Category Archives: Books

And the dragons fly

Sri’s latest Puteri Naga Tiberius is the second Malay language fantasy novel I have read.  Her previous offering of Odisi Tanah Kencana was my first.

I was sucked into the story from the first pages of Puteri Naga Tiberius, it reminded me of my first encounter with the fantasy / sci-fi genre when Aniza lent me her copy of Raymond E. Feist’s Magician back in form 5.

Sri’s world had structure, its own language and lores.  I liked how she blended western and local elements to include the orang bunian and dragons in the same magical world.  Familiar traits of different beings such as the orang bunian brought to mind the elves in Magician as well as Tolkien’s fair elven folk.

Puteri Naga Tiberius is different from Odisi Tanah Kencana in the sense that the latter had a very Nusantara feel to it, and also because of the target audience being the YA segment.  But both had the elements of adventure, family and comradeship weaved into the respective tales.  And magic, of course.

My only complain about PNT would be that it was only 400 pages long!  Haha.  Indeed, the story could be longer in certain parts, such as the battle where the Crown Prince Basilius managed to emerge triumphant or the confrontation in the tombs of Kings or a slightly longer storyline for the Queen Elemina and Basilius’ uncle Angas.

However, I am hoping the publisher would decide to let Sri write the sequel (or four!) for her fans to reconnect with the world she had created and learn what had become of Sula and Basilius after their final encounter in PNT.

A double dose of The City

I picked up another Rachel Cohn and David Levithan’s collaboration – Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares – a few weeks ago.  After Nick and Norah’s one night of adventure in early spring New York City, this time the setting was winter.  Specifically, Christmastime.

The main characters are younger than the straight edge, music snobs that are Nick and Norah and the story has a totally different setting.  What made me chose the book? Three things: New York City, Strand and a red Moleskine notebook.

It’s a pleasant read, with enough literary references to satisfy (and mistify) the nerd in me.  The story also made me wish I had met with a ‘snarly boy’ with a love of the Oxford English Dictionary when I was 16.  Heh.  That and a longing to experience New York City in winter.  Well, maybe for just a short while, before I freeze up from the cold.

Just before Eid, I re-read Nick and Norah’s story, which I thought had a more awesome ending than the movie, although I loved that version too.  It’s just that it would’ve been nice to have the scene where Nick and Norah were dancing in the rain made the cut to be on film.

The streets where both sets of characters from the two books roam differed quite a bit, except for Times Square.  I think.  While Nick and Norah’s adventure took place in one very long night (and early morning), Dash and Lily’s story had a longer timeline, but the speedy pace of both books is similar, which I also like.

It felt good to read made up stories that didn’t require too much thinking about heavy, real stuff.  Even if it was for just a couple of nights. And days.


Buku pinjam

Not many people lend me their books, and I seldom borrow books nowadays, especially from the library (I think I last did so in early 2000).

I do read books on the shelves of people I visit though, like when I stayed with Lin last summer or the week or so spent at Coy’s.

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I think a visit to the neighbourhood library is in order…

Seeking everywhere

For the past month or so, I’ve been helping a cousin with his English composition. Which is to say I give him topics to write about while I time and help with grammar, spelling and such.

Last weekend, I started to read The Scarlet Pimpernel again, and I wondered about the movie adaptation I had watched when I was in school.

Managed to find it on youtube, and also of Ivanhoe. That was also a good read and movie.

There were other adaptations that our teacher let us watch – Tess of D’Uberville, Daddy Long Legs, among others – after we’ve finished reading the books. It’s something to look forward to after a stressful day doing maths or memorising historical dates and events.

I don’t think book readers are the norm in day schools, except for the old institutions. I might be wrong.

Goodbye, Mr. Segal

I was trawling the news headlines when I saw that Erich Segal had died, after battling with Parkinson’s for almost three decades. That was actually after I read Steve the Waiter’s tribute to Robert Parker, who died earlier.

Segal is famous for Love Story but I know him from his other books, namely The Class and Doctors. I still have the former (siapa nak? it’s yours) while the latter I gave away almost 15 years ago. I don’t know if that person still has it or not. It wasn’t until much later that I saw his famous movie and read the book as well as it’s sequel Oliver’s Story.

After high school, Doctors and The Class were a couple of the earliest ‘proper novels’ I had read in the sense that they weren’t fantasy or science fiction or Judith McNaught or Danielle Steele. Both his books took place in Harvard, and told the stories of the lives of young individuals and how they made their respective life journeys.

I guess I found the books around the same time I was starting my own journey towards adulthood and loved the themes incorporated in the pages. Then there was Andrew Eliot, a character in The Class who is still my favourite after all these years.

Novels. I’m reading less of them nowadays, preferring works of non-fiction. Maybe it’s to compensate my dependence of fiction on tv…