Doctor Who novels

In the course of following the revival of Doctor Who series (well, that kind of happened a few years ago back in 2005…), it’s wonderful that I keep discovering new resources which help to rekindle my interests in all things related to Doctor Who!

Here are the links I found recently about the Doctor Who novels – originally serialisation of the TV episodes, but apparently due to the long hiatus until a restart of the series with Christopher Eccelston. Well here are the book series that have been published over the years and I have been slowly going through the original Target series at the moment. 🙂

Carcassonne

Recently came across a story set in the Medieval town of Carcassone – which was recently made into a TV mini-series – called “Labyrinth” by Kate Mosse. What is the significance of this place you may ask? For starters this was was the setting for the extermination of Cathars in the so-called Albigensian Crusade (which incidentally led to the Inquisition eventually). I first heard of this place in the by-now well-known “Da Vinci Code” by Dan Brown, in connection with the treasures and the Grail brought to France from Jerusalem many decades previously. An interesting story – a fiction – in itself but the historical backdrop gives a sense of silliness which took place all in the name of religion.

labyrinth_cover

Camel, lion, baby

Going through the Drafts folder trying to clear out some old posts. Didn’t realise that this has been sitting there for the past 7 years!

During my “recent trip” (2005) to Europe, managed to finish another book by Liu Yong – one of my favourite Chinese authors by the way. I bought this book over 6 months ago, had started reading it soon after, but had not gotten more than halfway through the book. This time, I finished in one sitting.

This book was something of an autobiography. Main thing which impressed me was the description of the development of his philosophy of life. He started off by describing a book he once read when he was still in secondary school. The book mentioned that there existed 3 distinct stages in development of the human psyche:

  1. camel,
  2. lion,
  3. baby.

That is, starting from the hard-working camel, to a brave lion who is willing to strike out on its own if necessary, we then proceed along our life journey back to the contented state after living a full life and having realised the immateriality of things.

Although these were not his ideas originally, Mr Liu has lived by them throughout his life. For example, when he was on top of the world as an award-winning journalist in Taiwan, he bravely gave it up to become a poor postgraduate student to pursue his passion for art in the USA. Subsequently once he had established himself as a noted lecturer in a well-known college, he again decided to take time out for travelling, writing and setting up charity funds. For him, the cycle simply kept on moving.

One central point he made, which I fully agree with, was that the stages should not be skipped. That is, without having experienced the “world”, there is no true baby at the end. The true realisation comes from going through all the stages.

Who do you want to be? Camel? Lion or just giving up and be a baby now?

A Song of Ice and Fire

Now that I have just finished “A Dance with Dragons”, the last book of A Song of Ice and Fire fantasy series by American novelist George R. R. Martin (which incidentally has been on TV since last year), I am not sure if I can live with the cliffhangers for another 3-4 years before the next book comes out!? This is a fantasy series comprising of numerous characters (whom the author is unafraid to kill off, I might add – even the likable ones!) and in my opinion rivals in its breadth with Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings” which I didn’t manage to get through even one third of Book 1… However, given that the first three books were published in a 5-year span (1996-2000) and the next two in the following decade, I hope for his sake that Mr Martin remains in good health to complete the remaining two books he has promised.

ebook readers

A couple of months ago, while tidying up my bookshelf, the sight of yellow and spotty pages on some of my precious books really caused me some distress 🙁 . Well, I suppose this an unavoidable consequence of living inSingapore’s humid weather?

With the release of ebook readers such as Amazon’s Kindle 2 (all thanks to the e-Ink technology), my desire in getting a dedicated ebook reader is “re-kindled”, so to speak 😉 . In fact, I am already familiar with a few candidates on the market:

  1. Amazon’s Kindle. Cons: does not support many formats natively. Can’t expand memory by adding external memory card. The EVDO mobile wireless is useless outside of US.
  2. Sony ebook reader PRS-505. Cons: kind of expensive and apparently slow to turn.
  3. Hanlin V3. Cons: poor software as far as I can tell, but best supported by the open-source OpenInkPot which I intend to use) and one of the most rebranded product in this space.
  4. Irex. Cons: pricey European product and, according to some reviews, slow response time.

Continue reading “ebook readers”