Myread – Umbrella summer

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Have you ever lost someone whom you loved so dearly? How would a nine yr old feel when she lost her most belloved brother?

Annie’s brother just passed away from a sudden rare heart disease. Life still goes on and annie does not seem to be too bothered by it.. except for the ‘dead-brother’ look that wveryone gave her. HOwever she starts to be overly obsessive about her health, worried that she might catch some disease, or have leukemia or jaundice. This is to the extent that she stopped doing waht she likes – obstacle course with her friends, for fear of hurting herself which might developed into gangrene. She had bandaids all over her arms and legs over small bites or wounds.

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Annie parents tried their best to forget jared  annie’s brother and goes on with life. But still, it is difficult..
The adults r too busy missing their dead son that they forgotten abt annie, forgotten hw to love her and appreciate her.

This story is about how a young girl overcomes her loss of her beloved brother, how she taught her parents to get over with it, how they let jared be alived in their hearts. It is a warming, emotional and interesting book to read. I cant put down this book once I started and finished it in 2 days.

It is also a story of friendship and childhood memories which brings back memories of my own…

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“When it’s raining you put up an umbrella right? So you won’t get wet? But say you are walking for a long time, holding your umbrella high up in the air to protect you from the rain. If you’re too busy worrying about not getting wet, or just thinking about something else entirely, you may not even notice that it has stopped raining. So there you are with your umbrella still open above you, and there’s no more rain at all. You may not be getting wet, but you’re missing the sunshine. Annie z, I think all your worries are like an umbrella to you. It’s easier to be worried than to be sad. So you used worrying as a sort of protection.”

“Everybody wants to be on the mountaintop, but mountaintops are rocky and cold. Sure, the view is great, bit what’s a view for? A voew just gives us a glimpse of our next destination – our next target. But to hit that target, we must come off that mountain, go through the valley, and begin to climb the next slope. It is in the valley that we slough through the lush grass and rich soil, learning and becoming what enables us to summit life’s next peak.”

Title of book: Umbrella summer

Author: Lisa Graff

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Myread – The beggar King and the secret of happiness

Image If you love to read stories as much as I do, you’ll love this book, which contains not only stories collected by a storyteller, but also the true story of the storyteller himself.

It all started off with the story of King Solomon in Jerusalem, which I supposed most people will know. He is the wisest king on earth ever lived, and also the richest man on earth ever lived, according to the bible. King Solomon dreamt of his father, King David, who tasked him to build the most magnificent temple for God, which King David did not get to build during his lifetime. While building the temple, King solomon has to enlist the help of Ashmodai, the King of demons, and he could do so because of a powerful ring which could summon and control demons. And I shall not be a wet blanket and spoil the story by continuing… all I could say is, the story developed and King solomon became a beggar. But there was more to it!

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Every chapter came a new story which originates from all over the world, and every stories accompanied some hidden meaning for the reader to decipher. The stories always left me thinking for long. For most of the stories, i understood the morals behind it, but somehow, still couldn’t decipher that for ‘The Happy man’s shirt’. If any of you understood it, please enlighten me. =)

ImageWhen I finished the book, I could not find the book’s answer to the title: secret of happiness. Interestingly, when I’m reviewing and reading the stories again while writing this blog, the ‘Aha!’ moment dawn upon me, and i understood. This is just as what the author wrote at the end:

As hard as we may search, we can only see it when we stop to wonder, looking back to see where we’ve been and what we’ve learned. It’s a grueling process, this forging a reason from the stuff of life, but it’s all we can d. And what we get for our efforts is a story.

ImageSo what is my take on the secret of happiness? Nope, I don’t agree with what the picture above said. Instead of looking inside, my secret of happiness is to look upwards, just as Noah did during the 10.5 months of flood. Just FYI, Noah’s ark was 45 feet high, and the opening was just 18 inch below the roof, which goes to show that there are no windows in the ark, and the openings are way too high for Noah to look outside. So what Noah can do is to look up only. And Noah survived.

Ending my post with another quote from the author, food for your thoughts =)

“What, then , of the secret of happiness? I know stories that touch upon it and even one by that name. But for me, the secret of happiness sits atop a long list of life’s secrets. Perhaps that’s the secret – there is no secret of happiness. Yet, we keep searching, maybe because the simple act of looking for it makes us happy.”

What’s your thought of this book? What are your stories and your take on the secret of happiness?

Book title: The Beggar king and the secret of Happiness

Author: Joel Ben Izzy

Published: Algonquin Books, 2005

Myread – The miraculous journey of Edward Tulane

Image Edward tulane is a handsome, perfect, clean and good-looking china rabbit doll, and he is very pleased of himself. He belonged to a little girl named Abilene who loved him really very very much. But Edward is a proud rabbit only loves himself, and do not love Abilene. One day, while on a ferry trip with Abilene, Edward was accidentally thrown off the ferry, and this is where his life adventures all started… … his journey to losing, finding love and finding life…

ImageYes, I must admit, i love travel stories and I also love adventure stories. Not only that, i love to read meaningful stories, stories that could teach me about life. This book grabbed my attention while watching the recently popular korean drama: “My love from another Star”.

                     Image   ImageThe main actor who casted as an alien from another planet who have lived on Earth for 400 years. Somehow the character Edward Tulane resembles the main actor in the drama – ‘something’ that could live forever but yet not knowing love and how to love, and slowly learning to love.

 

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I have been loved. Edward told the stars.

I had enjoyed the miraculous journey with Edward, as his heart once filled with ice, slowly melt away to be filled with hope and love. Have you read the book already? Share with me your thoughts!

Book title: The miraculous journey of Edward Tulane

Author: Kate Dicamillo

Published: Candlewick, 2009

Myread: My name is not konnichiwa

Image I like to travel, and i love the planning process. Researching and reading about the places and imagining I am already there and looking though all  the travel blogs and books makes me happy. That’s why this book is a real inspiration to motivate me to take the first step.

This is written by a Singaporean, Rodney Ee, who is an avid traveler, and has been to 44 countries! (that’s amazing!) The adventure stories are well organized and the descriptions are vivid and interesting, just as the title is. The language is simple, easy to read but filled with humours and sacarsm which spice up the stories. Not to forget, being Singaporean, also added some Singlish terms which makes me feel close to home.

ImageI like that story on staying in an igloo at negative 20 degree in Iceland, waiting for the northern light to appear, and the other story on going to Santa Claus hometown in Finland. Who would have believe that Santa Claus town actually exist? Most of the places written in this book are those out of the way, the ‘road-less-traveled’ places that I would never imagine going.

ImageIf you are just like me, want to travel the world but restricted by fears and objections, maybe this book might inspire you to take the first step out! I’ve just booked my solo backpack trip to the ox for next month , and is really looking forward to it! This is a good choice fFor a leisure read on a lazy weekend afternoon.. Enjoy!

Quote from the author:

“Each time i visit a country, I always returned feeling more humbled than before humbled at being just one out of 7 billion people on this incredible planet, humbled at its vast expanse and the diversity of its people and landscape, humbled at the ease with which cultural barriers can be brought down with a simple smile, and immensely grateful for the many friends that I have made all over the world.”

Book title: My name is not konnichiwa

Author: Rodney Ee

Book publisher: Marshall Cavendish

Year of publish: 2012