LOTR meets Harry Potter

23 February 2012

review: the kite runner

16 February 2012

book info:
ages: 16 and up
grades: 9 and up
on sale: now
copy: school library
pages: 371

title: The Kite Runner
author: Khaled Hosseini
stars: 5+

A novel set mostly in Afghanistan. The introverted and insecure afghan narrator, Amir, grows up in Afghanistan in the closing years of the monarchy and the first years of the short-lived republic. His best and most faithful friend, Hassan, is the son of a servant. Amir feels he betrays Hassan by not coming to his aid when Hassan is set on by bullies and furthermore forces Hassan and his father Ali to leave his father´s service. Amir´s relatively privileged life in Kabul comes to an end when the communist regime comes to power and his extrovert father, Baba emigrates with him to the U.S. There Amir meets his future afghan wife and marries her. Amir´s father dies in the U.S. and Amir receives a letter from his father´s most trusted business partner and, for a time, Amir´s surrogate father, which makes Amir return, alone, to a Taliban-dominated Afghanistan in search of the truth about himself and his family, and finally, a sort of redemption.

my thoughts:
 At first, I wasn't sure what to expect. I enjoyed reading the first few pages, a glimpse into Afghanistan before the Tailban and WAY before 9/11. Amir and Hassan's relationship is unrivaled and I was both in awe and in love with it. The entire story...god, I'm so emotional...is beautiful. I can't even bring myself to dissect it by plot or whatever, because this is just amazing.
 If you're planning on reading it, the story contains violence and crude scenes (though not long and not detailed, like gory descriptions) I recommend it for those who believe themselves to be mature enough for it.

 It's very sad. I found myself tearing up over the beauty, the irony and the lovely story.  Hosseini is not just an author, or writer: he's a storyteller.

 Being Indian and growing up around Muslim culture, I appreciated and understood many references and I believe it made my experience enjoyable. Like, pronunciation or names or words, or knowing what naan means or something.
 AHHH! This book is too good! It's the first 5+ rating in such a long time!

Life, After Giveaway!

11 February 2012

Thanks to the lovely Sarah Darar Littman, who has kindly donated a paperback copy of Life, After for giveaway!

{Dani’s life in Argentina—private school, a boyfriend, a loving family—is crumbling quickly. To escape from a country in crisis, where it feels like every day the ground sinks a little more under their feet, Dani and her family move to the United States. It’s supposed to be a fresh start, but when you’re living in a cramped apartment and going to high school where all the classes are in another language - and not everyone is friendly - life in America isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Dani misses her old friends, her life, Before. In addition, she must deal with an angry father who seems more like a stranger every day.

Just when Dani is about to break, she meets a boy named Jon, who isn’t like all the other students. Through him, she becomes friends with Jessica, one of the popular girls, who is harboring a secret of her own. And then there’s Brian, the boy who makes Dani’s pulse race. In her new life, the one After, Dani learns how to heal and forgive. She finds the courage to say goodbye and allows herself to love and be loved again.}

How to enter:

Thank you :) 

interview: Sarah Darer Littman

Me: HI Sarah! Thank you for coming on Pages!
Sarah: This is Sarah

Personal (asked by moi, obviously)

1.       How do you like doing interviews? Are they boring, or do you enjoy them, or…?

It really depends on the questions. Sometimes in interviews you get asked questions that you think: "Is my answer to this really going to give the reader any insight?"

2.       For those who don’t know: what is your favourite chocolate? 

I love very high octane dark chocolate. Lindt Excellence 85% and I'm very in love with the "Touch of Sea Salt" variety.
My boyfriend also discovered this amazing deliciousness from Chocopologie, which is near us in Norwalk, CT:

Caramel, dark chocolate and sea salt...Nom, nom, nom! He hides the bar and then distributes it a square at a time as a treat at the end of the day when I've been a good writer girl.

Now *that's* what I call incentive!

 (Kirthi: Ohmygod, I'm so jealous)

3.       Describe yourself in three words.

Funny, passionate, thinker

4.       Harry Potter: yes or no?

      Yes, Yes, a million times yes!  J.K. Rowling is an idol of mine, both as a writer and a person. I would love to just sit and have a mug of tea with her at the kitchen table and talk about writing and life someday.

5.       Things that make you laugh?

Wait Wait Don't Tell Me on NPR, my dog Benny throwing himself his toys (hilarious),  Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, my kids, Monty Python, David Lubar (he's so punny), BadLipReading on youTube, Damnyouautocorrect.com, oh I could go on and on and on. I have a strong appreciation for the odd and the ridiculous.

6.       How do you imagine your dream interview on Oprah (even though the show has stopped)? ^_^

Oprah tells me my books made her laugh - and cry. And then we hug and laugh and then she tells me and everyone in the audience that she's giving us convertibles. "And you get a convertible. And You. Yes, EVERYONE gets a convertible!" WOO HOO!!"

Book related:
1.       How did you research Life, After? Have you ever been to Argentina?

I have never been to Argentina, but I really, really want to go! I looked into traveling to Buenos Aires for research but the airfare alone at the time I would be able to go was $1000, and as a single mom it wasn't something I could work into my budget. Fortunately for me, I'm a bona fide research geek. I put a great deal of time into the research of setting, much more than I had for any of my other books. It was a tremendous compliment when people told me they couldn't believe I'd never been there.

2.       In what ways is the protagonist, Dani, like you?

She feels like an outsider much of the time (the working title for the book was "Extranjera")  and she is always sticks up for the underdog.

3.       You explained the difficulties of immigration in an emotional way: what inspired you to write on this topic?

I've lived abroad myself for fifteen years, so I know how difficult  - yet ultimately how incredibly rewarding - it is to learn to adapt to living in a different culture. In my case I only had the differences between the Queen's English and American English to overcome, not a completely different language.

I think of LIFE, AFTER as my “phoenix out of the ashes” book – for several reasons. Firstly the concept came about in a convoluted way from another book proposal that was rejected. I started working on it about 7 years ago but I couldn’t get the voice right, so I put it in a drawer, where it might have stayed if I hadn’t met someone who asked me if I’d ever considered writing anything for teens about 9/11 – she’d lost her husband on Flight United 93 and she said there wasn’t much for kids on the subject.  I sent her the synopsis I’d written and she told me I should write the book. My editors at Scholastic were on board, and I found that having met Claudette, and listened to her experiences, I was able to connect with my characters better and I returned to the story with renewed passion. Life, After is dedicated to Claudette, because without her encouragement, the story would probably still be sitting in a drawer.

4.       What message to you hope to convey, if any, to the readers of Life, After?

That we should be searching for the commonalities in our experiences and be less insular as a nation. Having lived in the United Kingdom during the Irish Republican Army bombing campaigns of the early 1970's, I grew up fully conscious and on constant alert to the ongoing terrorist threat - every day when I took the Tube to school, when we went to events at crowded venues. I found it incredibly frustrating that so many of my fellow Americans seemed to think that terrorism sprang to life for the first time on 9/11, just because that was when it happened on our soil. Part of that is because of the way our news is presented - you really have to be an educated consumer of media and make an active effort in order to find out what's going on in the rest of the world.

On a more cheerful note - Life, After ends with a message of love and hope, because that's where I hope that searching for the commonalities in our experiences rather than focusing on our differences will lead us.

topic: dresses on covers (brief)

08 February 2012

I cannot even begin to attempt to count the number of dresses on covers of all the books published in say, the past two years. It's mental.

Here are some famous examples:

Related to the book?
I don't remember Nora (Hush, Hush) wearing a dress, or Luce wearing various dresses. For those who have read Unearthly, does Clara wear long flowing dresses? I mean, in books like Luxe where the time period fits the style of clothing, it's fine!

A marketing strategy must be to put pretty dresses on covers and make the girls look gorgeous so that readers will want to read it. I do read based on a cover, and these covers are no doubt gorgeous, but the pages is what matters. Get it, pages? Anyway, I did not like Fallen by Lauren Kate. I hated it. (check out my other post on why) And Luce wearing dresses like those are completely unrelated to the book. The cover has to mean something! Not just hot girls in dresses!

I Have a Brain:
Don't read a book just because the girl on the cover is wearing a cool dress. I am not a brainless teenager. It bothers me how the girls are posed like they hear someone and turn their torso around like "huh, what was that?" or just like "Oh I'm so sexy, let me pose" or "I'm moody and sad, let me stare off into the distance meaningfully"

This conversation is turning into a different "whole other topic" that I will address later. Haha

twilight fun! (with a dash of harry potter)

04 February 2012

I once enjoyed Twilight, say over all the superficialness, the crap arse characters and all. The writing is well done, but the story doesn't do it for me. I don't HATE twilight, I just didn't enjoy it. And well, I thought I'd dedicate this post and poking fun at twilight and make people laugh.

Have you ever watched the Alex Reads Twilight videos? They're AMAZING! I'm a huge fan! And the Twilight videos are some of my favourites. I even noted down some favourite moments:
Chapter 8-9--> 1:50
Chapter 7--> 2:23
Chapter 16--> 1:08
Chapter 5-6--> :44 and 2:57

Here's Chapter 7 ^_^ I love the eating breakfast cheerily act, and the f*cking Lauren comments. they're my favourite those Lauren comments.

Now here are some funny pictures, a few of them ARE Harry Potter related

Haha, the last one is so true! I love the Vernon one as well, I just burst out laughing every time I glance at it!

And for those of you who are wondering when I'll get on with the real book blogging stuff, like reviews, I promise they're on their way!

I hope I've made you laugh today :)

five hundred follower contest

03 February 2012

Hi everyone!

I've been sitting at four hundred and eighty two (cuatro cientos ochenta dos) (482) followers for a while now. At once, I was bothered by it, but then I learned to be grateful for the followers I already have, and wanted to make your experience the best it can be without pesky giveaways with annoying extra points like "post to twitter" "post to your blog" "post to sidebar" Grr. But I'm sad to say that I'm offering those pesky add ons.
I'd also love discovering new blogs, young readers just joining and looking for support. Yet now many senior blogs aren't helping the freshie ones and I'm sad; I was once a fresh book blogger with 8 followers for nearly half a year.

However, now that I'm looking at it, the old annoyance is back, I really want to reach that plus twenty. I'd appreciate your help in doing the following for me:
  • recommending new blogs for me to support ^_^
  • recommending my blog to others
  • if I'm not following your blog (gasp!), send me your blog URL
  • posting about this giveaway in any form of media
But what will one lucky winner win?
A choice of an ARC of the following books:

For every 50 followers, another winner will be chosen. The first winner will get first pick, and then the second winner will get the second. I might stop the +50 once I run out of shipping money.

Gotta post about my blog or this contest somewhere at least once. 
Ends whenever Pages reaches it's goal
U.S./Canada only! (until further notice)
Fill out this form

Thank you so much for all your support!

---happy reading

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