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Archive for February, 2009

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is a book by British author Mark Haddon. Told from the point of view of an autistic teenager named Christopher, it’s about how he solves the mystery of the cruel killing of his neighbor’s dog. Although this is Christopher’s intention at the beginning of the book, it leads to Christopher’s sad discovery of a family secret which sets him out on a significant journey.

This book is unique because the author had the courage to have the story narrated by a different person. He manages to make the reader not only sympathize with the main character, but also admire his intelligence and logic and appreciate his abilities.  Because Christopher cannot express his emotions, this book was very interesting. Although Christopher does not show feelings other than happiness, sadness or fear, the reader could imagine how Christopher deeply feels, based on his descriptions.

Christopher is very observant, and he gives the reader a rare and funny look at other other people’s behavior. That is why I think the point of view of the main character was an important element in this book.

At age fifteen, Christopher is planning on taking the A-levels Math examination, and throughout the book, are scattered math problems, logical explanations with graphics and explanations of his daily routine. I’m not usually in the mood to figure out of discover math problems and observe figures when I’m reading for pleasure, so I skim through those; but I also observe simple ones which I’m interested in.

Anther different element in this book was the style of it, suited to fit that of the narrator. It was pretty intriguing, but difficult to read at times. Because of this, I think the short length of the book is a positive aspect.

This book is very special, but may get tiring for some people at times. However,  it is worth the read.

7/10 stars

Check out Mark Haddon’s other novel, A Spot of Bother

http://www.markhaddon.com/home

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My thoughts on the Oscars

image

I was very excited during the Oscars yesterday night – and especially nervous when it came to “…and the winner is…”! I I think the ceremony was very different from last year’s Oscars. They presented the nominations creatively – especially for Best Screenplay and Best Adapted Screenplay. The stage was very elegant, and I loved Kate Winslet’s style.

Hugh Jackman was very funny. In my opinion, the most memorable Oscar acceptance speeches last night were Penelope Cruz’s (Vicky Cristina Barcelona: Best Supporting Actress), Dustin Lance Black’s (Milk: Best Original Screenplay), Sean Penn’s (Milk: Best Actor in a Leading Role), and Kate Winslet’s (The Reader: Best Actress)

I haven’t seen any of the nominated movies, except for The Dark Knight, and I thought that Heath Ledger totally deserved his Oscar. I am looking forward to watching SlumDog Millionaire as soon as it comes out on itunes.

Slumdog Millionaire was such a Big Win that I felt it ruled-out an intense sense of competition between the rest of the films, especially those nominated for Best Picture. David Fincher (director of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) looked uneasy when his name was mentioned along with the other nominees.

Coraline should’ve at least been nominated for an Oscar for Best Animated Feature.

Since Waltz with Bashir is so popular, I expected it to win.

What I like about the Oscars is that it awards and puts the spotlight over the overlooked people whom any movie wouldn’t have been a success without, such as screen writers, sound editors and music composers.

What did you think of the Oscars? Did you think that the winners truly deserved their awards?

http://www.oscars.com/

photo credit: Oscars.com; Kate Winslet at the Red Carpet

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I was tagged by Olivia and Pri to post about what I would do if I were the last person on earth.

If I were the last person on earth I would probably enjoy it for myself, break into shops and take whatever I want; and when I get lonely I would find some extraterrestrial friends.

You can do this meme if you like, but for now I’ll tag Lina Idris.

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The Sudanese novelist Tayeb Saleh died in London. He is regarded as one the most important writers in the 20th century; his most notable work is his book, Season of Migration to the North.


image from bbc.co.uk

Read more http://news.bbc.co.uk/nol/ukfs_news/hi/newsid_7890000/newsid_7896700/7896724.stm

My review of Season of Migration to the North

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On my previous post, I promised to post a comparison between the two book community sites, GoodReads and Shelfari.

Both of them are very similar to each other and have practically the same options, but GoodReads has allows you to collect quotes, trivia, add events and share your writing. It also has videos. I think the ‘writing’ section was totally unnecessary, and ‘quotes’ is an important feature which Shelfari doesn’t have. If only you could add ‘book excerpts’… I’d love to treasure my favorite Gabriel Garcia moments! ‘Trivia’ is a great idea, but the way they are displayed isn’t practical and doesn’t allow you to enjoy them.

One of the most significant GoodReads feature is that you could create your own shelves, other than the shelves which are available: To-read, currently-reading, and read. But I’ve also noticed that you could only create ‘”sub-shelves” under the shelves which they give you, which is ok, but it would’ve been better if you could create your own bookshelves.

The two sites both have pros and cons at finding books. GoodReads has an excellent ‘other editions’ feature, which gives you a list of many other publication editions of a specific book, and when you find the edition you want (or which looks like the one you own), you then click ‘switch to that edition’. That’s how I find most of my books; but I’ve noticed that some books have wrong covers, and I can only correct them if I apply and get accepted for a ‘librarian status’  (I applied yesterday and haven’t got accepted yet). Non of the two sites are perfect at finding books, but rare books are better found on GoodReads. Also, on GoodReads you could track which page you’re reached on books you’re ‘currently reading’.

Shelfari is more practical and visually interesting than GoodReads. GoodReads has a neat design, and a wonderful ‘cover’ display option for your shelf, but its ‘groups’ page and a few other pages are a bit cluttered and overwhelming. I don’t know why, but I still haven’t made any friends on GoodReads; whereas on Shelfari, it was very easy to view other’s profiles and shelves and request their friendship. On Shelfari, you could see your whole profile on one page: groups, friends, notes and your shelf. Thumbs-up for Shelfari on their design and practicality.

Both Shelfari and GoodReads allow you to create and join groups, but group interactions, like creating and engaging in discussions and joining groups, is much neater and spacious on Shelfari. As I said before, GoodReads is too cluttered and everything on it is so tiny.

I find it difficult to settle on either site of the two, which I’ll have to do eventually. I want GoodReads because I could add and name my own shelves; and I find it easier to socialize, discuss and make friends on Shelfari. For now, the perfect booklover heaven hasn’t been created yet, but Sherlfari is pretty engaging – breezy socialization is a vital part of it!

http://www.shelfari.com/

http://www.goodreads.com/

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Coraline – movie review

Today I watched the 3-D animation movie, Coraline.

The movie is about a young girl named Coraline (Dakota Fanning) who moves to a creepy old house with her distracted and computer-obsessed parents. As she is exploring the house, she comes upon a small door which leads her to another world, where she sees another version of her parents, with black buttons for eyes. They claim to be her “other parents”; her “other” mother and father are not as distracted as her old parents, and give her what she had always wished from her parents: a perfect and attentive family. Once her new parents tuck her to bed, she wakes up every time to find herself at her old parents’ house, and goes everyday to spend the night with her perfect parents. But when her other mother tells her that she can stay with them from now on, under the condition that she lets her eyes get replaced with buttons, Coraline firmly refuses and that’s when her perfect mother turns into a gothic, evil enemy. Then Coraline sets on an adventure to find her real parents, who have been kidnapped by her other mother, and rescue the eyes of other ghost-children who had been tricked and trapped by the evil mother.

I enjoyed this movie very much. The characters, especially the mysterious neighbors whom Coraline meets, were memorable and creative. The animation is one reason you must see this film. The graphics of the film were breathtaking and vivid.This movie is very creepy, and it will keep audiences of all ages thrilled and excited. I’m not a fan of action scenes, and I thought that the ones in the film could’ve been reduced a bit; however, this is a movie I really loved: it had witty dialogue, an original plotline with a mystery, and was very funny.

my rating: 9/10

Caroline is an adaptation of the 2002 novella by Neil Gaiman, author of The Graveyard Book.

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10 things I want to do

I’ve been tagged by both Lauren and Priscila to post “10 things I want to do before I die”.

  1. Study literature in college
  2. publish a book
  3. learn to play a musical instrument
  4. improve my Spanish
  5. improve my tennis
  6. create a documentary/movie
  7. participate in a humanitarian project
  8. improve my Photoshop and Illustrator skills
  9. read more books
  10. tour New York City

Whoever wants to do this meme is welcome to tag him/herself (=

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