Between the Covers: Stories from My Bookcase

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Bella and Edward: Twilight

I guess it is no surprise that my topic this week for the Online Book and MovieFan Club is about the first half of the Twilight Saga. I have mentioned too many times on this blog (as well as over at my other blog) that I have picked them up, and was surprised that I did actually find them entertaining.

You see, I was prepared not to like Twilight.

I first had my hands on an actual copy of the book from some of the girls at work. I didn't read it at the time - it didn't look like any book I would usually pick up from the store. I had then read from different people's blogs their various Twilight experiences. More of them liked it, but there are those too who found it lame. This was the most interesting review critique of Twilight that I've read; it's what convinced me to go on and read.

I read Twilight twice. And I decided that I liked it enough to move on to the next. I must admit though, I didn't particularly like learning the story from Bella's point of view. The first chapters were dragging - I felt that the author was trying too hard to setup the climax. It got more interesting though from the middle, until the end. That made sense to me after visiting Stephenie Meyer's website.

I don't like Bella. I felt like she was self-centered the way she treated Charlie and her new friends (were they really her friends?). Then I realized she wasn't self-centered, no not selfish. She was just so unwilling to like anybody, so unwilling to care. So bent on having a miserable time - on punishing herself. How many times did she mention tuning out while her new friends were around her? It annoyed me. If she didn't want their company, she should have just said so.

Could there be really anyone as clumsy and accident magnet as she is? I am used to being called lampa. I've never been into sports as a kid. I'd trip and fall a lot, and that's why I have scars all over. I hardly ever really enjoyed PE in school - I welcomed any way I could get an exemption (which wasn't easy to get). But I was not/am not an accident magnet.

Back to Bella. I felt the author's conscious effort to paint a picture of Bella that would be such a mismatch to the perfection that Edward was. But I could also see the hints of personality and traits that would make her his perfect fit. Strip Edward of his immortality and Adonis features, and I guess they would be a match. They complement each other.

Anyway, from the first book, Twilight, these are my favorite quotes, both uttered by Edward:
For almost ninety years I've walked among my
kind, and yours… all the time thinking I was complete in myself, not
realizing what I was seeking. And not finding anything, because you
weren't alive yet.

just because we've been… dealt a certain hand… it doesn't mean that
we can't choose to rise above — to conquer the boundaries of a destiny
that none of us wanted.

The first one is so cheesy, but the second is inspiring, I guess. Makes me remember the line: Rage against the dying of the light. Did I get that right? Haha.

It wasn't really the love story of Bella and Edward that I particularly liked in this book. It's how the Cullens have bonded together. It's how they've all of a sudden worked to protect Bella - not necessarily for her sake, but out of love for Edward. If I had one person who would do that for me - protect who/what I loved because they couldn't endure seeing me without that love - I'd consider myself very lucky. I think I only really appreciated how deep their bonds are after reading this:
Alice interrupted this time, touching my cheek with her cold fingers.
"It's been almost a century that Edward's been alone. Now he's found you.
You can't see the changes that we see, we who have been with him for so
long. Do you think any of us want to look into his eyes for the next
hundred years if he loses you?"

Anyway, I could go on really. But it's time I stopped myself.

So Alfred is reading Twilight now. He likes it - not because of the lovey dovey stuff, but because he likes vampire stories. I know he will enjoy New Moon and Eclipse even better. I've been trying to convince him to drop the book because he'll go so much faster if I just told him the story. We can even go chapter by chapter if he wanted. Hehe. Looks like he'll be reading this through from cover to cover though. Go for it my love :)

Online Book and Movie Club at Muthahood Crib Now, go visit other players at the online BAM fan club HQ, or start by reading what movie Detter recommends.

Until the next Twilight post. Oh, and I might read the last book tomorrow.

*This is a repost from my personal blog

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Circle of Friends - Maeve Binchy

Online Book and Movie Club at Muthahood Crib

I have joined yet another of Dette's clubs - the Online Book and Movie Club or BAM. If you enjoy reading books or watching movies, then you will most probably enjoy being part of this group :)

Here's my belated first ever BAM post and yes, I am posting on a Saturday early morning rather than Friday. But, you don't mind do you? ;)

First off, I had a friend asking me about James Frey's first novel that I may have mentioned in my previous post. The novel's title is A Million Little Pieces and it's James' retelling of his experience recovering from his addictions in a drug treatment center. But it isn't just about drug treatment really, it's about so much more. It's a brutal story and well embellished, but worth the read.

Now, on to the book I've been wanting to tell you guys about since last week:

Maeve Binchy's Circle of Friends. I've got a very old and worn copy of the book that has Chris O'Donnell and Minnie Driver on the cover. I didn't see the movie version but I am definitely going to hunt it down one of these days.

This has only been my second Maeve Binchy title, the first being Tara Road, but I've decided that I like her as an author. I think I'll fit in in 1950s/60s Ireland. :D

I brought this book with me to Bohol thinking that this may be the first book I'll be giving away or reselling on my blog -  but because I liked it so much, I don't think I'd actually be parting with it anytime soon.

I liked it so much that I was compelled to relay the story to Alfred. I gave him updates as the story progressed. I enjoyed that too.

The story revolves around the friendship and coming of age of two girls Eve and Benny, and the circle of friends that they have built to surround and support them.  For years it was just the two of them, until all of a sudden, an accident throws them together with a merry mix of other young people from Dublin.

Oh I remember too my first day at University, even if it wasn't as eventful as theirs was...  :)

In a way I related to Benny, being a big girl (though I am plump, and she seems to just be big), and having a family that was always there for her. No, my parents were never too strict and didn't baby me as a teenage girl. Neither am I an only child. Still, I kinda identified with Benny.

I've always thought that I could get any boy/man I like.  Growing up, I've had my fair share of admirers. But because I gained weight as I grew older, I guess I started thinking that pretty boys won't look at me and think that they want me. I was resigned to the fact that the only way I could get Mr Popularity was if he really got to know me. I knew I was sexy, but they had to see beyond my body. I don't resent the Nan Mahons of the world, because I always believed that the Benny Hogans and the Eve Malones could achieve anything they wanted - including getting the men of their dreams. Haha.

Though I grew up in a city, living within the St. Andrew's Seminary Compound is somehow like growing up in a small town like Knockglen where Benny and Eve were born and raised. I wouldn't mind going home to Knockglen on weekends and holidays.

So what did Circle of Friends speak of to me?

Women and the different ways we behave.

Friendship, loyalty and betrayal. Family. Relationships, and what really matters.

It's about dreaming and what people do to make them happen. Embracing change while still staying true to one's nature.

It's about growing up. Finding strength within. And conquering the odds.

*This is a repost from my personal blog

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Thursday Thirteen #14 - Books!

For this edition of my Thursday Thirteen, I list the books on my current to-read pile.

to-read pile!

There are plenty of other books in the house that I haven't read and would love to read too. It just so happens that I bought the ones on this pile myself - mostly second-hand.
  1. New Moon - Book 2 of the Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer. I just finished reading Twilight for the second time and I'll probably start this one in a day or two. I gotta post about the recent two books I finished reading before I start another though.
  2. Eclipse - Book 3 of the Twilight Saga. Okay, it's obvious that I already own all four books in the series. I figured I'd buy them at once while Fully Booked at Gateway still had paperback stocks. I actually had to reserve these via email. The first three books were picked up for me by my friend Vanette, while Breaking Dawn in paperback was restocked only last weekend. The CS peeps over at Fully Booked were kind enough to inform me that it was already available so I picked it up on Monday.
  3. Breaking Dawn - Book 4. Alfred is interested in reading the saga and I am encouraging him because it is rare that he shows interests in books. I'm not sure how he'd react to the cheesy stuff though.
  4. My Friend Leonard - James Frey. I had read A Million Little Pieces and was moved, sometimes disturbed, by the story. I don't care if he embellished and if it wasn't 100% truthful, he had very powerful words and he painted pictures that people should see. I am looking forward to this one, and I am assuming it will revolve around the same Leonard that was part of the first book. While I was at the bookstore, I found out about a third novel that Frey wrote. If I still like this one, I'd most probably be getting that too.
  5. Lirael - by Garth Nix. Book 2 of the Abhorsen series. It's been years since I read the first of the trilogy: Sabriel. It's a Young Adult Fantasy and I love it!  The main character in the first book is a young girl. Lirael will continue on with what had happened after the events in the first book took place. I'm hoping I can dig out the first book so I could jog my memory a bit before I start on Lirael.
  6. Les Miserables - Victor Hugo. I've seen the concert, loved the songs and even sang them, but I've never read the book. I must admit it's thickness is quite intimidating, but I think I can handle it  :)
  7. Homer's The Iliad and The Odyssey. You gotta take one when you take the other right? Haha. I wonder if I'll understand much of what is written in these two books?
  8. Anna Karenin by Leo Tolstoy.
  9. PS I Love You by Cecilia Ahern - Loved the movie, I'm sure I will love the book even more.
  10. The Nanny Diaries by Emma Mclaughlin, Nicola Kraus. Here's another title whose movie adaptation I enjoyed watching.
  11. The Year of Pleasures by Elizabeth Berg - I had read two or three of her novels before and I truly enjoyed them. So full of heart. I've already forgotten what this one is about, but I'm sure I will like it.
  12. The Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella - I have missed her writing and woulld love to just sitback and enjoy some light reading again :)
  13. The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger - Can you believe that I didn't see the movie? I'll read this, and then watch.
There are at least two more titles upstairs that should be on this pile, including Scottoline's Daddy's Girl. I'd love to skip work and just spend entire days reading and then blogging about them (and maybe even giving them away if I could figure out the logistics for that). Then I'd have visits to the bookshops to look forward to again. I really love walking into bookshops and letting titles draw me in. I have not tried book shopping online because I know I'd be addicted.  Maybe it's a blessing that Amazon doesn't deliver to the Philippines. ;)

Checkout my previous TT’s here and here. Also don’t forget to sign Mr Linky, and leave a comment so I can go visit you too. )

*This is a repost from my personal blog

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Mistaken Identity - Lisa Scottoline

How would you feel if you met someone who was your complete opposite (in personality and social stature) but who looked exactly like you? Then that person tells you she's your twin?I would probably freak out and then run to my mom and dad! 

That's what top notch lawyer Bennie Rosato did when it happened to her. She also took on the reponsibility of being the alleged twin's defense counsel in a capital murder case.

Mistaken Identity - Lisa Scottoline
The last Scottoline book I read was Legal Tender where Bennie was accused of murder herself. In Mistaken Identity, Bennie has already established the all-girl law firm of Rosato and Associates and is living with her boyfriend Grady (who I thought was the murderer back in Legal Tender, hehe). Mary and Judy were in this book too and the former was shown as having second thoughts about her chosen career. Doubts that were later dispelled.

This case represented a turbulent time in Bennie's life: she learns that she has a twin, finds her dad, loses her mom, and she is almost killed. It is as if she loses her family - but in the end also learns what family really is all about - just not what she has always thought a family is or should be.

Mistaken Identity somewhat challenges our perceptions of family - is it merely blood and genes or something less tangible? I grew up with a loving family and I have good relationships with cousins, aunts and uncles, and grandparents too. Without a doubt, they are family to me. But I know that my heart also considers family, people who have no blood relation to me. I have lots of kuya's (elder brother), manangs (an older female), uncles and aunties because I grew up in a very close knit community. When Alfred and I started talking about wedding plans I had to explain to him that for my side, close family and friends is still a lot people.

Because I had read four of even five other Scottoline novels before this, I felt like I already knew Bennie, Mary (and her parents), Judy, Marshall, Grady and even Lou. I was even waiting for Anne until I realized that her story comes much later. This is what's great about her books, you can feel the familiarity as if you were part of the firm, of Mary's family, yet you wouldn't be lost if it was the first book you read.

While preparing for this post, I stumbled upon the author's website and found that she has a Tote bag promo. She sends you a tote bag if you send her proof that you bought two copies of her latest novel, one to give away to a friend. I have been thinking of giving away/reselling-for much less- books that we have here. Maybe I'll launch that project by purchasing two copies of Lady Killer. The thing is, I don't think it's already available locally. I would love to get that tote though. Hehe.

Oh, more book news... I am getting the Twilight Saga. I finally decided that I do want to read the whole series. I found a book store that still had paperback editions of the first three books and my friend will be picking them up for me this weekend. Breaking Dawn will have to wait - I'm not as hard core a fan to get the hard bound edition. :)

*This is a repost from my personal blog