Sunday, May 30, 2004

My essential reads

Daphne from The Places You Will Go put up my '30 essential reads' at her place. Go check it out!

Unfortunately, that's just the list I could think off my head then. There are probably a lot of honourable books excluded from that list.

Good reads at ridiculously low prices

At Carrefour, Subang Jaya(in Selangor, Malaysia). And I don't mean throwaway copies that nobody would ever read but good, meaty stuff.

Because my poor wallet doth protest too much, I could not buy all the Shakespearean plays I wanted. These penguin Shakespearean books cost RM30 or so (went to MPH before I walked to Carrefour) but for some strange, cosmically weird reason, Carrefour was selling it at RM9.95. (Actually I know the real reason -- overstocked books, over-orders etc. But never mind.)

I bought Julius Caesar (my favourite Shakespearean play. The Merchant of Venice is second), and two other Shakespearean plays I've not read: Pericles and The Two Gentlemen of Verona. Another good, meaty book I bought was Katherine Mansfield's Bliss and other stories -- she's my all-time favourite short story writer.

Also in my shopping cart was Tolstoy's How Much Land Does a Man Need? and other stories.

Back in my classic literature phase -- oh, some seven years ago -- I devoured short stories; Katherine Mansfield, Tolstoy, Chekov, Alice Walker, Rudyard Kipling and George Orwell ... perhaps it's time to revisit these classics and rediscover them once more.

Thank goodness for Carrefour! I hope to raid the bin sometime again this month and complete my Shakespeare collection; however I doubt that will really happen. I'll either give in to my monthly DVD fix or buy more fluffy books that my brain just wants right now (you know, like Gossip Girl or Smallville tv tie-ins). Not to mention that I owe the bank sooooo much of money!

Thursday, May 27, 2004

Kids' stuff

I visited MPH Midvalley in Kuala Lumpur with some friends, and eventually our conversation turned to children's books.

I remember, as a child, that the library was the world's most fabulous place. We kids would beg our dad to visit the Johor Baru library as often as we can, and Saturdays are a special time for my sister and I.

The selection at the children's section was interesting to say the least. For some strange reason, it didn't have the usual 'children's stuff' like Enid Blyton, Hardy Boys or Nancy Drews. Or perhaps I gravitated instead towards the books like biographies of famous people (written for children of course) and Shakespeare in comics form.

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I loved those comics. By the time I was 12, I've read almost all of Shakespeare's plays. I believe they were the one that helped me appreciate Shakespeare when I sat for my Literature unit during my A Levels. (See, there's a place for comics in a child's reading list!)

The other books I read when I was a child was Asterix & Obelix. They were so hilarious, that till this day my sister and I still thumb through our worn-out copies.

When we shifted to Kuala Lumpur when I was 13, we never again did find a good library like the one in JB. I mean, how cool is a library that has Asterix & Obelix and Shakespeare in comic form? We were spoiled!

The only substitute was my school library, where I finally discovered Enid Blyton, Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys!

Now that I'm all grown up, I don't understand the allure of reading children's books anymore. Perhaps it is because I like more detail in my fiction. Or perhaps, because I never did get to read a children's book through a child's eye, I don't understand its magical allure.

Still, when I saw the selection of children's books in MPH yesterday, I was awed. My hands were itching to buy some! (It was the covers, you see. I'm always a sucker for colourful covers.) And surely, thousands of adult readers of children's books saw something in them.

Anyway, perhaps Daphne could recommend me a small list of children's books to start off with?

How about you? Do you have a few recommendations? :)

Chasing the Dime by Michael Connelly

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Henry Price, recently divorced, moves into his new apartment. Then he gets strange messages on his answering machine left for someone named Lilly. He begins searching for the whereabouts of this Lilly and discovers that she is an 'escort' and that she has run into some serious trouble.

My review ...

The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

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I have to admit -- the first time I picked up The Lord of the Rings, I was far from impressed. It was this old-looking book that had a musty smell and I was not particularly happy with the faded cover (I can hear Daphne screaming already). Yes, when it comes to selecting books, I'm a very, er, 'judge by the book cover' kind of person.

The second time I picked it was to try understand what in the world others see in it. Reading it was tough going to say the least, but I found myself entranced by Tolkien's world.

My review ...

Sunday, May 23, 2004

Reading nooks

AFTER: I bought a RM49 chest from IKEA, placed a few cushions on top and wala! A reading nook.  Posted by Hello

A comfy place to read your books ... that's always a dream of mine. This little reading nook is not complete yet. There's still a picture of Legolas to hang above the chest, a few more cushions to add and a standing lamp to add.

What's your idea of the perfect reading nook? :)

The books in my library

AFTER: Yes, I'm a big LOTR fan. Posted by Hello

My reading selection can be defined as "light on the brain". There's some manga (my sister's), Spider-man, X-men comics (mine), romance, sci-fi and fantasy (which makes a big number of the books), general fiction (Nick Hornby being one my favourites), crime (mostly Michael Connelly) and Christian spirituality, which makes up one shelf. I have 'more serious' stuff too, but that's hard to define; there are books on journalism and writing, which I keep in my study (not pictured here), books on politics, interior decorating and travel. Oh, and there's a section where I shelve books on dogs and cats! Namely those by James Herriott.

Very difficult to pin down my favourite books. I read almost everything (though shie from romance. They're too funny).

The library gets a facelift

BEFORE: My library, not the neatest place in the universe.  Posted by Hello

Daphne at The Places You Will Go inspired me to get on with decorating my library. It's a small, little place where my sister and I give our books a home. After a trip to IKEA where I bought extra shelves and a chest, and some nails - I gave the place some colour.

Unfortunately, my skills with the hammer was sub-par at best and my wall now has a few holes! Luckily the Underworld poster covered it up.

An introduction

I love books. I look writing book reviews. So, I thought having a blog is a natural extension of sorts to this.

In this blog, I will be putting up my book reviews, which appear on The Star and some who do not.

I will also discuss other things pertaining to books, whatever it may be.