Sunday, December 31, 2006

Forever by Judy Blume

Katherine met Michael Wagner at a New Year Eve's party. It seemed like instant attraction between the both of them, I think. Katherine feels that she has never felt so strongly about any guy before. With Michael, she's nervous yet happy to be with him.

Just like the title - Forever, Katherine and Michael thought that their love would remain forever. Both admitted that they really loved each other and Katherine decided to go all the way with Michael. And just like what Katherine's mom told her, 'once you start having sex, you can't go back to holding hands'. It's completely true. Katherine and Michael can't keep their hands off each other and are always finding opportunities to be alone together.

Then came summer time. Katherine's dad insisted that she accepts a job to teach tennis at a camp, which Jamie, Katherine's younger sister, is going to. Initially, Katherine is reluctant to spend 7 whole weeks away from Michael. She would miss him soooooo much! But, her dad would not take no for an answer. So, she went to camp. She and Michael kept in touch by writing letters everyday.

At the camp, Katherine meets new friends and is attracted to another guy. She feels guilty at first because she thought she was betraying Michael. However, when Michael went to the camp to see her, she decided to be honest with him.

When I visited, many reviewers claimed that this book is a must-read for teenagers so they would know about sex and first love. To me, the story was going fine, but when it came to the part where she fell for another guy, I felt funny. I mean, if she was soooo much in love with Michael, how could she fall for another guy so quickly? It seems to me that Katherine is fickle-minded and doesn't know what she wants.

Well, this book is okay. It's easy to read, quick to finish, and Judy Blume is an excellent writer!

Saturday, December 30, 2006

My Place by Sally Morgan

I've finally finished reading this book after 3 or more weeks! It's a heart-warming story of a family with Aboriginal roots in Australia. Most of it is written from Sally's point of view. Sally is the eldest child in the family. She lived in Manning with her mother (Gladys), grandmother (Nan), and her 4 siblings - Jill, Billy, David, and Helen. Her father, Bill, died when she was only a young girl. He was a POW (Prisoner of War) in Germany and was tortured so brutally until he needs serious hospital treatment even when the war had ended a long time ago.

Besides Sally's point of view, there are also stories from 3 other people. Arthur Corunna, Gladys Corunna, and Daisy Corunna. Arthur is Sally's granduncle, Gladys is Sally's mom, and Daisy is Sally's grandmother, whom she refers to as Nan. It was quite difficult for Sally to get Gladys' and Daisy's stories as they were reluctant to share their past. Especially Daisy (Nan) who is defiant in keeping her past a deep secret.

Anyway, this book reminds me of another book on racism and slavery, which is Roots by Alex Haley. These stories are eye-opening as we are taken back to history where we learn about the troubles and conflicts between races. At times when I read them, I became emotional and felt anger about how they were treated cruelly and in a totally unfair way. Fortunately, times have changed.

My Place is interesting from the first page but when I reached the middle of the book, it got a little boring for me as I feel the story was lagging. However, when I reached Gladys' story, things took to a faster pace. Overall, this Australian classic is definitely a must-read. I learned a lot about Australia while reading this book. It also stresses on family importance and accepting one's roots. Really important things to ponder on.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Happy Feet - Friends Forever by Siobhan Ciminera

This book of 32 pages filled with colourful pictures can fascinate any Happy Feet-loving kid. Actually, the book is almost wholly blue as it is a story of 2 penguin friends, Gloria and Mumble, and they live in Emperor Land.

They live in Emperor Land so they are most probably the Emperor Penguins, which is the largest species of penguins. On the other hand, the Little Blue Penguin or the Fairy Penguin is the smallest penguin species. I read up this bit of interesting information on Wikipedia.

What is peculiar is that while penguins are under the bird family, they cannot fly. An even more peculiar fact is that penguins can swim! They eat fish, squid, and krill. A krill is a 'tiny shellfish found in the sea around the Antarctic'. Whales feed on krill too. If you want to find out more about penguins, you can always do a seach on Google. Just type in 'penguins' and a million pages will be brought to you.

My niece obviously likes the animated movie very much. It is like an all-star movie, that is the voices of the characters belong to big time stars such as Elijah Wood, Robin Williams, Brittany Murphy, Hugh Jackman, Nicole Kidman, and Hugo Weaving!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares

An uplifting story of four good friends, Carmen, Lena, Tibby, and Bridget. This summer, they are turning sixteen. And this summer, they won't be spending it together. Carmen is going to South Carolina to spend more time with her dad ( her parents are divorced ), Lena is going to Greece to visit her grandparents, Bridget will be going to soccer camp in Baja, California, and only Tibby will be staying home while working at Wallman's.

The Pants. Carmen bought it at a thrift store and had not bothered to try it on. She did not think it will fit her at all and was planning to throw it away. But Bridget spotted it and asked Carmen to give it to her. Bridget tried it on and insists that her 3 friends try it too. Miraculously, the pants fit all of them comfortably and making them look really good in it. Thus, they believe it contains some unspeakable magic and decide to take turns in keeping it. On condition that they follow 10 rules, which they made together.

They vow to do something great in them. And when they are back together again, they would share with one another their stories of their achievements or downfalls during the summer.

This book has been made into a movie, and if I'm not mistaken, it was not shown in Malaysian cinemas although the VCD is on sale. The 4 best friends are played by Amber Tamblyn (Tibby), America Ferrera (Carmen), Blake Lively (Bridget), and Alexis Bledel (Lena).

I haven't watched it yet but the book was quite okay. I don't pretend to be over-enthusiastic about it but it's a good read. =)

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

To rent a book or two

Wanna know why reading is becoming so unpopular nowadays? Most of you know it's mostly due to the high prices of books and also due to the lack of good, interesting books at the library near to you. It's also caused by too much schoolwork or being tired after a whole day at the office. Or maybe people are merely lazy to read page after page after page of a long and boring novel. But no matter what your reason is, it's still not good enough to defend yourself because reading is both pleasurable and knowledgeable.

However, for those who are a little bit financially tight, you can always choose to rent books to satisfy your craving for reading. I stumbled across this book rental website, Reader's Shack, some time last year and I think it's a really good idea. But, it will only be back in action in March 2007. Meanwhile, you can just browse the website and check out the books they offer there. And if you have any old story-books that you don't want anymore, you can even try to sell or rent them on that website.

Anyway, I went to Borders bookstore for the first time yesterday. Gosh, is it big or what. The books were organized neatly in various categories and there were chairs to get comfortable in. There were so many books and I didn't know which one to buy first. There was no sale though, only promotions.

Okay, it's enough for now. I must resume my reading!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Pretty Book Plates

Have you heard of book-plates before? Well, if you haven't, then it's high time that you knew about it. According to my ever-faithful OXFORD Advanced Learner's Dictionary, a book-plate is 'a piece of paper, usually with a printed design, stuck in a book to show who owns it'.

When I was around 10 years old, I received a book as a present for scoring high marks in a subject. There was a piece of green paper with my name and class printed on it, stuck on the inside cover of the book. I guess that can be counted as a book-plate too although it's not very attractive-looking. =/

Anyway, fret no more! There are so many kinds of book-plates to choose from. And they are really, really beautifully illustrated either in colour or in black and white. I have added a new link on the side bar of this blog, which will lead you to a bountiful supply of book-plates. The website's name is My Home Library.

My Home Library is not the only website that offers free book-plates. There are a number of other sites too. If you want to find them, just type in 'book plates' in any search engine and you can start your very own book-plate collection! Have fun!

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon

This is the second time I've read this particularly hilarious book about a 15-year-old boy, Christopher who has Asperger's Syndrome or autism. He lives in Swindon with his father and attends a special school. Christopher is brilliant at Maths and Physics and he aims to sit for the A Level Maths exam. He dreams of taking more A Level exams and then getting a degree to eventually become a scientist.

The story begins with the death of a neighbour's dog, Wellington. Someone had intentionally stuck a garden fork through the poor dog and since Christopher had been quite fond of the dog, he is determined to find out who killed the dog. Thus, he writes a book with interesting illustrations to tell his story.

As he goes on his journey to find out the dog's killer, Christopher finds out some secrets, which his father had hid from him. He has also started talking to strangers, something he never does because to him, strangers could be dangerous. Christopher finds comfort in familiarity.

This is a different kind of book and written in an unusual but likeable style. Definitely worth reading again!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Spoilt for choice

That's the trouble with the Internet. There are absolutely too many/much choices leaving us poor users to crack our heads, not sure whether to choose this or that or something else we came across the other evening.

For example, I wanted to get a good-looking guestbook for this blog. Well, some are fine but some look boring. And among the fine ones, I'm not really sure which is the best, which offers the most features, etc.

Then there is the site counter to look for too. Once again, there are numerous counters for free and I didn't know which one to use. Anyway, who cares how a counter looks like right? As long as it does its job by keeping track of the number of visitors then its job is done. But, like most people nowadays, I'm looking for a counter with special or extra features. Well, guess I have to be happy and stick with my final choice before my head really cracks!

And it's the same with books too. =) There are so many books at the bookstore and we don't know which one to buy first. All look so tempting with all their attractive covers and screaming titles! But it's good. The more books, the better. Long live books!

Saturday, December 9, 2006

All books no matter new or old

I've been browsing other book blogs and most of them were reviewing new books. Well, I have not bought any new books yet so I guess you will have to read my reviews on old books if you don't mind.

I started reading since I was a kid. Among the first books that my mom bought for me were the Peter and Jane series. I read about Peter, Jane, and their brown doggie, Pat. The letters were huge and that made easy reading. Hey, I was only about 5 or 6! Huge alphabets appealed to me then.

From then on, my passion for reading developed. When I was old enough to read smaller sized alphabets, my sister introduced me to Enid Blyton books. I thought the word Enid was Gnid as the signature looked like Gnid. I found out the real name in the end.

Enid Blyton was a really talented writer and had good imagination. I love her school stories such as the St Clare's books and also Malory Towers although the ideas for both series were about the same. Still, her characters had character and the story-line made me want to read more. Even though her books are for children, adults still enjoy it immensely too. I know I will never get bored of her books.

Well, you now know that I will definitely review her books here. So, be patient as they will be here soon!

The True Story of Lilli Stubeck by James Aldridge

I read this book twice and I can't wait to read it again. It tells the story of Lilli Stubeck, who arrived at the peaceful town of St Helen with her intriguing but unlikeable family. The narrator in the book is Kit Quayle. He is one of the few people whom Lilli trusts. He is able to tell this story because Lilli had left him her black book in which she had written down the events of her life in St Helen.

To begin with, Lilli's family is dirt poor and they survive by scavenging and begging. Then, there is the wealthy and powerful Miss Dalgleish. She encountered Lilli while waiting for someone and Lilli ended up doing small chores for Miss Dalgleish in exchange for a few shillings.

One day, Lilli's family decided to leave St Helen. But, Miss Dalgleish refused to let them leave with Lilli. She wanted Lilli to stay with her and she promised she would see to her education. Thus, Lilli remained in St Helen and lived in Miss Dalgleish's amazing but mysterious house surrounded by high wooden walls.

As time went by, Lilli emerged as a cultured young woman and one of the cleverest girls in school. There were also boys as well as men who showed interest in her but she simply brushed them off. Lilli continued living with Miss Dalgleish until one day, her mother and younger brother, Jackie returned unexpectedly.

This book is an absolutely good read and recommended to anyone who wants to know about the interesting and fascinating tale of a girl who does things her own way.

Friday, December 8, 2006

Bigger And Better (maybe)

OK. So I've decided to start a book review blog. I used to have another website but it had other stuff besides book reviews such as short stories, poems, jokes, etc. But now, I've finally created a blog specially for book reviews. Hmmm, I kinda like the idea. =)

It's the holidays now and Christmas is just around the corner. Therefore, I have lots of free time to update my blog and make sure it is looking its ultimate best. But, please allow me to inform you that I do have other priorities as well. I can't blog the whole day! Wish I could but I can't.

Anyway, I'll certainly try my best to keep this blog in good shape and brimming with book reviews. I am also psyched up about this new blog.

Well, thank you everyone who has taken the time to drop by. Do come back again! Ta ta!
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