Princess by Jean Sasson

princessThis is a true story of a royal princess in Saudi Arabia. A lot of things are very shocking for first time reader on this kind of issue. That’s why most probably it’ll grab your attention from beginning till the end.

For myself the book opens my eyes on culture, society, and issues so far away from mine. How in the other part of the world, there are places where woman has almost no value. No voice. No future. No use but a sex object. And therefore, no meaningful existence.

~ Finished 31 August 2004

4 stars

The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan

the joy luck clubThe first book from Amy Tan. It’s collection of stories about mother daughter relationships (four pairs to be exact :). Again, I feel it’s so captivating by each and every word.

It’s like magic, fairy tale, and reality put together. I wish I could put all the quotes that caught me here, but then I would give the book content away.

I couldn’t get enough of the book that I even read the Cliffnote of it! (Note: Cliffnote is a deep analyze of a usually famous literature by another author. Unfortunately, Amy Tan thinks that a lot of things written in the cliffnotes of her book are not accurate.)

There’s a movie made based on this book. I’d love to watch that when I can find it.

~ Finished it on 30 April 2004

4.5 stars

Memorable Quotes

“I once sacrificed my life to keep my parents’ promise. This means nothing to you, because to you promises mean nothing. A daughter can promise to come to dinner, but if she has a headache, if she she has a traffic jam, if she wants to watch a favorite movie on TV, she no longer has a promise.

I watched this same movie when you did not come. The American soldier promises to come back and marry the girl. She is crying with a genuine feeling and he says, “Promise! Promise! Honey-sweetheart, my promise is as good as gold.” Then he pushes her onto the bed. But he doesn’t come back. His gold is like yours, it is only fourteen carats.

To Chinese people, fourteen carats isn’t real gold. Feel my bracelets. They must be twenty-four carats, pure inside and out.

It’s too late to change you, but I’m telling you this because I worry about your baby. I worry that someday she will say, “Thank you, Grandmother, for the gold bracelete. I’ll never forget you.” But later, she will forget her promise. She will forget she had a grandmother.”

“My mother believed in God’s will for many years. It was as if she had turned on a celestial faucet and goodness kept pouring out. She said it was faith that kept all these good things coming our way, only I thought she said “fate”, because she couldn’t pronounce that “th” sound in “faith”.

And later, I discovered that maybe it was fate all along, that faith was just an illusion that somehow you’re in control. I found out the most I could have was hope, and with that I was not denying any possibility, good or bad. I was just saying, If there is a choice, dear God or whatever you are, here’s where the odds should be placed.”

Veronika Decides to Die by Paulo Coelho

Veronika Decides to Die by Paulo CoelhoVeronika is a “normal” young woman, quite pretty, having dates, doing alright in life. She just doesn’t get the meaning of it all. So on one fine day, she decides to take her life, eating sleeping pills. Doesn’t work out. She ends up waking in the mental hospital. They say she only has a few more days to live, because the heart has completely failed after the suicide attempt.

The whole story is about her living in the weird mental hospital, all the time knowing that she’s going to die soon. You would think that anyone would have a whole new view of life when they know they’re gonna die soon. So does she.

It’s more of a physicological book that I feel like I should’ve learnt more, but a couple of months has passed since I finished it (I really should write my review soon after I put down a book) and I can’t remember much about it, apart from the message that you gotta live like you want and don’t bother about what people think about how you live your life. You should do what you gotta do, should live like you gotta live.

I don’t even remember the ending. I did learn more about mental hospital, the existence of a country names Slovenia and a city names Ljubljana (argh, how to pronounce?), and a mental disease names schizophrenic.

I would read more of Paulo Coelho’s book though. He’s one of a kind. I read that he himself was admitted to a mental hospital when he was young because he wanted to be an artist, so at least those stories in mental hospital should hold a lot of truths.

3.5 stars
~ Finished it (roughly) on 20 October 2006

I Kissed Dating Goodbye by Joshua Harris

A book full of controversy is always interesting. That is what I can say about this book. I admit I was also caught up by the hype and the ever controversial title (Have I told you that title of a book is very important?). Not to mention the sense of mystery of the (assumed) handsome man under the hat ;> (By the way, he is not the author. Apparently I was not the first person who wonders.)

How the hell are you gonna find a life partner if you don’t date?

Yeah, that was my question before too. But after reading it, I kind of understand what the author means. Although at that time, this kind of problem hardly crossed my life. I wasn’t interested in dating anyway. So if there’s any book telling me “Don’t date!”, I would love to hear it, rather than some friends telling me to go dating :).

All in all, the author talks about a very interesting concept. But I see it more as an idealistic one. That is, it can only work if you live in a perfect world with a perfect man in a perfect time. Sure it would be so beautiful to have your first kiss in the altar. But if we set that as a standard, I think I’ve screwed up pretty bad and would be in distress by now :).

Even though you don’t intend to absorb everything that the author says, there are still quite a few good things to take. Groundbreaking rules are never easy to accept, but some sure do make sense.

~Finished on 30 November 2003

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

The Dream Giver by Bruce Wilkinson

Are you living your dream? Or just living your life? Welcome to a little story about a very big idea. This compelling modern-day parable tells the story of Ordinary, who dares to leave the Land of Familiar to pursue his Big Dream.

Book that came at the right time for me! =D A lot of my questions and doubts were answered here. It’s so amazing how much I can relate to every single aspect of the story. It’s like it’s created just for me! Me! \(^o^)/

If you’re not a believer, I still think this is a very good book about Dreams and pursuing them.

~Finished on 10 December 2003

Rating: 4.5 out of 5


“Courage is not the absence of fear;
rather, it’s choosing to act in spite of the fear.”

“A Dreamer is a person whose life is in motion.”

“The way of the Dreamer is difficult, but anything less is hardly living at all.”

Falling Leaves by Adeline Yen Mah

falling leavesFalling Leaves: The Memoir of an Unwanted Chinese Daughter is a true story of an unwanted Chinese daughter (as per title ;). The family is one of the richest in Hong Kong, who migrated from mainland China.

I have to give this book a 4 stars, just because of the extra ordinary journey that the author has gone through as written in this book. The writing style though, is more like a report, rarely emotional or dramatic. A lot of scenes are sad and devastating, but she moves on quick instead of dwelling with bitterness. After all, there’s so much to tell and there are only so many pages. I feel like she’s laying out facts and not judgment.

The book is also informative. Notes on history are written along with the main story here and there. I now know the background of why so many people migrated from mainland China to Hong Kong, the story of how Hong Kong advanced so much it became the Pearl of the East, and why the people of China looks at Hong Kong people like they’re the selected top class.

Like to all the evils and wicked in a story, the main question is always “WHY”? Why was the step-mother able to do such things? Why was the father so useless? You’d have more WHYs as you read. Why the brothers? The sister? Grandfather? Auntie? Why? Human beings are crazily complex.

Anyway, if you see the cover I have here, they’re all real pictures of the characters in the book (all deceased). First is Aunt Baba (Father’s sister), second Yeye (Grandfather), third Niang (Stepmother), and the last I assume is Father. (Information taken from author’s website) On the back cover there’s family photo of the kids (young Adeline with her 1 older sister, 3 older brothers, 1 younger half-brother, and 1 younger half-sister).

Nice read, but be prepared to spend a lot of time. The book is THICK, the story is LONG! I probably spent about a month to finish it. Yeah I know.. I’m slow.

~ Finished on 05 February 2007

4 stars

Life of Pi by Yann Martel

Life of Pi by Yann Martel

This story will make you believe in God

This one line from the book that made me so curious about what’s in it. The fact that I didn’t know what to expect and had no idea where the story would bring us until about 1/3 of the book threw nice surprises at me. (The copy that I had didn’t have the cover and I didn’t read any review prior to the reading.)

The first few chapters felt a bit slow. But after a while, I couldn’t put it down because it’s so damn interesting. A lot of events are simply hilarious and ironically funny.

In short, this is a story about a child stranded in a rescue boat with a Bengal Tiger. And he survived. One of the strongest reason is that he’s a child of a zookeeper, which makes him knows a lot about animals.

There’s one part of the story that I love so much, but I can’t say here to avoid any spoiler. It’s probably one aspect that’s the most unbelievable, but for me it’s simply magical. (If you read this book, ask me which part! :)

Nothing actually religious in this story. So far from that. It’s about a very extra-ordinary experience. And like usual, I really want, and end up, to believe that it’s a true story :)

4 stars
~ Finished it (roughly) on 5 March 2005


“Religion faces the same problems [with zoo]. Illusions of freedom plague them both.”

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