Monday, November 3, 2008
Here are some of my favorite tales as compiled in “The Best of Roald Dahl”:
Parson’s Pleasure: An antique dealer posed as a religious man to gain access into homes and tricked the owners to sell their antiques at a paltry sum, only to resell the items himself at a handsome profit. But will one of his unsuspecting victims hindered him from his biggest prize yet?
Mrs. Bixby and the Colonel’s Coat: A married lady had an affair with a rich colonel, and when he gave her a present so expensive and luxurious she can’t resist, how will she hide it from her husband?
Royal Jelly: A father’s maddening interest with bee caused him to experiment on his baby, but at what consequence?
The Boy Who Talked With Animals: A boy saved a turtle from being turned into delicious dishes and accessories. The next day he went missing.
Genesis and Catastrophe: The weakest baby ever born single handedly changed the history of the world.
Skin: A priceless art was tattooed on a priceless organ – the skin. What happened when serious buyer wants to acquire the piece?
Friday, September 12, 2008
Then this book comes along.
William Zinsser wrote the classic ‘On Writing Well’, a book that after more than 30 years had stood against the test of time. One may think that a book on writing will be a bore, but it was a surprise to discover what an enjoyable and assuring reading this book provides. “Writing is hard work…… Very few sentences come out right the first time, or even the third time. Remember this in a moment of despair. If you find that writing is hard, it’s because it is hard”. What a gem. Anyone who tells me that my shortcoming is not entirely my fault is a keeper.
The enduring success of this book is due to its casual and warm approach. Instead of being the typical textbook on grammar and writing rules, Zinsser ‘speaks personally’ to his audience. He did not sound like your strict language teacher in school nor was he mechanical in his eloquence. One of my favorite chapters is ‘Clutter’ which provides tips on weeding superfluous, redundant or long words that lengthen one’s essay, but serve no purpose. He asks us to consider “At the present time we are experiencing precipitation” – pompous - versus the succinct “It is raining”. When was the last you read an insurance or bank statement only to lost your train of thoughts after only three sentences? Sometimes all we need is a clear, short sentence.
Another favorite is the chapter ‘Bits and Pieces’. It is like that tin of assorted biscuits – you got several scrumptious varieties in one container. In this chapter, Zinsser highlighted several tips or reminders on how to use punctuations, ‘that’ vs ‘which’, paragraphing, adverbs, adjectives and many others. It is a useful reference written wittily.
I only bought this book last month – but it is already creased, folded and well-used. That, to me, is a testament of a good book, one that endures countless rereading, flipping and referencing.
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
What is the key to true happiness?
For Elizabeth Gilbert, it is pleasure, devotion and balance. She began her soul-searching journey to three countries after a messy divorce, deciding once and for all to realign her commitment and balance her life. She found pleasure in Italy by doing nothing else except learning Italian from a pair of handsome local twins and eating her heart out (putting on twenty five pounds by the end of her four months stay). She devoted herself to the teachings of a yogi in an ashram in
There are books that I read so that I can gain some knowledge and converse intellectually with that dorky but cute guy in a coffee shop –
“..but imperialism inflicts perpetual corrosion of a community’s identity even in its best effort to preserve the local culture and idealism!”
(FYI, this scenario only happened in my cuckooed mind, up there).
Then there’s book that I read purely because I want to enjoy reading it. It serves purely as a method of escapism, where for once and for all I am not an underpaid executive in an otherwise competitive market (ahem ahem).. “Eat, Pray, Love” falls in the second category.
I had only fond memories of
This book is such a joy to read. It is witty, heartwarming, lovable and engaging. It is the ultimate chick-lit, but one written with more passion, in depth and certainly something that a guy should not feel ashamed to read.
Saturday, July 12, 2008
Facts: The book is written in Bahasa Indonesia (though those sold in Malaysian bookstore have been translated to Bahasa