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Puteri Azlina "puterina" (Kuala Lumpur)
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Her Daughters Eyes
Her Daughters Eyes
by Jessica Inclan
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
22 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Sad.. sad, May 31 2004
After reading it, I lost my appetite to write a review. I was disturbed by the reality of our life. What's wrong with us adults..?
This is not so much about the pregnancy or the birth. 17-year-old Kate is secretly pregnant and her younger sister, Tyler, delivered the baby. That concludes early in the book. So does the half-mystery of "who's the father and why the secret". (I won't spoil)
But this is more about the events that happened and how the people involved responded to them, which eventually resulted in the sad mess. The girls' mother, Diedrie, succumbed to breast cancer two years ago. Their father, Davis, broken, couldn't stay in the house because he misses her so much. So most of the time the girls are left alone in the house, tending to themselves. Fear of total abandonment and potential repercussion made Kate decided to keep the baby a secret inspite of the health risks.
When the secret is uncovered, also quite early in the story, the rest of the book moves from one character to another - pondering about what each has overlooked, selfishly neglected, misunderstood, mistakenly acted, and the consequences of it all. Somehow it revolves around the dead Diedrie and her untimely death.
I hope we learn something from stories like this.
I have to say that Inclan's writing is almost extraordinary. Characters are developed well, nevermind how hopelessly pathetic but unfortunately realistic they are. She's able to present to us the deep thoughts, fragile emotions, and hidden subconsciousness of the characters. This kind of storytelling only books can deliver.

Lucky: A Memoir
Lucky: A Memoir
by Alice Sebold
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 10.47
165 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Horrifyingly Detailed, April 2 2004
This review is from: Lucky: A Memoir (Paperback)
Sebold tells the story of her being raped at 17, its aftermath, the case, and how it affected people surround her and the rest of her life - socially, sexually, emotionally.
The horrifying details made me cringe in disbelief, but she does it without imposing too much drama - matter-of-factly as if she's detached from it.
She actually suffered from the trauma for many years and didn't even realize that. She went through it all and journeyed the recovery. And the brave soul finally found home.

Personality Plus for Parents: Understanding What Makes Your Child Tick
Personality Plus for Parents: Understanding What Makes Your Child Tick
by Florence Littauer
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 12.26
38 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Necessary Read for Parents, March 15 2004
Having read Personality Plus and thoroughly enjoyed that, I bought "PP for Parents" as gift to my sister (and read it too).
I'm single, but I suppose the book is really helpful for parents to understand their children better. How many times we hear parents say "I wish you're more like your brother!"? Every child is different and each should be treated differently accordingly. This book explains how they differ, and guides us on how to more effectively deal with it. Parents could also avoid unnecessary or even damaging reaction/treatment to the differences.
Since the personality of an individual is innate, recognizing it in a child is easier. And critical. It is beneficial to start early in harnessing the potential - sharping the good side of it, and smothering the negative one. Make the best of the different personality.
Emotional health developed during childhood has great impact throughout a person's life. I think it would be a loss not to read this book.

Like Water for Chocolate: A Novel in Monthly Installments with Recipes, Romances, and Home Remedies
Like Water for Chocolate: A Novel in Monthly Installments with Recipes, Romances, and Home Remedies
by Laura Esquivel
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 12.27
211 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

3.0 out of 5 stars Heart-Stirring, Jan. 21 2004
Interesting style that's very unique.. what with the recipes and remedies!
Unrealistic mystical tale is not really my taste. But this tale is one of a kind. The abstracts of the soul, passion, and love are cleverly described through the recipes, remedies, and the love story.. in ways that stir your heart.
I guess I just love Esquivel's "Swift as Desire" a lot more.

From Beirut to Jerusalem ~ Trd Pb
From Beirut to Jerusalem ~ Trd Pb
by Dr S Ang
Edition: Paperback
18 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must Read Close-up Accounts of Human Tragedy, Jan. 21 2004
In this book, "Doctora Swee" gives to the world what it needs to know. As an orthopaedic surgeon, she volunteered to help the war victims in Beirut after the Israeli attack in 1982. It changed her life forever. There she learned first-hand how brutal and inhumane Israel oppressed the Palestinians - things the media had failed to tell the world.
When she returned to Britain, she didn't stop there. She set up the charity organization, Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP), and return to Beirut a few more times within a few years.
She tells the story of the Sabra-Shatila massacres 1982, the Ramadan war 1985, and the Bourj el-Brajneh 1986-87 seige. If you don't know what they are all about, then read the book. Human tragedy of such a degree must not be silenced.
Dr Swee served as a volunteer surgeon, administrator, driver, negotiator, reporter, fund-raiser, friend, and most of all: HUMAN.
This is a story of courage, compassion, and resilience of Palestinians and the volunteers.. against the continuous and repeated destructions of Palestinians' lives, livelihood, and spirit. It sure touches your heart and soul.
And please, don't tell me this is anti-Semitic.

To Kill a Mockingbird
To Kill a Mockingbird
by Harper Lee
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: CDN$ 9.49
227 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars What a Classic!, Jan. 21 2004
It was in a small town in the South, in 1930's. The story is full of interesting, lovable characters. The narrator is Scout a bright, bold, young girl who lived with her older brother Jem and their lawyer father, Atticus.
Respectable Atticus was a gentleman who raised the two children with the help from Calpurina, the day cook. Against some of the prevalent social senses, he taught them the principles and values he lived by.
With Dill around during the summer, things were more interesting. They had the hermit neighbor who remained the mysterious subject of the children's acts of curiosity. Their interaction with other neighbors like Ms Maudie and Mrs Dubose was always capped with lessons to learn.
And there was a case of a black man Atticus defended against the charge of raping a white girl. Atticus' integrity and the people's classic prejudices were demonstrated in events related to the case.
The storyline and language are awesome. Narrations by children are always interesting in the way curiosity, frankness, and innocence do. And the book is full with values we adults could always relearn. No wonder it is such a classic!

Still She Haunts Me
Still She Haunts Me
by Katie Roiphe
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 15.33
30 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Bewildering, Oct. 9 2003
This review is from: Still She Haunts Me (Paperback)
I picked the book without any prior knowledge of Alice Liddle or Lewis Carrol. Nor am I really familiar with Alice in Wonderland.
However I must admire the beautiful style of the language. I am not literature fan, but the book is simply wonderful. It expresses things I thought would not be able to be put into words. It puts forth the deep, perplexing thoughts/feelings of a unique person as well as the other people around him.
The reading is a JOY. But the ending.. alas, not knowing what exactly happened leaves me with this unsatisfaction. Otherwise it would get the ultimate 5 stars.

Muhammad
Muhammad
by Martin Lings
Edition: Paperback
17 used & new from CDN$ 0.97

4.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive. Wonderful. Heartrending, Oct. 9 2003
This review is from: Muhammad (Paperback)
This is the first time I read a book about Muhammad (pbuh). This book is rather comprehensive, chronologically covering the historical background up until the demise of Muhammad. This includes:
- overview of the Ka'ba, Mecca, and the Quraysh
- Muhammad prior to the First Revelation
- the early days of Islam in Mecca
- the migration to Medina
- the battles of Badr, Uhud, Trench
- the treaty of Hudaybiyah
- the spread of Islam
- the conquest of Mecca
- the return to Medina
The events were told entwined with the verses as they happened - providing a good brief background to the verses. The story-telling is nice and easy, sometimes direct and matter-of-factly yet heart-rendering. The language is a bit archaic, but understandable.
A bonus for me is that the book provides some understanding of the cultural practices of that time and place, as well as references such as the family tree of Muhammad, (consisting of key people), and the map of the Arabia during that time. So it greatly helps me comprehend some of the things that seem foreign, such as the practice of sending babies to suckling mothers. I still struggle to identify the many different characters especially when it comes to the customary "Abu" and "Umm" names, though :-)
In short, this is a very good book on the subject. It made me appreciate the wonders of the Prophet, his Companions, and their tireless struggles. I intend to read other books on the subject as well.

Even Angels Ask: A Journey to Islam in America
Even Angels Ask: A Journey to Islam in America
by Jeffrey Lang
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 11.88
9 used & new from CDN$ 11.88

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unexpectedly Marvellous, Sept. 6 2003
Even Angels Ask presents Islam from a modern perspective, to Americans as the audience. It explores some of the questions that usually concerns people who approach religion intellectually and answers them with impressive explanation not lacking spirituality itself. It's a balanced combination of faith and reason. Lang tries to address some questions considered taboos in the traditional Muslim minds, and discusses them according to his understanding. Compelling.
The book explains about the fundamentals of Islam and how the very basic of the tenets work together to provide a comprehensive guidance to the believers. Understanding the concepts and the virtues makes them more meaningful to practising Muslims. Very interesting. He stresses on the need to approach the Islamic practices for their universal values while adhering to the path, instead of taking everything literally without considering the applicability in the current context and situation. Pretty thought-provoking.
Lang talks about some of the things he found prevalent in Muslim communities, which either weaken themselves or even contradict the teachings of Islam. He suggests some actions to take in order to put Islam as the moving forces to the existing communities as well as the truthful way to be projected to new converts and to the non-Muslims.
I'm born Muslim, and indeed it is a humbling read. Although I'm not an American nor am I a resident, I lived in Ann Arbor in mid-90s. Some of the things he speaks of can be applied elsewhere too.
All in all, I'm very satisfied reading it. It's a gem.

Sea Glass: A Novel
Sea Glass: A Novel
by Anita Shreve
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 12.27
115 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

3.0 out of 5 stars Not bad, Sept. 6 2003
This review is from: Sea Glass: A Novel (Paperback)
Sea Glass is a story about love and struggle. A newly married couple starts a new life together, venturing the unknown in a new place at the brink of the depression era.
Other characters come into the picture. The caring mother, the lonely mill worker, the rich lady, the suffering family.. Events are narrated from the different perspectives of these main characters, unfolding the story as life eventually brought them together. The promising beginning, the emotional neglect, the turn of event, the coincidences, the forbidden love, the strike, the sacrifices.. Things are sometimes described matter-of-factly, without playing with the emotions. Yet I was sorry for the unfortune, happy for the graces, and suprised by the ending.

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