Sunday, February 22, 2009

My Picks for Reads

The Art of French Kissing
(Little Black Dress Books)

Author : Kristin Harmel
Publication date : 2008
Publication place : Great Britain
Publisher : Headline Publishing Group
Pages : 1 – 308
Price : RM 19.90

Set in Paris, beautiful city of the Eiffel Tower, this is a chick lit that will have readers take part in a tour to visit Parisian locales. Emma Sullivan is a PR coordinator to American boy bands in Orlando, city in central Florida. Firstly, she thinks she will have a happy marriage with her perfect fiancé. Devastated when her fiancé suddenly dumps her and her boss fires her, she thinks that the best person who could help her would be her friend who lives in Paris, Poppy. She moves on by deciding to leave her hometown to stay with her friend who offers her a PR job for crazy French rock star, Guillaume. She comes to realise that her stint work requires her to spend most of her time talking him out of getting into scrapes and making the false stories up to tell journalists who are always thirsted for his news. At work, she meets an exquisitely handsome French reporter, Gabriel, who draws her attention. But she tries to fend off the attraction after she knows he can harm her client’s reputation by reporting the truths. Her problems get worse when Guillaume’s actions have been increasingly crazy, her ex-fiancé wants to get back together with her and she can’t stop thinking about Gabriel. The Art of French Kissing is a chic story about a young and sophisticated woman in the pursuit of the perfect kiss and Mr. Right. This is a romance fiction that you end up hoping that the central characters will live happily ever after. You’ll be hooked by the taste of Paris which this story has.

(Megan Tingley Books)

Author : Stephenie Meyer
Publication date : October 2005
Publication place : New York
Publisher : Little, Brown and Company
Pages : 3 – 498
Price : RM 33.55

Attempting to combine suspense and romance equally, Twilight succeeds as an unusually romantic story. Seventeen-year-old Bella Swan decides to move from Phoenix, Arizona to Forks, Washington to live with her father who is divorced to her mother. She goes to the local school where she then meets Edward Cullen, a vampire who is actually over 100, although he looks much younger like a teenage boy. Edward is a very strong vampire; he can simply read the thoughts of any one around him, but Bella’s. He thinks she has the most pleasant smell of blood which any vampire can’t resist. At the same time, she is very curious to know who he really is and the mysterious background of his family. In every way possible, she tries to find out about him by getting close to him. In fact, he also does the same thing. But then they fall in love with each other, although they are aware of the problems they will cause. In this way, their forbidden relationship may put them all in danger and cause a death. This first book of the Twilight Saga is the basis of the recently released motion picture that is believed able to follow the same success of Harry Potter. As what is expressly stated by the author, this is a love story with bite. This story will keep readers feeling a thirst for the suspense of unconditional love.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Cine Review

The Da Vinci Code

Distributors : Columbia Pictures
Genres : Adventure Adaptation
Directed by : Ron Howard
Starring : Tom Hanks, Audrey Tautou, Ian McKellen, Alfred Molina, Jürgen Prochnow, Paul Bettany, Jean Reno, and Etienne Chicot.

Based on the international best-selling novel, this sensational movie starring Academy Award® winner Tom Hanks and French actress Audrey Tautou is more than just a thriller. Regardless of great controversy due to its religious issue, The Da Vinci Code succeeded as a blockbuster that made millions of dollars after it had been showing worldwide on 19 May 2006.

When American religious symbology expert Dr. Robert Landon (Hanks) is in Paris, the investigative agency of the France government, led by Captain Bezu Fache (Reno), summons him to the Louvre. He soon discovered that a curator at the museum with whom he had been scheduled to meet was murdered. Langdon is assisted by a French cryptographer and government agent named Sophie Neveu (Tautou) to search clues that were purposely left by the curator. In the process of searching, they are astonished after discovering a chain of cryptic codes and puzzles behind the famous masterpieces of Leonardo Da Vinci. Langdon’s problems get worse when the investigative agency suspect him of the murder. And situation gets more intense for him when he feels he is actually connected to the process of unravelling a huge mystery that has been concealed for centuries. Using their talents, Langdon and Sophie have to decipher the labyrinth of codes and puzzles while they try to run away from Fache’s lawmen, wander Paris looking for more clues, and eventually fly to England.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Deep In a Discussion about Twilight

The cover book of Twilight.

1. Is the fact that Edward can’t read Bella’s thoughts more important than it seems? Do you think it will it serve a larger purpose?

Actually, I’ve been curious to know why Edward can’t read Bella’s thoughts since I read what he said to her, “It was unquestionably a complication that I couldn’t simply read your thoughts to know what reaction was to me.” As we know, Edward is very sensible to the thoughts of anyone around him, even vampires’. That’s one of the strengths which he brought. He could even see James’ mind – a vampire from a different group who really wanted to hunt Bella. There is nothing but a larger reason behind this fact.

2. Bella faints at the smell of blood. If she were to become a vampire, how might this serve a hindrance? How might it be an asset?

Well, it might serve a good purpose like she would probably be the nicest vampire who didn’t suck blood from the living. In this way, she could be a role model for other vampires (kidding). But she could possibly suffer from blood hydration and that would certainly make it difficult for her to survive.

3. Is Edward selfishly putting Bella in danger, or is Bella being too stubborn for her own good? Is it a little bit of both? What are the threatening factors facing Bella and are there ways to avoid them?

I don’t think Edward is selfishly putting Bella’s life at risk, but her stubbornness and reckless behaviour have put them all in danger. Therefore, Bella would probably be facing death. It’s an either-or death – either Edward’s or Bella’s. There’d be no ways to avoid it unless they stopped seeing each other.

4. Temptation is a major theme in Twilight – more accurately, resisting one’s temptations. Discuss the subplot of Carlisle’s job as a doctor in relation to this major theme. How well does he handle temptation? What do you feel would be the most difficult part for him in his role? Why does he remain working as a doctor when the Cullens don’t seem to need his income?

Carlisle couldn’t find a companion like him – he was very lonely. When he was working in a hospital in Chicago, he was thinking of creating one. At first, he was actually loath to transform Edward into a vampire, but there was no hope for Edward because he was dying when the influenza epidemic hit. Well, I think these are Carlisle’s temptations – to build a new family and to protect them from death and to make them immortal. And I think he handles these temptations quite well.

Although he is immune to human blood, the most difficult part for him as a doctor must be to resist this natural food source. Nevertheless, he keeps doing the work in order to help humans who need medical treatments from him. He is a good vampire, isn’t he?

5. The Cullens live, act, and care for one another as a family. How much of their ability to do so is dependant on Carlisle’s rule that they live in a manner that contradicts their nature – hunting animals instead of humans? Do you think that they would be able to maintain their bond if they weren’t all committed to his plan?

Carlisle is a father figure – the Cullens are very dependant on him. He must have exerted a great deal of efforts trying to instil aversion to human blood in his family. And it, of course, is not easy for them. Speaking of his plan, I’m not really clear about what he intends to do – but I don’t think they would be able to maintain their bond unless they were all committed to his plan.

6. Edward saves Bella on more than one occasion. Discuss the different instances and how Bella reacts before she knows what he is and after. Also discuss how Edward reacts after each instance both before and after she learns he is a vampire.

Before she knows what Edward is, she is very inquisitive to know who Edward and his family are and why he becomes such a cold person to everyone, chiefly to her. And after she knows he is a vampire, she becomes increasingly reckless and irrevocably in love with him. Unlike Bella, Edward always becomes protective toward her life and tries to alarm her of danger and bad consequences that might be invited by their forbidden relationship even though he falls head over heels in love with her too. Beforehand, Edward is also curious to know how he can’t decipher Bella’s thoughts and thirsted for her blood.

7. Alice explains to Bella the theory of how vampires have come to exist. She mentions that most have some memories of the transition and their life prior to it. How does what we learn from James about Alice’s past explain her lack of memory?

Like what Bella said to Edward after she’d heard Alice’s mysterious past from James, “She was always in the dark, that’s why she didn’t remember.” Unless I’m mistaken, Edward stole her from the asylum where he worked when James was to prey on her. James said, “She didn’t even seem to notice the pain, poor little creature. She’d been stuck in that black hole of a cell for so long. A hundred years earlier and she would have been burned at the stake for her vision.” Accordingly, I guess Alice might have been mentally ill for so long that she suffered from memory loss before Edward and Carlisle changed her into a strong new vampire, so there was no chance James would try to hunt her again.

8. Once Edward has tasted Bella’s blood, do you think it will make it harder to resist Bella – specifically her blood? Will the fact that he is able to control himself make Bella want to be changed into a vampire? Do you think that it is fair of her to ask that of him? Do you think it is fair of him to refuse?

Hopefully, this is not about addiction we are talking about, right? Like Bella addiction or Bella’s blood addiction (hehehe). But I think what will make it harder for him to resist her is his very strong affection toward her. Of course, he will find it very hard to resist her blood – like a shark can’t resist any blood. And I’m not sure that he will always be able to control himself – remember a time when he kissed her? He almost lost his control. Just suppose he made her lip bleed when making out, what would happen? We would never know.

That is Bella who wants to be changed into a vampire because she doesn’t want to get old when Edward is forever young – also, he doesn’t wanna be a toy boy (kidding). Well, I think the changing of Bella into a vampire is not a fair decision at all. It is unfair of her to ask that of him because her parents still love her and it is unfair of him to accept because she still has a family.

9. Jacob Black tells Bella a story about his tribe and the “cold ones.” He doesn’t believe any of it but says his father clearly dislikes the Cullens. If Jacob’s father believes the Cullens are dangerous, why doesn’t he warn Bella or Jacob? Is he hiding a secret of his own?

Yeah, I still remember reading what Jacob told Bella that the cold ones were blood drinkers who were very dangerous, even if they’d claimed that they hunted animals instead of humans. And he also said the Cullens were the same ones. There must a hidden reason behind the fact that his father doesn’t warn Bella or Jacob on his own, seeing that he is also a tribal elder.

10. Stephenie Meyer has noted that each of the novels in the Twilight Saga pays homage to other literary classics. For Twilight, she has said Pride and Prejudice was the key inspiration. Pride and Prejudice is often described as a “romantic comedy.” What parts of Twilight are romantic? What parts are comic? Describe the similarities between Elizabeth Bennet and Bella Swan, Fitzwilliam Darcy and Edward Cullen. What role would Bella’s friends play in a “remake” of Jane Austen’s classic story?

Well, I’m not sure that Twilight can also be described as a “romantic comedy”, as I’ve never read Pride and Prejudice before. But, I would say that Twilight is supposed to be a love story with bits of suspense that is different from other romantic teen flicks. I find it very romantic when Bella said she wanted to give up her life in exchange for living with Edward forever. I just said, “Wow!” But I don’t have any idea which parts of Twilight are comic because I don’t find this story funny at all. And seeing that I don’t know anything about Pride and Prejudice, I can’t voice my opinion of the similarities.

Additional Information:
Well, these questions were excerpted from Twilight by Stephenie Meyer. I'm also tagging those of you who have read this book. Share what you've got from the first book of the Twilight series.