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May. 27th, 2008 @ 07:12 pm A-Pimping We Will Go
Current Mood: giddygiddy
Current Music: "Until I Say", Rie Fu
Hehe, the entry's not really as scandalous as it sounds. XD

Anyway, I just received really great news, so here I am again to shamelessly plug announce this:



India and the Conundrum, the webzine for serialized original fiction originally founded by team7 and now maintained by lacewood, has been re-launched as a double issue. The first two chapters of my story, Alternate Futures, is now up on the site, with lovely art by redplasticglass, and edited by magicnoire. ^^

Do check out the first issue; and comments (because you can comment on the chapters) would be very appreciated! XD Also check out lilacfield' "Elegy of the Willow Sword (which is a wuxia story!), and tarigwaemir's "Via Misadventure".

(Like Eve, I was also really excited to have Alternate Futures illustrated. I've been writing this since I was in high school, can you believe it? ^^;)

This serial is actually dedicated to riisha, for mostly inspiring this story (she was the one who had me interested in parallel universes in the first place :p) and nananaginip, for allowing me the use of your name. Thank you very much to you two. XD

In other news (I like saying that a lot, eheh), I decided to join heyheyrenay's reading challenge (342,745 Ways to Herd Cats), since I'm a sucker for challenges like this, and I like finding an excuse to write about the books I've read. (I should post more book reviews, since I still read quite a lot even during the school year...but I'm too lazy.)

The challenge was pretty simple: make a list of ten books you would like to recommend, then in return, review three books from the master list. I'm always on the lookout for books recommendations anyway (and that master list really is extensive), so why not?

These books aren't really my top ten books of all time; for one thing, my love for a book really depends on what mood I'm in, and another, I decided not to include the local publications or the manga/comics. I also decided to include books that weren't on the full book list.

(On that note, maybe I could start a reading challenge for local books...would you guys like to participate in that, if I do?)

So anyway, without further ado (I do ramble a bit too much), here's my list:

1. Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech
2. The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare
3. A Swiftly Tilting Planet by Madeleine L'Engle
4. Sabriel by Garth Nix
5. The Black Cauldron by Lloyd Alexander
6. The End of Eternity by Isaac Asimov
7. The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom
8. Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood
9. The Innocence of Father Brown by G.K. Chesterton
10. The Kitchen God's Wife by Amy Tan

And because you know that I love to ramble, I say more about these books under the cut.



1. Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech

Genre: YA fiction.

This is honestly one of my favorite books of all time, because I'm one of those strange people who really love books that make me cry, and this is one of them. It's basically a story-within-a-story type of novel: the main character, Salamanca, is actually telling her grandparents the story of her friend Phoebe, but through that story she also unfolds, little by little, her own story, and her search for her mother, who left her and her father.

This is a contemporary coming-of-age story, so there's no big event or battle here that affects the characters; only the usual problems of real life. And yet it's all the more poignant because of it.

2. The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare

Genre: Historical YA fiction

This was actually one of the first novels I've read when I was a child (not counting the Sweet Valley and the Nancy Drew ones, ehehe), and ever since then, I've been fascinated with that very dark period in history: that of the witch trials, where many innocent men and women were killed because of the slightest hint or accusation of being a witch. Here the main character, Kit Tyler is accused of being a witch, along with, Hannah Tupper, the old Quaker who has become the only friend she makes in the Colony she has come to live in.

Kit is really easy to sympathize with, especially since she goes through something a lot of us go through as well: not being quite able to fit in. This book also raises issues about Christianity that are valid and worth pondering on; and the moral in the story is plain, but without being preachy.

(And I fell in love with Nat too, when I re-read it in high school. Yes, I fall in love with fictional characters all the time. I'm strange, so?)

3. A Swiftly Tilting Planet by Madeleine L'Engle

Genre: YA fantasy
Series: A Wrinkle In Time series, 4th book (according to the timeline)

I've always been a bit iffy about time travelling to change the future (it's paradoxical, if you think about it), but this one actually works. This book in the series features Meg Murry's little brother, Charles Wallace, and his quest to save the world from a mad dictator about to declare nuclear war.

I found the many-layered plot of this book fascinating; everything (and I mean everything) is connected, that even a seemingly trivial and inconsequential action in the past can lead to really big events in the future. The book has the right blend of mysticism and science too, that is easy to get for younger readers, and yet also complex enough for adults.

4. Sabriel by Garth Nix

Genre: YA fantasy
Series: The Old Kingdom Trilogy, 1st book

I said before that I really love Garth Nix, and this is my favorite book in the entire series (although I also loved the novella Nicholas Sayre and the Creature in the Case, but mostly because that catered to my 'shippy needs), so I couldn't help but add it here. (This series needs more love.)

Sabriel is on a quest to find her father, Abhorsen, who, unlike necromancers who raise the dead, is tasked to put them back to rest. On her way she meets Mogget, a powerful entity trapped in the body of a cat (much like Sabrina's Salem, I guess), and Touchstone, a young man who claims to have no memory of his past, and discovers that the Old Kingdom may be in danger as well from the Dead; and with her father missing, she has to do something about it herself.

This book is fast-paced and at times, humorous, which I always look for in YA fiction. I like Sabriel; I know that she isn't wallowing in teenage angst, unlike other characters of fantasy fiction, which might be why other people don't like her, but I am really fond of her because of it. She has issues (especially with her father and--hee!--Touchstone), but she manages to put those aside and prioritize saving the Old Kingdom first. The worldbuilding is pretty original, too; but we don't have to be burdened by lengthy explanations on the world, which is good.

5. The Black Cauldron by Lloyd Alexander

Genre: YA fantasy fiction
Series: The Chronicles of Prydain, 2nd book

I love Lloyd Alexander in a way I've never loved an author before (and that sounds a bit wrong, but well): he can write humor very, very well, complete with witty banter and even a hint of romance; he makes characters so memorable I end up either identifying with them or falling in love with them; and he can also write scenes that can break my heart.

And this book is no different. In this one Taran is off to destroy the Black Cauldron, an evil thing used by the evil Lord of the Land of Death, Arawn, to make deathless warriors from the bodies of fallen enemies. Taran is still as determined as ever to become no mere Assistant Pig-Keeper, although here he finally learns the true price of wisdom.

(And yes, this book has one of my most well-loved fictional characters of all time, second only to Lord of the Rings' Faramir: Adaon, son of Taliesin.)

6. The End of Eternity by Isaac Asimov

I'm surprised there are no Asimov recommendations on the challenge's master list, given the immense amount of Asimov's books. (Seriously, this guy's prolific like no other.) For a long time, Isaac Asimov was the only science fiction author I could stand to read. (Now I also read Orson Scott Card and Ursula K. Le Guin, but I still like Asimov better, for some reason).

The book is about Andrew Harlan, who is one of the Eternals, a group of people who can move out and through time and manipulate events in history according to their liking. But he loses the one thing an Eternal needs when he falls in love with a lady from a society he is tasked to observe: objectivity.

Of course, typical Asimov, this plot is not as cheesy as it sounds, and it delves into a question far deeper than human emotions; it deals with the fate of the human race as a whole.

I really liked Asimov's take on the future human society, and his solutions to scientific problems; he makes it sound believable. This is the same case with the Foundation novels. But his greatest strength, as my father once pointed out, is that he is first and foremost a storyteller rather than merely a writer, and that to me, is important, especially in this genre.

7. The Five People You Meet In Heaven by Mitch Albom

This book had me bawling for three straight chapters. Yes, three. And I would have cried at the end too, if I wasn't incredibly horrified with the wrong usage of a certain Filipino word (it's sundalo, actually, and not sundalong -_-), but that has to be my only qualm, I think.

I didn't like "Tuesdays with Morrie" very much, but I liked this. The plot revolves around an 83-year-old man named Eddie, who has just died, and before he can go to his final destination, so to speak, he has to speak with five different people who all--whether he knew it or not--formed a great part of his life.

The style of writing is fairly simple, but it was a great read for me nevertheless; I like it the same way I like Ghost Whisperer: it makes me believe, naively if you wish, in the inherent goodness of people.


8. Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood


Margaret Atwood is one of those writers whose prose I really love; so much so that even when I normally do not read books from her genre, and despite the fact that I have a bit of an issue with the portrayal of women in her books, I still really like reading them.

Alias Grace is my favorite book of hers so far; I also love Cat's Eye as much as this one, but only because I can relate to it (and the cruelty of children), very much. Plot-wise though, I like this book better, which is saying a lot, because I normally do not like Atwood's book for the plot alone.

This book deals with Grace Marks, a real-life criminal, accused in the early 1800's for the murders of her employer, Thomas Kinnear, and his housekeeper and mistress, Nancy Montgomery. Here Atwood gives what she thinks could have been her side of the story.

I think my liking for the book also stems from the fact that I like period stories, and the fact that this is one Atwood book that actually ends happily, in a way.

9. The Innocence of Father Brown by G.K. Chesterton

Sherlock Holmes still remains my favorite detective of all time, but I have a special sort of fondness for Father Brown, mostly because unlike all the other Holmes-clones created throughout history, he is actually humble, and is sometimes so good-natured people often take him to be already quite stupid. But that is one thing you should never do: underestimate Father Brown.

The solutions to the cases sometimes seem a bit improbable, or at least not as believable as with Holmes' cases, but that's forgiveable, as most of the cases are still pretty clever. They still have that "aaah, so that's why!" factor, in any case. There's also the fact that G.K. Chesterton is a theologian, so he approaches mystery-solving a bit differently from his counterparts.

Favorite cases: The Wrong Shape, The Eye of Apollo

10. The Kitchen God's Wife by Amy Tan

This was assigned reading when I was in high school, and believe it or not, at the time, I have only read YA fiction novels, and I've never even once read a lemon fic then, so when I got to a particular scene in this book (the one about a woman with...too much "Yin")...I was pretty traumatized.

But that aside, I actually liked this book very much. (I think I'd have liked it better than Joy Luck Club, actually, which I have never read, but watched the movie.) This is also another story-within-a-story-within-a-story novel (I seem to have a weakness for such books), which focuses on Pearl and her mother Winnie, as Winnie tells the story of her life, starting from her life in China, before she moved to the US.

The look at Chinese history and Chinese culture was interesting; but the book deals with issues universal to each and every one of us, regardless of race.



In return, I probably will be reading and reviewing these books:

1. The Grey King by Susan Cooper
2. Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire
3. The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin

I'm cheating because two of these books are actually on my list of books I bought but haven't read yet anyway. XD I was thinking of reading Twilight by Stephanie Meyer too, if someone could lend me the book, just because the hype (and everyone else's recommendations) is still making me curious.

Anyway, that's all for now. Do comment on India! XD
About this Entry
Hiro Geeks win
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From:lilacfield
Date:May 27th, 2008 02:54 pm (UTC)
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I've read most of Tan's books but have never got around to The Kitchen God's Wife. May do so at a later point. Her mother-daughter relationships are often things I can relate to ;)

I heart Father Brown too. The ending for the stories are sometimes just as surprising as the solutions.
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From:luckychan
Date:May 28th, 2008 02:02 am (UTC)
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Ah, on the other hand "The Kitchen God's Wife" is the only Amy Tan book I've read so far. ^^; I've always wanted to read "Saving Fish From Drowning" though, because the title itself intrigued me, ehehe. Have you read that, by the way? And if you have, would you recommend it? I really can relate to the mother-daughter relationships portrayed in her book too.

Oh, Father Brown. I really enjoyed "The Innocence" and "The Wisdom" of Father Brown; I still have to order the next other volumes, because the bookstores here don't carry the books. T_T I still wonder why...which is why I thought I should recommend it every chance I get, hehe, in the hopes that the books will gain more popularity, at least here. XD
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From:lilacfield
Date:May 28th, 2008 08:57 am (UTC)
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I haven't read "Saving Fish," since it's still relatively new (I've only red her older books). Maybe until someone can lend it to me? I've discovered one can read by exchanging books with one's friends. ;)
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From:swollenfoot
Date:May 27th, 2008 03:09 pm (UTC)
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people don't like Sabriel? I liked her. She was mature and steadfast.

Wai! I love, love, love "Walk to Moons." I've read it a gazillion times, too, and cried every time. I remember Mrs. Cadaver is a nurse. lol May sequel ba siya?

I want to read Fr Brown now. I enjoyed that book you gave, Smaller and smaller circles, as well as The Name of the Rose. There's something interesting about priest-detectives I suppose. LOL

I keep forgetting Adaon is in Black Cauldron. Another series I mwah.

I can't decide which Wrinkle in time book I love most. It always changes to whatever I happen to be reading at a given time. XD

And of course, Amy Tan. XD I remember that passage I think, "Yangsele!" or something like that. XD

I should read India. . . >__< Anyway, hafta go. T__T Sorry kung disjointed. Nasa airport. hehehe
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From:luckychan
Date:May 28th, 2008 02:21 am (UTC)
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I think some people think Sabriel's character a bit uninteresting, because she doesn't have that many issues, or at least, she's not shown to let that bother her too much. But that's exactly what I like about her...T_T I like her much better than Lirael, even, because of that. And she does have issues; they're just shown more subtly than with other books (in other words, she's mature enough not to let her issues get in the way of what she has to do), in my opinion.

btw, speaking of which, I found this very interesting piece of news: http://www.publishingnews.co.uk/pn/pno-news-display.asp?k=e2008041313110003&tag=&cid=&pge=&sg9t=a0f5bdc5d2742a86df787eb3062fcf6d. I'm actually excited, hehe! Since Garth Nix is co-writing the script, I hope it wouldn't turn out too bad...

And yes, go read Father Brown. ^^ The books are available to read free online, by the way. (I just buy the books because I still prefer reading things printed on paper. ^^;)

About Kitchen God's Wife: LOL! XD

And wah, Adaon. T_T I've loved him since I was a kid. ^^; And I really love the rest of the books in the Wrinkle of Time series too, but other people already recced it, so... btw, have you ever read the rest of the Madeleine L' Engle books?

And comments would be really nice, heehee. *glomps* Thank you! ^^

Airport? O_o Oh, hope you have (had) a safe flight~ ^_^
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From:swollenfoot
Date:May 31st, 2008 04:02 am (UTC)
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O___o kasi hindi ma-drama si Sabriel? Weh. But her character wasn't flat or anything. Though I suppose I would understand why they would find her not so dynamic. I love Sabriel. Hehe (But probably because she's colored by her interactions with Touchstone and the Mogget.)

Oh! A possible movie! It'll probably be a long way from now, but I hope it turns out well.

I've read a few other books by Madeleine L'Engle that is focused on Polly O'Keefee, and the rest of Meg and Calvin's kids. I think I read "Meet the Austin," and "A Ring of Endless Light," but her best are really the Time Quartet, IMHO.

I did have a safe flight. :) Thank you.




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From:masayahin
Date:May 27th, 2008 08:26 pm (UTC)
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oooh book recommendations! :D

why didn't you tell me this before i went to a book spending spree? :P LOL.

is The Black Cauldron book the same as Disney's The Black Cauldron?

and you should read twilight. :) but like i told you i think you'd like new moon or eclipse better. i personally liked eclipse best (i think) even though it was.. gahhhhhhh. XD ahahaha. i won't spoil it for it. sorry can't lend it to you though, as the books are not mine. ^_^;
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From:luckychan
Date:May 28th, 2008 02:27 am (UTC)
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why didn't you tell me this before i went to a book spending spree? :P LOL. XD So you can buy more books, of course! :P I actually am in conspiracy with bookstore owners, so they can make more money off you...

"The Black Cauldron" Disney cartoon is based on the book by Lloyd Alexander...although very loosely. @_@ I think they sort of mixed the story of the movie with the first book in the series, "The Book of Three", and made it a bit more...kiddie. ^^; I was kind of disappointed with the cartoon though, since I read the book; and most of the really poignant scenes in the book weren't even shown in the cartoon...probably because they thought it would be too depressing for children. ^^;

...and Adaon wasn't even there, making me all the more upset. ^^;

Hehe, I know, they're your sister's. ^^; I don't think I feel like buying the book, though. Not until I read it first and see for myself, at least, because I've heard both sides about it (I mean, the good and bad opinions about it). @_@
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From:masayahin
Date:May 28th, 2008 04:55 pm (UTC)
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I actually am in conspiracy with bookstore owners, so they can make more money off you...

i knew it. :P darn. i think i spent too much already though. :P i'll probably wait until the next sale. :)

The Black Cauldron" Disney cartoon is based on the book by Lloyd Alexander...although very loosely. @_@ I think ....

oh thanks for the info. :) i was curious. i actually want to watch that as i don't recall watching it. although since i was always watching disney i must have. ^_^;

lol. well, i guess you should just borrow for now. :) i'm sure someone you know has it. :)
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From:riisha
Date:May 28th, 2008 12:35 am (UTC)
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Still thinking of I should submit to that. The thing that's keeping me back is the fact that I'm not writing as fast as I should...

(Can't comment on the books... I don't read as much as I used to @_@)
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From:luckychan
Date:May 28th, 2008 02:29 am (UTC)
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The issues are posted every six weeks, so authors have four weeks to write a chapter...would that be long enough? ^^ But maybe you could finish until halfway first and then submit...?