A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah

This book is a memoir of Ishmael Beah, an ex child soldier during wartime in Sierra Leone. His journey started when the rebels arrived at his village. He was chased from village to village by the war that spread further and further. The places he visited destroyed and his family and brothers killed. Until he met the government side who they called the army, and recruited as a soldier. The youngest of those child soldiers were 7 and 11 years old. They learnt how to shoot when they were not even strong enough to carry the guns.

About half of the book talks about Ishmael’s rehabilitation time. It is so sad that after all the effort and time to humanize the children, the war reached the cities nevertheless and a lot of them needed to go back to their old life. At the end Ishmael ran out of the country to Guinea, the neighbouring country of Sierra Leone. Here I felt that the book stopped almost abruptly, since I thought he was gonna go on until he’s safe in US. (Later on he ran to US with the help of his contacts he met when he went to US for UN conferences)

The story is told fluidly. I never felt it slow down. It’s a good read from beginning til the end. An eye opener for situations that we normally would never think about. And they do happen in some parts of the world. This is why I read memoirs and biographies.

Pages: 229
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

2008 Alex Award

First line
My high school friends have begun to suspect I haven’t told them the full story of my life.

Last line
I concluded to myself that if I were the hunter, I would shoot the monkey so that it would no longer have the chance to put other hunters in the same predicament.

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Ramya’s bookshelf | Trish’s Reading Nook

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling

FINALLY I finished the book. It took me a LOooOng while. First, the book is just really, really, thick. All 956 pages of it. It hardly fit in my bag and so I tended to not bring it everywhere like the other normal books. It was slow because I read it only at home, where I wasn’t much at. Then I stopped halfway through for one reason or another. You know how hard it is to go back to a book which you have left for a while. So I picked it up again after I finished 9 books. 9 books!

Anyway, it’s good to be at the end of this humongous Potter book. I can’t understand people who read Harry Potter book in just one day (especially number 5, 6, and 7). They must speed-read a whole lot. I also think that the book could’ve been shorter. She really needed an editor.

So in this episode, the main villain is Dolores Umbridge. I guess it’s the first time where the villain is simply a villain. There’s no twist whatsoever to her evil personality.

I re-watched the movie yesterday. Like usual they cut off a lot of stuff, and characters. No Dobby again. Not much stories on Harry and Cho (Well, I don’t like her much anyway. Come on. First Cedric, then Harry, and she went to another boy? Bleh.) No Firenze the centaur. I thought Luna Lovegood is a bit too pretty in the movie. Neville can’t see the Thestral. No St Mungo’s Hospital scene. No Kreacher’s betrayal.

On a side note, I thought the content of the prophecy is too trivial. Nothing we haven’t already known to some degree. Makes you wonder why Voldemort goes to that extend just to get the prophecy. All those preparations and troubles, not to mention the whole year length of waiting and all.

Pages: 956
Rating: 4 out of 5

First line
The hottest day of the summer so far was drawing to a close and a drowsy silence lay over the large, square houses of Privet drive.

Last line
Instead, he smiled, raised a hand in farewell, turned around and led the way out of the station towards the sunlit street, with Uncle Vernon, Aunt Petunia and Dudley hurrying along in his wake.

Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier

Another classic on the line, but it’s a lot easier than Wuthering Heights, because the setting and language are in 1900s. It took me a loooong time to finish the book. One reason is I think because I read the book in snippets and not in a big chunk. I had little time to just sit down and read since I was in transitions of many things in life.

Second reason, I think the book is just slow. The beginning was slow, and for me the pace didn’t really pick up until 3/4 of the book. The main character is rather dull (like what she said about herself several times). She daydreams a lot and her monosyllables replies to people are just dull. Interestingly, she’s never named throughout the entire book.

I also thought the secrets weren’t interesting enough. So someone died. Of course she didn’t die naturally. There’s little else apart from that main secret. Just thought I kinda saw how the end coming.

I’d like to watch the 1940 movie by Alfred Hitchcock. I’ll update here again once I do that.

** Update 18 Sep 08 **

Watched the black and white movie. Was pretty good. Mrs Danvers was almost exactly how I pictured her. Not so much with Maxim or Favell. Nice scenery, nice castle. My bf liked it too (he hasn’t read the book).

Pages: 380
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

First line
Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.

Last line
And the ashes blew towards us with the salt wind from the sea.

“Happiness is not a possession to be prized, it is a quality of thought, a state of mind.” ~ p6

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things mean a lot

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

“I cannot live without my heart. I cannot live without my soul.”

I finally read the book (took me around 5-6 weeks), watched the movie (the 1993 one with Ralph Fiennes) and now writing the review. I knew of Wuthering Heights a long while ago, interestingly, from a manga called The Glass Mask. It was just a piece of play, but even so it gave a strong long lasting impression. I acquired the book months ago, but not after the BC readalong that I finally read it.

What a wild storm. That’s what I felt about the book. The old English bothered me at first. It slowed me down a lot and I felt it distracting me from fully enjoying the story. But after about halfway I started to like it!

The way I summarized the story to a friend was like this: It’s about 2 mansions on big wide moor. The high-class people in these 2 houses go crazy over each other, which makes a complex story.
him: Oh, so there are enough people in those 2 houses to make a complex story, eh?
me: O yeah, definitely. There are about 7-8 people.


I’m surprised that Wuthering Heights is often said as one of the greatest love story ever written. I thought the love story between Cathy and Heathcliff was very little. She dies very quick. But since the second generation is almost the exact copy of the first generation (Cathy-Catherine, Heathcliff-Hareton, Hindley-Linton), in the end I thought the story ended happily, because the spirit of Cathy and Heathcliff in (the second) Catherine and Hareton finally found happiness, while the real Heathcliff and Cathy lied in grave side by side.

I thought Heathcliff could be the base personality of many men in contemporary love stories, who act distant and cruel, but totally melt only for the girls that they love. No matter how evil Heathcliff was, I felt like crying a little every time he cried for Cathy in desperation as if he’s no longer himself. Granted, there are many great quotes come out of him, and Cathy.

“My great miseries in this world have been Heathcliff’s miseries, and I watched and felt each from the beginning: my great thought in living is himself. If all else perished, and he remained, I should still continue to be; and if all else remained, and he were annihilated, the universe would turn to a mighty stranger: I should not seem a part of it. My love for Linton is like the foliage in the woods: time will change it, I’m well aware, as winter changes the trees. My love for Heathcliff resembles the eternal rocks beneath: a source of little visible delight, but necessary. Nelly, I am Heathcliff!” ~ Cathy, p80

“Because misery and degradation, and death, and nothing that God or Satan could inflict would have parted us, you, of your own will, did it. I have not broken your heart- you have broken it; and in breaking it, you have broken mine. So much the worse for me that I am strong. Do I want to live? What kind of living will it be when you- oh, God! would you like to live with your soul in the grave? … I love my murderer- but yours! How can I?” ~ Heathcliff, p158

“Catherine Earnshaw, may you not rest as long as I am living; you said I killed you — haunt me, then! The murdered do haunt their murderers. I believe. I know that ghosts have wandered on earth. Be with me always — take any form — drive me mad! only do not leave me in this abyss, where I cannot find you! Oh, God! it is unutterable! I cannot live without my life! I cannot live without my soul!” ~ Heathcliff, p164

“Resolutions formed in the hour of fear” ~ Nelly, pg 223

Pages: 323
Ratings: 4.5 out of 5

First line
1801. I have just returned from a visit to my landlord- the solitary neighbour that I shall be troubled with.

Last line
I lingered round them, under that benign sky: watched the moths fluttering among the heath and harebells, listened to the soft wind breathing through the grass, and wondered how any one could ever imagine unquiet slumbers for the sleepers in that quiet earth.


But not to a good situation. Let’s just say, in 15 minutes time, I got to see the extend of human’s ugliness. What an ugly world we are in. I used to think there’s a bit of kindness in every evil. But I was wrong. Some things are just pure evil. The world is as gloomy as what people think.

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