Friday, 11 February 2011

I miss my old room... together with my three brothers without a TV

INITIALLY, I WAS PLANNING to read this book in my white Kindle3G but I was lucky to grab a hardcopy from my favourite charity shop for 1 pound only! So, I spared a few schellings instead of purchasing its ebook version from Amazon. I was intrigued by the title and cover design of it, not to mention that this is one of the popular and recommended reads in GoodReads and to date, Room is still one of the best selling books in UK. Without a doubt, this book is also included in the 2011 Booklist of UK Channel 4's The TV Book Club.

However, I rated this book 3 out of 5 stars. Overall, I like the story, but not suitable for all ages! If I will recommend this for my mother (she is now 67 yrs old) to read, she might NOT be able to understand Jack's favourite children TV shows. On the other hand, I think the author is somehow able to manage enough to describe effectively of what a 5-yr old boy feels and thinks in embracing and enjoying life, together with his mother in a limited controlled environment. The planning and execution of Jack and Ma's escape are the best parts of the story! Unfortunately, Jack's new life outside the Room is not fully explored.

Lesson learned? Well, Jack's story reminds us that sometimes we created our own private Rooms which have limited access to other people or we do not want that every one could dwell inside. Maybe these Rooms provide us comfort, strength and encouragement to move on with our lives. Ultimately, these Rooms become our refuge and to some extent, we do not want to get out from these "comfort zones" and not taking risks to explore outside our Rooms, afraid to confront our fears to fail! In terms of child development, our parents play an important role in shaping our personalities and to prepare us in embarking with so called – life! Early development is a crucial stage in our young lives to be socially and psychologically prepared to embrace life. Of course, there are external forces that influence our young behaviours, but again with the proper guidance from our parents, the negative impacts/effects from these forces can be minimised or can be handled accordingly!

Speaking of externalities, television and other media/entertainment devices (interactive games, computers, DVD players, etc.) are major influential factors in growing-up. For instance, my cousin's youngest son (turned 3 last December) manages to operate an iPad and watched his favourite heroes cartoon programmes in Youtube! Consequently, he does heroes stuff – doing heroes iconic moves while wearing Batman, Spiderman and Ironman costumes in a day! Believe me, he is not crazy and being an Uncle, I am amused while watching him. Of course, there is limitation about this and when his parents come into picture, he does his tantrums – manageable to handle just diverting his attention.

A 2006 US survey conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation shows that 75% of children under 6 years old watch some TV in a given day ( Moreover, the study found out that children age 6 and under who watch television spend an average of one hour, and total "screen time" with these media gadgets goes up to nearly four hours and 30 minutes per day. There is a "misconception" among parents that allowing kids/babies to watch TV is educational. But according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), no screen time for children under 2 years old to prevent a reduction in communication and language skills. In addition, study also revealed that each hour of television per day results in a 2.68 decrease in a baby's language score. It is recommended that after the age of 2, parents could try to 1 or 2 hours of quality programming. On the other hand, the Nemours Foundation observes that, "in moderation, television can be educational in addition to entertaining - preschoolers can get help learning the alphabet on public television [and] grade-schoolers can learn about wildlife on nature shows." I think that "moderation" is the key when it comes to allowing young children to watch TV and other screen media. It is viewed that excessive viewing habits (more than four hours per day) can hamper with other aspects of a child's life development – physical activity and socialisation.

By the way, I took the Channel 4 TV Book Club's quiz and I got 83% (two mistakes out of 12 questions). I thought got it all right. Well, Jack thinks I'm clever as his Ma! I took it again and of course I answered them correctly – Jack's thinks I'm so clever but he will probably be that clever (like me) when he turns six!

If you want to know more about the author's inspiration to write, then visit this link: Emma Donoghue.

FINALLY, THIS STORY also reminded me of the American girl, Jaycee Lee Dugard being captive for 18 years. After her disappearance at age 11, her story became a world-wide sensation in August 2009. Maybe majority of us book fanatics thought that Donoghue's novel is based on her captivity experience. Unfortunately, Donoghue reveals that she got the inspiration to write Jack's life from the Austrian Fritzl's case.

"In Room we knowed what everything was called but in the world there's so much, persons don't even know the names" - Jack

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Featured Bookreader: Norah BD

MY FIRST FEATURED BOOKREADER is a retired nurse and one of the active members of BookCrossing (Northern Ireland) and GoodReads. Norah BD shared some of her recent reads as well as her recommended books for others to read.

Q1: What book are you currently reading now? The Memory Keeper's Daughter (Kim Edwards)

Q2: Why did you choose to read this particular book? It is a popular title and I received it through Bookcrossing 'First Lines' Xmas game in December 2010.

Q3: Would you recommend this book to others? Why? Not really. Poor reviews on Well written, but poor characters, sad people who couldn't handle emotions, but didn't develop the story well.

Q4. What is your favorite book? Briefly describe the story. I dont have favourite.

Q5: Give at least three (3) books you would like to recommend for others to read. The Book Thief (Markus Zusak), Pompeii (Robert Harris), and The Road less travelled (M Scott Peck)

Q6: Do you collect books? If yes, how many you have kept? Yes, lost count!

Q7: If you were stranded on an island, and you have only one book to carry, what would it be? A blank notebook to write in!

Q8: What is your favorite online social network for people who love books?

Q9. What is your favorite film/movie adapted from a book? I dont have favourite.

Q10: What is your favorite quote/quotation from a book or author? None.

Norah BD also posted a review of The Memory Keeper's Daughter of Kim Edwards at GoodReads.Com. As quoted from her review:

"Good start, dragging a bit in the middle, ... I did enjoy it and thought it was well written, though I didn't really like the characters, with all their secrecy and inability to be honest with each other. It was certainly quite gripping and un-put-downable!"
She adds that, she's planning to release the book somewhere in London area during her forthcoming visit. Regarding her three recommended books, Norah BD has also reviewed one of them:

"Hugely enjoyed this historical novel, which reminded me of some of the tales my Latin teacher used to recount, of the days of the Roman Empire. Lots of interestingly and seemingly factual detail, with human interest too, most of the characters being well described, and a romantic element as well, ending 'happy ever after', though veiled as part of the myth..." (Pompeii by Robert Harris)

THANK YOU NORAH BD for accepting my invitation to be featured in my blog. And of course to my readers who want to share your passion for books, drop me a line at the comment box and be my next featured bookreader!

Sunday, 6 February 2011

BookFace: Room by Emma Donoghue

Synopsis: Jack is five, and excited about his birthday. He lives with his Ma in Room, which has a locked door and a skylight, and measures eleven feet and eleven feet. He loves watching TV, and the cartoon characters he calls friends, but he knows that nothing he sees on screen is truly real - only him, Ma and the things in Room. Until the day Ma admits that there's a world outside.