Summer Book Giveaway

05 July 2016

Hello everyone!
  It's been a long time since I've had a giveaway and as I was cleaning out my storage boxes, I discovered a box of books that I enjoyed so much as a teen that I felt it was worthy to keep throughout all the giveaways I had in the "hay-day" of this blog. However, it's unlikely that I'm going to read them again or keep them on the shelf anymore, so why not pass it along to readers who might actually enjoy them? 
 These books must seem really old by now but they were actually new and popular books once. Why not give 'em a go? I haven't really been keeping up with how blogs are run nowadays as since I've had this blog from October of 2008, I've run giveaways the same. I tried Rafflecopter once but I didn't quite like it so please use the form below :) 

Thank you all so much for sticking with me on this incredibly long voyage of book reviewing here on Pages and welcome to all the new followers who're helping me continue sailing <3 nbsp="" p="">

Package 1

Anatomy of a Boyfriend: Daria Snadowsky
Glimmerglass: Jenna Black
Empty: Suzanne Weyn (ARC)

Package 2

Cinder: Marissa Meyer (ARC)
Passion: Lauren Kate
Intrinsical: Lani Woodland


  • Must have a US Mailing Address (If you are international and are willing to pay shipping fees, comment below!)
  • Must fill out the form below by September 30th 2016
  • Must be a follower of this blog via Google Friend Connect
Fill out the form here

review: seven brief lessons on physics

23 June 2016

book info:
on sale: now
copy from: public library
pages: 96
review written: 21.6.16
originally published: 2014
edition read: Riverhead Books, 2016, translated by Simon Carnell and Erica Segre

title: Seven Brief Lessons on Physics
author: Carlo Rovelli

Originally published in an Italian newspaper called Il Sole 24 Ore, this series of short lessons is compiled into a tiny book that covers the most interesting developments in physics since the twentieth century. The 7 lessons are: The Most Beautiful of Theories, Quanta, The Architecture of the Cosmos, Particles, Grains of Space, Probability, time, and the heat of black holes, and Ourselves. The author, Carlo Rovelli, is a theoretical physicist who is one of the founders of the loop quantum gravity theory, which he explains "briefly" in one of the chapters. It is only when one truly understands a subject that one can condense it down to the most simple of explanations. Rovelli does just that in this orchestral non-textbook novella. My interest in theoretical physics and astrophysics had mainly been cultivated by the television programmes my brother insisted on watching when we were growing up. Programs on the Science Channel were his favourite and the stunning visual graphics that illustrated complex concepts drew me in, but never really made me stay. On a whim, I decided to see if I could kindle that interest and therefore started with the shortest and most promising book that could explain in layman's terms the math intensive, highly theoretical aspects of a field of science so beyond me that I still can't truly comprehend its subject matter.

I'm surprised it took me so long to read such a short book. Despite the brevity of each chapter, the content material was so rich, it took longer to digest. What I enjoyed most was the literary merit Rovelli deserves for not only explaining concepts in simple terms, but weaving it into a poetry that makes it pleasurable to read for those non-science sort of readers. For example, here are a few quotes that I enjoyed deeply:

" Einstein...soon came to understand that gravity, like electricity, must be conveyed by a field as well: a "gravitational field" analogous to the "electrical field" must exist"
"And it is at this point that an extraordinary idea occurred to him, a stroke of pure genius: the gravitational field is not diffused through space: the gravitational field is that space itself. This is the idea of the general theory of relativity...."
"We are not contained within an invisible, rigid infrastructure: we are immersed in a gigantic, flexible snail shell. The sun bends space around itself, and the Earth does not turn around it because of a mysterious force but because it is racing directly in a space that inclines, like a marble that rolls in a funnel. There are no mysterious forces generated at the centre of the funnel: it is the curved nature of the walls that causes the marble to roll. Planets circle around the sun, and things fall into space because space curves"
"In short, the theory describes a colourful and amazing world where universes explode, space collapses into bottomless holes, time sags and slows near a planet, and the unbounded extensions of interstellar space ripple and swag like the surface of the sea...."

The choice of ordering the chapters was well thought out like the rest of the book. Everything falls into place to make for the easiest comprehension. As I'm reading more books on quantum theory, I've come to understand that choosing what to cover first is a struggle. Physics is like a philosophy within itself, challenging ideas of the creation of the universe and trying to make sense of everything around us. Thus, it's easy to ramble and jump from thought to thought. Rovelli controls this urge and carefully details both history and knowledge giving the sense of time and progression of human history. I almost imagined it was as if I were riding the gravitational waves in the "sea" of space in a sailboat.

While the content of this book may appeal to those of a science background, I have no doubt that the English loving bookish literary readers will enjoy the pure beauty this novel has to offer. For this, I give full marks. I would recommend this to anyone of any age. I implore you to read this brilliant book and if you enjoy it, acquire a personal copy to look back and enjoy whenever you're in the mood.

review: the elementary particles

25 May 2016

book info:
on sale: now
copy from: public library
pages: 263
review written: 23.5.16
originally published: 1998 ("Les particules élémentaires")
edition read: Knopf, 2000, translation by Frank Wynne

title: The Elementary Particles
author: Michel Houellebecq

The Elementary Particles part-story part-metaphysical-rants in an interesting narration from two characters, half-brothers borne of a hippie and absentee mother in the 60s: Michel and Bruno. Michel is an asexual scientist who "expresses his disgust with society by engineering one that frees mankind at last from its uncontrollable, destructive urges" and Bruno is a crass brute driven by sexual desires that lusts after his lost youth. This book follows their stories from childhood to their middle age, spinning around the past and present and major and minor characters in an intriguing narrative that had me reading every single word for fear of missing anything crucial.
(quote from book summary)

When I first began to read, I imagined this would be a monotonous French novel describing the dull, mundane world with distaste and mild appreciation. I was shocked by the blatant narration of Bruno, who's such a brute that I'd recommend mature audiences read this book. Not only that, the metaphysical analyses offered by both the characters took some time for me to digest and full comprehend. While at first it seemed to me that the verbose paragraphs of metaphysics interrupted the story and that the story seemed only to be a canvas for Houllebecq to write a non-essay of his thoughts and opinions, only when I finished the book did I understand that what I'd thought was pretentiousness was actually a carefully orchestrated performance that I was too impatient to hear in the beginning.

I think a crucial peak in the storyline was a conversation between the adults Bruno and Michel in an affordable Chinese restaurant. They were both immensely interested in Aldous Huxley's Brave New World and took upon talking not only about Huxley's own life, but his message and his purpose for writing arguably his most famous work.

"The metaphysical mutation that gave rise to materialism and modern science in turn spawned two great trends: rationalism and individualism. Huxley's mistake was in having poorly evaluated the balance of power between these two. Specifically, he underestimated the growth of individualism brought about by an increased consciousness of death. Individualism gives rise to freedom, the self of self, the need to distinguish onseelf and to be superior to others. A rational society like the one he describes in Brave New World can defuse the struggle. Economic rivalry--a metaphor for mastery over space--has no more reason to exist in a society of plenty, where the economy is strictly regulated. Sexual rivalry--a metaphor for mastery over time through reproduction--has no more reason to exist in a society where the connection between sex and procreation has broken. But Huzley forgets about individualism. He doesn't understand that sex....still a form of narcissistic differentiation.... For society to function, for competition to continue, people have to want more and mor, until desire fills their lives and finally devours them."
- page 133, Michel narrating

Bruno and Michel represent two polar ends of a vaguely similar topic: sex. Bruno is devoured by it, obsessed with it, and indulges himself with it. Michel is an onlooker to the desire for sex, as an asexual being, and instead uses his deep understanding of science to analyse the metaphysics behind sex and, towards the end of the book, discovers an eye-opening research possibility and moves on to pursue it.

This book gave me mixed feelings and emotions. The blatant and crude narration of Bruno made me feel dirtied and depressed, much like the character (pardon me). Michel's narration made me feel depressed as well but his lengthy and often challenging-to-comprehend explanations of scientific concepts proved too interesting to let go. Metaphysics, as defined by Wikipedia, is "concerned with explaining the fundamental nature of being and the world that encompasses it." I believe Michel combined philosophy with science with maybe too lofty a voice for my liking. It was still expertly written. I feel that if I read this book over and over again, I'd come to a better understanding of the story.

Therefore, at least for now, I give this book 5 umbrellas. This is because it's been a long time since I've read a book that forced me to read every word, that kept me itching to read more, and that made me think and question not only about the literature but the world.

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