Saturday, March 30, 2013

Popular Bookstore Book Fair in One Utama

While I was in One Utama a couple of days ago, I found out that Popular Book Fair is on in the ground floor foyer of the old wing.  It will be on from 26 - 31 March 2013.

If it's the same as what I have been to, you will find some good deals but most of the bestsellers will probably be going for only 25% to 30% markdown.

I didn't get to go as I was in a hurry to grab lunch before another round of meeting in the office.

Well, there's still one more day to go, so if you have nothing else to read, you might like to consider dropping by for a book or two.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Recent found

While doing some spring cleaning at my 'old' home recently, I found these two books. They were kept in a storage cabinet and if memory serves me right, they were among a box of books given to me by a friend many, many years ago.  Needless to say, I have not read them.

A Long Long Way by Sebastian Barry is about a soldier fighting the first world war.  Constantinople - The Last Great Seige is a historic account on the emperor Constantine.  These two books are all uncorrected proof.  

Both books are in trade paperback.  I just loved the covers of both books.  While one is almost greyish and void of any colour, the other is just busting with strong vibrant colours.  While one is photo of a battlefield, the other is a painting of a city on fire. Both about wars but wars that took place about 500 years apart.  I wonder what other similarities would I find in both of these books.

I brought the books home with me and have placed them in their rightful place in my shelf and will wait for the right time to see what they have to offer me.

They, for one, I would think, would be glad to be out of storage. :)

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Rose of Fire by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

I am currently reading The Angel's Game. It's the second bestseller by Carlos Ruiz Zafon (book #1 being The Shadow of The Wind) , a top Spanish writer and no, am not reading it in Espanol. The English version of the story was translated by Lucia Graves.  More about The Angel's Game another time.

For this post, I want to share with you a short story entitled Rose of Fire, also written by Carlos Ruiz Zafon.  I read this story from my tablet as it is available in electronic format which you can download for free. 

Rose of Fire trace the origin of Cementery of Forgotten Books.  If you have read Carlos Ruiz Zifon's works, you would know what Cementery of Forgotten Books is.  It's a place, hidden and also known to a few people, where one can hide a book and where one can find a book that has been hidden by someone else.   You can say it is a place where books go for their eternal rest.  However, upon being granted entry by the guardian, one can choose a book to bring home to but more often than not, it's the book that choose the owner rather than the other way around.

Anyway, while Cementery of Forgotten Books is featured prominently in both The Shadow of The Wind and in Angel's Games and will also be featured in book #3 entitled Prisoner of Heaven, it's origin was never mention.  

That's where Rose of Fire comes into the picture.  It shares with reader it's history, who commissioned it, when it was built and how it came about and how it's here to stay.

It was good knowing its background and if you attention to how the story begins, it gives you an idea of the ending to The Angel's Game  which I really hope to share it with you in my next post.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Chicken Soup, anyone?

Are you a fan of the Chicken Soup series?

I'm sure you know that I'm referring to the book and not the delicious chicken soup that comes from your kitchen.:)   I was and I guess, am still a fan.  It was my aim at one time to have a complete collection of the chicken soup series.  That was way back in the late 90s.  After that, the series kinda got out of control (in my opinion).  Now, there are just way too many titles (more than 200 over) and I think it's not meant for one to 'collect' such books, anyway.  Most of the titles are rather focus and directed at only those with specific issues or concerns so there's not much point there for a collection.

While in the early days, it was just Chicken Soup for The Soul or For Man or Woman, now the titles have extended to titles such as Chicken Soup for teens, for pre-teens, for adopted kids, for baseball fans, for cat lover, for gardener, etc.  Basically, if you have a need or an issue, there would be a book for you.

Compiled, initially by Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen, there are now more involved in the series.  Each book would have about a hundred or so short stories or sometimes poem that motivates, comforts and brings out that emotions that need to be attended to.

Like a bowl of hot steaming chicken soup which is the home remedy for when you are sick, the Chicken Soup for the Soul Series serves the same purpose but more a remedy for the heart.  It is meant to bring comfort, healing, to mend, to allow closure through this sharing so that at then end f the bowl(book) of Chicken Soup, one would feel good and comforted.

Everyone needs a Chicken Soup now and then.  A book for different seasons of our lives and the different issues we deal with.  I have four books but I can't find the forth one.  The ones shown here are Chicken Soup for the Soul at Work (my first copy), Chicken Soup for Couple's Soul and Chicken Soup for Expectant Mother's Soul.

Monday, March 11, 2013

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

Synopsis :

Bilbo Baggins was a hobbit who wanted to be left alone in quiet comfort. But the wizard Gandalf came along with a band of homeless dwarves.  Soon Bilbo was drawn into their quest facing evil orcs, savage wolves, giant spider and unknown dangers.

Finally, it was Bilbo - alone and unaided - who had to confront the great dragon Smaug, the terror of an entre countryside!  This stirring adventure fantasy begins the tale of the hobbits that was continued by J.R.R. Tolkiens in his bestselling epic, The Lord of the Rings.

So, that's what The Hobbit is all about.  I must say, I really enjoyed reading it and already am thinking of re-reading it sometime in the future.  I must first admit that I am not a Tolkienite, neither am I a Ringer or whatever you use to describe fans of J.R.R. Tolkien.

However, I did enjoy the Trilogy of The Rings (the movie) but I have yet to watch the movie of the same title by Peter Jackson so I really approached the book with totally no expectation at all.  After reading it, I must say I am looking forward now to The Hobbit movie and really hope that Peter Jackson stay as true to the book as much as possible.

I saw the trailer of the movie and I must say  I can't wait to watch the first time Bilbo met the thirteen dwarves and Thorin Oakenshield looks rather kingly in the movie (he was quite comical in some way in the book!) I can't wait for the battle in Misty Mountain, the battle with the orcs, the goblins, the riddle between Bilbo and Gollum, the encounter with the giant spider, the prison in the Kingdom of the Elvenking, the attack of Smaug, splendour of the Arkenstone and all the riches in the Lonely Mountain and most of all the final battle that ends it all.

If you say you like The Hobbit the movie, do try to read The Hobbit the book. Nothing beats the original work by the master himself.  You will be blown away by such enchanting and majestic tale that stands the test of time.

Monday, March 4, 2013

The Gatecrasher by Madeleine Wickham

Synopsis :

Everything’s coming up roses for Fleur Daxeny, as she goes through more rich men than she does designer hats.  Beautiful and utterly irresistible, her success at crashing funerals to find wealthy men is remarkable.  

Fleur wastes no time in seducing her latest conquest, the handsome and rich widower Richard Favour.  His children are caught up in a whirlwind as their father’s new girlfriend descends on the family estate.  Fleur is not one to wear her heart on her Chanel sleeves, but she soon finds herself embracing Richard and his family.  But just as Fleur contemplates jumping off the gold-digger train for good, a long-buried secret from her past threatens to destroy her new family.

Madeleine Wickham is the same person as Sophie Kinsella, who wrote the Shopaholic Series of which I have a love hate relationship.  However, it was more love than hate so I have been looking forward to what Madeleine Wickham’s work as I quite expect the same standard of wit, humour and depth of her characters as Sophie’s.  Such, my level of excitement towards this book was rather high when I have the opportunity to purchase one recently.

I only need one word to describe how I felt after reading – disappointed.  I won't say much about how different it is from Sophie Kinsella's work as I do expect it to be different. Otherwise, why would she use a different name?  No, the disappointment is more of how absurb and lacklustre the story is and how the characters lack depth and breath and how totally unbeliever the ending is.

The plot in general was quite cute and has substance but somehow as the story develops, it seems to have lost it's potential.  I can see what drives Fleur to do what she does and it's not true as stated in the synopsis that she contemplates jumping off the gold-digger train for good.  She contemplates leaving Richard because he doesn't fit into the whole scheme of what Fleur wants to become.  She never considers his family her new family.  In fact, I don't think she cares much for Richard's children Philippa and Antony at all.  

The only saving character is Zara, Fleur's daughter.  She's the only one I was rooting for and at thirteen or is it fourteen, she is much grown up beyond her age having followed her mother all these years on her schemes.
I won't actually recommend that you read this unless you really don't mind wasting your time.