Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Borders Is The Best!

It’s official. For now, my favourite bookstore is Borders! Yes!

Yesterday, my mom and I went to Penang by ferry! Haha! She’s so adventurous until she said she’d rather go by ferry and then taxi to Gurney Plaza. The ferry ride was fabulous! Passengers who come on foot get to sit on top and the wind blowing was nice.

When we arrived in Penang, there were taxi drivers hanging around and asked my mom where we wanted to go. She said, ‘Gurney Plaza’ and the taxi driver asked his friends if any of them would like to take us there. One guy suggested RM12 and another suggested a preposterous RM15! I didn’t know taxi fees were so high. They did not even use the meters. It seems that the meter system has yet to start.

My mom took the RM12 one and off we went to Gurney Plaza. She wanted to look for shoes so we went to shoe shops first. Nah, I just looked around. I didn’t buy any because I’m broke! Haha! Maybe another day.

Finally, I spotted the MPH Bookstore and we went in. Yesterday was the second time I went to MPH as I don’t go to Gurney Plaza much. Anyway, there were so many books there! But I didn’t like the way the fiction books were arranged. In Borders, several books whose covers were displayed so that we can see them. At MPH, all the books were arranged like in a library so I had to read the titles on the spines. And the lighting there wasn’t as bright as Borders. Even Popular was brighter.

However, the selection of movies at MPH was satisfactory. Better than Borders. There weren’t many good movies available at Borders but at MPH, there were more interesting choices. I begged my mom to buy the Gulliver’s Travels movie. It’s only RM16.90. Pretty cheap for an original movie with English subtitles! I like VCDs that come with English subtitles.

At MPH, the bookshelves were quite close together and not much space to walk. I don’t recall seeing any sofa chairs there either.

Ok, I should stop comparing! I think that each bookstore is special in its own way. Borders for its nice atmosphere and good selection of books. MPH for its good selection of books and movies as well as discounts. Popular for its ‘just okay’ selection of books and great discounts!

There are a few more bookstores that I’ve yet to conquer. I hope I could go to Chowrasta Road and check out the second-hand bookshops there! Can’t wait!

And this is my 100th post! =D

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Questions For Book-Lovers!

I tried a search for 'book reviews' in Google and came across Book Mama and this meme was in her blog. It looks interesting so I thought I'd try it out myself too!

Hardback or trade paperback or mass market paperback?

Mass market paperback. Cheaper!

Amazon or brick and mortar?

Definitely brick and mortar. Where's the fun in buying books if you don't get the chance to walk along those bookshelves loaded with hundreds of books??? Buying books in a bookstore is part of the fun in reading.

Barnes & Noble or Borders?

There's no Barnes & Noble in Malaysia, so I'll go for Borders. I'll always choose Borders anyway. I love Borders.

Bookmark or dogear?

Bookmark! Dogear? You want me to ruin the pages of my books??? No way! My books still look like new even if I've read it a hundred times.

Alphabetize by author or alphabetize by title or random?

Nah, I don't arrange them in any particular order. I just stack them randomly on my bookshelf.

Keep, throw away, or sell?

I obviously keep the ones that I like. I will never throw any books away. I'd sell the ones that I don't like.

Keep dustjacket or toss it?

Keep it.

Read with dustjacket or remove it?

I'll remove it. Easier to hold the book.

Short story or novel?

Novel. I get to enjoy the story for a longer period of time. Short stories are too short. I only read short stories when I'm in the mood for it.

Collection (short stories by same author) or anthology (short stories by different authors)?

Um, both are fine by me.

Harry Potter or Lemony Snicket?

I've only read Harry Potter so far, so I'll choose Harry Potter. For now.

Stop reading when tired or at chapter breaks?

Stop reading when tired, of course! Nowadays, I sleep later at night because I'm always reading.

“It was a dark and stormy night” or “Once upon a time”?

Once upon a time. I never get sick of fairy tales.

Buy or borrow?

Buy. When I've money to spend.

New or used?

New. I'm quite suspicious of used books. Who knows what the owner did to the book? Anything is possible, like spit, blood, or nose shit. But, I doubt new books are free from those either.

Buying choice: book reviews, recommendation or browse?

All of the three.

Tidy ending or cliffhanger?

Tidy ending so that I'll know what happens in the end. I don't like to be left wondering after finishing a book.

Morning reading, afternoon reading or nighttime reading?

Definitely night-time reading when it's completely silent and peaceful. I get to enjoy the story better this way.

Standalone or series?

If I really like the book, then it's series. For example, I'm so hooked on Libba Bray's books and I'm utterly thrilled that there's a third book coming out in September 2007.

Favorite series?

Libba Bray's books are kind of like series, aren't they? I like the St. Clare's series by Enid Blyton, too.

Favorite book of which nobody else has heard?

I think it could be The True Story of Lilli Stubeck by James Aldridge. It's an Australian book.

Favorite books read last year?

How do I remember? Well, I'll name a few, though.

- Looking For Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta.
- The True Story of Lilli Stubeck by James Aldridge

I did not read much last year, anyway, as I was busy preparing for exams.

Favorite books of all time?

- The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon
- Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
- The True Story of Lilli Stubeck by James Aldridge
- Looking for Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta
- A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray
- Rebel Angels by Libba Bray

Saturday, April 14, 2007

I'm A Teacher! No, I'm Definitely Not Kidding.

Guess what? I’m a teacher now. An English tuition teacher to be more specific. No, I’m not English but I teach English with my mom. It was the kids’ grandmother who asked her to teach them to speak good English because she said that they would not speak even though they knew a little bit of the language.

So, our little class made up of 2 teachers and 3 kids aged 7, 5, and 4 years of age. I did not intend to join the class but decided to sit with them throughout the lesson. The 4-year-old girl was extremely quiet and uncooperative at first. She was silent and just stared. But, after almost an hour, she loosened up and started repeating words after my mom.

Hmm, looks like my mom and I have a week before each class to think of ways to teach them English. I thought it’d be easy but it was quite the opposite. Kids get restless fast. But, we did give them a break where they drew pictures or played with some toys.

By the way, there was a jumble sale at the St. Anne’s hall. I don’t know what time it started. Actually, I only knew about it in the evening so my mom and I went to check it out. It was okay but I found it practically boring.

My neighbour told my mom that there were books being sold, too. We searched everywhere and finally spotted the stall with a few stacks of books. Most of them were brand new but what boring books they were! I did not bother to remember the titles. Well, they were cheap. A novel only costs RM20. Revision books and religious books were sold as well.

The jumble sale is like the Canteen Day we had in school. Instead of paying money, you bought stuff with coupons, which you’ve bought earlier. There were tons of food stalls and a few stalls selling clothes, new and old. One stall even had a ‘Guess The Weight of the Cake’ game. A chocolate cake was on display and to win it, you had to guess its weight correctly. It reminded me of Mr. Bean when he was trying to guess the weight of a turkey! However, I’m sure if we tried to bring a weighing scale, we’d definitely be caught.

All the stalls were outside the St. Anne’s Hall whereas all sorts of entertainment were going on inside the hall. Mostly dances, I noticed, but I just spent about 30 seconds before I was out of the hall again.

That’s my Saturday. Was quite in a bad mood after my afternoon nap but I’m feeling much better now. =) I’m also only halfway through my Firestarter book. Hopefully I’ll finish it by Tuesday? Perhaps.

Friday, April 13, 2007

New Books! New Books!

Wheeeeeeeee!!! I bought two new books today. Well, actually my mom bought them for me. I’m broke, you see. Anyway, the books are Twilight by Stephenie Meyer and Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones.

I’ve read reviews of Twilight in other book blogs and the reviewers were raving about it. So, I thought I’d just buy it and give it a try. It’s about a vampire and this girl who fell in love with the vampire. Hmmm, should be interesting right? I certainly hope so. Howl’s Moving Castle already had excellent reviews. Plus it was first published way back in 1986! A year before I was born. And I only knew about the book now.

By the way, there were 10% discounts for both the books since I’m not a Popular card member. Members will enjoy 15% discounts though. Now, Popular is having a sale and some books have up to 70% discounts! Don’t miss it now! If you are a student, you can get the Popular card for only RM5. So, if you are a frequent buyer of books, then having the card would be advisable.

I bought so many books now and there is not enough place for them on my bookshelf. My bookshelf is very full. I have to place my new books on my study table temporarily. I might have to clear another bookshelf to make room for these new books. I have two bookshelves in my room. One holds storybooks and the other holds my schoolbooks and huge files for notes. Looks like I have to clear the study bookshelf but I don’t think it’s going to work since it’s practically full too.

There was the other blogger who said she stuffed her books into her wardrobe too! Wish I can do that but no, I would not do that. What if there were silverfish in the books? What if the silverfish were to crawl into my clothes? What would happen when I wear those clothes with the silverfish in them??? *shivers*

Don’t think too much now.

Well, the books just have to rest on my study table first before I find a home for them.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Male Authors or Female Authors?

Do you prefer to read books written by guys or by the ladies? Or you don’t care much about the gender of the authors?

I am not sure if it’s coincidence or not but most of the books that I read were written by women authors. For example, Enid Blyton, Francine Pascal, Meg Cabot, J.K. Rowling, and now, Libba Bray and Sophie Kinsella. However, some of my all-time favourite books are by men authors like Mark Haddon, James Aldridge, and even Stephen King. Now, Stephen King is a talented writer of thriller books and I’ve only read about 3 books from him.

Do guys check out the author’s gender before reading or buying books? Do guys think that female authors are not as good as male ones?

Take J.K. Rowling’s case as an example. Her publisher (I think!) printed her name as ‘J.K. Rowling’ on the Harry Potter books so that boys will buy them too. Her publishers were probably afraid that her books would not appeal to the boys if ‘Joanne K. Rowling’ were printed.

Yes, I know that most books by female authors may be considered too girlish for the guys. And I think that some girls would think that books by male authors may be too gory, bloody or obscene. But, that’s what book reviews are for, right? To let the readers know what the book’s about and to help them make their choices before buying a book.

I feel this is an interesting issue and I hope readers will give me their feedback on it. The more, the better!

Sunday, April 8, 2007

It Is Easter!

My parents and I went for the Holy Saturday mass last night. It was supposed to start at 10 pm and it ended around 1.20 am. So, it’s obvious we got back late and sleepy. Still, I prefer to go to church on Saturday evenings so that I don’t have to wake up early on Sunday morning to attend mass. I had the privilege of waking up at 9.30 am this morning!

When we reached the church, it was almost in complete darkness. My parents went to sit in the church while I dashed off with my friend to the front of the church to see what’s happening. Oooh, there was a kind of bonfire lit in front of the church and the sparks of fire were nice. However, I had no idea why they built such a huge fire because the smoke would only help in creating more air pollution. Perhaps they wanted Easter to be grand. But at least, they could have built a smaller fire! Therefore, less pollution!

After that, we lighted our candles by getting light from other people’s candles. The fire originated from the bonfire. So, it’s like one massive bonfire lighted everybody’s candles. My friend and I tried to find empty seats in the North Wing but as usual, all the seats were taken up. So, we ended up in the West Wing of the church.

Finally, after communion, my parents and I ‘cabut’ back home. So did many others. All wishing to be back at home, snuggled up and sleeping nicely.

Anyway, Happy Easter everybody!

Friday, April 6, 2007

When People Are Against You...

If you had joined any society or club in school, then the voting for president, vice president, secretary, etc, should sound familiar to you.

I used to join the Red Crescent society, English club, badminton club, library club, and a few others. When I was in Form 1 (13 years old), I looked up to my leaders in awe especially the Head Section Leader of the Red Crescent Society. She was in Form 4 and to me, she spoke confidently and in a rather eloquent manner. Sometimes, she even threw in some jokes and everyone would laugh along.

When I was in Form 4, I was not that in awe of my Head Section Leader already because we were of the same age and she was one of my friends. Still, she was capable and carried her duties as Head Section Leader well. The previous year’s committee members selected her as Head Section Leader and they definitely made a good choice.

At other times and in some clubs, I felt that the voting system was not quite fair. Usually, the girl elected or selected to be president was popular and had many friends. Or maybe the club members were aware of her capabilities, strengths and thought she would be the perfect choice as their president.

However, there was one incident when I was in Form 5, and it was time to elect new committee members for the Red Crescent Society. The committee members are usually girls in Form 4. Some of my peers were talking softly among one another and then quietly spread their little news. They did not want a certain Form 4 girl to hold a high post. They wanted her to either have no post at all or at least held the lowest post.

In my opinion, the girl is smart and I knew that she would obviously make a great Head Section Leader (HSL) or Deputy Head Section Leader (DHSL). She was a member once in my group and I found her responsible, hardworking, and a quick learner.

It was a pity that some people in my Form did not like her. Or perhaps they were jealous of her? I don’t know.

What happened next was something nobody could prevent. Somehow, that group of girls convinced many others not to vote for the Form 4 girl. They told many people that this girl is stuck-up and if she were to be HSL, she would be even more stuck-up.

Sigh…..I have no idea why they considered her stuck-up. Honestly, I think she was way better off than that group of girls.

In the end, she was given a not so low post. When she knew what they were plotting to do, she cried. I think she knew, I’m not so sure. The previous year’s committee members knew what was happening, too but they could not do anything because it all depended on the number of votes. Well, the girl finally got a not so low post.

I do hope that this does not happen in schools again but I highly doubt it.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

PayPerPost Rocks!

You must have noticed the many sponsored posts in my blog nowadays. Well, I submitted my blog recently and it was approved! It was extremely good news to me. I’ve read other blogs and their success with PayPerPost inspired me.

I don’t really like to ‘corrupt’ my blog with sponsored posts but I have no other way. In fact, I feel this is the best and only way for me to make some money at the moment. I get around $5.00 for a post and to me, it is already quite a lot! This is why I’m beginning to like PayPerPost! They surely rock.

What with all the books to read and a blog to maintain, I’m pretty busy now. I like being busy, too. Keeps my mind off things. Keeps my mind from worries! Sometimes, I also worry that I won’t be paid or my blog won’t be accepted, etc. I tend to worry a lot, unfortunately.

When I was visiting other blogs today, I came across a Thursday Thirteen meme. It sounds interesting and I would love to join it. Maybe next week. I can’t stay too long at the computer tonight. My neck is a little bit sore and I really want to continue my Rebel Angels book.

So, okay then. Good night to all of you! Sweet dreams!

My Stupid Mistake!

Oh gosh, I made a huge, horribly huge, simply terrible mistake yesterday!!!

I’m currently reading Rebel Angels by Libba Bray and I was so excited to know who the baddie would be. Okay, Circe is the bad sorceress and I was wondering who would she be. Would she be someone Gemma, the heroine, knows? Or someone Gemma hasn’t met?

Augh! I really wanted to find out by reading the book myself but I was too curious! Yesterday, I was just browsing through Wikipedia and typed in Libba Bray for fun to see what’s written about her and also to see what’s written about the books she wrote.

First, I went to the page on her first book, A Great and Terrible Beauty. Okay, it was informative and I got a clearer picture of the story. Then, I had to click on the link leading to the page on Rebel Angels. Oh, I should not have done that! Totally shouldn’t have!

I read the page, that’s what happened. I could not contain my curiosity. Why, oh why did I read it all? When my eyes came to the sentence revealing Circe’s identity, I regretted what I’d done immediately. Now, reading the book would not be so fun and suspenseful anymore since I found out Circe’s secret identity.

Moral of the story: Never go to Wikipedia or any other website related to the book that you are reading. Ever! It will ruin your reading like how I disrupted mine. Of all the tragedies.

Sigh……never mind. I still have more than half the book to savour. It’s still quite full of suspense to me although the biggest mystery of it had been solved accidentally. There are still other mysteries to uncover. =)

Hey, I also did not know that there were a handful of fan sites for the characters in A Great and Terrible Beauty and Rebel Angels. Both of the books are indeed popular. Besides that, the third book will be out in September 2007.

I can’t wait for it. And I certainly would not make the same horrendous mistake again!

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

More Fantasy For You

Who is a fan of Diana Wynne Jones? Anyone?

Oh yeah, me. =)

Hey, I didn’t know that she was born way back in 1934! I didn’t know that Charmed Life was first published in 1977! That would make her 73 years old this year. I thought her Chrestomanci series were published during the 1990s. How wrong I was!

I read in Amazon where a reader wrote that her books were quite hard to find before the Harry Potter mania. Since the Harry Potter books were sold like hot cakes, her fantasy books were republished. So, it’s all thanks to Harry Potter, huh? Well, I’m not sure about that.

Anyway, if I could, I plan to read as many books by Jones. I’ll make it my goal. My aim. Haha! So far, I’ve only read about 6 books by her. That’s not quite bad, right?

Fantasy books are very popular nowadays, do you realize that? According to Wikipedia, ‘fantasy is a genre of art that uses magic and other supernatural forms as a primary element of plot, theme, or setting’. I like magic. Magic seems so mysterious somehow.

Wow, I’ve just stumbled upon a website where there is an extremely long list of science fiction and fantasy authors. So, take a look, fans of fantasy works. You may make a list of more fantasy books to read. =)

Full List of Authors
List of fantasy authors

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Books I Want To Read

I would like to read the books listed below. I read about them in an article at the Hornbook Magazine website and I suppose they are meant for both young adults and adults. Have you read any of them before? If yes, do tell me how you find it/them, okay?

Postcards From No Man’s Land by Aidan Chambers

Feed by M. T. Anderson

America by E. R. Frank

Kit’s Wilderness by David Almond

A Step from Heaven by An Na

Monster by Walter Dean Myers

This Is All by Aidan Chambers

The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing by M. T. Anderson

Traitor to the Nation by M. T. Anderson

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Sunday, April 1, 2007

List Out Your 10 Favourite Books!

Did you read the Reads section of StarMag in The Star today? Well, Malaysian readers (or even non-readers, too!) are asked to list out their 10 favourite books of all time and send in to StarMag. I also was not aware that April 23 is World Book and Copyright Day by Unesco (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization).

By the way, you are supposed to send in your list of 10 books by April 15, 2007 and the results of the survey will be published in April’s Reads Monthly pull-out. Oh, this I’m so waiting to see. I really am curious what books Malaysian will choose. I wonder if it’ll be any different or the same with the last survey held in Britain where the Number 1 book was Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.

So, hurry! List out all the books that you’ve read and cross out the ones you don’t really like until there’s only 10 left. When sending your list, make sure you put ‘Malaysia’s Top 10 Favourite Books (StarMag)’ as the subject.

There are 3 ways that you can send in your list:

1. E-mail:
2. Fax it: 03-79554039
3. Snail mail: Menara Star, No. 15, Jalan 16/11, 46350 Petaling Jaya, Selangor.

From The Star:

Your list should:
· Comprise 10 of your favourite fictional works.
· Have each author’s name and each book’s full title (please be careful to spell both correctly!)

All entries MUST have the following details or they’ll not be counted as part of the survey:
· Full name
· Age
· Gender
· Occupation
· Mailing address

Are you excited yet? Or maybe you’ve sent in your list already? I know, I’m a bit late in announcing but at least I’m announcing, right??? =D I did not realize that only fictional works are accepted! Okay, that should be easy since most books that I read are works of fiction.

All right! Have fun!

Sitemap In My WordPress Blog!

My new blog just got better. =D Now, all my worries of the categories in my blog are over because I’ve added a sitemap plugin. I got this nifty plugin from here.

At first, I had some difficulties trying to get it right. I kept asking the plugin creator, Ronald, questions and he patiently answered them all. So, after many, patient attempts, I finally got it all right. Boy, was I relieved when the sitemap page looked as fine as ever.

I downloaded so many plugins and I’m still eager for more. =) Hey, plugins are nice! I don’t remember having this much fun and cracking my head up figuring out where to download this file, that folder, what to edit in the HTML part, etc. At least I’m learning new things then later, everything becomes easy for me.

Okay, I have one more plugin that I need to figure out how to use it. I’ve asked several plugin creators a few questions but all they asked me to do was to read the instructions. Of course I read the instructions! I just did not understand them that well and that’s why I’m asking them in the first place.

Never mind. I have a brain and I’m going to use it even if it feels like exploding from thinking too much. =p

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