There is this very interesting challenge going around on YouTube and I decided to do it too because it looked like fun…and it is. All you have to do is recite as many book titles as you can remember in one minute. Here is my poor attempt.
I know you are probably tired of reading I’m busy and don’t get enough time to blog. I also have a YouTube channel now so I tend to balance whatever time I have.
As I mentioned in one of my posts, I’m studying for Diploma of Graphic Design and it’s almost the last stretch now. I’ll be graduating in 3 months time and thing have been really busy with me trying to finish up all the assignments for the final academic review. It’s stressful but I’m enjoying it so far. I will have to start looking for an internship in January. But I’m not going to worry about that now.
We are going to India for Diwali, we’ll be leaving on 10th Nov. I will get back on 18th because I hae work to do but my husband will stay on a little longer. I’m really excited about the holiday and hoping to get some work done.
I’m also designing my Portfolio website as part of the diploma and will let you know as soon as it’s up. It might take up to a month though.
My aim is to get a Graphic Design job and eventually design book covers in the future. Lets see how that goes.
We also moved into our new house because the lease for our previous house was up. We moved to the extreme west of Singapore. We lived in the extreme east before. So it’s a good change. But packing/ unpacking is a real pain. On a brighter side, this is the view from our house now as opposed to the kitchens we saw from our previous house. The thing that the arrow points to is the Bukit Timah Hill which is the largest hill in Singapore. Yeah…I know. But I’m kind of excited over it, no idea why. I guess 2 years of looking at the insides of people’s houses does that to you.
In spite of the lack of time, I have been reading quite well. I notice I read more when I have lots of work just to take time off from it even for 15 mins. I’ve read some very good books that were on my shelves. Obviously I haven’t reviewed all here.
I also read 50 shades of Grey and didn’t like it at all. I’m still thinking if I should review it here.
In spite of all that is going on my husband and I do find time to do things together. Last weekend we tried Rock Climbing for the first time and we also attended a Level 1 Climbing certificate. It means that we can now Rock Climb without any supervision from professionals
Also, a few weeks back, on my birthday, we went to Desaru, Malaysia for 2 days which was short but rather fun. Here is a video I did on my YouTube channel if you are interested.
Title: Growing up Bin Laden
Author: Jean Sasson (with Najwa Bin Laden and Omar Bin Laden)
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press; First Edition edition (October 27, 2009)
Set in: Saudi Arabia
Genre: Non-Fiction (memoir)
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
My thoughts: Having read and loved most of Jean Sasson’s books, I’m always happy when I discover she’s written a new book. This book was more interesting to me because it was written on Osama Bin Laden, the elusive ‘self-proclaimed’ jihadi. Although I have intense hate for him, there is a part of me that wants to know why and how does a man become the Osama. How does a guy have so much control over so many people that they were willing to die for him? Also, What kind of family life did he have? All this and the author’s name led me to read this book.
The book starts with Osama’s life in Jeddah, then Sudan and finally to Afghanistan. Because the book is from his family’s point of view it doesn’t have details of his jihadi life but enough to note the major crossroads of his life and how it shaped and encouraged him towards a violent future.
The first thing that struck me about this book is the honesty with which it’s written. It must have taken immense strength from the wife and son to narrate this. They don’t pretend to hate Osama for the sake of the world. They loved and tried to please him in spite of what he was. His sons and wives spent their lives travelling with him to various countries and living in increasingly deteriorating conditions. Osama was a rich and successful builder to begin with. His family lived in luxury until Osama became overly “religious”. This book is not written for the sake of writing one. I have read memoirs of people where all they write is common knowledge. But this book reveals a different side to Osama, it shows him as a devoted family man. Time Magazine describes it best
‘The thrill of being a fly on the wall of the bin Laden family’.
The book was written before Osama dies so that part is still a mystery but fortunately I have a later edition of the book which gives a brief idea of the reaction of his family to his death. I seriously cannot stop talking about ‘Growing up Bin Laden‘ and since there is no one else I can talk to, I am happy and grateful I have this place.
I don’t think a bookshelf tour is something I can write about, so here’s a video for you. Sorry if it’s too shaky.
It’s uploaded on my YouTube channel which is called ‘BookShelved’ so don’t get too surprised when you see the intro.
Title: Year of the Tiger
Author: David Miller
Source: Review Copy
Set in: Singapore
Paperback, 278 pages
Monsoon Books Pte Ltd
Rating: 4 out of 5
My only reason for accepting this book for review was that it was set in Singapore. If you read my blog regularly you might know I don’t read many thrillers. It’s not that I don’t like them, it’s just that I don’t actively seek them. So if I’m just going to read a few thrillers every year, I’m glad ‘Year of the Tiger’ was one of them.
This book in set in 2014 Singapore. When workers are digging for a tunnel in Singapore, they stumble upon a secret room filled with loot from the World War II. It’s a vault created by the Japanese and protected with a lethal virus that could affect hundreds of people very quickly. When the workers take the loot and flee Singapore, it creates an epidemic which can only be stopped or controlled if the mystery of the virus can be solved by the clues left by Japanese.
For me the plot itself is a big draw because along with the current story it also gives interesting information on the Japanese during the World War. It’s intriguing to imagine that a small and super developed city like Singapore could have so many secrets. I found the Singapore history and the presence of tunnels and secret rooms in modern-day Singapore fascinating, and because it intermingled seamlessly with the plot, I was one happy reader. Unfortunately I don’t know much about the Japanese occupation of Singapore and this book more or less gave me a teaser without reading like a history lesson. It made me want to study more about that particular time period. How many thrillers can you say that for? This is also the kind of story that could turn out to be true a few years down the road. That kind of explains part of my fascination to the story.
The involvement of the Japanese in the whole affair makes me wonder how Japanese will react if there was truly a situation like this. I kind of imagine it would be pretty close to the book. As far as the writing goes – it works well for a thriller I guess. The only problem I have is that the language used by the Singaporeans was not really Singaporean. If you have lived in Singapore even for a short while you’ll notice the unique brand of English spoken by the locals here which makes it distinctively Singaporean. While the characters weren’t particularly memorable, the story was enough to keep me occupied.
When I was almost 90% finished with the book I wondered about the end, I was worried about how it was all going to tie up. For me the most important part in the thriller is the ending, It could make or break a book for me. Fortunately, the ending in this book was pretty good. In some parts it was a very simple solution but in some parts it was pretty complicated considering the scale and scope of the problem.
Overall, I really enjoyed the book and I hope there are more books written that are based in Singapore. I’m definitely looking forward to reading more David Miller books, especially if he writes about Singapore. For just 278 pages, ‘Year of the Tiger’ was throughly entertaining.
Title: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
Author: Ransom Riggs
Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Quirk Books; Book Club edition (June 7, 2011)
Here is a completely different take on a very popular topic. Mr. Riggs has taken the plotline that many fantasy novels have today and turned it into something completely different…in a good way.
Jacob Portman is a normal teenager who leads a boring and uneventful life (according to him). He is fascinated and intrigued by the stories his grandfather used to tell him about his past life – about growing up in an orphanage on an island and about the peculiar children who lived there. He described children who could levitate, who could pick heavy objects and of the one who was invisible. As Jacob grew up he knew these stories were just made up.
But when his grandfather dies in mysterious circumstances, he decides to find some answers by journeying to his grandfathers orphanage somewhere close to Wales. What he finds there is completely unexpected, fascinating and overwhelming.
I loved loved loved the plot. I thought it was innovative and very mysterious. I couldn’t wait to find out what happened next. The author created a beautiful atmosphere with the Island and the mysteries that surrounded it. I wished I was on the Island with Jacob. There is a lot more to the story than what I just told you but I wont disclose more because I want to keep it spoiler free.
Now the bad – yes, it’s not perfect. There were a lot of loopholes or if you see it from a different perspective, I didn’t understand some of the story. The ending was rushed and there is a sequel. I’m kind of bored with the whole sequel obsession in YA. Why can’t people write a book that is complete in itself? Also I found Jacob to be very decent considering the fact that he is a teenager and a boy.
I still really enjoyed reading the book and would love to read the next one. The pictures in the book helped with the story and made it more fascinating. Initially, before reading the book, just looking at the pictures, I thought this would be a horror novel – but it isn’t. I know some people get turned off by horror novels, so don’t be.
I think you would enjoy this book even if you don’t read YA.
Some of the pictures from the book
We all love to look at beautiful book covers and we love to adorn our shelfs with them. There are many blog series around that talk about different book covers – how similar are some covers among other things. We have book cover reveals as well. But what we overlook is that there are people who have designed these covers. There are people who have tried to understand the story and the intention behind the book and try to design a cover that reflects that. I have been attracted to the art of book cover design for a long time and I thought this would be a perfect platform not just to show you a nice cover but also let you know the process behind it and also introduce you to the designer while I’m at it.
For today, let me introduce you to Chip Kidd, one of the most influential and famous book cover designers today. The cover I’m going to talk about today is this
I’m sure you all know what book this is about. The design process goes something like this.
He put this in a photostat machine, took a piece of tracing paper, taped it over the tracing paper with a scotch tape and took a rapidograph pen and reconstituted the dinosaur and came up this which was used in the final book cover.
When it was sent to Michael Chrichton and he responded with this
The image was bought by Universal and was used in the movie which in turn was used in a lot of the movie memorabilia when it was released.
Thats the story behind the cover of Jurassic Park. I hope you enjoyed reading this post.
Chip Kidd (from Wikipedia): Chip Kidd (born September 12, 1964) is an American author, editor, and graphic designer, best known for his book covers. Kidd is currently associate art director at Knopf, an imprint of Random House. He first joined the Knopf design team in 1986, when he was hired as a junior assistant. Turning out jacket designs at an average of 75 a year, Kidd has freelanced for Doubleday, Farrar Straus & Giroux, Grove Press, HarperCollins, Penguin/Putnam, Scribner and Columbia University Press in addition to his work for Knopf. Kidd also supervises graphic novels at Pantheon, and in 2003 he collaborated with Art Spiegelman on a biography of cartoonist Jack Cole, Jack Cole and Plastic Man: Forms Stretched to Their Limits. His output includes cover concepts for books by Mark Beyer, Bret Easton Ellis, Haruki Murakami, Dean Koontz, Cormac McCarthy, Frank Miller, Michael Ondaatje, Alex Ross, Charles Schulz, Osamu Tezuka, David Sedaris, Donna Tartt, John Updike and others. His design for Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park novel was carried over into marketing for the film adaptation. Oliver Sacks and other authors have contract clauses stating that Kidd design their books
Obviously I have to get this information from somewhere. There are a few youtube videos on this so if you are interested you can watch this videos but for these feature series I’m going to break it down so that you can go through the process in less than 5 mins instead of watching a 20 mins or an hour-long video. All the references will be given alongside.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cC0KxNeLp1E (17.17 min long video)