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Reflection

July 2010 : It’s a wrap!

It is somehow hectic in the summer. More errands to run, more housekeeping to do, more outdoor activities and consequently wallets are emptied more quickly for stuff that I had to pay and shopping that I had to do… but I am chuffed this month!

Despite a very hectic month at work last July, I have managed to read 7 books and mostly good stuff!

I started the month with sensual “The Unbearable Lightness of Being” and settled next for a quite mundane The Secret Scripture. Enjoyed Ghostwritten, fell in love with the way Mitchell writes. Siddhartha will be in the running for this year’s favourite. Hotel Iris was a harrowing but a different kind of reading for me. I love Sputnik Sweetheart and I would like to read Tony’s recommendation on South of the Border, West of the Sun and leave Norwegian Wood, the best for last. I have also scheduled Map of the Invisible World to be published on the August 17, in conjunction with Indonesia Independence day!

  1. The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Milan Kundera
  2. The Secret Scripture, Sebastian Barry
  3. Ghostwritten, David Mitchell
  4. Siddhartha, Hermann Hesse
  5. Hotel Iris, Yoko Ogawa
  6. Sputnik Sweetheart by Haruki Murakami
  7. Map of the Invisible World, Tash Aw

When I counted how many books I have bought for the month of July, I was surprised that I bought twice the number of the books I read for the month!!! How did that happened??!!

I bought an average of 3 to 4 books a month, but this month is very unusual.

Here is what I have got on my July stack:

  1. Out, Natsuo Kirino (J-lit reading challenge was in my mind, so I bought this when I saw it. I also saw a brand new copy of Battle Royale last month for £1, but thought the plot was too violent, so didn’t…)
  2. End of the Peace Process, Edward Said (Non-fiction)
  3. March Hares and Monkey’s Uncles – origins of the words and phrases we use everyday, Harry Oliver
  4. Crime and Punishment, Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  5. Sophie’s World – A novel about the history of Philosophy, Jostein Gaardner
  6. The Pillar of the Earth, Ken Follett (I swore I won’t read Ken Follett but this used book is NEW! A New book for a used price.)
  7. Forget you had a daughter – doing time in the ‘Bangkok Hilton’, Sandra Gregory (A woman’s prison experience in Bangkok)
  8. Harmony Silk Factory, Tash Aw
  9. Saving Fish from Drowning, Amy Tan
  10. White Teeth, Zadie Smith (Penguin orange label, rare find).
  11. Night train to Lisbon, Pascal Mercier
  12. Small Island, Andrea Levy
  13. Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert, (hardcopy) – Read this in 2009, love it and wanted to deface this copy with my multicolour highlighters!

I don’t know how book 14 City of Oranges, Arabs and Jews in Jaffa, got there in the picture. This is what happened when you blog with your eyes half close! 😀 … but nonetheless, this is a very good book on the Arabs and Jews conflict that I have read so far.

Besides the ones in violet, I bought them for £1, the rest I paid 50p for it. Yesterday I pick up John Updike short stories Trust me and Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh (2008 edition) for 25p each. Can’t complain. 😉

In August, I have two more reviews coming up on Murakami’s After Dark and Kenzaburo Oe’s Changeling. I also plan to squeeze in a book written by Arab novelist so that I could share a review for the Arabic Summer Reading Challenge. Then there is Our Tragic Universe by Scarlett Thomas and Rabbit, Run by John Updike to complete the A to Z challenge. It is the last leg of summer, fingers crossed I get to live a little outdoors and read and blog a little.

As ever, many thanks to you guys for accompanying me this far on my reading journey. 😉

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About JoV

A bookaholic that went out of control.... I eat, sleep and breathe books. Well, lately I do other stuff.

Discussion

12 thoughts on “July 2010 : It’s a wrap!

  1. Hey, I love your junkie theme! And 14 books in one month really does make you a junkie, my friend. Ever considered getting therapy? 😉

    I really enjoyed After Dark, and Norwegian wood is one of the very best novels I’ve ever read 🙂 I’m curious to see your review of Oe’s Changeling. I keep seeing it at bookstores but I still haven’t decided to pick it up.

    Posted by Mark David | August 8, 2010, 3:22 am
    • Hi Mark, nice to have you here. It is a junkie theme isn’t it? 😉 Everyone says Norwegian Wood is good, I need to get to it soon! Bellezza had abandoned Changeling mid-way, I can only say it takes patience to read the book as there is no continuous plot and there are repetition. The novel feels more like reverie with random and artistic philosophical thoughts, than say a novel with coherent plot.

      Posted by JoV | August 8, 2010, 8:39 pm
  2. You have some wonderful books there! I loved Out! Small Island is also very good.

    I’ve been wanting to read Pillars of the Earth for ages – it is so long though. Perhaps you’ll be able to persuade me to pick it up!

    Posted by farmlanebooks | August 8, 2010, 3:49 pm
    • Hello Jackie! I will read Pillars of earth, I will, I will, I will. Once I read it, I’ll let you know if it is good! 🙂 I have mostly long and difficult to read novels collection at home, like Midnight Children, Love in the time of Cholera etc etc… The Suitable Boy, War and Peace, Bolano’s 2666 or Savage Detectives are on my radar. Now, if only I can get past the lure of short and enticing novels and get on with the long ones! LOL. 😀

      Posted by JoV | August 8, 2010, 8:46 pm
  3. Any tips on how to speed-read and complete 7 books in a month with all those activities you have in between? 😛

    Posted by Marvin | August 8, 2010, 5:26 pm
    • Marvin, 7 books is considered a so-so, meh! achievement. To read 7 books in a month when auditors are chasing your tail at work, you need to:
      1. travel to and fro 2 hours on the train – at least 4 days a week.
      2. Be ready to read novels on all your weekends breakfast for 2 hours.
      3. Be ready to read a few pages when your children go to bed (I presumed you don’t have those naughty trolls called toddlers at home, so you should achieve better results than me!).
      4. Be ready to swap TV time at home for reading.
      5. and because you are in Malaysia, reduction of time for socialising and night market and supper time is essential! 😀
      6. Speed reading helps, but it is better to read slowly and savour every word. so that brings me back to the basics, to refute the theory that more is good, I think it’s quality that matters!

      Try it out and let me know how you get on. 😀

      Posted by JoV | August 8, 2010, 8:53 pm
  4. I was so crazy about Out, which was one of my first reads this Summer. I abandoned The Changeling, so I wish you better luck with that than I experienced. At least I read Oe’s A Personal Matter, so I’ve at least tucked one of his works under my belt!

    Posted by Bellezza | August 8, 2010, 6:48 pm
    • Bellezza! how are you? I saw Out on the shelf, if it wasn’t for you (and J-Lit) and my blogger buddies, I would shun the book! The cover gives me the creeps. I have to hide it in my closet, just in case my underage boys ask me what’s the book all about! 😉 You are right about Changeling though, it requires perseverance. and when it comes to pleasure reading, perseverance is not a prerequisite. 😉

      Posted by JoV | August 8, 2010, 8:57 pm
  5. I read Out pre-blogging and before everybody read it because I just stumbled upon the book by accident. Great book! I thought you said you didn’t want to read The Pillar of the Earth. I guess now you do! I’ve been waiting for your thoughts on Map of the Invisible World. What a nice touch to post it on 17th of August. I myself have been forgetting about the day. I have Harmony Silk Factory and Saving Fish from Drowning on tbr. Anyway, what a great find altogether!

    Posted by mee | August 9, 2010, 12:18 am
    • Hi Mee, Thank you for all your kind words. Malaysian Independence day is not far too, on the last day of August and I’m breaking my head thinking what to write about it.
      You are right, I didn’t want to read Follett. It is always good to try new things if I ever want to be a good reader, who knows I might like Follett! 😉

      Posted by JoV | August 9, 2010, 8:20 am
  6. Haha I’m glad I’m not the only one who seems to find themselves so much busier in the summer. Of course working in a theme park does mean that in summer of course I’m busier but doesn’t explain everything else! Well done for still reading alot between everything you had to do I didn’t do quite as well, am looking forward to my holiday I plan on doing nothing but eating and reading 🙂

    Posted by jessicabookworm | August 11, 2010, 5:05 pm

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Ratings Defined

0 = Abandon the book after first chapter

1 = Waste of paper, we will see what the environmentalist say about this!

2 = Skip it, read the book if you have got nothing better to do

2.5 = An average book, easily forgettable.

3 = A good read.

3.5 = A good entertaining read, a page-turner

4 = So glad that I read the book, a book with substance and invaluable for future reference

4.5 = So glad that I read the book, would pester everyone to read it, invaluable, I would want to own it and wouldn't mind a second read (something that I seldom do)

5 = The book is so good that I feel like I am on scale 4 and 4.5, and more, it blew me away and lingers on my head for weeks!

Books Read

JoV's bookshelf: read
Hold Tight
The Fault in Our Stars
The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon
The Thief
Mockingjay
Catching Fire
A Tale for the Time Being
Into the Darkest Corner
The Liars' Gospel
Goat Mountain
Strange Weather In Tokyo
Strange Shores
And the Mountains Echoed
Ten White Geese
One Step Too Far
The Innocents
The General: The ordinary man who became one of the bravest prisoners in Guantanamo
White Dog Fell from the Sky
A Virtual Love
The Fall of the Stone City


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Reading, after a certain age, diverts the mind too much from its creative pursuits. Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking. - Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955)

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