Sleeper’s Castle

Two women, six hundred years apart, linked by dreams at the Sleeper’s Castle.

Andy was still grieving from the lost of her partner. Thrown out from the home they shared and harassed by his ex-wife, Sue’s offer for her to stay at Sleeper’s Castle while Sue spent a year in Australia was a life saver.

Andy loved the old castle. The secluded location and the tranquillity of the Welsh countryside was exactly what she needed.

Andy started having vivid dreams about a woman named Catrin who lived in the castle in 1400s. Catrin’s father, Daffyd, was a bard and every summer, they traveled to visit their patrons and entertained them. Catrin was naturally gifted and it was becoming obvious that she was a more talented poet than her father. As her talent received increasing acknowledgement and admiration, Daffydd became secretly resentful of his daughter.

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Tasjil Anis Salatin — Rahsia Agung Melaka

Tidak keterlaluan kalau saya katakan buku ini ibarat ensiklopedia mengenai Kesultanan dan Empayar Melaka.

Pada kemuncak kegemilangan Melaka, jumlah penduduknya mencecah 100,000 orang — lebih ramai daripada jumlah penduduk kota London pada masa yang sama.

Kerajaan Melaka mempunyai sistem pentadbiran yang teratur dan ini menarik ramai pedagang ke Melaka. Oleh kerana para pedagang biasanya menghabiskan masa beberapa bulan di Melaka, mereka perlukan tempat yang selamat untuk menyimpan barang dagangan dan terjamin barang dagangan tidak rosak. Kerajaan Melaka menyediakan gedung-gedung yang dibina daripada bahan kalis api dan mempunyai suhu yang stabil.

84 bahasa dipertuturkan di Melaka dan Bahasa Melayu mejadi lingua franca. Beberapa syahbandar dipertanggung jawabkan menjaga hal ehwal para pedagang dan syahbandar fasih bertutur bahasa ibunda pedagang di bawah tanggung jawabnya.

Dalam satu masa, biasanya terdapat 2000 kapal berlabuh di Melaka. Untuk mengurangkan kesesakan, pelabuhan Jugra di Selangor, Bentan di Indonesia dan Tanjung Bidara menjadi lokasi kapal-kapal dagang dari timur dan barat berlabuh sementara menunggu giliran masuk ke pelabuhan Melaka.

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The Alchemist

Santiago was a boy from Andalusia, Spain. He became a shepherd because he wanted to travel. He travelled from town to town while finding pasture and water for his flock.

He went to see a gypsy woman about a recurrent dream and she told him that there is a treasure waiting for him at the pyramids. Then a king in disguise who he met by chance (if there is such thing as a coincidence) at the town square told him that it was his destiny to seek out the treasure and gave him two stones that would help him make a decision if he was ever in doubt.

So Santiago sold his sheep and bought a ticket to Africa. There he met a a thief, a crystal merchant, an Englishman seeking an alchemist and an alchemist who helped him find his way to the pyramids. In the process of seeking his destiny, he arrived at an oasis and fell in love with a desert woman.

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Asal Usul Melayu, Induknya Di Benua Sunda (Jilid 1)

Buku ini menarik kerana menggabungkan disiplin sains, arkeologi dan antropologi dalam menjejak asal-usul bangsa Melayu dan sejarah tamadunnya.

Kisah bermula dengan menjejaki penghijrahan manusia dari benua Afrika sehingga tiba ke Benua Sunda. Pada zaman ais, Sumatra, Semenanjung Tanah Melayu, Jawa dan Borneo adalah sekeping benua. Banjir besar pada 14,000, 12,000 dan 8,000 tahun lalu akhirnya menenggelamkan sebahagian daratan dan terbentuk muka bumi yang terpisah oleh laut seperti yang ada pada hari ini.

Kajian saintifik genom manusia dan mitokondira DNA menolak teori bahawa bangsa Melayu berasal dari Yunan. DNA Melayu adalah antara DNA tertua di dunia — lebih tua daripada DNA China.

Penulis juga membincangkan evolusi dan perkembangan Bahasa Melayu dan bagaimana interaksi dengan bangsa-bangsa lain mempengaruhi perkembangannya.

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Sputnik Sweetheart

Sumire was an aspiring author. K had been her best friend since college. K was also madly in love with her, but never even hinted about his feelings because he knew she didn’t feel the same way and he didn’t want to risk losing her as a friend.

Sumire met Miu, a Korean woman who grew up and spent most of her life in Japan, at a wedding. Miu was a successful businesswoman and offered Sumire a job as her assistant. A struggling author didn’t make much money, so Sumire happily accepted the offer.

One day, when they had dinner after work, Miu said that she wished she had met Sumire when she was whole. Something happened 14 years ago that split her into the person she became now.

Sumire confided in K that she had fallen in love with Miu, a woman 17 years older than her. K was crushed, but there was nothing he could do.

This is beginning to sound like another love triangle, doesn’t it? But no, because this is no ordinary love story.

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A Gentleman in Moscow

I didn’t expect to be fascinated by a story of a man confined to house arrest for more than three decades.

This story is set in the aftermath of the Russian revolution. In 1922, Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov was on trial for a poem he wrote in 1918, which was deemed corrupting. For that crime he was sentenced to indefinite house arrest. The Count accepted the sentence and carried himself with dignity, as expected of a man of his standing.

At the time of the trial, the Count had been residing in a suite at the Metropol Hotel for four years. He was instructed to return to the Metropol for his sentence, but instead of the luxurious suite, he was moved to a small room in the attic. If he left the Metropol, he would be shot on sight.

House arrest seems like a sentence worse than a life in prison — to be free, but confined within a building. As the story unfolds, perhaps it was not the worst fate to befall a man. The house arrest shielded the Count from the post-revolution turmoil and a world war.

Mishka, the Count’s best friend, was sentenced to eight years of hard labour. Upon his release, he went to see the Count. “Who would have imagined,” said Mishka, “when you were sentenced to life in the Metropol all those years ago, that you had just become the luckiest man in all of Russia.”

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A Man Called Ove

This is a humourous and heart-warming story about a grumpy old man called Ove. Considering everything that happened, Ove earned the right to be grumpy.

Ove’s mother died when he was eight. His quiet father became even quieter. Even though few words were exchanged between father and son, they grew close after his mother’s death. His father taught him the meaning of being a man of integrity and principle.

Ove’s father died when he was sixteen and he was left to fend for himself. He took over his father’s job. His employer and colleagues knew him as a quiet young lad who is honest and can be relied on — just like his father.

Ove was on his own, literally. There wasn’t any joy in his life until the day he set eye on Sonja at the train station. They fell in love and everything he did was about making her happy, which made him happy.

When Sonja died of cancer, Ove became depressed. He didn’t live before he met Sonja and now that she was gone, Ove had no reason to live. And so, Ove hatched a plan to commit suicide.

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