War and Peace

April 29, 2014

So I was talking to my friend from the US this morning. She’s taking an accounting paper next month and has been busy studying. She does not really like accounting but has to do this for career progression sake. Along this lines, we started talking about books which should be read simple because.

Being in the US, she has read many Shakespeare. I of course have not. 

I remember after Form 6, I made myself sit down and attempt the book War and Peace. It was the 2nd time I took this book out of the bookcase. And I vowed not to put it back till I read up to the last page.

It was a book that belonged to  my parents, hence it was old. I had to turn the pages carefully. And I did keep to it until I finished the book. I remember there was a conversation in the middle of the book from one of the aristocratic sons to another that I really loved. And I read and reread that same page many times.

But to this day, I cannot remember the story of War and Peace. Fact is I don’t really like war stories anyway. And history has never been appealing to me, which made this historical based book even harder to complete.

So, after my friend’s exam, we have said we will read Iliad together. For now, she has recommended Fahrenheit 451 which from the synopsis looks intriguing. Let me get started. At least this book is only some 70 odd pages long.

Books

May 21, 2013

Decided to blog about the books I have read and am reading this year. Only starting this this year given I will not remember what I have read the year before.

Read and finished the 3 books of Fifty Shades. It was very liberating to finish the 3rd book since there is some closure in the final book. And also to be released from the grasp of Shades. Never in the light, now requiring to shun the darkness.  Being grey is always alluring and yet discomforting.

Went on to The Road. I felt and yet distanced myself from The Road, which you should never do to fully experience what was intended in this book. I read comments after which on this book and only then realised how affected you could get with that journey they took. The ending was a surprise. A little sad but in keeping with the book, it was real.

Just finished The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Just realised there are 2 other books to this series. Most told me it was gruesome but there was little description in this book I would consider un-readable. Fifty Shades had more parts I literally skipped due to my inability to contain it. The middle section was a page turner for me. A long time since I had such an engaging book.

Reading The Reader now. Realising I have watched the movie. So description of certain scenes come back vividly in my head. I rather prefer I would think now to read a book before watching the movie. Imagination is so much better than memory.

Jesus, My Father, The CIA, and Me: A Memoir…of Sorts by Ian Cron

June 27, 2011

Truth be told, I have never really been a fan of memoirs and autobiographies. But the title of this book was so intriguing I had to take a peek. Thanks to Booksneeze for the complimentary copy. The book speaks volumes in the title itself. It is really all about the life of Ian, the author, as much as he can remember it, thus being called a memoir. And with as much truth as a creative writer would allow it, thus it being ‘of sorts’.

Ian tells of his childhood being with an alcoholic father. How he dealt with it at every stage in his life right till after his father’s death. He relates how alcohol affected not only his lack of having a father but his life directly. And at the end of it all why his father was who he was. He tells us about his mum. What kind of mother she was. And what kind of grandmother she turned out to be. He tells us about the nanny he had. How she looked and how she acted. And the role she played in his life throughout the years. He writes some bits about his siblings, his model sister and his brothers.

I cried and laughed; I nodded my head in agreement and felt realization in my heart and so much of what Ian wrote. I love the simplicity of the words he has used. The short sentences and the amount of truth it still weighed. It is a book I would treasure and recommend to anyone. It is a book I would keep for my kids to read.

Heart of Ice by Lis Wiehl and April Henry

June 1, 2011

If you are into crime, this is a book for you. It circles around 3 friends – Allison a federal prosecuter, Nicole a FBI agent and Cassidy a TV journalist – who come together not only because of their friendship but their similiarity in their work. In the initial part of the book, we find them discussing a current case. However, this case is not the main focus of the book. There is another case that builds up as the book progresses.  

This is not the kind of book which leaves you wondering who the killer is. The bad people are known from the start. It does however leave you in suspense as to how the bad people are going to be found out.

In the case of Heart of Ice, the bad person is an Elizabeth, who on the outside is your typical gal. Good looking, well toned, doing well, handsome boyfriend. However, we soon learn how much a sociopath she is. And how she cleverly plays on the weaknesses of people and manipulates them into doing what she wants.

Each of the ladies has a character which almost everyone can relate to. And so the issues in the book become almost personal, depending on which character relates to you best.

I would definitely recommend this book to everyone who loves a good crime thriller. Thanks so much to Booksneeze for the complimentary copy. I will definitely be looking out for more of Lis Wiehl’s books.

Time Traveller’s Wife

September 24, 2010

If the unknown became known.

Yet what is known can never be altered.

Would the unknown be a burden or a joy?

If the pass could become the present

Would we live more in the past

Where things are certain

More than we live in the present

Where our fate still lies on periphery

Of things better or things worse.

Would we be complacent knowing

The known cannot be the unknown?

Night of Many Dreams

September 4, 2010

Just finished the book Night of Many Dreams by Gail Tsukiyama.  Bought it at RM17.90 at BookXcess.

A good book. Easy read. Simple storyline.

It’s a book about change. A book about strength. A book about chasing dreams. A book about family ties. A book that binds. A book that makes you realise.

It’s a good book. At the end of it, I think about my family. And I think about where I am. And I think about how I got here. And I think about what kind of parent I hope to be.

It’s a book that leaves you thinking and feeling. And not just only satisfied that you have finished a good book.

Religious Regret?

June 26, 2010

My kids will grow under Christian teachings, seeing that hubby and I are both of similar faith. But it was not always the case for us. We both became Christians only at a later stage in life.

So, I am not sure if I can say it is with regret that my kids will not suffer the same traditions I was subject to in my youth.

I use to dread Chinese New Year eve, not only becuase I am a girl and was expected to help with the cooking and mountainous cleaning. But also when the clock striked 10pm, sis and I had to change into some presentable clothing (which meant long jeans) and follow my dad around Malacca town on FOOT to visit temple after temple. My dad was an adventurer who believed a town can only be fully appreciated when seen on FOOT! 

So, without fail we would put on our sneakers and begin our ancestory trail.

I remember wishing for my menses during this time only because that would mean I would not have to light up the big bundle of incense. Having to struggle and push amongst several other people who had open pores due to the heat and were pouring sweat in litres. Or to dodge from some of those who had successfully set to fire their incense and didn’t have the sense to carry that huge ball of flame above their heads away from eye level!

And having the much noted stomach ache that came would also bring upon some sympathy as to the long walk home. However, this benefitted mum and sis as well without them having to suffer the real inconvinience.

We did this year in year out. It was our family Chinese New Year tradition.

When my dad stood up in church one day proclaiming himself a Christian, this tradition ended. And in it ending with him, my kids will never experience this in its entirety.

Yes, we can go visit a temple, though whether I would subject myself to it again is yet to be known. But they willn ever need to light incense andstruggle among BO sticky people. Neither would they go from altar to altar asking for future results yet unknown. It would be a concept totally alien to them.

Goodness me, they might not even need to take the heritage route on foot knowing my hubby’s inclination.

So, it is actually TWO less experiences of mine that my kids will not go through. I am not sure I can say it is without regret that my kids will not suffer the same traditions I was subject to in my youth.

I reckon going through that religious stage and then becoming a Christian makes the change in spirituality more significant.

What do we do?

December 8, 2009

I am on leave yet again. This time unplanned so I have no serial to latch on to. I have no car. Hubby has taken it. So, I am basically stuck at home trying to find something useful to fill up my time.

I am so done with house cleaning and clothes cleaning. Which is why I am stuck in this chair and not walking about the house. Truth be told if I start to walk, my chores are endless. Like right now, the fishes are swimming in murky water.

Which by the way did you know that some fishes’ poop are actually heavier than others? And the heavier they are, the less murky the water will become since it sinks to the bottom and will not get stirred up as easily.

But, where was I?

Oh yes. The nothing to do, nothing much to write stage. Trying to think of a story to write but really I write well only through life experiences.

And right now my experiences in life are 1) how to change a diaper for a struggling child or even 2) how to wear a diaper when the child refuses to lie down. 3) How to get your naughty kid to wash his poop filled bum instead of rolling all over your clean sheets.

I don’t think you would want to read about anything like that, now, would you?

Motherhood. It sure isn’t all it is cut out to be.

Trust Oprah of course to find one mother who writing about her experiences made it rich. Makes you feel even worse. With all that so called writing skill, I can’t even do that !

And look at that mother whose mother inlaw takes care of one kid and the maid taking care of the other. Look at her jet setting around the world. And going where this year? Where in the world do you find the cash? And what brand of a handbag is that?

And not to pour cold water over warm milk but in my hand is warm milk while in that woman’s hand is some cold drink. And she sips it while talking about some new hotel in town. Whilst I hold the baby botel in one hand trying to catch snatches of whatever the rest of the party at my table are bragging about. And I am thirsty too, which is really not the reason why I am not opening my mouth to contribute to the conversation.  They say best to keep quiet rather than well, proof that you are indeed dumb. And I am not even blond!

Oh! And did I tell you I am the world’s most rotten friend now. The last time I met up with my best friend was in hospital when I delivered my son. Great social place huh! And my son is now 2 years a some months. And my other best friend who always calls me when she came down to KL now no longer calls me. She instead subtly tells me that she is ill and that some good friends are bringing her dinner when I do decide one day to call her and see how she is doing.

My cell phone has become a hotline instead for the kindergarten teacher and loansharks. I wonder why I even bothered getting a phone for the house!

So I am in a rut. Motherhood is about being in a rut?

Life becomes a monotonuous cycle, marriage becomes a familiarity and the big question is what if your kids turn out not as well as that woman who travelled the world or the one who sipped cold drinks or even the one who had regular sex?

I mean, that could happen you know. From where do we get our solace from?

Now, I think I should get off my bum and walk about the house. Idle words make for nothing.

On Chesil Beach

July 21, 2009

A simple concept, if not a taboo one.

A fear, if not an unspoken one.

A good ending, if not a sad one.

Excellent choice of words, if not a shuddering one.

A good book, if not a short one.

***

Sex is nothing, lust is everything, the act of it careless in comparison to how McEwan words it.  Where it stands and how it is, is less and more of what anyone would care to admit.

But this is not what puzzles me with this book. Why am I please with the way it ended? Even when it was not the fairytale ending.

It is perhaps the lack of seriousness by two in a moment gone wrong that can result in more dire results.

A maverick, this McEwan.

Love missed, life lessens….ahhh….the What Ifs in life….

Tennyson from New Dawn

June 12, 2009

There is sweet music here that softer falls

Than petals from blown roses on the grass,

Or night-dews on still waters between walls

Of shadowy granite, in a gleaming pass;

Music that gentlier on the spirit lies,

Than tir’d eyelids upon tir’d eyes;

Music that brings sweet sleep down from the blissful skies.

Here are cool mosses deep,

And thro’ the moss the ivies creep,

And in the stream the long-leaved flowers weep,

And from the craggy ledge the poppy hangs in sleep.

 

by Lord Afred Tennyson (1809-1892), no title, from Poems, in The Lotos-Eaters, Choric Song no.1, published 1832

p. 339 of 481 New Dawn, Twillight Saga