Saturday, 26 March 2011

Book Catcher 2011 Series Four courtesy of BookCrossing Meet-up

IM A MEMBER OF BOOKCROSSING NORTHERN IRELAND(BCNI) Book Club, unfortunately, I dont have time to attend the monthly meeting. But this month I was able to catch up with the group inside a bar in Belfast. As usual, every member brought their own books to swap with others, and for my share, I brought the remaining copies of Sarah Waters' novel, Fingersmith that I've also distributed during the World Book Night (WBN) last 05 March 2011.

At the end of the meet-up, I brought home three books: A Life Like Other People's (Alan Bennett), Memoir of Geisha (Arthur Golden), and Beatrice and Virgil (Yann Martel). Bennett's book is included in the WBN 25 book titles and one of the members of the club swapped with my book, Fingersmith. Geisha was published in 1997 and became a major motion picture, while Beatrice and Virgil was published in 2010 with the same author of the winner of the Man Book Prize, Life of Pi.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

BookFace: Academic ebooks for a grab

ACADEMIC TEXTBOOKS ARE VERY EXPENSIVE since I was in college/uni taking-up a Civil Engineering degree a long time ago! It was a frustrating experience when the professors/lecturers were using textbooks that dont have much copies available in the library. Indeed, it was an annoying feeling to reserve the books and waiting for other students returned the copies, at the same time catching up with numerous project/research work deadlines.

Students nowadays are more luckier considering that majority of course/module handouts are given-out by the lecturers and more reference books are readily available in the library. Of course, with internet/online connection, it is much easier and manageable to do further readings or to do the assignments.

With the introduction of e-reading devices (like the Amazon Kindle), some of these academic books are now accessible to everyone - free of charge. I chose some of them (as shown above) that I think more helpful for students and teachers or even for those people (like me) who want to review some of the basic theories in geometry, trigonometry, earth science and chemistry.

NOTE: These ebooks are freebies in and for both UK and US regions at the time of posting. It might NOT be free in other regions but normally available for discounted prices.

Monday, 21 March 2011

Emma Donoghue...speaks about her novel Room at GoodReads

THE NOVEL, 'ROOM' IS THE WINNER of the 2010 Goodreads Choice Award for Fiction. The author, Emma Donoghue is answering questions about the book - a gripping story of a mother and son held captive in an 11x11 foot space. Goodreads set-up a GROUP which allows members to have a direct communication with the author herself from 21-25 March 2011. I posted my own personal question about the settings of Room. I asked:
Ive read your brief interview's responses featured by British Channel 4 - The TV Book Club 2011. You mentioned that you somehow based Room's setting from Fritzl case in Austria. Personally, I thought you based it from 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. Im sure you're aware of her story. Did you every try to get some settings from her story?
Then Emma replied:
I know ROOM might sound more like the Dugard case, but she was only discovered after the novel was written and with my agent. One main difference between the storyline of ROOM and almost all the well-known kidnapping cases is that, at 19, Ma is an adult when she is captured.
I also noted some interesting questions and responses from the group discussions which I feel relevant to share with other readers of Room or could somehow persuade others to grab a copy of the book. Here some of the Q&As about Room or you can visit the group: CLICK HERE. Q1: I wonder though did you ever think of putting another character(s) like siblings of Jack perhaps inside Room?" Emma: Interesting question. No, I agree that the family dynamics with more than one sibling could be fascinating, but I wanted the situation in ROOM to have a stark simplicity: one mother, one child, one villain. The strangest thing about Room is that Jack has never had to share his mother's love or attention with anyone at all. Q2: I was just wondering where Jack picked up his individual way of speaking from, seeing as the only influences on his speech patterns before leaving Room would have been from Ma, People on the Television, and Old Nick. Emma: In my experience, kids put together a unique package of language based on what they hear, how they see things, and the universals of kid grammar; they don't end up sounding like either Dad or Spongebob Squarepants. Q3: I was very surprised when it turned out that the story was set in the USA. Many expressions, especially those by Ma and her mother sounded British (or Canadian) rather than American... Emma: I wanted it be set in America so that the country Ma and Jack emerge into would be one with a strong sense of itself as everyone's happy ending - land of freedom and prosperity, etc. Ma's not an immigrant, it's just that - despite the best efforts of my publishers' copyeditors! - I'm afraid some of my phrasing is not standard American. As for the title 'Ma', I just didn't want the typical modern American one of 'Mom', as Ma and Jack are such outsiders, so I went for one (Ma) that I associate with nineteenth-century America (Little House on the Prairie, anyone?). In Ireland we say Mammy, Mum, Ma or (increasingly) Mom. Q4: Why was Ma adopted? What relevance does that add to the story?" Emma: Oh, this is a touchy one, isn't it? People have such strong and clashing views on adoption. I see it as normal, myself, having many friends who have either been adopted or have adopted. I'm the birth mother in my own family, so my partner is technically/legally an adoptive mother, and perhaps that shapes her bond with the kids in some ways but it doesn't make it any less powerful. Well, anyway, for what it's worth, here are some reasons I made Ma adopted:(a) I knew readers would be longing for her to get back to the normal world, the happy-nuclear-family world, and when it finally happens I wanted her family to have a realistic modern feel. Having the parents split up was one way of doing that (especially since so many couples do break up when a child goes missing) and having her be adopted was another. (b) Because in Room it might seem like her and Jack's closeness grows out of their birth bond, I wanted to show that birth is not the only way for such motherlove to happen.(c) I liked the notion of Ma's unseen birth mother as someone haunting the novel, a parallel for Ma, a young woman under unidentified pressures who makes the very different decision to give her child up. FINALLY, EMMA REVEALED THAT SHE received numerous offers for a film adaptation of Room but to date, nothing formalised yet. Personally, this is something to look forward to especially the on-screen characterisation of Jack. I've also learned that the audio version of the book is available and it got excellent reviews too.

NOTE: If you are interested to read my review, please CLICK HERE and for additional information about Emma's public/speaking engagements, CLICK HERE. The short video clip (as shown above) created by Hachette Book Group is quite an effective way to increase the marketability of the book.