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Showing posts from January, 2011

10 Good Things on a Monday [2]

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10 Good Things on a Monday is a weekly meme by Brush Up On Your Reading dedicated to every person's compulsive list-writing.  Every Monday we are going to make a list of 10 things that will cheer us up and help us tide over the whole week. I have the whole week off from work this week Hubby has the whole week off too!! No Monday Blues today =) I’m planning to spend my week off by being a lazy girl and catch up on my reading It has been raining constantly from yesterday till this morning, so the weather is nice and cool (shall I go back to bed now?) Had pasta and fried chicken for lunch Invested on a new laptop last weekend, so am really excited blogging on the new laptop!! I have a good feeling about the book I’m currently reading Had a good chat with younger sister about books we recently read (she’s an avid reader too). YA is her current thing now and recommended that I read “The Perks of Being a Wallflower.” Really can’t wait to go back to my reading now Have a great Monday ah…

Meet Me On Monday [1]

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Meet Me On Monday is a weekly meme hosted by Java over at Never Growing Old.
“Blogging  is a funny thing...we tell our most intimate thoughts for all to read  and yet most of the time I find myself sitting and wondering, "who is  this person!?"  I know them...but yet I don't know them!  I want  to know who the person is behind all those words so I thought of a great  way for all of us to "meet" each other! “

Who is Playing Librarian? Apart from being kind of a book freak (no surprises there!) and living in Malaysia, I don’t really give away much about myself. So get to know me better each week as I answer the five questions from Meet Me On Monday.
What do you put on your hotdog?
Ketchup and mustard for me. Often I would avoid coney sauce because it’ll tend to get messy!  Do you play Sudoku?
No. Frankly speaking, I don’t have the patience for it.  What is your favorite vegetable? I like all veges! OK, maybe spinach is an exception. But if I were to pick one…

January 2011 Recap

Jan 1: playing-librarian.blogspot.com was born
Jan 21: Playing Librarian got her own domain at www.playinglibrarian.com

Read and Reviewed:
Sunset Park by Paul AusterA Week in December by Sebastian FaulksMurder on the Orient Express by Agatha ChristieSons of Fortune by Jeffrey ArcherSarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay[The] House at Riverton by Kate MortonMurder in Mesopotamia by Agatha ChristieEvil Under the Sun by Agatha ChristieThe Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield Best read of the month: Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay, Sunset Park by Paul Auster comes a close second
Disappointing read of the month: A Week in December by Sebastian Faulks
Currently reading the 10th book of the month: Hothouse Flower by Lucinda Riley (so far I’m liking it!)
What to look forward to in February:
Read books in my TBR pile Buy more books (especially titles from my wishlist) Get to know more booklovers Write more non-review posts More followers =) A great month indeed.

[Review] The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

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Title: The Thirteenth Tale: A Novel
Author: Diane Setterfield Genre: Contemporary/Historical Fiction
Subject: Female Friendship, Family Secrets Page: 456 pages First Published: 2006



Margaret Lea is the daughter of an antiquarian and has lived among books all her life (“There were seven rooms in the shop, lined floor to ceiling with books, thousands of volume”). One night upon arriving home, a letter in a white envelope awaits her from one Miss Vida Winter, the reclusive and secretive authoress.
In her entire writing career, Miss Vida Winter was known to tell imaginary stories to journalists about her personal life, so when she summons Margaret to write her biography and promised to “tell the truth”, Margaret was quite skeptical. She writes about dead people and what’s more puzzling to her, “Why me?” Her curiosity is heightened when, during one sleepless night, she picks up Ms. Winter’s book and read it well into the night and discovered the mystery of the missing “Thirteenth Tale.”
M…

[Review] Evil Under the Sun by Agatha Christie

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Title: Evil Under the Sun
Author: Agatha Christie Genre: Vintage Crime
Subject: Hercule Poirot, Cozy Mysteries Page:  320 pages First Published: 1941



Arlena Marshall was a strikingly beautiful actress on a holiday at Smuggler’s Island with her husband and step-daughter, Linda. One fine morning, her bronzed body was found face down on the beach – apparently murdered by strangulation. All the guests at the hotel had perfect alibis, including her husband, Captain Marshall. And everyone had possible motive to wanting her dead, especially the women. But the evidence showed that Arlena was strangled by a man. So who is lying? Thank God the famous Hercule Poirot was amongst the hotel guests….
When you have read a couple of Agatha Christies, you will notice the recurring plots and characters from other earlier novels being used. This story somewhat reminds me of Death on the Nile, though not as memorable. In fact, in the earlier scenes from the book, one hotel guests remarked to Poirot about …

[Teaser Tuesdays] Evil Under the Sun

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Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
* Grab your current read
* Open to a random page
* Share two "teaser" sentences from that page
* BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! You don't want to ruin the book for others!
* Share the title and author so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR lists if they like your teasers!

“’Les Femmes.’ Poirot leaned back and closed his eyes. ‘I know something of them. They are capable of complicating life unbearably.’“
- page 67, Evil Under the Sun by Agatha Christie

[Review] Murder in Mesopotamia by Agatha Christie

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Title: Murder in Mesopotamia Author: Agatha Christie Genre: Vintage Crime
Subject: Hercule Poirot, Cozy Mysteries Page:  351 pages First Published: 1936


Agatha Christie married archaeologist Max Mallowan in 1930 with whom she frequently travel to archaeological dig sites, so it was no surprise that she deployed Middle Eastern settings in some of her novels.
In Murder in Mesopotamia, a nurse was called in to look after a wife of a celebrated archaeologist, Dr. Leidner, who claimed to have suffered from nervous fears. “Lovely Louise” married Dr. Leidner just two years before, beautiful, possessed certain magical aura, loved being at the centre of attention and not to mention caused significant amount of tension within the archaeologist group with her claims of terrifying hallucinations. Her husband dismissed the idea as preposterous and that the nervous fears were a result of imagination and boredom (other members of the group thought she was only pretending to get attention. Dr. Leidn…

About Books Read and Currently Reading

It’s Sunday morning here in Malaysia. I have just finished reading Kate Morton’s The House at Riverton last night and the review is already up.
My plan for today is to start a new book by Agatha Christie, Murder in Mesopotamia. After two historical fictions I think I’d settle for this nice and cozy detective story for now. This should be a quick read but I hope my workload will not take me away from my book for too long =)

Moving on on a slightly different note.
I started this blog with an intention to chronicle and share my reading experiences about ALL books I have in my library (apart from the current reviews) and sadly to say, I haven’t done that yet. I think next week onwards will be a good start. It’s going to be an ongoing task – not to mentioned hard work what with trying to remember stuff and all – but it’s something that’s really important to me as I have this fear of eventually forgetting what I used to read =)

[Review] The House at Riverton by Kate Morton

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Title: The House at Riverton: A Novel Author: Kate Morton Genre: Contemporary/Historical Fiction
Subject: Romantic Suspense, Country Homes - England, Great Britain - Social Life and Customs (1918 - 1945) Page: 599 pages First Published: 2006


Old and repressed memories came back to life for ninety-eight year old Grace Bradley when she was approached by a young director wanting to film about a poet’s suicide at the time she became a housemaid at Riverton Manor. Thus began series of flashbacks and reminiscence from the time Grace came to Riverton Manor as a fourteen year old girl to her acquaintance with sisters Hannah and Emmeline Hartford to the fateful night of the poet’s suicide some 70 years ago.
To me, this book has the right ingredients for compelling fiction, a mixture of gothic mystery, high drama and love triangle set in the Edwardian period prior to and after the First World War in England.
But while the premise of the book is compelling, the execution is not. I feel that the…

Book Wrapping 101

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I am totally OCD about my books, to a point of weirdness. For instance, I won’t read a book if it’s not mine so I buy them (new, secondhand, doesn’t matter as long as I could keep them). Gifts would be very much welcomed, though =)
I do spend a lot of time arranging (and rearranging) my books. Just looking at them is like Zen to me because each one has a story of their own. And I have certain rituals that I HAVE to follow (in order) before reading a book: Of course, I have to buy them first Peel off the price tag Wrap in plastic cover Update LibraryThing & Goodreads Initial my name & date I start reading at the top-right hand corner of the first page Start reading from the very first page including, you know, the one with the “First Published in bla bla bla”, “All rights reserved yada yada yada” Is this weird?
But I have gone a little off topic here. I meant to show you how I wrap my books (Warning: This post is quite long and contains a lot of pictures).
What you need…

A Quick Update

This will be a quick one.
So this week has been hectic, had to work extra and long hours so I am kind of sleep-deprived and panda-eyed right now. But thank God it’s Friday!
I am just looking forward to having a relaxing weekend to catch up with my reading – and my sleep too =)
And oh, if you haven’t noticed, I registered for my own domain. From now on, my blog will be www.playinglibrarian.com. Yay!
Have a nice weekend everybody.

[Book Ferret] Bookmarks

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The Book Ferretis a weekly feature on Violin in a Void that will showcase a cool or interesting book-related find every Thursday. Notable new releases, great bookshops, events, cover art, websites, gadgets and accessories – anything to make bookworms happy.
If you want to join in, grab the Ferret pic, link it and your post back here, and add your name and URL to the comments. Topic of the week: BOOKMARKS.


I love bookmarks. I usually have more than one, which I alternately use them depending on my mood =) Currently I have 3, I have no idea where the others go (I’m such a clumsy person, I tend to lose them after a while).


Left: This is supposed to be a key-chain but nobody says I cannot use it as a bookmark, right? (Though, I think I should have taken the ring off)
Centre: My parents went to Istanbul and all they got me was this really nice bookmark. Reminds me of Aladdin’s magic carpet
Right: A free bookmark received from a local bookstore. The design is simple and it bears this quote: …

WWW Wednesdays [1]

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Is a weekly meme hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. All you have to do is answer these questions ….




What are you currently reading?

I am really excited about reading this one because I really enjoyed Kate  Morton’s more recent book, The Forgotten Garden (my best book of 2010).
History, mystery and family secrets are the best ingredients for great fiction!
Just started today but I know I’m going to enjoy this. I’ve just realized this: the title of the book rhymes with the author’s last name =)

What did you recently finish reading?

Another great story that revolves around a true historical event in Paris.
It's about a girl whose life was forever altered following the Vel’ d’Hiv roundup in 1942 Paris.
Read my review at the previous post.



What do you think you’ll read next?
This is a tough question considering that I have quite a list in my TBRs. I take a lot of consideration when choosing what to read next.
Since the last two reads was historical fiction, I might be co…

[Review] Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay

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Title: Sarah's Key
Author: Tatiana de Rosnay
Genre: Contemporary/Historical Fiction
Subject: Jew - France - Paris, World War II (1939 - 1945), Family Secrets, German Occupation
Page: 294 pages
First Published: 2007



Early summer morning of 16 July 1942, Paris. A loud banging on the front door awoke the girl from her innocent dreams. She crept into her mother’s room. The mother, alarmed, answered the door. On the other side of the door, French police instructed them to pack their things up and follow them. The girl went back to her room, wanting to protect her younger brother, locked him inside their secret hiding place. “I’ll come back for you later. I promise.”  It was the horrifying  Vel’ d’Hiv’ roundup (read more here).
Present day, Paris, 2002. Julia Jarmond, a forty-something journalist receives an assignment to investigate  the roundup in conjunction with its sixtieth commemoration. Little did she know at that time, what would transpire from the assignment would forever chang…

[Teaser Tuesdays] Sarah’s Key

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Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
* Grab your current read
* Open to a random page
* Share two "teaser" sentences from that page
* BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! You don't want to ruin the book for others!
* Share the title and author so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR lists if they like your teasers!


My teaser for this week: “Sarah admired the way old couple pretended to be at ease, smiling at her, acting like this was a perfectly normal morning, a perfectly normal trip to Paris. But she noticed the quick way their eyes darted around constantly, always on the watch, always on the move.
- page 147, Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay

Mailbox Monday [1]

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Mailbox Monday was created by Marcia at The Printed Page, and hosted by Rose City Reader for the month of January.
OK, I know today is not Monday but I was too swarmed with work yesterday I did not have much time or energy for anything else :(

I have been looking forward to participating in my first Mailbox Monday because being an OCD about books that I am, I particularly acquired a lot of books this week. Now I don’t really have the advantage of receiving any books in my mailbox (someday, I hope) so these are the books that I bought:

Saturday Snapshot [1]

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This week I decided to participate in the Saturday Snapshot meme hosted by Alyce at At Home with Books.




This picture was part of a “Wall of Fame” displayed at the Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre I visited a few months ago to watch the local adaptation of Franz Kafka’s Metamorphosis. I was particularly awed to find many famous names from the performing arts scene around the world.

[Review] Sons of Fortune by Jeffrey Archer

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Title: Sons of Fortune
Author: Jeffrey Archer Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Subject: Banks and Banking, Politicians, Family Conflicts Page: 534 pages First Published: 2003



“In a hushed maternity ward, an infant dies, while twin brothers thrive. By morning, one mother is told that her only child is doing fine, while another learns one of her twins has died.”
- Synopsis from book cover
I’ll start with the good points.

What attracted me most to the book is the main plot, though somewhat reminiscent of Kane and Abel (which is one of the best books I’ve read in my entire life!). The novel follows the lives of two twins separated at birth, Nathaniel Cartwright and Fletcher Davenport, both raised in different worlds; one was brought up in an affluent family, while the other, middle class. Both of them thrive in their respective professions until a murder case and a political battle brings them together.
Jeffrey Archer’s writing is very easy to read and I was easily immersed in the lives of b…

[Teaser Tuesdays] Sons of Fortune

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Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
* Grab your current read
* Open to a random page
* Share two "teaser" sentences from that page
* BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! You don't want to ruin the book for others!
* Share the title and author so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR lists if they like your teasers!


My teaser for this week: “It is often spur-of-the-moment decisions, sometimes made by others, that can change our whole lives.”
- page 12, Sons of Fortune by Jeffrey Archer

10 Good Things on a Monday [1]

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10 Good Things on a Monday is a weekly meme by Brush Up On Your Reading dedicated to every person's compulsive list-writing.  Every Monday we are going to make a list of 10 things that will cheer us up and help us tide over the whole week.

I had a considerably bad Monday last week, so today I am going to make a list of 10 simple things that can make my stressful days a little bit easier to bear =) Doing a good deed by offering someone my seat on the train A hot and long shower after a hard day’s work Buying and wrapping new books (will make a post on the latter soon!) Reading a good book Reorganizing books in my library (truly a ZEN experience) Starbucks Hot Green Tea Latte. Or any Green Tea for that matter Turning on the radio and my favorite is playing Sleeping on a rainy day My couch Blog hopping Hope you have a good Monday =)

Blast From The Past

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Hello! While my counterparts in the West are just starting their day, I, in the Eastern part of the world has already seen more than 12 hours of Sunday and (sadly) beginning to feel the Monday Blues :( But anyways, Happy Sunday everyone!! A couple of my previous posts have been book reviews, so today I thought that I would write something more personal. Since the last book I read was an Agatha Christie novel, I would like to tell you how my obsession with the series starts. I bought my first Agatha Christie from a used-book store. It is situated on the top floor of an old building and they re-sell all sorts of second-hand, third-hand (who knows?) books, from old magazines to paperbacks to textbooks for schools and universities for very cheap prices (and you can bargain too!).

There must be thousands of books there and I almost run over them in my frenzy! It was in those towers of books that I discovered vintage editions of Agatha Christie novels that I just had to buy them. Most of …

[Review] Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

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Title: Murder on the Orient Express
Author: Agatha Christie Genre: Vintage Crime
Subject: Hercule Poirot, Orient Express, Cozy Mysteries Page: 347 pages First Published: 1934
Murder on the Orient Express is a classic locked-room whodunit mystery so stereotypical of Agatha Christie. In this story the famous Belgian detective Hercule Poirot must solve a gruesome murder of man on board the Orient Express train from Istanbul to Calais. “One or more of those passengers killed Ratchett. Which of them?”
After having struggled with the previous book, I wanted to read something light but thought-provoking at the same time. Hence, I chose Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express.  
I first acquired an Agatha Christie book last year at a bargain store, The Mysterious Affair at Styles – which, coincidently was her first novel. I became hooked at an instant and swore to myself that I would read all her collections, especially the Poirot and Miss Marple series as an act of repentance for not…

[Review] A Week in December by Sebastian Faulks

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Title: A Week in December Author: Sebastian Faulks Genre: Literary Fiction
Subject: British Literature, Peoples & Cultures, London (England) Page: 550 pages First Published: 2009



I have never heard of Sebastian Faulks or any of his works before, I was merely intrigued by the book cover, the synopsis and a couple of reviews at the back of the book. I love books with many intertwining characters and to find out how these characters inter-relate to each other (talk about six degrees of separation here!) so when I embark on reading this book I was ready to be entertained. 
A Week in December to me was a disappointment – more due to my own fault. At the beginning of the book Mr. Faulks introduces the characters in a bullet-list from a guest list of a party hosted by the MP’s wife. There are only so many different characters that a person can take in a book. With so many diverse characters, it tends to get so confusing at first (I have to refer back to the list to refresh my memory) an…