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.
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.

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..."

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...
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...

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

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/
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...

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?

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%.

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
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:

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 --

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:
(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.

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 : )