Saturday, August 30, 2003


am abt half way thru margaret atwood's latest boo - courtesy o me sis who bought it 4 me bday pressie. Oryx And Crake is its name - havent heard muchgood abt it tho so bit apprehensive but quite like it. i guess it cld b called sci-fi somewat. it's set in the future n has a lot 2 do with cloning n stuff.

short post. hand still hurts

Tuesday, August 19, 2003

Tuesday, August 12, 2003

same ole story

a colleague recently loaned me a whole stack of books. written by various asian writers.

the one i'm reading now is The Girl From Purple Mountain by May-lee Chai and Winberg Chai

it's your typical chinese-american exploration of family ancestry and in turn, learning more about oneself tale.

similar perhaps to the most famous of all chinese-american authors, amy tan.

but barely half as entertaining, and that's saying a lot as i'm not a fan of tan. (couldn't resist)

anyway, the thing is this family actually has a pretty interesting history. one of the ancestors (the grandma i think) was one of the few women to attend a university (at that time and in china too!) and she also got a masters in something in the US.

but the way the story is told is mighty confusing.

there is an explanation in the introduction. that the story is told from both may-lee and her father winberg's points of view. but these points of view do tend to jump a little here and there like in one chapter which is told mostly by winberg and at the end, there seems to be an anecdote tacked on, by may-lee.

the story is mostly of winberg's mother (may-lee's grandma) and their journey across the seas to the US.

the story on the whole is interesting, but badly written.

i just feel like it's the selling of your soul, the marketing of your family history, milking it for all its worth. but no use lah. i've never heard of the book!

Sunday, August 03, 2003

Reading online

Here's a great link to free books. might get tiring, after all, who's got the patience to read a whole book on the computer?

But here it is anyway, Bibliomania

Friday, August 01, 2003

In Retrospect

Another attempt at reading an autobiography. The other more recent one was the Katharine Graham book. which gave an interesting insight into the world of newspaper publishing. and that she was acquainted with Truman Capote. I did pick up a book yesterday in the library that mentioned that some author had Capote as a neighbour when she was young. He appears everywhere!

anyhoo...In Retrospect is Robert McNamara's book. the former US Secretary of Defense (Kennedy''s time, that is)
why his book? he writes on the Vietnam War. Something which i probably should know more about but i don't. so i'm hoping to learn more about it.
it's not too bad so far, he writes in quite a conversational way, or at least Brian VanDeMark, who is credited alongside McNamara, does.

a little heavy and slow-going so i hopefully i won't have to renew it...

The Camera My Mother Gave Me

I picked up this book at the SPH sale for charity. i think it cost $5. It was an intriguing blurb at the back which reads:
'If you have a vagina you know that most of hte time it is without do your kidneys feel? How does your pancreas feel? Luckily we have no idea how these things feel. The vagina is mostly like a pancreas and feels nothing. If it feels something, it is either erotically engaged or ill.

'All this is obvious if you have one. But half of us don't.

'i have one, and something went wrong with it.'

Well plus it was five bucks....

it did seem promising. i liked the cover. it was simple, no pictures and a calming shade of green. Also, The Camera My Mother Gave Me was an intriguing title. it still is.

and i guess Susanna Kaysen's name did stick in my mind. she did write Girl, Interrupted after all. i read that. i think.
unfortunately at this moment i only recall the movie n that Angelina Jolie stole the show from Winona Ryder. Deservingly. Winona Ryder acts exactly the same in every movie.
Here's my first attempt at a book review. Be nice.

The Dive From Clausen’s Pier

My library copy of The Dive From Clausen’s Pier came with a bright sticker stamped loudly with ‘Good Morning America’and ‘Read This!’. Ouch.

Carrie Bell, recently out of college, needs to grow up faster than she can imagine. Her relationship with high school sweetheart Mike Mayer (the Mr Congeniality type) is stagnating but before she does anything about but drop not-so-subtle hints, he dives into shallow water and fractures his spine, leaving him a quadriplegic.

Carrie doesn’t know how to cope with this tragedy and she ups and leaves for New York City. For a new life, far away from the sleepy town of Madison, Wisconsin.

There she meets the mysterious, sardonic Kilroy. He consumes her, yet she doesn’t know anything about him. Not even how he got his nickname.

It is also in New York that she begins to take design lessons. It all seems to bode well for her. She is happy with Kilroy, though the relationship is mostly under his terms and the design classes seem to be pushing Carrie in the right direction.

Yet after this glimpse of a fulfilling future, Packer sends Carrie scurrying back to Madison.

Are we meant to approve of her decision to return?

Packer tends to get caught up in weird descriptions, for example: ‘I crossed my room and sat on the futon. My legs jutted out in a way that reminded me of the dead witch’s legs in The Wizard Of Oz, sticking out from under the crushing weight of Dorothy’s house’.

And Carrie isn’t exactly a sympathetic character. She’s rather shallow and self-absorbed. She doesn’t know what she wants, although it’s staring her right in her face (Use the sewing machine, Carrie! Be a designer!! The though kept screaming from me, not matter how not obvious it was to her)