Friday, December 18, 2009
Secondly, thousand apologies for not much an update for me. "Not much" will be an understatement, I know. Excuses are lame, weknow. So no excuse this time, that I assure you.
For a restart, I have a book in the list. (I promise to continue with another later)
1) The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
What can I say about the book? Well basically I think everyone has got his hand on this book, especially since it debuted on silver screen last November. Sadly, I havent got the chance to watch the movie yet but that's not a sad case; I always prefer reading the book rather than watching its adaptation. Oh yes I'm pretty biased there I know.
The title tells it all- it lies around a couple, Henry and Clare who found each other when Clare is six and Henry is 36. The story is told based on first-person narration of both of them, so it helped us to see and understand the story from both perspectives. It is no science fiction I'm telling you, but it is told that Henry's ability (or maybe disease) is caused by stress and by the flickering images on the tv. Anyway, while at first I think it might be cool to have your other half time-traveling- it is not really. Henry couldn't tell Clare what will happen in her future, and pretty much he couldn't do much. He couldn't drive (imagine one sec he'd be on the wheel, and *blink* he's in the 70s,then whatever happen to the car, right?), and yeah, he time travels, naked. *gulp*
So I scratch my word- God forbid please don't give me any time traveler, not even in the form of Eric Bana . Sobs!
How does this story move you? By letting you share the joy of two person who loved each other, but at the same time- bring you at unease and sore you as Henry time travels. And yes, touched you when one knows that it takes more than you can give to stay normal- though you're not.
So there, pretty much the description of Time Traveler's Wife. Available in your nearest bookstore, priced at RM44.90
p.s:Oh, I have one extra book of this UP FOR GRABS! I've bought one and suddenly my sister told me she already has the book. So buzz me if you want this book :)
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
I'm really excited about reviewing books again, since I haven't done this in quite a while. In the past few weeks, I've read quite a few good books, both bought by myself and given to me by others. I can't imagine what my life would be without a decent book by my side. I'd be bored stiff, I suppose. The two books are:
1. The Trial (Franz Kafka)- translated from German into English
2. The Messenger: The Meanings of the Life of Muhammad (Tariq Ramadan)
1. The Trial
The first review is on Kafka's all-time masterpiece, The Trial which deals with the importance of the rule of law whether in a democracy or an authoritarian state, though I'd say it's even more important in the latter. We are introduced to the main character (I can't really tell wheter he's a protagonist or an antagonist) who is simply called "K" and we follow him through a lengthy legal procedure the purpose of which remains vague to the reader and to K himself. All through the chapters, I was left wondering what K had done to deserve such a thing, and being a fan of the WWII history, I recall seeing and reading many similar cases in history books and documentaries, where people were just dragged out of their homes, detained for weeks or even months when there was no evident proof to link them to any civil crimes. Detention without conviction.
As I was reading this thriller, I couldn't help but think about Malaysian ISA (Internal Security Act). This is the mark of a truly good book. It'll never cease to be relevant and about 5 decades after it was written, The Trial still manages to make a random reader like me think about the link between K and an individual Malaysian for example. Detention without conviction, no matter for what purpose, seems to me to be immoral. We are not talking about being locked up overnight here, sometimes, people get detained several yeras straight without really knowing for which specific crime they are held for. In an age when the idea of democracy is being constantly debated, it's almost inconceivable that the notion of ISA still exists, especially in a country that speaks out against Guantanamo. Martin Luther King once said something about how when we criticize people of being victimizers, we have to stop for a moment and take some time to think whether we are not one ourselves. The Trial, to me, highlights the point that where the objective of unlawful detention may be noble (to protect national unity, to keep harmony, etc), the execution may not be. And the high risks of abuse attached to the idea of detaining people without lawfully just cause is a valid ground for questioning, at the very least.
So that's what I like about this book. Some people are of the opinion that the book is just too vague. Till the very end, we are not told of what K had done, and that leaves some people frustrated. but I think that's what the novel is trying to illustrate. How such a process involves vague methods so as to prevent the detainees from taking active measures to protect their rights. They simply don't know which rights have been violated due to the vagueness of the whole thing. This brings to light the imminent danger of letting something like ISA undermine the principle of the Rule of Law, where the act of incriminating people must come with maximum certainty as to their guilt. So, for those of you who are learning Constitutional Law, this book is a great way of consolidating your understanding. Verdict: 7.5 out of 10. Giving credit where its due, I'd like to thank Ms Johnson for recommending this book to me all those years ago in KYUEM, even though I still haven't forgiven you for deserting us =)
2. The Messenger: The Meanings of the Life of Muhammad
I bought the second book in Borders near where I live now, and the prospect of being treated to a heavily historical book excited me so much that I unwrapped the book immediately after I sat down at Starbucks. And I wasn't disappointed. Ramadan is well-known the world over for a reason, and that is his highly eloquent presentation of intellectual messages. In The Messenger, for instance, Ramadan avoids falling in the claptrap of other conventional biographist like Karen Armstrong whose book, "Muhammad", I find a bit boring since there really is nothing new in it. Ramadan chose instead to serve up the story of the life of the Prophet (pbuh) in a way that's not narrative but analytical. In any history book, the first stage of information is always the "what", and once we get through that, we go the "why". And an exceptionally good history book would venture into the "lesson" behind the "what" and the "why". This book has all the three elements.
If you are not familiar with the life of the Prophet, don't worry so much as the author goes to great length to make the chronological order of the Prophet's lifetime simple and accessible. For those of you who are well advanced in Sirah Nabawiyah, plenty of references are provided, with numerous mentions of Ibn Ishaq's biographies of the Prophet, as edited by Ibn Hisham, along with Quranic verses and Hadiths, mainly by Bukhari, since Ramadan was careful not to cite weak hadiths. So, once we get past the rather tiresome task of making sure the primary and secondary sources are not suspicious, we get what seems to me to be a great treatment of an exemplary life which does not attempt at oversimplifying certain events in history. For example, the execution of the treacherous men of Banu Qurayzah has always been a matter reduced to oversimplification. Maududi took a positon that favored the expedition wholeheartedly without going into the context in which the Banu Qurayzah's treachery took place. Seems pretty one-sided to me. The closest to a fair description of the event was by Montgomery Watt, who focused instead on the breached covenant which promotes the reasonings behind the actions of both the Muslims and the Jews. But Ramadan went a step further by showing how the Prophet's decision had been necessary and not simply justified. If an act is justified, it hints at a wrongdoing that is excused, but if an act is necessary, it hints at a positive act that incurs some costs. I prefer the latter view of the Banu Qurayzah episode, which somehow suggests that Ramadan does not underestimate the perceptive level of his readers. I like that =)
Furthermore, there was no action of the Prophet that was trivial enough to the author. In the chapter that dealt with the passing of the Prophet, I wasn't really expecting any substantial lessons to be learned. I was wrong. Even after the Prophet's death, a powerful lesson on human qualities is presented. I really like Ramadan's way of highlighting the unpredictability of man's character and that because of that, nothing is final. Abu Bakar who was so sensitive all his life, who was most prone to weeping, was calmer than Umar who had a strong personality in the light of the Prophet's death. The lesson is, sensitivity is not a weakness and physical strength may hide a malleable heart. The Prophet didn't have to do anything to teach us all this vital knowledge on psychology. And that's how good this book is at relating events and showing how each of them represents something in the modern world. If for nothing else, this book illuminates that the way of the Prophet is never obsolete.
Verdict: 9.5 out of 10, which is the highest so far that I've given to any book. But then, I'm a huge history buff, so I may be a bit biased. But go and read the book yourself and if you think I've overvalued the book, let me know in the comments section, I'll be happy to listen to your thoughts. Happy reading, everyone =)
Sunday, October 4, 2009
My friend from KYUEM, Meor Muslih who is now studying medicine in Prague has written two very interesting reviews on two very interesting books. The first one is Animal Farm by George Orwell. This novel was recommended by our Sociology teacher a couple of years back, amidst our lessons on Marxism/Socialism. The second book is Lord of the Flies, by William Golding. Now, this is the book that I've always wanted to read but never got around to doing it. I guess that will change in the near future, thanks to Meor. So, get clicking on the link below if you find any of these two books as interesting as I did =)
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Well, a little background for starters. Philip K Dick writes science fictions and he writes them so well, Steven Spielberg chose to turn his ‘Minority Report’ into a feature film. Too bad Spielberg didn’t have as good a taste in the main cast as he did in the script. But I guess we should be thankful that it’s Tom Cruise and not Shia LeBeouf. Anyway, back to Philip Dick. Now here’s a writer who really knows how to produce a page turner. I’m not really a huge fan of futuristic science fictions (The fact that I’m a fan of Star Wars and Star Trek should not be held against me now), but Imposter made my heart pound so fast, I thought it could burst.
It’s not a novel, it’s just a short story of about 15 pages so that must be welcomed news for people like me out there (read: people with short attention span). The story takes place in the future, we are not told exactly when, amidst a raging war between the people of Earth and some outerspacers (read: aliens!). Times are tough, people are wary of differences and they don’t exactly have the time to go investigating into an accusation when one occurs. At times like this, when they call you a traitor, you are one. No trial, no ‘innocent-unless-proven-guilty’ shit, and you’re certainly not expected to care. Unless you happen to be the alleged traitor.
Spence Olham wakes up one day to the fact that he is now going to be eliminated on the grounds that he is not really Spence Olham and actually an alien-humanoid spy with a U-bomb (a very powerful bomb) inside his chest. One that can annihilate the entire planet. Intelligence has shown that humanoids are sent to replicate a specific target (in this case, Olham), kill the target and adopt all his feelings, emotions and even memories. Once the replication is made, no one can tell the difference and it’ll be as if the target is still alive, albeit with a ticking bomb in his chest.
So, Olham has to prove that a) he’s not that humanoid, b) he really is Spence Olham, and c) that somewhere out there a humanoid is walking free among humans. And he has to prove it soon, since these men out to get him will not listen to reason.
Now… how about that? I’m not gonna spoil the experience for you by providing too much background, but if I managed to get you slightly interested in the story, I guess it wouldn’t be so hard to get you clicking on the link below. Yes, folks… you can find the story online from a portal called Scribd. You can even download it if you want. God bless the net. So get reading, people, and enjoy the ride! =)
P/S: The language employed is so very simple I really think the Ministry of Education should use this short story in the PMR syllabus. Alongside ‘The Pencil’ and ‘Of Bunga Telur and Bally Shoes’. Okay, penning off.
Friday, August 14, 2009
Now that we've established that, there are several books whose reviews I'm interested in writing. It's just that I'm not sure if people are being fed too much classics and American stuff. Which makes me fret over the diversity of my reading materials (or the lack thereof). The books are:
Now, this is the real deal! I mean, this is Steinbeck's "Great Gatsby". If there is any definitive work of the misbegotten, then this would be it. The trouble is, writing too much about Steinbeck mght just get people to be sick of him and I don't want that. He's a wonderful author and I want people to discover just what he has to offer the way I did, by having my interest and curiosity piqued slowly yet surely. So I'm gonna leave this review off until later, I guess.
Here's a little gem that's done everything under the sun to me. It made me laugh like hell in the toilet (my mum got a bit concerned), it made me feel disgusted, it made me think and it made me cry. But most of all, it made me feel, which is no small feat. I come from a pretty stable family and over the course of my childhood I never had to worry about not having food on the table and stuff like that. And sometimes, I forget that not everybody is as lucky as I. This book provides an intimate insight to poverty and social struggle so insidious you'd think twice before whining about how your room's AC sucks.
But here's the catch: This book is so famous already. What's the point of reviewing a book that doesn't need the promotion right? Still, if you wanna know what the book is about and would like my personal feedback, leave a comment and I'll get to it, InsyaAllah.
This Nobel-winning work is often overlooked for the more famous Cairo Trilogy. I've read both (well actually I've read all four, since the trilogy has three volumes. Duh!) and I'd recommend both but Midaq Alley was the first of Mahfouz's works that I read, so naturally, I lean slightly towards this book. I don't think the subject of voluntary prostitution has been widely explored in literature. This book takes us along the journey of how a woman gets herself into this ancient profession. What stunned me the most is how convincing it is. Really.
I can't find a catch for this book, so maybe I'll review this first in the future. I like this book. It'll make a good one to review, I think.
So that's it from me this time around. I'm going back to CSI: NY in a couple of minutes. Oh, on a completely different note, why don't people like CSI:NY? I can understand why people are put off by Miami (I mean, Horatio is such a cartoon) but CSI:NY is pretty cool, good stories, cool crimes (I don't mean it like that) and good looking cast. I love it =)
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
You know how A Samad Said is a pretty awesome laureate and all Malaysian students ever think of is that poem of his, “The Dead Crow”? It isn’t his best work. Hell, it isn’t even one of his best. But kids all over Malaysia will be thinking of that obscure little poem and associate that with A Samad Said. And not read his other works, which is a real shame.
People do the same with John Steinbeck’s works. “The Pearl” is a masterful portrayal of human tragedy but it is nowhere near as good as Steinbeck’s other giant novels. And because SPM students get so bored out of their wit reading “The Pearl”, they get the impression that “The Grapes of Wrath”, “East of Eden” and “Of Mice and Men” are the same. Again, a real shame, because “Of Mice and Men” is probably one of the best books I’ve ever read. It’s not in my top 5 list only because it made number 6. Seriously.
So forget about the lengthy description of Salina, California that Steinbeck has waiting for the reader at the very beginning of the novel. It’s a pretty tedious task if you don’t dig descriptions of nature in its very detailed way, but once you get through that, you’re in for a real human drama. The novel is about an unlikely friendship between George Milton, a small framed man and Lennie Small, a gentle giant who is a bit of a simpleton. He is probably born that way since Steinbeck made it clear that “he wasn’t kicked in the head by a horse”. But beyond that little piece of information, we’re left with no clue as to what caused Lennie’s stupidity. George has been taking care of Lennie since forever and he’s not always tolerant with Lennie’s forgetfulness. Nonetheless, behind that harsh and strict exterior, the reader can tell that George wants no harm in Lennie’s way.
If you strip the humour away from the friendship you got a very depressing situation that ties up two men with no hope of ever finding that light everyone dreams of. But Steinbeck wouldn’t let that happen. On almost every page, there’s bound to be something that cracks the reader up, whether it be George’s awkward way of telling Lennie that he cares despite the seemingly harsh treatment, or Lennie’s constant blundering and funny remarks at every little thing that George does. At this point in the novel you get a feeling that in another world, these two would be happy together because they do love each other. But that is not to be. The reality is a nasty place for simple men. In a world that confuses Lennie, things happen to each of them that makes it impossible for them to continue living without being hurt.
It’s the bond between these two men that makes “Of Mice and Men” a difficult literary work to forget. The kind of selfless acts that George commits to get himself and Lennie out of trouble’s way is just too moving. You’d have to be a cold-hearted person not to be touched by this little tale of friendship at its most endearing. There’s a story that George keeps telling Lennie whenever the latter gets a little too excited, a tale that George would repeat to calm Lennie down,
“ Guys like us that work on ranches are the loneliest guys in the world. They got no family. They don’t belong to place. They come to a ranch an’ work up a stake, and the first thing you know, they’re pounding their tail on some other ranch. They ain’t got nothing to look ahead to.
With us, it ain’t like that. We got a future. We got somebody to talk to that gives a damn about us. We don’t have to sit in no bar room blowin’ in our jack jus’ because we got no place else to go. If them other guys get in jail they can rot for all anybody gives a damn. But not us.
But not us! An’ why? Because... because I got you to look after me, and you got me to look after you, and that’s why.”
At the end of the novel, you’d cry your eyeballs out as these words play in your head. A really powerful invocation of how far a man is willing to go to take care of another. I dare you to read this without crying at the end. And good luck with that! =)
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Saturday, July 4, 2009
1) Dilema Melayu- Tun Dr Mahathir (read the English version, feel like reading the Malay version)
2) Saya Pun Melayu- Zaid Ibrahim
3)Brida- Paulo Coelho
4) Persuasion- Jane Austen (Guilty pleasure? Sorta)
5) Life is An Open Secret- Zabrina Abu Bakar- half way to go.. enlightening. Will post up my review, insyaAllah.
6) A Son Of the Circus- John Irving (Still in consideration)
..and a few to be decided because yes, I need to bring text books some more (prioritize please!). But no worries I can still come back home once every two weeks :)
And John Grisham readers, I need some recomendation please. So far i think I've read 3,4 of John Grisham, pity me. One of them is The Testament which I most remembered. Its remarkable surprises towards the end turned me on.
But most importantly, my most important list right now is of course (ahem,) my text books since it is my first year majoring. Can't wait!
One of my dear friend asked about Faizal Tehrani books, to be honest I always am interested to read his books after all these while of silently becoming his blog and short stories reader. I went to some major book stores, sadly his books are no to avail. Hmm, more reason to open up your own bookstores? But i still havent viewed the new bookstore in Penang, so I hope I can find one.
That's it, my holiday wraps up. But that doesnt mean that this is the end of it.. Will be more reviews to come! :)
Thursday, June 18, 2009
A bit about this book. It was written by three researchers and educators from our very own Universiti Malaya (OH! no wonder she bought it.). They are Fatimah Ibrahim, Wan Abu Bakar Wan Abas and Ng Siew Chook. All in all, these findings resulted from a series of experiments and studies conducted by a team of lecturers and students. I never knew its existence before, but they really had one project named as "Projek Kejuruteraan Biosolat". Cool eh?
The objective of the whole project is to find how prayers (solat) is correlated to the efficency of your bodies compartment; your cell membrane, your body capasity, your cardiovascular system, your muscle activities, erection dysfunction (yep!), all in all your anatomy. It also explains on how the experiments were done; the equipment used, the methods being done, the variables being considered etc.
Lets take one example. Basic Biology: so you know that human body consists of cell as basic living unit. And, one of must-have specification of a cell is its membrane, right? A cell membrane's permeability helps in preventing foreign objects to enter the cell, so that the cell won't get damaged. Long story short, that's how you get one healty body. So, one way of measuring your cell membrane's permeability is your phase angle (PA).
So you ask, what is phase angle?
Phase angle is one of the terms they use to measure the angular component of the polar coordinate representation. As phase angle is higher, the integrity of the cell membrane's permeability will get higher. One optimum for a Malaysian male is 7.4,as stated in this book.
Now, if I already bore you with those scientific gugu-gaga.
5 disciplines, and 47 males were divided into that 5 groups. First discipline was to complete all five prayers. Second discipline was to observe the proficiency in reciting the verses. Third discipline was how the solat is performed, jamaah or on his own. Fourth discipline is how their spine was while doing the ruku' (horizontally straight or not) and lastly, how the toes were bent correctly while prostrating.
And voila! the result shows that only those who completed all 5 diciplines passed the 7.5 of their phase angle (PA).
Okay, so i might not be the best Biology, Mechanics, Chemistry teacher you have here. But trust me, the book is worth your RM30.00. How does it work? Well, I'm sure you've heard how performing solat helps you in getting a healthy body before, but the story used to end there (for me, before). In this book, these three researchers have done their best in analysing and explaining how solat works in science perspective. This to show you, that solat is not some routine, but it is your cure to every physical aspects of your body. Your remedy spiritually, and how the doa it consisted brings you closer to the Almighty. Your own meditation, without having to fight over the yoga hoo-haa!
The book comes in full color graphic, that's a bonus. It is made available in both English and Malay Language.
Friday, June 12, 2009
So Ede came up with her list. I've asked her for a book, shockingly she came up with A LIST OF BOOKS. Well, not that shock, actually if you know that person named Ede. A walking, talking book-worm featured in a human form. Now, that's a compliment!
Okay, let's start off with my humble list.
My first 4 years of school histories started off at 12.00 noon. While waiting for the bus (or van), I've found books, are indeed the best companion, next to my late Opah. We used to have shelves of books near the main door, so when the van came I just put the book wherever and whenever I could make it, waved bye-bye to Opah, and surely Opah would pick it up for me and put it back to the shelves. Nice.
So this is one of my earliest book. "Menumpang Kasih Mengharap Sayang" by Salimi Salimon. Excuse my third-class photo, it was taken from a web anyway. And yes, I do read Malay literature, in case if anyone is wondering. I hate it when people go, " Whoa? Aini? Novel Melayu?". Er, Cop! I thought I'm a Malay, so what's the fuss here?
Okay, back to the topic.
Don't get me wrong. This is not just any typical "novel Melayu". Not your can-tell-the-whole-plot-of-the-story (You know, one of them hate the another, were forced to get married only to find out that he/she is made for him/her.) This is, in fact one of the best Malay novels I could remember. From family values to friendship, you are sure those two are at least among the littlest thing money can't buy in the end of the day. Revenge, or more like a sympathy, for what left are memories of what long gone and nothing much you can do but to move on.
I've been missing for the past 3-4 days. No, I was not abducted by aliens (though it'd be fun). I was in Singapore, in case if no one is reading my not-updated Twitter. When I was in Singapore, I've gotten myself a companion, entitled, " As I Was Passing" by Adibah Amin.
Reading this book has brought me back to old-times kampung memories. I've found myself lucky and unlucky at the same moment- knowing that, despite the age gap, I've experienced some of the chapters (that's the lucky part) and likewise, I'm not lucky for I missed out some of them. All thanks to the modernization of whatever they might call it.
Sneak Peek: Of Ghazal and the Golden Girlhood
Encik Daud ke Pulau Pinang,
Mencari kain tujuh warna,
Karam di laut boleh direnang,
Karam di darat papa kedana.
(p.s: thanks for that good person for paying for this book!:D)
My pick from the classic rack would be (drum roll, please). It'd be unfair to choose only one, because I like both (and many more) equally the same. There are "Little Women" by Louisa M Alcott and The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum. Little Women definitely reminds me of the chaotic of me and the sisters. My favorite character will be Jo, despite the boyish trait and bold nature. Her independence and empathy amazed me, enough said.
The Wizard of Oz is a masterpiece. I used to read the book and watch it on tv, and never get bored of it. I used to envy my sister for she once had played "Glinda" in one of the school's play. Okay, that was random. But what I love about the book is, like any other have-been children, despite the easily condensed storyline, is the fantasy adventurous world created by Baum. One light reading material, yet, you can always remember the vividness, the charm and the spark from one journey to another.
So if you could choose, between a heart, a brain or courage, which one will it be?
These two are basically the best from the Asian's genre. Wrote by Adeline Yen Mah, I remember pulling The Chinese Cinderella from the dusty shelf of the library. I don't know, the child in me just have to read this book, judging from the title upfront, and yes, despite the minutes were running fast towards the Final Exam in 2006.
And I cried. (Not because of my result, Alhamdulillah my result is doing okay.)
You know, at one moment, you might think that you have the worst bunch of family members. Family drama(s) here and there. It's tragic and horrid mixed at the same time, for every family sometimes hid one skeleton in the closet. But this story, my oh my, it is more like a mummy filled of maggots, rather than a skeleton.
There is no other uglier family than her family. How could one called himself a human for treating her like that? (and if you wanna know how they treated her, read this. Worth it!)
And as for the Fallen Leaves, it might be one elongated version of The Chinese Cinderella in the beginning, but towards the end, you'll know what happened and that makes you wonder how discontented and jealousy will turn one to even an uglier form of mortal.
Heart-throbbing, compelling but you better read this during the holiday/free time because I promise, you're going to be attached to it!
I'd love to proceed, but something came up. House chores, anyone?
What's next: Angels and Demons ( A pure review, because I havent watched the movie so dont fret, I wont be biased!), One More Day, or maybe the Autobiography of Kurt Cobain.. (Yes, he was awesome, i know!)
Okay la Ede, you won.
Monday, June 8, 2009
Teenage angst. Confusion. Anger. Apathy. Now, when you're a teenager, this is the book to read. I wouldn't say it captures what it is to be a young adult trying to discover the meaning of life and all that but the author did one hell of a job making us care about the character. Holden Caulfield may not possess any of the conventional traits most protagonists have but he still manages to endear himself to the reader despite that, and that is no small feat for any author. The fact that the reader roots for Caulfield speaks volume of Salinger's ability to inject a certain human touch into this one protagonist you end up wanting to know more about this character long after you finish reading the last chapter. A definite must for all book lovers.
This is one of those classics that stay with me because a) the storyline is just epic and b) the characters give a powerful impact on me as a reader. I read this in my first secondary form in Muadzam Shah and the copy that I borrowed from the library was abridged and illustrated (Don't ask me why an MRSM library would have such bright and bubbly books) so it's definitely not Dicken's style of writing that attracted me to this book. But the storyline was such that I later found myself scouring through the library trying to find an unabridged version of this classic, missing recess time along the way. And when I found it, I realized it's not always easy to read because the English isn't the kind of English commonly used now. But the experience of reliving the era and the history in this novel is worth going through the Dickensian language.
Another classic. This is probably the definitive work when it comes to illustrating the effects of a broken American dream. The storyline may come across as rather unrealistic and a little superficial but the reader would get the impression that it's besides the point. The main point is the poignant message behind the storyline. And what is a momentary suspension of disbelief when the writing more than makes up for that, right? This one has a distinctive style throughout, with Fitzgerald's witty and dry sense of humour lubricating the passage of a heart-wrenching tale. At the end of it, you'd be left numb, knowing that the book has just changed the way you look at life. And that is always a sign of having just read a masterpiece.
Okay, okay, I know what Aini'll say. This only makes it on my list because I used to have a crush on Colin Firth who played Darcy, etc. But the truth is I read this novel long before I watched the BBC adaptation of it. It was in the first few months in Kuala Klawang and I picked the book up in the library at random because I had not made any new friends and I was lonely. Yea, okay, whatever. The point is, it sort of gave me some hope that this thing between men and women may work after all. The fact that this novel failed to change me from a cynic to a romantic overnight is not a fault of the book's. To be honest, if Mr Darcy can't flush cynicism out of a girl's heart, nothing else can.
This may not be an obvious choice for an all time favourite. The writing is adequate but not great. The storyline does not really set it apart from other American literary work depicting the Civil War, but there's something about this novel that makes it so unforgettable for me. Could it be the cowardly Henry Fleming'f search for courage after deserting his battalion? Or the gruesome painting of a battlefield so well done you wish there'd be no more war on earth? It could be both. This is a very pro-war novel. But if you dig deeper, you'll find that pacifism is really at the heart of this novel. And a powerful narration only serves to make the point hit home harder. And it did, to me, at least.
So Aini, wanna come up with yours now?