Saturday, June 28, 2008


Okay, the Shopaholic series is definitely one of my most favourite series. The first Shopaholic book I bought (subsidised by my darling Ayah, of course. Hehe) was Shopaholic & Sister. I was going home to Penang by flight with Ayah because he was gonna teach me where to go the next time I fly back on my own. As we passed by a book shop, Ayah told me to go inside and buy myself a book. Well! I hurried inside and browsed the bookshelves for something interesting, fun, yet different. I don't know what made me pick Shopaholic & Sister...maybe because the design of the cover was cute and funky, and maybe it was because it was a New York Times bestseller. I have a weakness for reading/buying New York Times bestsellers because they're always very, very good. So I started reading it...and I completely fell in love with it. I promoted it to my sis Aishah who also loved it, and I bugged Yusraa to read it. She's now totally hooked on it too.

So what is the book about that got us so into it? It's written by Sophie Kinsella about Becky Brandon nee Bloomwood and her shopping addiction. She's a shopaholic who's always up-to-date with the latest fashion and accessories in the British edition of Vogue. And of course, the clothes that she buys are not the clothes in a typical store, but designer clothes and accessories. Becky loves shoes, and has a whole cabinet just for them. There are rows of Jimmy Choos and LK Bennetts, and her shoes are arranged according to colour and type. Among the designer labels mentioned in the Shopaholic books are Armani, Dior, Chanel, Prada, DKNY, Vera Wang, Yves St. Laurent, and LK Bennett. So you can pretty much guess how much she has to pay for her wardrobe. I checked out LK Bennett (which has really fab shoes!) because Becky seems to like LK Bennett, and a pair of high-heeled sandal like this:

costs £189.00. That's a discount price for their summer sale, but the original price was £349.00. Just for a pair of shoes. So Becky's credit card bills are usually red bills and she has to ask for an overdraft because she sometimes "overbudgets" and can't pay the bills off. Although I won't mind admitting that if I had all the money in the world, I'd buy Armani clothes, Prada handbags and LK Bennett shoes too. But the best thing is that Becky will always solve her own problems and gets herself out of the mess she's created in the most creative ways.

In Shopaholic Ties the Knot, Becky gets married to Luke James Brandon who owns a PR company in London and New York and is very rich. He's also a handsome, funny and romantic guy who's very patient with Becky. Except when she gets him into trouble too, which is when he loses his temper with her. Becky has a hard time choosing between a fairy-tale wedding at the New York Plaza planned by one of New York's top wedding planners, or a traditional wedding at home planned by her beloved parents.

It's a totally different scene in Shopaholic & Baby because this time, Becky is shopping for herself and her baby. So it's a whole new world of gynaecologists, shopping for prams and bassinets, Baby Dior milk bottles and Petit Bateau rompers. Check these pictures out:

(Anyone interested in checking out some really cute baby and toddlers' stuff can click here.)

Of course, the problem came when Becky discovered that her A-list obstetrecian was her husband Luke's ex-girlfriend. To be honest, the Shopaholic series are not really suitable for those who easily follow what other people do, because people like that will definitely buy designer things like Becky. The best thing to do when reading this book is to remind yourself that you live in the real world with other worthwhile things to buy instead of designer clothes. Unless, of course, you have a rich husband who's willing to spend a few thousand ringgit on you. Haha. Dream on.

A Little Digging...

Hmm...I was going through the thousands of pictures in the My Pictures folder of our family PC, and I found this picture:

This picture was taken 2 years ago when I was on holiday. I had nothing to do, so I spent some time tidying the bookshelf. Of course, the bookshelf is now a total mess because the newly added books keep piling up till we've ran out of space. The bottom most and middle shelves are filled with the Enid Blyton books while the 1st shelf is filled with the Sweet Valley series and the Babysitters' Club. This bookshelf consists of the rather "childish" books.

Here's another picture which I found (on the right). This bookshelf consists of the "adult-ish" books like the Little House series, Harry Potter, Sidney Sheldon, the Da Vinci Code, etc. There are several differences now...the Harry Potter series are complete, and there's all the Shopaholic and Nicholas Sparks books too.

There are three books on the left, bottom most row which caught my eye - the Linda Craig series. My first Linda Craig book was given to me by my dear uncle Pak Ndak when he came to England and stayed with us. Actually, he gave me the book before he returned to Malaysia, I think. Here are a few (rather bad, unfortunately) pictures of the book:

The Linda Craig Mysteries are about Linda Craig and her older brother Bob who live on a ranch with their grandparents. They solve horse-related mysteries with their friends Kathy Hamilton and Larry Spencer. I really liked this book because I gained a new insight on horses and the land of Mexico (seeing as I've never been to Mexico and I don't know how to ride horses). And I never knew that there were many horse crimes too. Thanks Pak Ndak! I've always liked mysteries, so you bought just the right book! :-D I bought another Linda Craig, but I couldn't locate the last set. Too bad.

Of course, now I'm having several flashbacks of the time Pak Ndak stayed with us in England. We took him hiking at Beacon Hill, we took him to our school, and goodness knows where else (which means I don't really remember where else. Haha.) But the best part was the games that he played with us in the evenings at home. One game that my sisters and I remember until now is the one where Pak Ndak lies face down on the carpet in the living room while me and my sisters would step all over his back and "massage" it. Luckily we weren't that heavy back then. Hehe. We really enjoyed his visit because apart from him, the only relatives who visited us back then were my grandparents on Ayah's side and Ayah's uncle & aunt who live in Singapore. We had a great time with them too and went sightseeing in London. Sigh.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Six Cousins

First of all, I'd like to thank my dear uncle Pak Ndak for helping me edit my blog settings. Hehe. :-P

I've started my semester holidays now, and the first book that grabbed my attention was The Six Cousins by Enid Blyton. I've totally forgotten about this book, but I remember it as another Enid Blyton favourite of mine. Em...FYI, I don't like all of Enid Blyton's books. Like the Secret Seven...they're a bit childish compared to the Famous Five. Well, anyway. The Six Cousins is a book about six cousins (duh!) - 3 country cousins and 3 city cousins - who are forced to live together on the country cousins' farm after the city cousins' home got burnt in a fire. Seeing as 3 are from the city which has facilities like electricity and pipe water, they have to adapt to a new life on the farm, which has no pipe water and no electricity. It's really interesting to read how they bonded...and both trios have their own strength and weaknesses which help to balance them all out. For instance, city cousin Melisande is really into makeup, perfume and neatness while her country cousin Jane is the messy, smelly type who bites her nails and can't be bothered to brush her hair. So Jane soon tries hard to make herself tidier and prettier - after learning a hard lesson of course! One thing I like about Enid Blyton is that she always tries to incorporate moral values in her stories...esp her short stories for kids. The values are just simple values like "respect your parents" etc, but to a child it can be quite effective.

Enid Blyton's other series like the Malory Towers also have values, but different types. Malory Towers is about Darrell Rivers and the adventures and experiences she goes through from Form 1 till Form 6 at Malory Towers (yes, Malory Towers is a boarding school). Besides the typical subjects such as English, Maths, etc, they also learn swimming, riding horses, French...not to mention the many tricks they played on their teachers! Darrell is a nice girl overall, but her one weakness is her quick temper. So there are also valuable episodes which teach Darrell how to control her temper. Reading her adventures really made me want to go to boarding school too...of course, when we returned to Malaysia, I soon realized that boarding schools like that don't exist here.

Not to berlagak (show off) or anything, but I really think Malaysia needs to change its education system. There are just too many exams here (not to mention tons of books, extra classes and tuitions). When I was in England, we learnt a lot at school yet we still managed to have fun. In fact, I still remember bits and pieces of the British history even now...the Vikings, Anglo-Saxons and whoever else. Shows how effective their teaching method is. And my family still makes pancakes using the recipe I learnt in cooking class when I was 9 yrs old. And of course, the best part is the homework - take a book home and read it with your parents. The first few times I did read with either parent...but then I read by myself. Among the first books I read were Little House on the Prairie and Roald Dahl's Matilda books and (the now famous) Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. And that's how I fell in love with books. ;-) Another homework I remember doing is a science experiment which I missed at school. I was absent because I was "poorly" (that's how they say demam or fever), so my class teacher told my parents to do the experiment at home. It was about hot air expanding or something...I remember a soy sauce bottle with a balloon stretched over the mouth of the bottle. The bottle was then placed in hot water I think, and the balloon then blew up. It was a pretty exciting experience for all of us. Oppss...I'm rambling. I'm now repeating one of my favourite Sidney Sheldon books - If Tomorrow I guess I'll be pretty quiet for a bit.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Final Exam!!

Okay, due to my upcoming final exam, I will not be posting anything yet. I guess my next post will be when I'm at home. Can't wait to go home!! the exam first. Guess I'll be reading Arabic texts and words these next few days. walakin, al-an ana aktab fi al-lughah al-injliziyah lianna ana la 'arif kaifa aktab fi al-'arabiya (But, now i'm writing in the English Language coz I don't know how to write in Arabic). Forgive the Arabic errors kay. Hehe.

Let's hope I can answer as well as the 2 kids at the back, instead of being as clueless as the boy in the front, insya-Allah.
Wish me luck then!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Greetings! since this is my first post, it would be apt if I talk about the first book that got me hooked on to reading as a hobby...that would be Enid Blyton's Famous Five series. To be honest, if we hadn't gone to the UK when I was a small kid, I don't think reading would be my hobby. My parents bought me my first Famous Five book from a carboot sale somewhere in England. 1 book soon grew to a whole series; from book 1 to book 21.

The Famous Five comprise of 4 kids - Julian, Dick, Anne, Georgina (George for short) and George's dog Timothy - who always seem to fall into some sort of adventure during their school holidays. And not just an ordinary adventure, but a "hair-raising adventure", as quoted from one of their books. They'd solve smuggling mysteries on farms, a kidnapping mystery somewhere and so on. Their adventures really thrilled me, and back when I was 8 or 9 yrs old, I'd fantasize having the same sort of adventures too (although it'd be a million years before I, or anyone I know, would have those kind of adventures). Sometimes I incorporated their adventures into the games my sisters -Aishah and Yusraa - played, and we'd have a lot of fun pretending to go camping in the living room and riding horses using the sofa cushions. Hahaha. In fact, I used to read so much that my sisters actually hid one Famous Five book just so that I'd spend more time playing with them! I remember searching for that book everywhere in the house till I gave up. The book was eventually found a few years later when we were packing up to return to Malaysia. Huh. But my sisters have now picked up the reading habit too, although Yusraa and Sumayyah don't read as much as me and Aishah. offense my dear sisters! :-D

Anyway...I also read other books by Enid Blyton, like Malory Towers, Secret Seven, St-Clare, the Secret series, the Faraway Tree adventures and so on. These books are really fun to read and it definitely worked my imagination. Anyone who wants more info on Enid Blyton or her books can click here.
“A good book is the best of friends, the same today and forever.”
- Martin Tupper