NAME: H. SHAR
AGE: 21 YEARS
Loves ALL Music ☑
A pathological bookworm ☑
24/7 Youtuber ☑
Video games & Arcade ☑
Coffee & Tea ☑
Party-hard, sex maniac ☒
self-proclaimed poet ☑
NAME: H. SHAR
AGE: 21 YEARS
Loves ALL Music ☑
A pathological bookworm ☑
24/7 Youtuber ☑
Video games & Arcade ☑
Coffee & Tea ☑
Party-hard, sex maniac ☒
self-proclaimed poet ☑
TALK TO ME
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This layout is GC and MF friendly. Relatively okay, but slightly retarded-looking in IE.
Tuesday, January 13, 2015
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Rating : 3.5 stars
Rainbow Rowell is a such a lovely writer. There isn't anything particularly distinctive about her style, but how she makes each scene just flow from one to another makes the pages fly by. Okay, that doesn't like a compliment, but I mean it in the best way possible. It allows the reader to really transport themselves into Cath's world.
The plot is about Cath who has a twin sister named Wren. Cath loves writing fanfiction about her favourite main characters called "Simon & Baz". They are characters in a series that sounds suspiciously like Harry Potter. I think the similarities were intentional as we all know about the Harry Potter fandom. Lately, her fanfiction stories have gained a massive and loyal following that grows more and more each day. Cath loves disappearing into her fictional world and weaving stories about characters who she regards as a part of her, basically. So the plot follows Cath's freshman year in college where she is on her own and without her sister. Her room mate was a tough chick named Raegan and then there was Levi, a boy who seemed very close to Raegan, yet he was always hanging in their room.
Cath is an extreme introvert. Something that I can relate to only a certain extent. She was brash and socially awkward, excruciatingly timid. I couldn't really connect with her. But that did not mean that I wasn't rooting for her. Mostly because I couldn't stand her twin. And also because of her adorable interactions with Levi. Levi, at first didn't appeal to me (Rainbow, please do not start a character description with "Receding hairline". I was immediately turned off. Not exactly the image of a young hero I was expecting), but he grew on me towards the end and I couldn't help but fall for him. Simply because he is utterly perfect, personality-wise. The most ideal boy one can ever find; sincere, gentlemanly, funny, loving... the list goes on.
I enjoyed Cath's close relationship with her father. It was really heartwarming and made me really like Cath, even though I don't necessariy understand her at times. The plot is dynamic without being overly dramatic. And that is what I love about it. They are all thing that could be happening to any individual right now as I type this review. The only unrealistic thing would be Levi's absolute 'perfection' and his complete understanding of Cath (I kinda liked it when they fought that ONE time. Makes their relationship more exciting).
The one thing that got me annoyed was the Simon & Baz stories thrown in with each chapter. I know that they were somehow linearly related to Cath's journey in the story, but I found that it broke the flow of the book. I feel myself switching between two stories, which isn't something I like to do. So sometimes I just skip those Simon & Baz parts, just because.
Overall, I enjoyed this read. Was it mindblowing? No. Was it well-written? Yes. Would I revisit it? Probably, just certain parts.
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The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer.
Saturday, January 03, 2015
The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Rating: 3 Stars
I might be really late on this book. Actually I am pretty sure I am late on this. I didn't even realize until I have finished the entire book that it was part of a trilogy. OF COURSE IT IS. Everything is a trilogy these days. Especially in YA. I remember when there was a lot of hype on this one, once upon a time.
The story is about Mara who was the sole survivor to a huge accident that killed her best friends and her "boyfriend" (I use quotation marks 'cos it wasn't a real relationship anyways). Because of this traumatic event, she began experiencing some hallucinations and had to transfer to a different school to readjust her life. It was a posh private school and she had difficulties assimilating. She also meets a very good-looking and mysterious boy named Noah, who displayed a great interest in her, for reasons that are beyond her comprehension. Eventually her hallucinations become more and more intense, to the point where she even doubts her own sanity.
The premise of the storyline was great. I enjoy Michelle Hodkins's writing style whenever she is describing the hallucinations. They are so eerie and have a dream-like quality to them. Some were pretty gruesome, but I liked that about it. The dream-like quality of these hallucinations is a double-edged sword though. Towards the end, the hallucinations melded with her own reality to the point where even the reader has difficulty figuring out what exactly is going on. It got abit much.
The characters were ... okay. I really don't have much of an opinion on them. I felt that Mara was not very likeable. She was sarcastic, in a manner that came off as a little rude and condescending. Naturally she has self-esteem issues, as with all teenagers, but Mara seems disdainful and overly negative. Noah is the typical YA alpha-male hero you would want to read about and then fantasize for days on end. He is very perfect, which is one of the reasons why I don't find him very compelling. He is incredibly good-looking, girls swooning left and right and he is also honing a bad boy image. Also, did I mention that he is filthy rich? Perfect. And he is also only interested in Mara, which I really cannot understand for the life of me. Perhaps it's because I find Mara kind of BLAH, I really do not get why Noah is so in love with her. Hence, it's hard for me to root for them.
Overall, the plot could do without ALOT of the overly cliched romantic scenes with Noah and Mara. It got really mushy really quick and I disliked that aspect of it. It's the kind of romance that makes you roll your eyes because it's too good to be true. There is no charm or quirkiness to their romance, hence it seemed fake to me. The general plot about Mara's hallucinations and her coping with the accident was actually quite compelling and I wished there was deeper development in those aspects. I might continue on to the next book simply because of the cliff-hanger ending. I kinda wanna know what happens. But that's about it really. I had high hopes for this one, but it fell a little short of my expectations.
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The Final Stretch.
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
I have a confession to make. I have been slacking off school eventhough, technically, it is the third week of the university semester. I know that it is my last semester (hopefully) and that I should just be really enthusiastic about it. As in, really just bite the bullet, go all out and get my grades up.
But honestly, I cannot bring myself to even show up for class sometimes 'cos I am just OVER it. I am OVER the whole studying thing. Over the whole mugging thing. And I am just itching to leave this stupid hellhole. Granted, it is probably because I absolutely detest my major. I know that I should've stuck to my passion yadda-yadda, follow-your-heart nonsense. But I couldn't. Practically speaking, my mom would've killed me. So I was stuck learning shit that I probably will never use EVER again in my entire life. But hey, education, right?
Can't believe I paid 6000 bucks for this crap.
Furthermore, NONE of my modules (except for my unrelated elective on Film Studies) interest me in the very least. ESPECIALLY the fact that I had to drop one of my more useful modules for this STUPID MODULE called 'The Enlightenment', thanks to a mix-up and clash in my timetable. That was, by the way, ENTIRELY NUS's fault and not mine. They just happily cancelled the tutorial slot I was in and totally screwed up my timetable. So now, I had to drop and pick up a different module. The only one that fit my timetable was 'The Enlightenment', (which is about the scholars of the 18th century. Allow me to gouge my eyes out), taking my ONLY free day of the week.
YES, SCHOOL IS MUTHAFUCKA.
Not to mention, the WORKLOAD is crazy. Needless to say, I am very much behind on the whole thing. Then again I have always been for all of my three years in university. So whatever. I probably would have to work less and focus on my studies this semester. This idea does not appeal to me at all because
1. I would earn less and hence have less to spend and save
2. I would be in school more
3. I would have to actually do my readings for once
4. I would have less time for my friends, family and my boy
5. I just hate studying
Not a very cheerful post by me, but we are talking about NUS. And you all know how much I detest that place. So it's kinda expected.
On the bright side, I will be getting myself (with my own hard earned money) a new laptop. My old one is on its last legs. The sound doesn't even work anymore, and it runs very slowly. I'm hoping a new laptop will get me though this last sem and help me stay sane in school. Hopefully, it will get me to do my schoolwork as well so that I will PASS and finally start my adultlife proper.
Wish me luck, guys. This sem is gonna be a rough one.
Shit gets personal.
Sunday, January 20, 2013
I woke up this morning with the incredible urge to write when in actual fact, I probably have nothing to write about. Then I sat back and I thought again... Nope, that isn't true. I probably have TOO MANY things to write about such that the idea of writing everything out is gonna be too much of a chore to even bother trying.
It then dawned upon me that I haven't really written about my life in absolutely ages. 2012 just zipped by without me really delving into what happened. Part of the reason was that so many personal things occurred that I probably wouldn't be comfortable blogging about. However, I have turned lazy over the couple of years and am no longer dedicated enough to continue my written diary like how I always have back in the day. Which in turn made me realized how much I have missed that year. So many things happened. So many thing in me changed. And that chapter of my life seemed like a total blur.
I am determined not to let that happen this year.
I mean, what is the point of having an entire folder of emotion gifs when I am not even gonna use them anywhere?!
Previously, I made the mistake of writing for an audience. And I got caught up with my book blogging that I missed out what was happening in REALITY. I basically drowned myself in fiction.
Time to get this blog back on track. No one is gonna read this anyway. No one but my best friends and the close people in my life. So why bother with the secrecy. I should just write about what I want to write. Be it book reviews, or random things in my life. I need to start storing these memories.
They are facets of me that I probably would never have realized about myself until I look back and go, "Ahhh, so that was how I was."
Besides, it doesn't have to be FANTASTIC writing. I don't have to be all philosophical and depressing. I don't have to have 'Dictionary.com' beside my blogger tab just to write a stupid blog post. I dunno why I have all these expectations of myself, especially regarding my writing, as if I am a bestselling author of some hit novel. So, it's kinda liberating to realize that, "No, bitch, you ain't nobody." so I can write whatever the hell I want. Because there are NO expectations. And life is just life. So I should sit back and let it unfold around me.
Jared the carrot.
Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Okay, I know that this is essentially not a post about books but I think this would be a breath of fresh air to some people who still visit my rather pathetic blog. (Do visit my tumblr instead. *thebeezerbook.tumblr.com* I update that much more frequently) But I have to get something off my chest and this seems like most fitting platform as my tumblr page is rather... catered to a specific set of followers. Here, on the other hand, there are so few that I can do whatever the hell I want.
For those who might know, this semester I am doing a couple of modules in film, particularly film art and the analysis of films as an art-form rather than a product for mass consumption. I was (still am, I think) very excited about these modules. Mostly because I would be exposed to a rather large range of films that are not exactly in my comfort zone and not necessarily something I would have known to have existed otherwise. And if something interests me, sure enough I will spread the word, like I always do. So far the module is treating me quite well.
HOWEVER, what irks me GREATLY is the amount of 'new-age', experimental films out there that are considered ground-breaking and revolutionary, when it actual fact , it is a bunch of pretentious bullshit that is palatable only to a very MINUTE crowd of over-indulgent, artsy-fartsy, over-analysing bunch of people. I am sure I am not the only one who feels this way about certain films. And by large, films (like all other artforms) are very subjective in its reception. But sitting through a movie that consists of long 5min shots of NOTHING or a girl staring into space, or a black & white movie of extreme surrealism in which there is no chronological order or substantial plot... It is a very classy form of torture.
I sat through the 4-hour "commercial cut" version of the black & white classic "Greed" by Erich von Stroheim. Apparently the original was 9 hours long. NINE, guys, NINE!! But okay, I could handle that. The plot was alright and it depicted the downward spiral of a couple that succumbs to human greed. Nothing new today but I guess it was rather controversial back when it was first released in 1924.
"Birth of a Nation" was another difficult one to sit through. Though I felt that the epic nature of such a war film that deals with ethnic issues in early America wasn't too bad. It was about slavery and the propaganda of southern political views that the Ku Klux Klan was famous for advocating through its terrorism. I GET THAT. Okay, it was boring to watch, simply because it is so outdated in terms of film making techniques. But ALRIGHT. I can handle. But there are certain films that were just INFURIATING for me to even sit through.
One such film would be "Good bye, Dragon Inn" by Tsai Ming-liang, a taiwanese film. I have nothing against foreign films. In fact, I love them. BUT OH MY GOD. This one was excruciating. And by that I mean excruciatingly slow and mind-numbingly devoid of action. I sat there, as if I had ants in my pants, fidgeting and waiting for something, ANYTHING to happen so as to give me a CLUE of what was going on. Aaaaand nothing. I mean, yes, the director had great technique but his confidence in the audience, that they WILL over-analyse and somehow will go the extra mile to read his hidden message such that he is able to present the bare minimum to his audience; THAT appalls me. Thanks to the internet, I was able to decipher his meaning, but what if there weren't any. I think back to my interpretations of the film and it was NOTHING like that the director intended. And by the end of it, I got so agitated that I rejected the film entirely, hence I couldn't be bothered to rack my brains over what that loooooooooong shot of an empty cinema hall meant. It's all about give and take. And not about over-indulging either parties, the director nor the audience.
Other films that made go "WTF" were:
- 'So Is This' by Michael Snow (a film made of words projected on a black screen)
- 'Meshes of the Afternoon' by Maya Deren (a black & white American silent film with a Japanese music score that follows a surreal dream-like sequence that goes in circles)
- 'One Second in Montreal' by Michael Snow (A film made of photos)
- 'La Jetee' by Chris Marker (A film of almost no movement told in time-travel narrative, primarily through the projection of still photographs)
- 'Blue' by Derek Jarman (A film that consists of a single shot of saturated blue colour filling the screen to the narration and soundtrack that describes the plot)
- 'Poetic Justice' by Hollis Frampton (A film of shooting script)
I can go on and on... I realize that most are made by avant-garde film makers. And as a student taking a film module, I should expose myself to alternative styles of film rather than the linear narrative we are so used to in Hollywood. I AM TRYING, GUYS, I AM TRYING. But damn it, it is SO HARD. Half the time I am thinking, "Do people actually GET this?!". Maybe I am just not artistic enough or philosophical enough or wise enough to decipher the meanings behind these films. Maybe I am just part of the brain-dead masses that are semi-stimulated by action sequences and plot twists. I don't wanna be an average consumer of the arts. But honestly, WTF is all I can think of sometimes when I see these films. And at times their films reek and are dripping with artistic pretentiousness that are essentially egocentric in their execution and presentation of their artform that they feel, to me, condescending rather than inspiring or enlightening. They make you feel like you are too stupid to get their "profound" symbolism.
And THAT is what pisses me off.
Because art should be something that inspires all, rich or poor, an art connoisseur or the common man.
But that's just me, I guess.
Monday, August 27, 2012
On Love by Alain de Botton
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Rating: 5 stars
I picked this book up out of a whim, while I was browsing in my local bookstore. I have not heard much about this one, though I think it should be pretty famous seeing as it is an international bestseller. Though there is virtually ZERO hype on this. Well, at least none that I am aware of. What drew me to this book is the interesting way it was written. I read the first chapter and immediately ran to the counter to purchase it 'cos it is definitely far from the cliche love stories we are so used to reading.
Basically, we follow a couple's relationship from the moment they met, fall in love and their development through the course of time. The voice of the protagonist is the guy in the relationship, who is deeply in love with Chloe, the girl. The two met by chance on a flight back to London and were sitting side by side. Upon striking up a conversation, the two hit it off and our protagonist ultimately fell for her almost immediately. They became a couple and we chart their progress through the protagonist's intelligent and philosophical perspective.
What is so incredibly different about this book is the way it is written. It's written in different relationship phases and in topical form with numbered paragraphs, reminiscent of a textbook of some kind (but definitely not as dull as one). And here, the author combines political and greek philosophical theories with the abstract concept of "Love" in hopes of figuring out the dynamics of couples and mapping out the course of the journey into love. As a political science major, I find it extremely enlightening that theories such as Marxism, Freudian concepts, Communism and Kant's, can be used in very basic, human and artistic concepts such as Love and Life. The author is also creepily spot-on in his observations of couples in love. There are so many insights here that made me go, "Whoooa~ That is SO true!". We tend to forget that Love, although governed dominantly by emotions and the heart, is also significantly influenced by the mind and general human thought. And the author is brilliant in his psychoanalysis theories. He then illustrates his thoughts through the voice of the protagonist, using Chloe and his relationship as an example.
Lemme just say as well, Alain de Botton writes BEAUTIFULLY! It is very hard to merge both factual, theoretical writing with narrative, and even harder to make it engaging enough, the pace to be suitable enough to hold the reader's attention. But he does it PERFECTLY. There are too many lines in this book that I just wanna quote and think them over in my mind. He writes so well that often I am left thinking about his words and that is why I love this book so much. It is incredibly thought-provoking and for me, highly inspiring. An example would be,
"Perhaps it is true that we do not really exist until there is someone there to see us existing; that we cannot properly speak until there is someone who can understand what we are saying; that, in essence, we are not wholly alive until we are loved."
AARGH!! SO. GOOD.
And the ending is really expectant. I do not feel the tragic bite of a failed love but instead, the author makes Love to be a cyclical journey and has it's climax and then slowly fading into a new one. It ends quite optimistically, eventhough it spelt the fading out of Chloe and his relationship.
Overall, I cannot say enough good things about this book. It is exactly the thing I needed to get me out of my reading rut because it is so different. Mind you, it might not be everyone's cup of tea. Simply because this book is highly factual, almost like a university reading and quite objective. But not overly so thanks to the perfect mix of fact and fiction.
Definitely thumbs up! (I might not even have enough thumbs to illustrate how much I like this one)
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Before I Go To Sleep.
Thursday, August 23, 2012
Before I Go To Sleep by S.J. Watson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Rating: 3 and 1/2 stars
This book took me an embarrassingly long time to finish. I am not exactly proud of it but I guess I was going through some sort of reading rut. BUT IT IS FINALLY DONE and I have to say that I really do like it. Although there were certain elements that I wasn't too keen on, overall it was a good read. This book is one of those books that gets REALLY good at the end. I swear, towards the end, I could NOT put this book down 'cos it got INTENSE to the point of creeping me out. FIRST, let me tell you the gist of the plot.
Before I Go To Sleep is about Christine who woke up one day and realized that she was not the twenty-something that she thought she was but in fact, she was a forty-something woman with a husband, living in a house she has never seen before. Upon which she flipped out and demanded to know what was going on. She later realized that she has a rare type of amnesia whereby she is unable to make new memories. Her memory would be erased the moment she falls into sleep and she will wake up every morning a blank slate. Christine struggles to find out about her past and her identity, the life that she lived but could not remember. With the help of a mysterious Dr Nash who reached out to help her strange condition, she keeps a journal of daily events so that she can piece together her past. Also revealing clues of the man she was married to, Ben, who seemed to be telling her only a fraction of the truth about her past. The question is can she trust these men? Can she even trust her own memories?
It is such an interesting premise. Just the thought of waking up with twenty years of your life GONE without you even remembering it sounds absolutely terrifying to me. It highlights how important memories are in our lives and how we build our identity around our experiences and how we remember ourselves to be. The author does a great job at highlighting Christine's fears and confusion as to who she really was/is. I have to mention how lovely the writing is in this book. S. J. Watson writes this thriller with such... grace. I have no other way to describe it. There is a very poetic and slice-of-life vibe from the writing which is so different from the usual thriller-style writing I am used to where it is very action-oriented. Here the thrill comes in the 'unknown' and the fears are entirely in the mind. That made it extra creepy and extra thought-provoking.
The characters in this book are very multi-faceted. Each chapter reveals a different dimension to the characters and it helps that there are not very many of them. Just Christine, her husband Ben, Dr Nash and a couple others. Their relationships also follow a very broad spectrum. Christine's confusion led her to question her "love" for her husband and sought refuge in Dr Nash (who was really, much younger than her). I remember one of the scenes where she took the plunge and kissed him and I literally gagged at her folly. 'Cos she really shouldn't be screwing up the only relationship that can save her life. But it is these human mistakes that make each character so real and rich. Within the thrill of the mystery of her past, the reader sees the dangers of domesticity and longing to be desired.
The plot was, in my opinion, very slowly-paced. It got really good towards the end when we read some glass-shattering revelations that totally rocked the plot. But in the beginning and the middle, I found too many repetitions and cycles. I understand that it is unavoidable as Christine loses her memory everyday and so, she would be going through the same cycle each day. But it get tedious to read through. However, I applaud the author's attempts at making each day varied in a way and how he always ends with doubt, making the reader (me) suspicious of everyone. I became suspicious of everything and everyone and that was what ultimately made me continue reading. I wanted to find out if my suspicions were true.
AND THE ENDING was like WHOOOAAA~ INTENSE WHAM BAM HOLY CRAP ACTION. I cannot reveal too much but Christine's past was revealed and I was literally TRAUMATIZED at the revelations. Humans are capable of the unthinkable and that is a scary reminder. I remember (see what I did there?) literally gasping in shock and horror as I read the last part of the book. That was what made everything worth it. I was gripped and shaken by the shoulders and genuinely thrilled.
I just wished that the middle parts of the book weren't such a plateau. And that Christine was a more likeable character. 'Cos I actually find her abit bland. I suppose she can't have much of personality seeing as she lost a good chunk of her memory, but I did find reading from her perspective quite depressing.
Overall though, worth a read as the writing is really beautiful for a thriller. And the ending was like da bomb. And it does delve into the mysteries of the mind, so the reader has to prepare himself/herself mentally for some mind-fuckery and self-questioning moments.
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