Martel-Harper Challenge

Update 26 Jan 2009 My wrap-up post here.

Dewey from the Hidden Side of Leaf is hosting Martel-Harper Challenge, which I cannot resist, despite my effort to not join any more challenge. But this only requires you to read 2 books in 3 months, so I’d think that’s feasible.

Rules: Read 2 books (you sign up quarterly) from the list of books that Yann Martel (the author of Life of Pi) sent to Canada’s PM Stephen Harper (read full story here). Every book goes with a letter about the reason why it is chosen.

Duration: This time it goes from October to December. So it should end 31 December 2008.

My list
1) Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi [Martel’s letter] [my review]
2) To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee [Martel’s letter]

I never heard of the story until Dewey mentioned it. It’s so interesting. If you were to send your country’s Prime Minister or President a book every 2 weeks, which books would you choose? Tough choice. That’s why I’d like to follow the list, and probably pick up a few books here and there.

Other reviews
October reviews

Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

I LOVE this book! I’ve watched Persepolis movie twice and thought that the graphic novel would be just like the movie (good, but similar). But it’s not! It’s BETTER!

The book discusses more sensitive topics around religion and the government in Iran. More social classes issues, more demonstrations, more cruelties. Satrapi is truly one of the lucky ones. Her family is rich and she could get proper education even during war time. Her parents are kindhearted and alive. Still her point of view is really interesting. As a child, she’s critical, rebellious, and simply funny.

The book is divided into many connecting short stories. So the topics are clearer. The movie only took a few selected topics/scenes and worked on those. So there are more told in the book. It covers Satrapi’s childhood, up until she leaves Iran for Austria. The end is oh so sad. There are many sad moments throughout.

I love the art style. It’s simple, yet neat and sweet. I can’t wait to get my hands on the second Persepolis. Hope I could find it soon in my library. I’m actually thinking to buy both books for personal collection since I love the first one so much. *sigh*

Pages: 153
5 out of 5 (I just had to :)

2004 Alex Award

Also reviewed by
Rebecca Reads | Dewey | Nymeth | Kristin

Forever by Judy Blume

Like I said last week, I was going to read Forever by Judy Blume in celebration of Banned Book Week.

Forever is a teenager love story between Katherine and Michael, who grow to love each other, and once they’ve decided their love is forever, they make love. If you remember how it feels to be 17 and in love, it’s funny how various remarks sound so familiar. “It’s serious between us!” “Why do I have to think about how it would end?” “This is the real stuff!”

I can imagine how parents could get so edgy about the book, since it contains sexual discussions, issues, and scenes among teenagers. But hey, if you close your eyes, it doesn’t mean things are not happening right? As long as it’s done safely, responsibly, and with all consequences known. But who am I to say. I haven’t got any kids :)

**spoilers ahead**

I’m somehow a bit disappointed about how easy it is for Katherine to forget Michael. I guess when you’re that age, forever is really too long. It’s probably what happens to most teenagers, although it didn’t happen that way for me.

The top cover is the one I read, but I quite like this second cover on the side.

Pages: 155
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

First line
Sybil Davison has a genius I.Q. and has been laid by at least six different guys.

Last line
‘Theo called.’

Also reviewed by
Lost in a good story

ps: Okay, something weird happened. I just checked that the links to banned book week and ALA banned book site are no longer accessible. Is it from Singapore only? *puzzled* It says: You are not authorized to view this page. and Forbidden. You don’t have permission to access / on this server. What the hell?

Embroideries by Marjane Satrapi

I was looking for Persepolis for ages, but it’s always checked out at my library. A few days ago, not only did I find Persepolis (first, but not the second one), but also another graphic novel by Marjane Satrapi, called Embroideries.

Embroideries is entertaining reading about the sex lives of Iranian women. After the afternoon lunch, while the men go to have a nap, the women gather around for cups of Samovar (tea). And that way begin a session of “ventilation of the heart”: share of secrets and regrets about virginity, arranged marriage, plastic surgery, and men.

The art style is simpler than Persepolis in a glance, but it’s entertaining indeed. Sweet, short, and funny. Love it :)

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

ps: This is probably my first graphic novel.

Also reviewed by

Sunday Salon and Banned Book Week

I haven’t posted Sunday Salon for ages, I know. And it’s even Monday morning my time right now, but I’m sure it’s still Sunday at the other parts of the world :)

Sep 27 to Oct 4 2008 is the Banned Book Week. So to participate, I’ll read Forever by Judy Blume, one of The Top 100 Most Frequently Challenged Book of 1990-2000 by ALA. Also because I just found it for $1 SGD at my fave secondhand bookshop and it’s super thin.

On the other hand, I’m also reading Kafka on the Shore. I wasn’t so sure about the beginning. A boy running away from home. I don’t really fancy coming of age stories. But then he goes to a really cool library. An old Japanese library with grand architecture and rare books. And I’m hoping there will be more stories in the library. So, so far so good.

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