Tagged: Gift

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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Jul 19

And Furthermore by Judi Dench

And Furthermore

by Judi Dench

as told to John Miller

(5/5)

Autobiography: And Furthermore by Judi Dench

Autobiography / Biography / Memoir / Non-Fiction
Publisher: Phoenix
First Published in 2010

Click here to buy the book And Furthermore by Judi Dench (with free delivery)

Book Review:

This autobiography of Judi Dench’s career was a fun and easy read. As an actor myself, I loved reading about her stage productions and the different experiences, directors and actors she encountered. Dench comes across extremely down to earth and hard working actor with a playful sense of humour. I read the book with a mixture of envy and awe – Dench was actually fought over to play Shakespeare’s Cleopatra by two directors, Peter Hall and Terry Hands, who had both decided to direct the play at the same time!

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Jun 15

The Supernaturalist

The Supernaturalist

by Eoin Colfer

Science Fiction / Children’s Books / Young Fiction Ages 8-12
First Published in 2005
Publisher: Puffin

Click here to buy the Book: The Supernaturalists by Eoin Colfer

Click here to buy the [Audio Book: The Supernaturalists by Eoin Colfer]

Book Synopsis:

Future, Satellite City.

Cosmo Hill is 13 years old and lives at the Clarissa Frayne Institute for Parentally Challenged Boys. Cosmo Hill is an orphan, otherwise known as a ‘no-sponsor’. No-sponsors are put to work by the government as human lab-rats. Day in and day out, they test dangerous products. Night in and night out, they sleep in their cardboard utility pipes covered in scars, sores and burns from their hard day’s work.

Cosmo Hill needs to escape. But how? Cosmo prepares for the day when he can make his daring getaway from Clarissa Frayne…

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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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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 31

The Book of Bunny Suicides

The Book of Bunny Suicides

by Andy Riley

Picture 1 Adult Picture Book / Gift
First Published in 2003
Publisher: Plume, The Penguin Group

Click to buy this book (free delivery)

Book Synopsis:

Little fluffy rabbits who just don’t want to live any more. This adult picture book, and its sequel, Return of the Bunny Suicides, contains endless ways for a bunny to kill itself. From smoking out of every hole in its body, to flushing itself down an aeroplane toilet, to kicking an alien in the balls, this ridiculously funny book is a fountain of knowledge on rabbit self-killing.

Picture 2

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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 20

The Glass Castle

The Glass Castle

a memoir

by Jeanette Walls

(5/5)

Picture 1Memoir/Autobiography
First Published in 2005
Publisher: Scribner International

Click to buy this book (free delivery)

Book Synopsis:

The Glass Castle is an extraordinary memoir of a dysfunctional yet effervescent American family. Jeanette’s father is an intelligent, compelling figure, who educates his children on geology, physics and joie de vivre. However, more often than not, he was a drunk who was caustic and dishonest.

Jeanette’s mother was a free spirit who loved painting but hated conformity and the domestic life of raising children.

And so, Jeanette and her siblings grew up taking care of themselves. Jeanette became a successful writer in New York, a place where her parents eventually moved, choosing out of their own free will to live homeless.

In The Glass Castle, the behavior of Rex and Rose Mary Walls is shocking and unacceptable, yet at the same time, it is abundantly clear that they possess deep love and loyalty for their children. It is this contradiction that makes this memoir so gripping.

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Dec 07

The Worst Witch

The Worst Witch

by Jill Murphy

Picture 1Children’s Fiction
Ages 7-11
First Published in 1974
Publisher: Puffin Books

Click to buy this book (free delivery)

Book Synopsis:

The Worst Witch:

Mildred Hubble joins Miss Cackle’s Academy for Witches. But it doesn’t take her long to realize that she is possibly the worst witch the school has ever had.

Mildred is a klutz, can never get her spells right, and has a tabby cat who is terrified of broom-flying.

However, Mildred may have been able to pass under the teacher’s radar, if the mean Ethel Hallow hadn’t decided to become her worst enemy.

A few more books from the series:

Picture 2

A Bad Spell for the Worst Witch:

Can Mildred shed her reputation as the worst witch of Miss Cackle’s Academy for Witches? She tries her best, but as usual for Mildred, things go horribly wrong for her…

Picture 3

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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 06

Detective’s Handbook and Spy’s Guide

Detective’s Handbook

and

Spy’s Guide

Illustrated by Colin King

Picture 1Picture 2Children’s Non-Fiction Book
Ages 8-11
First Published in 1978
Publisher: Usborne

Click to buy this book (free delivery)

Detective’s Handbook Synopsis:

Being a detective is challenging and extremely thrilling. You must be well trained, alert and patient to be a good detective. He must be able to create a whole story from the tiniest clue at a crime scene. He must be on the lookout for criminals and be prepared to chase down a baddie if necessary.

The Detective’s Handbook teaches you special detective skills, such as dusting for fingerprints, identifying handwriting, questioning witnesses and finding clues.

Full of advice, tips and hints, this handbook for young detectives will prepare you for when your skills are put to the test!

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Dec 02

Jonathan Livingston Seagull a story

Jonathan Livingston Seagull – a story

By Richard Bach

Photographs by Russell Munson

(5/5)

Picture 1Fiction / Inspirational
First Published in 1970
Publisher: Harper Element

Click to buy this book (free delivery)

Book Synopsis:

Seagulls fly to find to food. Seagulls eat. Seagulls survive. This is seagull law. But Jonathan Livingston Seagull has discovered the sheer joy and pleasure of flying and swooping and diving. Because of this, Jonathan is banished by the seagull elders. But Jonathan still continues to fly, expanding his horizons and searching for his higher purpose.

Jonathan Livingston Seagull is a fable about seizing life by the horns, and following your dreams, even if it means going against the norms of the flock.

A story that will inspire you to follow your dreams, so that you can soar too.

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Dec 01

Where The Wild Things Are

Where The Wild Things Are

by Maurice Sendack

(5/5)

Picture 1Children’s Fiction / Children’s Picture Book
Ages 3-6
First Published in 1963
Publisher:Harper and Row

Click to buy this book (free delivery)

Book Synopsis:

Where The Wild Things Are is about a little boy called Max dressed up in his monster suit who gets sent to bed without any supper for making mischief. He defiantly created a forest in his bedroom, travels by boat and ends up where the wild things are. The wild things are monsters who gnash their teeth, but Max stands up to them and therefore becomes their king. But he misses home, and his mum, so he gives up being king of the wild things and makes the long journey back home.

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Nov 30

Alfie’s Feet

Alfie’s Feet

by Shirley Hughes

Picture 1Children’s Fiction, Picture Book
Ages 2-5
First Published in 1982
Publisher: Red Fox

Click to buy this book (free delivery)

Book Summary:

Alfie’s Feet is a charming book primarily about… Alfie’s feet. He counts his little sister’s toes with the rhyme ‘This little pig went to market…’, he wears his old brown shoes to splash about in puddles, but discovers that his feet, shoes and socks get all wet. So his mother buys him a shiny new pair of yellow wellington boots. This will help him keep his feet dry, but why do they feel so uncomfortable?

bunny Why I love Alfie’s Feet:

I still have fond memories of reading Alfie’s Feet. Shirley Hughes’s expressive illustrations of the cubby-cheeked children are magnetic, and there is so much to look at in her drawings. Alfie’s Feet will help children learn vocabulary to do with well…feet…but also what goes on your feet, some movement verbs and adjectives, as well as the importance of left and right.

x Julie

Children’s Book Reviews

-Reading Like Rabbits-

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Nov 30

The Giving Tree

The Giving Tree

by Shel Silverstein

(5/5)

Picture 1Children’s Fiction
Ages 6-10
First Published in 1964
Publisher: Harper Collins Publishers

Click to buy this book (free delivery)

Book Cover Synopsis:

“Once there was a tree…and she loved a little boy. So begins a story of unforgettable perception, beautifully written and illustrated by the gifted and versatile Shel Silverstein.

Every day the boy would come to the tree to eat her apples, swing from her branches, or slide down her trunk…and the tree was happy. But as the boy grew older he began to want more from the tree and the tree gave and gave.

This is a tender story, touched with sadness, aglow with consolation. Shel Silverstein has created a moving parable for readers of all ages that offers an affecting interpretation of the gift of giving and a serene acceptance of another’s capacity to love in return.

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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

The Gashlycrumb Tinies

The Gashlycrumb Tinies

by Edward Gorey

Gashleycrumb PictureFiction, adult picture book
First Published in 1963
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC

Click to buy this book (free delivery)

Wikipedia Synopsis:

The Gashlycrumb Tinies: or, After the Outing is an abecedarian book written by Edward Gorey that was first published in 1963. Gorey tells the tale of 26 children (each representing a letter of the alphabet) and their untimely deaths in rhyming dactylic couplets, accompanied by the author’s distinctive black and white illustrations.

bunnyMy Book Review of The Gashlycrumb Tinies:

The Gashlycrumb Tinies was given to me as a present from a friend. I loved its macabre nature but had to wonder what in MY nature had caused him to think of me when he saw this book.

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Nov 28

Outliers

Outliers

by Malcolm Gladwell

(4/5)

Picture 2Non-Fiction
First Published in 2008
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company

Click to buy this book (free delivery)


Book Synopsis:

Why do some people achieve so much more than others?

Can they lie so far out of the ordinary?

In his provocative and inspiring new book, Malcolm Gladwell looks at everyone from rock stars to professional athletes, software billionaires to scientific geniuses, to show that the story of success is far more surprising than we could have ever imagined. He reveals that it’s as much about where we’re from and what we do, as who we are – and that no one, not even a genius, ever makes it alone.

Outliers will change the way you think about your life story, and about what makes us all unique.

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Nov 28

Maus

Maus

I – My Father Bleeds History

II – And Here My Trouble Begin

by Art Spiegelman

(5/5)

Maus PictureFiction, Graphic Novel
Winner of the 1992 Pulitzer Prize
First Published in 1980-1991 in RAW magazine
Publisher: Pantheon Books
Set: Nazi Poland and modern day New York, USA

Click to buy this book (free delivery)

Book Synopsis:

“The Jews are undoubtedly a race, but they are not human.” – Adolf Hitler

Maus is the story of Vladek Spiegelman, a Jewish survivor of Hitler’s Europe, and his son, a cartoonist who tries to come to terms with his father, his father’s terrifying story, and history itself. It’s form, the cartoon (Nazi’s are cats, the Jews are mice), succeeds perfectly in shocking us out of our any lingering sense of familiarity with the events described, approaching, as it does, the unspeakable through the diminutive. It is, as the New York Times Book Review has commented, “a remarkable feat of documentary detail and novelistic vividness…an unfolding literary event.”

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Nov 27

The Kite Runner

The Kite Runner

by Khaled Hosseini

(5/5)

Picture 2Fiction
First Published in 2003
Publisher: Riverhead Books
Set in: Afghanistan, USA

Click to buy this book (free delivery)

Book Cover Synopsis:

Over five years on the New York Times bestseller list, and published in 42 different languages.

Taking us from Afghanistan in the final days of the monarchy to the present, The Kite Runner is the unforgettable, beautifully told story of the friendship between two boys growing up in Kabul. Raised in the same household and sharing the same wet nurse, Amir and Hassan nonetheless grow up in different worlds: Amir is the son of a prominent and wealthy man, while Hassan, the son of Amir’s father’s servant, is a Hazara, a member of the ethnically shunned minority. Their intwined lives, and their fates, reflect the eventual tragedy of the world around them. When the Soviets invade and Amir and his father flee the country for a new life in California, Amir thinks that he has escaped his past. And yet he cannot leave behind the memory of Hassan behind him.

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