Wednesday, June 23, 2010

2 to 5

2 His Majesty's Dragon, Naomi Novik
Dragons! Napoleonic Wars! What is there not to love? Perhaps the writing style.

3 V for Vendetta, Alan Moore and David Lloyd (graphic novel)
I enjoyed this more than the film and I love the film.

4 Dance, Dance, Dance, Haruki Murakami
Love this book.

5 Liquid City, Various (graphic novel?)
While there are some hits and some misses, I really like the range of different styles and it showcases works of artists in South East Asia. How awesome is that? I am eagerly awaiting the second volume of this series.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Yes... or No?

I have been considering whether I should include Chinese web novel [1] in this bookblog considering the amount of time that has been lost reading them.

My hesitation arises from the quality of the online novels; of the eight (completed or in progress) I readed, only one can be considered be outstanding (and it's not even near completion). The rest either suffered from overuse of clichés (I was reading romances cough), substandard writing or lack of constructive plot. There was one particular novel that had such an awful ending that I was actually shaking my fist at the screen feeling indignant for the readers who actually paid to read it [2]. Good grief. These aren't the kind of books that I feel comfortable writing about except to rant.

So... should I include chinese web novel? some opinions please?

[1] The chinese web novel market is a phenomena unlike any. The average person in China spend on a good percentage of the time the internet reading web novels. With publishing websites such as qidian.com, jjwxc.net etc, authors can easily self-publish on the web. Of course, this also means any Tom, Dick, Mary and Jane can publish their trashy, brain numbing works.

[2] The various websites have their own systems for authors to earn money. jjwxc.net for instance, allows authors to decide from which chapter onwards to implement the VIP payment system. The novel mentioned above has the VIP system at the three quarter mark. Now how did I managed to read the ending if it's locked... well, coughbaidu.comisverypowerfulcough.

Friday, June 18, 2010

1: Yakuza Moon


Finally I have started blogging about the books in 2010. Shoko Tendo's Yakuza Moon is the first of the lot:

1 Yakuza Moon, Shoko Tendo, Louise Heal, Miyazaki Manabu (memoir, NF)

A memoir of a woman who grew up in a Yakuza family. Despite what the cover and the title may indicate, this book does not reveal much about Yakuza. Instead, prejudice and bias against those born in Yakuza family are revealed and it is enlightening.

Apart from the saddening affairs of the narrator, Tendo, falling into a vicious cycle of drugs and terrible choice in men, there really isn't much about Yakuza Moon. It reads like any of those teens in the wrong crowd stories.

One gets the feeling that spacing is used to make the book seemed thicker; there is not much content. The writing is simplistic and there are far too much uses of ellipsis - though I have been told that Japanese are fond of using them.

cont list of book in 2009

42 Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister, Gregory Maguire (borrow)
Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister is based on the fairy tale, Cinderella. Narrated by Iris, the novel follows her path from poverty to riches when her mother, Margarethe forms a business-like union with Cornelius van den Meers. While Iris adjusts to her new position, Clara seeks the safety of the kitchen with Iris's mentally challenged sister, Ruth.

I like the concept of the book. However, the writing is dull and monotonous at times. It's hard to get into the novel when you are dozing off with your face smacked onto the book.

43 Kushiel's Justice, Jacqueline Carey

44 Kushiel's Mercy, Jacqueline Carey
Last book in the Imriel trilogy. It wasn't as good as the first Phèdre trilogy. The characters just weren't as likeable and it generally feels like a repetition of the first series. I don't regret buying the book but it could have been better. Much better. Perhaps Carey should just stop drabbling in this universe. I have read reviews about the latest book and they are bad.

45 What I talk about when I talk about Running, Haruki Murkami (borrow, NF)
'Murakami is a robot.' The thought cycled through my head before I managed to squash it. The reason for this nonsensical thought arise from the impossible fact that Murakami seems to not have any injury while training/running for marathons. Indeed, the entire book is about Murakami's love for writing and running. Yet, despite being a memoir, nothing revealing was shown about Murakami.

46 Small Favor (borrow)
The tenth book in the series, things get even more interesting when the Crime Lord of Chicago, Gentleman Johnny Marcone is kidnapped.

47 Norwegian woods, Haruki Murkami (borrow)
Surprising, a straight forward love story from Murakami. Still like it but it really isn't his usual style of writing.

48 Wild sheep Chase, Haruki Murkami (borrow)
Now, this is Murakami's style. I love this book. It's surreal and strange and contemplating.

49 Maus: A Survivor's Tale, Art Spiegelman (borrow, comic)
About a WW2 holocaust survivor.

50 Maus 2, Art Spiegelman (borrow, comic)

51 Stitches, David Small (borrow, comic)
I cannot fathom this book. There is a sense of irony that I am attempting to figure out the comic when I read surreal works of Murakami on a regular basis. Especially since this is a memoir and perhaps require not too much thinking.

52 The Sandman: The Doll's House, Neil Gaiman and too many artists to list (borrow, comic)
Great comic with good pacing and plot that create tension. The comic made me queasy at times despite the lack of graphic content.

53 Blind willow, Sleeping woman, Haruki Murkami (borrow)

54 The Facts In The Case Of The Departure Of Miss Finch, Neil Gaiman (borrow, comic)
Rather disappointed by this. Perhaps if I read this before Sandman I would like this better.

55 Mr. Punch, Neil Gaiman (borrow, comics)
Certainly morbid.

56 After Quake, Haruki Murkami (borrow)
Short stories, none of which are particularly memorable except for the one about the Frog and Worm.

57 Vanished Elephant, Haruki Murkami (borrow)
More short stories.

58 Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, Haruki Murkami (borrow)
Another surreal work. But in a more logical manner. Does this makes sense?

59 Let me tell you something about that night, Cyril Wong (borrow)
I may not have loved his poetry but his collection of strange and poignant short stories are a winner for me. I don't do this this book justice at all.