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Interested in swapping books? Meeting reviewers? Drink coffee? Details located here and here. If you need any help, email us!

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@ * + hani
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@ + irene
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@ + julianne
@ + kherying
@ + firefirefly
@ + meesh
@ * + minishorts
@ + raZZbeRRy
@ + rach
@ + steph t
@ + strizzt
@ + syarfina
@ + sixthseal
@ + t-boy
@ + vlad
@ * + wena

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+ BookGobbler
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+ Nizam Zakaria

Ebook Software
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+Palm Reader
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+Microsoft Reader

Places to find Ebooks
+Simon & Schuster
+Palm Digital Media
+Fictionwise
+Mobipocket
+Knowbetter Lending Library
+Project Gutenberg

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Saturday, September 11, 2004
A Series of Unfortunate Events 
The traditional genre of children's literature is often positively cheerful. Along comes Lemony Snicket with his 'A Series of Unfortunate Events' to completely dispel the notion that all children's book have happy endings.


Violet ( the eldest sister ), Klaus ( the middle one) and Sunny Baudelaire ( the youngest ) are three very ill fated kids. When their parents died in a fire, they thought life couldn't get any worse. They were sadly mistaken. When the there kids are sent to live with a distant relative, they had to reckon with Count Olaf and his diabolically fiendish sheme to steal the kids's inheritance, starting from the first book and till the tenth book.

The miserable state of the three kids might serve to remind me how fortunate am I to have a good home and loving family. However, the constant threats of killing the kids are not exactly stuff for sweet dreams. As the narrator says "there is no happy ending, no happy beginning and there are very few happy things in the middle " - Too bad to be true.

I was impressed with the cover when I saw it for the first time and the type of paper that they used. It's sort of like an old skool type. I think. The illustration by Brett Helquist is unique. I really enjoyed reading it. Yeah I know that I'm too old for this kind of book but why not kan :)

The 11th book is will be out end of this month and the movie is coming out soon. Maybe next year, I'm not so sure. But I've seen the trailer, I can't wait to watch it.

To find out more at http://www.lemonysnicket.com

Darkly interesting.

p/s : anyone will like to try this flavour ? let me know for the next book swap meet. and Grace , i'm still like 'buta IT' la. Can't attach any pics. Dunno why. Saya budak baru belajar, kalau salah tlg tunjukkan ya :)

pringgadhani  # 11:41 PM
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Shogun, by James Clavell 
If one is interested in Japan and its unique cultural history, Shogun is a good historical fiction to begin with. One will learn for instance why Japanese eat mostly raw fish and rice; why their houses were then mostly built with just wood and rice paper shoji screens; how the ceremonious chanoyu goes and what is the significance of it; what is the importance of believing in karma and not worry about things we have no control of, and much more.

Shogun also reminds its readers that while every culture has its better ways (e.g. Blackthorne's filthy culture then viewed baths as terribly dangerous to health) in certain aspects compared to others, culture in itself is unique and beneficial to its people as long as it serves them in their way of life. Evidently, as Mariko and Blackthorne found each other impossible to understand while at the same time completely irresistible, every culture on the face of earth does provide mankind something to learn from.
More here.

graceshu  # 2:42 PM
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Friday, September 10, 2004
Love In The Time Of Cholera 
Simple story yet, exquisite description of the ambience/ smells/ touch*/ feelings, etc would transport the reader exactly to the very scene as the story unfolds. The earnest yearning. The unfulfilled love. The agonizing years of tormenting wait. Simply mesmerizing. I am inspired.

More From Gina

graceshu  # 8:12 PM
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Guess Who's the One Contest! 
A month or two ago, MPH and PanGlobal had organized a writing contest for 'Young Malaysians'. The results have been decided, and but not made known yet! Members of the public (that's us) can view the essays online at http://www.pgi.com.my/guesswriter_main.aspx

p/s My essay is under Category B, title: of running ... or just click http://www.panglobal.com.my/guesswriter_b_12.aspx!!

Elizabeth  # 3:08 AM
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Wednesday, September 08, 2004
Pre-Zzzzz Reads  
I took this one from Eyeris, thought it'd be interesting to share - this is what I usually read before going to bed:

1. Random story books, etc.
2. Receipts, magazines, nutritional info on my yoghurt cup, etc.
3. Blogs, online news, forums, e-mails, random stuff on my comp.
4. Textbooks, lecture notes - wait - who am I kidding? =P


Heh. Actually it's not a really good idea for me to start reading in bed - no matter what I read - it takes about perhaps five minutes before you see drool stains on them! -_-"

What do you read before heading to bed? ;)

graceshu  # 6:44 PM
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Tuesday, September 07, 2004
Elvis, Jesus & Coca-Cola - by Kinky Friedman 
"Between the gutter and the stars,
People are what people are..."


I'd put Mr. Kinky [his real name] Friedman at par with a mixture of Dave Barry and David Sedaris; 'cept that Friedman is more blatant with his sarcasm and humor than Sedaris is, and also has a bit more of a plot to his books than Dave Barry's how-to guides.

This book explores the meaning of life, death, and everything related to it - which is just about everything else - through the eyes of Mr. Kinky Friedman after he finds himself involved with the deaths of two of his friends - they both had his name and number scrawled on a random notepad at the crime scene.

He gets his posse together to investigate the coincidence of the two deaths - by pouring dom perignon down their necks, scarfing down pork pies, smoking countless cigars, and dealing with issues in his past - and all this with numerous references to Jewish / Italian cultures, Elvis [of impersonators, and plenty of trivia], Jesus [satirical], Coca-Cola [minimal], and an attractive blonde who lives on the fifth floor of his apartment unit. It was a fun and entertaining read - nothing that would strain the unisel brain too much.

I found the style of narration refreshing and delightful [conversations with his cat, etc.], and admired his extensive vocab [viaticum, anyone?], expressions ["killer bee!"] and euphemisms ["Live by the watermelon, die by the watermelon"], and how he brought to life very colorful and interesting characters.

Kinky Friedman is either very creative, or probably needs counselling - it might've been all that trauma from his parent's naming conventions. I have just the number he could call - but I'll put that on hold first - we need to squeeze as much killer bee [!] talent out of this guy before they methioninize everyone into a blabbering mass of happy happy joy joys.

graceshu  # 5:36 PM
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The light that burns twice as bright... 
Firefly by Bernie Tan

I read this book in one sitting. No it wasn't exciting, thrilling or gripping. There were no tricks or sleight of hand with words, something I particularly enjoy. There was nothing. Except for the very raw and open psyche of a woman who had a childhood which she saw as oppresive, and educated in a school system which never allowed her talents to develop.

I found Firefly to be very heartfelt, sort of like a "You want to know what makes me me?" It was certainly interesting reading about her experience in an institution, and her struggle to be reassimilated into 'society' and to gain 'acceptance'. The author leaves nothing hidden about her trauma, her fights, her gradual degradation caused by substance abuse. Some readers might be a little uncomfortable with the dirty linen being aired out in public here, but considering what is currently being posted in some of the local blogs, it isn't much different really. Many of us come from dysfunctional families anyway. And the author's thoughts, experiences and feelings about her family and parents, notably her mother, are very telling indeed.

I would recommend this as a book to be read by every teenager, young adult, and parents having to live with or cope with either. It certainly would help a reader in understanding what goes in the minds of a young person, struggling to find themselves and their place in the world. It also shows that someone may look 'normal' from the outside, but be very complicated on the inside.

As a small footnote, I have met the author once, at a social gathering, before her accident. We made some small talk about the creative process, and the intricacies that go into the design of an advertising campaign, particularly for a product which the AD isn't particularly enthusiatic about. My impression of her was a person who spoke her mind, and didn't care what the listener thought about it. I guess I was slightly wrong, because after reading Firefly, I know that she does indeed care.
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Edit: Previously reviewed here.

xXx  # 11:49 AM
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Sunday, September 05, 2004
Report: Book Swap Meet VI  
So! I just got back.

We met up - aLiya, Irene Q, Yee Pei, chiQ, xXx, Adrian, Danny Lim, and graceshu - had plenty of coffee, mindless/articulate chatter, birthday songs, surprise gifts! [thx, yp!], exchanged stories, lame jokes, 'alternative' innuendos, phone contacts, and of course - swapped books [and vcds/dvds =P]!

The others were rather punctual - Irene was there at exactly 3pm, but I er. was delayed for about an hour due to unforseen *ahem* "circumstances" ;) but everything turned out okay - even if we did have a couple of hastily sent mobile texts/nervous phone calls prior to my arrival.

An estimated 30 to 40 books were brought today, and perhaps about 30 - 35 exchanged hands. I was too jittery [and excited] by my two mugs of black coffee to actually pretend to assume the responsiblity of keeping track - even though someone did give me a half completed list of titles! =P Ah. Well.

We dismissed ourselves at about six. The others headed for home, but some of us adjourned to a nearby mamak for dinner and drinks.

It was quite pleasant, although [a] certain individual[s] [was?]were twitchy, nervous and paranoid from the caffeine overdose - and the mamak was relatively new, had bad lighting [can see facial pores, etc!] and was [disturbingly?] sterile and had like weird roti planta [with sugar?] and a couple of really odd gaps of silences.

It was a weird day - for me anyway. But I thought it was rather fun[ny].

I think.
Okok. Gtg flush caffiene out of system now. Bais.
[Watch this space for the Book Swap Meet VII - Oct 31st!]


graceshu  # 8:27 PM
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The Time Traveler's Wife 
By Audrey Niffenegger

I bought this book because its premise sounded intriguing. The back cover says:
This is the extraordinary story of Clare and Henry who met when Clare was six and Henry was thirty-six, and were married when Clare was twenty-two and Henry thirty. Impossible but true, because Henry suffers from a rare condition where his genetic clock periodically resets and he finds himself pulled suddenly into his past or future.
However, before I could read the book, Aizuddin over at the Volume of Interactions downloaded it from Audible.com as an audio book, listened to it, and gave it a ringing endorsement. He cried at the end? How could I not read a book that could make a grown man cry? ;)

So I picked it up one night and began reading. One of my housemates came downstairs the next morning, opened the front door, and I blinked. "Is it bright outside already?" Gosh! I'd stayed up the whole night, reading!

Let's just say I was not disappointed in this book. It was as interesting as it had promised to be. Touching, too. Of course, I am a hopeless romantic but this book is much more than your usual formulaic love story. And no, I didn't cry, but then I'm not one to cry easily when reading books or watching movies.

So what was it all about? Poor Henry gets suddenly pulled into his past or future for brief periods of time with no warning and no control over the time or the place he's going to end up in. He's not able to take anything with him, so he always arrives naked, without any money, and sometimes without any idea where he is or what year he's in. The first time Clare meets him, he's thirty-six and already married to her in his present, but he's travelled back in time so she's only six. Of course he knows who she is, but she has no clue who this big, naked stranger is.

As the years pass and Clare grows up, Henry periodically flashes into her life from various times in his future. Turns out that he only meets her for the first time when he's twenty-eight. It's funny because now Clare is the one who knows him, but since he hasn't lived his future yet -- the future from which he's been visiting her -- he doesn't recognise her at all. (Confused yet?) She informs him calmly, "You've been telling me for years that whenever it is you're coming from, you're married to me," and the shock is so great that for a moment he's afraid he's going to have one of his time-travelling episodes.

I don't want to make it sound like this is a difficult book to read, because it isn't, but it will make you think about the concept of time. Is it linear or is it... all already there? I mean, if Clare is six and Henry is actually only eight years older than she is, how can the thirty-six-year-old Henry travel back in time to meet her? That Henry doesn't exist yet, right? Plus you get the older Henry sometimes arriving in the present and hanging out with the current younger version of himself. So he exists in the present, but he also exists in the future, which technically hasn't happened yet. (Now are you confused? Hehehe...)

PS. This book found its way into Aliya's hands at the Book Swap Meet VI. That's why you should come for these meets, boys and girls! ;D

Sunflower  # 7:33 PM
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TBRB Book Swap Meet VI - Sept 5th 2004  
Hi kids. I'm gonna have to go shower & lunch in abit. But here's an update -

Eight people confirmed so far - Grace Shu, aliya, Ted, Yee Pei & Friend, Irene Q, xXx, and Adrian ;D!

You can check the wiki for more details.

I'm bringing the following for grabs: Lighthouse - Virginia Woolf, The French Resistance - Don Lawson, Mannix no.3 - A Walk On The Blind Side, Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov, Truman Capote - First And Last, Not Without My Daugher - Betty Mahmoody, Daughters of Arabia - Jean Sasson.

If you're reading this and kalau sempat - feel free to join us ya, even if its for coffee. You don't have to make small talk or anything - crossing your legs every 5 minutes amuses us enough. [Even more so if you're attractive and wearing a skirt! or some suave looking male with dodgy looking facial hair!]

/kihkihkih. Bais.

graceshu  # 1:31 PM
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