Saturday, October 26, 2013

A Woman's Trip to Bookstore Brought Home a Newborn

According to the Associated Press, a woman walked into a Los Angeles-area Barnes & Nobel looking for books and came out with a baby instead.

I wonder what book the mother was intending to get when she visited the bookstore at such late stage of her pregnancy and at such hour of the evening?  Anyway, congrats to both the mom and the baby!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Book Review: The House at Riverton by Kate Morton

The story of this book reminds me of what Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "Whatever games are played with us, we must play no games with ourselves."  If there is one good thing about this story, it's this valuable lesson that I learnt from the tragic ending of  two of the main characters, Hannah and Emmeline. There is no doubt that the English writing is good, and this book is just about that.  I'm not impressed by the plot, story, or the characters.  They actually bored me.  Instead of being a page turner like the book cover claims, the pages kept me closing the book and putting it aside.

May be if I hadn't watched "Upstairs Downstairs",  "Downton Abbey" or "The Titanic", I would find this novel more interesting.  I felt like I was reading someone painstakingly describe and write about what I had already seen with my own eyes, someone who tried very hard in putting those fancy images in English texts. This book is more of a show off of the author's use of the English language, than the telling of a compelling, or even convincing story.  The English writing is riveting, not the story.

I never got "The Game" that the book spent so many pages talking about.  This so called "Game" was often played by the aristocratic children of the House at Riverton.  From what the book showed me, the life of those aristocratic people in that era couldn't be any borer. How can that be?  That was a fascinating time, a fascinating era,  how could life be this boring in high society?   May be it's just in the House at Riverton.

To me, the book is like a painting of a grand estate in the early 20th century that illustrates lots of details of the landscape and yet it's an empty mansion that has nobody inside.  The story's narrator, the 90+ years old Grace, who was a young house maid who served the family and the young ladies, failed to retain my attention.  It's just not convincing for Grace to tell me the stories of her mistresses in such great intimate details on events when she was not even there to witness. Even Grace herself admitted that she wasn't there but yet, when she was telling Hannah's story with her lover, her husband, her outings and her experience and feelings, Grace was able to tell in great details, not just the place, the time but the inner thoughts and feelings of Hannah and Emmeline...  Grace was often telling stories of her masters and mistresses that nobody could possibly know except the masters and mistresses themselves. Grace could easily confuse me into believing that it was not Grace who was the narrator, but at some point, Hannah took over to become the narrator of the story.

I don't understand why this book was loved by so many.  I admire the writing skills, but not the story telling ability of the author.  The story has little passion, little suspense, but pretty boring and unimpressive characters.  It's a shame, the story could have been made really exciting and exotic.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Book Review: Stepping on Roses, Vol. 2

In this book 2 of the "rag to riches" romance, the story follows the heroine, Sumi's new life as the new bride of the heir of a prominent and wealthy Japanese family, Soichiro. Sometimes a picture speaks better than a thousand words.  The fancy illustrations of the book are amazing and they perfectly illustrate the emotional dilemma that Sumi was facing in the middle of a love triangle.  This volume gives the readers a glimpse of the secrets of Sumi's new husband, Soichiro and his ambition.  The dialogue continues to be funny and entertaining.  This book is another hour of light and fun reading that somehow is able to stress on the importance of one's duty and integrity over selfish romantic love.  The story ends with a question on what secrets is Soichiro really hiding and what is he really plotting, which I'm determined to find out in the next volume. This book has engaging illustrations, a little suspense and really fun and quirky characters.  It's a good one hour break in between serious readings.  The book cover is just gorgeous.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Book Review: After the Parade by Dorothy Garlock

This is a very comforting novel with romance, passion and suspense that kept me turning the pages.  This book is a follow-up of  the novel "With Heart" that I previously read.  This sequel is however more entertaining and has a faster pace than "With Heart".  The love between Kathleen and Johnny is admirable in a way that the years apart didn't drive them into other people's beds like the couples that I read about in other contemporary romance fictions.  This is why I like this novel.  There was setback in the marriage, yet there was always the unbreakable love and passion between Kathleen and Johnny that kept pushing them back together and that kept me cheering them along.  It's rare that I cheer for any heroine in a fiction, but I did when reading this book.  This book is an enjoyable read.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

I Can Feel The Abundance of God's Love

I found this video because I was in a really lousy mood after coming back from my errands. I was so annoyed by those trashy and rude people who made my morning miserable. I came home and I started going onto the internet wanting to know why there were so many trashy and cruel people, then I stumbled upon this video about a dog and a seemingly autistic kid with down syndrome.  Now I totally have this heart warming feeling, feel at peace, grateful and even inspired.  As if, God is somehow showing me a message.

Monday, October 7, 2013

From A Book I Read I Came To Know This Painting Masterpiece

The above painting is called "The Lady With an Ermine", it was painted by one of the world's best painters in history, Leonardo da Vinci in 1490.  To me, the title of this painting should be: "The Lady With an Ermine and a Big Ungly Hand".

I had never saw this painting or heard about this painting until I looked up Leonardo da Vinci on the internet.  The reason that I looked him up was because I read this very interesting novel a while back from Nora Roberts in which she wrote extensively about his works and developed around them one of the most fascinating romantic suspense I had ever read.

Reading Leonardo da Vinci's works in Nora Roberts' fiction is quite different from actually seeing it in my own eyes.  At a glance, this can just be a painting of a woman from long time ago that most of my generation today find boring, weird looking.  It's the sort of painting that most of my generation don't care about. But having read Nora Robert's entertaining fiction, the heroine's appreciation for ancient arts has rubbed a little on me and I can't help wondering:

Just who is this woman in the painting? Why is the woman's hand in the painting so big and why does it seem not quite proportional to the body?  Was it because the painter at the time had yet to master the skill of projecting proportion on the canvas?  Was it the painter's mistake? Or did the painter have some kind of perceptive impairment that caused him to paint this disproportionate big hand on a woman? Why does her hand look so coarse and ugly?  Was it because she had to do a lot of heavy duty manual work? Why is the woman looking side way?  Under what circumstances was she painted?  Why is she holding an Ermine?  What is she really thinking about?  Most importantly, what's her love life like?  What did she think when she looked at herself in this painting?

Thankfully, Wall Street Journal seems to have the answers to a lot of my questions, even though not all of them....,

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Which is Inspired by Which??

May be I have watched the TV series Downton Abbey and love it too much, I just don't feel much about this book that I am currently reading after I had finished Part 1, which mainly describes scenes that are familiar to what I had seen in the TV series.  The ironing of the Times was amazing to me because it was the first time when I knew of such a practice when I watched the 1st episode of the TV series.  Of course this book was published back in 2006 which also talked about the same practice.
Before Downton Abbey, there was the TV show from long time before I was born called "Upstairs Downstairs", which has the same periodic setting, and I believe it's the original that tells the story on the relationships among servants, among masters, between servants and masters, within an aristocratic household in England?

So far after Part 1 of this book, I pretty much had been reading about an old lady remembering her young life, much the same way like old Rose did in Titanic, which had sunk already at the time when the heroine of this book was young.  I realize it's very common for a story to begin with someone old having memory flash backs like my beloved Phantom of the Opera.

A lot of people called this book that I am reading a page turner, but so far, I feel the pace is somewhat slow and I am not motivated to turn the pages fast enough.  I'm not sure why everything in Part 1 of this book has appeared to be nothing special to me so far. The characters so far aren't too interesting or special.  May be I would have felt more intrigued if I had not watched Downton Abby on TV?

I am hoping Part 2 of this book will get better, and may be in Part 2, the characters will begin to reveal something intriguing about themselves...  The writing and the use of the English words are great and impressive though.  Lots of the contemporary American writers can't write like this.  I just hope the story will become more interesting to keep me turning the pages....  Right now I have to put it aside for a while because I am feeling a little bored...and my ADD is beginning to act up....

Saturday, October 5, 2013

A Touching Poem from an Enjoyable Romance Novel

I really love this poem  from this book that I recently read.  I just have to share it with all of you who love  reading romance novels. All it takes is a memorable melody to make it  a great country song.  Too bad I don't know how to play the guitar...
After the victory and the parade,
After the hometown band has played,
After the cheers and four long years,
Can we, at last, break free of our fears?

After the bombs and cannonade,
After the bravery you displayed,
After the pain and wounds that bled,
Can you face with me what lies ahead?

I stand and I wait and I long for a sign.
The love you once gave, will it sill be mine?
Can we recapture the passion mislaid?
Will you come back to me, after the parade?

Friday, October 4, 2013

Japanese Bookstore Asahiya Closed

Today, I found another of my favorite bookstore closed permanently. I was just there at this Japanese bookstore two weeks ago and I bought a Japanese fashion magazine and a knitting book. I can't believe today when I went there, it was empty with a notice of its permanent close. This bookstore is nestled inside a very popular Japanese supermarket. This Japanese bookstore is either a stop for people after their grocery shopping or people would go there to buy books and then do their grocery shopping after. Location is obviously not the problem. Anyway, it's another heart break within a week to lose another bookstore.  Did you find any bookstore in your neighborhood closing lately?  If you did, please email your thoughts to us and we will send you a gift in return when we post it here on this blog.

Address: 3832 W Sepulveda Blvd, Torrance, CA 90505
Phone:(310) 375-3303
Closed Permanently