Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Simple days are good days

Today is a really special day for me, it's my 18th birthday. After spending the weeks/days leading up telling my friends not to do anything, I'm finally having one of the best days in a long time.

It's the first day after Prelims, which means I can relax, which will not be possible soon (exams in 1 month), so for once, my birthday is in an optimal position. I was going to be virtuous and do math, but after attempting 15 questions, I gave in to the calling of reading.

Well, you see, despite the fact that I'm not supposed to come home with bags of books from the library (to put crudely, I've been banned), I've granted myself a little after-exam respite. And trust me, I've exercised a lot of self-restraint, considering that I only borrowed 4 books (hey, that's already 8 books less than normal).

So far, in the early afternoon, I'm finally enjoying this simple day at home. I've woken up later than the rest of the house, which feels like an absolute luxury for once. And it's indescribable to find that your little brother tucked a letter to "the birthday girl" directly above where you sleep, so you can see it once you open your eyes. And the letter has 3 simple, but sweet words "I Love You".

After my attempt to study failed cheerfully, I decided to go over to my grandma's place to just read with TLC channel on (the shows are really interesting to me. Well, the food looks good anyway). But then, when I came, the door was locked. So, being in no mood to go home and without a handphone (I avoid bringing them everywhere), I went to find a nice spot to sit.

Well, at the ground level, near the lift lobby, there are a few benches stacked next to the wall. Normally, you'll only see the domestic maids or the foreign workers sitting there, enjoying a few moments of quiet. Seeing that it was empty, I quite gladly sat down and began to read. And not read.

It's a conducive spot for reading, since there's a nice breeze with natural light (but no sun in your face). But I suppose the sight of me reading was a bit strange and shocking, because everyone who passed by turned and stared. Perhaps it's because I'm not one of the typical inhabitants of the benches but it was interesting to see the reactions of all the people passing.

But sooner or later, my stomach started crying for food (pizza for breakfast is delicious but still temporary), and I made the short walk home to get my phone, where I learnt that there was a mis-communication about whether I was going to be there for lunch. The long and short of the phone call was that I ended up doubling back to my grandma's house, this time, sitting on the floor outside the door to read.

Concrete is a surprisingly comfy seat, since it's cool to touch. And with potted plants around me (courtesy of my grandma and her neighbour), it was a surprisingly nice spot to read. Thankfully though, my neighbours weren't walking up and down the corridor, because I wouldn't have appreciated blocking their path or providing fodder for complaints. And when Emily came back, her question to me was not why I was on the floor, but why I wasn't reading on the steps. I suppose next time I get locked out, I can always try that.

I'm hoping the rest of the day goes just as well. I'm planning to just play my DS (at long last), read some more, and at night, go for a dinner with 3 of my closest friends. Because the simple days at home are good days.

And if you're wondering, I was reading Yes, My Darling Daughter by Margaret Leroy. I'm loving the book so far(:

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Carrie by Stephen King

This may shock many people, but I've never read a Stephen King novel in my life *gaspofshockandtheatricalfainting* The reason for this is actually very simple, while Stephen King is a bestseller, I'm not a fan of horror. In fact, the thought of it fills me with, you've guessed it, horror.

But after reading about Stephen King writing about Carrie on Zite, I was very intrigued by it. I've always heard about the book/movie from various pop-culture references (so much intertextuality!), but I've always dismissed it, thinking it was standard horror fare.

But I was sadly wrong. 

From the opening page, I was hooked by King's wonderful command of the language. He writes in such a vivid and poetic way that I know I have never written and can only hope to aspire to. One of the opening sentences is "Nobody was really surprised when it happened, not really, not at the subconscious level where savage things grow". The one sentence hints at the savage nature of the novel's contents, while introducing the element of psychology into the book.

Another thing that really garnered my attention was his surprising use of the narrative structure. I don't know if it will be considered radical (as Arundathi Roy's The God of Small Things apparently is), but I like how he uses court transcripts, magazine articles, or pseudo-factual books to interrupt the linear narrative and provide the reader with a sense of how much the event would have shocked America.

In addition, I really think that the narrative helps the reader to maintain a crucial emotional distance from the characters. I would have much more afraid if the book was entirely in first person narrative, but it the mix of articles and first-person point of view helped me stay emotionally engaged without completely losing it.

All in all, I deeply admire Carrie as a work of fiction (I'd really love to try and analyse the book). I feel the book isn't just horror, but probes into issues of bullying and the human psychology. Now, I might try his fantasy books (I'm still not going to read horror)

P. G. Wodehouse and Jerome K. Jerome

After reading through some book reviews on Jerome K. Jerome's Three Men In A Boat (to say nothing of the dog), I decided at long last to pick up the title in question and actually read it. (And yes, my actions are 'validated' by reports I read that most people read books recommended to them by the Internet). I'm not sure how, but I associated Three Men In A Boat with P. G. Wodehouse's Three Men And A Maid (UK Title: The Girl on the Boat). I think it was the words "Three Men". Well, thanks to this illogical association, I more or less decided to read the books one after another (or as continuously as possible, seeing how as it's exam period that leaves me with little precious time for reading).

After reading, I was once again awed by my lack of knowledge about the world of books. Both authors are funny, but at times, poignant (but that could be just me over-reading).

The similarities between the books? Well, seeing as it was illogical, it had about 3 similarities with each other:

1. There are Three Men
2. They are not related to each other
3. There is a dog

And that's about it. If you want to read a good review of Three Men in a Boat, I'd suggest going to Corey P.'s review at here. All I will add about the book is that it's a well-written, humorous travelogue that incidentally magnifies the daily habits of people, thus rendering them absurd (whew, that was a mouthful. And well, I've been doing a lot of literature essays, hence the strange writing).

As for Three Men and a Maid, well, the plot is as different from Three Men in a Boat as possible. For one, it's a comedic romance (if it was in cinemas, it would no doubt be billed as a 'rom-com'). And honestly, the book only focuses on two men (our protagonist-narrator and his cousin). The third guy comes in as a sap who doesn't get the girl (the protagonist gets that. Oops, spoiler). And, Oh! there's a fourth similarity:

4. A boat is involved

Yes, so you can see, a boat is involved. But for Three Men in a Boat, it's there throughout the whole book (I know, you can see that from the title). But it's not so much in Three Men and a Maid, since the boat's just a way of transport for them

Seriously speaking though, this two books have taught me a quite unrelated lesson. And that is, never think that you have read all there is (even if you're talking about the classics). There are so many underrated classic authors (G. K. Chesterton springs to mind), that it's always possible to find something from a little throwaway comment in a book. And there's also a very good probability (which I refuse to calculate since my statistics paper ended today), that it might be exactly to your taste. I found out that these books are the perfect humour books that I've been looking for.

Let me elaborate, my English (i.e. Literature) class has a good (some say weird) sense of humour, such as making Shakespearean jokes based on King Lear, or making jokes with Robert Frost (using a quote to quip about a poem). Hence, not many books have such specialised sense of humour (because only the very wacky few can get it, I mean, who wants or has a brain full of trivia other than HL3? So to find something like this, where the humour feels like how we talk in class (apart from dated slang), is serendipitous(:

Ok, I should stop before I use too many words whose meaning I'm not sure of.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Every life has worth

I saw this on Facebook today, and while I'm not normally the type that reposts things, I felt very moved by the letter. I don't know who wrote this, but it's worth your time to read and my time to share:

Hi, Mommy. I'm your baby.

You don't know me yet, I'm only a few weeks old. You're going to find out about me soon, though, I promise. Let me tell you some things about me. My name is John, and I've got beautiful brown eyes and black hair. Well, I don't have it yet, but I will when I'm born. I'm going to be your only child, and you'll call me your one and only. I'm going to grow up without a daddy mostly, but we have each other. We'll help each other, and love each other.

 I want to be a doctor when I grow up. You found out about me today, Mommy! You were so excited, you couldn't wait to tell everyone. All you could do all day was smile, and life was perfect. You have a beautiful smile, Mommy. It will be the first face I will see in my life, and it will be the best thing I see in my life. I know it already.

Today was the day you told Daddy. You were so excited to tell him about me! He wasn't happy, Mommy. He kind of got angry. I don't think that you noticed, but he did. He started to talk about something called wedlock, and money, and bills, and stuff I don't think I understand yet. You were still happy, though, so it was okay. Then he did something scary, Mommy. He hit you. I could feel you fall backward, and your hands flying up to protect me. I was okay... but I was very sad for you. You were crying then, Mommy. That's a sound I don't like. It doesn't make me feel good. It made me cry, too. He said sorry after, and he hugged you again. You forgave him, Mommy, but I'm not sure if I do. It wasn't right. You say he loves you...why would he hurt you? I don't like it, Mommy.

Finally, you can see me! Your stomach is a little bit bigger, and you're so proud of me! You went out with your mommy to buy new clothes, and you were so so so happy. You sing to me, too. You have the most beautiful voice in the whole wide world. When you sing is when I'm happiest. And you talk to me, and I feel safe. So safe. You just wait and see, Mommy. When I am born I will be perfect just for you. I will make you proud, and I will love you with all of my heart. I can move my hands and feet now, Mommy. I do it because you put your hands on your belly to feel me, and I giggle. You giggle, too. I love you, Mommy.

Daddy came to see you today, Mommy. I got really scared. He was acting funny and he wasn't talking right. He said he didn't want you. I don't know why, but that's what he said. And he hit you again. I got angry, Mommy. When I grow up I promise I won't let you get hurt! I promise to protect you. Daddy is bad. I don't care if you think that he is a good person, I think he's bad. But he hit you, and he said he didn't want us. He doesn't like me. Why doesn't he like me, Mommy?

 ... You didn't talk to me tonight, Mommy. Is everything okay? It's been three days since you saw Daddy. You haven't talked to me or touched me or anything since that. Don't you still love me, Mommy? I still love you. I think you feel sad. The only time I feel you is when you sleep. You sleep funny, kind of curled up on your side. And you hug me with your arms, and I feel safe and warm again. Why don't you do that when you're awake, any more?

I'm 21 weeks old today, Mommy. Aren't you proud of me? We're going somewhere today, and it's somewhere new. I'm excited. It looks like a hospital, too. I want to be a doctor when I grow up, Mommy. Did I tell you that? I hope you're as excited as I am. I can't wait. Mommy, I'm getting scared. Your heart is still beating, but I don't know what you are thinking. The doctor is talking to you. I think something's going to happen soon. I'm really, really, really scared, Mommy. Please tell me you love me. Then I will feel safe again. I love you! Mommy, what are they doing to me!? It hurts! Please make them stop! It feels bad! Please, Mommy, please please help me! Make them stop!

Don't worry Mommy, I'm safe. I'm in heaven with the angels now. They told me what you did, and they said it's called an abortion. Why, Mommy? Why did you do it? Don't you love me any more? Why did you get rid of me? I'm really, really, really sorry if I did something wrong, Mommy. I love you, Mommy! I love you with all of my heart. Why don't you love me? What did I do to deserve what they did to me? I want to live, Mommy! Please! It really, really hurts to see you not care about me, and not talk to me. Didn't I love you enough? Please say you'll keep me, Mommy! I want to live smile and watch the clouds and see your face and grow up and be a doctor. I don't want to be here, I want you to love me again! I'm really really really sorry if I did something wrong. I love you! I love you, Mommy.

 Every abortion is just…
 One more heart that was stopped.
Two more eyes that will never see.
Two more hands that will never touch.
Two more legs that will never run.
One more mouth that will never speak.

Sorry for the terrible formatting before. I was using the Safari on my iPad and couldn't check properly.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Four Magic Words

Once upon a time No wait, that feels too familiar... But I want it to start that way, it feels magical.

Yeah, magical. What kind of retard writes those cliches?

This is my story, so I'm writing it the way I want it. And I want to start with a classic "Once upon a time, in a land far away"

And you'll bore the readers to death. Plus, you have no talent, and it will be more obvious when you set yourself against the masters.

Hush you. Who said you can talk? That opening is wonderful, so pretty, so hopeful

Yeah and you know, we're not living in the far away land. Oh wait, we are.

Stop being a cynic, can't a girl believe in fairy tales?

Oh right, you're a girl whose hair is a snake that talks and your glance turns men into stones. You are so ordinary you definitely need a fairytale.

(As you can see, exam season is not pretty - looking at the carnage. Above: Exhibit B)

Friday, September 23, 2011


Ok, this has nothing to do with books, but it's so cute that I can't help sharing (ok, not so much cute but that I don't think anyone on facebook wants to see this photos). If you're an apple user, you might have heard of Snapseed by now. It's a free-for-a-limited-time photo editing software (astonishingly, I didn't know about the photography section of the apps store). And because until yesterday night, all the photos I had in my iPad were from roughly 3-4 Oh, wait, photo date says 5 years ago (my Japan trip), I figured that this would be a good time to show you (a picture speaks a thousand words after all) why I want to go Japan so much. But don't worry, I'm only showing you some of the photos (because snapseed is super easy and surprisingly addictive to use, which means I played around with it alot)

Just to warn you, despite the fact that I loved the trip, I looked so tired in all the photos that it was quite embarassing to look at them. But still.... In addition, I think that by dramatising the photos, it tells you more clearly what I felt at that time.

And just so you know, I will (at the risk of being laughed at), include most of the before photos, so you can see the difference (Ok, ok, I'm starting the pictures)

This was taken in Nagasaki's Chinatown, unfortunately, it was dark.

Here, you can actually see the colours. And well, the slightly unrealistic/surrealistic feel is, well, it just feels appropraite to how I felt.

You may not believe it, but this was taken outside my "villa/house" at Huis Ten Bosch

Ok, here I made the "SWANS!" moment obvious.

No matter what, ninja's are cool.

Even if you don't edit the photo (showing how not all photos should be edited)

I call this "The only photo where I do not look tired or like a walking zombie", I know, it's a little long.

And here's my new Facebook Profile picture! (First time in 4 years I changed it. And I only got onto facebook 5 years ago)

Proof that most of my photos look terrible

Proof that photo editing softwares, not matter how awesome, cannot make terrible photos look good (but I think it lessened the awfulness)

This was actually done using another photo app called "pixlromatic". I would play with it so much more if there was a 'crop' function.

Additional proof, if it is even needed, of how I can look like a walking zombie.

I'm actually unsure if this photo is better or worse.
So yes, these are my photos from way back. And sadly, I haven't grown or changed since then (which is why people always think I'm younger than I really am, and why my second sister is often mistaken for the eldest)

No copying without permission(: (Don't let the smile fool you, I mean it)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The New Hypocrite

"We are all, one hopes, imaginative enough to recognize the dignity and distinctness of another religion, like Islam or the cult of Apollo. I am quite ready to respect another man's faith; but it is too much to ask that I should respect his doubt, his worldly hesitations and fictions, his political bargain and make-believe."

Despite the fact that G.K Chesterton lived close to a hundred years ago (he died around 80 years ago), what he says is still relevant to our so-called changed world. Truly the writer of Ecclesiastes said it right when he wrote "What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun" (Ecclesiastes 1:9)

Taken from What's Wrong With The World by G. K. Chesterton, Project Gutenberg version.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A Rainy Day

It was a wet and rainy day. Not so much dark and stormy, but wet enough and rainy enough.

She had just walked out of a tough paper when she felt the rain coming down. Again, it wasn't quite lashing, but it was nipping at her enough so that she felt wet and uncomfortable.

The weather was an anomaly. It was too cold for the hot country and the rains seemed to promise doom for her exam marks. Pre-occupied, she went through the motions of chatting with friends and going home. Absently, she noticed that the weather was too cold. Not so cold that you could get frostbite, but cold enough to turn a girl's lips purple.

As soon as she got home, she headed straight for the one place that offered refuge from this dismal drizzle. Standing in the shower, with water hot enough to fog up the mirror, the exam hounds were finally banished from her mind. Never mind that the government advocated short, efficient but soul-sucking showers, it was time to let the water warm up a person.

Coming out, with her hair wet and wearing her comfiest, over sized clothes, the girl smiled.

Ah, bliss.

(Yes, for some strange reason, I wrote a vignette. What do you think?)

Monday, September 19, 2011

2 New Ebooks

Wow, I realised that I haven't posted about ebooks for a long time, mostly because I haven't been reading ebooks. But recently, I found two new sites for ebooks (legally downloaded of course), one of which is called . One of the fantastic things is that quite a few of the books are free, because the authors are kind enough to provide it free of charge. Oh, since I forgot, these are the 'new' books, unlike Project Gutenberg, which is more for books whose copyright has expired.

One of the books is called Arousing Love by M. H. Strom, it's a Christian teen novel about relationships. It's title is taken from the Song of Solomon, which exhorts the reader not to arouse love until the time is right. Basically, this book occurs when the protagonist falls into love at first sight with a "too young" girl. Basically, an 18 year old boy with a 15 year old girl.

The narrative feels a bit stilted to me, and not exactly like that of a teenage boy. In fact, at times, the story veers into a discourse on the Christian principles of dating, especially with long stretches of dialogue that didn't feel believable.

However, this book is still a good primer to a Christian approach to relationships (I think, because I've never been in a relationship since I'm waiting for God to speak), even if the plot does seem far-fetched. Beware though, it's really more suited to the Christian reader than the non-Christian.

The next book is actually a short story called Writing Critique: A Horror Short Story by Rebecca M. Senese. There's nothing I can actually say without giving away the entire plot, but I will encourage you to read it because I think it's a good humor-approaching-satire of a writing group/writing circle.

So yes, go and check this site out, especially if you have an e-reader like an iPad, where you can't download the kindle app (at least for me, since I'm not in the States)(:

Friday, September 16, 2011

Lies Young Women Believe by Nancy Leigh DeMoss and Dannah Gresh

I always thought I was fairly well-adjusted. Then, I read this book and felt very dysfunctional. At first, I'm not sure why, but I was scared to read it (this was after I read the first 1 or 2 chapters), but later, I didn't really find anything scary. It's designed to appeal to teens, so the layout and stuff was interesting, but not exactly my type.

Well... what can I say? This book looks fairly controversial on When I went to look at the reviews, I saw a small, but vocal minority who didn't like it. And surprisingly, it was those few people who wrote the longest, and most "thought out" (in the sense that they gave reasons) reviews.

I think, that this book is quite good. It effectively showed me the various lies Satan uses. Ok, I'm starting to sound boring, because I'm fluffing/being un-substantial. To get to the point, here are my opinions on a few of the issues raised:

They had this section encouraging you to avoid any thing that presents "witches, sorceres or other occult characters" as heroes. I agree, with this point, but it felt a little generalised. Before you bring pitchforks, let me explain. There are, I believe, many Christian fantasy books that may transgress this general warning. For example, The Dragons in Our Midst Series, (which I loved) presents dragons in a positive light. Yet, it's also a good tale about trusting in God. Hmmm....Or how bout Gandalf, from Lord of The Rings, who's a wizard? I think they really could afford to write one more paragraph to elaborate their views on Christian fantasy.

Another, more deeper reason comes from the fact that I'm Chinese. If you want to know, Chinese mythology, and in fact, many of our festivals, once had Buddhist/Taoist/Supernatural roots. If you look at the mid-Autumn festival, which was just over, legends surrounding it include: Chang-E (a deity), A group of deities (on a boat) and killing the Mongol overlords. The inference I got from this section was that to be a good Christian, I have to abandon my culture. Or, to look at another scenario, if I were to go to Japan for mission work, it only makes sense to familiarise myself with the culture, even though it is basically Buddhist/Shinto. But wait? Won't that expose me to Satanic influence?

And I think, really, this is the heart of the matter. Jesus is meant to be above culture, but there are circumstances where it's very hard to be a Christian without looking like a sellout (I'm not referring to the counter-culture/post-modern culture in America nowadays that people think of when the phrase Jesus above culture appears). If I remember correctly, in either Thailand or Vietnam, the Christians there sing hymns according to traditional tunes, which were once Buddhist chants. But to make them sing traditional Methodist hymns, they wouldn't connect as well.

So how can this be? I have a feeling, this book was targeted specifically at the Western girl. Which placed me in an uncomfortable situation. I'm not refuting any of their points now, but I do feel that the section on Lies about Satan was far too short. Especially since in a globalised world, we're far too often going to meet other, non-Christian cultures. Or maybe, I just read too deep into it; but I do know that this was one of the things that I felt dissatisfied about after reading the book.

The other part which made me uncomfortable was the section Lies about the Future, where they dealt with the issue on feminist. It did seem like they were encouraging (let's not use the word 'force' or 'pressurise') me to not get a career. But honestly, their allegations that girls are told they SHOULD have a career, well, I don't feel that. I'm not saying I don't want to get married and have kids, because I think whether I ultimately do or don't is God's decision. And I think instead of encouraging us to look forward to getting married, they should be encouraging us to listen to God's will for us. (The New Testament is fine with unmarried people)

Personally, I think that one argument they used, from Genesis 2:18 that "God created women to be a helper to the man" is a little misleading. Because I have quite a big interest in apologetics, I do know that in this case, helper, isn't so much as subordinate as something more equal(: (This is also why, I intend to learn Hebrew one day in the future, so I can read the Bible myself instead on relying on translations which are too apt to be misinterpreted or twisted).

Like really, the whole women working thing, the first thing that I thought was "hey, studies show women are better at being the boss in today's business environment because we have better interpersonal skills" and "my dad does the housework because my mom's a teacher". So it felt like they had this whole dimension they didn't explore in enough detail (enough, not just detail ok?)

I don't know if what I write feels like a criticism of the book because really, it's not. I love the book and I think every girl should read it. Maybe it's because of my confrontational nature (made worse by the fact that I'm a MUN-er) or because I have no talent at writing, so I use long, convoluted sentences, because I cannot express my thoughts succinctly (but that is for another post). But please, don't take all I just wrote and think that I have major issues with the book. It's only two parts, and they're quite minor. It's just for me, my heritage, and my view on work are issues close to my heart.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

I feel terrible now that...

... now that I realised that I didn't reply to someones comment.

I had some time today (3 day break between papers), so I was looking through some old posts. And I realised that someone called Andrew Boyle actually wrote a comment here that I didn't see and so, didn't reply to (it's a very bad habit, I always take time to reply) And because I'm not using a google account for blogspot (I'm using my yahoo account), I can't find a way to reply (._.). So here goes (if still reads this blog that is):

Yup, I do like reading classics like Anna Karenina, because I really love Tolstoy (I find Dovestoky, sorry about the spelling, harder to understand though...) And I really don't read quickly, it's a mistaken impression that somehow a lot of people form.

So anyways, this random and unplanned post was just for this, as well as to say that in the future, I'll try to reply to all (if any) comments as fast as possible.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


Today, I figured I'd take a break from studying and posting reviews to post some pictures, with minor comments beneath (context is important after all)
 A Snapshot of my Malaysia Library. It's where some books go to die I mean, it's where books that don't have a chance of being read in Singapore get a second lease of life. Plus, it's also where my much-loved childhood books go to because of a lack of space (Can you see the Enid Blyton titles?)
Studying for English Paper 2. There's actually one more book, The God Of Small Things (or GOST as my class calls it), but frankly, I'm not familiar enough with the book to write about it. Plus, I don't like it that much (I don't like Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse either). My favourite of the four is still Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha by Roddy Doyle, it's a deeply engaging and moving book.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


"See better, Lear, and let me still remain/
The true blank of thine eye"

King Lear Act One Scene One (The Arden Shakespear Edition)

Great stuff. I defy anyone who disagrees about the timelessness of Shakespear.

Today, I wore my new glasses properly for the first time (I got it on Monday), and even though I was already wearing glasses, I was struck at how clear everything was (again). My degree had slowly gotten worse such that I didn't realise how blur my world became. It really reminds me of Gloucester's situation, where he had metaphorical and literal blindness.

Anyway, I meant to say, I just read a new book that really opened my eyes (metaphorically). If everything goes according to plan, I should get a post up by Friday on IntoTheBook. I would post again sooner, but I have exams, and I really need to think through this first.

P.S I just checked and it seems like they've already reviewed this book, so I suppose I will just be posting here(:

Monday, September 12, 2011

Never Hit A Jellyfish with a Spade by Guy Browning

I'm not sure where my genius-of-a-friend Rachel gets her books. After looking at the books she has, I feel like mine are so boring. She has cool books about cats and them taking over the world (well, something like that), and I have... Anna Karenina (I love that book though).

Because I've been banned from borrowing books from the library *coughfinalexamscough*, I've resorted to:

a. Borrowing from kind friends
b. Buying more books (which has already started to hurt me financially)

Well, this state of affairs cannot continue, but on the bright side, in less than 2 months, I'll be free to go to the library. Till then, I guess I'll have to continue borrowing books and try my best to keep away from places that sell books.

Well, so one of the brilliant books that Rachel lent me was "Never Hit A Jellyfish With A Spade: How to Survive Life's Smaller Challenges" by Guy browning. The book is a satirical take on life (the tone is such that there's no way you can believe that it's a serious manual), although the humour is very British.

The testament to how effective this book is, is that Euphe, who hardly reads anything other than Sarah Dessen (I can't believe it took me till last year, or was it two years ago? to recommend that to her), when I asked her to read the first chapter, just continued reading.

In fact, when I tried to recommend some particular chapter, she actually brushed me off to continue reading in sequence. That's a rare occasion, and really, a good book is one that can get a non-reader to read.

There is, however, one flaw with the book: The humour at times, can be very crude. Some sections, like "How to be religious" is quite offensive (at least, it doesn't talk specifically about Christianity, but that's not much of a balm) and should be skipped altogether. In fact, the entire love section, which is on "Love and Marriage" should be skipped because it promotes the wrong types of values; not to mention that it is the section where the humour is the crudest (mostly because of the subject matter).

I'm quite interested in looking for more of Guy Browning's books. So far, Littered with Books doesn't have it (although they have other fantastic looking humour books), but I think a big store like Kinokuniya will have it. I do know, that he has published other books, and if they're anything like this one, then I will definitely be entertained.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

How we show ourselves

I really love sharing parts of books I read, but sometimes, there's nothing much to say about the book (for one reason or the other), so from now, I'm going to start posting quotes which has moved me in one way or the other.

"Perhaps we reveal ourselves too much in the small things because we have so little of the great to conceal. The tiny incidents of daily routine are as much a commentary of racial ideals as the highest flight of philosophy or order".

From: The Book of Tea by Kakuro Okakura, Project Gutenberg Version

Monday, September 5, 2011

Booktracks and other stuff

Incidentally, I'm going to add Mong's tumblr to the site links. Although for some reason, I related to Amanda's writing more, Mong feels more poetic somehow. And he's the most literary person I know (even if he does like to troll people). I don't know if I'll keep in touch with AC people after IB (these two years, quite frankly, weren't the best), but the writing's too good to ignore. Besides, the reason I even thought of going onto Tumblr was because of him. But the reblogging thing still puts me off.

Anyway, the main topic of this post is supposed to be a review of Booktracks. If you've been reading other sites/blogs about reading/literature, you'll probably have come across Booktracks. For the uninitiated, booktracks is simply another way to read books: by adding appropriate soundtracks. So far, they've released several new books on iTunes (like Hansel and Gretel, The Selfish Giant, etc). So far, I've downloaded all the free books (only one, which is not a classic, isn't free)

I've got to say though, the soundtracks, to me, aren't very impressive. I understand that the longest one, The Power of Six is supposed to be the best, but the others, like Sherlock Holmes, don't make much of an impression. But I must admit, it's probably my fault. The nice thing about Booktracks is that you can take a test for your reading speed. Unfortunately, even when it's at the maximum speed (700 words/min), it's still too slow for me. Hence, I regretfully cannot appreciate the soundtracks because I'm way too fast.

On a side note (it's more of a complete digression), I've just signed up for Dropbox (thanks Amanda!), and I've got to say, "Why only 2GB free?". I don't foresee myself using it that much after all.... Maybe I will, since I have to go to Japan, but maybe not (If I can find the photos of 107E, I will though). But ok, actually, the main point was: They have the clearest terms and conditions I've read so far. It's not in legalese or any of the fancy dissertations that make me turn off, which is why I actually finished reading it. They really should be copied, because making your terms of service accessible to the common reader is the best way to let your users know about their rights under the program/service/etc