Wednesday, 31 July 2013

52 books 31

The Leopard by Jo Nesbo

This book was perhaps the best Harry Hole thriller so far. Full of suspense and twists and turns in the plot. Completely unputdownable!

Hidden history: Smyth family memories

Alphabet fun

As a child my Grandpa taught me this alphabet which I've never forgotten. It was performed by comic duo Claphm and Dwyer in the 1930's  and various alternative versions exist.

A for orses [Hay for horses]
B for mutton [Beef or mutton]
C for[th] highlanders [Seaforth highlanders] C for miles{see for miles}
D for ential [differential] D for Kate { defecate}
E for Adam [ Eve or Adam]
F for vescent [ Effervescent ]
G for police [Chief of police]
H for consent [Age of consent]
I for Novello [Ivan Novello] Actor
J for oranges [Jaffa oranges]
K for Francis[ Kay Francis] Actress
L for leather Hell for leather
M for sis [emphasis]
N for dig[ infra dig]
O for the garden wall [ over the garden wall]
P for relief [Pee for relief] P for a whistle {pea for a whistle}
Q for the bus[queue for the bus] Q for billiards {cue for billiards}
R for Mo [half a mo]
S for you [Its for you]
T for two[ tea for two]
U for me [you for me]
V for France [Vive la France]
W for money [double your money]
X for breakfast [eggs for breakfast]
Y for husband [wife or husband]
Z for breezes [Zephyr breezes]

He also taught me how to say the alphabet backwards very quickly!


Monday, 29 July 2013

Malaysian moments 2013

This amazing Indian snack shop is in Ipoh with crispy, spicy, crunchy varieties in sacks so you can try before you buy. At the back of the shop are vats of hot oil where the snacks are freshly fried. I have to admit to feeling slightly squeamish about removing my shoes and having to wear flip flops in the shop that lots of unknown people had worn!

Friday, 26 July 2013

Malaysian moments 2013

Breakfast in K.L  Roti Canai with bowls of fish curry and Dhall curry followed by this magnificent creation!  Crispy, buttery, salty, sweet and citrussy. Maybe not very healthy but absolutely delicious!

Monday, 22 July 2013

Malaysian moments 2013

Malaysian sense of humour lah!  Seen driving in K.L.  Malaysian culture is very diverse and the use of multiple languages creates many opportunities for humour using a play on words sometimes only understood by fellow Malaysians.

52 books 30

The snowman by Jo Nesbo

Harry Hole is an alcoholic but very good at his job. I find these books a bit difficult to get into. I think because of the many characters and the unfamiliar Norwegian names but it is worth persevering as the pace and tension increases.From halfway through I had to keep reading to the end. Great writing!

Sunday, 21 July 2013

52 books 29

29. Reached by Ally Condle

The final book introduces the third voice of Xander. The story is complex and action packed and very cleverly conceived and written. I love the use of language and the ending. This is a book to reread and I will be looking out for more books by this very talented author.

52 books 28

28. Crossed by Ally Condle

The story continues told through the eyes of both Cassia and Ky as they undertake exciting journeys to be reunited.The bleak landscapes and poetic references are a delight.

52 books 27

27.  Matched by Ally Condle

I loved this book,the first in a trilogy for young adults.Ally Condle has created a world where choices are made by society including who they will love.Told through the eyes of Cassia age 17 . This is fantasy at its best.

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Malaysian moments 2013

Tragically two structures in Penang had partial collapses causing fatalities whist I was in Malaysia.
Firstly a section of the new bridge in the final stages of its construction, then the top of this building which came down during a storm.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

52 books 26

26.  The Bricklayers' secret by Peter Killick
 This is a story for younger children filled with charm and humour. To write a book with a brick as a main character takes considerable skill and imagination.This book is a delight.

Friday, 12 July 2013

Malaysian moments 2013

So many choices of fruit juices when you go out to eat-   watermelon ; lychee ; mango ; orange to name but a few. My favourite is lime with a little sugar, ice and a sour plum. Delicious!

52 books 25

25.  The Long Song by Andrea Levy

Powerful and vivid with a unique style.This is a portrayal of  Jamaican slavery told in an intensely personal way through the eyes of a female born into slavery.Beautifully written with warmth and humour with at times heartbreaking loss and brutality.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Malaysian Moments 2013

This view of the hills overlooking Ipoh was totally obscured for several days by the terrible haze caused by the devastating fires in Indonesia.The loss of the natural rainforest habitat is shocking and the health costs to those in Singapore,Malaysia as well as in Indonesia is equally shocking.In southern states of Malaysia Schools were closed for several days due to very high pollution and air quality readings.

52 books 24

24.  Factory girls by Leslie T. Chang

Written by an American Chinese journalist, this book follows the journeys of mainly two girls from their rural villages to one of the many factory cities of China.It details the community of factory life and how through frequent moves from one factory to another women's lives can slowly improve or sometimes collapse and how the money they earn can help lift whole families out of poverty. The contrast between their rural lives at home and the struggle to educate themselves to improve their prospects is a focus of the book.Meticulously researched it paints an accurate picture of the changing face of China,interspersed with the authors search for her own Chinese roots. I loved this book.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Malaysian moments

A palm tree in the garden at Ipoh

52 books 23

23. Bend not break by Ping Fu

When I read this book I found it very moving , and the fact that this was China's very recent history was shocking as viewed from a very personal perspective. My daughter reviewed this book on goodreads and gave it 5 stars.She told me another reader had queried the authenticity of Ping Fu's story. On Amazons reviews opinions were very polarized with some readers providing very reasoned arguments as to certain aspects of her story being very improbable. Even if read as a novel her story of overcoming a harrowing childhood to find ultimate business success  was a great read.Her driven
nature did mean her personal happiness was compromised in some ways.

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Malaysian moments 2013

Newspaper Recycling

The Bo Chi van drives around the residential streets in Ipoh several times each day. His loudspeaker system calling in Cantonese for old newspapers for recycling. Long before we see his van, his arrival is heralded by the howling in unison of all the dogs in the neighbourhood.

52 books 22

22.  The journal of best practices by David Finch
A memoir of marriage,Asperger Syndrome, and one man's quest to Be a Better Husband.

Warm, funny,and wise.David gives his readers a better understanding of the many difficulties and challenges of living with Asperger syndrome, and his personal and very honest  journey to try to improve his marriage. A very special book.

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Malaysian moments 2013 through the eyes of a Gwai lo

I love this design,showing the 12 Chinese zodiac signs. 2013 is the year of the snake.

52 books 21

21.  The good women of China by Xinran

I read six books while away in Malaysia and this was the first!
The voices of women in China and Xinran's struggle to ensure their stories were heard.Some of these stories are so harrowing,they will stay in your mind for a long time.Xinran is a very talented writer.