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The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Mikael Blomkvist was a disgraced journalist. While he was picking up the pieces of his life, he was approached by Dirch Frode, a lawyer who worked for Henrik Vanger — a rich, influential and retired industrialist. Vanger wanted to hire Blomkvist to write his family biography, but that was only a pretext. His real mission was to unravel the mystery behind the disappearance of Harriet Vanger, Henrik’s niece, more than three decades ago.

Blomkvist had no interest in writing a biography and he doubted that he could unravel a three-decade mystery when even the best investigators failed to do so. But then, Henrik Vanger made him an offer he couldn’t resist – if Blomkvist accepted his offer, he would give Blomkvist evidence that can use against his nemesis.

While investigating Harriet’s disappearance, Blomkvist crossed path with Lisbeth Salander, an investigator who Frode hired to do a background check on Blomkvist before Vanger offered him the job. Salander and Blomkvist ended up working together to track down Harriet.

Lisbeth Salander was one of a kind. You can keep no secret from her. She lived by her own moral code. Together with Blomkvist, the pair were unstoppable. The dark secret they discovered about what led to Harriet’s disappearance was a horror beyond their imagination — a secret that if revealed, would destroy the Vanger family.

Even if you’re not into the crime/thriller genre, I highly recommend this novel. You won’t regret it. Get this novel from this store or that store.

Salina

Ini kisah 1950an — kisah perjuangan hidup pada zaman selepas perang di Kampung Kambing, Singapura. Salina adalah anak saudagar kaya. Dia kehilangan semua ahli keluarganya ketika tentera Jepun menggila mengebom Kota Singa. Berbagai keperitan ditelannya untuk meneruskan hidup biar pun di jalan yang tersasar.

Hilmy kehilangan ayahnya juga kerana bom tentera Jepun. Dia dan ibuya berpindah ke rumah buruk di Kampung Kambing kerana itu saja yang mereka mampu. Hilmy masih belajar di sekolah Inggeris — harapan ibunya adalah dia akan dapat mengubah nasib mereka.

Nahidah yang manis tinggal di kampung itu bersama ibu tiri dan dua orang abang. Ibu tiri yang tamak mempergunakan Nahidah untuk kepentingannya lalu menghancurkan impiannya untuk hidup bersama Hilmy.

Abdul Fakar adalah lelaki tidak sedar diuntung yang sanggup menyakiti seorang perempuan yang sangat menyayanginya.

Salina akhirnya tiba di persimpangan di mana dia perlu membuat keputusan sama ada meneruskan hidup di jalan yang menyakitkan atau memilih jalan lain.

Zaman selepas perang adalah dunia yang berbeza. Pun begitu, apa yang manusia sanggup lakukan demi kelangsungan hidup tidak banyak bezanya.

“Salina” tersenarai dalam “100 Novel Melayu Yang Wajib Dibaca” — dapatkannya di sini.

Sycamore Row

Compared to “The Firm” or “Pelican Brief”, this novel is a bit slow-paced. Have a little patience and as the drama unfolds, you’ll find yourself lost in a tale that went back two generations.

His second divorce left Seth Hubbard almost penniless. Determined to not wallow in self-pity, he took some outrageously calculated risks to build his wealth. The risks paid off and he became a very wealthy man within the span of ten years.

When he realised he was losing the battle with lung cancer, he wrote a new, hand-written will that left most of his fortune to his black maid while cutting out his estranged children. He committed suicide a day later and left strict instruction to Jake Brigance, an attorney, to defend his will no matter the cost.

Unsurprisingly, the will caused a controversy and his children contested the will. The fact that Seth Hubbard was on pain medication to deal with his illness raised question about his testamentary capacity. The attorneys of his children got busy digging dirt about the maid to prove that she exerted her influence to persuade him into changing his will.

The real reason for Seth Hubbard’s new will was a dark secret that had been hidden for decades and Seth was trying to correct an injustice. Only Ancil, Seth’s long lost brother, knew about the secret. Will Ancil be found on time before all is lost?

Get it from this store or that store.

Guantanamo Diary

What can I say… that I’m astounded at the cruelty of people who are willing to torture someone with no evidence that he had committed a crime? That I feel pity at the ignorance of people whose blind hatred made them feel that their cruelty is justified?

Mohamedou Ould Slahi’s ordeal started in 2000. He was detained twice at the behest of the US — first by the Senegalese police and later by the Mauritanian authorities — and questioned by FBI agents regarding his alleged involvement in the Millennium plot. They concluded that there was was no basis to believe he was involved and he was released. The Mauritanian authority told Slahi that the Americans kept saying that he was linked to the Millennium Plot but didn’t give any proof. The Mauritanian authorities affirmed his innocence.

In November 2001, the Mauritanian police went to Slahi’s home and asked him to accompany them for further questioning. He went voluntarily and drove his own car to the police station. It turned out, his government had agreed to turn him over to the US authorities (and hence, violated Mauritanian law) and a CIA rendition plane transported him to a prison in Jordan, where he was tortured and interrogated for 8 months by the Jordanian intelligence services. Slahi was actually informed by the Mauritanian police that he would be in Jordan for only a few days for questioning and then he would be sent home.

Another CIA rendition plane retrieves Slahi from Jordan. He was stripped, blindfolded, diapered, shackled and flown to the US military base in Bagram, Afghanistan. After two weeks, he was transferred to Guantanamo. The American interrogators subjected Slahi to a “special interrogation plan” that was personally approved by Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. He was tortured for months — during this time he was subjected to physical, psychological and sexual humiliations, death threats and threats to his family.

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100 Novel Melayu Yang Wajib Dibaca

Saya mula-mula terjumpa senarai ini lebih kurang setahun lalu. Saya kongsikan di sini untuk manfaat bersama (klik pada gambar untuk lihat senarai). Menyusul di bawah adalah ulasan novel-novel yang telah saya baca.



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