Sunday, 24 October 2010

How Can I Buy Some Great New Books?

There are two ways that I get most of my personal books (which I usually end up donating to the SRR). First of all, I'm a big supporter of Booker in Gadong. For those of you who haven't read my previous posts, Booker is the cheapest shop in the country and it has really started to develop a good collection of young adult fiction.

They actually have a wide selection of different books and authors and have stocked a lot of the books that I've been raving about and promoting at the SRR including many of the books from the Teens' Top Ten list.

When I took a group of the girls on a book-buying trip earlier in the year, we were absolutely shocked by the difference in prices. On a few books we looked at, Booker was actually 30 - 40% cheaper.

No, I don't work for Booker, but I'm just so pleased that at least one bookstore is trying its best to stock a variety of books for young adults and teens. The more people who buy those books from them, the more they will be able to stock. You get the picture.

I had visited a number of other shops in the past month and I had been wanting to buy a copy of hush, hush (recently voted #5 on the 2010 Teens' Top Ten list) but I didn't want to pay the crazy prices at the other shops. Anyway, I went to Booker last week and told myself, "If they have hush, hush I'm going to buy it." Sure enough, they had it and it was very reasonably priced. Watch this space for a book preview and review in the next couple of weeks!

The other way that I buy a lot of my books now is through a website called bookdepository. They have almost all of the books that you would expect to buy at Amazon, but there is a huge difference - at bookdepository shipping is free. For me that's huge! I used to spend as much on shipping as I did on the books whenever I ordered from Amazon. Also, I used to save up my money for three or four months and then order books to try to cut down on shipping. At bookdepository there is no shipping so I can order even just one book at a time whenever I want to. It's great.

Some people probably guess that bookdepository has more expensive prices than Amazon. That may be true sometimes, but not always. And, from my experience, when you factor in shipping, bookdepository has always been much cheaper. You might guess that shipping is slower with bookdepository, but I certainly haven't noticed any difference in shipping times so far - they seem to be pretty much the same. I recently ordered Maria V. Snyder's Storm Glass and it got here in only about two and a half weeks.

By the way, I've registered the SRR as an affiliate with bookdepository so if you click on our link below, we'll get a small commission on the order. It doesn't cost you anything to order through our link, but it can help us out a little bit. So far after 15 months as an affiliate we have about $20 in commissions saved up which will be enough to order a book or two.

Anyway, please help to support the SRR by clicking on the banner ad below if you are going to order any books from bookdepository. Thanks and happy shopping! :-)

The Book Depository

PS. For the girls in Form 5 who are broken-hearted because they must say good-bye to the SRR, there is still hope for you out there! Pick up books from Booker and Bookdepository and swap them with each other! :-)

Monday, 18 October 2010

Best of Luck on EOY Exams!

Hi girls,

I hope you all do well on your end of year exams. Good luck! And if you need to de-stress you can always drop by the English office to pick up a book! :-)

Mr Jason

BTW, here are a few pics of our recent Raya Celebration!

Daughters of the Sea - Book Preview


Hannah wants to be normal, but she’s not. The sea calls to her, and she can see a delicate tracing of scales on her legs. Billowing waves soothe her, but flat land makes her sick. She knows there’s something wild in her that’s different, wrong–and deeply thrilling.

Only one person seems to know who–or what–Hannah is. He’s a guest in the house where she works as a scullery girl, and his fascinated gaze follows her. She doesn’t understand his terrifying allure, or her longing. But even as the mystery deepens, Hannah is sure of one thing. A sea change is coming.

Amazon Review:

Orphan Hannah Albury, 15, the engagingly demure yet plucky heroine, has always been drawn to the ocean. Hired as scullery maid by the Hawleys, a wealthy Boston family, she embarks on a journey to understand and fulfill her destiny. Hannah is attracted to the family’s mysterious porcelain vases depicting sea creatures and even more so to Mr. Wheeler, an artist hired to paint the three Hawley daughters. He in turn hungers for and recognizes in Hannah what she doesn’t yet grasp. Meanwhile, the Hawleys’ psychotic eldest daughter, Lila, and her demonic cat, Jade, see Hannah as a threat; as she deciphers the secret of her identity, Hannah must ward off their perhaps supernatural attacks. The novel, first in a projected series, at first offers its early-20th-century history lesson in overly painstaking detail, especially the domestic staff hierarchy. Once Lila, Jade and Mr. Wheeler show up, the plot becomes gripping. A good bet for upper middle-grade and early YA readers. (Fantasy. 12 & up)

Stricken by a mysterious malady when she is sent westward on an orphan train, 15-year-old Hannah instinctively knows that she can be cured by proximity to the ocean. She returns to Boston and takes a position as a scullery maid in a wealthy household, where a young artist comes to paint a portrait of her employers’ three daughters. A mysterious, rather romantic figure, he seems to see into Hannah’s soul. Slowly, she becomes aware that she is transforming into a daughter of the sea. The first book in a series about sisters separated at birth, this novel has menacing, almost gothic overtones as well as a strong sense of time, place, and class distinctions. Elements within the painting, which sounds similar to John Singer Sargent’s Daughters of Edward Darley Boit, become pivotal points in the setting and the story. Nicely designed, this compelling novel has an attractive jacket illustration showing a rather modern-looking Hannah in her element, the sea.

— Carolyn Phelan, Booklist

Life As We Knew It - Book Preview

Teens' Top Ten #6 in 2007


When a meteor hits the moon and knocks it closer in orbit to the earth, nothing will ever be the same. Worldwide tidal waves. Earthquakes. Volcanic eruptions. And that's just the beginning.

Amazon Review:
It's almost the end of Miranda's sophomore year in high school, and her journal reflects the busy life of a typical teenager: conversations with friends, fights with mom, and fervent hopes for a driver's license.

When Miranda first begins hearing the reports of a meteor on a collision course with the moon, it hardly seems worth a mention in her diary. But after the meteor hits, pushing the moon off its axis and causing worldwide earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanoes, all the things Miranda used to take for granted begin to disappear. Food and gas shortages, along with extreme weather changes, come to her small Pennsylvania town; and Miranda's voice is by turns petulant, angry, and finally resigned, as her family is forced to make tough choices while they consider their increasingly limited options.

Yet even as suspicious neighbors stockpile food in anticipation of a looming winter without heat or electricity, Miranda knows that that her future is still hers to decide even if life as she knew it is over.

Veteran author Susan Beth Pfeffer, who penned the young adult classic The Year Without Michael over twenty years ago, makes a stunning comeback with this haunting book that documents one adolescent's journey from self-absorbed child to selfless young woman. Teen readers won't soon forget this intimate story of survival and its subtle message about the treasuring the things that matter most—-family, friendship, and hope.--Jennifer Hubert

Notes: Thanks again to Mary for donating this book.

What Happened to Lani Garver - Book Preview

Teens' Top Ten #2 in 2003


Hackett Island has never seen anyone quite like Lani Garver. Everything about this new kid is a mystery: Where does Lani come from? How old is Lani? And-most disturbing of all-is Lani a boy or a girl? Claire McKenzie isn't up to tormenting Lani like the rest of the high school elite. Instead, she befriends the intriguing outcast. But within days of Lani's arrival, tragedy strikes and Claire must deal with shattered friendships and personal demons-and the possibility that angels walk the earth.

Amazon Review: Review

The folks on Hackett Island, near Philadelphia, are not too friendly to newcomers. Anyone the slightest bit different is eyed with suspicion, as Claire found out when she missed a year of junior high due to leukemia. Now she works hard at fitting in, following treacherous but popular Macy's lead, hiding her passion for the guitar, and never talking about her fear that her illness will return. Or her nightmares. Or her eating disorder. The boys of Hackett Island's "in" crowd are members of the "fish frat"--hunky sons of the local fishermen--and their horseplay even among themselves is brutal and edge-of-danger.

And then Lani Garver shows up at school, a tall, thin, strangely androgynous person. "No. Not a girl. Sorry," he says pleasantly when Macy questions him about his gender with vicious curiosity. But Claire, much to Macy's disgust, is drawn to Lani, and his wisdom and kindness begins to heal her. He takes her to Philadelphia to meet his artistic friends, talks sense to her about her eating disorder and her blind devotion to Macy, finds her a therapist. Who is this Lani Garver? He resists "boxes" like "gay." Even his age is a mystery to Claire. Strangest of all, could he be a "floating angel," as his friends at the hospital seem to believe? Meanwhile, the fish frat are closing in for the kill, and when their harassment turns lethal, Lani shows a terrible side of himself Claire has never seen.

Carol Plum-Ucci raises tantalizing questions around a fascinating character in this gut-clenching story that transcends the clich├ęs of the gay-bashing novel. (Ages 14 and older) --Patty Campbell --

Notes: Thanks to Mary for getting this one for us. This book is now available in the SRR.

New Books from Mary

Our generous book donor Mary from the United States has sent us another incredible box of books. For those of you who need some distraction from exam stress, you may want to stop by the English Dept office and have a look.

There is a lot to get excited about in this box. Our Cassandra Clare fans will be relieved that we got two more books from the Mortal Instruments trilogy. It is nice to have the big books with the beautiful covers now. Plus, this series has been so popular it has been difficult to get them out. Thanks Mary!

We also got two of the Maria V. Snyder books from her second trilogy. I'm reading the first book and when I'm done the trilogy will be ready to add to the collection. Mary's books are Spy Glass and Sea Glass (I bought Storm Glass from bookdepository last month).

Mary also sent us a copy of the American version of Snyder's Magic Study. Now that I see it up close, I have to say I really like the cover art. It's so nice to have an extra copy of this book. It is one of the most popular books in our collection and we will be promoting the series in January. Be forewarned, this book is only available at the SRR. You can not buy it here in Brunei! Of course, you could get it from BD.

We've also added three Teens' Top Ten winners: Life as We Knew It, Whatever Happened to Lani Carver, Looking for Alaska, and After. This is excellent news for students who are reading books off this list and I don't think I've read a book on the list that didn't totally impress me. Thanks to Mary for continuing our efforts to complete the Top Ten Collection which you can see by clicking here: TOP TEN BOOKS IN THE SRR.

If that wasn't enough, Mary also picked up copies of two requested books. Elsie in 9A requested Beastly and Amanda in 9F suggested we get a copy of The Giver.

We also got another copy of the very popular Evermore by Alyson Noel as well as another big copy of Stephenie Meyer's New Moon. Stephenie's books are still very hard to get a hold of. We have multiple copies, but they are always signed out. They will be even harder to come by as we get closer to the release of the final movie!

Once again, I'd like to thank Mary for her incredible generosity. She has really helped keep the excitement going this year. I hope I have this right - Mary has donated a total of 51 books this year! That's HUGE. Especially considering a lot of them have been large hard cover copies of popular books. You can see Mary's list HERE.

1 Clare, Cassandra City of Bones
2 Clare, Cassandra City of Ashes
3 Flinn, Alex Beastly
4 Forman, Gayle If I Stay
5 Green, John Looking For Alaska
6 Lasky, Kathryn Daughters of the Sea: Hannah
7 Lowry, Lois The Giver
8 Meyer, Stephenie New Moon
9 Nix, Garth Sabriel
10 Noel, Alyson Evermore
11 Pfeffer, Susan Life as We Knew it
12 Plum, Carol Whatever Happened to Lani Garver
13 Prose, Francine After
14 Snyder, Maria V. Sea Glass
15 Snyder, Maria V. Spy Glass
16 Snyder, Maria V. Magic Study