Tags: books

riidaa <3

(no subject)

This surprised me, actually -
I was excited, but loving nearly every track off one of their albums is a definite first for me.

Trying to get back into the reading habit.
Attempt #1 was Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close,
which was... a bit of a disappointment, to say the least. D:
Occasional moments of promise (beautifully-expressed thoughts, an interesting - if caricatured - main character)
but ugh so painfully pretentious,
especially that whole subplot about mute grandpa
and that useless scene about the bombings and the escaped zoo animals
(which I remember for all the wrong reasons).
Very Miss-Miss-lookie-I-can-write! tryhard.

Attempt #2: So I decided to borrow the first book that caught my eye, commercial or otherwise,
and ended up with Let The Right One In (I know, something like 4-5 years late).
About a third of the way through now and it's difficult going (the ugliness is kind of suffocating)
but it is bald and chilling and just all-round fab.

Then I gave up the indiscriminate gig and borrowed an Auster book. :3

Finished Let The Right One In.

Getting the brickbats out of the way:
1) It sort of ran out of speed in the last third.
Something to do with the multiple parallel storylines and brief lapses into floridity, I think.
2) Appreciated the devotion to detail, but the vampire mythology was a tad too neat/complete
(by the end I pm know exactly how vampires are made, why stakes kill,
what bloodlust feels like(!) and why it's so difficult to resist, etc etc).
Leave something to the imagination pls :(

But I loved it.
Actually remarked out loud at one point that this felt like the future of modern horror lit?

I adore that the vampire menace was merely a vehicle to explore the monsters humans carry in us.
Our brutality, our fear, our pride, those shameful urges we hide from the public eye;
our thirst (no pun intended) for life even at the expense of others
(you even get Virginia as a symbol of the choices Eli could have made but didn't,
just in case you didn't catch it the first time round).
Oskar's eventual isolation and departure is - more than a product of his relationship with Eli -
the culmination of bullying, bystander effects, permissive parenting...
and, perhaps, a simple lack of understanding.
It's a feat that this is where most of the bleakness in the novel lies,
not in cheap supernatural/gore tricks (though this was nicely done too, lol).

Also: ambiguous, sympathetic characters and relationships,
pretty good use of multiple POVs to tell a story non-repetitively (though that pesky lack of gaps again),
the matter-of-fact handling of pricklier subjects (homosexuality, gender, paedophilia),
nicely crisp style.
oh mj ilu

black swan green

Toned-down Mitchell?! BEHOLD, IT EXISTETH
Haha but seriously.
There /is/ a sort of veneer of strangeness to some events,
but this fits with the boy-narrator
and Taylor - his struggles, his weaknesses, his choices - are vastly relatable. <3
Rings a lot truer than Mitchell's typical outlandish scenarios
(there's clearly emotional attachment here),
and it's nice to get away a little from his pet themes (apart from the indulgent self-references).

Characteristic diction and humour are still present
(where else would you find such scraps of literary genius as
'an awkward cow of a pause mooed' and 'as blotchy as a dying banana' lolol),
just age-appropriate and far more down-to-earth.

Woman, ep4:
This sprung some pleasant surprises.
The whole 'is Shin a molester' question was resolved in a hugely satisfying way,
and ohh the beauty of that juxtaposition of the Ugikuku story (ALL THE TEARS) -
even if I could have done without the sickness cliche itself, sigh
(Mitsushima Hikari is so frightfully thin here ;;).

Double Tone, ep5:
Lmao A++ for the most awkward kiss ever but drama remains fantastic;
I can't wait for the next ep.

Starman, ep3:
I take back what I said earlier - this ep was really cute. /OTL
I think I've gotten more used to Sawa.

OT but I wish someone were subbing DOCTORS 2,
it's getting solid ratings and S1 was really fun(ny). :((
EDIT: EHHH was just saying this and ep1 has been subbed, this is great
oh mj ilu

(no subject)

Traipsed down to the Bishan library
in an effort to return to fiction (PROPER fiction, not fanfiction, OTL),
and borrowed (+ have since finished) McEwan's Solar.
Which was better than people say it is -
while some of the writing was overly dense
and the everything-collides-head-on-ness of the last act felt pretty scripted
(well, all fiction IS scripted, technically, but.),
the bits of humour were truly hilarious, in a sadsack kind of way.
And of course there's the schadenfreude to be had
in watching a thoroughly-unlikeable protagonist sabotage his own chances at happiness.

On to Kirino's Out.
Ugh I've been meaning to read this for 7-8 years, I think, and just never got round to it.
I hope it isn't too grisly, lol.
oh mj ilu

(no subject)

Reading this really brought me back.
I might have said this before,
but my entire Jdrama-watching life has essentially been one neverending quest
in search of a series which could replicate the magic of NwP.
I'm not sure if I'll ever succeed.

I actually kind of want to watch the Hunger Games movie.
I still bear a longstanding grudge against the book -
purely because it turned out to be horribly-written
AFTER I had shelled out £8 for a copy (hype, remind me never to believe you) -
but I could definitely see the plot making for great setpieces. 
oh mj ilu

(no subject)

蘇打綠's music is meant to be luxuriated in -
rubbed all over one and left to set.
Like the whole-body version of a face mask.
It's so difficult to leave it on as background music -
my work always ends up riddled with these pauses that have no business being there.

Finished two sections of number9dream.
I'm now thoroughly convinced that Mitchell never has a clear idea
as to where his books are going -
they're basically all over the place, mere outlets for his imagination.
But. WHAT an imagination.
I loved Cloud Atlas' ambition and breadth of vision;
I'm loving number9 for its out-of-this-world scenarios
(where does he get all these ideas from anyway?)
and ingenious wordplay.
Herein lies the beauty -
it's never 'hmm, let's see how verbose I can get before I get called out on it'.
The strange (and yet, strangely appropriate) turns of phrase
are incredibly frenetic/tiring to read, yes.
But when savoured a little at a time,
so. glorious.

Finally finished Mother on mioTV after an unintentional hiatus of a few months,
and was rather disappointed with the final scenes.
Thought the pair deserved better than
what amounted to a rather trite, predictable ending.

The drama had such spectacular moments of dialogue -
genuine, thought-provoking and beautifully-phrased.
I cried like mad during so many scenes.
The acting was first-rate,
and the central theme was thoroughly explored
(particularly impressive given the 10-episode running time :)
K-dramas take twice as long to flesh out half this amount of substance).
So it's a bit of a shame that it didn't live up to its full potential.
The pace ran a little too slow,
so I wound up sick of the whole are-they-going-to-get-caught-in-this-episode shebang
by around the 4th/5th episode.
It didn't help that Nao wasn't exactly the sort of protagonist you'd root for
(though Reina made up for a lot).
Also, IMHO (lol I blame number9's influence),
a lot of Nao's decisions were written more to facilitate dramatic tension/emotion
and less in a drive for plausibility.
I'd say a 6/10:
a good, solid drama, but nothing to shout from the rooftops about.

EDIT: read this entry again
and ugh I sound awfully pretentious.
oh mj ilu

(no subject)

The classics have recently experienced a resurgence of popularity -
with me, at least.

Over the past few days,
I've (oh-so-secretly) indulged myself in the re-reading of various novels
written by my all-time favourite LMs and EH Porter:
An Old-Fashioned Girl, Rose in Bloom,
the Emily trilogy, Pollyanna Grows Up.
Haha. Now all I need is to start on Anne -
for what is something like the sixth time.

Been falling in love with these books all over again,
and having fun crying at all my favourite scenes
(i.e. realisations+professions+rejections of love
a la Mac and Jimmy and Dean, deaths a la Charlie).
Oh such romantic thrills.

Didn't find Teddy any more appealing than I did previously, though.
Never could understand why Emily didn't pick Dean,
aside from the 20-year age gap.

Re-reading books has proven to be pretty funny,
especially since I'm now old enough to spy
these sneaky authors' hidden agendas.
For example, OFG as a moral tale
meant to inculcate what LMA deemed suitable values for girls;
RIB as a means of furthering the women's suffrage movement.

But no matter the sermons preached,
these heroines are seriously amazing:
characters you can look up to, aspire to be.
I think I can be glad (hahaha) that
these were my literary staples when I was younger,
not the comparatively-mindless drivel of today.
(Meyer, anyone?)
oh mj ilu

(no subject)

Got my Sem 1 report slip today,
and it was pretty bad -
at least, relative to what I could (should) have gotten.
Mom didn't scold me much,
but all the unvoiced disappointment made me feel considerably worse.

Disappointment #1: was in the 53rd percentile for KI.
The B was bad enough,
but the thought that I'm doing worse than half the KI students
is pretty scary, considering that the 'A's are in half a year's time.

Disappointment #2: 'VERY GOOD' conduct.

Disappointment #3: a negative comment.
While it is great that I at least have potential that can be maximised,
it is not that I haven't maximised it yet.
Ditto above comment.

I'm just so tired.
Academics, CCA, blahblahblah.
It's all just one neverending cycle of tedium.
Am I burning out?
I just can't - CAN'T - summon the energy to continue my KI IS;
to study for the next Econs class test;
to revise for my H3 exam.

On other things,
I've been reading Special Topics In Calamity Physics,
and it's a pretty amazing book.
(It also serves the additional purpose of making me appear erudite
in front of people who mistake it for non-fiction.)
It gets somewhat melodramatic/teenage-angsty towards the halfway mark,
and I found myself skipping all the Hannah Schneider bits
because they were just so repetitive,
but the precocious humour
(and the heaps of references that make you want to read a million other books)
is something I've never come across before.
Very refreshing :):)
oh mj ilu

(fictional) males i would give anything to meet (and marry).

The title says it all.
It's amazing just how much cooler made-up males can be
compared to real-life ones.
(JC specimens - a classic example.)

I'm sure all those rabid Twilight (or rather, Edward) fans would agree.

Why settle for humdrum when you can have smart+sexy+sweet?
Without them even leaving the screen/pages,
it's official: these people have spoilt it all for me.

The fictional males I would give anything to meet,
in no particular order (how could I choose? O.O):

1. Dr. Spencer Reid
The newest addition to my list of the Exalted.
Incredible cheekbones and smile and fashion sense.
And the whole socially-awkward thing is - truthfully - endearing.
AND, of course, he is Beyond Smart.
(IQ of 187, eidetic memory, can read 20000 words per minute.
I can practically memorise the description!)
The way he rattles off crime stats is also fantastic.
Plus how he got so emotionally-involved with Nathan
('I know what it's like to be scared of your own mind'),
and his drug habit,
and the whole thing with his mom
make him so amazingly human that you just want to hug him.
(Matthew Grey Gubler is also hilarious/amazing-cute.
But he's not fictional, so that's another post altogether.)

2. Dr. Derek Shepherd
Don't get me wrong:
I love MerDer,
but this guy couldn't be anything but everyone's dream guy.
He puts up with all of Meredith's strange hang-ups
and abandonment issues
and really, really listens to her.
They seem to have awesome sex (perhaps too much of it)
and though he looks tired all the time
(perhaps because of the above)
the stubble and face and the eyes get to me.
Every. Single. Episode.
I want my own McDreamy.

3. Draco Malfoy
I will be the first to confess
that I left off reading the Harry Potter series after GoF.
But that didn't stop me from lengthy perusals of fanfiction.net!
So I blame this solely on the Dramione fandom
(my favourite pairing ever).
I heart Draco:
the entire snarky, obnoxious and (sometimes) misunderstood package.
I swoon when he trades insults with razor-sharp wit
and falls in love - albeit extremely unwillingly -
with the resident bookworm.
The mysterious family life (Narcissa!Lucius!),
the possibility of him turning good (and dying in the process),
the whole opposites&rivals-attract cliche -
there's so much dramatic/romantic potential there.
(Though it may be a manifestation of my hidden desire
to find my very own badboy to reform,
or just the shampoo commercial-worthy hair).

4. Beast
I would never leave out the hero of my favourite fairy tale.
My liking is, rather obviously, not based on looks.
It's got to do with the small details,
like his passion for books (something which I can relate to),
his sacrificial love for Beauty
(I cry every time I read the bit where he lets her go back to her family).
There's a kind of sadness in the flawed hero,
caught between beastiality and humanity,
who can't help but destroy the things he loves
despite having all the material wealth he could possibly wish for.
It's just so heartbreaking,
and the transition from loneliness to light -
the opening of a heart -
is incredible romance.

5. Mr. Darcy
A perennial favourite on girls' wishlists.
Supremely good-looking and awe-inspiringly rich,
willing to humble himself for the girl he loves
and act as saviour for her family members, into the bargain.
Therein lies the appeal.

AND Colin Firth. :):)

6. Gilbert Blythe/Mac Campbell
From the Anne of Green Gables series
and the Rose Campbell books, respectively.
The ideals of my adolescence:
the guys-next-door, good-looking but not stunningly so
(though Jonathan Crombie was, admittedly, a little disappointing),
always somewhere near -
to help out, to share experiences with,
to chide and encourage when necessary.
And who got the girl through sheer persistence,
winning out against handsomer/richer rivals.
I think that that kind of abiding love is pretty much incredible
(the first rejections of Mac and Gilbert had me in tears,
softie that I am).
It's that cliche: the best-friend-turned-lover,
that person that understands you inside-out.
Comfortable, but not so much that it becomes indifferent.

And there it is: the closet fangirl, unleashed.

I wish these guys actually existed.
oh mj ilu

thoughts on a rather depressing subject.

I was looking back at my LJ entries
dating from 2005,
and I realised that back then
I suffered from alternating bouts of bimbo-ness and faux cheem-ness
and shamelessly filched phrases from my more-literary friends.

I like to think that I have grown up quite a bit -
both in terms of writing style and in terms of emotions, etc etc.

The not-so-rosy part of growing up, though:
you come into contact with a lot more death/illness.
It's quite scary, really,
when so many people you know seem to be on the verge of passing away.

I remember myself posting about my grandma's incontinence
and memory loss sometime earlier,
but that's not the only thing happening nowadays.
3 family friends -
my parents' friends from way back,
who have always been nice to my sister and myself -
are down with Parkinson's, leukaemia and lung cancer respectively.
The first and last are pretty serious;
the second has just been diagnosed.

It's depressing, to say the least.

I've always imagined that I'll die gracefully
in my eighties or nineties,
when my husband and I have a houseful of adorable grandchildren
and the requisite slobbery dog.
You know, the
sort of scenario.

But I'm quite sure most people, including the abovementioned family friends,
thought the same way when they were sixteen.
There's actually so much that can happen
during the 80-90 years -
illness, war, a plane crash, any number of freak accidents.
Fit people can unexplainably drop dead,
and there's the equally unexplainable Sudden-Death Syndrome,
which basically makes you kick the bucket in your sleep
for no apparent reason at all.

One day - just like that - I might be gone.
These fingers I am using to type with won't be me;
the things that I am doing won't matter.

I guess Life is trying to tell me that
death is not as distant as I think it to be.
Each day is one step closer to the day I'm supposed to die on.

So I guess all I can do now is carpe diem
and try to stay on the straight and narrow.
I really am grateful to GOD for what I have
and what those closest to me have:
health, an income, a good life.
In some cases those might even be too much to wish for.

Humanity tends to look too far forward
(Here I recall the poem 'Rising Five' we analysed during Lit -
'not living, but rising dead').
We can dream all we like, but in reality
all we have is the here and now.

(Ick I know I sound like a motivational speaker
but I had to get this out.)

Onto less serious ponderings,
The Ghost Road was one of the most powerful books I have ever read,
notwithstanding the inexplicable fact
that almost everyone seemed to be homosexual, bisexual or asexual.
The contrast between Njiru's tribe and the warring nations
was so well-crafted,
and the 'shotvarfet' portion was a stroke of genius
and incredibly sad.

On the movie front,
because it sounds like the singularly most unique film I've ever heard of
and Ryan Gosling is a terrific actor(!).

Okay I will go and study Chinese now.
One more day to D-day.
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