Monday, November 20, 2006

Romance: My Three Husbands by Swan Adamson

My Three Husbands by Swan Adamson (308 pages)

Date Started: 15th Nov 2006
Date Finished: 16th Nov 2006


My parents bought this book for me on their way back from the airport. I don't know if they're trying to tell me something... Are they hinting to me to find a husband? LOL!

This was a fun book, light and humorous. Taken in the context on its own, it's quite a good read. Obviously you can't compare it to the classics and other bestselling literature, but reading it as it was meant to be, just a light, fun read. It couldn't be better.

Venus Gilroy isn't a really your typical likable character, and you'll find her more than a little stupid and spoilt, but I found myself hoping the best for her in the end. Maybe I'm just a soft-hearted fool, but well, the best of us makes the stupidest mistakes too.

All in all, it's a good book to relax with at the beach or on vacation when you don't feel like using your brain too much. So read it and enjoy it, and then move on to the better books which give you more out of them.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Classics: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (447 pages)

Date Started: 1st Nov 2006
Date Finished: 15th Nov 2006


I loved this simply because I read The Eyre Affair just recently.

But I loved it so much more because of the actual experience of reading it as it was. Literature nowadays are seriously lacking in quality. Most authors seem to think that to have a bestseller they need to write stories that consist of shocking ethical or moral issues and have tragic endings. I miss the great books with happy endings.

This is one of them. You can't imagine how refreshing it was to finally read a good book, a great story, and it has a happy ending too! Although it is a classic, but it's new to me, and I've been jaded with too many sad endings lately. I'm glad for this book.

But endings aside, the storyline, the plot, the narrative... they were all superb. Charlotte Bronte is a wonderful author, and remains one of my favourites. I love how Jane pulls you into the story, the way the descriptive passages flow into one another, the way the words causes the most vivid pictures to appear right before your eyes.

And as I said, it was made all the more enjoyable because I previously read The Eyre Affair. It was slow reading, but it was made to be savoured. That's why it's still a great classic after all these years.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Nonfiction: Freakonomics by Steven Levitt & Stephen Dubner

Sorry for not updating for so long. It wasn't for want of reading, because I have been reading most faithfully. It's just that it's NaNoWriMo month and whatever time I've had for writing, I've spent it writing my novel instead of my blogs. =) It's been a good month! But back to the review:

Freakonomics by Steven Levitt & Stephen Dubner (242 pages)

Date Started: 31st Oct 2006
Date Finished: 1st Nov 2006


This was one of the most thought-provoking non-fiction books I've ever read. It really makes you see the world in a different perspective. How cause and effect actually work, how the single proverbial butterfly could change the whole outcome of the future...

Who knew that economics could be so fun? Freakonomics, as its name suggests, is economics with a freakish perspective. The hidden side to everything, you think keeping a gun in your house is dangerous? Your children might stumble upon the gun and have a tragic accident? Well, how about if you had a swimming pool in your backyard for your kids? Do you think that would end with a tragic accident?

Absolutely thought-provoking! It amazes me, many of the topics covered in the book, and it was so fascinating that I finished the book in a day! Which wouldn't be surprising because I used to do that, except that I don't read the way I used to, and this is the *only* non-fiction book I have ever finished in a day!

You have got to read this. Everyone should! Just to have a different perspective at the world and how a simple tiny action could have major consequences. Read this book!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Nonfiction: Blink by Malcolm Gladwell

Blink by Malcolm Gladwell (254 pages)

Date Started: 29th Oct 2006
Date Finished: 31st Oct 2006


I enjoyed this book very much. It gave me many many interesting facts and a lot to think about. I must say though that the blurb is misleading, and it's pretty much useless for the purpose that I bought it for.

It says on the cover title, "Blink: The Power of Thinking without Thinking", but not once did Gladwell actually gave us a method of how to implement thinking without thinking. In fact, many times he tells you how you should trust your first impression, and then in another chapter he says how your first impressions can lie to you.

So I have no idea what Gladwell was trying to achieve with this book. Helping readers to think more? Think less? What?

However, I gathered a lot from the book. Not about how to think without thinking, but about how people think, and how our brains and thought processes work. I'm amazed by many of the stories he tells; how our faces actually can't lie, no matter how good we are at acting, and that not only our feelings manifest in our expressions, but our expressions manifest our feelings as well. How our bodies can be primed to do thing we're not aware of doing, just because we were exposed to certain ideas we didn't even know consciously that we were exposed to.

It's all very interesting, and while useless in giving us solutions on how to think or trust our judgement, it does give a lot of food for thought and more understanding on the workings of the human mind. Which fascinates me. That's why I'm giving it four stars. =D

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Fantasy: A Feast for Crows by George R. R. Martin

A Feast for Crows by George R. R. Martin (852 pages)

Date Started: 19th Oct 2006
Date Finished: 29th Oct 2006


The absolute best book in the world!!! This is my favouritest, favouritest book in the whole wide world!

It's the fourth book in George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series, and they just keep getting better and better.

I started reading the first three books about three years ago, and was waiting for the fourth book to come out for a very long time. I couldn't wait to continue the epic adventure of the Seven Kingdoms which started with:

  1. A Game of Thrones
  2. A Clash of Kings
  3. A Storm of Swords

And now A Feast for Crows. The next one will be A Dance of Dragons, I truly can't wait.

The Game of Thrones started the adventure with the kingdom still in one piece, but dangerously near its end. As its name suggests, it tells about the trecherous game of politics that the characters are forced to play in the ruling of the kingdom. In A Clash of Kings, the kingdom is split, with too many kings and divided loyalties. A Storm of Swords depict all the wars and battles fought over the divided kingdoms.

A Feast for Crows doesn't really show us much about the Black Crows, however, which I thought weird, but then again, the name was decided on before the book was finished. So...

But it was great anyway! I could never have anything bad to say about Martin's work. He's a genius! And so meticulous with every single detail! How I admire him!

A Song of Ice and Fire is the Lord of the Rings of today, but so much better. Richer, deeper, more exciting, more unbelievable, more engrossing than any other book written!

I've said it before, and I'll say it again, if I could only ever read one book in my whole entire life, it would be this series! (I count the whole series as one book, else I couldn't survive not knowing what happens next!) Trust me, fans of will absolutely love this series! =D

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Shopping Spree!

I went to Borders on Wednesday with Lone, just to do a little browsing. I didn't plan to buy any books... I ended up buying SIX! Dammit! LOL!

But it's such a guilty pleasure! I love books and I should've known I wouldn't have been able to resist! It's all Lone's fault for bringing me to Borders!

I bought:

  1. Following the Wrong God Home - Catherine Lim
  2. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
  3. Blink - Malcolm Gladwell
  4. The World is Flat - Thomas L. Friedman
  5. Freakonomics - Steven D. Levitt & Stephen J. Dubner
  6. The Closers - Ben Gay III

It's been awhile since I last bought so many books in one go. Oh, but it feels sooooo good!

I'm happy! =D

Fantasy: The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde

The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde (373 pages)

Date Started: 16th Oct 2006
Date Finished: 18th Oct 2006


This is the best book I've read so far this year!

I love it! I love Thursday Next and I love the way the story of Jane Eyre was woven into the story. I haven't read Jane Eyre yet, but I just bought the book and I probably will enjoy it all the more because of having read this book.

I love how the whole alternate universe works, and the action, the wit, the sarcasm, the humor, the fun! Wheeeee! I felt like I was in another world. A world where anything was possible! Where you could jump right into the book with the characters, where you could be taken to the places in the books...

Fforde is a genius! Honestly, it's brilliant how he manoeuvered the story of Jane Eyre into The Eyre Affair. I never had so much fun reading a book! I'm in the middle of reading George R R Martin's A Feast for Crows, but I'll probably be reading Jane Eyre after that!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

A Feast for Crows is finally out in paperback!!! Yayy!!

I finished reading The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde yesterday, and I was gonna blog about it but couldn't coz I had to prepare some contracts for my client today. So I thought I'd blog about it today, but... I went to MPH earlier today, and...


Finally! Yayyyy!! OMG! I am sooooo happy! I waited three whole years for the book ok! I finished book 3 long time ago, and I was waiting for him to finish this book, book 4 of the series, A Song of Ice and Fire. So he finished it about a year ago, finally! But still I didn't get the book, because it was only out in hardcover and it's too damn expensive for me.

I can be a patient person, so I decided to wait. Since I have other books to keep me distracted in the meantime, right? =D So I waited, and one year has gone by, and it's finally out in paperback!!

And of course I bought it! I practically grabbed it off the shelf! LOL!

So originally, I was going to say The Eyre Affair was the best book I've read this year, (Really, it's damn good! And I loved it!) but seeing as how I'm going to be reading A Feast for Crows I think The Eyre Affair will only be coming in second. =D

And also, I'll post my review of The Eyre Affair much much later! Probably when I've finished A Feast for Crows. =D I am sooo going to enjoy it! I deserve it! After being patient for so long!

Sunday, October 15, 2006


I've decided to join NaNoWriMo this year!

I've known about it for a long time, and I joined a few years back, but unfortunately I didn't make it then. I've put off joining for the past few years because it was 'never the right time', but honestly, I've just been afraid of not being able to make it.

I finally decided to join again this year because I figured, if not now, then when? 10 years later? 20? I'm not getting any younger, so I'm doing it now. =D

Wish me luck!

Two Books for my Birthday! =D

I got two new books for my birthday from Lone! Yayyy!! =D

The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde and Prozac Nation by Elizabeth Wurtzel! Two books I've been wanting for a very long time! Thank you so much, Lone dearest! You're the best! Muah! =D

Monday, October 09, 2006

Mystery: The Clocks by Agatha Christie

The Clocks by Agatha Christie (246 pages)

Date Started: 8th Oct 2006

Date Finished: 9th Oct 2006


This is an oldie but goodie. I remember spending days in the library when I was in Secondary 1 reading all the Agatha Christie's books I could get my hands on. That was my first introduction to Agatha Christie, and surprisingly, when I switched schools after Secondary 1, I haven't read another Christie mystery until now.

I remember loving all of her mystery novels and devouring handfuls of them at a time, but unfortunately, I must have been spoiled by more modern mystery novels, because there seemed to be a lot which lost me in this book.

The book and the plot was still masterfully woven, and it was amazing how everything tied up and made sense at the end. It's the classic mystery novel in which the atmosphere and writing style really appeals to me. You really never know who did it until the end, and then you think, did I miss it?

Mysteries nowadays are more engaging, with more characterization, and many of them give you false leads and red herrings, making you suspect one and then another person, which is of course, enjoyable reading in their own right too. But it was such a treat reading a classic mystery written by one of the best mystery writers of all time again.

I so wanna get my hands on more of her books now. =D

P.S. By the way, I'm still in the middle of reading Waterbabies, which I will put aside for now because I suddenly realized that with all my variety of books, I hadn't read a single mystery novel. So I picked this book up, and suddenly I'm on my mystery phase. LOL! More to come soon!

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Variety of Books

I was looking through the list of books I read so far this year, and I've only finished 25 books. It's almost October already and only 25 books? Whoa...I really have cut down. I didn't read a single book at all in fact, in June and July, which were the months I had the most sales at work. LOL! I really can't have it all, can I?

But anyway, I was counting up the different genres of books I've been reading this year and it's pretty varied, which is good. Let me see:

Fiction & Literature:
1. Evening Class - Maeve Binchy
2. The Pact - Jodi Picoult
3. Lost Horizon - James Hilton
4. Saving Fish from Drowning - Amy Tan
5. Sophie's Choice - William Styron
6. The Memory Keeper's Daughter - Kim Edwards

Non-fiction/self help:
1. The 24 Carrot Manager - Adrian Gostick & Chester Elton
2. Never Wrestle with a Pig - Mark McCormack

1. Smoke and Mirrors - Neil Gaiman
2. Tremble - Tobsha Learner
3. A Wrinkle in Time - Madelene L'Engle
4. Left Behind 1&2 - Tim LaHaye

1. The Midnight Tour - Richard Laymon
2. I am Frankenstein - C. Dean Andersson

1. Winterbourne - Susan Carroll
2. Half Moon Bay - Meryl Sawyer
3. Wild Enough for Willa - Ann Major

1. Ten Thousand Sorrows - Elizabeth Kim
2. The Happy Hooker - Xaviera Hollander
3. Sybil - Flora Rheta Schreiber
4. Bronte's Story - Bronte Cullis

1. The Wave - Todd Strasser
2. Empress Orchid - Anchee Min

1. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen

Hmm...not too bad. Not enough classics though. I'm reading Water Babies by Charles Kingsley now, so that should cover it. I never really consider what genre I want to read until I read it, but although I'm reading less books now than previously, but I feel like there's more variety now. Should I check my previous list in 2004 and see how I did? I read over 120 books in 2004, but I think it wasn't a wide variety like this.

I'll do it later... =P

Friday, September 29, 2006

Literature: The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards

You know, I finally know the reason why I still read trashy, sappy, romance novels. Literature nowadays is so cliche, the endings are always profound, depressing, and open-ended in some way. It's like, if there's a happy ending, it won't be a bestselling literature.


Whether that's true or not, I still like happy endings once in a while. I guess too much literature makes me depressed and then I need to take a break from 'quality' novels and read trashy ones instead.

It didn't used to be that way, though, classic literature has many stories with happy endings. I recently read Pride and Prejudice, for example, and it has a happy ending! I haven't been reading many classics. Maybe I should start reading them more. Almost every single literary novel nowadays are open-ended. Such a cliche!!

Makes me feel like sitting down right now and writing a literary novel with a happy ending. Bah!

Anyway, I just finished reading The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards. It doesn't exactly have the kind of ending I was just moaning about, but you'll recognize the cliche when you read it.


The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards (432 pages)

Date Started: 26th Sept 2006
Date Finished: 29th Sept 2006


The plot is a great one, and the prose amazing. The words just flowed off the page, making it a really enjoyable book to read. However, I felt that Edwards cheated the plot out of a really good story.

How do I explain it? Everyone knows it's a great plot, she got the plot from a real life story, in fact, and ran with it coz we all know that with a plot like that, it was probably destined to be a bestseller.

But I feel like it would've been a so much better story if given to someone who really *knew* how to make the most out of the plot. Edwards did a great job at the beginning of the novel, with the settings and the immediate consequences of the characters' actions, but it seems like she didn't know what to do with them after everything had happened. Fine, the doctor gave his daughter away, and then he and his family had their own miserable lives while his daughter had a separate life somewhere else.

And then what? Edwards didn't seem to know. She dragged it on and on and on... And finally got tired of all the characters' lives and decided to do something to end it. A very unrealistic something. And I don't mean what happened with the doctor, I mean what Caroline did after that.

I can't say more without giving away some spoilers, so if you think you wanna know, go read the book. =D

Monday, September 25, 2006

Literature: Sophie's Choice by William Styron

Sophie's Choice by William Styron
(626 pages)

Date Started: 14th Sept 2006
Date Finished: 26th Sept 2006


Oh my God, what a read! I finally finished this book after twelve days of slogging through it, and I'm exhausted!

It was an extremely intense read, deep and thought-provoking, but I guess I just wasn't in the right frame of mind to absorb everything that Styron had to offer. It held me captivated til the end, but there were many parts that I skipped because it got too descriptive and technical about the war. In fact, Styron went off into many tangents most of the time which, although has some relevance to the story itself, tended to get long-winded.

My initial interest in this book was because of the many references to 'Sophie's Choice' in real life, which I inferred from those references to mean a difficult choice. But I never knew all this while, what the choice was, what people were referring to, and just what the hype was over this 'choice'.

So I decided to read the book for myself and find out. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Whoowee...

Intense is the word. It was a freaking thriller! I kept asking myself, 'What happens next? What happens next?!' I was literally holding my breath each time I turned another page!

The way Styron wove the story is incredibly masterful. The story keeps on building up, and along with it the suspense and the tension of the reader. Secrets were unveiled little by little as Styron brings you closer to the climax. I could've guess the ending...well, ok, I couldn't have guessed it, but the ending doesn't surprise me.

Anyway, although the ending was pretty much predictable, in this story it wasn't about the destination. It was the journey. All the backstory about Sophie and Nathan, especially Sophie's history, was crucial in bringing us to this conclusion. It's a valuable insight to how our pasts affects us and make us who we are, how sometimes it can make us stronger people, but at the same time, it could also destroy us.

I like incorporating lessons from the books I read into my life. And while I could just stop here without elaborating further on what I got out of this read, I won't. I am a believer in personal strength, and attitude. I believe that two people can go through the exact same ordeal, and yet one will be a stronger and better person because of it, and yet the other can be a total wreck. Everybody handles things differently. And while I can totally understand the motives of the characters in Styron's novel, I believe that we can also learn a lesson from their mistakes.

I believe one day I will come back to this book again. It was a terrific read, and very engrossing, but I didn't do it justice with my inability to focus on Styron's amazing narrative on the South and of the war, so perhaps one day I will re-read this again, and come away with a deeper insight.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Set-ups Finished!

Well, I finally finished setting this page up! Yayy!! But it took me a while to decide to be happy with it. I wanted to move to another blog site because there were certain features that weren't easy to set up here, and like I've said before, I can't afford to spend too much time on my blog layouts.

But I decided finally, that I don't need such complicated features, and something simple will do. Because if I did go on looking for what I wanted, it would be a whole lot more complicated for me to search and research, and get used to how the new blog works and all that anyway...

Anyway, the blog's up now! The only thing I'll have to do is to read some books and review them. ;P I'm reading Sophie's Choice now, but it's quite a thoughtful read so I'm not sure when I'll be done with it and I don't want to give it an unfair review until I'm finished. So until then. =D

Currently Reading:
Sophie's Choice by William Styron (Historical Literature)

It's three stories in one; about Stingo, the narrator, and his quest to be a writer; Sophie, a beautiful Polish woman, and the terrible secret of her past; and Nathan, a extremely brilliant Jew, who has problems of his own. The stories of these three people intertwine when their lives cross, and as the terrible secret of Sophie's past reveals itself, it thrusts them towards destruction.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Introducing Betty's Books!

I've decided to create another blog page just for reading and reviewing the books I read. I originally thought that I could blog all my books in my main page, , but then I realized that with all my everyday blogs and rantings about other topics, the books won't stay on the main page very long.

So here's Betty's Books. =D Previously when I was on, all I needed to do was just set up different html pages, with many different sections for everything. But because I don't have the time to maintain it(I did all the designing and html myself), I decided to use blogspot instead for now. So far it's been great, so I'm gonna continue using it.

Oh, btw, although this page is called Betty's Books, I might occasionally have reviews about music and dvds as well. Unless I really listen to too many CDs, and watch too many dvds that I have to start new pages called Betty's CDs and DVDs. LOL!

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