#1 Appointment with Death by Agatha Christie (2010)

Splendid book! The book was based in Petra, Jordan and they travelled from Cairo. The thing about mysteries is you usually have the suspect in mind but for Christie’s books, you’d try to guess the complicated plot. It is never straight forward, love it the way Hercule Poirot always unravel the case so carefully.

I read this book before, quite long ago, but didnt realise till 1/8 of the book. It was still a wonderful re read.

#2 A gift for Muslim Couple by M Ashraf Ali Thanvi (2010)

I didnt read this book from cover to cover but read half the book. I couldnt stand the English, it appeared to me like a rather unedited book as there were mistakes and funny expressions. Nonetheless, it was useful and it provided me with some facts to ponder upon and sift out the Indian culture being inter-twined with the religious aspects being explained.

#3 Third Girl by Agatha Christie (2011)

I found it a little different from her other Hercule Poirot novels as this was a case which wasnt reported to the police or even Hercule Poirot, the great detective. So they were going about finding alot of facts, or even lies about the case without the authority of those being employed to collect information. And there is a whole list of suspects from every aspect of the victim’s life. How to know which evidence or clue to follow and which are insignificant? One of my favourites.

#4 Everything Changes by Jonathan Tropper (2011)

I read this because there was a recommendation by another blogger on her book review. Definitely well-written and entertaining. About the life of someone in a crisis with his family, job and health. The different characters influencing his life, just like how life is for us. I would give it 3* out of 5*. I might be biased towards mysteries and how they are written. I just like suspence and there was suspense only half way through the book, wanted to know what he will do and how he will choose.

#5 I heard that Song Before by Mary Higgins Clark (2011)

I miss her stories very much. One of the first few authors who captivated my interest some years back and i thought what a shame that there were so few books of hers on the shelfs of the library. I finished them all in a short time and was disappointed to find no more but because Clark was in the C category, i caught sight of the all famous Agatha Christie and i was hooked on! Too much of something is not good so i decided to re read some of her books and i found one which i have no recollection of reading before and it was as always, the kind of book which you cannot put down!

She did well again! One of my favourites would the next of her books im going to look out for, Weep no More my Lady.

#6 Elephants can Remember by Agatha Christie (2011)

Yea, it is her book again, of the Hercule Poirot series. This time, i actually predicted the end though its a slightly different. It has been done with wigs AGAIN. Just like her other book, The Third Girl. Somehow, i enjoy the stories of the past, of London and the way of life during that time.

As for this story, i learned of the reasons people travelled in those days to Malaya, Siam (Thailand) and Egypt – as nannies, as generals of the army etc. The link of the title is that people are like elephants, they dont forget significant things, well not everyone. So this person goes around to elephants, people who knew the people who died, to ask what they knew of them.

*should i continue reading books of is it time to start on the pile of readings which is piling up?*

#7 At First Sight by Nicholas Sparks (2011)

Nicholas Sparks though, made me wonder what would the story be about, the pregnancy? their life after marriage? the wedding plans? some supernatural mystery? Halfway through it, i wondered what else since they seem to be at the happily-ever-after stage already. I totally didnt expect the last bit which i would say was not what one wants to read but in contrast, it is the harsh reality of life- it is not always happily ever after is it?

I liked the setting too, Boone Creek. Reminded me of Bon temps from True Blood, the country house in Forrest Gump and other movies.

#8 20 Fragments of A Ravenous Youth by Xiaolu Guo (2011)

At first glance, i doubted whether i would enjoy the book but it turned out to be entertaining. To read about the peasant youth who went to the capital, Beijing in search for a job and a better life. Pretty insightful i would say, moving away from the English and American stories of love and mystery. I liked how the author painted Beijing from the eyes of a young woman and the culture there.

From tomorrow, i will be a lucky person

Feed horses, chop wood, travel the world

From tomorrow, i will think of my health and eat more vegetables

I will have a house facing the ocean; the warmth of spring will blossom.

~an excerpt from the book~

#9 Rise and Shine by Anna Quindlen (2011)

Quite a different writing style, i would say. She reminds me of myself, i tend to weave stories together and eventually end up not finishing the story i started. She of course never forget to finish the story she starts and then she goes on to explain or share other stories of the past and then go back to the present. Can get quite confusing at times and it gets complicated the way she describes. But a good read! I was pulled to the story because the lead plays the role of social worker; i believe gave me a good idea of what it is like to be one in the ghetto area.

#10 Predictably Irrational By Dan Ariely (2011)

The hidden forces that shape our decisions. I must say that he made me chuckle more than once throughout the book, or at least smile at how smart it was the way he explained the forces around us using creative experiments. He discussed the market and social norms which i think was my favourite. I also liked the FREE chapter which he talked about how zero cost is no cost. Some really interesting stuff about how we make decisions and how do we know the ‘real price’ of stuff we buy, who decides? Do we even think of such things? So yea, a thought-provoker as well! It was indeed a nice break from all the fiction 🙂

I borrowed this book from Mr Q’s friend, well he read it first then i did so yea…and while reading, i had the urge to go buy the book, just because i think it is very useful. It is really that good!

#11 How to talk so kids will listen & Listen so kids will talk by Adele Faber & Elaine Mazlish (2011)

Great read! Its written for parents actually but i’m trying to apply to my tuition students, other kids i come across and generally anyone. Again, i cant help but realise its rather social work; SOCIAL WORK ethic: client’s self-determination. Many myths when dealing with children were tackled in the book.

On a personal note, I’ve employed the various skills on a tuition student and it worked so well! I will have to update this when i’ve found long term success but so far, so good. I watch in wonder when my mother tries to discipline my little nephew. Does punishment work? (alternatives to punishment was discussed in the book) Does punishment teach the child? Im quite a disciplinarian but through reading this book, i’ve come to challenge my beliefs, those i grew up to belief because of my environment.

I’m waiting for the next old books fair to buy more such books! Really cheap and worth it 🙂

#12 Psychology of Personality – Islamic Perspective edited by Amber Haque and Yasien Mohamed (2011)

While looking for a reference text for my brother in NUS library, i saw so many books related to religion. Actually i shouldnt be surprising but i was surprised, pleasantly so. I saw this book on Psychology of Personality – Islamic Perspective edited by Amber Haque and Yasien Mohamed. Its a compilation of various journals and articles from researchers from all over.

I did not have the mental capability and time to finish the book. Some chapters were so complicated, i felt my head twirling! In the second chapter, i read about how man is a small island and the various intepretation by Isfahani and Ghazali etc.

It must be read with intepretations to understand the basis of this and how they came to this. Other chapters talk about faith and predestination, the purpose of life on earth, fitrah (natural state of human) and even the other psychological viewpoints of western psychology.

#13 Labyrinth of Therapeutic Encounters edited by Anthony Yeo (2011)

This book discussed some very enriching techniques and knowledge on counselling namely the use of theories, how to reflect on client’s experience with worker, place of emotions (how deep are you with client), qualities of a therapist and many more.

My personal favourites are externalisation and working with grieving children. Externalisation is the effect of separation of problem and person through mindset, language and framing.

As for the method of working with children who are grieving (dealing with a loss), they deal with systems and look at the behavior as part of the wider system, triangulation theory and cotexts influencing behavior. The use of play is very important giving them a sense of control.

I hope this summary would give readers an idea of what to expect, i feel practitioners would be able to relate better to this book compared to myself.

#14 Twelve Red Herrings by Jeffrey Archer (2011)

‘Never Stop on the Motorway’ was told to me by a course instructor during an English enrichment programme on secondary 3. It’s a great story with a twist at the end!

In this book of Archer’s he shared 12 short storie, of them I have a few favorites.

‘Cheap at half price’ was brilliant, the woman was so clever in getting what she wants, a necklace worth 1 million pounds.

‘You’ll never live to regret it’ story about this couple and the insurance policy. Cleverly played but both of them didn’t benefit in the end.

‘An eye for an eye’ was a shorter story yet it’s so good! How the detective find out if the supposed innocent wife who was charged for the murder of her husband was indeed not blind.

‘Do not pass go’ is a favorite because it’s not the usual American/British but the story of a Iraqi political refugee.

#15 Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks (2011)

I especially liked the setting, Southport, a small town where everyone knows the other. The story attracted my attention very early on and got me hooked till the end. Actually the story is pretty predictable 🙂 *chick flick*

Oh i experienced the tingles at my fingertips at some touching moments. I didn’t know a book could do that to me.

#16 A Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks (2011)

Another story which made me laugh out loud at some parts and cry at others. It is really sad and actually there was a twist but i already watched the movie so i knew it was coming. Yet it still moved me! It made me think of a couple of really deep issues like love, personal character and death.

The character described in the book was not captured by the movie. It was mostly guy meet girl and because she is so sweet and kind, he fell in love with her. But in the book, the development was really nice and pure.

This quote from the book is quite common because i think i’ve heard about it before and i didnt know its from the bible. And i am not quoting the bible here but the book. It says:

Love is always patient and kind. It is never jealous. Love is never boastful or conceited. It is never rude or selfish. It does not take offense and is not resentful. Love takes no pleasure in other people’s sins, but delights in the truth. It is always ready to excuse, to trust, to hope and to ensure whatever comes.

Beautiful isnt it?

This paragraph in essence is the character of the female lead is in this book. I aspire to be like that one day, Insyallah. After reading this book, i reflect on the issue of death and how you never know when it’s coming. The reminder was good timing as it is Ramadhan, time for fasting, reflecting on oneself and becoming a better person through ‘ibadah’ and good deeds. I guess it is refraining from the deeds which is frowned by Allah which will better our character. Just my two cents worth. ~~

#17 4.50 from Paddington by Agatha Christie (2011)

Brilliant yet again and this time it’s a Miss Marple story. Mystery as you may guess and the murderer is the last person you’d expect.

#18 The Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella (2011)

I really enjoyed the book, different style and captivating as well. Totally unpredictable at some parts. At first I hated what she was doing but I started to enjoy her ‘other’ life.

#19 The Heights by Peter Hedges (2011)

It’s the kind of book I’ve never tried reading. This read is not my typical mystery or chick-flick romance. I saw this book on a book review site and decided to give it a try. Not a thriller either but I found myself wanting to know what is going to happen and the twist was quite unexpected yet I saw it coming. Nice read 🙂

#20 Never Look Away by Linwood Barclay (2011)

It was an amazing read! One of the best thrillers in a long time. I wished that they made this into a movie but then again, it wouldn’t be the same. The thoughts of the killer and the complexity of the plot would have to change.

#21 The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks (2011)

Yet another Sparks book which turned into a movie. It’s an epic love story! What I really liked was how the man always wrote letters to his wife or notes with poems written on them. The end is supposed to be sad but the author turned it around so nicely.

#22 The Wedding by Nicholas Sparks (2011)

I love this story! The husband is so sweet and even though he is not the romantic kind if man, he did the most romantic thing for his wife to make up for being a workaholic for their thirty years if marriage.

#23 The Choice by Nicholas Sparks (2011)

I was hooked from the beginning. I liked how they met and fell in love. Romance books picture guys to be one way; a romantic person going all out loving the wife so much and even after all the years. It’s these romance books and movies which spoils the girls and make them think it’s what marriage is. Well i think it’s about our expectations and adjusting as we go along.

The ending is good but the twist in the middle was something I didn’t like, though thoroughly unexpected.

#24 The Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella (2011)

I realized something about Kinsella’s book, it’s rather peculiar at the beginning and after a while of getting used to it, I get hooked. I usually don’t like how the plot is unfolding in the beginning. It’s like I keep telling the girl to not do what she’s doing. It turns better as the love story unfolds and plot ‘s hidden mysteries come out of hiding.

#25 Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsella (2011)

She can be really humorous at times and that is great 🙂 the plot unfolds with surprises here and there. It’s taken in London so it gives a different picture from the typical American setting.

#26 Daughters of Arabia by Jean Sasson (2011)

Definitely a must read a princess’s account of her childrens’ lives in the royal family and how the paternalistic nature of the Arab nations affect the lives of many. This is followed by the best seller Princess which I contemplated buying but didn’t buy.

I felt inclined (at many points in the book)to study the social problems there and be a social worker there. It’s about bringing about change. I do wonder if the culture is entrenched deep in the women there that they won’t want to change.

There were many islamic aspects in the book which non-Muslims can benefit gain knowledge of. As for me, some parts were more culture than religion. Them being of royal ancestry were lavish and I’m still not sure of their stand on drinking alcohol, whether it’s allowed in their understanding (or misunderstanding) of the Quran. Men were portrayed as taking parts of the Quran and having interpretations of it that allows them the flexibility to satisfy their greedy needs and especially carnal desires.

I’m looking forward to Desperate in Dubai! It’s out on the UAE so I hope my brother can get it. Just like Daughters of Arabia, it’s written based on true stories and really gives a varied impression of the middle east. It’s also more recent than this book I’ve read which was published in 1992.

I found it very difficult to believe some parts of the book because of the beast-like nature of men portrayed in the book. Sad but true?

Maybe it’s this very nature of wanting to do something – to advocate for change that appeals me most about being a social worker.

#27 The Girl on the Landing by Paul Torday (2011)

I felt sad and scared. A window into the world of schizophrenia. Reminded me a little of ‘A Beautiful Mind’ and how they ate usually intelligent but unfortunately been born (maybe) with a brain of different chemistry. But I definitely dont regret buying this book! Great read which is definitely unique.

#28 Princess by Jean Sasson (2011)

This book was written before the Daughters of Arabia of the life of the princess from when she was a little girl. Life of a royal princess sounds scary, I can only imagine the life of an ordinary girl. The princess shared stories of her family and those of the people not of royal blood too so it gives quite a clear description of life there.

When thinking of the problem faced by the society, I feel we are having it so much easier. What freedom is to them is very different from what it means to you and I.

#29 Talkative Tortoise (Tamil Language with translation) (2011)

Cute story about the tortoise who talks too much that his friends wanted to go to another pond. In the end they brought him with them but he fell down because he opened his mouth to talk.


#30 Four Friends (Tamil Language with translation) (2011)

Easy to read and follow. Story tells of the tortoise, the crow, the deer and the rat who played together as friends.


#31 Ali Baba and Forty Thieves (Tamil Language with translation) (2011)

This book took me quite long because the passages were long and some of the vocabulary I was unfamiliar with. I have never read this story in English before so it was interesting.


#32 Gajapati Kulapati (Tamil Language) (2011)

I like this the best out of the 4 Tamil books I borrowed. It’s funny and entertaining. It’s about an elephant who fell sick and had flu because it was drenched in the rain and how the people helped him.


#33 Peter, Karuti Kutti (Tamil Language) (2011)

I know my nephew loves this book because he will grin everytime I take it out. This one had no translation so I had to understand without help. Very cute book about the bear family but doesnt include goldilocks 😉

#34 Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki (2011)

#35 Maniac by Andy Ong (2011)

#36 Desperate in Dubai by Ameera Alhakawati (2012)

#37 Couples in Crisis by Benny Bong (2012)

#38 Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktore E. Frankl (2012)

#39 The Male Brain by Louanne Brizentine (2012)

#40 The Female Brain by Louanne Brizentine (2012)

#41 The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho (2012)

#42 Dear Zari by Zarghuna Kargar (2012)

#43 Butterfly Mosque by Willow (2013)

#44 How to teach your baby to read by Doman (2013)

#45 How to teach your baby to maths by Doman (2013)

#46 How smart is your baby by Doman (2013)

#47 The Happiest Baby on the block by Harvey Karp (2013)

Dr Karp talks about many useful techniques in his book. Most of all, he shares about the 5 ‘s’ technique in calming a baby. The swaddling, side/ stomach position, shushing, swinging and sucking. I believe there is a short video I once saw him demonstrate the technique on YouTube.

#47 How to give your baby encyclopedic Knowledge by Doman (2013)

#48 Eight Lessons for a Happier Marriage by William Glasser & Carleen Glasser (2013)


One Response to “Library”

  1. Ashok Rajagopalan December 19, 2012 at 10:16 am #

    Oh, Parv, thank you for liking Gajapati Kulapati so much. Gajapati and I stumbled upon your blog while we were googling around, and this made our day! The English version was the first picture book I both wrote and illustrated and the Tamil version was my first effort at writing in Tamil and translating, so all compliments are deeply appreciated. Gajapati sends his love and wishes you lived in his village.

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