Tuesday, July 31, 2007

My Review for The Alchemist posted up at Paulo Coelho's blog!

Hey guys!

My review for Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist was posted up on his blog!

Check it out here!

This is sooooo cool! =)

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Harry Potter and the Overhyped Media

I don't get it.

I really don't get it.

How on earth did Harry Potter get so overhyped?

It's a great book, no doubt. It's creative and imaginative and exciting and interesting and fun, and all of that.

But so are a whole damn lot of other books!

And many of which that are much much much better than Harry Potter.

So what is it about Harry Potter which warrants the long queues and midnight camping and overpricing?

I mean, seriously, the book isn't that good. I can think of a few thousand other books which are much better, and none of them even got as much hype as this one.


I really, really just don't get it!

I liked the first three books, but I didn't love them. And from the fourth book onwards I thought that Rowling was starting to overdo things a little, but I still enjoyed the books.

I didn't buy the books, by the way, I didn't like them enough to spend money on them, not even on the first three books, which hadn't had their prices jacked up yet. My brother bought them, and I just borrowed them to read when I had nothing else better to read. My brother was way more into them than I was.

And yet he stopped buying them. He didn't buy the sixth book(I don't remember the suffixes, was it Harry Potter and the...oh, whatever) and the Deathly Hallows isn't on the shopping list either.

The prices are just ridiculous! Like I said, it's not that great of a book, and even if it is, why does it warrant a RM100 ++ price tag? It can't be because of the paper or the cost of printing, because I know the price of books, and since these books are in such demand, printing more of them should have brought the cost of printing down!

So the price must have been jacked up for Rowling's sheer genius in writing them, except, seriously... they aren't that great!

I'm really shaking my head in disbelief at this.

I'm glad for the hype of Harry Potter causing so many non-readers to start reading, and I'm glad at least, that it's one about wizards and witches and dragons.

I guess I'm kinda glad for the hype, but for the life of me, I just can't understand it.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Alex was sweet enough to loan me this book, since I've always wanted to read it. I've heard so much about it that I was actually prepared to dislike it. I thought that maybe it was all just hype and that when I finally read it, I'd see that it was all overrated. But I loved it.

The Alchemist is a wonderfully simple story of a young shepherd who follows his dreams of treasure and encounters many experiences and people, learning wisdom and life lessons along the way. Paulo Coelho has skillfully woven many bits of truth and wisdom about life into this masterpiece, and it is a true delight to read. Just like it teaches, it is not the destination, but the journey with this book, that counts.

It doesn't matter if you're searching for buried treasure, or for love, or for the secret of turning lead into gold. It doesn't matter if you die trying, never reaching your goal. It doesn't matter if you don't find what you're looking for, once you get there. What matters is what you've brought with you on the way, and what you've learned along the way. The people you meet, the hardships and heartaches you go through, the lessons your experiences has taught you.

The Alchemist tells you how to turn lead into gold. It tells you of the wonder and the uncertainty of change and evolution, the secret of enjoying the beauty of life without becoming hardened by the harshness of reality, the art of living in the moment without worrying about the past or the future, and most importantly, the ultimate secret of the universe, that we are all interconnected. We are all one.

It has been compared to Saint-Exupery's The Little Prince and Herman Hesse's Siddhartha. I have read both, and while they both have their own beauty and teach their own wisdom, The Alchemist touches people in its own quiet way.

What I like about the book is that it teaches you to live your life well. Live every moment in the moment. Let go of anything that is an encumberance. Follow your dreams. Have fun and enjoy everything life has to offer, but don't forget the things that really matter. Let go of things that are not within your control. Live your life and let others live theirs, what works for you may not work for them and vice versa. There is something to be learnt in everything.

There is so much wisdom contained within the pages of this little book, but for me, the most important one, is to enjoy every minute of your life. We all have goals in life, we have dreams to fulfill and successes to achieve. We need to remember to stop once in a while, and smell each rose and count each star in the sky. It is not the destination, but the journey, that counts.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Protector by Laurel Dewey

Laurel Dewey's debut novel, Protector, is an exciting crime thriller that has a hint of the sixth sense. Detective Jane Perry is a disturbed individual who is struggling with demons from the past, and more recently the loss of the family she and her partner were protecting. Jane tends to take her job too seriously, and it hits her hard when the family dies in front of her eyes.

Spiraling slowly out of control, she is saved when nine-year-old Emily Lawrence enters her life. The child is put under Jane's protective care after both her parents were found brutally murdered in their home. Believed to have witnessed her parents' murders, Emily is in danger when the killer makes another attempt on her life.

What follows is an excellent tale of suspense that intensifies as the bond between Jane and Emily grows stronger and the killer takes more and more desperate measures. You can watch the trailer at Laurel Dewey’s website.

Protector seems to be almost too intense for a debut novel, but it is surprisingly realistic in depicting the darkness of the human psyche. Dewey captures the flawed personalities of the characters really well, especially that of the heroine, Detective Jane Perry.

Jane Perry is not your average likable heroine, in fact Dewey's personification of Jane's bad attitude is so realistic that there were many times when you just want to slap that sarcastic mouth of hers and make her show a little respect to her superiors and colleagues.

However, you realize that Jane is a troubled human being just like anyone of us, and is in the process of healing from her past. Jane's and Emily's journey through helping and healing one another in the midst of danger is a touching and emotional process.

There were a few things which bothered me though, among them Dewey’s tendency to be too obvious and repetitive when describing reading people from their body language, I believe that subtlety might have worked better in this case. There were also a few other details which didn’t exactly make sense to me and seemed unrealistic and unlikely.

It may be that Dewey is used to writing non-fiction, having written two non-fiction books, a variety of investigative reporting, celebrity journalism and alternative health research, but she has a knack for storytelling and was nominated for a Silver Spur Award for her western novella, In the Name of the Land. I enjoyed her debut novel immensely and I believe that with time and a sequel to Protector on the way, Dewey can only get better.

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