Tag Archives: Random

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Hello Hello. Long time no post! Just want to say that I am not abandoning this blog! I am just busy doing exam preparations. I will go back to posting more frequently once exams are done. 😀

Just finished The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. I admit, the reason why I wanted to read this book is because the book itself is very aesthetically pleasing, but as I got more into the book, it became so magical that I just can’t put it down.

This book is about two lovers, Celia and Marco. Since childhood, The two illusionists have been trained to compete against each other. Neither Celia nor Marco knows the rules of the game or who they are competing against at first, though they are both involved in a circus that opens at midnight and closes at dawn. This book follows multiple characters in the carousel. As I read more and more, I became intrigued with the secrets of the circus.

Sadly, I have never been to a circus myself. The way Morgenstern describes a circus, though, makes me want to go to one. It seems like the perfect place to escape from the everyday mundane.

There was a lot of jumping back and forth, which took me a few chapters to get used to.The book is made up of a lot of tiny chapters that piece together beautifully to reveal the fate of the circus.

I guess it might not be for those who’s not into magic, or carousels, or jumping back and forth, but I definitely enjoyed this book. It is well-written and just simply mesmerizing. I feel like this is one of the best books published last year.

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How to Talk to Girls At Parties by Neil Gaiman

Hello! Hope everyone is having a stress-free holiday season and is enjoying all the winter fun! I’ve been in the mood for reading short stories lately, so I read 3 short story books this week. 😀 I’ll post one short story that I particularly liked from each book over the course of the next few days.

I quite liked Neil Gaiman’s How to Talk to Girls At Parties, which I read in Fragile Things: Short Fictions and Wonders. I love how the story allows the reader to develop his/her own thoughts about it. To me, this story seems to say that behind all those pretty faces, they are all aliens on the inside.

A List of My Reading-related Pet Peeves

Not in any particular order =)

  • When a book becomes a best-seller and the next thing you know, the book gets a sucky sequel. Please don’t write a sequel for the sake of writing a sequel…
  • When I am reading, and someone comes up to me and asks me a million questions about the book. “What are you reading?” “What’s it about?” Well, I’d tell you if you would let me read it!
  • Typos in books. And I’ve noticed that it’s becoming more and more common as well. I even found some typos in my school textbook…facepalm.



  • When I read a book and my mind wanders off. By the time I know it, I have no idea what I just read so I have to go back and reread.
  • Since when are blurbs and reviews supposed to contain spoilers? Well maybe you can have spoilers in reviews but there should be some sort of warning at the beginning…
  • I refuse to read books with teeny, tiny fonts!


 

  • When a character talks non-stop about how he/she feels about his/her crush…like I think I get the point…now let’s move on.
  • People who can’t understand that some people actually read for fun…major facepalm.
  • Books that have a lot of characters, because I keep on having to go back to check who they are again.
  • Books without chapters, because I usually read chapter by chapter.

I am pretty sure I am missing some, but I think that’s all I can think of for now…what are some of your literary pet peeves? ^_^

The Stand by Stephen King…end of humanity?

The Stand is a post-apocalyptic novel revolving around the survivors after an outbreak of the “superflu” in America. Think of it like the swine flu, but way worse. Everyone who comes in contact with it dies, except for the few lucky people who are immune to it.  The survivors eventually end up following either Mother Abigail, whose society represents Christianity & democracy, or Randall Flagg, whose society represents an Antichrist cult & dictatorship. It’s basically a “good vs. evil” kind of book.

When I first saw The Stand at the library, I wasn’t sure if I really want to read a book over 1150 pages long or not, though I admit, I am strangely fascinated by stories that have to do with viruses. I have mentioned in my other post (Take that, Kindle!) that this is my very first “big book,” so I didn’t really know what to expect from it. Even when I read books that are 300 pages long, I would often feel that there’s already enough stuff going on. So with a book more than 1150 pages long, was it possible to make it interesting as well? Did Stephen King, one of the most famous contemporary authors, live up to the challenge?

With a curious mind, I decided to read the book. Here’s what I think of the beginning, middle, and the end of the book:

Beginning: Wow, just what I thought. The book does get draggy at times. I don’t like the fact that it’s going into every detail. I just want to know what happens next. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that it’s the uncut version. Oh well, it’s not bad enough for me to stop reading it. After all, there are hundreds of pages left…but it better get more interesting soon!

Middle: I cannot put the book down! I am actually somewhat glad that the beginning was draggy. It allowed me to know all the characters and feel for them. Because of the great characterization, the book ended up being insanely addictive!

End: The ending was meh…was I expecting too much since the middle was so amazing? Or does it actually have some deep meaning behind the ending, which I didn’t get? Or is it just a Stephen King thing, since I read somewhere that he rarely plans a plot when writing?

Nevertheless, I think this book is worth reading. It’s the journey that counts, not the destination. ^_^ The ending could have been better but I did enjoy most of the book.

It kind of makes me think about the possibility of the world ending like this. I feel that we have put ourselves on destruction mode ever since we decided we’re going to become more civilized. We decided that we don’t want to chase after our food. We wanted to control how much food we get instead,  and hence we went from foraging to farming. Because the people living next to you might not be the people you like anymore, we started having fights with each other. Over time, towns became cities, which then became countries. Our desire for control grew with the size of the population; We started to feel the need to control everyone that was not one of us, and we did this by destroying & taking over their land, resources, etc….our definition of civilization is having control.

“Always remember, Kojak, that control is what separates the higher orders from the lower.” 

So to accidentally release a virus from the military (which is what happened in The Stand) is not at all impossible. I wonder how will our react to it. If the “superflu” really did happen, will we see it as a global pandemic or just another over-hype made to gain more profit? Hmm…

“This is a waste of time”


“This is a waste of time” is one of the most unhealthy mentalities I’ve heard. What’s worse is that there are people around me who say this almost all the time. They say they are not going to waste time from now on. They are going to be productive all the time. Yeah, okay. Good luck with that, because I have yet to see one person who is productive all the time.

Usually when we think of time-wasting activities, we think of activities like playing video games, or watching the television, but it has come to my attention that there are also people who think reading novels is a waste of time. Now that is just sad, which inspired me to rant and ramble about this.

The common trend I see is that if someone sees one thing as a waste of time, he/she will start viewing other things as a waste of time as well:

Playing video games is a waste of time because you are immersed in a virtual world that won’t be of use to you in real life.

Watching the television is a waste of time because it does not help you put food on the table.

Reading novels is a waste of time because how will knowing fake stories ever going to help you pass your exam? (unless you are taking English)

School is a waste of time because by the time you graduate, most of the stuff you learned will be outdated.

Going to the doctors is a waste of time because you are just going to get sick again.

Living is a waste of time because you are just going to die so why bother.

Anything can be a waste of time if you really think about it. But how is anything a waste of time if you enjoy doing it? I think that time spent doing something I like is hardly wasting time at all. Happiness, in my opinion, should be the top priority in life. If you hate your job, you are wasting your time going to work everyday because you probably have very little motivation to do your job well anyways. Listening to a lecture you don’t enjoy is a waste of time because chances are, you aren’t even paying much attention to it.

Then there are times when you have to do something you don’t enjoy because you have no other choice. But instead of seeing them as activities we don’t enjoy, I think that we should see them as activities that will help us enjoy other activities better. For example, if you keep on doing chores, you can do them better and faster, so that you will have more time for activities you like later on.

Studies have shown that video games improve hand-eye co-ordination, watching television can make us become more aware of different things, and reading fiction increases your ability to feel empathy towards others. So if there are two sides to everything, then why always pick the negative side?

I do think there should be a limit though. If an activity starts to take over your desire for self-improvement and goal-setting, then it is not time well spent.

What do you think? Where should the line between wasting time and being productive be drawn?

Take that, Kindle!

I blogged about reading The Stand several weeks ago. To think I would’ve finished it by now, but I am not. I keep on having love affairs with other books while I am reading it. Not that I don’t like The Stand, but it is just so hard for me to not start reading a new book because of its captivating plot. And when I actually start reading another book, I’ll still be in the same situation again where I’ll want to start reading yet another new book. Is anyone in the same boat as me here?

Nevertheless, I actually would want to start reading another lighter book while I am reading books like The Stand though. It’s going to give you some serious arm muscle training if you carry The Stand with you all the time. It has 1168 pages in total and it is the first book I’ve read which is over 1000 pages. Since it is my very first “big book,” it’s very special to me. Here is a side view shot of this beauty:

It is in times like this when I wish I have a Kindle (or any brand of e-reader in general ). I am considering buying it, but since everything is going electronic these days, I think that we need to be reminded of that feeling of holding an actual tangible object in our hands again. This is why I decided to spend last Saturday taking out my old photo albums and looking through them. I have most of my photos on the computer nowadays, but it’s quite a different experience looking through an actual photo album. It gave me that sense of comfort knowing that these photos will always be there forever.

I guess that’s the thing about actually owning the object rather than having it on an electronic device. My point is this: What if one day companies like Amazon shuts down? What will happen to the e-books? If you have the actual book, you know it will always be there and you can go back and reread it whenever you want.

As long as you can read the words, it doesn’t matter if it’s electronic or print, right? Wrong! Real books come in real handy in the most unexpected situations. For instance, I find that The Stand makes a great laptop riser because of its size. It was placed in front of a door to serve as a door stopper one time. It was also used to raise a tripod when I had to take some photos for school. Of course, you can just buy a laptop riser, a door stopper, and a bigger tripod, but I value the fact that when you need something, books will always be around to help you out when you need them.

And where would beautiful art like these be if it weren’t for printed books? These two are my favorite:

So for people who say real books will go extinct: Take that! Kindles may be light and convenient, but it can never replace the true value of a real book!

If you want something done, give it to a busy person

Hi! I haven’t been making posts for more than a week now. And I’ll be honest. I didn’t read much either this week because I had a lot of schoolwork. But something interesting that I noticed is that I actually became less productive despite the fact that I “gained” more time by not reading. I started to used the time to perfect things. When I devoted a part of my life to reading, I polished things instead. Maybe perfecting does give better results than polishing, but it slows everything down. I might have been able to get the same amount of work done even if I continued to read this week. Then I remembered a quote from a book I read a while back called Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity. David Allen, the author of this book, wrote that “If you don’t pay appropriate attention to what has your attention, it will take more of your attention than it deserves.”  I stopped putting my attention on reading, which resulted in putting too much attention on other things. So I guess the saying “If you want something done, give it to a busy person” is true. The more things you have to do, the more things you will get done.

Reading is not just something you do when you have the time. If you commit to reading everyday, it will teach you a lot about discipline and productivity. I just picked up “The Grapes of Wrath” from the library. Now I’ll be off to reading again. ^_^

So are you a productive person? What do you do to stay productive?

Versatile Blogger Award!

I am really honored. And surprised as well, since I didn’t know such an award existed.

I am really delighted by the fact that people actually come to this little ambiguous corner on WordPress to read my posts. Thank you Michelle for nominating me! You made my day!

Update: Yay! I just got nominated again by Becky. Thank you Becky 😀

There are three simple rules to the Versatile Blogger Award. They are as follows:
1. Thank the person(s) who shared the award with you by linking back to them in your post.
2. Pass this award to 15 recently discovered blogs and let them know that you included them in your blog post.
3. List 7 things about yourself.

So here we go…

I will pass this award on to the following blogs:

7 things about myself:

  1. I live in Canada and my favorite thing about Canada is the spirit. I love seeing people gathering together and cheering for games and stuff. Canada also has the best potluck feasts because we are made up of many different cultures.
  2. My life has been pretty boring so far and I would like to start doing something exiting with my life…like bungee jumping!
  3. I find it really hard to pick a favorite color, or a least favorite color. I just can’t do it. I know it’s one of the most common questions to ask people, but all the colors in the world are just so beautiful. It’s hard.
  4. I am a really picky eater.  But it’s not that I don’t like certain foods, it’s just that they have to be prepared in the right way. For example, I will only eat eggplants if it’s the ground pork eggplant dish that a certain restaurant I know makes. If it’s the same dish coming from another restaurant, I won’t eat it. I guess you could say that I have high standards when it comes to food. I won’t just eat any food, I need to eat good food.
  5. I’m supposed to be doing my homework right now but I am trying to avoid the task by writing this…yes I’m a procrastinator…=P
  6. I listen to k-pop and j-pop despite the fact that I have no idea what they are saying.
  7. Actually I can understand some Japanese but not really. But this is something that I would like to work on and improve. I tried to learn Japanese online. So far I can pick out words and phrases when I am watching something Japanese (i.e. dramas and variety shows). I hope one day I could take a Japanese class to learn Japanese however that’s not my top priority right now. ^_^

Random: Born in the Wrong Time Period?

Just something I’ve realized recently. I feel like I am not acting quite like the people in this time period. For example:

  • I wake up at 4 to 5 am for no apparent reason
  • I almost never watch the T.V. anymore
  • I read books for fun
  • More specifically, I really like books written a long time ago (classics) and I’d choose them over contemporary works
  • I deleted my Facebook because it somehow didn’t appeal to me (why waste time on this website just talk to your friends in real life)
  • Just stuff from the past fascinates me a lot in general (i.e. when I go to the museum or something)

Anyone else feel like they are born in the wrong time period? Do you find that you should belong to the past? Or even the future?

Btw, I’m currently reading Room by Emma Donoghue. I’m at page 50-ish atm and I like it so far. Love the fact that it’s told in a fresh and unusual perspective. Will write a review on it once I’m done reading ^_^.

Books Into Movies?

Looks like the “Harry Potter” director & writer found their next new project. I am happy that they are going to bring Stephen King’s The Stand to the big screen and all, but they would need to cut a lot of stuff from the book, even if it’s going to be a trilogy or something of the sort. I could only get my hand on the uncut version of the novel but I’d say that cut or uncut, this is dense stuff. It has so many details and backstories here and there. To condense a great book like this is what inspired me to make this random ramble. Like seriously, do we really need to make a movie for every book?

Perhaps one of the biggest movies coming up is the adaptation of The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Unlike Twilight (sorry Twilight fans! I just can’t get over the fact that Edward goes to school “to blend in” and repeats it year after year after year =/), I actually really like the THG. I am a huge fan of Peeta Mellark and he is the reason why I kept on reading. The boy with the bread is so sweet and selfless, but he is NOT Josh Hutcherson! Do you understand me? He doesn’t have “the Peeta look.” There. My dream image of Peeta is half-ruined already.

I guess the focus on literature today has changed a bit. It’s no longer all about the quality of the writing, it’s also about the franchisability. Money is squeezed out of the book in every way possible, and the easiest way to do so is to make a movie out of it. The problem I find with this is that movies leave very little imagination for the brain. And sometimes, it’s better to leave things to our imagination. I agree with Angela Carter in that, “Reading a book is like re-writing it for yourself. You bring to a novel, anything you read, all your experience of the world. You bring your history and you read it in your own terms.” Now you can’t really “re-write it for yourself” with a movie, can you?

So do you think translating books into movies is a good idea? Do you prefer books or movies? Have you watched a movie because of the book? Have you read a book because of the movie?