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Showing posts from September, 2008

Design a Cover for Lydia Teh!

Lydia Teh, author of Honk! If You're Malaysian and Life's Like That is having a book cover design contest for her new book, Do You Wear Suspenders? – The Wordy Tales Eh Poh Nim, a collection of her vocabularistic column in The Star.

Check it out! You could win a RM100 worth of book vouchers which I assume can be used at MPH Bookstores.

My feet are killing me.

The Gallery had a buka puasa cum launch event yesterday so I left later than usual from work. Even stopped by Kinokuniya to pick up a copy of Murakami's Running Book.

But if I had left like usual, I probably would have been on one of the trains involved in the collision near the Bukit Jalil station on the Ampang LRT line yesterday. The time and place of the accident is right about the time and place I would have been on the train if I hadn't gone home late. That is a very scary thought. (But not as scary as the thought that the Ampang Line has been becoming less and less reliable ever since RapidKL took over 4 years ago.)

It was a really unusual scene when I got on the platform at Masjid Jamek around 10pm. I was expecting it to be more or less devoid of people, but what greeted me was a scene equal to rush hour at 6pm! Had to wait for the train for ages, and it only went on till Tasik Selatan. From there there was a temporary feeder bus service to ferry passengers to the remai…

Shoulda just bought it instead.

There was some confusion with Kinokuniya (and maybe even The Star) and I won't be reviewing Murakami's Running Book. They gave the review copy to someone else instead. Ah well. Alea jacta est and all that.

Wish they could have told me earlier because then I could have just bought the book and read it already instead of having to twiddle my thumbs.

In the meantime I'm reading an ARC of The Hour I First Believed by Wally Lamb which MPH kindly gave me. So far so good, although the protagonist is getting to be a little too flawed for my liking.

rip

Feeling a little sad. No. Scratch that. A lot sad. My iPod Shuffle just died.

It's a first gen Shuffle so it looks like a stick of gum rather than a silly clip-on. I bought it right after launch and has served me well for the past 3 or so years. I guess it was time. The headphone socket had been having problems recently with the audio dying out on one side of the 'phones, and then switching to the other for no reason at all.

But even then I loved using it as a general-use thumbdrive. When not using it as a music device, just plug it in and it becomes a spare backup drive. Very useful, unlike the 2nd gen clip-on Shuffle, which you have to plug into a dock before you can connect it to a computer.

I'll miss you 1st gen iPod Shuffle! *sniff*

On the upside! The new shuffle doesn't cost more than RM200 while I bought my old 1GB Shuffle for RM500. (It was right before CNY and my old company had recently given out a bonus). These days you could get a Nano with 8 times the memory A…

New Hitchhiker Book in the Making.

Young Adult author Eoin Colfer has been chosen to write the sixth book in Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker Trilogy (yes, yes you read that right).

But why?

I have never read any of Colfer's books and I'm sure he must be a good writer but I doubt anybody could match up to Adams' wit and talent. The Hitchhiker series isn't even remembered for its story more than its jokes and clever wordplay so why bother continuing it?

I just hope Eoin Colfer is an atheist. Only an atheist can properly write another Hitchhiker novel!

Can't find the right word...

Don't you hate it when you're seeking le mots juste but the damn word just keeps being elusive? What's ironic about this is while I cannot find the word I'm looking for I can however remember an uncommon phrase like "le mots juste". The mind boggles.

On Apologising.

Okay! Moving on.

After all the brouhaha about Ahmad Ismail's unwelcome commentary, as well as the subsequent illogical actions, I found it heartwarming to read Amitabh Bachchan's quote on apologising:
Bachchan, 66, had asked for "forgiveness" for his wife's remarks, saying they were without "malice."


When asked whether he felt it demeaning for a star of his standing being forced to apologise to a political group, he told reporters in New Delhi, "by apologising no one becomes small". (Emphasis mine.)

I've always wondered my Malaysian politicians have always found it hard to apologise even though it's very clear to everyone with half a mind that they're in the wrong. After all, no one becomes small.

I am a Dork. In a National Newspaper.

Okay, so I'm in The Star again! Not as a book reviewer though, but in a Roald Dahl profile written by Rouwen Lin.

As evident in the article, I am a dork. Seriously. Look at this photo:


Haha!

Anyways, thanks Rouwen, for giving me my fifteen minutes of fame.

Happy Roald Dahl Day!

It's Roald Dahl Day again and this year I haven't forgotten! (Thanks to Blogger's scheduled publishing feature.)

So last Roald Dahl Day, I showed you pictures of my autographed first edition copy of Rhyme Stew and the previous year I told you my experience at the book signing. This year let me show you a photo of the book signing.


Look at that! My glasses are the same colour as Roald Dahl's!

So this Roald Dahl fellow? What's so awesome about him anyway?

Let me tell you!

Roald Dahl's works appeal to me because there's always a sense of childish craftiness or mischievousness in the writing, as if he's letting the reader in on a secret joke. It's like Roald Dahl was this good-hearted prankster who never really grew up, and he threw all his good ideas for pranks into the books he wrote.

Add to that his silly and funny made-up words, is it any wonder he won many a child's heart?

In a way, he never really did grow up. I remember watching an interview …

More About Roald Dahl in More About Boy.

Just in time for Roald Dahl Day on the 13th, Puffin has published an "extended" version of Roald Dahl's boyhood memoir, Boy, called More About Boy.

From the Amazon UK page:
What were Roald Dahl's first words? Read his account of going to football matches with Joss Spivvis, the gardener. This new edition of a favourite book contains a wealth of new photos, facts and writings about Roald Dahl and his childhood, together with the original text and illustrations from his much-loved memoir. With lots of little-known details, this is a must-have for all Dahl fans! I checked with Kinokuniya but they don't have it yet. Faster, Kino!

I guess we can expect More About Going Solo in the future? And then it won't take long before they start releasing More About Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator or More About The Magic Finger or More About The Vicar of Nibbleswicke or... okay, I'll stop here.

Thoughts on Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson.

I was writing an essay earlier this month and in it I quoted a children's poem which I knew since childhood composed by Robert Louis Stevenson. This made me realise that despite the fact that I knew the existence of R.L. Stevenson's works since I was very young I have never really read a novel by him.

Never read his famous pirate book, Treasure Island, nor The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and My Hyde and certainly not Kidnapped. The former two books are familiar to me thanks to the wonders of film and television (not to mention pop-cultural references) but I've never really known the story that moves Kidnapped.

Seeing as I've owned a copy of Kidnapped almost as long as I've known the poem I mentioned earlier, I thought I'd put this problem to a halt.

Having done so, I found Kidnapped to be an intriguing adventure story, filled with deception, sword fights and nasty, snarling men. This is also a very, very boyish adventure, due to the lack of prominent female characte…

And now there's the Dahl Prize!

From The Guardian:
Roald Dahl never won a children's book prize in his lifetime, but today he has gone one better, as the shortlists for a literary prize bearing his name are announced.


Founded by the children's laureate Michael Rosen, the Roald Dahl Funny prize celebrates honours the most hilarious children's authors. The inaugural winners will receive £2,500 - a slightly more serious prize than the Gloucester Old Spot pig handed over to winners of the Wodehouse prize for adult comic fiction.


Rosen founded the prize to boost the profile of humorous books as part of his campaign to put the fun back into children's reading.

"I have sat on judging panels before and what happens is that the funny books get squeezed out, because somehow or other they don't tackle big issues in the proper way," he explained. "They'll get through to the last four or five books, and then historical fiction, or something about death or slavery or new technology will win out…

Sold out?!?

I just came back from Kinokuniya where I talked with one of the merchandising peeps and she told me they actually had Murakami's What I Talk About When I Talk About Running in the store the other day but it sold out.

Sold out?! Already? Seriously, who stalks Kinokuniya for Haruki Murakami and buys up every new book of his? (Don't answer that.)

Anyways, Kinokuniya is only bringing in more stock in next week which is hopefully when I receive my review copy. Yes!

Google Chrome.

Okay. Google Chrome? Total awesome. After using Chrome, using Firefox 3 is like driving a lorry after driving a Lotus Elise. Too bad the EULA isn't very writer-friendly.

Update:
Looks like Google is fixing that EULA snafu. Now if only they'd release a Mac version, I'll be ready to sell my soul to Google. Oh wait I already did. (I heart Google Reader.)

Update 2:
I forgot to include this, and I really should, because it's a comic by Scott McCloud. Yes, the very same Scott McCloud of Understand Comics!). The comic explains the whys and hows of Google Chrome and is a very good primer on understanding the reasoning behind the design decisions in the new browser.)

Update 3:
They've updated the EULA, so everything's peachy now. Well, except for the bugs I've been noticing. Doesn't work so well with Facebook.

Dahl... Roald Dahl.

I've always known Dahl was a ladies' man (and even called upon his talents for writing his stories) and I knew he was somewhat of a spy (as we learn in Going Solo) but I never knew he used his manly charms in his work as a spy:
Drawing on previously unpublished letters and other documents, American journalist Jennet Conant has written about Dahl's numerous sexual conquests.


They include Millicent Rogers, the heiress to a Standard Oil fortune, and Clare Boothe Luce, a right-wing congresswoman and the wife of the publisher of Time magazine.


Boothe Luce proved so frisky, Dahl later claimed to have begged his superiors to take him off the assignment, only to be told to get back into the bedroom.


Conant writes: "Dahl's superiors watched his rake's progress with grudging admiration.


"A certain amount of hank-panky was condoned, especially when it was for a good cause." Such a rogue!