Monday, August 27, 2012

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

I picked up the trilogy by Suzanne Collins at Popular bookstore yesterday at Compasspoint shopping mall in Sengkang.

I'd wanted to read it ever since I noticed it outsold Harry Potter on Amazon. It must be quite a read since Harry Potter was so good. My main motivation for buying it was to know what appeals to youths these days.

So I started reading the first book, The Hunger Games, late last afternoon. I paused for about 2 hours because of the National Day Rally on television but the book was so good it kept me up till 3am - that's when I finished the book.

Content wise, it's pretty decent. Once you get past the first three chapters, things pick up as the protagonist, Katniss Everdeen gets thrust into the Capitol, and begins preparations for the Games.

It's hard going in the beginning because of the way it's written - in the first person. That coupled with the fact that with every science fiction novel, the reader needs to slowly get familiarized to the jargon of the text and the feel of the setting.

But as I said, once you've eased into it, these two problems actually work to their advantage as you easily take on the thoughts and feelings of Katniss.

The book's action packed to keep you turning the pages and the characters have enough heart to make the story captivating.

One thing I learnt from reading it was that different writing styles work. Suzanne Collins is no J.K. Rowling but The Hunger Games is a pretty good book by itself.

I'd encourage any high school student to read it, or even elementary/primary school students to. And young adults might even enjoy it, just like I did. "The effect of war and violence on young people," was the angle the author was going for and that alone provides much food for thought.

I anticipate the next time I'm free to continue with the second book in the series. Till then, you can get the first book as it's wraps up pretty well and is a story on its own. The ending is not really a dramatic cliffhanger so you don't have to get the rest of the books if you don't want to buy three books at one go. That is, until I read the next book and post here again. ;)

My final point, which is pretty superficial (you could skip this) is that it seems like there are a few differently designed covers out there. I wanted to plonk my money on a more refined cover that was simple and minimalist when my friend found me a set that came together and was cheaper than getting the books individually, even with the discount Popular offered. The only drawback was that it was a print by Scholastic, a local publisher and it wasn't the nicest looking cover on the shelf. But I rationalized that it was the content that mattered more so I got it anyway. In any case, I'll be keeping it in the box that came with the trilogy. But for those who like their book covers pretty, there are at least two designs you can choose from when you get the book individually.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The short stories and radio plays of S. Rajaratnam

I picked this book up from Kinokuniya after a friend, Theresa, tweeted about it. I got my hands on the last copy and was extremely pleased about it. This photo was taken at a bus stop along Orchard Road.

I must say that our former Minister of Culture is one great writer! The short stories are extremely well written and deserved to be placed in the same anthology as Tagore and co. I wish I could write half as well as him. It's amazing.

And the Radio Plays are really persuasive. They compel me to be a democratic citizen and to use my vote wisely. I would say that their objective has been met - to persuade. And Rajaratnam uses so many different authors to make his points in his radio plays it is no wonder he has such a huge collection of books - 5000 to be exact, now stored in the ISEAS library. 

I think every Singaporean should read this book to know a little more about how our country developed in its early days. Not everyone understood the importance of voting that's for sure.

Fantastic read!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

How to be led by the Sprit of God by Kenneth E. Hagin

I chanced upon this book at my friend's place when I was there visiting. The book caught my eye among the dozens it was lying with because of its title. I mean, which Bible-believing Christian wouldn't want to be led by the Holy Spirit?

So I borrowed it from my good friend and read it at the start of my devotion each night.

This book is a timely reminder on how to be led by the Holy Spirit. It talks and elaborates on 3 ways:

1. An inward witness
2. A still small voice
3. The voice of the Spirit

Points 2 and 3 may sound similar but after reading the book, you'll realize why they are different.

Kenneth Hagin also talks about how to be led by the Spirit in prayer and even in financial matters. The latter was just briefly touched upon though.

I'd recommend this great book to anyone who desires to be led by the Holy Spirit. It's an easy read, just the right length and it probably answers any questions you might have on the topic. It answered all of mine at least. :)