Tagged: contemporary fiction

Aug 28

The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa

The Housekeeper and the Professor
by Yoko Ogawa
(5/5)

Contemporary Fiction/Japanese Fiction
Publisher: Vintage
First Published in August 2003

Review


This is one of my favourite books that I have read this year. It’s actually turning out to be a bit of a Japanese reading year for me, with Haruki Murakami’s 1Q84 trilogy keeping me busy from January to March.


I had read a favourite books of the year newspaper article in January and along with 1Q84,  The House Keeper and the Professor was among the chosen few. It’s a heartwarming story about a housekeeper, a professor and the housekeeper’s ten year old son. Using the word ‘heartwarming’ to describe this story may cause it to sound trite and mushy, but having just finished this short novel just an hour ago, that’s how my heart feels – warmed.

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Jan 08

Switched By Amanda Hocking Part 1 of the Trylle Trilogy

Switched

By Amanda Hocking

Part 1 of the Trylle Trilogy

(3/5)

Switched By Amanda Hocking

Fiction / Teen fiction / Fantasy / Light Reading
First Published in ebook form in 2010
Hard copy release date for Singapore: January 2012
St Martin’s Press New York

Click here to buy the book Switched by Amanda Hocking form The Book Depository (with free delivery)

Book Synopsis:

Wendy Everly knew that there was something different about herself when her mother had tried to kill her on her sixth birthday. She accused her of being a monster that had been switched at birth with her real baby.

Wendy doesn’t feel like a monster, but she can’t help but feel that she doesn’t quite fit in. She is bored and frustrated with life in her small town, and to top it off, she’s the new girl in school. There is also a secret that she has discovered about herself that she can’t tell anyone…. Wendy has the mysterious ability to influence people’s decisions just by willing it to happen.

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Jul 15

Brooklyn by Colm Toibin

Brooklyn

by Colm Toibin

(3/5)

Fiction
First Published in 2009
Publisher: Penguin Viking

Click to buy Brooklyn by Colm Toibin with free delivery

Book Synopsis:

Work in 1950s Ireland is hard to find. Eilis Lacey does what she thinks is best and makes the long and arduous journey across the Atlantic to Brooklyn, America. For the first time, Eilis is on her own, in a strange city, living in a boarding house filled with other working girls and a scrutinizing landlady. Eilis is isolated and far away from home.

Gradually, however, as Eilis gets used to her new life, her job working in a department store, taking evening classes in book keeping, Friday night dances in the church hall, and maybe an American man… Eilis starts to realize, she’s found a kind of happiness.

But where does Eilis belong? In Ireland with her family or in her new found home, Brooklyn?

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Jul 01

Five Point Someone

Five Point Someone

by Chetan Bhagat

(3/5)

Fiction / Light Reading
First Published in 2004
Publisher: Rupa & Co
National Bestseller in India

Click to buy Five Point Someone by Chetan Bhagat with free delivery

Book Synopsis:

3 friends, Hari, Alok and Ryan, are students at IIT, India’s most prestigious technological university. Instead of mugging their lives away like the rest of the cohort, they decide to have the time of their lives.

All the things not to do at university and more: mess up your grades, drink vodka on the faculty rooftop, date a professor’s daughter…

A funny and dark story of friendship and trying to survive IIT with a five-point something GPA. Will they make it?

My Book Review:

I picked up this book at a bookshop in Mysore, India, when I was attending a wedding there last week. I thought, I’ve experienced this country, so I should experience more of its contemporary fiction. Chetan Bhagat is apparently a lauded writer in India having written 4 novels to date:

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Jun 04

Flowers for Algernon

Flowers for Algernon

by Daniel Keyes

(3/5)

Fiction / Science Fiction
First Published in 1966
Publisher: Harcourt, Brace & World
Flowers for Algernon won the Hugo Award for Best Short Story in 1960
and was joint winner of the Nebula Award for Best Novel in 1966

Click here to buy the book Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes (free delivery worldwide)

Book Synopsis:

With an IQ of 68, Charlie Gordon works as a sweeper in a bakery. He thinks has friends, but little does he know he is the butt of their jokes, an amusing plaything.

Charlie’s life changes radically when he undergoes an experimental operation that to enhance his intelligence. Charlie becomes a genius.

However, Algernon, the mouse who had been successfully enhanced before Charlie, dies. Charlie has to live with the knowledge that his new life and his insights into the world are only temporary.

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May 12

Nanny Returns

Nanny Returns

Nicola Kraus & Emma Mclaughlin

(Sequel to The Nanny Diaries)

(3/5)


Chick Lit / Light Reading / Fiction
First published in 2009
Publisher: Simon and Schuster

Click here to buy Nanny Returns by Nicola Kraus & Emma Mclaughlin (free delivery)

Book Synopsis:

Nan from the Nanny Diaries is back in New York twelve years after the ill-fated nanny-cam night, the night Nan was fired. She is now married to HH (Harvard Hottie) who how has a name, Ryan. Nan is finally settling down and renovating her new (falling apart) home, and is trying to get her consulting business up and running. But is surprised at Ryan’s sudden desire start a family. What startles her the most is her resistance to the idea.

Then, Nan gets a drunken visit in the middle of the night from Grayer X, now 16 years old. He has found the nanny-cam tape…

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Mar 29

ART – watch the play in Singapore this April

ART

a play by Yazmina Reza

Click image to enlarge

ART is an hilarious comedy about three men and a white painting.

Starring: Jason Chan, Andrew Keegan and Glynn Connop

Black Box at Centre Stage 15 Woking Road (off Portsdown Road), Singapore

Playing from April 8th till 24th. Thurs to Sat only. 8pm.

Book your tickets now at: http://www.tix.com.sg


How much would you pay for a white painting?

Click here to buy the play ART by Yazmina Reza

Have a great night of theatre with your friends. It opens real soon, so book your tickets now. I’ll see you there!

x Julie

Book Reviews – Reading Like Rabbits

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Mar 17

Blood On The Moon: Book Review

Blood On The Moon

The Daywalker Chronicles: Volume One

by S.M. De Silva

(3.5/5)

Fiction / Vampires
Launch Date: 31 May 2010
Publisher: Firebird Press

Click here to buy the book Blood On The Moon by S.M. De Silva (with Free delivery)

Singaporean buyers can click here to order their copy (free delivery and gift wrapped!)

Click here to visit The Daywalker Chronicles official site

Book Synopsis:

Sleet City: decadent and alluring, but infinitely dangerous. A city where crime, cruelty and glamor reign supreme. Vampires and were-creatures have come out of the closet and now mix openly in human society. Vampires are the new breed of celebrities, the glamor gods of Sleet City.
Alegria, a Singaporean supernatural species consultant, receives a package. A package that contains a ring. A ring attached to a severed finger. A severed finger belonging to Alegria’s sister.

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Mar 10

Blood On The Moon

Blood On The Moon

The Daywalker Chronicles: Volume One

by S.M. De Silva

Fiction / Vampires
Launch Date: 31 May 2010
Publisher: Firebird Press

Click here to buy this book from Amazon

Click here to visit The Daywalker Chronicles official site

Book Synopsis:

Sleet City: decadent and alluring, but infinitely dangerous. A city where crime, cruelty and glamor reign supreme. Vampires and were-creatures have come out of the closet and now mix openly in human society. Vampires are the new breed of celebrities, the glamor gods of Sleet City.
Alegria, a Singaporean supernatural species consultant, receives a package. A package that contains a ring. A ring attached to a severed finger. A severed finger belonging to Alegria’s sister.

And from here the relentless action begins. Alegria is on a mission to save her sister from Sleet City.

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Mar 08

Heaven Can Wait

Heaven Can Wait

by Cally Taylor

(3/5)

Fiction / Chick Lit / Light Reading
First Published in October 2009
Publisher: Orion
Chicklitreviews.com 2009 Book Awards: Book of the Year and Debut Novel of the Year

Click here to buy this book (free delivery)

Book Synopsis:

Lucy Brown is about to marry a wonderful man. Dan is handsome, caring and funny. Lucy has never been happier, she is about to get everything she has ever wanted.

But, on the eve of her wedding, Lucy dies in an accident.

Lucy has a choice to make: she can go to heaven and be separated from her soul mate, or she could be with Dan forever…as a ghost.

Lucy will not leave Dan, and she makes her choice. But things are not quite so easy for Lucy. She has a task to complete before she can become a ghost. First, she has to find true love for a total stranger.

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Mar 03

The Lovely Bones

The Lovely Bones

by Alice Sebold

(3.5/5)

Fiction
First Published in 2002
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
International Bestseller

Click to buy this book (free delivery)

Book Synopsis:

Pennsylvania, 1973, fourteen year old Susie Salmon is brutally raped then killed. Susie tells her story as she watches her family from heaven. Susie’s killer was her neighbor, and still lives next door. Susie’s family is desperately trying to cope with their loss. But with no body found and her killer still on the loose, they cannot rest. They become isolated from each other, each member dealing with their grief in their own way.

As the years pass, Susie’s siblings and friends grow up, fall in love and experience things that Susie never got to experience herself. However, Susie is not quite finished with life yet…

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Feb 07

Extremely Loud and Incredible Close

Extremely Loud and Incredible Close

by Jonathan Safran Foer

(4/5)

Adult Fiction
First Published in 2006
Publisher: Mariner Books
New York Times Bestseller

Click to buy this book (free delivery)

Book Synopsis:

Oskar Schell is nine years old, and had begun a vital and secret mission that will lead him through New York’s five boroughs. Oskar has found a mysterious key that belonged to his father, who died on September 11th in the World Trade Centre. In his search for the lock that fits his key somewhere in New York, a task that seems like looking for a needle in a haystack, Oskar meets survivors of all kinds. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is a moving, funny and healing journey.

My Book Review:

I had heard wonderful things about Extremely Loud and Incredible Close. Friends of mine had said it was one of their top 10 books of the year, so I was really looking forward to reading it.

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Jan 08

Artemis Fowl

Artemis Fowl

by Eoin Colfer

Picture 1

Fantasy / Fiction / Children’s Book / Light Reading
First Published in 2001
Publisher: Puffin
International Bestseller
Shortlisted for the Whitbred Children’s Book of the Year
Winner of the WHSmith ‘People’s Choice’ Children’s Book of the Year
Winner of the British Book Awards Children’s Book of the Year

Click to buy this book (free delivery)

Book Synopsis:

Artemis Fowl, a genius criminal mastermind has succeeded in establishing the existence of fairies, and is determined to catch one. After staking out over 100 fairy locations, Artemis succeeds in kidnapping LEPrecon Captain Holly Short.

But these aren’t the toadstool-dancing creatures of fairy tales, these are trained law enforcement fairies, and they are ready to fight back. Just when Artemis Fowl thinks he has them cornered, the fairies stop playing by the rules.

FYI: Artemis Fowl is a twelve-year-old.

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Dec 30

The True and Outstanding Adventures of the Hunt Sisters

The True and Outstanding Adventures of the Hunt Sisters

by Elisabeth Robinson

(5/5) Picture 3Fiction
First Published in 2004
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
International Bestseller

Click to buy this book (free delivery)

Book Synopsis:

This novel is told in the form of letters from Olivia Hunt to her sister with cancer, Michael her ex-boyfriend, her parents and her best friend. Along the way we find out about the progress or non-progress of Olivia’s feature film that she’s trying to get off the ground in Hollywood.

Through Olivia’s letters we track the progress of her year, and are privy to her thoughts, the varied way she communicates with people, her highs and lows and also just the plain usual things that happens day to day that find themselves into her letters. Simply yet powerfully told, this novel simultaneously funny and sad, tragic and heart warming.

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Dec 23

Dedication

Dedication

by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus

(2/5)

Picture 1 Fiction / Chick Lit / Light Reading
First Published in 2007
Publisher: Atria Books

Click to buy this book (free delivery)

Book Synopsis:

How would you get your revenge if your ex-boyfriend vanished on the night before your prom, then reappeared with a song detailing your first sexual experience (which by the way topped the Billboard charts), then proceeded to write chart-topping personal songs about you for the rest of his career?

Kate finally has the opportunity to confront Jake. But how is she going to confront the man who has messed up her life? The man who constantly chased by millions of adoring fans? She has a plan. But things don’t always go according to plan, do they?

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Dec 17

The Reluctant Fundamentalist

The Reluctant Fundamentalist

by Mohsin Hamid

(4/5)

Picture 1 Fiction
First Published in 2007
Publisher: Penguin Books
Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2007
International Bestseller

Click to buy this book (free delivery)

Book Synopsis:

Seated at a cafe in Lahore, a mysterious stranger tells you his story. He invited you to join him, and though the evening, you come to know what led the stranger to approach you. Well educated, well traveled, he seems to know more about the ways of the West than you do. He embraced the Western ideal and a western woman, and was let down by both. However, you soon find out the real reason for this meeting…

Picture 3My Book Review

The Reluctant Fundamentalist is an extremely readable novel. It is also surprisingly gentle. The political and religious seem to take a backseat to the life story of the Pakistani protagonist, Changez. This book is really one long monologue with the reader only getting to see one side of a conversation, dominated by Changez, with an American, whom we suspect to be a very reluctant listener.

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Dec 06

The Hours

The Hours

by Michael Cunningham

(5/5)

Picture 2Fiction
First Published in 1998
Publisher; Fourth Estate, A Division of Harper Collins Publishers
Set in: London, New York City and Los Angeles (1920s/1940s/1990s)
Won the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction
Won the 1999 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction

Click to buy this book (free delivery)

Book Synopsis:

Three women.

1920s London. Virginia Woolf attempts to begin her new novel, but she is struggling to settle her unruly mind.

1940s Los Angeles. In the stifling heat, Laura Brown, a young mother and wife aches to abandon her domestic life to escape to the solitude of reading Mrs Dalloway.

1990s New York. Clarissa Vaughan hosts a party for a dying friend.

Michael Cunningham uses the life and works of Virginia Woolf as inspiration for a moving reflection on love, failure, despair and artistic behaviour.

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Dec 02

The Interpreter of Maladies

The Interpreter of Maladies

by Jhumpa Lahiri

(4/5) Picture 1Fiction / Short Stories
First Published in 1999
Publisher: Flamingo
Set in: Various countries: USA, India, London
Won The Pulitzer Prize for Fiction 2000
Won the Hemingway Foundation / PEN Award 2000

Click to buy this book (free delivery)

Book Synopsis:

9 short stories that reveal the lives of Indians living at home, or abroad, but nevertheless isolated, steering their way through the murky path between tradition and the new world that has evolved around them. These stories which are eloquently and subtlety told by Indian-American writer Jhumpa Lahiri, will speak to anyone who has experienced the longings of exile, or the isolated confusion of an outsider.

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Nov 30

Bridget Jones’s Diary

Bridget Jones’s Diary

by Helen Fielding

(5/5)

Bridget Jones PictureFiction
First Published in 1996
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Set in: London, present day

Click to buy this book (free delivery)

Book Cover Synopsis:

Bridget Jones wants to have it all – and once she’s given up smoking and got down to 8st 7lbs, she will. Bridget Jones’s Diary is about a year in the life of a single girl on an optimistic but doomed quest for self-improvement. A dazzling urban satire of modern human relations? An ironic, tragic insight into the demise of the nuclear family? Or the confused ramblings of a pissed thirty-something? Bridget Jones is everyone’s favourite Londoner. This is your chance to reacquaint yourself with the funniest, most heart-warming young lady ever to grace the pages of a Picador book.

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Nov 29

Her Fearful Symmetry

Her Fearful Symmetry

by Audrey Niffenegger

(2/5)

Picture 1Fiction
First Published in 2009
Publisher: Random House
Set in: London, present day

Click to buy this book (free delivery)

Book Cover Synopsis:

Julia and Valentina Poole are normal American teenagers – normal at least for identical ‘mirror’ twins who have no interest in college or jobs or possibly anything outside their cosy suburban home. But everything changes when they receive notice that an aunt whom they didn’t know existed has died and left them her flat in an apartment block overlooking Highgate Cemetary in London. They feel that at last their own lives can begin… but have no idea they have been summoned into a tangle of fraying lives, from the obsessive-compulsive crossword setter who lives below them, and even to their aunt herself, who never got over her estrangement from the twin’s mother – and who cant even seem to quite leave her flat…

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