Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Remember Me? by Sophie Kinsella

image Remember Me? by Sophie Kinsella


I’m a huge fan of Kinsella’s, though I’ve been avoiding her Shopaholic series because I really prefer not to read series, and I’m not much of a shopper either.


I’ve been wanting to read this book for a while now, but have only recently bought it at the MPH distributors’ sale. I started it last night at about 10pm, and finished it at 1.30am.


What can I say? It was a fun and easy read.


The book is about 25-year-old Lexi Smart, who tripped and hit her head, woke up three years later with amnesia, a new high-paying job, a model-esque body, and a husband.


Well, apparently she was in a car accident and had forgotten everything that had happened in the last 3 years. Her last memory is when she tripped and fell when she was 25 years old. Now she wonders what happened in the last three years; who is her husband? how did she become a director in her company? why do her old friends hate her?


It’s confusing, and frustrating, and she’s not sure who to trust and what to do, but it’s exciting reading about her figuring it out, and it’s wonderful when she does, finally!


Certain things in the book are a little bit unrealistic, but then again, it’s so much fun reading a Kinsella book that those bits don’t really matter. It’s the aspect of the fantastical that appeals to me. I love the premise, though of course I would never want to have amnesia, but it’s always interesting to read about it.

Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez

image Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez


I was never really interested in reading this book, but I’ve been told that out of a few of the more popular classics, this was the one I’d love most.


Of course it made me wonder what it was about this book that people thought I’d love. Keep in mind I had no idea what it was about, I bought the book without even looking at the summary on the back cover.


I finally decided to read it, took a look at the summary, and became extremely disappointed. “What?? She married someone else and he only declares his love for her again 50 years later? When they’re more than 70 years old??!!”


Don’t worry, that wasn’t a spoiler, that was on the back cover.


I thought about how much time wasted that was, because I’d love to spend my whole life with someone I love, and not just have at most a decade or so left with him. And then it actually got me thinking, am I sure I married the right man and don’t have anyone else I’m thinking about now that I’d regret not marrying?


Thank goodness, I’m very happy and very sure I married the man I love, and there’s no one else I’d rather marry! (Except maybe Johnny Depp!)


So anyway, I read this book, and loved it! And wonder why I do.


There’s this saying that young people in love is a work of nature, but old people in love is a work of art. That’s probably how I feel about this book.


This couple don’t exactly spend their whole lives pining for each other, although they fell in love 50 years ago, but they went on with their lives, well, sort of. The beauty of this book is in the storytelling, I think, but it’s quite indescribable and so intangible that I can’t put into words what it is about the book that I liked.


In fact, I’m not quite sure what it is!


Nevertheless, it is a beautiful book, and I loved it.

Six-Word Memoirs : TT #20


I don’t actually have this book, but I have browsed through it recently and found some of the memoirs hilarious!


For those who don’t already know, this book is entitled Not Quite What I Was Planning, and it is filled with six-word memoirs by famous and obscure writers. It started me thinking about my own six-word memoir, so here’s what today’s TT is about:



13 of my possible six-word memoirs!


1. Love singing loudly. Neighbors not thrilled.

2. So little time, so many books!
(Not original, I know, but still accurate!)


3. Always found with book in hand.

4. Wannabe writer, don’t want actual writing.

5. Wannabe rock star, sings like maniac!

6. Need more money to buy books!

7. Not easy life, but definitely interesting!

8. Wastes life away on the internet.

9. Driven mad by three dogs barking!

10. Not creative enough for six-word memoirs!
(Does “six-word” count as one word?)


11. Johnny Depp will marry me, eventually…

12. Addicted to Twitter, can’t stop tweeting.


and finally,


13. Love visiting blogs from Thursday Thirteen!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Twilight by Stephanie Meyer : TT #19



I’ve just finished reading Twilight by

Stephanie Meyer, and I’m too lazy to write a proper review, so here’s my review in a TT! =)




1. I thought the book was much, much, better than the movie. The movie was quite ridiculous, but the book wasn’t bad at all.


2. I ordered the book before I watched the movie, but I watched the movie before the book arrived.


3. It’s really good l had already ordered the book, or I wouldn’t have bothered to read the book at all after watching the really bad movie.


4. If I was Stephanie Meyer, I would be really angry at the way they destroyed the story in the movie.


5. Honestly, I think the movie might have hurt the sales of her books, as I really wouldn’t have bought her book if I had watched the movie before I ordered it.


6. I’m glad I did read the book though, because I really enjoyed it, and I think Edward Cullen would make a wonderful vampire boyfriend!


7. I really like the whole vampire family too, I think it would be really cool to have a family like that.


8. I especially love the baseball scene, both in the movie and in the book. It was the best part.


9. I am really envious of Bella. Why must she be the one with the special smell? =P


10. I would definitely want to be a vampire too, if my boyfriend and soul mate was one.


11. I wonder what’s going to happen next in the other books in the series, I want to know what happens next with Bella and Edward!


12. I had hoped that I would find the book as ridiculous as the movie, because it would’ve saved me some money if I didn’t need to buy the rest of the books in the series!


13. Although I haven’t read the other books yet, I’m pretty sure the Twilight saga is going to be one of my favorite vampire stories!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck


The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck


My father has had this book on his bookshelves for a long time, along with some other Pearl S. Buck books. I’m a huge fan of Buck’s book, Imperial Woman, about the last empress of China, but I’ve never read any of her other books.


Apparently, The Good Earth is her most popular book, and after many years of re-reading Imperial Woman, I’ve finally decided to read The Good Earth.


The Good Earth is about a poor Chinese farmer, Wang Lung, who works hard and believes in investing in the land. He faces terrible challenges; famine, poverty, hunger, pestilence, but his wife and family supports and helps him through it all.


Eventually, his hard work pays off, and he becomes a wealthy landowner, and then there are a whole lot of new challenges he has to face.


What I really like about the way Buck portrays Wang Lung, is that he’s human, with very human tendencies, just like everyone of us. We like to think that we’re better and different from everyone else, and that we’d make better choices. Hypothetically, we always do, but when actually put in the situation, we don’t even see clearly enough to recognize the situation, much less make good choices.


This is a simple yet thought-provoking book. It takes a humorous look at human nature, yet at the same time shows how fallible humans are, and how tragic life can be. If I had known how much I’d enjoy this book, I would’ve read it much earlier, but then again, I believe in a way, I’m much better equipped now to understand the book better than if I read it years ago.

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson


The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson


I’ve seen so many great reviews about this book and have been intrigued for so long, but nothing prepared me for how incredible the book was and how terribly graphic the detailed description of the protagonist’s burns were.


And guess what?! I read more than 400 pages before I even realized that the protagonist/narrator was never named. That’s how engrossing the book is!


There are many stories within this book, but I believe the main theme is about beauty and how it is only skin deep. The thing about the protagonist is that he used to be beautiful before he got burned.


He had smooth, beautiful skin, and handsome features, an amazing body that he used to please the many women who found him attractive… but he was ugly inside. He was an unhappy, self-centered, manipulative, hedonistic bastard.


Then he got burned, and he became the ugliest man he could possibly be on the outside. Burn scars everywhere, on his face, on his body, his hair burned off, his features misshapen, his limbs burned or cut off… and he was still an insufferable bastard.


But he meets a mysterious woman, who claims to have known him many centuries ago, and she tells him stories, about other people, about who he used to be when they knew each other before. He thinks she’s crazy, but she’s the only friend he has, since all his friends deserted him after he turned into a gargoyle, so he tolerates her, and he listens to her stories.


As time goes by, the protagonist slowly becomes a decent human being. Davidson writes the protagonist’s change almost as if he was a butterfly emerging from his cocoon. His metamorphosis is due to the mysterious woman who stays with him and tells him stories, but there is more to her than meets the eye too, as we find out further in the book.


I devoured this book completely! From the moment I read the first sentence, it was almost impossible to put down, and although there has been a lot of positive response to the book, I wonder why it’s not more popular! If I had a book club, I would definitely recommend reading this book for it, it would be great for discussion! What a fantastic read!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Gargoyles : TT #18





I’m reading Andrew Davidson’s The Gargoyle now, and it’s incredible so far!


I’m enjoying it so much that I thought I’d do a thematic TT this week on gargoyles. I think it would be fun to learn about gargoyles. =)


So here are 13 facts about gargoyles:






1. Gargoyles are carved stone statues; bizarre, ugly creatures that sit on buildings.



2. Originally, gargoyles only referred to grotesques that are waterspouts or drain-spouts, that serve as the modern equivalent of gutters, directing accumulated water away from the roofs and walls of the building.


3. Now the term gargoyle has expanded to also include grotesques that do nothing but look pretty. Um, I mean, ugly.


4. Some gargoyles now are also depicted as monks, and combinations of real animals, with monkey heads, human bodies, and eagle wings, for example.


5. The word gargoyle comes from the French word gargouille which means throat, and from the Latin root gar which means swallowing. The name is appropriate as gargoyles were originally waterspouts producing gurgling sounds.




6. At first, these water-spout devices, which appear in ancient Egyptian, Greek and Roman architecture, bore no resemblance to gargoyles as we know them now.


7. In ancient Greece, temple roof water spouts were typically modeled as lion's  heads, with the water spouting from their mouths.  In ancient Pompeii, gargoyles were commonly modeled after animals.


8. Gargoyles were also used for protection as their fierce and grotesque forms were believed to scare evil spirits.


9. Gargoyles were believed to have originated in medieval and gothic times as art, but their exact origins are not clear.





image10. You can still find gargoyles on many churches and buildings. Modern  gargoyles can be found at Washington National Cathedral in Washington, DC, and the famous French Notre Dame Cathedral has a rooftop area known as the Gallerie de Chimera filled with elaborately sculpted gargoyles.


11. The particular popularity of these creatures in France derives from a local legend in Rouen, where the Bishop was believed to have delivered the countryside from a terrifying creature called Gargouille.


12. The gargoyle has assumed an altered appearance for film and television, often appearing as human in basic form, with clawed hands and feet and bat wings.





13. These fictional gargoyles can generally use their wings to fly or glide, and are often depicted as having a rocky hide, or being capable of turning into stone in one way or another.



That’s all for today! Hope you enjoyed these facts! Happy TT! =)

Friday, April 10, 2009

The Dust of 100 Dogs by A. S. King


The Dust of 100 Dogs by A. S. King


This book wasn’t what I expected, but it’s good, nonetheless.


Basically, it’s about the famed teenaged pirate Emer Morrisey who was cursed to be reborn a hundred times as a dog before returning to a human body.


Three hundred years pass by and finally she’s human again, and with all her memories intact. Now she wants to search for the treasure she buried 300 years ago before she died as a pirate.


I expected something more exciting and dramatic, with a lot of fighting scenes and adventure. This book was a little bit more laid-back and slow-moving, but it made up for it in depth.


It’s a book with a really interesting premise, and that’s what caught my attention. I guess I expected it to be one of those adventure stories, but in a way, it read more like literary fiction, in the vein of Alice Sebold’s The Lovely Bones.


This is a well-written book with a good storyline, but I was slightly disappointed because I expected something else. Perhaps the problem lies with the marketing of the book, perhaps it shouldn’t be categorized as a YA book, or perhaps King should make Emer something other than a pirate.


There wasn’t much of a pirate feel to the story, in my opinion, and I think the story could work just as well if the pirate angle was substituted for something else.

Lament: The Faerie Queen’s Deception by Maggie Stiefvater


Lament: The Faerie Queen’s Deception by Maggie Stiefvater


I found out about this book from a bookblog review, and then I checked out the reviews to make sure if it was really something I’d enjoy.


I have to say that I’m quite disappointed in this book, and I don’t understand all the good reviews it has gotten.


To be fair, it’s not a bad book, but it’s not good either. It has a good storyline, and Stiefvater’s writing is actually very easy to read and flows wonderfully. It has exciting moments and a great plotline, but the characters completely fell flat.


I’m quite a character-driven reader, and I need to like the characters to like the story. However, the characters in this book is so undeveloped that I find myself wondering who they are, why they do the things they do and just wanting to know more about them.


I never even knew Deidre was a 16-year-old girl until later in the story because she seemed so childish and immature, and I actually felt a uncomfortable when she shared a kiss early in the story with Luke. It was a steamy kiss, and I kept wondering, how old is she? Is she supposed to be kissing like this?


The other characters aren’t much better, and all through the book, I felt that they all were having some kind of identity crisis or other.


I do think that Stiefvater is a good writer though, and perhaps if she spent more time on character development, I would give her books another try.

Final Friends Trilogy by Christopher Pike


Final Friends Trilogy (The Party, The Dance, and The Graduation) by Christopher Pike


This book is a three-in-one, all three books in Christopher Pike’s Final Friends series are included.


Christopher Pike is one of my favorite authors, and in fact, I first knew I wanted to be a writer only after I started reading his books.


Although I had always enjoyed reading, I had never realized that writing required any mastery until I read Pike. I was eleven years old, and any books I read prior to Pike (granted they were mostly children’s and YA books) never showed the mastery that he did.


The Final Friends trilogy is one of my favorite YA Pike stories, and I’ve read it many times over the years whenever I feel nostalgic. Which is appropriate, because this story is about being nostalgic, for high school and for high school friends, your final friends.


Of course, it’s a Pike book, so there’s also death, suspense, mystery, and romance, and he does them all so well.


I consider this as one of Pike’s best books, adult novels and YA both included, and I can guarantee that I will definitely be reading it again and again in years to come.

Friday Fill-ins: 2nd Edition



My 2nd Friday Fill-in, I have been extremely busy lately because I’ve just moved to a new home, been packing and cleaning and unpacking, and I’m exhausted! I’m taking a break today, so here I am again. we go!

1. Anonymous..._comments are welcome, but I really like knowing who you are, so leave your names and urls_.

2. _Adam Lambert_ is a _damn good singer!_

3. Let me embrace thee, sour adversity, for thee leads me to my destiny.

4. _Considering that my country doesn’t have four seasons, rain is not_ what I look forward to most about Spring.

5. Who needs therapy when _ice cream, chocolates, and books work so well_.

6. _Nothing(because I don’t celebrate Easter)_ MUST go into the Easter Basket!

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to _relaxing with a book_, tomorrow my plans include _cleaning the house and studying a little_ and Sunday, I want to _have a nice night out with my hubby_!

Saturday, April 04, 2009

The Old Man and The Sea by Ernest Hemingway


The Old Man and The Sea by Ernest Hemingway

I've had this book for ten years, and I kept putting off reading it because I assumed it would be a boring, old classic.


If I had only known! This is one of the most exciting, sitting-on-the-edge-of-my-seat books I've ever read!


At the back of my copy, it says that this is a "triumphant yet tragic story", and oh, how I celebrate and sympathize with the old man!


I know the feelings of excitement and triumph well when it comes to fishing, since I'm somewhat of an amateur fisherman myself. I've been fishing with my father for several years, and while we've never gone deep sea fishing, we've had our share of triumphant and tragic fishing moments.


The old man's experience with the giant marlin is amazing, and to be quite honest, I'm not sure I can find the words to describe my feelings as I was reading this book. Hope maybe, and fear, helplessness because I couldn't do anything to help him, respect for his steadiness and strength, jubilation when he triumphed, sadness when he was defeated, worry for his safety, and ultimately, moved by his story.


I am moved almost to tears by this amazing, amazing story, and I daresay that this book is among the top ten best books I've ever read in my life, and I haven't been a slouch when it comes to reading books either! This is one book that I will not forget easily, and one that will stay in my heart for a long time.

The Prestige by Christopher Priest


The Prestige by Christopher Priest


I watched the movie years ago when it came out, and I loved it! It was exciting, suspenseful, shocking, and became one of my favorite movies ever.


There is one unfortunate thing about it though, once you've watched it and know about the surprises, you naturally don't get surprised when you watch it a 2nd time. However, the movie is so masterfully done that you still enjoy watching it again to find out how you missed the surprises the first time.


I didn't plan to read the book, because I enjoyed the movie so much that I assumed that the movie either stayed completely true to the book, or that the book was just a mediocre book where they got the idea from.


How wrong I was!


I finally decided I had to read the book when I saw so many great reviews of it in They intrigued me, made me wonder why so many people loved the book so much. What was I missing? I had to read it and find out. And now that I have, I'm amazed!


One thing I do have to say though, since I've already seen the movie, I already knew some of the book's secrets, but it didn't stop me from enjoying the book, and the story. It's the first time I've read a book, and seen a movie based on it, in which they were both different from each other, but loved both of them!


The movie was dramatic, sinister, and tragic, the book was less dramatic, but no less exciting and tragic in its circumstances, and I honestly can't decide which of them is better. They are both different, and they're both amazing, and I would recommend both watching the movie and reading the book, but I'm not sure which of them you should do first, because inevitably there will be spoilers for the other no matter which you do first.


But I enjoyed them both despite that, and perhaps the spoilers will not matter when the journeys of the movie and the book themselves are so magical.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

The Laws of Scientific Hand Reading : TT #17

I'm reading William Benham's The Laws of Scientific Hand Reading, and I thought it was interesting enough to do my TT this week about this book.




13 Things about William Benham's The Laws of Scientific Hand Reading:


1. It's palmistry, but it is scientific. Really. Benham read thousands, or more likely tens of thousands, of hands and put together all the information in this book based on the consistency of the markings/signs/shape/etc of the hands he read and the characters of the people they belonged to.


2. I read this book many, MANY, years ago, and read many hands before, and I have found the information to be very accurate. I haven't been in practice for the last 7 years though, so now I'm reading the book again to relearn what I've forgotten.


3. The copy I'm reading is the 18th edition of the book, published in 1971. My father bought it in 1975, and although some of the pages are falling out, it's still in pretty good shape for a book that's almost 40 years old!


4. It was originally published in 1900! 


5. One of the first things to learn about reading hands, has nothing to do with reading the palm itself, but in seeing how the hands are held. Loosely at the sides, or clenched tightly? Does the person hide his hands in his pockets, or hold them behind his back, or are his hands hanging limp and loosely at his sides, only slightly open, or held completely closed?


6. You can tell so much about a person's character from his hands, before you even get to reading the lines on the palms!


7. Other than seeing the way he holds his hands, you can also tell a lot by the texture of the hands. Are they smooth and refined like a baby's hands? Or course and rough? Or somewhere in between, with elastic and firm textured hands?


8. The consistency of the hands also tells a lot. Is it a hard or soft? Flabby or firm? Is the flesh bouncy like a sponge or pliant like clay? You can tell if the person is lazy or hardworking, and if they recover easily from a failure or if they take it very hard.


9. How about the flexibility of the hands? Is it a stiff hand or a flexible hand? You can tell if the person is a rigid, stubborn person, or if he's flexible and adaptable, or if he's too easily swayed by other's opinions from the flexibility of the hands.


10. You can also tell a lot of things from the color of the hands, the shape of the nails and their quality, the hair on the hands, and the individual fingers. The thumb by itself can also tell you much about their owner.


11. Palmistry is usually seen as a parlor trick and is always viewed with a lot of skepticism, but Benham's use of the word 'Scientific' in relation to his study of hands is accurate, and for that reason, I have a enormous respect for his work and the information contained in the book.


12. Truthfully though, I have been really out of touch with reading hands, and I've forgotten so many details. I have to do a lot of study and practice, before I become good at hand reading again. 


13. I have to admit that I'm a person who is extremely interested in trying to understand people and their characters, and that's a very big reason why I love learning about and reading hands.


I don't have many details to share about hand reading at the moment, because I've only just started reading it again. I'm on page 36, and have barely relearned what I use to know very well. I hope it'll come back to me soon.

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