Welcome to Bookish Pursuits!

My name is Joyce and this is my humble playground in cyberspace where my insanity runs amok. I created this book blog with the intention of using it for my thoughts,opinions, and reviews on the books I've read and the books I want to read. This is also where I'll keep a tab of all the reading challenges I decide to participate in, and interesting excerpts from the books I'm reading, as well as any odds and ends related to books and reading.

If you're interested, feel free to follow me and I will probably return the favour.

I’m a voracious reader and I enjoy a variety of genres including young-adult, romance, classics, mystery, fantasy, and historical fiction.

I would love to hear book recommendations from fellow booklovers. So if you want to share a recommendation or two, you can check out my Never-ending Reading List and leave me any suggestions in any of the comments section below.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Review: The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

The Graveyard Book
Author: Neil Gaiman
Number of Pages: 320 pages
Publication Date: September 2008
Genre: Children’s Book, Young Adult,
Series or Stand-Alone: Stand-Alone
Book Disclosure: Purchased from Bibliarch


Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a normal boy.

He would be completely normal if he didn't live in a sprawling graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts, with a solitary guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor of the dead.

There are dangers and adventures in the graveyard for a boy-an ancient Indigo Man beneath the hill, a gateway to a desert leading to an abandoned city of ghouls, the strange and terrible menace of the Sleer.

But if Bod leaves the graveyard, then he will come under attack from the man Jack—who has already killed Bod's family. . . .


Neil Gaiman is a new find for me. I’ve never read anything by this author before but his name kept popping up of my friend’s favorite list so I decided to give his works a try and know what the buzz is all about. I should be ashamed to admit this but I picked up The Graveyard Book purely because of the magnificent cover by Chris Riddell. I was instantly drawn because the illustrations were wonderfully done. But soon, I discovered that there’s more to this book that meet the eyes.

Inspired by Rudyard Kipling's classic The Jungle Book, The Graveyard Book tells the story and adventures of an orphaned boy, Nobody Owens, raised in a graveyard inhabited by ghosts, ghouls and every other creepy creature you could think of. But Gaiman deviates from the concept by cleverly turning Kipling's classic story into a beautifully-written, dark-witty fantasy.

I applaud Gaiman for his brilliant imagination. His imagery and the world he had created in The Graveyard Book were for me, worthy of praise. I marveled at his skill for making the imagery seemed larger than life and for making the readers feel that they were also a part of this strange and yet wonderful place that he had created.

Although the opening scene and the setting might be enough to give some readers the creeps, Gaiman was careful not to focus too much on the dark side of death and even skillfully turned Bod's encounters with the graveyard members as a source of humor. From the comical names to the date of death and reason for their demise, each and every one of those mentioned in the story would surely bring laughter to the readers.

I also give kudos to Gaiman for creating such a wonderful cast. Nobody Owens, is an endearing child, while at the same time, not a weak character. He's brave, sweet and compassionate. With every chapter and adventure that Bod went through, as a reader I saw how Gaiman had used that in order for Bod to grow as a person. Even if Bod grew up in a graveyard, Gaiman was able to make him a believable and well-rounded character, and someone that people could relate to.

The supporting casts are also something to look forward to when you read this book. There’s an abundance of interesting characters and some of my favorites were the witty witch Liz, the fussy Mr. Pennyworth, and the substitute guardian Miss Lupescu. There's also the mysterious Silas who was both a mentor and a father figure to Bod while he was in the graveyard. Each and every one of them had made a huge impact not only in the life of Bod but in the story itself as well. Although they were not humans, you will be able to relate them to the people you encounter in your everyday life.

There’s so much more about this book that I haven’t mentioned but The Graveyard Book is, in a word, a masterpiece. This book is a bittersweet coming of age tale, a classic that is a deserving winner of the Newberry Medal. Fans of Gaiman and those who haven’t read his works would surely be delighted with this wonderful book.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Teaser Tuesday: Graceling

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

(1) Grab your current read.
(2) Open to a random page.
(3) Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page and BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!) Share the title & author, too, so that other Teaser Tuesday participants can add the book to their To-Be-Read Lists if they like your teasers.

I'm on a YA kick for the past few weeks and I'm truly enjoying it! For this week, I'm currently reading Kristin Cashore's highly-acclaimed debut novel Graceling. I'm already halfway through and I'm very much fascinated with this book and Cashore's style writing. Here's a wonderful teaser for everyone:

"Does it bother you? You're welcome to do the hunting yourself. Perhaps I can stay by the fire and mend your socks, and scream if I hear any strange noises." He smiled then. "Do you treat Giddon like this, when the two of you travel? I imagine he finds it quite humiliating."

~pp. 181 of Graceling

That's my Teaser Tuesday for this week. Any wonderful teasers you can share?

Have fun reading everyone!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

In My Mailbox (2)

In My Mailbox
is a weekly book meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren . In My Mailbox explores the books that have been delivered to our mailbox on a weekly basis. Since I rarely receive books for review, unlike many other book bloggers, my In My Mailbox post will mostly contain books that I purchased, books I looted from the library and books I traded with friends.

First of all Happy Halloween everyone! Enjoy!

I had been pretty busy reading books, writing two reviews for the last two books I've read and updating and reading blogs. I really didn't have much time to go out and raid the bookstores. But I still have four new books this week.

Books Purchased Online:

1) Graceling by Kristin Cashore (I would have wanted the UK Cover version, but I couldn't find it anywhere.)
2) The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
3) One Reckless Summer by Toni Blake

Book Traded with a Friend:

1) The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (I happily traded my Twilight and New Moon books for The Book Thief.)

So what books are in your mailbox for this week?