(Yui) my favourite books

Among the books that Dad and Mom and friends gave me, I’ve loved these from when I was still three months old.

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When I was younger, I would kick my legs in excitement whenever Mom or Dad reads these to me. But now that I can smile and laugh and giggle when I really want to, I look like this. 🙂

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And this.

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本は大好きな!

Oh the places you’ll go

On your first day at daycare Moirraine anak, we wish you best on your journey. Rise up and shine! The Good Lord bless you.

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books for 2013

Welcomed 2012 with these books by my bedside. And so for the rest of the year, the books I was inclined on reading were leaning on fiction and fantasy (Games of Thrones, yeah!!!), with most of them being books intentionally made for children.

This year, I’m still reading books for children – but that of very young ones ie babies! Teehee. Will try to post about Moirraine’s books which to date, already numbers 17. And oh, Moirraine is still 4 months, yes.

As for my own selection, aside from the “What to Expect the First Year”, these books are also by my bedside.

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All the serious stuff is offset by the baby books. And this (!!), which both baby and Mom loves.

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Oh how attentive baby is when I read to her a story from this book! And the Mom finds it ver~y interesting. I bought only the first volume albeit I’d probably hit the bookstore soon for the other volumes.

And this one’s by the bedside as well. I’ve just enrolled in a class yesterday. Goodluck to me!

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Holes by Louis Sachar

This book was lent to me by the same colleague who lent me The Boy in Striped Pyjamas.

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Finished this one even faster than the first one lent to me. There’s good reason why this book’s a Newbery Medal awardee. And yes, this is again a book written for kids. Unlike the other two children’s book I’ve recently read however, this Holes book I’m definitely gonna share with my baby.

A very nice read.

Goodreads stars: 5 of 5

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

Both a Carnegie Medal and Kate Greenaway Medal awardee, this book is an absolute page-turner. For me, it doesn’t have a very striking intro nor does it have an ending that would leave you staring into space for hours. I even think that at some point it was anti-climactic because I can somehow guess already what “the truth” was that Conor was hiding.

But it’s a page-turner alright, even for me who reads really slow. Further proof on how good a page-turner it was – been having late nights at the office recently; going home at past 10pm or so and yet I was able to finish the book in 5 days!

And even when the ending was a bit expected, it was still a tearjerker.

Oh, did I mention this was a children’s book? ~sheepish grin~

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And so that no one in the office would know I’m reading a children’s book, I asked the Kinukuniya staff to have it wrapped.

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At one point, I doubted that it should be for children. But after having had finished the book, yes, indeed it is for children. Probably ’round the ages 9 to 14 years old.

And I met Green Man again! This is the first time though that I encountered him as scary-looking. In the other books where I’ve encountered him, my image of him is endearing and lovely-looking. At the end of this book though, I still found him endearing even when he was terrible-looking.

My Goodreads rate: 4 stars out of 5.

Finished the book this evening just when the books we ordered from Amazon arrived. This one’s up next!

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The Boy in the Striped Pyjama by John Boyne

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There are books that will have you hooked since first page. Books that are absolute page-turners. And books with endings so unexpected and so heartbreaking you’re left staring at the wall for hours or you’re left with a “bleeding heart” even days after reading it.

This book is in that last category. It had an ending that caught me by surprise and had me staring at the wall before I fell asleep (thankfully I was able to fall asleep) and had me walking around with a broken heart the following day. “A taste of your own medicine” is what reminds me of the ending. Only, the medicine is way too bitter and strong and mind/life altering.

It didn’t have a good start with me though. The first page said it was “a Fable by John Boyne”. Was taken aback why the author called his book a fable. My understanding of fables was that it is a story with ANIMALS as characters and where through the animals, a story of great lesson and truth is portrayed. Now, this Boy in Striped Pyjamas book was set in Auschwitz Death Camp at the time of the Holocaust with a German boy as the main character and a Jewish boy on the “supporting role”. Hence the author calling it a fable was so off for me as it implied that the characters are animals. Whether the author was trying to express in a figurative way that Jews at that time were being killed like animals could be one reason. Or it could be that he was trying to figuratively say the Germans at that time were behaving like animals with nary a heart. Either way however, I still find it offensive. And heartless.

Giving the author a benefit of a doubt, I looked up Mirriam-Webster dictionary, thinking that my definition of “fable” may not be complete. And this was what I found:
fa·ble\ˈfā-bəl\
noun
: a fictitious narrative or statement: as
a : a legendary story of supernatural happenings
b : a narration intended to enforce a useful truth; especially : one in which animals speak and act like human beings
c : falsehood, lie

So that I could read the book, I just settled on the first part of definition (b) – a narration intended to enforce a useful truth.

Reading the book was very easy. It was after all written and narrated as one would on a children’s book. The protagonist was a nine year old and supposedly it was how a nine year old would think. But I find it very unrealistic as I think the protagonist was too naive. As a nine year old, I don’t think I was as naive; or it could be that I matured early. However, my favorite book that had a child’s perspective “To Kill a Mockingbird” was supposedly from the perspective of a six year old and yet Harper Lee was soooo convincing on it that you wouldn’t for a second doubt that it was a six year old narrating the story. This Boy in Striped Pyjamas book was a far cry. It was like Bruno, the protagonist, was either only five years old or a special, autistic kid.

I’m not sure if John Boyne really intended for this one to be a children’s book, as sort of an introduction to knowing what happened during the Holocaust. But with the thing about the Mother and Lieutenant Kotner being in the plot however, I don’t think it’s for children.

One thing though, this book had an ending that would make me remember the book for a long time. And it’s yet again one book that would make you fervently hope there’d never be again one so evil who’ll think of totally wiping out a race from the face of the earth.

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My Goodreads rate: 3 stars out of 5

Christmas books

And they arrived just in time for Christmas!

Fresh out of the box from Amazon.

Figured that since The Neverending Story is a classic already, buying the hardbound cover is best. Was pleasantly surprised it came in colored! yippee! Totally so Christmassy especially since it’s written in that old fairy-tale stories kind of font which I found out during our Prague trip was really what was used in the olden days, even in their law books.

It came in hardbound but I bought it at Amazon at a cheaper price compared to the paperback copy sold in Book Express in front of Sakuragicho JR station (albeit I was thankful they’re selling a copy of this book. Through them, I learned there IS such a book).

Was equally surprised that the size of The Prophets of Ghost Ants copy was as big as the hardbound ones.

Together with the book I bought last night, my hands are surely full over the holidays.

Happy reading everyone!!

on dates and muji

Hubs took me out for a movie date this evening. What else! Mission Impossible of course, which proved to be quite interesting and engaging. Go watch now if you haven’t yet.

We have some three hours to spare before the movie started though hence plenty of time to walk around Colette Mare and shop – for more books LOL. Hubs bought his usual number of book purchases while I bought these for the evening.

I bought these books in a matter of five minutes, too short a time for hubs inside Kinukuniya hence I wandered around Colette Mare looking for a stationery box to house our stationeries which are practically scattered about in the house. Wandered towards Muji, located at the basement of Colette Mare. And it made me smile to see this.

Maternity coats. Truly a big help for pregnant women and moms with newborn babies who has to carry their infants around during these cold months.

Here’s another style but I like the first one better.

Before the movie, there’s dinner of course. To celebrate the evening. A romantic chandelier.

And a platter of freshies arrayed beautifully.

On our way home, hyper from all the action in Mission Impossible, we dropped by Family Mart. Decided to purchase this Muji knickknack.

Seeing it wrapped so simply, as is all Muji food products, I didn’t have high expectations on it. But boy we were in for a surprise. Wonder why it is heart shaped as thus?

Frozen strawberry coated with white chocolate. Simply delicious.

Happy evening. Thankful.

what I want to read over the holidays

Been really busy lately that we are sooo looking forward to the coming holidays. Although actually I don’t daydream or plan much of the holidays yet because of the deliverables at work. I ain’t complaining though because as always, work has been very interesting (and challenging).

But one thing I do look forward to over the holidays though, aside from spending time with the family of course, is to catch up with my reading. Been very busy lately hence I only get to read about 5 pages of “The Art of War” while riding the train; ours is only a short 15 min ride, that’s why. And, well, if truth be told, I really hadn’t been that inspired to read lately. I borrowed 3 books from the library, but I haven’t read it past 3 chapters. Not up to reading much, and I think it could be because I really haven’t gotten over Ishiguro’s “Never Let Me Go” yet. Ever since finishing that book, no other book I have gotten my hands on recently ever caught my interest (except for 1Q84. Murakami’s 1Q84 is still not opened as I don’t have time to read at home since we usually get home around 11pm or beyond). And I must admit, up to now, I am still so much taken by Ishiguro’s book; I can still feel the heartache. And deep inside, I truly wish the book’s premise isn’t really happening or will not happen, ever.

So with the holidays coming up so fast (Dear Holidays, I want you to come fast, but please not so fast. Let me finish all my deliverables on schedule. And Atsushi’s too), I want to erase the lingering melancholic feeling from “Never Let Me Go”. After all, it is the holidays and the holidays are meant for fun and joyful feelings. Thus I started hunting for feel-good good reads that is in sync with the Holiday cheer. Indeed, it is true, search and you shall find. Not long after I started the search, I chanced upon this book in one of Hubs’ favorite bookstores. This is one of my favorite childhood movies. But I never knew it was originally from a book. I should have known better. Perfect for the holidays, isn’t it? It has high ratings in Amazon and Goodreads as well so I know my time won’t be wasted.

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There is one book however that I really really want to read. This book has been dubbed the BEST in 2011 and has the highest rating among the books I’ve read so far.

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Can’t wait to order in amazon.

As for something to be happy today. Realised that slowly, I’m seeing more of one of my personal goals. Happy. Thankful. Inspired.

book review: Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

It’s 3:40am and I’ve just finished the book. It’s a bit unnerving to find 6 book leaves at the back of the book, totally blank; 12 pages of nothingness after having had read that last part of Never Let Me Go that was so profound you’d find yourself reeling in your emotions. It must be a printing mistake, those additional 12 blank pages, but it suited the book just fine. It’s like you need those blank pages to write your thoughts and emotions on.

There’s a big disparity on how I treated this book from the first to the last page. At the start, I find myself getting bored and it was all I can do to will myself to go on reading; oftentimes telling myself that this book hasn’t received all those acclaim for no reason. And I’m glad I persevered. By the time I got to the middle of the book, it was so hard to put the book down in that I find myself trying to squeeze in a few more lines from the book within the last minute during lunch breaks.

One thing I’m thankful I didn’t do before reading this book: to read any synopsis/reviews that may allude to what the story is all about and who Kathy really is. Just go and read it and be surprised and be taken. And be haunted. And be brokenhearted.

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