Friday, March 21, 2008

Book 46: Love Walked In



Title: Love Walked In

Who wrote it: Marisa De Los Santos

Whom I borrowed it from: Queens Library (Forest Hills)

What is it about:
- A tale of a 11 y/o girl losing her single parent mom
through mental illnesses, while her dad's girlfriend
offered her shelter and comfort through
life's storm; and how their bond developed
over time, despite the awkwardness of this
relationship / friendship...

What went through my mind:
- As the first published novel,
this was a very sophisticated and
well written story : 0
She has some creative usage of
vocabularies, detailed and delicate
images laid out before the readers eyes,
and the character developments of the
people involved are excellent.
i was very impressed and felt drawn to
the story & all its characters.
I feel like i know them all personally,
and that i'd love to be their friends /
family members : )

- The theme of this novel is pretty unique,
and its optimistic worldview (while being realistic)
is quite encouarging and made this novel
all the more lovable : )
I really liked how the story does not
end on a happily ever after note,
but it doesn't make life TOO HARSH
for them (& us readers) to bear either : D
I felt some soothing comfort / warmth
brewing in my heart, for it brings a sense of
peace & hope to my life : )

Favorite Quotes:
- "If you have to ask, no way are you
ever getting the answer you're looking for...
If you have to ask that question in order
to keep him... he's already gone.
"
(Pg. 96)

- "Be not afraid of parenthood;
some are born parents,
some achieve parenthood, and others
have parenthood thrust upon 'em.
"
(Pg. 106)

- "The problem with me is that
I like to work; I like to do
what I do well and completely;
I just don't have a calling. Not yet, anyway
."
(Pg. 121)
* That summarizes my life up till now.
Thanks a lot!

- "I don't think love is blind,
but wanting to be in love,
that's probably blind.
" (Pg. 174)

- "Maybe with true love, you see
(the mistakes/imperfection)
and you love anyway.
" (Pg. 182)

- "Happiness isn't what happens when
you whistle along, pretending
bad things don't exist..
Happiness is earned, like everything else
.
It is achieved.
" (Pg. 271-272)

What came out of this:
* Reminder: Look out for this author's
second book! : D I can't wait!!

Why Should you read it, too?
It's a very heartwarming story : )
If life is not treating you too well now,
reading this shall lift your spirit a little...

Monday, March 17, 2008

Book 45: Magic Bakery (魔法蛋糕店)



Title: 魔法蛋糕店 (Magic Bakery)

Who wrote it: 張小嫻 (Amy Cheung)

Whom I borrowed it from: Queens Library (Forest Hills)

What is it about:
- 11 inter-connected short stories
touching upon the various aspects of
romantic relationships, from puppy love
in high-school to long lost love & loneliness --
while a lot of them evolve around
desserts / bakeries...

What went through my mind:
- What can i say? One can never expect
something too deep / moving from this author,
but her stories are always easy to read & relate;
i guess in a sense, it's commercial & easy enough
for most teens / college age crowd,
which explains the level of popularity of her books.
I guess i would have liked this book a little better
if i were still in high school...?!

- The elaborate & alluring descriptions
of German cakes definitely increased my
interests in tasting them one day : D

- The author is observant that
there is a direct correlation between
desserts & romance : 0
how both bring people sweet memories
& desire to revisit the experience in the near future : )

Favorite Quotes:
- "愛情讓我們愛上自己、懷疑自己、
恨自己、憐憫自己,也了解自己。
"
(Romantic love allows us to fall in love
with ourselves, second-guess ourselves,
hate ourselves, pity ourselves,
as well as understand ourselves.) (Pg. 5)

-"有人說,男人離不開舊愛,
女人無法拒絕新歡。
"
(It has been said, men cannot forget
their previous relationship(s),
women cannot reject their new pursuer.) (Pg. 200)

What came out of this:
* Goal: Look into German style cakes! : D

Why Should you read it, too?
A super easy read, and it's somewhat
fun to be a total bystander
to some romantic drama at times ; )

Book 44: Knife (刀)



Title: 刀 (Knife)

Who wrote it: 重松清 (Shigematsu Kiyoshi)

Whom I borrowed it from: Queens Library (Forest Hills)

What is it about:
- 5 Short stories evolving around the topic
of BULLYING -- portraying the thoughts,
beliefs, emotions of the victims & their families,
as well as the interactions among the
bullies, bystanders & victims.

What went through my mind:
- Since this is a Japanese novel,
it inevitably operates within the
Japanese school system,
as well as traditional Japanese beliefs,
like Men have to stand up for themselves --
hence victims are seen as weaklings even by
their own parents --
which is quite sad for some kids,
because they simply cannot get help
anywhere despite the cruel acts that
are inflicted upon them.
I can't help but imagine how it's like
in America? I heard that there's bullying
here too... '_' how do kids deal with that?

- The novel mentioned that some kids choose
not to report to the teachers & pretend that
all things are fine when they're with their parents --
i cannot imagine that if i were in their shoes : 0
Why would i choose pride over protection?
mmm... or am i too trusting / hopeful?

- One of the interesting ideas this book
mentioned was that some victims actually
look up to their bullies...
They admire the bullies' self-confidence,
strength, braveness... exactly the qualities
these victims themselves lack!
Recently, i come to meet a new friend,
of whom i realize evoke similar emotions
in me -- i hate it that she bosses me around,
invades my personal space & privacy,
is rude and disrespectful...
yet at the same time, i can't help but wonder,
what if i were as confident as she is???

Favorite Quotes:
- "個性不合的夫婦還可以
離婚,但是個性不合的父子
該怎麼辦才好...。
"
(If a couple can no longer
get along with each other,
they can pursue divorce;
but what can a parent and a child do,
when they're in situations like that?) (Pg. 129)

-"長期住院的孩子...太過習慣
放棄及忍耐...或許是他們已經
沒有追求什麼或夢想的力氣了。
還是,因為出院這個最大的夢想
被封鎖住了?"
(Kids that are hospitalized for a long time...
are too used to persevering and giving up
on things... Perhaps they've already lost
the energy to pursue after anything,
let alone the desire to dream.
Or better yet, their biggest dream --
to be discharged from the hospital
is deemed impossible?) (Pg. 168)

- "因為我很努力,
所以才有辦法忍耐。"
(It's only because I'm trying really hard,
that I'm able to persevere.) (Pg. 184)
* This is almost like my motto!

What came out of this:
* Insight: A better understanding of
the insider world of BULLYING,
as well as how culture affects
family relationships /friendships.

Why Should you read it, too?
This is a very well-written book
with a realistic approach on the
specific issue, while bringing hope
to the readers despite the brutal topic.

Book 43: Daalder's Chocolates



Title: Daalder's Chocolates

Who wrote it: Philibert Schogt

Whom I borrowed it from: Queens Library (Forest Hills)

What is it about:
- A coming of age story of a chocolatier --
a detailed account since his miserable childhood,
all the way to the very last moment of his life.
Topics like gourmet food / horrific taste,
bad parenting / desperate childhood,
stubborn human nature / revelation & repentance
are examined thoroughly.

What went through my mind:
- This novel felt longer than it is...
which is another way of saying,
it's not the most interesting story i've read,
& there're parts of it i really had to endure
as opposed to enjoy '_'

- The main character Joop Daalder
was definitely not a very lovable character
until the very end... : /
which makes it hard for the reader to get
really immersed into the story,
since it's easy to get agitated at
people like him -_-"
Sad to say though, he's a very
realistic character......

- By portraying the MegaDeli
(a giant modern/gourmet supermarket)
forcing small stores out of business,
both by force & $$ compensation,
the author touched upon an important issue
that needs to be addressed more by our media.
By looking at this from the small business owner's
point of view, it indeed involves injustice done
to them, which consumers like us might not
think much about, when we go enjoy ourselves...

Favorite Quotes:
- "The main reason they
(people) bought chocolates
was to impress each other.
"
(Pg. 9)

- "I taste, therefore I am."
(Pg. 70)
* woah! i'm so gonna quote that!

- "While chocolate revealed its flavor almost
instantly upon contact with the tongue,
and kept revealing its flavor until the moment
it was swallowed, nuts had to be chewed
for some time before their flavor
was released, and then that flavor
disappeared again and a lot of junk
was left behind on your tongue and
between your teeth." (Pg. 89)

- "The more delicate the balance,
the more intense the ecstasy...
that moment of perfect ripeness
is also the very moment the process
of decay sets in. In that fleeting moment,
ecstasy and melancholy coincide." (Pg. 117)

- "...it's better to say good-bye to a chocolate
the moment you have finished making it.
What happens after that
doesn't matter anymore." (Pg. 124)
* Now this is true wisdom...
Sometimes i do feel over-protective over my food,
like wanting to see every single piece
consumed and nobody wastes anything 0_o"
I guess it's held so close to my heart
that the ego could get hurt
when it's not appreciated : 0

- "Nothing creates greater distance
than the sight of a fellow human being feasting
on something you can barely get down
your throat." (Pg. 197)

- "Talking with your mouth full
wasn't impolite to your listeners but
to your taste buds." (Pg. 232)

- "Did this always happen in marriages -
that a wife admired her husband less and less
and mothered him more and more?
And that a man behaved less and less
like a prince and more and more
like a child?" (Pg. 254)

What came out of this:
* Desires: There're some really
alluring food writing in the novel...
so i wanted to eat some really smooth
chocolates and ripe peaches afterwards... *_*

Why Should you read it, too?
If you liked chocolates, it's a fun read : )

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Book 42: Bento Box at Whitebread America Heartland



Title: Bento Box in the Heartland --
My Japanese Girlhood in Whitebread America
-- A Food Memoir

Who wrote it: Linda Furiya

Whom I borrowed it from:
Queens Central Library (Jamaica)

What is it about:
An honest, genuine coming of age memoir
of an ABJ (American Born Japanese),
who dealt with identity/culture struggles,
and found her way out by holding on to
1 single thread: traditional Japanese cuisine.

What went through my mind:
- This is the first book that I've read,
which contained recipes that tied into
the stories that are told.
I consider that a very creative &
successful strategy : )
& i wanna try all those recipes!!

- This memoir touched the core of my heart...
though i'm not born here,
but i must admit -- the author's struggles
with cultural differences -- sometimes a painful
yet courageous process --
the desperate desire to blend in while recognizing
one's uniqueness & wanting to be proud about it...
rings true and sounds strangely familiar to me.

Sometimes, I'd rather speak English to people,
even if I knew they could speak Cantonese --
just coz it feels more 'appropriate' to me '_'
I don't want to be classified as 'FOB'...
yet at the same time, I'm embarrassed --
because in that way, I identify with & somehow
approve of those ignorant labels, which i hate.
Of all people, i think this author would
100% understand how i feel.

- Just as the author's parents go through
great difficulties to find the rare traditional
Japanese cuisine ingredients,
i find that it's true for Chinese to do the same.
Food seems to create a comforting atmosphere
for its diners to reminiscent about the 'good ol' days'...
Speaking of which, i miss my dad & grandma's food : /

- On top of food, i suppose Chinese literature /
friends from h/s, familiar places... are all threads
i hold on to tightly... to my home -- Hong Kong '_'

Favorite Quotes:
- "After the wedding, when we moved into
our new apartment, the honeymoon was over.
We argued all the time, testing each other.
Sometimes it was hard, other times easy.
All part of the marriage deal.
" (Pg. 33)

- "My father had a theory on how to
get my brothers and me to eat new foods.
All we had to do was taste the dish
three times, but not at one sitting.
By the fourth time, he claimed,
our palates would have grown
accustomed to the new taste
and texture and we'd be ready
for a full serving.
" (Pg. 45)
* Interesting idea, worth trying? : )

- "I loved the feeling that I was
welcomed into a whole other world
when I read Japanese.
" (Pg. 125)
* I feel that way too, when i read Chinese! : 0

- "I invariably picked up the pen
or the phone receiver, believing that
by completing these jobs I somehow
protected my parents from the random
ignorance and rudeness of people
who didn't have patience for those
who couldn't speak English well.
As an American-born child, writing
letters and making phone calls
wasn't a difficult task, but knowing
my mother couldn't do it, or was
afraid to, and that she depended on me
made it a weighty responsibility
." (Pg. 207)
* I never thought that anyone else could
put my feelings / bitterness into words
in such a clear, direct manner.

- "...eating had been my family's
communion. We communicated not
through direct words, but through
actions and food.
" (Pg. 305)
* Why, is this an Asian thing?
My family is just like this, too '_'

What came out of this:
*Goal: i want to go to TOKYO!!!!!!!
*Reminder: it's about time... to reconcile
with my past, and let go '_'

Why Should you read it, too?
If you've ever had struggles growing up
as an ABC, or would like to understand how
it's like to feel like (half) an outsider...
you should definitely pick up this book '_'

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Book 41: The Love at 7-Eleven (7-ELEVEN之戀)



Title: 7-ELEVEN之戀 (The Love at 7-Eleven)

Who wrote it: 蔡智恆 (Zhi Xing Cai)

Whom I borrowed it from: Queens Library (Forest Hills)

What is it about:
- 8 individual Short stories consisting of
various (post) college-age characters,
weaving realistic portraits of life through
familial/romantic relationships & friendships.

What went through my mind:
- You know how sometimes, after reading a book,
you remember next to nothing about the story,
but the intimate feelings & self-revelation
the book brings you?
This is one of those books : )
The stories themselves seem pretty simple
and straight-forward...
sometimes it might even appear amateur...
But in a way, it's like drinking
a clear, pure glass of water.
You might not call it tasty,
but it leaves you a satisfying aftertaste.

Favorite Quotes:
- "帥哥與美女一樣,
你愈證明你是,
你就愈不是。
"
(Handsome men are just the same
as pretty ladies,
the more you have to prove you are,
the more you're not.) (Pg. 153)

-思念是用腦子想;
相處是用眼睛看。
可以思念的感情總是比較美...
因為腦子容易美化...
"
(You use your mind to miss someone;
while you watch with your eyes
when you're together.
A relationship that requires you to
miss that person with your mind
tends to be more beautiful...
because your mind is likely to
paint a prettier picture than
the reality...) (Pg. 140)

What came out of this:
*Nostalgia: I miss those days back in h/s...
when we hung out at 7-11 everyday
after school : 0

Why Should you read it, too?
If you'd like to pick up an easy/light-read : )

Book 40: How to Open a Dessert Stall (教你開間糖水屋)



Title: 教你開間糖水屋 (How to Open a Dessert Stall)

Whom I borrowed it from: Queens Library (Forest Hills)

What is it about:
A simple how-to guide to open
a small business, specializing in chinese
desserts aka 糖水 : )
Plus a detail list of common
Chinese desserts and their recipes.

What went through my mind:
- I did not know that there are so many
interesting Chinese desserts out there!
& that to make them require loads of patience,
because the 'dry/moist' ingredients need
to be prepared for various amounts
of time in advance : 0

- A great point that this book makes is the
distinction between Chinese & Western desserts:
Western desserts are often for mere pleasure --
think about cakes, ice-cream, cookies and the like...
What do girls usually say after eating them?
"I FEEL SO FAT!"& it's true...
They tend to be made of cream/butter/sugar,
none considered too healthy 0_o"
Meanwhile, Chinese desserts often contain
healthy ingredients like seasonal fruits/herbs,
& are created with the main intention
to help balance the diet & enhance bodily functions.

- Like all businesses, the most crucial
element is: LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION!

- I NEED to practice/learn my CHINESE
DESSERTS! i'm kinda ashamed of myself now...
-_- how can i claim to love food/sweets
and yet know nothing about any 糖水?!?!

Favorite Quote:
- "努力不一定成功,
但一定有成果。
"
(Working hard doesn't guarantee success,
but it would surely bring fruitful results.) (Pg. 76)

What came out of this:
*Goal: Learn to make more 糖水!

Why Should you read it, too?
Aren't you curious about Chinese desserts, too? : )

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

-_-"

The truth is...
I've read 6 books since the last review,
but i have yet to write about them! 0_o"

Career change is a big step i just took,
and it takes some time to adjust to a whole new schedule.

I'm still reading though : )
so... please bear with me,
and reviews to come soon! : D

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Book 39: No Country for Old Man

I got this from the library 2 weeks ago,
but haven't gotten around to read it.

Then it was the Oscars...
& they got the BIG script awards / Best pictures!
So i figured, this book can't be too bad, right?



Title: No Country for Old Man

Who wrote it: Cormac McCarthy

Whom I borrowed it from: Queens Library (Forest Hills)

What is it about:
A combination of crime / drug dealing /
police investigation / cunning & brutal murders /
$$$ = this fictional but realistic story!

What went through my mind:
- Although the whole story evolves around
the crime concerning a missing bag of $$
after an incomplete drug deal,
i feel that the core of the story is a
"coming of age" story of the investigator.

He receives the most in-depth character
development, even more than Moss,
who took the $$$, and Chigurh, the psycho killer.

- Indeed, the self-confession like essays
preceding every chapter of the story
portray a bigger picture than the crime story plot
itself. It demonstrates how it's not the ongoing
events that make life meaningful,
but our memories and reflections upon the past,
which enable us to realize who we are.

- I'm not the kind of reader/writer that enjoy
a lot of exposition / detailed descriptions,
so McCarthy's style bugged me a bit...
But at the same time, i felt like i was really
watching a movie, since he describes every
single move of each character in precise details.
Can't say it's bad at all... it's just not my preference.

- In order to create various persona for the characters,
McCarthy used very distinguishable 'language'
when each of them speak.
I'd say it's successful, except the ones
with a very heavy Southern Accent
(goin' -> going; nothin' -> nothing; set -> sit...)
bothered me from time to time,
because it's unclear at times,
esp. to an ESL NYC person like me '_'

Favorite Quotes:
- "It takes very little to govern good people...
And bad people cant be governed at all." (Pg. 64)

- "People complain about the bad things
that happen to em that they dont deserve
but they seldom mention the good.
About what they done to deserve them things.
I dont recall that I ever give the good Lord
all that much cause to smile on me.
But he did.
" (Pg. 91)

- "One of the things you realize
about gettin older is that
not everybody is goin to
get older with you.
" (Pg. 216)

- "...there was nothin to set a man's
mind at ease like wakin up in the morning
and not havin to decide who you were.
And
if you done somethin wrong
just stand up and say you done it
and say you're sorry and get on with it.
Dont haul stuff around with you
." (Pg. 249)

- "Every moment in your life is a turning
and every one a choosing.
Somewhere you made a choice.
" (Pg. 259)

- "All the time you spend tryin to
get back what's been took from you
there's more goin out the door.
" (Pg. 267)

- "... sometimes people would rather have
a bad answer about things than
no answer at all.
" (Pg. 282)

- "It's a life's work to see yourself for
what you really are and even then
you might be wrong." (Pg. 295)
** My favorite quote!


What came out of this:
*Goal: Watch the movie : )

Why Should you read it, too?
If you liked the movie / are curious like me : b

Monday, February 25, 2008

Book 38: The Jesus I Never Knew

This book took me 2 whole months to finish.
PHEW!



Title: The Jesus I Never Knew


Who wrote it: Philip Yancey


Whom I borrowed it from: Karen : )


What is it about:
Jesus plays the key role in Christianity,
but how many people really know
what He's all about?
In this book, Yancey attempts to unveil
the common stereotypes & misconceptions
about Jesus, while conveying God's truth
& hope in a refreshing manner,
backed with in-depth researches,
powerful quotes & practical illustrations.


What went through my mind:
- This book is not as easy to read as
Yancey's other book,
What's so Amazing about Grace?
Not that it's bad in any ways, but simply
more theological/historical, and fewer
real-life stories/examples.


- This is one of those books that you'd
need to read more than twice...
in order to absorb the super duper rich content,
and allow the information to translate
into knowledge in one's mind.
I tried to read only one chapter at a time,
and remind myself at least 1 thing
i've learned from the previous chapters,
before moving on to the next.


- One of the most memorable things
i realized, was how often we overlook
the simple fact that Jesus was born as a Jew,
and that a lot of the things He did
don't appear offensive/strange to us,
but were actually very revolutionary in His time.
His other identities such as the Son of Man /
Son of God / Lover that pursues after us...
all became more vivid to me through
Yancey's elaboration.


- This book also helped humble me
in knowing that there are so many literature
out there that I have not read / heard of,
yet is full of wisdom...
& that my God is HUGEEEEEEEEEEEE
yet i only know tiny bits about Him... : /
Who am i to boast... about anything???


Favorite Quotes (There are too many good ones...
so i'm only gonna quote from the final chapter):

- "Jesus' uncompromising blend of graciousness
toward sinners and hostility towards sin,
because in much of church history I see
virtually the opposite
." (Pg. 259)
: (


- "Jesus... brought God near." (Pg. 266)


- "Do you ever just let God love you?
The story of Jesus is the story of... love.
It involves pain and diappointment.
But Jesus embodies the promise of a God
who will go to any length to win us back
." (Pg. 275)
* This quote moved me so much,
that i shared it with my church ppl
when i led worship this past sunday : 0


What came out of this:
*Lesson learned:
Good Friday symbolizes the sacrifice that Jesus
has offered for us... and our past is gone;
Easter Sunday signifies our glorious future,
that we will be resurrected with Him one day...
Meanwhile, this is Saturday --
we might struggle here and there,
but we must look back to see what God has
accomplished on Friday, and hold on to the
Promise of Sunday... : )


* Goal: Reread the book!


Why Should you read it, too?
- You'll find out more about an amazing God...
who loves you and wants you to love Him!


** Warning: Be prepared to do some SERIOUS THINKING!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Book 37: The freedom Writers Diary


Title: The Freedom Writers Diary --
their story. their words.
How a Teacher and 150 Teens used Writing
to Change themselves and the World around them


Who wrote it:
The freedome Writers with Erin Gruwell


Whom I borrowed it from:
Queens Library (Long Island City)


What is it about:
A compilation of anonymous diary entries from
the teacher, Erin Gruwell (Ms. G), and her 150 students
from Wilson High School @ Long Beach, CA --
where they battle against racial discrimination,
sexual / drug / alcohol abuse, gun violence,
gangs problems......
while rising above the poor environment /
peer influence through education, writing,
and tremendous courage to live out their dreams:
Preach the message of Tolerance.

What went through my mind:
- I cannot think of ANYONE that won't
be deeply touched by this book,
or i should say, the lives of these 150 souls
laid bare before us.

They face a tremendous amount of adversities,
with little to no support in life,
while most are told they're good for nothing...
Yet in a classroom, where 1 teacher believes in
their potentials, their hearts soar,
daring to dream BIG, set out to conquer
whatever challenges may come their ways.

I cannot recall how many times tears swell up
as i read about these teens' struggles,
disappointments, times of weakness,
haunting memories from the past,
painful childhood...

Sometimes, my heart whispered...
"I've been through the exact same thing..."
While other times i hear,
"I've been so blessed all my life
and I didn't even realize it..."

- Ms. G is ONE AMAZING TEACHER...
I strongly recommend everyone that is in
some sort of teaching position to read this book,
and be inspired by her dedication & love!

- An epiphany of mine:
The Freedom Writers wish to tell the world
about TOLERANCE -- zero discrimination
& no more violence, gangs, wars...
Meanwhile, I think God's message is higher
than mere tolerance.

God's goal is ACCEPTANCE --
It's great if we don't blatently hate / fight each other,
hence tolerating each other;
but isn't it even better...
if we'd have UNCONDITIONAL ACCEPTANCE,
and eventually LOVING (Agape) one another?

- As you can probably tell... i love this book -- A LOT!
This is the most moving book I've read
since The Kite Runner & Tokyo Tower : )


Favorite Quotes (Beware: A super long list):
- "...it's human nature to always believe that
"bad things happen to other people, not us
." (Pg. xiv)

- "...if we all... choose to deal with inhumane
situations in a humane way, we can turn the world
around and create positive lessons for
ourselves and others
." (Pg. xvii)

- "...if your passion is deep enough,
you can do anything
." (Pg. 27)

- "Fights don't solve matters,
they just make things worse
." (Pg. 39)

- "Don't let the actions of a few
determine the way you feel about
an entire group
." (Pg. 48)

- "...excuses will not bring about success
amd that adversity is not something
you walk with, but something you leap over.
The only obstavles are the ones you allow
." (Pg. 120)

- "I don't know why women allow men
to brainwash them and use their bodies
as objects instead of cherishing them
as if they were treasures. But it's never
going to change until women start
respecting themselves more
." (Pg. 125)

- "Freedom Writers have a dream!" (Pg. 165)
[In reference to Martin Luther King's speech:
I have a dream.]

- "You'll never be anything else but you,
so be the best you, you can be.
" (Pg. 174)

- "If you're not for it then you're against it...
Would you rock the boat and speak out,
or would you remind silent
...?" (Pg. 185)

- "I realized that I had overcome
too many obstacles in my life
to just give up and die.
I had too much to live for
." (Pg. 196)

- "...love is more important than material things.
Material things can't love you like a father can
!"
(Pg. 224)

- "..."To improve is to change,
to be perfect is to change often."
I am far from perfection,
but I'm changing
." (Pg. 240)

- "...how amazing, precious, and powerful
both time and life can be.
In one second, you can be on top
and have everything going your way.
The next second, everything goes wrong
and you find yourself at the bottom
." (Pg. 250)

- "I have learned that it doesn't matter
if your inspiration in life comes from
negative or positive events.
The most important thing is
to learn and go on
." (Pg. 264)


What came out of this:
* Reminder:
No more labelling / discrimination /
judging a book by its cover!
Tolerance is a big step to take,
while Acceptance/Agape is the Ultimate Way.

* Lesson Learned:
Good teacher = Devoted Heart!

* Goal: I want to watch this movie, too! : )


Why Should you read it, too?
- If you teach / work with youth /
have struggles in life / have a past that haunts you /
want to learn about human nature /
need encouragements......

AIYA! Just go read it!
There's something in this book for everyone : )

Book 36: Zagat New York City Restaurants 2008

You might question...
WHAT? THIS COUNTS AS 1 OF THE 365 BOOKS?

well, why not?
there's a lot to learn, even from a restaurant guide ; )
Plus, i did read every single page of it : 0
HAA!



Title: Zagat New York City Restaurants 2008


Who wrote it: Larry Cohn (Contributor),
Curt Gathje (Editor), Carol Diuguid (Editor)


Whom I borrowed it from:
Queens Central Library (Jamaica)


What is it about:
A restaurant guide with blurbs for
each restaurant they rate +
Food / decor / $$ rating +
various categories that help the readers
to find the specific cuisine/specialty food.


What went through my mind:
- Who knew that "Cafe..." is
the most popular name(word) amongst
various restaurants in NYC?


- 98% of the Zagat blurbs read like this:
Metro Cafe is a "hip n' trendy" restaurant,
situated at a "prime location",
with their food "above average" and
decor "artistic," it's "one of the best"
in midtown.
hmmmm... Does the "quotation marks"
bother anyone besides me??? 0_o"


- In terms of East Asian cuisines,
Japanese food is obviously the most popular,
prpobably more widely accepted by the
Western crowd...
Thai = runner-up '_' -> exotic & flavorful?
Chinese food = 3rd place
& there aren't enough Korean restaurants
listed on Zagat!!! : 0


- Comments like "cheap" / "cheesy decor"/
"annoyed waiters" / "non-existent service"
keep reappearing in blurbs describing
Chinese restaurants.
*sigh* what a shame.


- Can we have a Zagat NYC Bakeries / Desserts
Guide/Handbook in the near future???


What came out of this:
* Here's a list of the restaurants I'd like to visit:
- Kyotofu [Dessert]
705 9th Ave., btw 48th & 49th St.
- ChikaLicious [Dessert]
203 E. 10th St., btw 1st & 2nd Ave.
- P*ong [Dessert] (I just bought his cookbook!!)
150 W. 10th St., btw Greenwich Ave. & Waverly Pl.
- Once Upon a Tart [Dessert]
135 Sullivan St., btw Houston St. & Prince St.


- La Flor Bakery & Cafe [Coffeehouse]
53-02 Roosevelt Ave., 53rd St., Woodside
- La Bergamote [Coffeehouse]
169 9th Ave., 20th St.
- Edgar's Cafe [Coffeehouse] (Poe's theme cafe!!*_*)
255 W. 84th St., btw B'way & West End Ave.
- Columbus Bakery [Bakery]
474 Columbus Ave., btw 82nd & 83rd St.
- Amy's Bread [Bakery]
75 9th Ave., btw 15th & 16th St.


- Sala Thai [Thai, doh!]
1718 2nd Ave., btw 89th & 90th St.
- Sripraphai [Thai]
64-13 39th Ave., btw 64th & 65th St., Woodside


- Rai Rai Ken [Noodles]
214 E. 10th St., btw 1st & 2nd Ave.
- Soba-ya [Noodles]
229 E. 9th St., btw 2nd & 3rd Ave.


- S'mac [Mac n' Cheese] (Goh goh's favorite!)
345 E. 12th St., btw 1st & 2nd Ave.


- Morimoto [Japanese] (The legendary Iron Chef!)
88 10th Ave., btw 15th & 16th St.


- Natsumi [Italian + Japanese]
226 W. 50th St., btw B'way & 8th Ave.
- Todai [Japanese + Seafood]
6 E. 32nd St., btw 5th & Madison Ave.
- Shabu-Tatsu [Shabu Shabu + Sukiyaki]
216 E. 10th St., btw 1st & 2nd Ave.


Why Should you read it, too?
- Why, you don't eat out? : )

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Book 35: Freakonomics


Title: Freakonomics -- A Rogue Economist
Explores the Hidden Side of Everything


Who wrote it:
Steven D. Levitt & Stephen J. Dubner


Whom I borrowed it from: Queens Library (Forest Hills)


What is it about:
A collection of analysis & social studies
about various social phenomena,
which are written based on an economist's
point of view / research method.
Non-traditional questions are asked
in an economist's way:
- What do School teachers &
Sumo Wrestlers have in common?
- Why do drug dealers still
live with their moms?
- Does parenting matter at all?
etc. : )


What went through my mind:
- Economics was one of the subjects
i dreaded the most back in h/s
(next to Math & Accounting),
but this book presents such a refreshing
approach to the subject matter,
and demonstrates so well, just
how practical & useful Econ can be : )


- It's a well-written book with a cohesive theme,
despite its claim to be lacking of one.
This book is like nothing i've ever
read before : 0 in a good way.


- The only let down i felt,
was that the authors' research doesn't
live up to the Book's(/subject's) title.
Indeed, the issues they discuss
don't have much to do with finance / numbers,
hence the not-so-traditional side of Econ;
Yet at the same time, what they explore
are common social-related questions,
which makes me feel that the word FREAK
is not appropriately coined.


Favorite Quotes:
- "... just because two things
are correlated does not mean
that one causes the other
." (Pg. 11)


- "Morality... represents the way
that people would like the world to work --
whereas economics represents how
it actually does work
." (Pg. 15)


- "An incentive is a bullet, a lever,
a key: an often tiny object
with astonishing power to
change a situation.
We all learn to respond to incentives,
negative and positive,
from the outset of life...
An incentive is simply a means
of urging people to do more of a
good thing and less of a bad thing.
" (Pg. 22-23)


- "Who cheats? Well, just about anyone,
if the stakes are right...
Cheating is a primordial economic act:
getting more for less
." (Pg. 29-30)


- "... people respond strongly to
strong incentives... there are few
incentives more powerful than
the fear of random violence
..." (Pg. 78)


- "... as emotions go,
one of them -- fear -- is more potent
than the rest.

Fear is in fact a major component
of the act of parenting
." (Pg. 197)


- "... it isn't so much a matter of what
you do as a parent; it's who you are
." (Pg. 237)


What came out of this:
*Lessons learned:
A) Incentives = A powerful tool
B) Fear is one of the strongest incentives
C) When analyzing issues, pay attention
to the distinction between causality & correlation.
D) Conventional wisdom is sometimes
believed out of convenience & laziness.
E) Who we are matter a lot more
than what we do.


Why Should you read it, too?
This book would encouage you to think more,
be curious, ask questions, & find the answers
in an organized, analytical way --
it's a good mental exercise for you! ; )

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Book 34: Dark Maze (黑暗迷宮)


Title: 三色貓黑暗迷宮
(Dark Maze -- Tricolor Cat)


Who wrote it: 赤川次郎 (Jiro Akagawa)


Whom I borrowed it from: Queens Library (Forest Hills)


What is it about:
A group of policemen has been going after
a criminal who has killed 3 people.
On a fateful night, an almost-retiree fired his gun
in the dark, thinking that he had shot the criminal,
but it turned out to be a young policeman...


The scene was witnessed by the criminal,
and the retiree gave in to the threat of being exposed,
in exchange of helping the criminal escape.
Little did he know, the criminal would
lure his only daughter into a romantic relationship...


What went through my mind:
- Akagawa caught on to an essential trait of mankind:
do anything possible to cover up our mistakes.
If only the retiree was courageous enough
to admit that he shot the wrong person,
his family's life / his health / his dignity...
would all be so dramatically different.

In the same way, when we lie,
we often have to lie some more
to cover up the previous lies.
Sometimes, unnecessary serious consequences
result from what might seem harmless & best
in the beginning.
When will we learn this important lesson,
to tell the truth at all times,
even when the stakes seem high?

- This novel was a typical Akagawa one.
Quick read, fast pace,
an easy past-time entertainment.


What came out of this:
* Reminder: Be courageous in being honest!


Why Should you read it, too?
If you liked the other Akagawa books,
you'd like this one too : )

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Book 33: Flies on the Butter


Title: Flies on the Butter

Who wrote it: Denise Hildreth

Whom I borrowed it from: Queens Library (Forest Hills)

What is it about:
Rose Fletcher was on her way to South Carolina,
her home from the distant past.
Along the long & winding roads,
memories and regrets of the past
came haunting her, while God uses
different people's prayers and gentle help
to bring her HOME... for the first time since childhood.

What went through my mind:
- The exposition / beginning of the story was too long,
the ending too abrupt & dramatic : (
The use of flashbacks was a bit too much also,
in my opinion '_' besides, the timeline is not
as clear as it could be, so sometimes it takes me
a few pages to realize which phase of Rose's life
it's describing 0_o"

- The portrait of how Southerners differ
from the Washington city people is quite
successful : ) Besides, it educated me
about what Southerners like:
Boiled Peanuts & Frozen Coke ; )
hehe... i find that pretty amusing.

- It's nice to know that someone out there
is attempting to incorporate Christianity/
the idea of God into their stories,
but i wish i could see more of that come out
from the story, as opposed to learning about
that from the label on the back of the novel.

Favorite Quotes:
- "You're going to have a thousand opportunities
in this life... to make good choices or bad choices...
when you make choices that aren't the ones you
know you should have made... if you come back
saying you're sorry, then He [God] will forgive you...
He looks at your heart." (Pg. 123-124)

- "Happy wife, happy life..." (Pg. 140)
* Learn the truth, GUYS!

- "No argument hurt anybody.
It's the silence and the secrets
that will do you in." (Pg. 141)

- "Let those flies have the butter,
and next thing you know,
they'll want your biscuits too.
You've got to be vigilant about
some things in life." (Pg. 223)

- "... life brings tough roads...
I've learned that storms don't care
who you are." (Pg. 259)

- "... the greatest fragrance comes out of a rose
only when it has been crushed." (Pg. 260)
* Same idea as... you can't really fully experience
Grace, if you've always lived a perfect life;
can't understand true humility,
if you've never been broken.

- "Eventually everyone has to break,
or they'll simply live their lives broken." (Pg. 263)
* Profound thought : )

What came out of this:
* Reminders:
1) Prayers make a world of difference.
2) Being broken is a beautiful thing.

* Goals:
1) Find the song 'Flies on the Butter' on Youtube
& listen to it, see why it touched the author so much.
2) Eat some boiled peanuts
& drink some frozen coke ; )

Why Should you read it, too?
If you've been running away from your past,
if you've been holding grudges against your family...
perhaps this book can lead you home...

Friday, February 15, 2008

Book 32: Great Dishes - Just blanch & eat (教你好菜燙來吃)


Title: 教你好菜燙來吃
(Great Dishes - Just Blanch & Eat)


Who wrote it: 梁瓊白 (Qing Bai Liang)


Whom I borrowed it from: Queens Library (Forest Hills)


What is it about:
A collection of recipes that are simple,
quick & versatile : )
Specialty -- 10 Homemade sauces to go
with countless combo of veggies, meat & seafood!


What went through my mind:
- I picked up this book, hoping for inspiration
of what to cook tonight for church fellowship's
dinner gathering.
A veggie dish is needed, so i volunteered
myself, but i honestly have very limited
creative ideas & none of my signature dishes
are based primarily on veggies '_'

- I must say, this book does NOT disappoint!
Her simple yet sophisticated approach of
coming up with different sauces,
while blanching the food for as little time
as possible, in order to retain the freshness
& natural taste, was definitely eye-opening.

What came out of this:
* Goal:
Practice blanching + homemade sauce!
* Reminder:
Cook the food as little as possible -> Fresh!

Why Should you read it, too?
If you'd like to learn about traditional
Chinese cooking + how simple it is ; )

More Shopping : )



A pile of books i borrowed back on saturday ; )
me so excited!!!!!!!!!! : D

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Book 31: Apple Desserts (蘋果甜點)



Title: 蘋果甜點 (Apple Desserts)

Who wrote it: 山本次夫 (Tsugio Yamamoto)

Whom I borrowed it from: Queens Library (Forest Hills)

What is it about:
The 10 kinds of apples available on the market /
their distinct textures & flavors /
25 recipes of Apple Desserts originating from:
France, Switzerland, Austria, Canada,
England, America & Japan.

What went through my mind:
- It's kinda sad that in NYC, we only have
a few kinds of apples available --
i definitely miss Fafa's favorite: 王林 ,
which can't seem to be found anywhere 0_o"

- The main reason I borrowed this book,
besides the fact that i LOVE apple in desserts,
and that I'll participate in an apple dessert contest,
(See: http://sharethefood.blogspot.com/
2008/02/contests.html
)
is that the author's Japanese : 0
I've always admired Japanese's baking skills,
even more than the French ones '_'
So i was a bit disappointed that most of the
recipes weren't from the Japanese kitchen.

- Unlike the other recipe books I've borrowed
from the library, this one is strictly written
in Chinese... which makes it hard for me to
figure out some of the ingredients 0_o"

- I'm determined.

I'll make: Pommes au four a la Parisienne,
Gratin de Pomme, Apple Pound cake,
Apple Pudding, Apple in Basket,
Apple Jelly and Apple Shortcake...
FOR THE FIRST TIME!

What came out of this:
* Goal: Apple Desserts Experiments : D
Any apple lovers wanna join & taste test?
* Reminder:
If i were to write cookbooks in the future,
I gotta make it bilingual! : 0

Why Should you read it, too?
If you're gonna join me in my Apple Adventure,
you'd better read this : D

Book 30: Naked



Title: Naked

Who wrote it: David Sedaris

Whom I borrowed it from:
Queens Library (North Forest Park)

What is it about: A collection of short stories
centered around a fictional family of David's,
creating a maddening / humorous /
half-believable memoir, constantly stretching
the reader's imagination, while subtly bringing up
questions about the true nature of humanity.

What went through my mind:
- Is this author crazy?
This question lingered in my mind the whole time.
- This book would have worked just fine
even with half its length.
- I have not read another book quite like this,
i'd have to admit.

- If he's not crazy, he must be very
observant and imaginative.
& i guess he's not that crazy,
given his superb literary techniques.
- It's amazing how the single literary trick:
Constantly creating climax/anti-climax
during the exposition of the story, aka
leading the readers on & surprising them
with twists & turns --
really made this book stand out from the crowd.

Favorite Quotes:
- "... the next few hours would pass like days
or maybe even weeks. Our watches would yawn,
the minute and hour hands joining each other
in a series of periodic naps."
(Pg. 54)
* Such fresh, non-cliche expressions : )

- "Acting is different than posing or pretending.
When done with precision, it bears a striking
resemblance to lying. Stripped of the costumes
and grand gestures, it presents itself as an
unquestionable truth."
(Pg. 105)
* Intriguing thought...?

- "It occured to me that everything we buy
has been poked or packaged by some unfortunate
nitwit... Vegetarians look at a pork roast
thinking about the animal. I'd now look at them
wondering whose job it was to package the
shallow Styrofoam trays. That's where the
real tragedy lies."
(Pg. 170)
* Poignant & Observant : / & also sad...

- "Because I was lazy, I'd adopted the philosophy
that things just happen. It was much easier to
blame others than it was to take initiative."
(Pg. 190)
- "I suppose we all bend ourselves to what
we perceive as other people's expectations..."
(Pg. 220)
* Honest & insightful.

- "I had known people who said... to their parents,
"I love you," but it always translated to mean
"I'd love to get off the phone with you."
(Pg. 240)
* ...... (speechless)

What came out of this:
* Reminder:
Being observant is one crucial quality for writers.
hmm... yes, even for the semi-crazy ones.
* Question:
Why do Americans like using foul language
in their writings so much?

Why Should you read it, too?
- If you want to enter an upside-down world,
where madness is common sense,
you should take the chance & pick up this book.


p.s. I borrowed 2 of his other books, too:
- Me Talk Pretty One Day
- Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
but i'll take a break from reading them back to back,
just so my brain won't be messed with too much -> damage.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Book 29: See You in 16 Years (十六年後在此重會)


Title: 十六年後在此重會 -- 細說神鵰俠侶
(See you in 16 years...
Analysis on The Return of the Condor Heroes)

Who wrote it: 陳墨 (Mo Chen)

Whom I borrowed it from: Queens Library (Forest Hills)

What is it about:
A chapter by chapter analysis of the famous classic:
The Return of the Condor Heroes, written by Louis Cha.

What went through my mind:
- This book is very well written,
in the sense that it contains the qualities of
both literary criticism AND leisure reading.
It flows very well from chapter to chapter,
even if readers don't have the Novel in front of them.

- I was almost brought to tears while reading,
simply coz Chen was able to pinpoint the main
characters' turning point in life, the +ve & -ve
consequences of the choices they made,
unveiling the mystery: What is love?
「問世間情為何物,直教生死相許?」

- NOSTALGIA...
Reminds me of the times when i'd stay up till 4am,
reading Cha's books in the dark under the blanket
with a heavy metal torch in my hand...
Back in 4th grade! '_'

What came out of this:
* Desire: I wanna read all of Cha's books again!
* Goal: Read the other books written by Chen : )

Why Should you read it, too?
If you've read / watched Cha's stories,
you should read this book! ; )
It'd make you fall even more in love with them!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Book 28: Life on the Refrigerator Door



Title: Life on the Refrigerator Door

Who wrote it: Alice Kuipers

Whom I borrowed it from: Queens Library (Forest Hills)

What is it about:
Mother and daughter leaving each other
notes on the fridge to communicate,
talking about various things in life:
boys, grocery, health, emotions, school, work...
then Mom found out that she has breast cancer...

What went through my mind:
- This novel was written in a very creative format:
Notes left on the fridge!
It's amazing how the character development
flows so smoothly, and i felt like being in Mom/
Daughter's shoes, back and forth,
as i read those notes '_'

- The notes are extremely realistic,
as they contain a mix of concerns --
asking for allowance, expressing concerns,
grocery shopping list, fights & apologies...
So real that it reminds me of my relationship with Ma...

Favorite Quotes:
- "Have I been a good mother?
It's the sort of question every mother wants to ask
but often don't get the chance.
Or they don't dare." (Pg. 190)

- "...I don't want a better mother.
I want you." (Pg. 205)
* may i be able to say and believe that 110%.
Someday.

What came out of this:
* Nostalgia: Various moments of me
spending time with Ma when we first came here (NYC)
came across my mind...
I guess God has a higher purpose than
what i made it out to be.

Why Should you read it, too?
Every daughter, every mom -- should read this!

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Book 27: Goodbye, Murder! (殺人唷! 再見)



Title: 殺人唷! 再見
(Satsujin Yo Sayounara / Goodbye, Murder!)

Who wrote it: 赤川次郎 (Jiro Akagawa)

Whom I borrowed it from: Queens Library (Forest Hills)

What is it about:
13-year-old Yukiko killed her mom's boyfriend,
but she never regretted about it.
3 years later, she went on summer vacation with Mom
to the same location, and various people
around her are being attacked.
Yukiko also received threats,
hinting at the murder she committed.
Who's behind all these? What's going on?

What went through my mind:
- Like the rest of the Akagawa books i read in h/s,
this is an easy & quick read.
So quick that it's almost mindless --
not necessarily a bad thing, i suppose,
on a relaxing saturday afternoon : )

- I remember Fafa often criticized that
Akagawa's books shouldn't be categorized as
detective/mystery stories,
because it's not only playful and toned-down,
but that there are no real attempt in
involving the readers in discovering
'whodunit/howdunit/whydunit.'
Instead, it's more like telling a story
with twists and turns, but no fair ground
on which the reader can jump ahead and
win the race -- which is the true purpose of
reading this kind of novels.
Yeah, i guess i'd have to agree that this book
would be disappointing if that's what you're after.

What came out of this:
* Remember to take breaks in between
reading serious, non-fiction books,
so my mind get to take a break and relax ; )

Why Should you read it, too?
If you want to be entertained, this is a decent book.

Friday, February 8, 2008

The Feast Of Love movie

To follow up on my previous post:
http://365booksayear.blogspot.com/2008/02/book-23-feast-of-love.html

I actually found on NY Times that this movie
was already shown in the Theatres back in 2007 : 0



This Feb., the DVD is released --
http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/356384/Feast-of-Love/dvd

Just in case you're interested ; )

Book 26: Personal Growth Exchange Diary (交換成長日記)



Title: 交換成長日記 (Personal Growth Exchange Diary)

Who wrote it: 梁詠琪 / 楊采妮
(Gigi Leung / Charlie Young)

Whom I borrowed it from: Queens Library (Forest Hills)

What is it about:
A collection of essays written by Gigi/Charlie,
recording their thoughts about growing up,
childhood/adolescence memories & incidents...
cute doodlings, kiddie pics & heartfelt conversations.

What went through my mind:
- Despite being written by 2 famous HK pop stars / singers,
this book almost has nothing to do with the entertainment business.
Instead, i felt very comfortable breezing through the pages,
as if i were involved in a conversation with 2 nice friends.

I sensed something warm and fuzzy,
as i read about their memories of school / pets /
family / childhood dreams / embarassing incidents...
and they're surely easy to identify with as a girl from HK.

They make me miss HOME, and the good old days... : /

What came out of this:
*My personal view of these two ladies have changed a lil:
They seem quite personable & lovely ; )

Why Should you read it, too?
My HYS friends should definitely read this!
Their high-school memories might remind you
of our precious youthful days ; )

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Book 25: Six Thinking Hats



Title: Six Thinking Hats --
The International Bestseller that has changed
the way the world's most successful business leaders think

Who wrote it: Edward De Bono

Whom I borrowed it from:
Bought @ Amazon.com

What is it about:
When we try to think things through,
or have business meetings,
more often than not we argue our way out
to make a decision,
and many times we mix up
emotions, information, logic, hope and creativity
all at the same time.

Instead of trying to juggle too many balls
at the same time, De Bono suggests the
Six Thinking Hats thinking method:
- White: Present neutral, objective info;
- Red: Express emotions without having to justify them;
- Black: Criticize and find out the weaknesses/faults;
- Yellow: Provide positive & constructive prospects;
- Green: Explore creative options & solutions;
- Blue: Oversee the thinking process & make conclusion.
By putting on/off these hats,
people can think about one thing at a time,
and thus come to conclusion in a much shorter
period of time, with a clearer mind / consensus.

What went through my mind:
- Thinking is a skill that can be learned & taught.
That itself is an encouraging thought : D
- This is certainly a very intelligent
and educated thinking method.
I'd love to practice this more in daily life,
and thus become a better thinking /
decision maker myself!
- I can see how this thinking method would be
very constructive to help improve
effectiveness for corporations and businesses : )

Favorite Quote:
- "The biggest enemy of thinking is complexity,
for that leads to confusion.
When thinking is clear and simple,
it becomes more enjoyable and more effective." (Pg. 172)
* This book certainly shows how that can be achieved : )

What came out of this:
* Smart Idea:
A) Practice switching on/off the six hats while thinking!
B) If i get a chance, teach it to others, too! : D

Why Should you read it, too?
If you've ever wished you could be less 'all over the place',
make better decisions in life,
or simply be a smarter thinker,
this book is SO worth your time!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Book 24: Blank Lens (空鏡頭)



Title: 空鏡頭 (Blank Lens)

Who wrote it: 片山恭一 (Kyouichi Katayama)

Whom I borrowed it from: Queens Library (Forest Hills)

What is it about:
4 characters: Speed, Cookie, Socks, Fish --
were frequent visitors of an online chatroom.
However, a program called 'Blank Scene'
happened to invade their systems one by one,
and they got lost in a foreign world,
while trying to escape from someone's vicious plan...

What went through my mind:
- Why have i been picking up books
that are both boring & confusing lately?
First 1984, now this???
If i didn't read the preface,
i wouldn't have known what the plot of the story is!

- I should give up on Katayama's books, seriously.
Whether it be his most famous story:
在世界中心呼喚愛
(Crying out Love, in the Center of the World),
or the other book: 世界在你不知道的地方運轉
(The World Operates without You Knowing) --
i never felt attached or attracted to the characters/plot.

This book was worse, in the sense that
all i experienced was confusion and
a very scattered collection of thoughts &
character developments.

Favorite Quotes:
- 「生活太忙,忙得忘了寶貴的心。
太累,累得沒時間體諒別人。」(Pg. 19)
(Life is too busy,
so busy that we forget our precious hearts.
Too tired,
so tired that we don't have time to care for others.)

- 「我們一方面想同他人保持距離,
一方面害怕孤獨。」(Pg. 187)
(On one hand, we want to keep a distance from others,
while on the other hand, we're afraid of loneliness.)

What came out of this:
* Reminder: Maybe i should do a little research
before picking up my next batch of books '_'

Why Should you read it, too?
I suppose if you're really into online chatroom /
internet browsing... you can pick this up as a quick read.

Monday, February 4, 2008

i gave up

After much mental struggle & debates with myself,
i finally decided to give up on a book
i was trying hard to read:







Yup. The famous classic -- George Orwell's 1984.



Perhaps my literature level is really low,
but i read 1/4 of the book, and i still had no clue (nor interest)
in what's going on.

The voice of the narrator is agitating,
the storyline unclear,
and there are no interesting characters nor developments.



i had a feeling that the only way
to understand what this book is about,
is to read sparknotes or go back to eng. lit. class to study--
neither of which i'm motivated to do
(nor do i think should be the right way,
if i were only reading a fiction for leisure?!).



Anyhow, therefore i made up my mind
to announce my first incomplete assignment
ever since launching The 365 Project: 1984.



Yes. Despite the fact that i was born in 1984.
Haa!

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Book 23: The Feast of Love



Title: The Feast of Love

Who wrote it: Charles Baxter

Whom I borrowed it from: Queens Library (Forest Hills)

What is it about:
A movie-like story of how one person is
connected to another, then another...
which eventually brings everyone together back in full circle,
while describing their life and love stories.

What went through my mind:
- The writer has a very good style,
created lively and somewhat realistic characters,
the novel reads like a movie...
it's a decent literature piece all in all.
- i'd like to know the narrator more,
especially that he had an interesting set-up
in the beginning, as the guy who remembers everyone/
everything else but himself.
- I really wonder, has anyone heard of this movie???
Why haven't i seen anything like it?
Or is it a new movie in 2008? 0_o"

Favorite Quotes:
- "Everyone relationship has at least
one really goood day." (Pg. 17)

- "...a lot of men feel they have to prove
they're real men... I don't think that
most women have to prove that they're
real women." (Pg. 33)

- "...intelligence and quick-wittedness
have nothing to do with a talent for being
loved, or being kind..." (Pg. 62)

- "We live in a large city, populated only
by ourselves." (Pg. 84)

- "... discovered that the meaning of his life
lay in learning, friendship and love,
and service to others." (Pg. 176)


What came out of this:
* Reminder: Look out for the movie!
(Or is there gonna be one?
i'm still confused...)

Why Should you read it, too?
If you liked reading character development fiction,
it's pretty well-written : )

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Book 22: Black Eyeliner (黑眼線)


Title: 黑眼線 (Black Eyeliner)

Who wrote it: 李碧華 (Bi Hua Li)

Whom I borrowed it from: Queens Library (Forest Hills)

What is it about:
A Collection of essays she writes for a news column,
mostly her personal social/economical observations & reflections.


What went through my mind:
- Li's writing style is very easygoing.
It almost feels like she's making casual talks
with the readers.
- It was an easy read. I breezed through the book --
although, i much prefer Li's other books,
esp. the fiction / short stories.
- Reading this book right after Lin Xi's,
makes an interesting contrast.
Her style is not as distinct as Lin's,
but the way her words flow is also smoother,
less edgy and fewer crticisms towards everything.

Favorite Quote:
- 世上所有創作行業都是孤寂的......
創作是自己同自己角力......
本來可以蒙混過關,你不肯,偏要作對...... (Pg. 96)
[All careers that are Creativity-related,
are inevitably lonesome...
Being creative is to battle against yourself.
Originally, you could have let it go easy,
but you can't let yourself do that...]

- 父母永遠原諒不值得原諒的孩子。(Pg. 101)
[Parents will always forgive their kids,
even if they don't deserve to be forgiven.]

What came out of this:
* Bear in mind the quotes above.

Why Should you read it, too?
If you have free time : ) Why not?

Book 21: On Rice


Title: On Rice --
60 fast and easy toppings that make the meal

Who wrote it: Rick Rodgers (Author),
Frankie Frankeny (Photographer)


Whom I borrowed it from: Queens Library (Forest Hills)

What is it about:
An extensive introduction of the MANY MANY
kinds of grains available in the market,
a collection of recipes
(stews, stir-fries, meat, veggies, desserts...)
that can be cooked under 30 minutes to go with rice,
as well as some neat pics that illustrate the recipes.

What went through my mind:
- It's interesting to see the fusion-ness in this book,
since Rice usually gives off the impression: 'Asian related',
the author mixes things up, and offered American /
French ideas here and there : )

- I borrowed this book with the original intent of
getting ideas for my Rice-Pot Wonders experiments
(See this: http://sharethefood.blogspot.com/
2008/01/rice-pot-wonder-1.html
),
however, i didn't get too many from it : /
Mostly because he's creating On Rice dishes,
not OVER, nor WITH.

- I did, however, liked the desserts section.
For I've never made any desserts with rice before,
& i'd like to try : D

What came out of this:
* Goal: Create new Rich dishes! : D
(Andrew, wanna come over for dinner?)

Why Should you read it, too?
If you cook and don't mind a quick meal with rice : )

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Book 20: The Hong Kong that I Love (我所愛的香港)



Title:
我所愛的香港 (The Hong Kong that I Love)

Who wrote it: 林夕 (Lin Xi)

Whom I borrowed it from: Ruby

What is it about:
A collection of essays this famous HK lyricist
wrote for a column in the newspaper,
featuring political / socio-economic /
personal / reflective topics.

What went through my mind:
- No wonder he's always been my favorite lyricist...
(Actually, back in high-school, my ideal job
was to become a lyricist -- inspired by Lin Xi!)
His eloquent yet sharp linguistic skills,
clear-minded, logical ideas,
to-the-point presentations...
made reading through these essays quite enjoyable --
given the fact that normally i won't even be
interested in reading anything politics relevant.

- My favorite chapter was: 「自求多福」
His main point was, nobody else can make you learn.
You have to make up your mind that you'd go ahead
and make that sacrifice (time, effort, memory, leisure...),
so you can become more equipped for something worthwhile.
I 200% agree!!!
Well, and that's partially why i'm doing this 365 Project.
I'm not crazy. Not even trying to be over-ambitious.
I just wanna learn.

Favorite Quote:
「時間用在那裏是可以看見的」
It's obvious / easy to see where your time is spent.
(i can't figure out the most fitting translation for this. Sorry : / )

What came out of this:
* Smart Idea:
Don't buy souvenirs for anyone,
just because you are supposed to.
Nobody likes those -_-"
& you're wasting your $$/time, while risking to be called cheap.
* Reminder:
Instead of trying to catch up with the fashion trend,
why don't we donate the $$ to charity instead?
The needy can use more clothes (or other luxuries) than we do.

Why Should you read it, too?
The Chinese language is beautiful, eloquent and rich.
Lin Xi's writing is a fabulous demonstration of such truth.

Caution about this book:
Buddhism lingos/ideas permeate throughout this book.
Just thought you should know before picking it up.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Library Run

I went to the library again yesterday,
and guess what i got? : D



Yippeeeee! : D
You'll be reading about them soon enough!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Book 19: Julie & Julia

Title: Julie & Julia
-- 365 days, 524 recipes, 1 tiny apartment kitchen
Who wrote it: Julie Powell

Whom I borrowed it from:
Bought @ Barnes & Noble

What is it about:
A turning-30, ever-temping at
government agency lady decided to
take a bold step in challenging herself
before reaching the big 3-0:
Cook through every single recipe of
the famous Julia Child's
Mastering the Art of French Cooking in 1 year.

What went through my mind:
- French cooking is such a pain!!!!!!!!!
and EXPENSIVE...... 0_o"""
I get that impression from reading this book.
- Oh but i wanna try to make crepes.
Julie made it sound so... appetizing & semi-easy : )
- This book was umm... a little long,
& overwhelmingly flooded with curse words.
- Her (mostly) supportive husband reminds me
of my Goh goh ; ) He washes all the dishes, too,
when i did my cooking experiments! : D
Love is really the best fuel for this kind
of long, crazy journeys!
- i was touched by the ending of this book.
May my 365 Project ends well like hers!

Favorite Quote:
"My husband had done nothing else
for nearly six months but wash dishes." (Pg. 195)
-- Now that, is TRUE love, in my humble opinion.


What came out of this:
* Smart Idea: She set up a donation button on her blog,
so interested readers can support her financially --
she call it the 'lamb discretionary fund.'
Now, can someone help me set that up
over at sharethefood.blogspot.com, too?
Or would anyone grant me $$ to buy books to read? : D

* (Day)Dream: Will i be able to quit my job and
write a book also, after i finish this 365 books Project? 0_o

Why Should you read it, too?
* If you loved cooking/eating,
or just wanna be motivated to challenge yourself
to tackle an epic-scale project.
[HEY! YOU CAN DO IT!
& even if you can't, you'd gain something trying!]

Books 17,18: Matriarchal Family (女系家族)



Title: 女系家族 [上、下] (Matriarchal Family)

Who wrote it: 山崎豐子 (Toyoko Yamazaki)

Whom I borrowed it from: Queens Library (Jamaica)

What is it about:
A matriarchal family in Japan,
with the Mom died 6 years ago,
and the Dad just passed away,
the three daughters are left to their own device
to divvy up the huge amount of inheritance;
Dad's young mistress is pronounced pregnant;
while the family 3-generation bookkeeper
attempted to cheat and grab as much $$
as possible.

A nasty showcase of power struggles
+ A demonstration why greed/lust never satisfy.

What went through my mind:
- This is one depressing story!
The reason why it's so upsetting ~ is that
it depicts the very roots of evil in human hearts,
that we're never satisfied --
we always want more, we think we DESERVE more.
Why should we get a penny less than our sister,
brother, friend, neighbor, enemy?!

Let's be honest... isn't that TRUE? : /
No wonder Apostle says,
"Godliness + Contentment = Great Gain"

- I did wish though, that there'd be at least
1 character who isn't bogged down by these traits,
someone that could be free of these struggles.
I mean, yeah it's realistic that there's no one like that,
but Come On, it's just fiction.
i'm okay with some fairy tale materials in it 0_o"

Why Should you read it, too?
The author of these books are considered
one of the pillars of the contemporary
Japanese literature realm.

It's worth reading if not only
for the extended researches devoted into the plot,
the excellent dialogues and the flow of the story.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Book 16: Food Network Favorites

Dear friends,
Some of you have asked --
if i would read some "Picture books" / Illustrated books --
& counting them towards the 365 Books Goal --

The answer is: WHY NOT?

Although, my idea of Picture Book is more like this:

Title: Food Network Favorites --
Recipes from Our All-Star Chefs

Who wrote it: Food Network (Author),
Jennifer Darling (Editor)

Whom I borrowed it from:
Queens Library (Forest Hills)

What is it about:
A collection of recipes from the
Food Network stars / chefs,
(ranging from Giada, Paula Deen,
Tyler Florence, Alton Brown,
to Rachael Ray, Bobby Flay,
Food Network Test Kitchen... etc.)
some Q&A/trivia facts with/of each chef,
with beautiful, enlarged pictures : )

What went through my mind:
- I gotta try this, this, this, this... recipe!
Yup, I ended up with over 30 on the list : )
- Glad i found the book in the library.
It's a great book to look (drool?) at,
but not something i'd buy.

What came out of this:
* Goal: Try all those recipes!
Who wanna be my taste tester? : )

Why Should you read it, too?
If you love watching Food Network /
if you'd like to look at some beautiful pics
of food while drooling...

Book 15: Crime Scene (臨場)



Title: 臨場 (Crime Scene)

Who wrote it: Hideo Yokoyama (橫山秀夫)

Whom I borrowed it from: Fafa

What is it about:
Yet another series of short stories,
this time more focused on crime scene investigations.
The main character throughout is an eccentric investigator,
who refused to be promoted to other officer positions,
and was nicknamed "The Ultimate CSI" by others.
His motto was:
CSI must pick up every single clue left
at the crime scene, or the victim/dead
would be sorrowful in his/her unjust death!

What went through my mind:
- I liked this book better than 'Face.'
The pace of the storytelling is faster,
and the main character more interesting.
- Who knew that plants, dust,
the way you open the door,
how long it takes for blood to dry,
towards which direction & how the body fell......
could all play a part in telling the truth,
as well as what kind of people they are?

Why Should you read it, too?
If you liked watching CSI (Miami/NY),
or just wanna gain some trivial knowledge.