Saturday, January 30, 2010

Book Club Discussion 1: Question 1

Go to the next discussion question...

Each of the former schoolmates who are reunited in the above novel has faced a number of challenges and disappointments since graduation. In particular, the've all found themselves in quandaries when it comes to romance. Which characters would you say are the luckiest in love? How do you define a successful relationship?

My answer:

I think Rob has the best luck in love because there is no mention of heartbreak or upsets regarding his love journey. Based on the limited mention of it, it seems that he is the only character who is enjoying the best moment in life with a happy and satisfying relationship with a very compatible partner whom he is very happy with. Even though Rob is gay but he seems to be the luckiest in love compared with his straight highschool friends.

I think a successful relationship is a relationship between a couple who love each other with unconditional dedication, respect, trust, care and support.

If you have read this book, please participate in this discussion by posting on your blog your answer and a link back to this post. Then put a comment below to let us know where your blog post is. If you don't have a blog, just put your answers in the comment box. Thank you for particpating in this book club discussion.

Friday, January 29, 2010

I Never Borrowed A Book In America....

While I was catching up with my blog reading, I tumbled across this post that makes me realize......I had never been able to borrow a book from a friend since I came to America...

All my friends are back in my home country... I had never borrowed a book from the library either. I only visited 2 libraries since I came to the USA ( don't even know where my library card is now...), one in North Hollywood and another one in Van Nuys (in the City of Los Angeles), the parking in both places was very scarce. All the books there were very ripped off, the shelves were disorganized... the place was filthy and stuffy smelling, the patrons there were unpleasant... there were a lot of wierd looking people, not sure if they were homeless or mentally ill...the rest of the crowd were speaking in languages that I couldn't understand (not English or Chinese), they made me feel like I wasn't in the United States of America but in the "United Countries of All Third Worlds", where I couldn't speak the language... I didn't like the feelings these 2 libraries gave me, so I never stepped into another library in Los Angeles again. May be others are better..... If you know some decent ones, please let me know.

So naturally, I bought all my books...(see my wish to read list of the books I own)... I have a disorder too, I developed such a book buying addiction after I came to America. I know... I recognize that I have problem, just like the unpleasant patrons I found in the libraries.... I'm not any more normal than them.

My mother back home was telling me I should at least use the libraries here since I had paid taxes to support them, or I should at least see a shrink to get rid of the addiction.... I told my mom I had PPO from my work so seeing a shrink wasn't going to help me use my tax dollars. She still couldn't understand... cause the whole American social welfare system is too complicated for her to comprehend.

The library's really the only thing I can benefit as a taxpayer. I don't even know how my taxes to America are benefiting me or even anyone remotely connected to me.... I have no kid going to public school and no kid for me to claim child care credit on my tax return, no elderly grandparents receivng medicare or social security. I have no uncles, cousins or friends who live in Canada or Mexico for me to claim a dependent exemption on my tax return either. All my friends, relatives and my fellow villiagers live in Asia...(sorry, IRS said only friends, relatives or fellow villagers in Mexico or Canada can depend on me, and they can't depend on me if they live in Asia...). I am afraid of sun cause I want my skin to stay young the way it is...and I don't like hiking. All the admission-free parks, beaches, are literally useless to me. Oh, how about educating myself? But I already got all my higher education and even post college education done and paid for by my parents from back home. I realize I still have a decent job so I can't really claim unemployment benefits.... I know I can always use the LA police, but I prefer not to, and I hope I never have to call them, ever. So that leaves the libararies as the only amenity I can use in this great country.... unfortunately, I didn't enjoy the ones I visited... Besides, I prefer the touch and smell of new books.

The Joy of Vegan Baking: The Compassionate Cooks' Traditional Treats and Sinful Sweets

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Book Description: Whether you want to bake dairy- and egg-free for health, ethical, or environmental reasons, The Joy of Vegan Baking lets you have your cake and eat it, too! Featuring 150 familiar favorites -- from cakes, cookies, and crepes to pies, puddings, and pastries -- this book will show you just how easy, convenient, and delectable baking without eggs and dairy can be.

A seasoned cooking instructor and self-described "joyful vegan," author Colleen Patrick-Goudreau puts to rest the myth that vegan baking is an inferior alternative to non-vegan baking, putting it in its rightful place as a legitimate contender in the baking arena. More than just a collection of recipes, this informative cookbook is a valuable resource for any baker -- novice or seasoned.

Learn just how easy it is to enjoy your favorite homespun goodies without compromising your health or values:

Chocolate Chip Scones

Cranberry Nut Bread

Lemon Cheesecake

Dessert Crepes

Strawberry Pie with Chocolate Chunks

Cinnamon Coffee Cake

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes

Raspberry Sorbet

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Soft Pretzels

Blueberry Cobbler

Chocolate Almond Brittle
Free of saturated fat, cholesterol, and lactose, but full of flavor, flair, and familiarity, each and every recipe will have you declaring I can't believe it's vegan!
Complete with luscious color photos, this book will be an essential reference for every vegan.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game

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Book Description: Moneyball is a quest for the secret of success in baseball. Following the low-budget Oakland Athletics, their larger-than-life general manger, Billy Beane, and the strange brotherhood of amateur baseball enthusiasts, Michael Lewis has written not only "the single most influential baseball book ever" (Rob Neyer, Slate) but also what "may be the best book ever written on business" (Weekly Standard).
I wrote this book because I fell in love with a story. The story concerned a small group of undervalued professional baseball players and executives, many of whom had been rejected as unfit for the big leagues, who had turned themselves into one of the most successful franchises in Major League Baseball. But the idea for the book came well before I had good reason to write it—before I had a story to fall in love with. It began, really, with an innocent question: how did one of the poorest teams in baseball, the Oakland Athletics, win so many games?
With these words Michael Lewis launches us into the funniest, smartest, and most contrarian book since, well, since Liar's Poker. Moneyball is a quest for something as elusive as the Holy Grail, something that money apparently can't buy: the secret of success in baseball. The logical places to look would be the front offices of major league teams, and the dugouts, perhaps even in the minds of the players themselves. Lewis mines all these possibilities—his intimate and original portraits of big league ballplayers are alone worth the price of admission—but the real jackpot is a cache of numbers—numbers!—collected over the years by a strange brotherhood of amateur baseball enthusiasts: software engineers, statisticians, Wall Street analysts, lawyers and physics professors.
What these geek numbers show—no, prove—is that the traditional yardsticks of success for players and teams are fatally flawed. Even the box score misleads us by ignoring the crucial importance of the humble base-on-balls. This information has been around for years, and nobody inside Major League Baseball paid it any mind. And then came Billy Beane, General Manager of the Oakland Athletics.
Billy paid attention to those numbers —with the second lowest payroll in baseball at his disposal he had to—and this book records his astonishing experiment in finding and fielding a team that nobody else wanted. Moneyball is a roller coaster ride: before the 2002 season opens, Oakland must relinquish its three most prominent (and expensive) players, is written off by just about everyone, and then comes roaring back to challenge the American League record for consecutive wins.
In a narrative full of fabulous characters and brilliant excursions into the unexpected, Michael Lewis shows us how and why the new baseball knowledge works. He also sets up a sly and hilarious morality tale: Big Money, like Goliath, is always supposed to can we not cheer for David?

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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Books and White Daffodils

I just finished reading "Less of A Stranger" by Nora Roberts. White daffodils were mentioned in the story. I love flowers so I just think I would like to start keeping track of all the flowers I find in the stories I read..... This is not my first time reading about white daffodils, I first read about it in an English novel (forgot which one) when I was 12. Back then I had no idea what daffodils were. I was too lazy to look it up in the dictionary (my English was not too good back then and I didn't bother to spend time learning every new English word I saw, I just ignored any word I didn't know and moved on) , so I never knew until when I was reading Martha Stewart magazine (a few years ago...) by accident that what daffodils looked like. And only then did I realize daffodils were the "Water Fairy Flowers" I had known all my life. As to why the Chinese call daffodils "Water Fairy Flowers", I have no idea????

Daffodils to me always mean New Year, because my dad always stocked up lots of white daffodils bulbs in preapartion for the Chinese New Year. I saw him prepping the bulb, soaking, cutting, not sure what exactly he was doing... but it was always an important project to prepare for Chinese New Year. How it happened I had no idea, just every first day of the Chinese New Year, in every corner inside our house, I saw flowers blooming out of the daffodils plants that my dad made a big fuss prepping for well before the Chinese New Year. They never bloomed one day earlier or one day later, but always on the first day of Chinese New Year. To have the daffodils blooming on the first day of the Chinese New Year has always been very important in a Chinese New Year tradition (a symbol for bringing booming wealth in the coming year). My dad took it very seriously. He was so serious about it that my siblings and I would never dare to touch the bulbs, even though we always had an urge to grab a few, cut them up and make little bears out of them.... But we never dared...

So what flowers did you find in your reading today?

The Blood of Flowers: A Novel

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Book Description: Both a sweeping love story and a luminous portrait of a city, THE BLOOD OF FLOWERS is the mesmerizing historical novel of an ill-fated young woman whose gift as a rug designer transforms her life. Illuminated with glorious detail of persian rug-making, and brilliantly bringing to life the sights sounds and life of 17th-century Isfahan, THE BLOOD OF FLOWERS has captured readers' imaginations everywhere as a timeless tale of one woman's struggle to live a life of her choosing.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Conquering Gotham: Building Penn Station and Its Tunnels

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Book Description: As bestselling books like Ron Chernow’s Titan and David McCullough’s The Great Bridge affirm, readers are fascinated with the grand personalities and schemes that populated New York at the close of the nineteenth century. Conquering Gotham re-creates the riveting struggle waged by the great Pennsylvania Railroad to build Penn Station and the monumental system of tunnels that would connect water-bound Manhattan to the rest of the continent by rail. Historian Jill Jonnes tells a ravishing tale of snarling plutocrats, engineering feats, and backroom politicking packed with the most colorful figures of Gilded Age New York.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Books We Read - Snapshot January 2010

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Inspirational Quote I last Read

"The smallest job can often be the most important job."

Author is unknown to me, translated from a Chinese book I last read. Did you come across a quote that inspires you today? What is it?

The Reluctant Fundamentalist

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Book Description: At a café table in Lahore, a bearded Pakistani man converses with an uneasy American stranger. As dusk deepens to night, he begins the tale that has brought them to this fateful encounter . . .

Changez is living an immigrant’s dream of America. At the top of his class at Princeton, he is snapped up by the elite valuation firm of Underwood Samson. He thrives on the energy of New York, and his budding romance with elegant, beautiful Erica promises entry into Manhattan society at the same exalted level once occupied by his own family back in Lahore.

But in the wake of september 11, Changez finds his position in his adopted city suddenly overturned, and his budding relationship with Erica eclipsed by the reawakened ghosts of her past. And Changez’s own identity is in seismic shift as well, unearthing allegiances more fundamental than money, power, and maybe even love.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Is This How People Write Books??

I can't believe that after spending time reading 7 chapters of this book (119/239 pages), I still can't find anything that is useful to me! I wonder how many books are written this way, which fill up substantial number of pages with common knowlege, repetition, or just merely re-print of other websites' "about page" or blog posts???

This book spent a few chapters quoting blog posts from Apple computer or other big companies, and describing what or are....(as if I can't read about them on their sites..) As much as many people know that blogs can be used to create open conversation with anyone we want to interact; and to discuss any topic we want to discuss, the first 4 chapters about this book are way too dedicated to describing in detail, what is a news blog, what is a product blog and what is a project blog about. I'm sure the authors can easily write a 1000 pages about each type of blogs if they want to...(since there are blogs about just any topic or issue) Luckily, they only wrote a few chapters about several blog topics...

So far, I'm not happy with the book, as if the authors had not much content to really write a book about...and are struggling to fill up pages.

My problem is I never was able to quit a book that I bought... I got to finish this one no matter what. It's so hard to find a good book that is worth the money anymore. I just wish there could be more honest, unbiased and useful reviews to help me find a book that is worthy of my time to read.....

Friday, January 22, 2010

The Secret River

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Book Description: The Orange Prize–winning author Kate Grenville recalls her family’s history in an astounding novel about the pioneers of New South Wales. Already a best seller in Australia, The Secret River is the story of Grenville’s ancestors, who wrested a new life from the alien terrain of Australia and its native people. William Thornhill, a Thames bargeman, is deported to the New South Wales colony in what would become Australia in 1806. In this new world of convicts and charlatans, Thornhill tries to pull his family into a position of power and comfort. When he rounds a bend in the Hawkesbury River and sees a gentle slope of land, he becomes determined to make the place his own. But, as uninhabited as the island appears, Australia is full of native people, and they do not take kindly to Thornhill’s theft of their home. The Secret River is the tale of Thornhill’s deep love for his small corner of the new world, and his slow realization that if he wants to settle there, he must ally himself with the most despicable of the white settlers, and to keep his family safe, he must permit terrifying cruelty to come to innocent people.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Over the Edge of the World: Magellan's Terrifying Circumnavigation of the Globe

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Book Description: Ferdinand Magellan's daring circumnavigation of the globe in the sixteenth century was a three-year odyssey filled with sex, violence, and amazing adventure. Now in Over the Edge of the World, prize-winning biographer and journalist Laurence Bergreen entwines a variety of candid, firsthand accounts, bringing to life this groundbreaking and majestic tale of discovery that changed both the way explorers would henceforth navigate the oceans and history itself.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Slightly Dangerous

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All of London is abuzz over the imminent arrival of Wulfric Bedwyn, the reclusive, cold-as-ice Duke of Bewcastle, at the most glittering social event of the season. Some whisper of a tragic love affair. Others say he is so aloof and passionless that not even the greatest beauty could capture his attention. But on this dazzling afternoon, one woman did catch the duke’s eye—and she was the only female in the room who wasn’t even trying. Christine Derrick is intrigued by the handsome duke…all the more so when he invites her to become his mistress. What red-blooded woman wouldn’t enjoy a tumble in the bedsheets with a consummate lover—with no strings and no questions asked. An infuriating lady with very definite views on men, morals, and marriage, Christine confounds Wulfric at every turn. Yet even as the lone wolf of the Bedwyn clan vows to seduce her any way he can, something strange and wonderful is happening. Now for a man who thought he’d never lose his heart, nothing less than love will do.With her trademark wit, riveting storytelling, and sizzling sexual sparks, Mary Balogh once again brings together two polar opposites: an irresistible, high-and-mighty aristocrat and the impulsive, pleasure-loving woman who shows him what true passion is all about. A man and a woman so wrong for each other, it can result only in the perfect match.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

How Much Did Your Reading Cost In 2009?

Below is mine... I had spent a lot more than that, below is just a fraction of the books I had read from the many books I bought and I own (see my wish list). Share with us how much your reading costed you in 2009, post in the comment area your link where you posted your 2009 reading bill...I'm really curious to see how much it costed you to read...

When I looked at how many of the above books I actually enjoyed, I realized, much of what it costed me to read was really a waste of money (besides being a waste of my time....)

Check out the links below and compare your reading expense with other book lovers:))
  1. Mental Foodie

I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence

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Book Description: Are you lacking direction in how to whip up a swanky soiree for lumberjacks? A dinner party for white-collar workers? A festive gathering for the grieving? Don't despair. Take a cue from entertaining expert Amy Sedaris and host an unforgettable fete that will have your guests raving. No matter the style or size of the gathering-from the straightforward to the bizarre-I LIKE YOU provides jackpot recipes and solid advice laced with Amy's blisteringly funny take on entertaining, plus four-color photos and enlightening sidebars on everything it takes to pull off a party with extraordinary flair. You don't even need to be a host or hostess to benefit-Amy offers tips for guests, too! (Number one: don't be fifteen minutes early.) Readers will discover unique dishes to serve alcoholics (Broiled Frozen Chicken Wings with Applesauce), the secret to a successful children's party (a half-hour time limit, games included), plus a whole appendix chock-full of arts and crafts ideas (from a mini-pantyhose plant-hanger to a do-it-yourself calf stretcher), and much, much more!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Inspirational Quote I Last Read

" There is no despicable job in this world but despicable people."

I read this from a Chinese book of quotations. It says this quote is translated from Abraham Lincoln's speeches. Since the book and the quote was written in Chinese, the above quote is my translation, and I'm sure it's quite different from the original. I can't find the original English quote anywhere... If any of you know the exact English words for this supposedly famous quote, please let me know cause I want to read the original English version. Thanks for your help...

Silent In The Grave

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Book Description: "Let the wicked be ashamed, and let them be silent in the grave."
These ominous words, slashed from the pages of a book of Psalms, are the last threat that the darling of London society, Sir Edward Grey, receives from his killer. Before he can show them to Nicholas Brisbane, the private inquiry agent he has retained for his protection, Sir Edward collapses and dies at his London home, in the presence of his wife, Julia, and a roomful of dinner guests.
Prepared to accept that Edward's death was due to a longstanding physical infirmity, Julia is outraged when Brisbane visits and suggests that Sir Edward has been murdered. It is a reaction she comes to regret when she discovers the damning paper for herself, and realizes the truth.

Determined to bring her husband's murderer to justice, Julia engages the enigmatic Brisbane to help her investigate Edward's demise. Dismissing his warnings that the investigation will be difficult, if not impossible, Julia presses forward, following a trail of clues that lead her to even more unpleasant truths, and ever closer to a killer who waits expectantly for her arrival.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Free Books January Giveaways

Want a free book? Check out the links below!

Free Books January Participants
1. Unexpected Blessings
2. Prince of Storm
3. Return To Beauty
4. Roses by Leila Meacham
5. The Last Surgeon
6. The Little Giant of Aberdeen County
7. Remarkable Creatures
8. Shanghai Girls
9. Countess of Scandal
10. The Swan Thieves (Audio Book)
11. The Unnamed (Audio Book)
12. When She Flew by Jennie Shortridge
13. The Lonely Hearts Club
14. Love Finds You in Hershey Pennsylvania
15. Parenting From Your Heart
16. The Skinny on Willpower
17. Breakfast In Bed
18. Love in 90 Days
19. Knit, Perl, Die
20. Gone
21. A Black Tie Affair
22. Selling In Tough Times
23. Alice I Have Been
24. The Crazy School
25. Geosynchron

Dear John by Nicholas Spark

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Book Description: An angry rebel, John dropped out of school and enlisted in the Army, not knowing what else to do with his life--until he meets the girl of his dreams, Savannah. Their mutual attraction quickly grows into the kind of love that leaves Savannah waiting for John to finish his tour of duty, and John wanting to settle down with the woman who captured his heart. But 9/11 changes everything. John feels it is his duty to re-enlist. And sadly, the long separation finds Savannah falling in love with someone else. "Dear John," the letter read...and with those two words, a heart was broken and two lives were changed forever. Returning home, John must come to grips with the fact that Savannah, now married, is still his true love--and face the hardest decision of his life.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Envy By Sandra Brown

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Book Description: Sandra Brown, the #1 New York Times bestselling author, keeps readers turning pages with an explosive tale of a long-ago crime and the victim's plan for revenge...When New York publisher Maris Matherly Reed receives a tantalizing manuscript from someone identified only as P.M.E., its blockbuster potential-and perhaps something else-compels her to meet its author. On an eerie, ruined cotton plantation on a remote Georgia island she finds Parker Evans, a man concealing his identity and his past. Maris is drawn into his tale of two young friends and a deadly betrayal ... and to Parker himself. But there's something especially chilling about this novel, its possible connection to Maris's own life, and the real-life character who uses her, or anyone, to get what he wants.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Firefly Lane By Kristin Hannah

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Book Description: In the turbulent summer of 1974, Kate Mularkey has accepted her place at the bottom of the eighth-grade social food chain. Then, to her amazement, the “coolest girl in the world” moves in across the street and wants to be her friend. Tully Hart seems to have it all---beauty, brains, ambition. On the surface they are as opposite as two people can be: Kate, doomed to be forever uncool, with a loving family who mortifies her at every turn. Tully, steeped in glamour and mystery, but with a secret that is destroying her. They make a pact to be best friends forever; by summer’s end they’ve become TullyandKate. Inseparable.

So begins Kristin Hannah’s magnificent new novel. Spanning more than three decades and playing out across the ever-changing face of the Pacific Northwest, Firefly Lane is the poignant, powerful story of two women and the friendship that becomes the bulkhead of their lives.

From the beginning, Tully is desperate to prove her worth to the world. Abandoned by her mother at an early age, she longs to be loved unconditionally. In the glittering, big-hair era of the eighties, she looks to men to fill the void in her soul. But in the buttoned-down nineties, it is television news that captivates her. She will follow her own blind ambition to New York and around the globe, finding fame and success . . . and loneliness.

Kate knows early on that her life will be nothing special. Throughout college, she pretends to be driven by a need for success, but all she really wants is to fall in love and have children and live an ordinary life. In her own quiet way, Kate is as driven as Tully. What she doesn’t know is how being a wife and mother will change her . . . how she’ll lose sight of who she once was, and what she once wanted. And how much she’ll envy her famous best friend. . . .

For thirty years, Tully and Kate buoy each other through life, weathering the storms of friendship---jealousy, anger, hurt, resentment. They think they’ve survived it all until a single act of betrayal tears them apart . . . and puts their courage and friendship to the ultimate test.

Firefly Lane is for anyone who ever drank Boone’s Farm apple wine while listening to Abba or Fleetwood Mac. More than a coming-of-age novel, it’s the story of a generation of women who were both blessed and cursed by choices. It’s about promises and secrets and betrayals. And ultimately, about the one person who really, truly knows you---and knows what has the power to hurt you . . . and heal you. Firefly Lane is a story you’ll never forget . . . one you’ll want to pass on to your best friend.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Birthright By Nora Roberts

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Book Description: When five-thousand-year-old human bones are found at a construction site in the small town of Woodsboro, the news draws archaeologist Callie Dunbrook out of her sabbatical and into a whirlwind of adventure, danger, and romance.

While overseeing the dig, she must try to make sense of a cloud of death and misfortune that hangs over the project-fueling rumors that the site is cursed. And she must cope with the presence of her irritating-but irresistible-ex-husband, Jake. Furthermore, when a stranger claims to know a secret about her privileged Boston childhood, she is forced to question her own past as well.

A rich, thrilling, suspenseful tale, Birthright follows an inspiring heroine, an intriguing hero, and a cast of fascinating characters whose intertwined lives remind us that there is much more going on under the surface than meets the eye. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Latest From Other Book Blogs

What's the latest with your book blog? If you want us to include your book blog in our readers' latest read below, please add our blog to your blogroll and then notify us of the linkback. Thanks!

Great Imagination And Good Question From An Interesting Book

(Note: The above photo is what I imagined the setting of this novel is kind of like... To check out the interior of the place, click on the picture. For those of you who had read this book, can you tell me if this place resembles the setting of the novel? )

I'm currently reading this book and the author posted a question that I can't shake it off my head. That is, "Is imagination dependent upon experience, or experience influenced by the imagination?" So what do you think?

I suddenly realized that the ability of human beings to imagine had set us all apart from other living things on this planet. Without the ability to imagine, I don't think today, I can be sitting in front of my computer blogging about it. All these computer technology and inventions wouldn't have taken place if only we didn't have imagination.

In my opinion, both our imagination and our experience are influncing each other. It's our ability to imagine that fascinates me the most! The more fascinating thing is, other people's imagination is also influcencing our own everyday. Everything we read, everything we see that are presentation of others' imagination take root in our brain everyday and without our awareness, they are developing and shaping our very own imagination.

Now, based on the question from this book, I wonder how much content in the Bible was written based on imagination? But then even if the Bible was written based on imagination, how much of that imagination was influenced by the authors' real experience with angels and God? In the end, the validity of the Bible remains, for those who chose to believe it, it was based on experience. For those who have no faith in it, the Bible was made up of stories from imagination.

I'm not a Christ believer, but I do believe that we just can't be here on this earth because of a mere chance and a pure accidental big bang out of nowhere. Just why other living things on this planet don't seem to have the kind of imagination we have? Just who gave us the ability to imagine? In spite of my imagination about Jesus being just a human, idolized by his fans to be the son of God, I know I am definitely not an atheist.

Friday, January 8, 2010

The Sex Lives of Cannibals: Adrift in the Equatorial Pacific

I found this book because a fellow book blogger recommended it on her blog "Page After Page". We're putting this on our wish list cause it seems like a great book that we would enjoy.

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Book Description: Stephen Jones is a shiny new hire at Zephyr Holdings. From the outside, Zephyr is just another bland corporate monolith, but behind its glass doors business is far from usual: the beautiful receptionist is paid twice as much as anybody else to do nothing, the sales reps use self help books as manuals, no one has seen the CEO, no one knows exactly what they are selling, and missing donuts are the cause of office intrigue. While Jones originally wanted to climb the corporate ladder, he now finds himself descending deeper into the irrational rationality of company policy. What he finds is hilarious, shocking, and utterly telling.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

This Book Definitely Needs An Update

Am currently reading this book because I want to learn more about improving my blog. So far, I had read the first chapter about "What is a Blog?" I wonder in these days how many people out there don't know what a blog is?? The first chapter is totally useless to me and many of the sites they mentioned (supposed to be hip and popular) are now dsyfunctional, outdated or poorly run due to lack of upkeep. It's been a few years since this book first published, and lots had changed about blogging since then.The following sites now either don't exist anymore or are just like a rundown site that is filled with low quality content. Check out the following graveyard for the once "up-and-coming" sites in the past:

Can anyone tell me if Blogging is dying out now because of other social media like Twitter and Facebook? Will Blogging become a thing of the past?

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Bambi vs. Godzilla: On the Nature, Purpose, and Practice of the Movie Business

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Book Description: Who really reads the scripts at the film studios? How is a screenplay like a personals ad? Why are there so many producers listed in movie credits? And what on earth do those producers do anyway? Refreshingly unafraid to offend, Mamet provides hilarious, surprising, and refreshingly forthright answers to these and other questions about every aspect of filmmaking from concept to script to screen. A bracing, no-holds-barred examination of the strange contradictions of Tinseltown, Bambi vs. Godzilla dissects the movies with Mamet’s signature style and wit.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

From the Ashes of Sobibor: A Story of Survival

Until I read this book, "Holocaust" to me was just one of those small sparks of a big firework called "World War II". It was briefly mentioned in a very short paragrah in one of the World War II chapters in my history class in high school. But after reading this book, the word "Holocaust" gives me goose bumps. This book is a great revelation of one of the darkest time in human history. I had never read any thriller that is as thrilling as this real story. I had never read any page turner that enthralled me like this book did. I just couldn't put the book down while I was journeying with the author through one near-death experience to another. (it seemed as if those incidents were never ending...)

The book not only taught me a very important piece of history that my history book failed to show me. It also helped me understand an aweful lot about the Jewish culture, the Jewish people and their lives before World War II. (and after WWII, since the book got me curious enough to research more on Israel and the Jewish people). This book showed me in great detail why, how and what had happened during the Jewish extermination campaigns, and finally understand why such appalling schemes were so successful and unstoppable.

Besides being an excellent history book, it's also a very compelling book that shows all human weaknesses there are. (greed, cowardice, prejudice, ignorance, fear, lack of faith, lack of ethical conviction, group thinking, etc...) Sometimes I wonder, if only we didn't have all these flaws and weaknesses in us, the Nazzi wouldn't have a chance to execute their plan, and the entire history of war and atrocity wouldn't keep repeating itself. The sad part is, history always repeats because we are still what we are, we are all so afraid of death that our fear often stops us from doing the right thing, and we are greedy and materialistic still, yet we don't have faith that the world has enough for us to propser altogether......

But the bright side is, as this book demonstrated, even in the most hopeless situation, there is still a chance that one can survive and thrive. I highly recommend this book because it helps me appreciate my family and loved ones a lot more. Now, whenever I start to have the slightest complaint about my life, my mind flashes me with the story of this book, holds my temper back and makes me realize I literally have nothing I should be unhappy about.

I hope more people can read this book and remember not to let the Holocaust victims perish in vain by living our life with gratitude, appreciation and compassion. I think people in this world should recognize that any regime that promotes hatred or destruction of any race or religion is dangerous.

Note: To learn more about this book's author Thomas Toivi Blatt, or more information about Sobibor's role during the Holocaust, you can click here to go to the author's website.

My reading diary about this book: December 7, 2009 , December 9, 2009 , December 13, 2009 , December 19, 2009

Blogs that blog about this book (If your blog blogs about this book, please email me your url, so I can post it here, thanks!):
Bryan's Book Blog

Newspaper mention about Sobibor and this book's author: (some of the readers comments about the author and the Holocaust got me really sad, you read it yourself and you will understand why.)

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Pretend You Don't See Her By Mary Higgins Clark

Submit your review for this book and get a beautiful jewelry set for free!!

Book Description: Mary Higgins Clark sends chills down readers' spines with the story of Lacey Farrell, a rising star on the Manhattan real estate scene. One day, while showing a luxurious skyline co-op, Lacey is witness to a murder -- and to the dying words of the victim.... The dying woman is convinced that the attacker was after her dead daughter's journal -- which Lacey gives to the police, but not before making a copy for herself. It's an impulse that later proves nearly fatal.
Placed in the witness protection program and sent to live in the Minneapolis area, Lacey must assume a fake identity, at least until the killer can be brought to trial. There she meets Tom Lynch, a radio talk-show host whom she tentatively begins to date -- until the strain of deception makes her break it off. Then she discovers the killer has traced her to Minneapolis. Armed with nothing more than her own courage and clues from the journal, Lacey heads back to New York, determined to uncover who's behind the deaths of the two women -- before she's the next casualty.
At once seductive and frightening, Pretend You Don't See Her is the "mistress of high tension" (The New Yorker) at her ingenious best.