Life...The Most Complicated Thought

The unexamined life is not worth living. ~Socrates

Coraline Graphic Novel - Neil Gaiman

Another Neil Gaiman...well not really. I listened to the audio book of Coraline last year. I enjoyed the audio book so much so when I saw the graphic novel, I checked it out. I felt it was a very good depiction of the original book. I think the "Other Mother" in the movie was designed after the "Other Mother" from the graphic novel.

I had imagined the events in the book certain way. So when I watched movie, I was disappointed in a way. The book and the movie are very different. The graphic novel is very true to the book. I enjoyed reading it. I give this book 9/10.

2 down, 1 in Transit, and 1 in May

I am currently studying to be a CPA. Today I had my third exam. Now I wait...and wait...and wait...I think 3rd week of March will be the dreadful week when I will find out that I failed. :-( For some reason, I am not sure that I passed. I have my fingers crossed.

Monday I get back on the train and start studying for REG, which is hopefully the last exam. I am going to schedule the exam in May.
Second: I added links to the website that provide free things and money and they actually work.

Swagbucks: Search and Win Website. The website rewards you "swagbucks" randomly on searches and then you can redeem prizes such as gift cards.
**My brother redeemed $25 Amazon giftcard and subscription to Time Magazine.

InstantCashSweepstakes: Gives money for very very short surveys. When you collect upto $2.00, you can cash out with Paypal. With every survey, tickets are earned to enter the daily $50 drawing.

iRazoo: Another Search and Win Website. Here it is very easy to earn Amazon giftcards. Give it a try.

Lockerz: You collect points by logging in daily and answering one question daily. Then you can use those points to redeem prizes. They have redemption days.
**My brother just got Modern Warfare Reflex for Wii in the redemption today. Just leave me a comment with your email address and I will send the invite.

Enjoy!!! Good Night...

More Neil Gaiman - M is for Magic

Neil Gaiman has become one of my favorite authors. I think I have said that enough times and I will continue to say it until I am done with all his books. So far I have read the following:

1. Coraline (Audio CD)
2. Odd and the Frosted Giants (Audio CD)
3. The Graveyard Book (Audio CD)
4. M is for Magic - Hardcover (Reviewing now)

Currently I am reading Coraline Graphic Novel. I can't wait to check out his other books. is a review of M is for Magic. The book is a collection of short children stories. Before I start on the content of the stories, I must say one thing. I feel that Neil Gaiman books are better in audio cd format than paper format. I think Neil Gaiman brought the other books to life by narrating them. When authors are writing the novels, they have a certain personality in mind for each character. Neil Gaiman got a chance to portray those personalities through the audio books. So when I read M is for Magic, it didn't have Neil Gaiman's "magic" in it. For some reason I couldn't connect with the stories as I did with his other works. I strongly believe that was due to Gaiman narrating the stories.

Here are the titles of the short stories (courtesy of Wikipedia) and my short descriptions after them:
  • "The Case Of The Four And Twenty Blackbirds" - This story is about the death of Humpty Dumpty, which was actually a murder. Little Jack Horner is hired to solve the mystery. I personally didn't enjoy the story as much. It was okay.
  • "Troll Bridge" - Also printed in Smoke and Mirrors by Neil Gaiman - This story is about a Troll who lives under the bridge. A little boy meets him and promises to come back if the troll doesn't eat him. He promises to come back again and again. Readers have to read to find out if he goes back or not. I didn't enjoy it as much either.
  • "Don't Ask Jack" (Smoke and Mirrors) - The story is about Jack in the Box that sits in an attic waiting. As per my description, you can probably tell that this was my least favorite of all. And I am starting to think that Gaiman really likes the name Jack.
  • "How To Sell The Ponti Bridge" - Members of the Rogues Club in the Seven Worlds are suppose to be biggest cons around. However, a man name Stoat tells them how he pulled off biggest and easiest (according to the members) scam of all time. This was definitely one of the best stories in the entire book. I enjoyed this one very much and was wondering how Neil Gaiman would portray each character especially Stoat.
  • "October In The Chair" - Twelve months are sitting around the fire in the month of October. Since it is his month, he sits in the Chair. Each month tells a story and "month of the month" tells his story last. However, October goes ahead and tells his story first. His story is about a little boy who runs away from home because he is not appreciated at home. He meets a ghost boy. There is more to the story but I don't want to spoil it. I enjoyed this story.  All I have to say that story leaves the readers wondering.  
  • "Chivalry" (Smoke and Mirrors) - Mrs. Whitaker purchases a silver goblet. Knight Gaalad arrives at Mrs. Whitaker's door, time and again, with varied offerings in exchange for the "Holy Grail", which he needs to complete his quest. Mrs. Whitaker is finally convinced to trade for the ancient items. This was an interesting story. I am still unsure how I felt about this story. I enjoyed it but at the same time there was something missing.
  • "The Price" (Smoke and Mirrors) - A Black Cat arrives at a man's house and stays. Every morning the man notices that the cat has scratches and marks and is hurt. He figures that the cat had a fight with another animal during the night. One night he decides to stay awake and find out what or whom the black is fighting. This was my 3rd favorite after "Sunbird."
  • "How to Talk to Girls at Parties" (Fragile Things) A boy who is too shy to talk to girls ends up at a party of girls. As his friend Vic says, "They're just girls," ... "They don't come from another planet." Right? This was a weird story. I didn't like it that much. As per Gaiman's website, this story was nominated for Hugo Award 2007. Read it to find out why because I don't know why.
  • "Sunbird" (Noisy Outlaws) - An Epicurean Club with five distinguished members have tasted all sorts of creatures except for Sunbird. One member says he knows how to get his hands on the creature - in Egypt. They successfully catch the bird and even cook it. But then something happens...I won't say anymore. I really liked the concept of this story. I think this could easily be converted into a book. Shall I say any more...
  • "The Witch's Headstone"  - This story is part of The Graveyard Book; thus, I did not read this story. I highly recommend The Graveyard Book.
  • "Instructions" (first published in Wolf at the Door) - a Poem. It is a set of instructions of what to do if you find yourself inside a fairy tale. Quite interesting.
I think that is enough on this book. Overall, I found it so-so. I give this book 7/10. I might try this out in audio just to see/feel/hear the difference.

The Unnamed by Joshua Ferris

The Unnamed by Joshua Ferris was something different to say the least. I enjoyed listening to it and I think the author did an excellent job narrating it. There is no differentiation in voice when it comes to different characters, but from the starting, I associated his voice with the main character, Tim.

Tim Farnsworth is a partner in a law firm. He has a beautiful wife named Jane and a daughter, Becka. However, there is a chance that he will lose it all. He calls his wife to say, "It's back" and that will change everything. Tim has a condition, which makes him walk. He walks miles and miles and for hours until he is so tired that he falls asleep. His wife picks him up from random places at random hours. At first, his daughter feels that Tim is doing all this on purpose. That changes over time as she grows order and sees her dad struggle with this condition. However, in the end, it is Tim who has to deal with it and stop himself from walking away from his life.

I read about this novel on NPR and found the plot interesting. Whenever I took a break from listening to the novel (when I got to work or home) I kept wondering what will happen next until I got a chance to listen to it again. Joshua Ferris creates these characters and makes them so real that the readers feel emotionally attached to them. Even though this novel is fiction, there is a non-fiction feel to it. I think some readers might be able to relate to the frustrations Tim and Jane face throughout the novel. The readers will sympathize with the characters, their triumphs, and their loses (not too many triumphs though). This novel is definitely on the sad end of the scale.

I felt that Joshua Ferris did not leave any questions unanswered and lose ends. The story starts from the beginning and ends at the End. The readers are not kept wondering about the future or wishing for an alternate end (at least I wasn't.) I felt the ending was very peaceful as compared to the whole book. I give this book 8.5/10.

This book qualifies for the Audio Book Challenge.

P.S. Here are the two NPR articles: An Aimless Walk With An 'Unnamed' Destination by Glen Weldon (book review) and Tracking A Man's Life, In Endless Footsteps (author interview).

Now I am listening to The Little Giant of Aberdeen County by Tiffany Baker and enjoying it so far. I am also reading M is for Magic by Neil Gaiman.

Good day

Today is definitely a good day...and yesterday was better...don't know much about tomorrow!!!

That's all I have to say in this post.

Don't Judge a Book... its cover. I think almost everybody in this world have heard this saying. I agree with the literal and metaphorical meaning of the statement. However, whenever I pick my next book, I can't help but judge the book by its cover.

Whenever I chose a book, I consider the following:
  • The story/plot of the book
  • If it was recommended, it usually goes to my TBR list automatically, (unless it is non-fiction...then have to do a little research)
  • If I see a review on the book blogs I follow
  • Usually Facebook's Visual Bookshelf and Shelfari's reviews
  • The book cover.
Recently, (sometime last week), I was browsing through the non-fiction audio books section (I occassionally do that). One audio book caught my eye because the spine of the book was colorful. I just had to pick it up and it was none other than Amy Sedaris (David Sedaris's sister). I will listen to it soon (a colleague is borrowing it right now.) Here is what I know:
  • Plot: something to do with hospitality
  • Recommendation: Not really....I had read something about her promoting the book and that got me interested.
  • Review: Waiting for the colleague to finish. She said she is enjoying it so far.
  • I haven't looked on Facebook or Shelfari but I have a slight idea what they will say.
  • The book cover: was interesting. Have a look yourself.

Anyways, time to sleep. It wasn't such a good day and on top of that, didn't get much accomplished. I have my exam next week on the 25th. Good Night.

Sisters Eight Book 1 & 2 - Book Reviews

Last week I read first two books for Sisters Eight series: Annie's Adventures (Book 1) and Durinda's Dangers (Book 2). I believe there are total of five books out and I think there will be total of either eight or nine books.

Series Sisters Eight is about octuplets (and eight cats) whose parents disappear on New Year's Eve. They have to figure out what happened to their parents, while keeping in mind that nobody should find out about disappear of their parents. If somebody finds out, then the sisters will be separated. They find unsigned notes that tell them that they each have a power and a gift that they have to find. The oldest, Annie, finds her power and her gift in the first book and Durinda, the second older, finds hers in the second book.

The stories were cute and quite unreal. They learn how to drive a car and go shopping. I think all the kids should read these books and adults can check these out for some light reading. Overall, I enjoyed it. I give them 8.5/10. I can't wait to get my hands on rest of the books of the series.

SRK on NPR :)

Shah Rukh Khan (SRK) is one of the best actors out there. I don't think this is just my opinion (Even NPR states that). He continues to prove himself. The movies are automatically a hit if his name is somehow attached to it. His new movie "My Name is Khan" is releasing tomorrow and I am excited.

He was on NPR this morning, which I missed but I am listening to it online right now :-)

Here is the interview:

Here is the article from NPR's website:

His Name Is Khan (And It's One You Might Know)

Can you tell I am excited? :-P

Time to get back to work. I will write about Sisters Eight Book 1: Annie's Adventure soon.

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

After listening to Neil Gaiman present The Graveyard Book, I have concluded that he is one of the best storytellers. Again, he did an excellent job creating the characters.

Here is the summary of the book:

Nobody (Bod) Owens is raised by the ghosts of the graveyard. His family was murdered by the Man Jack when Nobody Owens was a baby. He learns the ways of the graveyard such as fading, dreamwalking, etc. However, his ghost family cannot always protect him or shield him from the outside world. 

This book was awesome. There are short incidents of Bod's life such as his graveyard teachers from early 16th and 17th century, his days in school, Silas who is his guardian, and his encounter with the Man Jack. There is so much more than these few mentioned above. Readers will find out the reason behind the murders and other supernaturals. There are ghouls, vampires, werewolves, sleers, and ofcourse ghosts. There is so much that it leaves the readers hungry for more in the end. I have no comments about the ending. It was bitter-sweet for me which made me like this book even more.

I discussed this book with a colleague and we both concluded that we would love a sequel. There is so much more things to imagine. We want to meet Bod again and hear more about his life. I want to say so much more but I am afraid that I might give away some spoilers.

What's more exciting is reading about a possible movie for this book. Here is Neil Gaiman's journal entry about the movie. I am excited. I wonder if it will be an animated movie like Coraline. I would love to see this movie as real people with computer-generated imagery.

I will give this book 9.5 out of 10.

This book qualifies for the Audio Book Challenge.

Jahanara ~ Kathryn Lasky

I remember when I was younger, girls in school would read the "The Royal Diaries." I always thought about reading it but never got around to it. So while I was browsing the library bookshelves to look for Gaiman's books, I saw The Royal Diaries section and decided to check them out. I checked out Jahanara, Princess of Princesses, India, 1627, mainly because it was about India.

Here is a summary of the book from our Library's website:

Beginning in 1627, Princess Jahanara, first daughter of Shah Jahan of India's Mogul Dynasty, writes in her diary about political intrigues, weddings, battles, and other experiences of her life. Includes historical notes on Jahanara's later life and on the Mogul Empire.

It was an interesting read. It started slow for me as I found the beginning quite boring. Toward the middle, it started to get interesting as the brothers are introduced. Before Jahanara only talked about them. At the end of the book, the history of India is explained and I enjoyed that very much. There was a family tree of Shah Jahan's family. I did not know that Jahanara actually existed so this was a history lesson for me. I give this book 7/10.

I am almost done with The Graveyard Book. I am on the last track of the last disc. I will listen to Unnamed by Joshua Ferris next.

The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell

The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell was an interesting read. I enjoyed Gladwell's Outliers very much and just had to check out his other works.

The Tipping Point treats different phenomenon in the history as epidemics and discusses the three rules of epidemic that explain the phenomenon:
  1.  The Law of the Few
  2. The Stickiness Factor
  3. The Power of Context
I liked that the author simplifies the concepts for the readers and uses case studies to explain them such as sale of the Hush Puppies and Airwalk shoes. The book is also different from the book Outliers. In Outliers, Gladwell built points after points and ended the book with a boom. This book, Gladwell mentions the points in the very beginning and explains them throughout the book. I give this book 8.45/10. I think I am going to add all Gladwell books to my wish list. I really enjoy reading his works.

This book qualifies for the Audio Book Challenge.

I found the following graph, which complements the book very well:

Now I am enjoying The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. He has become one of my favorite authors. I must say he is an excellent storyteller.