Month: May 2015

Full Steam Ahead for Thrills: Doctor Sleep by Stephen King

dr-sleepDoctor Sleep by Stephen King
(Goodreads Choice Award 2013)

RRP: RM39.90
BookXcess: RM17.90

Behind the smoke-wreathed, spooky red-and-white cover of this book lies the next chapter in one of Stephen King’s most famous tales of horror. 36 years after The Shining, where cabin fever and the supernatural collide with disastrous effects, its sequel DOCTOR SLEEP by Stephen King finally springs to life.

The book follows Dan (Danny) Torrance, now an adult and still haunted by the events of The Shining. Pursued by the angry ghosts of the Overlook Hotel, he wanders from place to place, angry and fuelled by alcohol as his father Jack was. This changes when he arrives in a small New Hampshire town, where he sheds his addiction to drink and begins to help ease the suffering of a local retirement home’s dying inmates. He encounters Abra, a girl connected to his past with an especially strong psychic “shining” abilities. She becomes the target of the True Knot: a band of travelling semi-immortals who have survived through the ages by consuming “steam”, psychic energy released by children with the shining as they are tortured to death. Dan must work fast to save her, and untie the Knot for good.

Partially inspired by the abilities of Oscar, a therapy cat allegedly able to predict the deaths of terminally ill patients, Doctor Sleep is a potent addition to any horror buff’s bookshelf, whether they’re new to Stephen King or long-time devotees of his work. King manages to weave a masterful tale that stands very well on its own and provides a satisfying conclusion to Danny Torrance’s story. It’s now available on our shelves at Amcorp Mall and fahrenheit88!

Historical Highlights – May 2015

This time around at BookXcess, we’re getting together to cover a little local history, and happenings closer to the modern day:

the-war-of-running-dogsTHE WAR OF THE RUNNING DOGS by Noel Barber

RRP: RM39.90
BookXcess: RM17.90

Running Dogs is a full account of the Malayan Emergency (1948 – 1960), and one of the first books published that analyses the insurgency in detail. The title refers to the Chinese-backed guerrillas’ own name for the struggle: a 12-year conflict between Commonwealth forces versus the Malayan Communist Party, in a country still reeling from the aftermath of the Japanese occupation.

Barber’s journalistic writing adds flavour to what might otherwise be a dry record of war. He describes the start of the conflict to Malaysia’s early years of independence, and the last days of the Emergency. Britain’s counter-insurgency methods and strategies are placed on full display, including the compulsory registration, the establishment of New Villages, propaganda attacks and the various roles of military commanders, combatants and non-combatants alike. Nothing and no one is spared. This is a book of ‘the planters and their wives on their remote rubber estates, the policemen, the generals and the soldiers, the Malays, Chinese and Indians of a polyglot country, all fighting an astute, ruthless, and well-organized enemy.’’

War of the Running Dogs was originally published in the 1970s, and it shows in the language and Barber’s attitude toward Malayan natives, but the source material remains relevant today. Comparisons stand to be drawn between how Britain handled the Emergency and how other countries managed their own conflicts fought on foreign ground. Hardcore buffs of local history will greatly enjoy this book, and we recommend it for any budding historian or student.


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BEHIND THE BEAUTIFUL FOREVERS by Katherine Boo

RRP: RM86.40
BookXcess: RM17.90

Power and money may change a country, but what truly drives it are the people who live within it – both the rich and the poor. Pulitzer Prize winner Katherine Boo’s book focuses on three years’ worth of events in India, seen through the eyes of various residents of Annawadi, a slum at the edge of Mumbai Airport. All live in hope that some of India’s burgeoning prosperity will, eventually, trickle down to them, and each person has their own plans and strategies to seize success, stability and a measure of freedom. But as is all too clear within the stories recorded, the prosperity of a country doesn’t always translate to the prosperity of its people. When a shocking crime rocks their community, economic envy sharpens, and various tensions brutally erupt. What will become of their hopes and dreams?

In this age of global change and inequality, Boo tells the stories of Annawadi with intelligence, dignity and humour. The story moves at a brilliant pace, with a gripping story that not only introduces a cast of varying personalities but makes you care about their ultimate fates. Hailed as great international non-fiction and written as richly as any novel out there, Behind the Beautiful Forevers has won the National Book Award, LA Times Book Prize, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters Award, to name just a few of its accolades so far. If you’re looking for human drama, a glimpse at history in the making and the struggles of India’s common folk, look out for this book on our shelves.


Copies of both these books now await a home on your bookshelves! Get them for the cheapest prices in Malaysia at BookXcess.

Staff Picks: Damn Good Advice (for people with talent!)

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DAMN GOOD ADVICE (FOR PEOPLE WITH TALENT) by George Lois

RRP: RM35.90
BookXcess: RM17.90

Creativity is the not-so-new key to unlocking new professional and selling breakthroughs, far more so than plain drive and dedication (and maybe a nice shirt). Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just starting out on your own journey, everyone could use a creative jolt in the bottom every now and then–and for this purpose we recommend DAMN GOOD ADVICE (FOR PEOPLE WITH TALENT) by George Lois.

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George Lois has several feathers in his cap: he’s the only person ever to be inducted into The Art Directors Hall of Fame and The One Club Creative Hall of Fame; he’s garnered Lifetime Achievement Awards from the American Institute of Graphic Arts and the Society of Publication Designers; he’s also a subject of the Masters Series at the School of Visual Arts. Having worked with various major brands and personalities, his experience proves a strong jumping point to those with dreams of creative glory.

Equal parts provocative and humorous, Lois lays out his years of experience in punchy bite-sized pointers. If you have a creative person in your life, or someone in need of the motivation, this book is for you! Check us out at Amcorp and fahrenheit88 for big discounts, big savings, and the cheapest prices around. You can also get Damn Good Advice on our online bookstore, BookXcess Online.

We might not all be creative professionals or advertisers, but what ‘damn good advice’ do you wish you’d given your younger self?

5 Books You Must Read This May

This month we sat down to review five of the best books in our stores, from tales of the war-torn Middle East to modern Dublin and every spot in between. If you’re into fiction, it’s just a matter of picking your favourite genre and diving right in!


a-thousand-splendid-sunsA THOUSAND SPLENDID SUNS by Khaled Hosseini

RRP: RM65.95
BookXcess: RM17.90

If you loved The Kite Runner, Hosseini’s debut novel, A Thousand Splendid Suns is bound to be a much-loved addition to your bookshelf. If you’re new to his work, count on being amazed and touched by a tale of friendship, war, loss and fate set against the struggles faced by Afghanistan across the later half of the 20th century.

At a young age, Mariam is married off to the widower Rasheed. The marriage soon turns into an abusive trap as all the man seeks is a vessel to replace his dead son. Down the street from the couple lives the girl Laila; she is separated from her lover as the war intensifies, then orphaned as rockets rain down upon their street. Laila becomes part of Rasheed and Mariam’s family, as the older woman’s fellow wife. While their relationship begins in bitterness, the two women forge a bond that makes them not just friends or sisters, but something akin to mother and daughter. When past sins finally catch up with the household, Mariam takes a risk that changes not just both their lives, but that of their descendants.

Power and suspense drives every page, along with Hosseini’s foreshadowing, skilful use of language, and larger-than-life characters that practically leap from the page. A Thousand Splendid Suns is woven through with the power of a mother’s love and the great sacrifices women make for their families, whether the ties are through blood or bond. While Kite Runner was a story of sons and fathers, its spiritual sequel is certainly driven by mothers and daughters; from the estranged to the devoted, the bitter, the shrewd and the unjaded. It is their acts, their sacrifices and their love, or even the memory of love, that ensures others might survive; it is their love that transcends a simple story to affect an entire world.

A Thousand Splendid Suns gets full points from us, and we’re thrilled to have it in stock for all fans of historical fiction, strong female characters and prose to thrill and enthrall.


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HOW TO FALL IN LOVE by Cecelia Ahern

RRP: RM71.45
BookXcess: RM17.90

Christine Rose is a great believer in self-help books, owning shelves of them herself. But there are situations that all the books in the world can prepare you for…like when you cross a bridge and find someone threatening to jump. In this case it’s Adam Basil, two weeks shy of 35 and ready to end his life. In a desperate attempt, Christine strikes a crazy deal: she bets that she can show him life is worth living before his next birthday.

It is, of course, a job with a very tight deadline. The two embark on wild escapades, grand romantic gestures and late-night outings. Christine thinks Adam is slowly falling back in love with life, but could that be the only thing happening?

How To Fall In Love is, of course, chick lit at its finest, and readers will appreciate the journey as much, if not more, as the result. The romance builds at a slow burn, and Ahern weaves this sweet tale with her trademark wit and aplomb. Affirming and tender, we found this book ideal for both romantics and (perhaps) even those slightly jaded by romance!


be-careful-what-you-wish-for

BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR by Jeffrey Archer

RRP: RM117.60
BookXcess: RM17.90

There’s trouble afoot in the Barrington shipping company as it prepares to launch its new luxury liner, the MV Buckingham. Chairman Ross Buchanan is forced to resign and Emma Clifton wants to replace him, but there’s a puppet candidate waiting in the wings. There’s still more to handle with deadly car accidents, engagements (and outside interference), and a new player in the form of Cedric Hardcastle, the bluff Yorkshireman who takes his place on the board of Barringtons with his own very specific visions for the future. Only one thing is certain as the Clifton clan marches head-first into the swingin’ 60s: their lives are about to change forever.

Intrigue abounds in the fourth instalment of The Clifton Chronicles. Thrilling and suspenseful, readers will be enthralled by a deftly crafter tale of love, revenge, ambition and betrayal from Archer’s pen. A must for Jeffrey Archer fans, and a definite pick if you live for professional drama and gripping multi-generational epics.


the-appeal

THE APPEAL by John Grisham

RRP: RM35.90
BookXcess: RM17.90

shop online

A Mississippi jury returns a damning verdict against a chemical company accused of dumping toxic waste into a small town’s water supply. The company then appeals to the state’s Supreme Court, whose nine judges can either approve or reverse the verdict. With their money, power and some shrewd manoeuvring, buying a friendlier face on the Court is an easy matter.

So begins Grisham’s latest political and legal thriller in several years, inspired by real-life cases as are many of his works. What starts out as a web of intrigue and deceit becomes a sobering look at how greed and business corrupt the electoral and judicial systems. Grisham’s straightforward, uncomplicated writing frames a bold, complex story with shocking twists to be discovered. Few readers will be able to put this book down after it’s sunk its hooks in. Will the appeal succeed, or ultimately fail? There’s only one way to find out.

Fans of legal thrillers will enjoy this 2008 classic, packed with suspense, twists and turns right up to the final pages. It’s also available on our online store, so you can get it shipped straight to your doorstep!


valley-of-amazement

THE VALLEY OF AMAZEMENT by Amy Tan

RRP: RM111.60
BookXcess: RM17.90

Amy Tan’s novels have often dealt with the relationships between mother and daughter, often with the added identity crises born of immigration and the generation gap. The Valley of Amazement is no different, describing the lives of two women connected by a single painting.

It is 1912 in Shanghai. Violet is the daughter of Lulu Minturn, American madam of the city’s most exclusive courtesan house. But when the Qing dynasty is overturned, the two are separated and Violet is forced to become a “virgin courtesan”. Over the course of the book we see Violet fall in love, get married, and lose her daughter, and delve into the American past of Lulu, whose search for penance leads to an unexpected reunion.

If Asian literature is your thing, we recommend this sweeping epic of two women that spans over forty years and two continents. Tan weaves an intimate, historical and passionate yarn that portrays the lives of two very different women and how they are, eventually, drawn back together.


Seek out all five of these titles for your shelf at big discounts, only at Malaysia’s friendly neighbourhood bookstore, BookXcess! We’ll be waiting to say hello at Amcorp Mall and fahrenheit88. 😉

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