Hello there. I am Terry and I am a full-time undergraduate based in Singapore. I take photos, write a blog and design websites.

And no, I'm not a teddy bear.

Reading Grabs

Notice: Images of the book covers in the post are copyrighted by their respective owners / creators.

Long Post!

I never really adored reading novels until recently. I didn’t have the habit to read since I was young, but my disgust towards reading grew when I attended secondary school – my very fierce English teacher, Ms Kala, would make sure that we read a book during school break and present our book review when school reopened. I’m not a big fan of reading, and a mere one week deadline made me even more frustrated, given that English wasn’t my first language and I had a hard time understanding and grappling with the words.

For my first school-break read, I’ve chosen The Eleventh Commandment by Jeffrey Archer. It was a tedious read, I felt like giving up when I just hit page 27. And in order to complete the whole book before school reopens and spare some time for a book review, I’ll need to read 61.833333 pages a day. That’s a big load for me, and in the end I gave up not even halfway through the book and went straight to Google, copy-and-pasted a book review from a random link and submitted it to the teacher.

Since then I never touched novels, never (emphasis on the never), even when the widely-coveted Harry Potter and the Bla Bla Bla series came out, I didn’t even dared to read a single page of it. Instead I headed for the screens, preferred to surrender my imaginations to the portrayal of the books by the directors of the Harry Potter movies – many people say that films and anime that are adapted from books destroy the imaginations of their readers.

In secondary two, Totto-chan, The Little Girl at the Window by Tetsuko Kuroyanagi became our compulsory read. Pain ached throughout my body as I read the book, and very oftenly I find myself skipping words, lines and even pages to just get the book done with.

Book - The NotebookMy first serious read was finally accomplished when I was in my first year of college (that’s 4 years after my first reading experience) . The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks. Before I manage to loan it from the library (it was in super hot demand, especially among my classmates, everyone was vying for it), a couple of my classmates have read it. Ivan told me that it’s great, and that got me determined to join in the wrestle for the book (and yes I managed to get it). The Notebook is the story between Noah and Allie – Allie was suffering from dementia and Noah was reading out aloud to his wife about their love story, written in a notebook, believing that will make Allie remember their past. Noah and Allie were separated shortly after they fell in love when they’re in their teens, but reunited after 14 years of separation. Noah brought Allie onto memorable journeys such as the one to a nearby lake, and let her got in touch with her inner self. It’s a worthy read, I love it how Nicholas Sparks described every single bit of details in his book, you can feel as if you’re beside Noah and Allie.

After watching White Oleander on Singapore’s Channel 5 somewhere in June, I sweared that I will read the novel of the same name by Janet Fitch. So I called up Kinokunia and ordered it, since the very kind lady over the line told me that they no longer keep stocks of it. Novels came knocking at my door when it was mid-A-levels. The very kind lady called back in the midst of my A levels and said that my book is ready for collection :) Meanwhile, I watched The Devil Wears Prada on DVD (I can’t believe I did that during A Levels!), and learnt from my friend that the film was adopted from a novel of the same name by Lauren Weisberger. During the one week break after Chemistry paper, I rushed to Kinokuniya bookstore at Orchard Road in my bid to secure The Devil Wears Prada and to collect my White Oleander.

Book - The Devil Wears PradaSince I’m more of a gossipy person, I chose The Devil Wears Prada to read, only to be followed by White Oleader. Written by Lauren Weisberger, the book tells the story of a recent Brown University graduated seeking job in downtown Manhattan. Her name is Andrea Sachs. She landed a job in Runway magazine, homologous to the real life Vogue. Her boss is Miranda Priestly, a very picky and nasty boss who seems to enjoy abusing her assistants (she has two – one junior and one senior assistant), homologous to the real life Anna Wintour, rumoured to be equally weird and insane.

The novel revolves around how cleverly Andrea tackles the problem Miranda gives her – including finding an Asian restaurant review in the newspaper which didn’t exist (it was published in Washinton’s paper instead). However, as the story progresses, Andrea changes from her true self to one of the clackers in Elias Clark publication (clackers got their name because of the noise their stilettos make on the marble lobby).

Book - White OleanderI started reading White Oleander only after A Levels ended. Written by Janet Fitch, White Oleander is the story of Astrid Magnussen, the daughter of Ingrid Magnussen, going through several foster homes, grappling with the painful truth of life when her mother was jailed for murdering her lover by using poisonous juices from a white oleander (hence it’s title). Although in jail, Ingrid tried her very best to manipulate and control Astrid, through letters and visits to the prison, while Astrid struggles to escape from her mother’s control. The most unforgettable and regrettable scene in the story is when Astrid was sent to live with an actress, Claire Richards, who was a very fragile, gentle and shy lady. She treated Astrid really well, like her own daughter, so much so that when Claire asked Astrid, When was the best day of your life, Astrid replied, Today. However in the end Claire commited suicide, after going through a depression which Astrid believes was party caused by her envious mom who refuses to let anyone else love Astrid besides herself. That’s just one foster home and there’s so much drama. Can you imagine Astrid going through four (if I’m not wrong) foster homes, how saddening and heart-breaking her journey is?

Book - Totto-chan, The Little Girl at the WindowAnd finally yesterday I’ve decided to re-read a book – and if you’ve guessed correctly, it’s Totto-chan, The Little Girl at the Window. Written by Japanese TV celebrity Tetsuko Kuroyanagi and published in 1981, Totto-chan is about the story of herself in her childhood years. She was intially seen as a playful and michevious girl with too much energy to waste in school, since she could never stand still or keep quiet during class. She was expelled from her first kindergarten, but her mom managed to get her into Tomoe Gakuen, a kindergarten that takes pride of an alternative teaching route of little children, ran by headmaster Sosaku Kobayashi. She was transformed into a mature girl in Tomoe, learning how to treat handicapped children equally and learning the very basic way of appreciating life – happiness. However, in 1945, Tomoe was destroybed by World War II bombings, and Sosaku kobayashi didn’t manage to rebuilt Tomoe. What left me with the deepest impression is Totto-chan’s trip to the hot springs, her swimming classes (headmaster allowed children to swim naked, he felt that they need not to be morbidly curious about each other’s body), her dog, Rocky, nearly biting off her right ear after an accident and how Tomoe was burnt down in the World War II fires. Everything was told from a child’s perspetive, and while reading it, you’re as if reliving your childhood, although the last page made me cry.

Book - P.S. I Love YouAnd after finishing Totto-chan this morning, I have my eyes on Cecelia Ahern’s P.S. I Love You! I think I’m going to get it real soon. I’ve only read the sypnosis, it’s about a loving couple forced apart by life and death because of the husband’s illness. The husband left a box of letters for his wife, and she followed the letters to discover new things around her.

And now I realised I have a love for novels being made into films. Out of all these books I’ve read, White Oleander, The Devil Wears Prada and The Notebook have been made into films, but I’m yet to watch P.S. I Love You featuring Hillary Swank and Gerard Bulter. I heard it’s nice! :)

I adore reading because it allows me to get in touch with my spiritual self and my emotions. I love to be engrossed in the books, exploring the world the author envisioned :razz: isn’t that lovely?

Do you have any recommended reads? I read almost everything, from Chick Lits to Romance, but I’m not into Horror :) lol!

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