florence's book.

But on the MRT home, I started thinking about my attitude, and realised that it was very wrong, and is also very disrespectful to God. So from now on, I want to try and change my attitude, to incorporate a heart of thankfulness and generosity.

Wow! I spent more than half this post not-talking about books, although I suppose that really good books will impact your life. ^_^

Monday, December 6, 2010


I spent the past few days reading lots of Jane Austen books (well... 3). And that was because I bought this book called Jane Austen for dummies. While I don't normally like the "For Dummies" book (like the one for learning Japanese, because it has romaji all the way, and it's not very helpful to me), this one was really marvelous. It had lots of information (probably because the author is the President of the North American Jane Austen Society, and teaches college courses about her!). It provides the socio-economic-political-religious background of Austen's books, her life and other relevant information, which got me to read her books with a whole new perspective.

And because of that, I went on to read Emma, Sense and Sensibility and Persuasion. All three books were really really good, like I remembered, and I really enjoyed reading it. These books are different from my Green Covered Puffin Pride and Prejudice, with beige covers and pictures.

And this got me wondering, would I buy different copies of the same book? After all, I'm going to buy the 50th anniversary edition of To Kill A Mockingbird (although it's because I don't have the book now, it's either with some one else, or I borrowed it when I needed to study it). I suppose, if it's a particularly beautiful cover, and maybe something I want for sentimental reason's, I'll probably buy it, although I'm sure my parent's will think it's a waste. But I suppose, the books that I want more copies of, should be really good, and I'll be lending them out a lot (To friends and family, in my bid to get more people to read). And in that case, there can't be too many copies(:

But I suppose that for now, I'll have to focus on building a great variety of books rather than multiple (but all beautiful and different) copies of the same books. And since I'm on a budget, I'll stick to buying the cheaper books first (the Puffin Orange or Green ones, that cost $4.50 - but that is only for classics) before I "move on" to other editions/those with different covers/hardbacks.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


I re-read Silence by Shusaku Endo, and once again, I'm blown away. He is, in my opinion, one of the finest writers, who is able to vividly portray Japan and it's people. For those that don't know, Silence follows a Portuguese Priest, called Roderigues, as he struggles to keep his faith, sadly, he succumbs to "the swamp of Japan" and apostatises. However, the main thrust of this book, and of Endo's books in general, is to show and emphasize the 'mother love' of Christ, rather than the 'father love' as he feels that it is the 'mother love' that the Japanese lack and need.

This time, as I read through the book, I took special note of the word "silence", as advised by my supervisor. It really opened my eyes as to the different dimensions of silence, and its different purposes, to protect, when in doubt. Of course, the most obvious connotation would be the silence of God (which is referred too repeatedly), and ties in to the book of Job. However, unlike Job, there is no happy ending, except perhaps, the continual existence of the secret Christians.

Even though at times, Endo makes statements which seem heretical (causing him to be condemned by some Japanese Christians - I did say he was controversial right?) I think that overall, he manages to capture the essence, perhaps his version of the essence of Christ's love.

And while I'm on the topic of silence, I might as well take the chance to talk about the latest issue of Creation magazine, which arrived in the mail yesterday. It was, as usual, very interesting and very informative. One (relatively funny, at least to me) argument is that: sponges have DNA that is 70% similar to human DNA, does that mean sponges are 70% human? The absurdity of the argument just cracks me up! Yet some people will argue likewise for monkeys. And as the evolutionists yell their arguments (no matter how absurd) louder and louder, the dissenting Christian voices are pushed further into silence.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Between then and now

It's been a (fairly) long time since I posted, well, relative to the average time I update. But, I've been busy (staying in Malaysia) and now, with the JC law programme. I didn't have much time to read in Malaysia, despite the fact that I have more books there than I realise. But this is probably because I spent my time reading my daddy's Master's "Business Economics" textbook. Even though I didn't understand half of it (my brain turns itself off once it sees math), it was useful in reminding me how little I know about the subject. And if I'm not wrong, I read a book about Princess Diana, and one other about Masako-Hime.

And the Very Good News is that I finished the three Sarah Dessen books I bought, Catching the Moon, Lock and Key and uh, and Someone like you. They were all so good, and really really moving. In particular, Someone like you, which I haven't read before, is about friendship, and got me to appreciate my best friends even more.

But with JLPT coming up, and the Law programme, I haven't had much time to read, except the one on collecting books (I'm too lazy to try and recall the name) and The Man Within, which is for my EE. And un-surprisingly, since I have to take the MRT to and fro Chinatown, I've been reading on the train. It's actually quite conducive for reading, and I managed to go through the JLPT N5 textbook (*roundofapplause*). And today, I was asked to read through past cases ^_^, it was really informative and really really fun (for me, at least). But due to the non-disclosure form I had to sign, I can't say anything here.):

 My "Library" at Malaysia

 What I actually managed to read in the few days I stayed there(:

Monday, November 22, 2010

There are pictures~ (The first ever here)

I have the nagging feeling I can't remember all the books I read over the weekend, I guess that's what comes when you're lazy (although I did just pack/repack all my books). The only two I can remember is The Pemberley Chronicles, which is a continuation of Pride and Prejudice and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (aka Huck Finn, aka HF).

The Pemberly Chronicles is a "fanfiction" which happened to get published. This is a really good thing because I can't imagine reading it as a fanfic, the chapters would be too long. Too bad not more fanfictions get published, because some of them are as good as this. This book is (most importantly) believable, and I think the characterisations are true to the original, but when it says "the saga begins" it means saga. It's really a saga/chronicle of what happens, so while things are more or less happy, there are unhappy moments/deaths that occur ):

Huck Finn on the other hand, is one of the English books that I have to read, and it's not one of my favourites. For one thing, it bores me. And the more I know about Mark Twain, the less I like him (Who can hate Jane Austen? Or say that any library with her books suck? >.<), and even Wen Xi think's he's disturbed.  But still, it is what I have to study.

But on the bright side, I'm going into Malaysia tomorrow, and I'll have lots of time to read books there. And before I forget, here are pictures of the Sarah Dessen Set I bought on Saturday (You can see it's sooo pretty).

                                            (Pretty right?)

                                          (And the view from the other side)

                                           (This is without the paper cover-thing)

                                          (What you see when you open it, look at the pendant)

                                           (Everything opened out, all the covers are so pretty)

                                     (And last but not least, the かわいい(kawaii) camera holder)

Friday, November 19, 2010

"Oriental" Reads

Today was a very "oriental"/Japanese day. For starters, I went to the embassy of Japan, at first, we wanted to talk to the student counsellor about studying in Japan, but she wasn't there (left early =.=) so we just read the material available, which was really informative, since they had info on the majors available.

But I managed to finish 2 books today: In the Footsteps of the 10 lost tribes (something like that), and Shinjuku Shark, which is suppose to be a very famous/popular series of detective novels from Japan.

In the footsteps of the 10 lost tribes attempts to explain the mystery of the disappearance of the 10 tribes of Israel and is written by a Jew. It's a fascinating, engaging read, although too much of it rests on conjecture (which is to be expected since there's not a lot of information, or rather, there's no definite information available). Apparently, the lost tribes had great influence on Afghanistan, China, India and more notably, Japan. According to the author, the Japanese are descendants of the exiled Israelites. It sounds plausible, although sometimes it seems a bit far fetched. And another issue is that he refers a lot to Jewish Folklore, such as using Lilith to support the Japanese mythology. (I had to look up what Lilith was, and I've been in Sunday School my whole life). The last thing is that he seems to cast the authority of the Bible in doubt, suggesting that certain things have been omitted or edited in the Bible. If you ask me, a better book is The Biblical Hebrew Origin of the Japanese People by Joseph Eidelberg; although it only focuses on the Japanese and not other countries.

The next book I finished was Shinjuku Shark, which is apparently a popular mystery series. However, it seems to be more of an American-style detective novel than a British-style detective novel. According to my understanding, American-style refers to the "tough guy", beat everyone in your way up style, while British-style has more deductive reasoning involved, like Agatha Christie's Poiret, Miss Marple or Conan's Shylock Holme's (I only remember Conan because of Detective Conan).

But I suppose, to each his (or her) own.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Fact and Fiction

So far, I managed to finish three very long books, two today and one over the period of a few weeks. The non-fiction book is A Proper Education by Karl D. Coke, PhD. It's basically a call to return to a Hebraic centered model of education, rather than the Humanistic model currently in vogue. Again, it's America-centric, but what makes this book so good (to me), is that in dealing with such a touchy subject, it made all the right calls, unlike The Way Home.

While A Proper Education does have lot's of emotion sometimes, it manages to steer away from excessive emotion-based appeal (at least to me), and when quoting, the whole quote, plus context was given, which is a definite plus. And I think the best part of it, is that it managed to steer clear of politics, instead of demonising a particular party, it was neutral (except for the blame in Secular Humanists). Which made this book an enjoyable read, unlike The Way Home.

The book that I finally finished is The 13 1/2 Lives of Captain Bluebear: A novel by Walter Moers. While it sounds kiddy, it definitely is not, looking at the size of the book, it is very very very long. Eugenia and I are both reading it, and while it's possible to read it in one go, I decided that this time, I was going to read it slowly. As I remembered, it's really funny, very enjoyable; and to top it off, it got Eugenia to want to read. Even thought she gave up, she did restart, before giving up again (the book is really long).

The other book that I managed to finish is State of Fear by Michael Crichton, who apparently wrote Jurassic Park (which I never realised was a book). It's one of the books on the read-before-you-die booklist, and the fact is that my friends have incredible tastes in books. The book is about whether Global Warming is a real cause for threat or over-hyped by the media, and with so many detailed sources and footnotes, it provided food for thought. I guess this is the type of book we say "Art imitates life", and it shows how fiction can be used to approach controversial issues.

A different kind of education

I'm really glad it's the hols now, because I get so much more time to read (: And with the kind of books that Aunty Evonne is lending me, I'm learning really interesting stuff, kinda like being homeschooled I guess (since there's not fixed curriculum.

Well, since it's the hols, and I've been giving myself a break since DL, I managed to finish 3 books yesterday, Amsterdam, Assumptions that affect our lives and The read aloud handbook, all really good books. ^_^

Amsterdam is the only fiction book of the three, and is by Ian McEwan, while it's supposed to be the most readable of his books (according to the book), I found it harder to understand. It wasn't til I finished the book that I realised what it was about. And it took me even longer to realise that in the end, the two characters (both protagonists) went to Amsterdam to die by euthanasia. The story is set over a really short time span, but is fairly easy to follow, except the part about the pact.

The next book, Assumptions that affect our lives by Dr Christian Overman looks at the difference between the Hebraic (Eastern) and Greek (Western) worldview, in the context of America. It's really interesting, because even in Singapore, the Greek worldview dominates, perhaps because of our colonial past. But I didn't know that Hebrew/Israel was considered Oriental. A lot of food for thought in this book.

The last book I managed to finish was The read~aloud handbook by Jim Trelease. It's a really weird book for me to be reading, but it was recommended. And it did explain why I really love to read, because when I was really really little, (the England year), my parents used to read to me a lot. And now, I'm reading to my brother (I'm trying to get another bookworm in the family).

And also, I realised why I limit the number of times I visit a bookshop. Yesterday, my daddy took us to Ion, Orchard to do some shopping (he had to meet some clients at Hilton), so my mum and lil' sisters spent the first one/two hours shopping. But then, I decided to go to Borders. And I found this Sarah Dessen set, 3 books in one, and the packaging was really cute. So, in the end, I decided to buy it, rather than not buy, and regret it. I am probably the only person who spends all her money on books. (:

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Hit's and Misses

Today, I finished the third Graham Greene book, Monsignor Quixote, which is apparently a re-working of the classic Don Quixote. While I haven't read that yet, I do know a little about it, thanks to Huck Finn. The book itself is entertaining, but I suppose some people will find the discussions about communism and Catholicism boring, but if you want to look on the bright side, you could see this as an entertaining way to learn/read a discussion. Because the book is set in Spain, which if I remember correctly was fascist (in the past) and had struggles with communism (Hitler even testing out his new fighter planes there to defeat communism), I suppose that's why the book discussed communism, even though it's "outdated" nowadays (although China is communist, it's more totalitarian with a free economy, since communism requires the abolishment of the class system, maybe it's more socialist?). But still, it's a really fun book, but the ending is really moving.

Reading Monsignor Quixote was a really good stress reliever after reading The Way Home by Mary Pride. Again, it's not a book that I would read if I had a choice, but my aunt did ask me to read it. The premise of the book is basically against feminism and pro-"home-working" (Author's word).There are good points in the book, but sadly, they all appear in the later part of the book, although one good point is that it is very thought provoking, such that I had to take notes on everything that was logically unsound/made her argument weak (in my opinion). The bad point's are so many, and so glaring, that they eclipse the good points, which is an encouragement of staying-at-home.

The first thing I take issue with is her tone, she uses a lot of sarcasm and blanket statements. And reading the comments about her book, there's a lot about hypocrisy, which I have to concur with. One striking example is when she says that she is "timid", but her whole book has an aggressive tone. Another related issue is her way of quoting, where she doesn't give the context of the passage. I once heard a preacher say "A text without a context is just a pretext for what you want it to say", smart words, which I've taken to heart.

Another big problem is that she's not neutral. I'm not saying that she has to be completely neutral, you have to take a stand, against feminism or for it. The "non-neutrality" that I don't like is her inclusion of politics, which I feel is a red herring. She is obviously a republican, and reminds me of the Tea Party. Her constant referring to America as "Socialist" or "Communist" when it's so obviously not (look at USSR/China) does her no favours. And if you look at the UN and such, you'll see that even as America looks out for it's own interest, it doesn't display socialist tendencies (at least not to me), but from how she rights, you'll think that America is a Totalitarian, Communist Country.

There's a lot to say, but I'm stopping here, at her use of examples (I suppose it's related to quoting, but for me, it warrant's a paragraph of its own). Her examples seem to be very twisted, and her argument based on one passage. For most of the book, I was wondering, where is Proverbs 31? And it was way way way behind, in Chapter 12. And the example, that Proverbs 31 did not show the Godly Women as a "merchant"/having a career, is because she supplies merchant's not that she is a merchant. It may be because she didn't define anything at all, but to me (taking a really basic level of business), this implies that the women mentioned is a merchant, albeit, one in the earlier channels of distribution.

It's really sad, because this book could have been so good. A more effective method, I think, is that she tells her own experience, rather than launching into a tirade. In my family, my mom went back to work (but she has 4 kids, which contradicts her assumption that working -gasp- takes away the chance for women to have kids), and there are stay at home mom's in my family, but a lot of them also work. And all my cousin's and I are the same (kind of normal).

I suppose, action really does speak louder than words.

Food for thought

I got home rather late yesterday, so I didn't have the time to review the (many) books I managed to read. Because I went to the library on Saturday, and my aunt's house yesterday, I now face the happy problem of too much to read. Yesterday at Aunty Evonne's house was really fun (: Esther, and Lydia were really cute, especially Lydia, it was fun playing with a baby yesterday. And Moses and Daniel were really really cute, all three older siblings were really engrossed in my ds, and I'm glad I decided to bring it. But it was really cool, that Aunty Evonne would tell her kids that I came here to borrow books, so I had time to read (while helping them with the super mario game); too bad their pastor was in the hospital and cancelled the group meeting. I hope he gets well soon. But I'll have to go next week, because I left my library book there yesterday (oops).

Anyway, before I went there, I managed to read Atonement by Ian McEwan and The Heart of the matter by Graham Greene, both library books. The Ian McEwan books were hard to find because I expected them to be shelved under MCE but weirdly, they were labelled and shelved under MAC. The book however, was unexpectedly engaging. When I got into the plot (which had a lot of misunderstandings), the book was an easy read. I have to thank Julian for reccommending the book (which was one of the books in my read-before-you-die list). The only "downside" so to speak, is that I didn't like the two characters that I think I was supposed to sympathised with, the guy who went to jail even though he was innocent and the sister. I think it's because of the grudges they held against the little (11 year old) girl who mis-interpreted everything. But then again, if they didn't, the book wouldn't be called Atonement.

The other book was much shorter, but harder to enjoy. Because my EE book/topic has a weak link, I have to switch my english book (Fahrenheit 451). And my supervisor suggested that since Shusaku Endo is called the Japanese Graham Greene, I pick a Graham Greene book. The Heart Of The Matter is supposed to be about a guy who falls in love and betrays something important (according to the back cover), but I really didn't see that. It took me quite a while to understand who the characters were and what was going on, and even longer to identify with the characters, so I suppose I won't be doing this book for my EE. But I suppose when you finally start to lose yourself in this book, you actually do learn things, mostly about human nature, but it's too easy to give up.

On the way to Aunty Evonne's house, I managed to finish The Man Within, also by Graham Greene (it was a long mrt ride). Although I didn't understand this book straightaway (possibly because Graham Greene has a tendency to jump straight into the plot without much introduction), this book was much easier to read and understand, and I really enjoyed it. It has a lot of 'betrayels' by a main character that calls himself a 'coward' but finds peace in the end, which is more like silence, so I suppose this might be the EE book I'm doing. But I'm going to reserve judgement until I read the third Graham Greene book I borrowed.

At Aunty Evonne's house, apart from playing with her adorable kids, I also had the time to finish two books. I Kissed Dating Goodbye and Boy Meets Girl, both by Joshua Harris. They aren't the type of books I normally read, but Aunty Evonne asked me to read them. What I found was that a lot is what my parent's have been telling me. On the bright side, IB is making me so busy I don't really think about dating. :P

Lastly, and most importantly, (can I change the font size?), I read Do Hard Things by Alex and Brett Harris (oh yes, I can). It's a book for teens, written, surprisingly, by teens. At first, the conversational style was a little too much, but then, it toned down as the book went along. The book, even though it's Christian in nature, does have things for the non-Christian, like what one amazon reviewer said. But I feel that without the religious nature, it loses a lot. But I'm still recommending this book to my friends, Christian and non-Christian alike. (Too bad my sisters don't want to read this, they have no idea what they're missing). This book is basically a road-map (that's the closest word I can think of to describe the book), to challenge teens to go way beyond the low expectations that society sets on us. I mean, these twins were interns in the Alabama supreme court at 16! And they are the founders on of the popular website (in America? cause I haven't heard of it, sadly), so I suppose if you don't know whether you want to buy the book, you can go to their blog first and read.

But what they say does make sense, that if you stretch yourself, you'll find that you can go way beyond what others think. And I think that this year does show this, for example, I made it into IB (by appeal). And even though I wasn't a stellar student in MGS, I somehow made it into deans list in IB (where the syllabus is harder); and it does explain why my school can acheive such a high IB mean score, because it pushes the students to do well. And another example I can think of is in MUN. In my first MUN, SMUN (Singapore MUN), I really didn't venture out of my comfort zone, I just kept quiet and let Collin talk. However, for the next MUN, WEMUN (which was even harder, in that it was in China and was an international MUN), I told myself that since I came all the way here (against my parent's objections, because they thought it was too expensive), I should just speak up, which I did, and to everyone's surprise (especially the teacher), I won Best Delegate. I just regret giving my spot on the YI Camp Committee, because I thought I couldn't handle it, after reading this book, I think I could've done it.

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Wit and Wisdom of Discworld

For some reason, I haven't been able to make much progress in reading, but I was able to read finish the Wit and Wisdom of Discworld, which is a collection of the pithiest (is this the right word) quotes from the Discworld series (by Sir Terry Pratchet) so far. I guess I took a long time reading it because this is a book which is meant to be slowly savoured read.

This book is hilarious, with lots of quotes from the Discworld series. I've not read all the books yet, and some of the book that I have read, I would have included some other quotes, and left out others. But as the author said in the preface, this is his personal favourite and is by no means exhaustive.

There's not much to say about this book, since it's aimed more at fantasy/Terry Pratchet lovers. However, I think it's an infectious book, that can amuse all those wanting a laugh. Case in point, my friend borrowed this book almost as soon as I finished it. I guess the quotes really do speak to people. Either that, or there are Terry Pratchet fans everywhere.

Before I forget, here's the amazon link:

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Pride and Prejudice~

One of my favourite books. But I didn't buy this book til last Friday cause of one reason. That reason, is that I used to own a copy of Pride and Prejudice, which I bought in Borders KL during a family vacation. And like the character in Inkheart says "Books hold memories" (or something like that), but unfortunately I lost it on the way to school (somewhere between home and the carpark) last year. And since then, I've been searching for the exact same green cover puffin copy, which I found at long last. (:

The story is as great as I remember it, and I wish I could see the movie again (unfortunately, the copy is in Malaysia). The story is funny and absorbing, and it makes me wish I could be there in person. I think the characterisation is very well-down, and is completely believable. I think, that when a book/movie is either really good, or has an open ending, (most of the time both), then there will be many fanfictions written about it.

And it holds true in this case (the book being so well written). Apart from all the fanfics at, there are also lots of spin-offs in book form. From sequels to prequels and even from Mr Darcy's point of view. I guess no matter what Mark Twain said about Jane Austen (i.e. "Jane Austen? Why I go so far as to say that any library is a good library that does not contain a volume by Jane Austen. Even if it contains no other book.", but then again I can barely stand Huck Finn, his "greatest work"), she's just so good she's well loved.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Essays In Idleness

This book is one where the title is deceptive, it has nothing to do with being idle. But, it's still a really cool book. The Japanese title of this is つれずれ草(つれぐれぐさ), the romaji being Tsureguregusa, which even my Japanese class finds hard to pronounce. And sensei took one look at this book and told me to return it because it is "too hard",  although I think he's thinking of the Japanese version.

The book is really random (which fits my thought patterns), but this makes it easy to read a few books at a time (I brought this book to read in school because The 13 1/2 lives of Captain Bluebear is way too heavy). And although there are buddhist themes inside, it's not very prominent.

It does have, however, really penetrating insight into human nature, with his many ancedotes about the lives of his circle of peers. And it provides a good explanation of the Japanese culture, explaining why they love the cherry blossoms (because of their impermeance). And I think he articulates it in a really poetic manner, although that could be cause of Keene's translation.

The amazon link is here.

And my favourite quote in the book? "The pleasantest of all diversions is to sit alone under the lamp, a book spread out before you, and to make friends with people of a distant past you have never known" from Chapter 13. ^_^

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Used and Rare: Travels in the book world.

Today, I started on the second book that I bought (: It was, I figured, appropraite since all the books I've been collecting, and I used to toy with investing in books (although the only book I can have that is remotely antique is Five at Finnestone farm, but doesn't seem to be first or second edition), and it would be interesting (that sentence made no sense whatsoever, and has way too many paranthesis's ). And I was right, it was.

Before I bought it, I spent a fairly long time on Amazon reading the reviews and debating whether to buy it. One negative review was that it was "boring". And at first, that review came back subconciously to haunt me, when for some reason, the font felt jarring. But it soon went away, and I suppose the initial awkardness was becaue I started it straight after another book (How to read literature like a professor).

The book is very interesting, since it chronicle's the author's journey into book collecting, from just antiques to first editions. And since it's in narrative form, is much more interesting than a dry discourse. And it's not entirely useless, there's useful information such as how to identify bookclub editions and the difference. And I was honestly shocked at the value of some of the books. (:

Amazon link:
But, since Singapore doesn't seem to have a culture of collecting books (or maybe I'm not rich enough?), finding antique books seem to be hard. Unless I go back to Bras Basah. Which from last experience, was uh.... was, well, just used books that were either outdated or in bad condition. But still, from the internet, I've heard about finds. And after that expensive book buying spree, I suppose I'll have to stick to buying (mostly) second hand books for now. Or from Littered with books (I seriously cannot tear myself from that place). And who knows? I may find something valuable someday XD.

Friday, November 5, 2010

An almost perfect day~ Book shopping.

Today I spent the whole day (well, morning plus lunch, but whole day sounds better), with Eugenia, shopping for books! Even though Eugenia isn't the most enthusiastic of readers, she came along because she had a Border's card which she wanted to use.

Our first stop was Borders, where (in the both 'mainstream' bookstores, I once again cannot find all the books I want to buy.) But I managed to get Essays in Idleness, Find Pride and Prejudice (I've been looking for a particular cover since I lost it. I'm OCD that way) and How to read Literature like a professor, which I finished during didi's Chinese tuition. I've got to admit, that book is very useful, and it's a good introduction into literary theory and how to analyse a text (seen and unseen I guess). And the best part is that the author is really entertaining (for me, but I'm an English geek so....) which makes it a really enjoyable read.

Next, we wandered around Orchard looking for Kinokuniya. Good thing someone installed a "locality map". Which means, although we probably went in circles, we got there in the end. Kinokuniya was ok, but I once again couldn't find a book, (actually two), but somehow, managed to use up all the kinovouchers I got for my Birthday. Sadly, Eugenia only bought 2 manga from both bookstores, instead of the books I was hoping she bought. And even sadder, we couldn't find the magazines I was going to buy for Euphemia.

But things turned around when we got to Littered with books. First though, we stopped at Flor to have lunch (which was, as usual really delicious). I asked one of the ladies working there to help Eugenia pick out some books and then went to get the two I had my eye on. Then I saw Kazuo Ishigiro's When we were orphans and Never let me go. I almost bought them, but I didn't have enough. On the bright side, Eugenia actually couldn't decide which books to choose, and she plans to come back. Progress was made!

And even funnier was, some people from Time out Singapore (which I checked on the internet is a travel guide and travel magazine). And when we were paying, they wanted to take some shots of us browsing the books (although they did tell us to put the kino bags aside). Quite an interesting experience.

And now, the people at Littered with books are officially the best booksellers/salespeople ever~ Apart from recommending books for me and Eugenia, they were really nice, as they allowed Eugenia to put her Slurpee on a table while she was browsing on a book (at first, I was afraid they'd make her throw it away). Which makes the best part of the day when they introduced me as a 'Regular'. ^_^

Anna Karenin(a)

I spent a little of the day before and the whole of yesterday (reading til 11plus) reading Anna Karenina. I always thought it was Karenina, but apparently that's the feminine form. Karenin is what's on my book title. But I still like Karenina more because... I guess because it's feels nicer to say.

The story, like War and Peace, doesn't have much of a plot. Actually, it has more of a plot than War and Peace, but the main point is that the story follows the lives of the characters rather than just making the characters follow the plot. And that's kinda like the taiwanese dramas, the really long winded, last-three-or-four years kind. Like Ai or Yi Nang Wang.

The novel is, in my opinion, misleadingly titled. That's because Anna (and her husband, and her lover) aren't the only main characters; there's also Kitty and Levin's romance. At first, I heard them referred to as a "subplot", but they're so much more than that. They're story takes up half the book, and provides the sense of hope; most likely to counterbalance the tradgedy and despair of Anna's life. All characters are well crafted (which means believable), although it took me some time before I could differentiate between characters (bad at names, and Russian names have 3 names, which make it worse).

For some reason, this book reminds me of Esther. It's not a very save-the-Jews story, or with any heavy moral overtones (and the only character that 'comes to Christ', so to speak, is Levin, and that is only in the last part - i.e. part 8 of the book). But the common characteristics are that God is not shown, but in a way, you can feel him. Ok, bad explanation, but its the best I can do. And you do know that Tolstoy was Christian right?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Madalen (without the 'e')

This book was so hard to find on amazon (cause I didn't want to go all the way to the bookshelf to get the title), but in the end, still had to. And then I found out it's not Magdalene, which is the conventional way of spelling, but Magaden =.=

This isn't the usual type of book I read, but it's quite interesting. It's basically about an unmarried mom in the life of a Magadalene shelter, which is a shelter for unmarried mothers, but treats them like slaves in the washing room.

What's interesting about this book are the characters. The protagonist is really predictable, but her family and friend's aren't. Well, one brother is, but the rest are different. The most unpredictable character would be the mother, because her actions were very unexpected. It actually borders on the edge of unbelievable, because the personality is a complete opposite. But I suppose that when you take time and the society into context, her actions make sense.

I was also pleasantly surprised by the priest. At first, he came across as a whiny character, the typical hypocritical priest. While this book does criticise nuns (especially in the Magdalene house) and priests (in Dublin), the author's hometown priest is surprisingly .... compasionate. He actually refused to marry the guy who ditched the girl (because the other lady is richer). I was shocked; but since this was done quite naturally, it was believable.

The nice thing about this book is that it has a mix of characters, no one order (or religion) is seen as wholly good or wholly bad. And that, I think, makes the difference in a novel. The only "fault" I find with the book (if it can be called a fault) is that the Esther (the protagonist) didn't get together with Jim at the end (Jim's some nice guy). There were hints, but nothing. Still, it's not a big issue, since it doesn't affect the main theme at all. Still, I wish that one lose end gets tied up, it reminds me of Studio Ghibli fims, where I always wait for a sequel (that never comes) because the main characters never get together (like Spirited away, Howl's Moving Castle - in which we never find out what happens between Sophie, Prince Justin and Howl, etc)

Ah, I rambled and digressed so much I completely forgot to paste the Amazon link. So, here it is:

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Bird by Bird

Today, I finished Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. It's one of those great books that is so hard to classify. Ostensibly, it's a guide on writing, but since art imitates life (or is it the other way round?) a lot of what she says are actually observations on life. And one of the things she said, (and was stuck in my head), was that the first draft is always, in her words "shitty". And that it's fine.

The weird thing, is that this applies to a lot more than writing. One example I could think of was piano. Lots of times (all the time), the first time I try to play the piano, what comes out has no resemblence to the song. But after lots of practicing and refining, what I get is closer to what the songwriter intended; in other words, the 'better' second draft. And in the case of my exam pieces, I hope the "second draft" is good enough to get me to pass (I habour no illusions about my music/creative abilities).

Another time(s) I could see this first/second draft example would be, most obviously, in writing. In secondary school (sec 3, sec 4), Ms Tan always made us write first and second draft for our essays. And the difference is remarkable, sometimes, the difference in marks is as much as five to seven (out of thirty). And today, was Chinese exam, and one of the papers was an essay. Normally, I just write out of my head, and then score really low. But since it's the IB exam, I was naturally very very nervous. So after I wrote my essay (actually, it was near the end of the essay), I started editing (adding sentences and such). And I decided to re-write the essay after I realised I needed to swap the order of two paragraphs. During the second re-write, I managed (I hope) to make the sentences sound a lot smoother. It's not perfect, but I'm happier with the second attempt. And of course, I spent the rest of the time worrying that I'd accidentally hand in the first version. (:

Monday, November 1, 2010

Meant to be read.

The last two days (yesterday and today), I managed to finish two books, two very different books. One of them is called Practical Marketing; and asian perspective and the other is called When teens Pray.

I spent Sunday really happily, (you can say satisfactorily, like those Dickens books). After service, I realised that the Sunday school was making cookies, in ovens~ The third floor never smelt more yummy. And of course, I took a few. And the recipe, to make with didi tan. And that's all because I had choir practice (which was why I was at the English service). Choir was really fun, but for some reason, I can no longer hit the high F note. ):

After Choir, I met Nic, and we went for lunch at Flor (really nice pudding), and then, to my new favourite bookstore: Littered with books. Nic, found out where all the Sunny bookstore people went ^_^ (And then punched me cause I didn't tell her, and made her worry that one of the salespeople was her ex-lecturer). And even though it was only my second visit, they remembered me~~ So, I bought a puffin copy of Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (awesome writer), for only $4.50 (: Can't wait to read it.

And during the whole of Sunday (including Japanese class), I was reading Practical marketing. Even though the final year exams are over, it is kinda interesting. Although a little bit outdated. It's written by the same guy who wrote Sun Tsu's Art of War and Business management; and has loads of relevant examples.

And today, I meant to read Sex and the City, but then, the book was not to my taste (too crude and didn't make sense), so I gave it away and found.... When teens Pray, which was a birthday present from Fong. And it was just what I needed!! It gave me the encouragement I needed for the Chinese paper tomorrow. Praise God. (:

Saturday, October 30, 2010


I don't know about most people, but I really really like reading the classics. And by that, I mean like Dickens and such. Sadly, I've never really read much of them, but I've keep meaning to read the works of Wilkie Collins, after a really good book about him (fiction though).

For the past two days, I've been reading two "classic" books, Eight cousins, by Louisa May Alcott and Vanity Fair, by (wait for it).... William Makepeace Thackeray (that's a long name). And these two books couldn't be more different.

Eight cousins, by the author that gave us Little Women (though I hated the sequels cause I though Jo should be with Laurie), is a really sweet novel, which may be too slow for some people. Maybe most people. It's basically about a little orphan girl, who goes to live with her six aunts and seven boy cousins, under the care of her uncle, who's a doctor that plans to make her better (a one year experiment to increase her health). She's so nice that she almost becomes a Mary Sue. I say almost, because she's likeable enough to escape Mary-Sue-dom. She's a little bossy, which is the best part of her; and she's the princess/queen of her cousins. It's fun, (for me) and is those ideal childhood type of stories, like Enid Blyton and the chalet series of books (which was fine at first, but I hated once the original characters had kids, I think that if the kids are protagonist, and you're not writing an epic, you should let them stay kids).

If you're wondering, the amazon link is here: (same cover as mine)

Vanity Fair, on the other hand, couldn't be more differerent than Eight cousins, even though I think it's set in the same periodwriten in the same period of time. This is because historical novels are those set in a different (past) time, while contempory novels, were set in their time (and just happened to survive the hundred or so years). It has the same name as the magazine (which I've never read), but reminded me first of the town in Pilgrim's Progress (the one allegory I can take). And according to Wikipedia, that's where the book title comes from. The book's fun mainly because of the narrator. Although the characters are real and likeable enough, the novelty (for me), is the third person narrator that talks to the reader, which increases the reader's engagement with the book, the prologue alone is a good indication. And the book takes itself lightly, talking about its characters, dismissing some as unimportant, skipping around time periods (because there are two plots, it's neccessary). It's also a very very very long story (my edition being 800 pages), but which is fine because it sustains interest. Another really cute thing are the titles (stuff like The Subject Continued), which (to me), pokes fun at itself, and provides a nice summary (sometimes not) of the chapter.

And once again, the amazon link:

Apparently, because these novels were serialised, they have a U sort of structure, with cliffhangers (eight cousins admits to being serialised, but I have no idea about Vanity Fair); and I wouldn't mind having a magazine that has lots of installments of novels, kinda like the manga magazines (the same thing happens in Japan, serialisation first, and if its popular, book form). Such a fun way to read, although, if the story is too exciting, it's horrible to have to wait to find out what happen, even though it'll probably result in a whole lot of fanfiction. (:

Thursday, October 28, 2010

MG Fun Fair ^_^

PJust yesterday, I wrote about this book: So many books, so little time. And after finishing it, I really didn't expect to be able to get any of the books mentioned inside, or to be able to read new books for that matter. But, today, I went back to MGS (^_^), and bought 7 books~ Total:$13. とても安い(totemo yasui)!

Among the books is one titled "Bird in Bird", which although I haven't read yet, I wanted to, since I read about it yesterday. And since I didn't conciously set out to find that book, finding it (and only for a dollar) was a really pleasant surprise. I'm even happier that Senior Admin gave us the day off, so I can go to the MG Fun Fair.

So far, I've only read one book. And that is part comic. Even though I didn't intend to blog about comics, this one is quite special. It's titled "The Chinese Code to Success" and is basically full of short comics that intend to illustrate Chinese maxims on how to live life, such as "simple things are better (The real thing goes something like dishes made out of pottery are better than those made of gold and jade)". Kind of reminds me about Essays in Idleness by Kenko, which I want to buy and reread (: If you can read Chinese, bonus, cause they set out the maxims in Chinese, and write the meaning in Chinese too. If you don't, there's hanyu pinyin and English translations. Plus, all the comics are in English. All in all, really interesting, and full of practical advice.

Currently, I'm halfway through Eight Cousins by Louisa May Alcott, who wrote Little Women too. I should finish it by tonight/tomorrow (:

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

So many books, so little time

"When things go right, I read. When they go wrong, I read more."

Because I'm such a bookworm, Aunty Florence (my paino teacher) lent me this book (among others) called "So many books, so little time", subtitled "a year of passionate reading". And when I read it, I was like "Wow! すごいですね (sugoi desu ne)!" And although she only set a target of one book a week, I wanted to kinda be like her and chronicle the books I read, as well as my impressions, both good and bad ones; and I'm not only gonna write about fiction, I hope I can write about non-fiction. And because my handwriting and spelling is AWFUL, I figured a blog is the best way of keeping record.

Although, since I can (easily) read one (or two) books a day, I'm not that motivated when it comes to writing. However, I'm gonna try. ^_^ Sadly, next year is gonna be IB year 6, so the amount of books I can read is probably going to go down T.T. Oh well, I hope this blog lasts longer than a year (which was the time period in the book). I hope this will be fun (:

Anyway, I really like this book (So many books, so little time), because, well, because I'm a bibliophile. So I suppose I can connect to it. My wishlist just got longer by one (plus all the books I want to read because she wrote about them so excitingly).

If you want to read more about the book, or any book for the matter, you should go to Amazon, where you can also read lots of reviews, and sometimes, take a sneak peak. For shortcuts, the link is here: