Hello, I know I said I’ll be getting on with my stories but I just can’t resist this! There’s just so much I have to tell about my summer holiday even though it was pretty much eventless (if that’s a word) for most days. The things that entertained me, as I said, were movies and books. And sleep. Sleep is definitely the most entertaining activity in the whole world. This time, the review will be of books I’ve read over the summer, and before summer. Whoopee. So here is the list of the books as well as the comments (SPOILERS WARNING!):
- To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee: I assume everyone of you know this book or have at least heard of it. If you haven’t then this is a brief summary of what this classic is about: family, friendship, truth, innocence and justice. The story was in the point of view of a woman, Jean Louise “Scout” Finch, who’s recalling the days when she was still a girl, and the moments she was recalling was that of the events that lead up to the accusation of Tom Robinson, a black man accused of rape, and the aftermath. The story was set in Maycomb, a peaceful “tired old town” in Alabama. I’ve read reviewsabout it in the internet, saying it was a great piece of story and very moving – seems like they were right. Since we get to see through Scout’s eyes as a little girl who knew nothing of the law systems and seems to be oblivious to the dangers around her, we can pretty much relate to her throughout the book. The plot of the story was really good because it gives us an overview of how life was back then and the prejudy that was heavily present between the black people and the white people. The theme people-is-not-as-what-they-seem was always present, so as to tell people that we shouldn’t judge people by race, looks, reputation and what-nots. It was an inspirational piece of work, I’d say.
- No Second Chance by Harlan Coben: In this story, we get to see the struggles of a surgeon/father, Dr. Marc Seidman, in finding his kidnapped baby daughter after his house had been attacked and his wife murdered. The story mainly revolves around the family, trust and crime themes, as seen at the various times Marc had mysterious encounters with the kidnappers, his emphasises on his hopes on getting his daughter back alive, the FBI’s distrust of Marc because of their suspicions and the behind-the-scenes side plot where we get to see what the bad guys were doing whilst Marc was running around chasing his own tail. Seriously, the criminals were too smart and the FBI was too busy accusing Marc (pfft! Isn’t thatwhat they always do? Suspect the victims?). There was a lot of actions in this book, such as chasing cars and shooting, because that’s what crime is about (if I’m not wrong). I must admit that the ending made me cringe in the inside – I was reading it in class and I nearly cried out in anguish at what I found out. If you want some drama-crime novel, here’s a suggestion for you.
- Mockingbird by Katherine Erskine: It’s not even closely related to To Kill A Mockingbird but there are refferences of the novel in this book. Through the point of view of a girl with Asperger’s syndrome, we get to see how Caitlin Ann Smith (the protagonist) and her father cope with the loss of Caitlin’s brother in a school shooting. It was interesting because we get to see how Caitlin’s mind works, like how she precieves objects and situations and how she handled them, as well as her emotions and her ability to sense other people’s emotions. The people in the story seemed to be considerate about Caitlin’s condition, but then again there were people who didn’t understand her views and this often lead to conflict. We get to understand how it felt like to be an outcast because of your disability and because no one understands you, and this novel really touched me. We get a happy ending, thankfully, because Caitlin and her father really needed that. The themes of this book includes family, friendship, loss, grief and closure. Really, very touching.
- The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald: I’ve reviewed the movie for this book but in case you haven’t read that one yet, then here’s what the story is about: a really charming and rich guy – that would be Jay Gatsby – who has been in love with some dumb beauty – that’s Daisy Buchanan – attempts to reconcile with her, even though he knows that she’s already married to Tom Buchanan and has a daughter. And this whole story is seen through the eyes of Nick Carraway, Daisy’s cousin and Gatsby’s neighbour, and the third wheel who would always find himself in the most inconvenient situations. If someone was to ask me how the plot was, I’d say it’s pretty dumb. A dumb stage with dumb ballerinas making dumb pirouettes and all. Gatsby’s dumb. Daisy’s dumb. Everyone’s dumb. Everything’s dumb. And yet, that’s what makes the novel so interesting. Call me a sadist, but I liked it when Gatsby and Daisy struggled through their love – it was entertaining. if Romeo and Juliet is at the top of my “Stupidest and Cheesiest Stories Ever”, this one here would be number 2 or something. Here’s one very cheesy romance novel for you, if you’re into it.
- The Enchantress by Michael Scott: The sixth and final book of The Secrets of The Immortal Nicholas Flammel series. I started reading this series two years ago, when I coincidentally found the first book in a bookshop in Singapore. Let’s just say that this series is one of those crazy fantasy/mythology series kids love to read these days. It follows the twins, Sophie and Josh Newman, who one day were swept into the magical world of escaping from evil villains and monsters and coming to terms with their magical abilities, all credits to the immortal Nicholas Flammel and his wife, Perenelle. Oh, look – it’s Harry Potter all over again. At first, I thought that Nicholas Flammel was really cool and all, with the alchemy and stuff. However, I then found out that he and his wife were just as much of a douche as the villains were, but without the murderous and destructive reputation. Despite that, some of the characters here are pretty bland in terms of their siding; they’re either really good or really bad. There are some people who surprised me in the series but of course, they’re the main characters – they need to be amazing and all. Despite my distaste for cliche storylines and characters, I still stuck with this series until the end (unlike the I Am Number Four series, which I abandoned on the second book because the characters were impossibly strong and invincible, and yeah, I hate easy wins). So here’s your dose of fantasy – enjoy!
- The Time Keeper by Mitch Albom: It’s a very inspirational piece of work that will make you stay up all night and think about it again and again. I even checked the genre of this novel and it said “inspirational novel”. The structure of the novel was alien to me, but I went through just fine because it’s not like it was written up-side down and mirrored. The story is about how God had punished Father Time for being the first person to measure time (because of this, the people on Earth always worry about time). When Father Time’s jail period was over, he was tasked to come down to Earth and help two people: a teenage girl who wants to die and a dying elderly businessman who wants to live forever. Can you see where this is going? Still, it’s amazing through and through. If this book was a person, he would have been a world-wide inspiration figure who would have billions of Facebook fan pages and clubs. And not to mention his own TV show and entertainment franchise. If you need a push in your life (basically,if you feel like your life is just full of crap), then read this book.
- Divergent and Insurgent by Veronica Roth: I read this book because the girls in my school have been carrying it around and I became curious as to what it was about. I thought it’ll be like any other young adult novels – you know, the “Hey! I’m the awesome hero/heroine who is the centre of everyone’s attention! Oh, and I also get to have a really hot girlfriend/boyfriend and we’re so in love! And did I mention I am so invincible that it would take the whole world to touch my toe?” kind of novel. Yes, the novel contains some of those elements, but I just love the cold-hearted murders and tortures and how some characters were just inhumane. What it’s about? Some girl (Beatrice Prior) who is on her march with a revolution gang to destroy the evil systems of her city. And yes, she has a boyfriend – and he’s said to be really hot. And yes, there are scenes where she’s depicted as more powerful than her other puny friends. But, as the sadist that I am, I still read the series because of the murders. Mwahahaha! If you’ve finished The Hunger Games trilogy and/or The Mortal Instruments series and you liked it, you may want to read this one.
Well, that’s a pretty long list! Or not, depending on who you are.
So, how many books have you read this summer? What were those books? What books will you consider reading?
After I watched “Man of Steel”, I went to the book section in this supermarket (I still think it’s weird that they sell books and food together) and I found the greatest classic section ever. There were lots of Jules Verne books like “Around the World in 80 Days” and other young adult novels, except I don’t really read young adult novels except for the “Hunger Games” trilogy, which I read out of curiosity and interest. I had planned on buying three classics, but my dad insisted that I should buy a book by Sidney Sheldon. I didn’t know who he was but after some background research, he was an Academy Award-winning fiction crime-thriller novelist that had a 20-year period of successful career. He died on 30th January 2007 at the age of 89 from pneumonia. Since I’m also interested in crime books (a thing I discovered after reading “No Second Chance” by Harlan Coben, which I thought was brilliant), I decided to grab one of his books, “Windmills of the Gods”.
The edition of “No Second Chance” that I have. A great book, it is.
Aside from Sheldon’s book, I also took “20 000 Leagues Under the Sea” by Jules Verne and the last copy of “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald. I know about “20 000 Leagues Under the Sea” from a passage I read in Year 7 for a comprehension practice, and I liked Captain Nemo’s traits after reading the extract about the attack by the sea monster. I know about “The Great Gatsby” when I was browsing the internet about the greatest books ever written. I stumbled upon the name, did some background research and thought about reading the said book. I enjoyed Fitzgerald’s short story “The Mysterious Case of Benjamin Button” because it was weird but sweet at the same time – I watched the movie before reading the story, by the way. Then, the Baz Luhrmann version of “The Great Gatsby” came out and then I saw the trailers and listened to the soundtracks – the songs were all beautiful, especially “Young and Beautiful” by Lana Del Rey and “Over the Love” by Florence + the Machine – and I just really want to read the book. Then I saw that lonely copy of the famed novel on the shelf, and I took it without hesitation. I can’t wait to read it! In fact, I can’t wait to read all of my three new books!
So, what books did you just get? What will you read this summer, or are currently reading? Do you think the book is good, or is the book you’re reading good?
In English class today, I was really bored and was browsing through the textbook pages when I found a short – and I repeat, short – story called The Scarlatti Tilt. We were going to move onto the Short Stories unit next week, anyway (we just finished the Article Writing) so I guess it’s not a bad thing to take a sneak peek. I can’t wait to write short stories! Yay!
So the story is very short, and I mean it. It’s really short that even book haters can read it in less than a minute. Here it is:
The Scarlatti Tilt
“It’s very hard to live in a studio apartment in San Jose with a man who’s learning to play the violin.” That’s what she told the police when she handed them the empty revolver.
Very short, right? The story only contains two sentences: a dialogue and another sentence. Even though the story is very short, it does have story elements such as characters, setting, plot, conflict and ending. Interesting, isn’t it? To have everything you want to know given out in just two sentences is just genius and beautiful! You can clearly see that the story is about a woman who lives in a studio apartment in San Jose with a neighbour, a man who’s learning to play the violin. It’s clear that she shot the man because she hates the sounds the violin makes and the police apprehended her, and the story was told during the time she’s faced with the police. We also know that the woman is, if not slightly, crazy. The choice of vocabulary here makes the story complete even though it’s stub – you know what I mean, right?
After doing some research on the internet, I found out that the author of this story is Richard Brautigan. Truthfully, I’ve never heard of him but judging from comments about him and bloggers’ reviews on his stories, he’s actually a famous and good author. His stories include genres like black comedy, parody and satire, and his best well-known novel was Trout Fishing in America published in 1967. I’ve never read any satire novels but I’ve read some black comedy so I might as well try to read some of his books.
I stated reading the His Dark Materials trilogy last week and it was really good. I first heard about it in my English lesson, when we were discussing on how writers get their readers’ attention and stuff. My English teacher said that the book was really good – they even had a film made for the first book, The Golden Compass (the book was called The Northern Lights in the UK/original version).
So when I was looking around the Book Fair, I saw the first and third book but there was no second book. Since I don’t want anybody to buy it before me, I bought the first and third. I asked the dude in charge and he said he’ll check if he had the second book. I was also searching for some translated manga in the book fair – because they usually sell stuff like Bleach, Rave and Katekyo Hitman Reborn – but they didn’t sell them.
Unfortunately, they don’t have any of it so I guess after I finish the first book, I’ll have to find a way to get my hands on the second book… and fast!
Starting next Thursday will be the spring holiday! You know what this means? I’m going to have plenty of time to post blogs! I’m dying to tell you guys about lots of stuff, like the blue laundry incident… nevermind…
Anyway, you know allkpop.com? It’s a website about all sorts of news about Korean. There is a Japanese website focusing on J-Pop too, called tokyohive.com. I was curious about Japanese media (I’m only interested in manga and anime) so I went to check it out. Let’s be honest – I don’t really like the Japanese singers. Whenever they sing, it sound anime-ish and the way they perform was also too cute. I don’t know what you guys think about J-Pop but I’m still rooting for K-Pop.
I don’t mean to be hater though; I still love Japanese culture and stuff (yay, manga!) but let’s face it – they act like cartoons. I’d like to see a J-Pop singer performing like a “real person” for once, with no frilly dresses or over-the-top attempts on being cute. Don’t stop making awesome manga and anime! We ❤ Japan!
Moving on, I’ve been thinking about this for a while now: I want a pen pal. We were talking about it in English lesson and I thought, “That must be real nice~”. I’d like to have an e-mail-exchange friend that I could tell my stories to, but then I remembered that you guys are my pen pals, because I tell you my stories and such.
Also, I heard Private Peaceful (a book by Michael Morpurgo) is going to be made into a film! OMG OMG OMG! I really love that book! Although my first Michael Morpurgo book was Escape from Shangri-La, I love Private Peaceful the most! The cast for Tommo was… well, I don’t know who the actor is (never heard of him, never seen him) but I have great faith in him. I’m also waiting for The Hunger Games to come out at March. I can’t wait!
I was fiddling around with my blog and suddenly found a page that enables you to change the layout for your theme. Now, the sidebar’s back! I’m just so happy I could see the calendar again!
Yeah, and there’s another thing; I heard Incarceron was going to be made into a film. I was really happy (like, really really happy and stuff) but then I also heard rumours that Finn – the main character – was going to be played by Taylor Lautner. He looks nothing like what I imagined Finn to be! In my mind, Finn had messy dark brown hair and chocolate brown eyes, with a nice build (because he does some stealing and running away) and not too tall, about the average height – whenever I see Taylor Lautner, I couldn’t help but see Jacob.
Also, I heard Claudia was going to be Claudia, the daughter of the Warden of Incarceron. She’s pretty, yes, and I think she’ll be a great Claudia; she matches the Claudia in my mind perfectly. I really want to see the scene when Claudia barges into the hall, furious because of her dad’s selfish decisions, and the scene when Claudia and Finn communicate with the crystal keys.
I want to see Keiro, Atia, Gildas, Jared and the Warden, too. If there are any updates, I’ll be the first one to hunt it down!
Recently, I’ve been hearing about this book called The Hunger Games and people – including my friends – said that it’s really good. So, me and my friend, Wendy, watched the movie trailer and we were like: “Oh my god! That was awesome! I want to read it right now!” And that’s how I’m really depressed right now…
I can’t find the book anywhere, not even in the school library, and my friend said she read it but she was borrowing from her friend, which I don’t even know, so of course it would be awkward to ask a stranger to lend me their book. So… if you guys know where I could read it online or have the PDF file or something like that, please tell me A.S.A.P.! I really want to read the book!
By the way, I have Safe and Sound by Taylor Swift, the soundtrack for the movie… (hehehe)