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Sharmilla Gane­san

The Ocean At The End Of The Lane by

Gaiman – In this pow­er­ful ode to childhood, mem­o­ries, nos­tal­gia, magic and horror are del­i­cately woven to­gether with beau­ti­ful lan­guage in sur­pris­ing and some­times ter­ri­fy­ing ways.

Lex­i­con by Max Barry – A fas­ci­nat­ing thriller about the power of words, where shad­owy “po­ets” wield lan­guage as weapons, that slyly com­ments on con­tem­po­rary so­ci­ety.

Won­der by R.J. Pala­cio – This funny yet heart­warm­ing chil­dren’s book tells the story of a young boy with a fa­cial dis­fig­ure­ment with such sin­cer­ity that all your adult cyn­i­cism will be washed away ... most likely by your tears.

Terence Toh

Sy­camore Row by John Gr­isham – The mas­ter of the court­room drama whips up a grip­ping tale of a rich man’s last gift to his im­pov­er­ished maid.

The Ocean At The End Of The Lane by Neil Gaiman – A haunt­ing, lyri­cal tale of dark­ness, re­mem­brances, and the mys­ter­ies of childhood. 11/22/63 by Stephen King – A man goes back time to pre­vent Pres­i­dent John F. Kennedy’s as­sas­si­na­tion, and changes the world (and him­self!) in unimag­in­able ways. The con­stant time trav­el­ling doesn’t al­low his char­ac­ter to de­velop nor form a sat­is­fy­ing re­la­tion­ship with the love of his life. It feels like read­ing a jour­nal of a back­packer who at­tempts to cover as many coun­tries on a bud­get hol­i­day! I can get a far bet­ter read from a travel blog, so won’t be pick­ing up this book again.

Lec­turer, 50

Dear J.K. Rowl­ing, Harry Pot­ter And The Goblet Of Fire makes no sense, I could not make head or tail out of it. The sheer num­ber of pages and the thick­ness of the book just fright­ened me off. Read­ing it was an ex­haus­tive ef­fort which drained me men­tally and phys­i­cally. I was quite relieved that I de­cided to put down the book.

Teacher, 56

Aban­doned Harry Pot­ter And The Deathly Hal­lows be­cause the plot is con­fus­ing and there are far too many char­ac­ters walk­ing in and out. Ev­ery­thing in my head was scream­ing at me to put down the book. Even­tu­ally I put an end to my mis­ery and am quite relieved that I have come out of it in one piece.

Head teacher, 51

Why do you make Harry and his friends do such pe­cu­liar things? I feel like I have to learn another lan­guage to un­der­stand what you write. I tried read­ing Harry Pot­ter And The Philoso­pher’s Stone in 2001. Twelve years, seven books, eight movies and three kids later, I still haven’t fin­ished read­ing it.

Home­maker, 36

A Ca­sual Va­cancy is a su­perb way to lull me to sleep when I feel in­som­niac. The plot is mun­dane and unimag­i­na­tive; char­ac­ters are unin­spir­ing, al­most dull. A down­right BIG YAWN!

Re­tiree, 60

Char­ac­ters (in A Ca­sual Va­cancy) were bor­ing with no dis­tinc­tive traits to tell one apart from another. Had way too many ex­ple­tives, had to watch out for my kids in case they take a peek. But still feel the need to trudge on be­cause of the au­thor’s pop­u­lar­ity and the sheer price of the book.

Full-time mum, 45

Dear J.D. Salinger, Catcher In The Rye made me de­pressed. My copy of the book was con­fis­cated at the air­port in Jakarta, In­done­sia, and I’m not go­ing to read it again. I’ve stopped read­ing fic­tion.

Ge­ol­o­gist, 29

Dear In­dra Sinha, You might have trans­lated the Kama Su­tra beau­ti­fully and writ­ten en­gag­ing award-win­ning ads, but An­i­mal’s Peo­ple ram­bles on like an un­cle that no one re­ally wants to lis­ten to.

No oc­cu­pa­tion given, 39

Dear Tan Twan Eng, Cameron High­lands? All too fa­mil­iar to a Malaysian. Ja­panese gar­den? A by­gone fas­ci­na­tion. Com­fort women? Ba­nal. The elu­sive orang asli and their ver­sa­tile blow­pipes? They are no mys­te­ri­ous, mys­ti­cal crea­tures to us. The Gar­den Of Evening Mists has a slo...slo...slo...sloth-y pace. But I will per­se­vere be­cause I paid RM59.90 for it. Such a highly-ac­claimed book must have a jewel hid­den in it – I just need to pa­tiently crawl-read to reach the cli­max. A fel­low Malaysian de­serves a sec­ond chance.

Lec­turer, 46

Dear David Fos­ter Wal­lace, Flip­ping back and forth through my mas­sive 1,104-page copy of In­fi­nite Jest to keep track of the 300+ footnotes – most frus­trat­ingly lo­cated at the very end of the book – gave me hor­rific arm cramps. Also, it was much too heavy to read while in my favourite read­ing po­si­tion (ie ly­ing on my back in bed). I do plan to even­tu­ally fin­ish the book be­cause, de­spite be­ing un­wieldy, is ac­tu­ally an in­ter­est­ing read.

Stu­dent, 26

Thanks for tak­ing part, ev­ery­one! Keep an eye out for more sur­veys next year. And if you have any sug­ges­tions on what you would like to see in our Reads pages, do write to us at star2@thes­

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