Tuesday, November 16, 2010

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) www.TheRebelution.com, 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.

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