Saturday, November 12, 2011

Review: D is for Dahl - A gloriumptious A-Z guide to the world of Roald Dahl

Title: D is for Dahl - A gloriumptious A-Z guide to the world of Roald Dahl
Compiled by: Wendy Cooling, Illustrations by Quentin Blake
Year: 2005
ISBN: 0-141-31272-6

D is for Dahl: A gloriumptious A-Z guide to the world of Roald Dahl is a compilation of every thing a fan of Roald Dahl would want to know more about his books and this most celebrated children' author of all time. This book reminds me a little of the normal and ubiquitous alphabet books but with a unique twist. 

This book is not all about Roald Dahl and his books, but it also contained some interesting general knowledge I did not know about in the first place but now I do. Although this book is primarily targeted for children, young adult and adult readers would find this book to be worth digging into, especially if they are growing up or have grown up reading Roald Dahl's books.

Personally, I like this book for the fact where its contents have been arranged in an alphabetical order in which made it very easy to read. Not only that, there were also random facts about Roald Dahl and his books, not to mention general knowledge that could be found practically almost every page throughout the book, and they were presented in a simple but interesting manner.

Although the contents of the book is not presented in full colour, the funny illustrations drawn by Quentin Blake throughout it made it a very interesting read. Not to mention the style of writing of this book somewhat mimicked that of Roald Dahl's. I think readers would enjoy reading this book, the young and young-at-heart alike.

Friday, November 11, 2011

11.11.11 - Is it REALLY a special day?

Today is Friday, 11.11.11... a date in which would only happen once in a hundred years in a century. I am really wondering if this date is really that special as been highlighted with so much hype in the media, especially the print media. This day would have been special to people who have their birthdays and/or wedding day/anniversary. And that is if they have the privillege to witness it happening. Other than this, I think it is just like any other day that is passing by unless anyone choose to make it special and/or significant for themselves and/or their loved ones.

But for some one I know who is a writer friend and syndicated columnist in major newspapers and magazines around the globe, it is a special day for her and especially to her feline companions. Ellen Whyte, has published the 789th blog post about her kitty companions today. I personally feel that this is a REAL feat not many people would have achieved, especially when you are a writer and/or a person pursuing a career in the creative industry. I am GENUINELY happy for Ellen to have achieved this unique feat. I also hope, if it is even possible at all, Ellen would come out with the 800th blog post when 20.11.2011 comes around, which in reality it is only nine days away.

Personally, I feel that dates like today 11.11.11 and the upcoming 20.11.2011 is nothing special really. They are just like any other dates and days in the calendar, the only major difference would be how the dates are uniquely collated following the Gregorian calendar humankind has been using for a very long time now.  However, I'm not so sure about the views of the scholars of the different major cultures in Malaysia would have, i.e. Malays, Chinese and Indians.

Nevertheless, I wish all my family and friends to savour and enjoy today as it only comes once in a century. I think it depends on how you look at it and to decide if you want to make it a special day to remember. Last but not least, happy 11.11.11!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Review: Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom

Tuesdays with Morrie: An Old Man, a Young Man, and Life's Greatest Lesson

Title: Tuesdays with Morrie
Author: Mitch Albom
Year: 1997
ISBN: 978-0-385-49649-0

Tuesdays with Morrie written by Mitch Albom is an inspiring real-life story about the author's university professor who was diagnosed Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease. I bought this book to better understand the story as I had watched the movie on a local terrestrial TV channel not too long ago.

This book is actually a tribute of the author to his university professor, Morris S. Schwartz who had taught him Sociology modules at Brandeis University. Albom is already an accomplished sports journalist and commentator when he came across an episode on Nightline featuring an interview with this professor who was already diagnosed and dying from Lou Gehrig's disease in 1994.

The author was living on an extremely hectic life as a sport journalist and commentator where he was constantly in the thick of things and had been on high demand to cover many sports tournaments and sports-related events. Although Albom enjoyed his career, however, he was not achieving the fulfillment that should have came with his career. He was just moving with flow of things, where he would try to fulfill all the demands his career requires of him, not to mention having to be contented a domineering boss. Not only that, as a result of a total commitment to his career, his relationship with his wife, Janine also deteriorated.

When Albom finally decided to visit his dying professor, little did he know that the visits would become life's enduring lessons, changing the way he would view life forever. Those visits became full-blown, classroom lessons, albeit in an informal manner. Lengthy discussions were held but virtually no notes were taken and assignments done, instead Albom were encouraged to ponder on the different issues about life at the end of each lesson, and to give an indication he has fully understood each lesson his professor was trying to impart to him whenever they meet for subsequent lessons.

Finally when his professor passed away, the valuable lessons that Albom had learned were turned into a "thesis", in the form of this very book yours truly is reviewing. This book is an exceptionally inspiring story, written in a simple but profound manner. Tears came to eyes as I read the story and it made me also ponder the many different aspects of my own life.

I highly recommend this book to all readers who are partial to reading real life and inspiring stories. A string of rave reviews and selling more than 11 million copies worldwide, Tuesdays with Morrie is a real gem to have in every book lover's shelf.