Monday, July 27, 2009


This is NOT a book critic/review site. It's more of I read this book and I write how it makes me feel or what it reminds me of. I don't analyze the books thoroughly at all and I'm nowhere near qualified to do so.

Books have always been my best friends, always there when I needed them and quite dependable. I find I usually reflect my life through them. They mean a lot to me and they help me understand myself better.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

One Fifth Avenue by Candace Bushnell

Candace Bushnell is the lady who wrote the Sex and The City book that sparked the popular TV series. I never really got into that show. I think because the women live in this idealistic NYC life where sex has no consequences and a person can afford anything, where the biggest problem is buying a pair of super expensive shoes. I'm not really into that because I can't really relate, going shopping for expensive things isn't my thing and I certainly don't have the kind of celebrity problems the characters have.

I actually expected this novel to be in the chick lit category, but it wasn't really about that. There was something dark in her writing.

Although I must commend Bushnell for doing a thorough portrayal of the shallow lives of the rich around sex, drugs, and the pursuit of money. Perhaps her intention was to show that at the core character, people are generally the same. That the rich and famous don't have it all and search for happiness too. We seek the approval of those around us and who we care about and that manipulates us to do things we regret. Her characters lie, cheat, steal, pretend to get what they want. Interestingly enough, I noticed that the main driver of all of this was loneliness, that I can relate to. One character Lola, basically the slut of the book, forms relationships with people because she cannot bear to be alone. Another character, the movie star Diamond Schiffer for 20 years pretends to be apathetic towards the one she loves. Who hasn't put up that wall in order to protect ourselves from any hurt?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A Wild Sheep Chase by Haruki Murakami

Yesterday I read the entire novel at work from start to finish. Clearly, I have lots to do. Also, clearly I am doing work right now by writing this blog post. By the way what is the etiquette on the number of times a person should ask for work to do?

Back to the novel. Interestingly this is the second novel this year I read about sheep. The first one I read was about detective sheep, don't ask.

Haruki Murakami is a fantastic writer. His style flows easily and the content is so wonderfully bizarre that I cannot help reading it. His novels are actually in Japanese and I have read a English translated version, which is an artform in itself. I am told this is his strangest novel and he is best known for The Wind up Bird Chronicles. A Wild Sheep Chase is about a man who is sent on a mission to find this rare sheep that apparently takes over people's bodies. When the proverbial sheep is in that person's body he has built an entire mafia like empire and exhausts its human host towards death. It sounds like scifi or horror but it isn't. I think the sheep is a symbol of greed and power that take over one's mind. I have not read a "strange" book in a while, so this novel was a nice change of pace.

He's Just Not That Into You by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tucillo

This book really killed my self-esteem. The entire premise of this book is that if a guy is into you, nothing will stop him. There won't be excuses. Some people have told me that I am intimidating, so I let things go that most guys are shy. Apparently, that shouldn't stop someone either. If the guy is too shy to even talk to me, then apparently he's not worth it. Greg also says we should not do the asking, that guys like the 'chase'.

If what this guy says is correct, then does that not mean no one has been into me ever? I didn't think I was that bad looking or that awful of a person. In fact, I know quite a few wonderful ladies who also fall into this category. My question for Greg is what is wrong with the male population?! Can someone kindly explain? It makes me irritated.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

some summer reading

this summer has been quite tumultuous in summer reading. much like my mind and sanity. that's another story though. i borrowed quite a number of books from the library and failed to make it through all of them. there were many starts to novels that just started to bore me and i gave up on them.

however i did come across a few books that i really enjoyed. I read Malcolm Gladwell's 3rd book called Outliers. It was a fantastic read. The main point of the novel IMO is that the key to success is not just working hard and having the brains. It is also a matter of one's upbringing, environment, and in fact the timing that one was born.

Many examples were quite good. One that struck me was his analysis on the Canadian youth hockey all-star team. He noticed that all the members of this team were born in the early part of the year. Why is that I wondered. It was because the cut off date for the beginners was Dec 31st. The children who were stronger and more mature were obviously the older players - the ones born in Jan, Feb, etc.

Another good one was his noticing that Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Sun Microsystem founders were all born in 1954. Also, it takes approximately 10,000 hours to be successful which is equivalent to about 10 years. We cannot assume that people become overnight sensations, it may appear that way to us but in fact they probably worked hard for it. The day I read that book I noticed that one of my favorite shows The Daily Show with Jon Stewart was in the comedy business for 10 years until he got his fame as the Daily Show host. I also watched Ellen that day and there was a child prodigy pianist, she was about 8 years old. She mentioned that she practiced all day long about 8 hours a day since she was 3 years old. It made sense.

Another book that I read is called Science of Happiness by Stefan Klein. The bookstore and library is always full of self-help and motivational books. But really what is the evidence supporting their arguments? Some stories of people who did really well - but they might be the exception to the rule. In this book by Klein, he discusses happiness from a scientific perspective (duh) with research done on rats and chimpanzees and also by telling his readers about the chemicals in the brain that control happiness like dopamine. I read it a while ago and I'm not science-inclined so I can't remember all the fancy names. All I know is that I liked that he proved the importance of family, friendship, staying occupied, and love in one's happiness with such concrete examples. I've been telling everyone I've met to read it. One of those books that changed my way of thinking.

Another book I read this summer was He's Just Not That Into You. I have a long rant for that book so I'll save it for tomorrow.