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Saturday, February 21, 2004
Introducing Chronic Mass 
I'm taking the liberty of sharing with you this gem I stumbed upon. Chronic Mass is written by YBLalat / Faizal bin Maisarah and I simply love his brand of malaysian fiction.

Ranging from series of stories on sex and sexuality, virginette diaries, to stories of Anas Menggoreng Nasi, Lalat writes quite simply but expressively (in both BM and English) on everyday happenings and observations in life, being a muslim student in the US.

Some would argue that it's just perhaps blog-styled stories, but I'd say it's rather well catagorized rather than in chronological form that most blogs adopt. Either way, head over to Chronic Mass and judge for yourself.

graceshu  # 9:30 PM
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Profanity 
I just came by arni's entry about books. She touches on the subject of profanity in books, and I thought it'd be interesting to see what'd come out of a discussion abt it here.

While most writers are able to express themselves sufficiently with the use of a good thesaurus - its amazing how they get past editors being overly verbose & flagrant misuse of adjectives; some writers scatter splashes of colorful words to effectively convey the realism in their fiction - five hundred pages of politically correct Queen's English can be quite a turn off after awhile. However it gets kinda tasteless when its of ghetto-punk proportions - while being desensitized w the verbal kind due to excessive exposure to the television - reading it in print forty times on each page can get kinda traumatizing, often inducing involuntary wincing and grimacing.

Maybe it's my mild upbringing, but I'd balk to accept any as such as a work of literature. I have to admit that I finish those books anyway, more out of habit than anything else - though you'd have to forgive me for holding it at an arm's distance.

Forgive my ignorance, but does the Censorship Board (or its equivalent for literature) have a quota of offensive and profane words per page to approve books into Malaysia? I'm aware of a publishing act somewhere, but would someone care to enlighten me on this?

graceshu  # 8:38 PM
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Imperial Woman - Pearl S. Buck 
Head over to Annie's blog for a review of this book. Excerpts:
Now, it is after reading the book that I am starting to wonder, how, why and when did the Chinese, who revere, respect and worship their emperors change their ways. When did the centuries of dynasty and royalty ruling end? Who was the last emperor? How did they go from a monarchy to a republic. Fair enough one could argue that the Red Guards, the Cultural Revolution, the Great Leap forward, little kids waving Chairman Mao's infamous little red book is a subtle hint that in China they have never completely gotten over their reverence for authority and still maintain a stark difference between the ruling class and the commoners.

[....]

Inspiration for stories has to come from somewhere. I just wish I knew where Pearl S Buck got it from

Have a great weekend ahead.

graceshu  # 1:35 PM
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Thursday, February 19, 2004
Atom Feed 
Finally got it done. Been meaning to do it for the past few weeks but have been procrastinating.

The Atom Feed for this blog is now up. Here is the link.

You can also find it on the side menu bar.

Better than the previous RSS feed.

Wena Tan  # 9:54 PM
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Tuesday, February 17, 2004
A Quick Update on Book Swap Meet III 
Still up for grabs: Charles Dickens - Bleak House, Christine Sparks, The Elephant Man, June Chang - Wild Swans - Three Daughters of China, House Of The Winds (Mia Yun), Ethan Hawke - The Hottest State, Mira Mustafa - Speak Louder! Darling, Nineteen (silverfish) - A collection of stories by women, Karim Raslan - Hero and Other Stories, Phillipa Gregory - The Little House / Zelda's Cut.

Wanted: The Little Hse On The Praire series, Jane Green - Spellbound / Babyville, Meg Cabot - Boys Next Door, Any Discworld (cept for The Truth)

Or, you could just meet us for a Slurpee / Coffee / Lunch / talk on March 7th 2004, Sunday, 3pm, at Starbucks, KL Sentral. Its abt 19 days from now, so you still have plenty of time to mark this down on your organizer and make plans to drop by :)

Please feel free to mail me for further info or to get my contact number. You could also head over to this wiki for more on the Book Swap Meet.

Okay, off for my mind-numbing two-hour-lecture now! Have a nice day folks.

graceshu  # 2:35 PM
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Monday, February 16, 2004
'Tis - Frank McCourt (Sequel To Angela's Ashes) 
Following up with kiez amy's review on Angela's Ashes is 'Tis, the sequel to Angela's Ashes. Written with the similar depressing, witty, emotional, dreary tones that such characterized Angela's Ashes, 'Tis picks up where Angela's Ashes left off. Frank saves money, goes to America, potters around several jobs, war breaks out in Korea and he gets sent to Germany and his career remains somewhat static since he's a 'damn fine clerk'. Yeah, but he eventually struggles his way in America getting an education, fakes his way through being an English teacher, and falls in love & marries a Protestant American.

Bitterly whiny at times esp where concerning the Irish, but endearingly witty with his narrations of his life. Worth reading especially if you adored Angela's Ashes ;)

graceshu  # 6:11 PM
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Sunday, February 15, 2004
Angela's Ashes - Frank McCourt 


Title: Angela's Ashes
Author: Frank McCourt
Other Source: Amazon.com
First published in 1996. And thousands might have read it, no? I know i'm kind off late in catching up with "Angela's Ashes" but nevertheless, i never regret it reading it now. It's actually an autobiography of Frank McCourt; his childhood among his parents - Angela & Malachy McCourt and his other siblings. His poor, miserable childhood. And how he dreamt of America. But this autobiography beg to differs. It's nothing like others. The way it is written just make you keep flipping the pages. Despite the hardship that the writer, Frank McCourt faced during his childhood, there's nothing so much as the sorrow and pain that he felt - no much sadness can be found within the pages. But instead, his story was put in a way to just reflect the things that happened without getting too much of his feelings get in the way.

Good, interesting write. Winner of 1997 Pulitzer Prize, The National Book Critics' Circle Award and The Los Angeles Times Award. Good enough reason for you to grab a copy? Heh!

kiezamy  # 10:11 PM
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the master of go - yasunari kawabata 
the master of go - yasunari kawabata.

excellent. simply good. i have no idea of how 'go' is played, and frankly, i still have no idea, although by now i have an inkling.

the master of go is about a 'go' match between the Master, and a challenger. The Master, nearing his death, is challenged by a 7th rank (similar to "dan" in japanese martial arts ranking) player, about half his age. the book captures behind-the-scenes action of a real competition back in the 1938, although the names has been changed, for obscure reasons.

the challenger is the new generation of players, while the Master are said to be the last surviving relic of true masters, quoting the book, revered in the tradition of 'Go' as a way of life and art. the book is filled with action, with the tension, with what goes on in the match, simply fabulous. it dwells into how the spirit of 'go' used to be, deep into the japanese culture and spiritualism, depicting 'go' as not just a game, but a lifestyle.

i for one, enjoys thrillers more, and this is one for the first "literature" book that i picked up, of course, with skepticism. i'm afraid i would be bored, but boy, was i wrong.

Reviewed by Ryuu

graceshu  # 6:16 PM
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