Friday, 2 October 2009

Last year when I was studying for SPM, I was forcing myself to read book after book after book. So to de-stress I turned to the Internet.

This year is the other way round. Now with all the assignments piling up I seem to be using the computer a lot. And I'm reading to de-stress.

There was a period in my life when I read a lot. Losing myself in another place seemed like a very nice thing to do. But then life became more complicated and I read less books.

But now after hours of doing an assignment, all I want to do is to release all the tension and stress. Reading makes me forget about the day's stress, it calms my mind down and that makes it easier for me to fall asleep. It is truly a nice thing to do when you're stressed up. Reading makes everything slow down, and in our fast paced lives that's just what I need to calm down.

And the book? I chose Diana Wynne Jones's The Worlds of Chrestomanci. Truth be told my sister was the one who read the books but I think I ended up liking them more. It's basically about this world where magic is common, and there's this enchanter with nine lives by the title of Chrestomanci who is in charge of making sure magic is not misused.

To read them now is a different experience. I lose myself in the same world, but I also think back about my younger days, and all the nice memories then. It's really a wonderful experience, to think about how I was as a kid, and how much joy I had being in my own world. I think it also has to do with my possibly leaving next year. It would truly mean that I've grown up, but I don't want to.

Another series which I hope to be able to re-read is A Series of Unfortunate Events (ASOUE). That's another series that I enjoyed reading. It tells the story of 3 siblings whose parents were killed in a fire, who were then left in the care of a distant relative, who actually only wants their fortune. But they thwarted him, and as they changed guardians, he followed them.

The story is rather repetitive as their enemy always catches up to them, but there are a few reasons I enjoy reading this series. First, the way it's written. Lemony Snicket (pen name of the author) wrote it in a really interesting way- the omniscient point of view. But his prose, is just unique.

Then there's the mysteries. The whole tale is actually much darker than a series of books for children. There's secret societies, a schism, secret codes, etc. And everything has been very well planned. The whole story's been laid out when the first book (The Bad Beginning) was out.

But the most unique thing about the series was the creativity. Lemony Snicket is only a pen name, but it was never revealed in the books to be so. In fact, several characters in the book has the last name of Snicket. If I remember correctly Lemony Snicket was a brother to the siblings' friend, so it seemed as if the author is telling a real story.

And you know how at the back of the books there's a short synopsis? "A tale of epic adventure" and that sort of statement was the ones that are most often used. But ASOUE's synopsis goes something like this: "Dear reader, I'm sorry to say that the book you are holding in your hands is extremely unpleasant. It is my sad duty to write down these unpleasant tales, but there is nothing stopping you from putting this book down at once and reading something happy". That's the first and last sentence of the first book's synopsis. The middle gives a slight appetizer of what's about to happen, in the same manner of writing ("In this short book alone the three youngsters encounter a greedy and repulsive villain, itchy clothing, a disastrous fire, a plot to steal their fortune, and cold porridge for breakfast"). All the synopses encourage you to put the book down, but with that sort of catchy synopsis, I can't imagine who would.

Then at the end of each book, the author gives hints as to what happens in the next book. "To my kind editor, I am writing to you from the London branch of the Herpetological Society, ...". Basically the second book has something to do with it. But it always seems real, as, for example, when the next book had something to do with submarines, the letter would seem wet and torn. Really good marketing and creativity.

And his writing style is just as unique, let me assure you that.
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