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Reviews Written by
Matthew M. Yau "Voracious reader" (San Francisco, CA)
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Lolita
Lolita
by Vladimir Nabokov
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 12.34
50 used & new from CDN$ 4.27

4.0 out of 5 stars Disturbing yet beautiful prose, Nov. 8 2002
This review is from: Lolita (Paperback)
The storyline of this timeless Nabokov classics has been wide-known and controversial: pedaphile narrator Humbert Humbert tells the tale of how he pathetically infatuates with the nymphet. Well-educated and good-mannered, Humbert was born to the upper reach of European social strata. His father was a mixed French and Austrian descent who owned luxurious hotel on the Riviera. Young Humbert lives a joyous life until the loss of his puppy love Annabel who dies of typhus in Corfu. The excessive desire for Annabel's image rekindles when grown-up Humbert Humbert met 12-year-old Dolores Haze in America. Lolita, or "Lo", as Humbert addressed her, is what Humbert called "light of my life, fire of my loins". The scenes where Humbert Humbert contemplated a way to get Charlotte Haze (Lo's mother) out of the picture were brilliant. The scenes where Lo seduced Humbert Humbert to making out were equally impressive. Humbert Humbert's passion for little Lo simply reflected his infatuation for his lost love Annabel: obessive, devouring, doomed and addicted. Part I of the book devotes to Humbert Humbert's infatuation of the numphet; while the second half tells of Humbert and Lo's romping around the country. The entire book fills with passionate, explicit, and beautifully-written prose, page after page. Afer all, Lolita is more or less, a twisted kind of love story. It's a meditation on love as there is no tomorrow. In a sense, Humbert Humbert was portraited as a victim himself, toiled by the miserable memories of his lost love in adolescence.

The Lily Theater: A Novel of Modern China
The Lily Theater: A Novel of Modern China
by Lulu Wang
Edition: Hardcover
12 used & new from CDN$ 2.36

3.0 out of 5 stars Closer Look at The Chinese Cultural Revolution, Oct. 23 2002
The story tells of Lian, a 12-year-old girl who accompanies her mother, a history professor at the Teacher's University of Beijing, to a pungent reeducation camp in 1972, the time when Cultural Revolution was at its full swing. Despite the horrid living conditions at the camp, Lian never imagined that she will receive an education from some of the most prominent scholars who were detained at the camp along with her mother. These teachers of all disciplines: mathematics, chemistry, language and literature, took upon themselves to share what they know with young Lian. Lian summarized what she learned from the scholars and delivered "lectures" to frogs and crickets at the pond which she dubbed "The Lily Theater" near the camp site. When she learned behind the camp walls opened her eyes to the lies behind political propaganda and helped her mend her relationship with best friend Kim. Wang's writing style is plain staright-forward. The novel tends to drag toward the end though nevertheless gives a closer look at life during and after the notorious Cultural Revolution. 3.4 stars.

Sons of Heaven
Sons of Heaven
by Terrence Cheng
Edition: Hardcover
17 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Creative Yet Convincing Historical Fiction, Oct. 18 2002
This review is from: Sons of Heaven (Hardcover)
The Tienanmen crackdown in 1989 still makes my heart tremble. The book cover jacket showing a man confronting in front of the tank stirs me. Cheng's debut novel is a historical fiction interwoven with three parties: The dissident (Xiao-Di, meaning little brother), the soldier (Lu), and the comrade (the late Deng Xiaoping). The novel traced events leading to the Tienanmen masscre and the pursuit of fugitive and student protest leaders afterwards. The book brings alive struggles of common "laobaishung" (peasants) families and the their toil for democracy. Cheng also cunningly humanize the former Communist leader Deng Xiaoping.
Cheng has done a phenomenonal job in bridging these three characters together. Little brother Xiaodi, the once study-aboard elite, becomes infatuated with the democratic student movement and confronts in front of tanker. Xaiopi later on becomes fugitive accused of overturning the Communist Party. Lu, Xiaodi's older brother, serves on the 38th Troop of the People Liberation Army, raids through his grandparents' house and remote village in search of the suspect. Comrade Deng is portraited more as humanistic than many have thought. His interaction with Pufang, his immobile son, makes him somewhat more likable. A good read.

Bean Trees
Bean Trees
by Barbara Kingsolver
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: CDN$ 8.54
130 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Love, Compassion, Friendship, Persistence, April 13 2002
This review is from: Bean Trees (Mass Market Paperback)
Taylor Marietta Greer grew up in rural Kentucky (Pittman County) hoping to avoid pregnancy, motherhood, and getting away from home. When she ventured out with great ambition and a barely-working, cantankerous car, life took a whole different turn. Some woman at the Oklahoma Cherokee nation abandoned three-year-old, American Indian girl Turtle and Taylor, for the first time, met the complication of life. Upon arriving in Tucson, Arizona, Taylor realized she must come to terms with motherhood and settling down. She was hired by Mattie who owned the Jesus is Lord Tires Company and became roommates with Lou Ann, a woman divorced by her husband Angel. Taylor spent the first half of her life avoiding motherhood and tires, and later she counted them as blessings. The Bean Trees is a book of determination, compassion, and love. It's a quick read that will warm your heart and make you sniffle. Through raising Turtle, Taylor learned that she could never protect the child from the world. What would be interesting, maybe even in the long run, is to share her life with the kid and give Turtle her best effort. The Bean Trees is the first book I read written by Barbara Kingsolver. Her storytelling magic absorbed me completely from the beginning. I could not put the book down and read cover-to-cover. Great tale on love and friendship, abandonment and belonging.

Dumpling Soup
Dumpling Soup
by Jama Kim Rattigan
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 7.60
30 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Celebration of Cultures, April 12 2002
This review is from: Dumpling Soup (Paperback)
Jama Kim Rattigan's vivid, volorful picture book brings us to the Hawaiian islands. Women in a Korean family gather together and celebrate New Year. As part of a family tradition, the cheerful clan make dumplings for the feast. Seven-year-old Marisa is old enough to help out with the wrappings. Little Marisa, however, worries about the shape of her dumplings and feels insecure about how her concoction might not measure up with other dumplings. Marisa's Granny decides to cheer up and encourage her little princess. Granny features Marisa's dumplings as starters at the dinner table on New Year's Day. Dumpling Soup is more than a picture book-it is a celebration of cultures that have rooted in the Hawaiian Islands: Chinese, Korean, Japanese, and Hawaiians.

Boeing 737-300 to 900
Boeing 737-300 to 900
by Robbie Shaw
Edition: Paperback
12 used & new from CDN$ 30.13

4.0 out of 5 stars Great Pictures...Waiting for B737-900, April 10 2002
This review is from: Boeing 737-300 to 900 (Paperback)
Boeing 737 amounted to the largest sales of commercial jetliners in history. The short-ranged series has served the industry for over 30 years since it premiered in 1967. In this volume abound with colored pictures, Shaw had written an inside-out coverage for the proliferative models. Shaw included a detailed production history of the 737-800 model, the latest version of the family until the inaugural of 737-900 in late 2001. Numerous colored pictures of the aircrafts luxuriate the book. There is detailed information under every caption. Several featured captions (including the book cover) show the aircrafts belonged to the Oakland-based Southwest Airlines, known for its all-737 fleet (over 350 aircrafts). The end of the pictorial also includes detailed account on all current 737 operators and carriers. Why 4 stars? I expect more technical specification. Author might consider putting in more technical info in the next update with the new 737-900 model.

Boeing 747-400: The Mega-Top
Boeing 747-400: The Mega-Top
by Robbie Shaw
Edition: Paperback
19 used & new from CDN$ 23.02

5.0 out of 5 stars Boeing 747-400: The Most Beautiful Aircrafts, April 9 2002
The Megatop is actually a registered trademark of Singapore Airlines, which along with Cathay Pacific Airways and Japan Airlines, operate the largest fleet of Boeing 747-400s. The cover of this spectacular book shows a 747-400 owned by Cathay Pacific Airways. Since its first delivery in late 1960s, the Boeing 747 family had evolved into many variations: the 747-100, 747-200, 747-200 Freight, 747-300, 747-300 Extended Upper Deck (also known as the Bigtop), 747-SP (the shorter version), 747-400, and 747-400 Freight. In this volume, Shaw has written the indiers of this modern jetliner. The coverage features planning, development, certification, survey of operators, technical specifications, and ***PLENTY*** of pictures (both exterior and interior) of the jetliners. The pictorial also includes information of airlines operation. I personally think that the 747-400 series represents the most efficient and anesthetic piece of flying equipment. The architectual beauty of the aircraft surpasses any of its counterparts. The small flap that extend and tilt at the tip of the wings distinguish the 400 series from the rest of the family. No other models has such distinct feature and architecture. Think about how the Airbus 340, the Boeing 767, the Boeing 777-they all look alike. In this pictorial, the beauty of the Boeing 747-400 jetliner is captured in numerous pages of colored photos. I highly recommend the book for gift. Aviation enthusiasts must have.

Boeing 777
Boeing 777
by Guy Norris
Edition: Paperback
16 used & new from CDN$ 12.44

4.0 out of 5 stars Informative and Eye-Pleasing But..., April 9 2002
This review is from: Boeing 777 (Paperback)
Guy Norris and Marker Wagner come together and present us a very informative pictorial on Boeing 777. The pictures are breath-taking. The prose traced back to the jetliner's planning, testing, certification, and current operation. What I am not pleased with the book is that it lacks info on carriers that operate the aircrafts, workings from the deck, and pictures of the interior. I do giver merit to the marvelous colored pictures of the aircrafts in this book. ***Some quick facts of the aircraft: the Boeing 777 can fly nonstop for 16 hours. The seating capacity is around 325-380. The major operators of Boeing 777 are Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific Airways (based in Hong Kong) and our very own United Airlines which flies daily nonstop from San Francisco to London and Paris on Boeing 777.

ABC Airbus A340
ABC Airbus A340
by Philip J. Birtles
Edition: Paperback
7 used & new from CDN$ 11.25

4.0 out of 5 stars I Want More Colored Pictures, April 9 2002
This review is from: ABC Airbus A340 (Paperback)
Airbus A340 is so far the largest commercial jetliner model ever built by Airbus Industry before the completion of the A3XX. A340 is the most technologically advanced commercial jetliner to date. The aircraft was completely designed on a computer. In this volume, Birtles gave an insider of this giant plane, main rivl to the Boeing 777 in its similar size, seating capacity and range. This book includes coverage of flight tests and pilot reports. The book also contains the latest A340-500 and 340-600 versions which are known as Airbus 343 among the airlines. Birtles' coverage also comes with numerous black-and-white pictures. Why only 4 stars? I want more colored pictures of the Airbus giant.

Boeing 777: Jetliner for a New Century
Boeing 777: Jetliner for a New Century
by Philip Birtles
Edition: Paperback
15 used & new from CDN$ 14.39

5.0 out of 5 stars The Title Says It All, April 9 2002
Philip Birtles has done aviation lovers a great favor by writing one of the most detailed and picture-intensive books for the newest Boeing jetliner. Birtles traced the planning, design, and development of the Boeing 777 models. The pictorial covers the Boeing 777-200, 777-300, and the long-range 777 models in operation. The book also has special features on technical details such as the jet engine, engine pod, vertical stabilizer, horizontal stabilizer, spoilers, flap, sound suppressor and thrust reverser. The book concludes with coverage on the first Boeing 777 delivery. Great gift idea. A must for fans.

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