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Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

The Nanny Diaries

” The Nanny Diaries” is one delicous book. This book is written with just the right amount of humor that is fresh and funny, and just the right dose of sarcasm to make the book feel young and lively. This is seriuosly a great book not to be missed.

For those of you who are new to reading, let me give you a tip of advice about choosing a book. If a book can make you want to do any of the following three, it’s a great book.

  1. You wish you were a character in the story becasue he/she is so perfect.
  2. You hate a character so much that you wish you could either give her a good  shake to wake her up or strangle her to death so that he/she will not cause anymore misery to the people around him/her. 
  3. You want to be best friends with a character in the book.

If you happen to feel any one of the above, that book you are reading must be a really good book. It means that the author has successfully evoked a certain feeling from you, a feeling so strrong tht you feel you have to act upon it.

I can safely tell you this is a great book, because I am feeling one of the three listed above. It is the second one. I can tell you that I really hate Mr and Mrs. X. They are not fit to be parents. They really disgust me. To them , a child is just an ornament to their “perfect” marriage. The child is a trophy to be shown off to friends, a live doll to dress up when the mood strike them. Mrs. X is not fit to be a mother. She knows nothing about mothering or what a child needs. She can’t do anything on her own. Without a maid, a nanny and a housekeeper, she will be living in a pigsty. She can’t even find a bow tie for her son! All she knows is how to doll herself up and trying to do things that will please Mr. X, althought it backfires most of the time. She’s like a dog that wags its tail when the owner is home, begging for some attention, but the master (Mr. X) doesn’t even give her a glance. I wouldn’t too, if I were Mr. X. She is just a pretty vase who can’t do anything right. She made all the stupid rules for her four-year-old son to follow and she thinks she has the right to monopolize everyone’s time just because she is paying them. She over-utilises people and she thinks lowly of everyone else. I HATE her.

Alright, here is the summary at the back of the book. You read the book and tell me what you think of Mrs. X.:

In between looking after four-year-old Grayer and running a thousand errands for Mrs X, his rich, uptight Manhattanite mother, Nan is tring to have a life. There’s colleage, shopping, her friends, her cate George. And the gorgeous Harvard boy from the sixth floor…

But the X family’s dramas keep intruding – visits from Mr X’s predatory mistress, catastrophic family outings and, as a final straw, the case of the marriage-destroying panties. As divorce looms, Nan realizes how attached she’s become of the X’s underloved son – and how nannying has become more than just a job. 

You know, this book really gives me the urge to try nannying. It sounds fun. You get to meet interesting people, you get pretty well-paid, and you get the expereince of a lifetime. Who knows, maybe I will meet somone hot, just like Nan did. I think I might trying nannying during the two months of vacation before I start work at TTSH. I just hope I don’t get an emplyer like Mrs X.

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This is the movie trailer.

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Vanishing Acts

Firstly, things that Jodi mention in this book just kind of hit home. Andrew Hopkins does magic tricks for the residents at the senior citizen centre. Words like ‘sleight-of-hand’ and ‘illusion’ bring back so much memories for me. I used to know someone who did magic. He influenced me to do magic too, so I was surrounded by words like these for one period of time.

Secondly, her book gave me a glimpse into the lives of the Hopi Indians and the curel truth of what really goes on behind the closed doors of jail in

Thirdly, she actaully managed to make courtrooms, judeges and lawyers look human for once, and not the blood-suckers I always thought they were. She shows through her book that lawyers sometimes have to do things that are against their conscience. This is not even the first time she has managed to do this. In “Plain Truth” show shows that you have to help your client win the case even if you know that your client is guilty as charged, because that’s what you were hired to do: win the case, whether you yourselve agree with it.

Right, let’s go back to this book that I have just finished reading. apart from the things that I have mentioned earlier, the reason why this book stands out form the rest of her books is the way it makes me think:

Maybe people do things althought they know it is against the law because they have someone that they love very much and they just want to protect that someone, no matter what the cost.

Maybe the person that you always thought you would end up with isn’t The One.

If there is one thing I’ve learnt for this book, it’s that truth is so fragile. It is only as strong as your belief in it.

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Delia Hopkins has led a charmed life. Raised in rural New Hampshire by her widowed father Andrew, she now has a young daughter, a handsome fiance, and a job she loves, finding missing persons.
But as Delia plans her wedding, she is plagued by flashbacks of a life she can’t recall. And then a policeman knocks at her door, and her world fractures into something unrecognisable…

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Plain Truth

I am not sure if there is really this group of Amish people who lives in a place in America called East Paradise, but this book definitely provides one interesting read. Presuming that this group of German people actually exist, this book provides a fascinating insight into the Amish community.

The intruding ways of the Amish people, coupled with a muder happening in this conservative community, makes this book a must-read among Jodi Picoult’s books.

A shocking murder shatters the picturesque calm of Pennsylvania’s Amish country – and tests the heart and soul of the lawyer who steps in to defend the young woman at the centre of the storm…

The discovery of a dead infant in an Amish barn shakes Lancaster Country to its core. But the police investigation leads to a more shocking disclosure: circumstantial evidence suggests that eighteen-year-old Katie Fisher, an unmarried Amish woman believed to be the newborn’s mother, took the child’s life.

When Ellie Hathway, a disillusioned big-city attorney, comes to Paradise, Pennyslyvania, to defend Katie, two cultures collide – and, for te first time in her high-profile career, Ellie faces a system of justice very different from her own. Delving deep inside of those who live ‘plain’, Ellie must find a way to reach Katie on her terms. And as she unravels a tangled murder case, Ellie also looks deep within – to confront her own fears and desires when a man from her past comes back into her life.  

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Songs of the Humpback Whale

I have to say, I am a bit disappointed. I was really expecting a good read, seeing that this is one of Jodi Picoult’s books, but I am sadly disappointed.

The book goes back and forth in time, till I am quite confused about the whole story. The ending is quite interesting, but the content of the book is somewhat unhappening.

Right, so much for my input. Here is the summary that is at the end of the book.

For years, Jane has lived in the shadows of her husband, renowned oceanographer Oliver Jones. But during an escalating arguement, Jane leaves woth their teenage daughter, Rebecca, for a cross-country road trip guided by her brother Joley to his Massachusetts apple farm, where surprising self-discoveries await.

Now Oliver, an expert at tracking humpback whales across vast oceans, will search for his wife across a continent – and find a new way to see the world, his family, and himself – through her eyes.

 

 

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Wild Swans

I have seen this book in national libraries many times before, but I never picked it up because I thought it would be dull and boring. The coverpage is not attractive with just pictures of three women, against a light green background and the title and author’s name.

About a week ago, I was bored stiff at home and I was looking through the bookshelve in the study room when I saw this book. Seeing that this is a rather thick book, so I will have something to read for the next few days, I decided to give this book a try.

When I was still attending school in China, we were taught to love and respect Mao Zedong, otherwise known as Chairman Mao. We were taught many songs that sang praises of Chairman Mao, such as this one:

我爱北京天安门,天安门上太阳升。

伟大领袖毛主席,带着我们向前进。

我爱北京天安门,天安门上太阳升。

伟大领袖毛主席,带着我们向前进。

Only when I came to Singapore did I first learn that this is propaganda. It was in history class in secondary school did I learn about what actually happened during the Cultural revolution and I was horrified.

This book gave me a clearer view of what actually happened during those times. It follwed the footsteps of Jung Chang’s family dating back to the era of her great grandmother, when feet bounding was still practiced in China.

Together with Jung Chang, I travelled back in time and experienced the sufferings the people had to go through when China was under the control of the Kuomintang and the joy when the Kuomintang were defeated the Communist came into power. I thought, as did everyone else in China, that this meant the end of poverty for China and the emergence as one of the strongest countries ever known to the world. I felt the pain when, as many others in China, I realised that that was not to be. I felt the same anger and injustice the millions of Chinese must have felt during the Cutural Revolution for being condemned when they have done nothing wrong at all. I shared their grief when they lost someone they love.

This book changed my perceptions altogether. I have always thought that Chairman Mao is a great leader who cares about his people very much, but I am not too sure anymore. I am starting to feel certain resentment towards him.

There is one sentence in the last chapter of the book which left me a really strong impression:

“The core of his thinking seemed to be that human struggles were the motivating force of history and that in order to make histry ‘class enermies’ had to be continoulsly created en masse.”

Go ahead and read this book. It is an really inspiring read.

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Kidnapped and Moby Dick

from-the-stacks.jpgI guess I am not the literature and the classics kind of person. I have difficulty understanding all the old English. That’s what happened to the last two books that I am supposed to read for the From The Stacks book challenge.

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One is Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson. It talks about how young David Balfour, went to look for an unkown uncle, Ebenezer Balfour of Shaws, after his father’s death. His uncle tricked him into boarding a ship at Queen’s Ferry, where he was to be sold to America as a slave. After much struggle and some help from friends, he managed to secure his inheritance.  

Anyway, the summary at the back of the book goes like this:

When David Balfour is orphaned at the age of seventeen he learns of the existence of an unkown uncle, Ebenezer Balfour of Shaws. Arriving at Shaws with an introductory letter his father had entrusted to the recotr, he finds a miserly uncle in a dilapidated mansion. He is tricked into boarding a ship at Queen’s Ferry and is kidnapped to be sold into slavery in America. He meets Alan Breck Stewart, a hunted Jocobite, and when the ship is wrecked thay are hunted across Scotland till David finds his fortune.

The other classical book that I have read is Moby Dick by Herman Melville. This books is even harder to understand than Kidnapped because of all those old navy words used. It is basically talking about whaling and Captain Ahab’s obsession with killing Moby Dick. Moby Dick is the sperm whale that took off one of his legs. I don’t agree with whaling as I think it is a cruel thing to do. Whales are hunted solely for the spermaceti oil that is stored inthe head of the whale. After the precious oil have been collected, the rst of the body is thrown back into the sea.

Here’s the summary:

Ishmael, a schoolmaster drawn to the sea, tells a story of obsession for revenge. We meet Queequeg, Tashtego and Daggoo, the three harpooners, and the mates and crew of Pequod serving under Captain Ahab who is determined on revenge on the great white whale, Moby Dick. The whaling life is hard and dangerous for death is always present as we follow the men of the Pequod on their hunting. But Captain Ahab seeks only Moby Dick, the whale who seems to know and understand those who hunt him.

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 With that, I have completed my From The Stacks book challenge. 

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Nineteen Minutes

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I think it is really not overboard when  I say that Jodi Picoult is a superb writer.

What can you do in nineteen minutes? How much can you accomplish in nineteen minutes?

This high school student killed ten students and wounded nine others in the short span of nineteen minutes.

Just based on this incident alone, Jodi Picoult managed to write a very interesting 568-page book. Now, that alone is an achievement. I, for one, can never do that, and I believe that many people cannot do that too.

So he goes to court to face his charges and startling truths are revealed.

You think that it’s happily ever after after he has been sentenced to jail? Read it for yourself.

Let me give you the summary at the back of the book:

Sterling is a small ordianry New Hampshire town where nothing ever happens – until a student enters the local high school with arsenal of guns and start shooting, changing the lives of everyone inside and out.

The daughter of thr judge sitting on the case should be the state’s best witness – but with her boyfriend dead and her childhood friend charged with murdershe is struggling to remember what happened in front of her own eyes…

 

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