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Book Review: The Shopaholic series by Sophie Kinsella

The Shopaholic series: the New Fashionista Bible

If I were to choose among my pile of chick literature for my favorite, I would say that the Shopaholic series tops the list. Rebecca Bloomwood, the series’ main protagonist, takes you to a never-ending ride of shopping trips and funny escapades that her spendthrift ways bring about. The books are as shallow as any chick literature would be, but the type of superficiality that Kinsella’s books offer differ from the usual nonsense blabbering of other chick literature protagonists. Confessions of a Shopaholic gives you a never-ending ride of shopping galore, with Rebecca’s sweet and exciting romance with Luke Brandon, the multimillionaire PR representative, as a bonus. The second installment, Shopaholic Takes Manhattan, portrays Rebecca as an even more avid shopper as she goes to New York for the first time. I have read four out of the five installments, and my favorite would have to be the third one so far. Shopaholic Ties the Knot is beautiful because we see a more mature (but definitely still an extravagant) Rebecca as her once-budding romance with Luke becomes permanent and even more enchanting. This kind of chick literature is a good break from the classics and other heavy reading, so it is perfect for the summer or for escaping the tiring demands of work. But its shallowness is not so that it will make you cringe at every page. The superficiality is served through witty writing that British authors are so famous for, and Kinsella does not exaggerate or fail in her insertion of humor throughout the stories.

The Shopaholic series is something I always recommend to my friends because it is a light read, yet it does not go overboard in its superficiality. Though Rebecca’s spending habits and her tendency to avoid and ignore her monthly bills might be a little too much, and irksome at its worst, there is still that sensible touch to the whole series that prevents me from dismissing it as a mere novel-version of Vogue. Personally, ever since I have read the book, I have developed a renewed sense of fashion style. Reading about Rebecca’s fashion predicaments, the constant name-dropping of high-end fashion labels, and the vivid depiction of shopaholic must-haves that Rebecca espouses indirectly made me aware of fashion what-nots and know-hows. Such examples would be the Hermés scarf that Luke gave her in Confessions of a Shopaholic or the Angel bag that she “just had to buy??? in the third installment. So, if you want some delightful chick literature to read, then the Shopaholic series is the way to go. Not only does Rebecca take you to a different level of fashion and sensibility as she traverses modern-day life with style and sophistication, but the series actually makes you realize the difference between an outfit from the ordinary jeans-and-shirt get-up.

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Book Review: Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden


Life As She Sees It: Arthur Golden’s Memoirs of a Geisha

Arthur Golden’s debut novel is a fictional account of a geisha’s life. It narrates the story of Chiyo, who, as a child, was sold into slavery together with her sister. Chiyo eventually becomes Sayuri, as she is taken in and trained to become a geisha, while her sister is taken into a whorehouse and becomes separated from her sister permanently. I read this many years ago, and Golden’s skillful display of his exceptional knowledge in geisha culture and lifestyle woven with his main protagonist’s own voice narrating the accounts of her personal life cemented this book on my favorites’ list. The smooth prose adds depth to the rich narration and the poignant life story of Sayuri. The bittersweet memories of her life and the gripping prose style with which Golden wrote the novel combine into one absorbing and elegant must-read. If you have seen the movie, then there is all the more reason to peruse the book, in order for you to realize just how much the film failed to give justice to the novel’s beauty. Sayuri’s rivalry with Hatsumomo and her love affair with the hairman are just some of the delectable highlights of the novel, which is rich with facts about Japanese culture and art. The history and culture of a geisha in Sayuri’s time provides a rich social landscape apart from Sayuri’s personal story, so that when you read the book, not only do you witness the ups and downs of Sayuri’s life, but also a slice of Japanese history, and the culture that makes it worthy of remembrance.

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Book Review: Eleven Minutes by Paulo Coelho


More Than Eleven Minutes of Sense and Sensuality

The novel is far from the contemplative atmosphere of By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept and the bestseller The Alchemist, but the beauty of the book is derived from the strong yet tender, and poignant life of Maria, who was tricked into leaving her hometown in Brazil to become a prostitute in Switzerland. The book borders on the erotic, what with Maria’s love for masochism, and the hints of pessimism as Maria’s life as a prostitute unfolds. Like all the other literary works of Paulo Coelho, this book tackles another road to self-discovery– sexuality. However, the book delves on the matter of sex in the context of love, which makes this book different from the soft porn usually found in romance novels. The idea of sacred sex is treated with renewed freshness. The sensual subject matter of the book, and the way Coelho dealt with this sensuality through his writing style, even give Maria’s story a peculiar charm that entices you to keep on reading until the end. Maria’s life as a disillusioned prostitute takes a wild turn when she meets a painter whom she falls in love with. Upon meeting him, her life has inevitably changed from one that is headed towards self-destruction to a life that hopes for a bright future. Towards the end of the story, she is compelled to choose between the life in Brazil she has always dreamed of returning to, or to a new and yet-unknown life that she could have with the person she undeniably loves. If you are a fan of Coelho, then this book demands to be read. It veers away from the writer’s usual overly optimistic book-forms of Hallmark cards. The dark subject matter and the different approach that Coelho takes on this novel are two main things that make this book a definite must-have for bookworms who want an alternative from all the chick literature or the heavy readings.

The novel is far from the contemplative atmosphere of By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept and the bestseller The Alchemist, but the beauty of the book is derived from the strong yet tender, and poignant life of Maria, who was tricked into leaving her hometown in

Purchase your copy of this book on Avalon.ph