Thursday, November 13, 2014
Monday, October 20, 2014
Author : Henning Mankell
This book is basically about a guy who messed up.
He hated his family because he had bad memories of a dysfunctional family, and the resentment from it I guess brought him to the path he led after.
He left his girlfriend just because he felt like it.
He amputated the wrong arm of a patient eventhough he knew he had to check beforehand for any problems.
He left his job and became a hermit on an island he inherited from his grandparents. Everything was fine until one day his girlfriend came back after 44 years, with news that shattered him.
He had to deal with her illness and impending death. He had to accept his daughter that he never knew he had. he had to face the woman who life was ruined due to his malpractice,
He learnt a lot about life that he had until that fateful day, ignored.
With the help of a gift of Italian shoes that his newfound daughter presented.
Plot was okay-ish but I felt depressed, just as I feel depressed reading other depression novels. But yet the depression level wasn't too bad,
Snow can delight, but also destroy, eh?
Rating : 7/10
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
Author : Charlotte Bronte
How exactly different this particular sister of Bronte can be from her contemporaries, if I can call them so?
Forget the drama of Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, and even Pride and Prejudice. This classic brings reality right to your doorstep and knocks sense in you, letting readers see what life actually has been for people in that age.
So it is about William Crimsworth, an orphan who was schooled in Eton because his rich uncles can afford it, but received the help grudgingly as he knows that he will be indebted to them. As he ages into maturity, he formed plans to seek his long lost brother, a rich trader in hope for a fresh start in life. That went bad, however, as he was treated far worse than anybody else working at the mill. With the help of his new acquaintance, Mr. Hunsden, William ran away to Brussels for a new life.
He became a teacher, or professor, as the Flemish calls it, and circumstances brought him to meet Frances Evans Henri, who he then falls in love. Sufficient to say that Charlotte Bronte brought us full circle, ending the book not at the climax, but followed through to calm peaceful times where the ending gives us a sigh of relief.
Brush up your French, though. My rudimentary skills were put to a test.
To those realists (like me!) you'll love this extraordinary ordinary book.
Rating : 10/10
Tuesday, October 14, 2014
I found an easy platform to access free online courses on a multitude of topics at courses.edx.org, an initiative by Harvard but now joined by a lot of renowned universities. (Alma mater, when is your turn?)
Currently enrolled in a course on Dante and also a course on Capitalism. Those interested in learning should at least check it out. You can actively participate in the timespan they give, or do it in an audit mode where you don't have to submit any homework/do exams etc etc for grading.
Sunday, October 12, 2014
Author : Steve Berry
Short blurb ; was wandering in Kinokuniya stacks in KLCC last week, saw Berry's new book on Lincoln. Held it and a second later, some stranger kind enough recommended it. So thank you, stranger, I will buy it as soon as the price gets affordable. Ha.
So the book I'm reviewing, the Paris Vendetta, deals with the Napoleon treasure lost by time. Remember the Amber Room (review here : http://thebuddinglibrocubicularist.blogspot.com/2013/12/book-review-amber-room.html) where the Antiquarians were looking for it? So one of them, Sir Ashby, joins another group called the Paris Club (originally envisioned by Napoleon himself) that aims to reap in profits from speculation of the world's stability. The vision was to keep terror and war at a level enough to incite fear and order from the masses, and speculate in it to profit from the business branching off from the security needed by nations.
Using Napoleon as a central figure, they try to gang up and start a venture that controls all the banks and governments of the world, with the objective of using Napoleon's lost treasure as a startup to the business. In this book, personal vendettas are also revenged on. Most importantly, Henrik Thorvaldsen, the Danish who has become Cotton Malone's best friend, has an agenda of his own.
Cotton Malone had to balance this journey, siding on the government (yes, working with no other than ex-boss Stephanie Nell), and protecting Henrik from using his vendetta to destroy himself. Apparently, Sir Ashby was the one who ordered the elimination of Cai, Henrik's son.
The book has a lot to deal with the Merovingians, Napoleon himself and also his quests around the world. It also talks about the derivatives market, which resonates oh-so-much with me right now. Capitalism is evident throughout the Paris Club's intentions.
They found the treasure, yes. Vendettas were revenged. And Henrik...oh well. Cotton has to try move on.
Rating : 6/10. Berry becoming redundant. Back to classics!
Friday, October 3, 2014
Tuesday, September 23, 2014
Thursday, September 11, 2014
Wednesday, August 6, 2014
Author : Manuel Vazquez Montalban
I read this back in Professor Dienst's class. Not the last book, by the way. Kept stalling due to my awful experience.
God. Professor, I wished we did another Ripley book.
I HATE YOU FOR PUTTING US UNDER SUCH PAIN.
So this is about Pepe Carvalho, a detective who is more interested in his gastronomy and other annoying habits rather than focusing on the investigation itself. His assignment was to look for Stuart Pedrell, a businessman who went missing a year ago.
But instead of talking heavily about the plot Montalban went winding over food and it's recipes (yes you can easily get 5 recipes from this book), how skillful he is in his wines and sex. Not the kind people are interested/worth reading anyway. Seriously, I am not trying to dissuade with all my heart from reading it, but....nope.
Yet Montalban has around 19 Carvalho mysteries, and is a very celebrated writer, so...maybe a clump of people in this world are entertained.
Rating : 2/10 and how I wish it could go lower. Just thanks for bringing me around Barcelona.
PS : so far a lot of other reviews online and in class have similar views as me. So, blame isn't entirely on my shoulders. Urgh yuck.
Tuesday, July 22, 2014
Saturday, May 3, 2014
- Red Harvest - Dashiell Hammett
- The Real Cool Killers - Chester Himes
- Ripley's Game - Patricia Highsmith (read all 7 in the series!)
- The Laughing Policeman - Maj Sjowall & Per Wahloo
- Fatale - Jean Patrick Manchette
- short readings from Andrea Camilleri, Cornell Woolrich, and Massimo Carlotto
- Southern Seas - Manuel Vasquez Montalban (ergh)
- Case Histories - Kate Atkinson
- Nairobi Heat - Mukoma Wa Ngugi
- Brother Kemal - Jakob Arjouni
- Edgar Allan Poe complete works
- Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes series (4 novels, 56-ish short stories)
- G.K. Chesterton's Father Brown
- Marcel Allain & Pierre Souvestre's Fantomas
- Agatha Christie complete collection
- Georges Simenon's Maigret collection (75 books)
- Georges Simenon's other books (also called hard books)
- Raymond Chandler's collection
- James M. Cain
- Jim Thompson
- Cornell Woolrich
- Richard Stark
- Tony Hillerman
- Michael Connelly
- Sue Grafton
- Sarah Paretsky
- Megan Abbott
- Stieg Larsson's Girl With Dragon Tattoo series
- Natsuo Kirino
- Qiu Xiaolong
- David Peace
- Martin Solares=Junot Diaz=Garcia Marquez
- Jonathan Lethem's Motherless Brooklyn
- Leonardo Sciascia's "Equal Danger"
- Jean Claude Izzo's Total Chaos
- Michael Dibdin
- Colin Cotterill
- Luiz Alfredo Garcia Roza
- Andrey Kurkov
- Ian Rankin
- Honore Balzac
- Robert Van Gulik
- "Aristotle's Crime"
- Philip Cairn
- Josephine Tey
- Umberto Eco
- Jason Goodwin
- Oakley Hall
- Jacqueline Winspear
- Alan Furst
- Philip Kerr
- Bruce Alexander
- Boris Akunin (I got Professor Dienst's copy!)
- Walter Mosley
- James Elroy
- Didie Daeninckx
- Maltese Falcon
- The Big Sleep
- Out of the Past - Tourneur
- High and Low - Kurosawa
- The Long Goodbye - Altman
- Chinatown - Polanski
- Thief - Mann
- City of God - Meirelles
- Gommorrah - Garrone
- Children of Men - Cuaron
- The Constant Gardener - Meirelles
- Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)
- Strangers on the Train
- Twin Peaks series
- maybe a movie from Chester Himes' books
- BBC's rendition of Case Histories
- OBVIOUSLY HOLMES. but Professor liked the Jeremy Brett version, I stick to Benedict Cumberbatch. We agreed that RDJ's Holmes ain't that good, though.
Tuesday, April 8, 2014
But I laughed it off thinking it absurd. Surely Professor Dienst knows better.
Yet, little that I know, he did asked us the same question in class today? What does the crimes in this book mean? What purpose does it serve, really?
Enough of class material.
I was intrigued by the "feel" that I got from the book, that I decided to watch the BBC series. Since Case Histories is part of a series featuring Jackson Brodie as the main character, I had watched the first 2 episodes that corresponds to this book.
All along I was telling myself, " This is so gonna be Jodi Picoult-like."
I was right.
Both episodes hung loosely onto the book, changing tiny facts to the case which bothered me as stories like this depend on the small bits to push it through. The obvious stuff is still there, and Brodie was all you can ask for on screen. He had that appeal in himself that he acted more like a confidante rather than the normal private eye we usually encounter, making you feel that the cases were never meant to be solved in the first place.
Amelia and Julia fared better on screen compared to the book, but Laura was a little bit plain.
Lily Rose was Lily Rose. Theo wasn't that gigantic though.
Overall, I would not say it is a remarkable rendering of the novel, but worth to watch, nonetheless. Especially if you want to see how things flush out using graphics rather than an over-active imagination.
The part where Olivia's killer did the deed was funny or absurd, depending on your level of seriousness. It was dramatic and garish (at least it was for me). It serves the purpose of fleshing out the reasons behind the killing but I felt that the producer took too much liberty on that one.
Oh well. Brodie is Lucius and how can Lucius be so yummy.
Help me wrap that thought into my brain folds.
Sunday, April 6, 2014
Although critics went around saying that this is just a fictional account, a speculation on the first Everest attempt, I must say that Archer made sure he wrote a good one at that.
This book outlines the life story of Mr George Mallory (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Mallory), the man who was rumored to be the first man to reach the tip of Chomolungma, along with Mr Sandy Irvine. Their success is still unknown to be true, as they had met with their deaths on the cliffs of Everest, a couple hundred feet away from the top. The only clues supplied by their fellow climbers were the absence of Ruth Mallory's photograph from George's wallet, and a picture in a Kodak camera that is lost.
Paths of Glory spins a tale around the English amateur mountain climbers of Mallory's time, each vying for recognition and position. Will the climbing expedition's fate be different if it was Finch who made the final ascent with Mallory instead of Irvine?
Although historical, Archer woven enough emotion and drama to make you want to enclose yourself in a hole and finish the book. And be proud to have shed a tear or two at the ending, for you felt the struggles of the personas as if it was your own.
Rating : 10/10
Beginning to like you, Mr. Archer! Can't wait to read Kane and Abel!
PS : There is also a documentary on him on PBS I think, if you want to get closer to the man who might have push historians to rewrite the textbooks.
Author : Kate Atkinson
As much as I find the book fascinating, I think I am reverting back to the classic detective fiction. Now I have a big problem cherry-picking the fine line between aforementioned genre and the crime fiction I have been recently delving in to.
Case Histories revolves around 3 cold cases that happened years ago, long forgotten but for the families. In the same week, all three were revived when new clues surfaced and the families decided to contact private detective Jackson Brodie.
Case 1 : Olivia, the baby in the family went missing from the tent she and her sister Amelia were sleeping in, one summer night. She was never to be found again. Case reopened when Olivia's sisters, Julia and Amelia found the Blue Mouse that accompanied Olivia wherever she went before her disappearance, in their deceased dad's study.
Case 2 : Laura Wyre, the baby of Mr. Theo Wyre, brutally murdered while she was working her first day in her dad's office. Was the act random or actually targeted at Theo? Since the murderer in the bright yellow golf sweater was never found, Theo became obsessed with finding closure. 10 years had gone by, and Theo felt that he had to know the answer before finally reuniting with Laura.
Case 3 : Michelle, seen holding an axe with her husband's head chopped off and her baby, Tanya, wailing. Was she delusional, or what thrown her off balance? Shirley, Michelle's sister, didn't want an answer to that. She just wanted Tanya.
String along Nicola Spencer, who was suspected to be cheating on her husband, and Mrs. Binky and her cats, who believed in Jackson the way no one does. With a marriage torn apart and a brutishly handsome face, Jackson was in for a ride.
He solved the cases in a mild manner, so that everyone in different ways found closure. He found his, too.
Rating : 9/10
I still love Fatale more, professor.
PS : Saw online that there is a BBC series on this. Worth watching! (and yes I love BBC)
Monday, March 24, 2014
Sunday, March 23, 2014
Since it is so straight-forward and Aimee is so no-nonsense.
The book tells us about Aimee, who first killed out of necessity then turned it into a job. She jumps from one town to another, avenging the middle class by destroying the aristocrats of the society. She stumbled on this particular town, got to know the high society, and with an insider who is ready to spill the beans, managed to concoct a plan that makes that select group of people hate each other. Hating enough to kill.
Although it does seem a simple story, Manchette writes in a fashion which I found eye-opening. There are some parts of the book where I just stopped reading to catch my breath and re-focus my conscience. She made me as ruthless as she is in the story. But it did not border at all with Hammett's killing where we move on so quickly after a death. In Fatale, all deaths come as a terrible blow. This book made deaths personal.
Some quotes which took my breath away;
"Well, it's the same as ever, isn't it? It seems slow, but actually it is quite fast. Sex always comes first. Then money questions. And then, last, comes the old crimes."
''SENSUAL WOMEN, PHILOSOPHICALLY MINDED WOMEN, IT IS TO YOU THAT I ADDRESS MYSELF.''
Author : Chris Cleave
That is what I will use to describe this book.
It is about a girl named Little Bee who escaped from Nigeria, fleeing the grasp of capitalism (oil) that destroyed her village and everything she knows of in the world. Little Bee managed to smuggle herself onto a barge heading towards the UK, and she found herself in a detention center for 2 years. Released early, she hold onto only what she has; her new obsession of English and a business card.
A call in the early hours of the morning jolted a family into a spiral of events that subsequently shaped their future. Little Bee repesents fate; and helps us question life dynamics as we know it.
Monday, February 24, 2014
Sunday, February 23, 2014
Sunday, February 16, 2014
Sunday, February 9, 2014
Monday, February 3, 2014
Tuesday, January 28, 2014
Saturday, January 25, 2014
Monday, January 20, 2014
Received the book via Goodreads First Reads. And I was a happy girl.
Took Frog Music with me for my West Coast trip, so I was happy for the background to be historical San Francisco! Emma Donoghue writes eloquently in a fashion I rarely have read before. I love how sexily thrilling she turns a mystery in, what with the rich profusion of personas and intermingling feelings smashed in a compact and simple storyline. I also love the "going against norms" characters at that period which gives an extra kick to the plot. Some might see the language as provocative, but I must say, brilliant, Emma. Simply brilliant.
Rating ; 10/10 because why not?