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Reflection

It’s a wrap: September 2010

The breeze is cool, with occasional rain. I am expecting the leaves to brown by now, but they haven’t. On most days I get between 18 to 23 degree celcius temperature, the sun still shines and it is glorious!!

Book Read

This is what I have read this month:

  1. After the Banquet by Yukio Mishima
  2. The Sailor Who Fell From Grace with the Sea by Yukio Mishima
  3. Asleep by Banana Yoshimoto
  4. Rabbit Run by John Updike
  5. The Gathering by Anne Enright
  6. Identity by Milan Kundera
  7. Hotel Du Lac, Anita Brookner
  8. The Maid, Yasutaka Tsutsui

This month gave me the false impression that I read a lot but actually I didn’t. When I look at my list I was fairly disappointed, because besides After the Banquet and skim reading Rabbit Run, the rest are slim books which doesn’t take very long to finish! Not more than 250 pages!! Perhaps blogging about books a lot gave me that feeling of me reading a lot this month.

I like After the Banquet the best, Identity comes next, I didn’t like Rabbit Run, and 3 Man Booker Prize winners who gave me a feeling of Meh!.

Book Purchase / Received

The Summer book buying frenzy has spill over to September, I have to re-take the photograph a few times because just when I thought I have all of them in the picture I forgot another few. 😦

So here are what I have bought / received in the month of September:

From top to bottom:

  1. The Flowers of Algernon by Daniel Keyes – I was enticed by Bookie Mee recommendation. So let me entice you back to read this with some introduction: Charlie Gordon is about to embark upon an unprecendented journey. Born with an unusually low IQ Charlies was put under experimental surgery that increases his intelligence, similar to the highly successful survey done on a lab mouse named Algernon. Then Algernon deteriorates, will the same happen to Charlie? This is book is heralded as a tear jerker and one with a lot of heart. 
  2. I also received a book for review by Carolina, from publisher titled Camus: A romance by Elizabeth Hawes. This is really the sort of biography I like to read: a sexy literary hero, an intellectual, prolific and short lived, fought for the rights of the oppressed. An author who achieve great feat despite poor health. I am about half way through the book and enjoying it.
  3. The Sound of Waves by Yukio Mishima – I saw this on offer in Amazon and thought I better snap this up before someone else does.
  4. The Dead Soul by Gogol– I wanted to read Gogol ever since it was first mentioned in The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri, so when I saw a new copy on the charity bookstore I took it home.
  5. Sugar Street by Naguib Mahfouz – A replacement book for a defect on my other shipment by the book supplier. My library stocks up Book 1 and 2, but not 3. It is the same with Mishima’s Sea of Fertility, they stock the first two but not the last 2. Why oh why do libraries do this??!!! It drives me mad!! 😦
  6. Saturday by Ian McEwan – This one is recommended by Bernadette of Reactions to Reading, I like to read another one by McEwan after Atonement and On Chesil Beach. I thought McEwan is at his best when he writes short novels.
  7. The Reader by Bernhard Schlink – A follow-up action from my movie review on The Reader I went out and bought a copy of the book and so that I could mull over the profound sentences of deep thinking Schlink whenever I want to!
  8. Thailand, the traveler’s tale collection – For collection on travel tales and anecdotes, look no further than the traveler’s tale collection. I read China : Traveler’s Tale last year (seems aeons ago) and it records one of the most comprehensive and multi-dimensional aspects of a country. Winner of the Best Travel Book – Lowell Thomas Award, the Thailand traveler’s tale promises another good rendition of the Thai culture and the people. I have travelled about 6 times with my other half to Thailand and felt like we merely scraped the surface of what the country has to offer, this book will give us a more in-depth look at Thailand.

Here’s another look of my second pile of books purchase and received: 

  1. Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight by Alexandra Fuller – This is a true story about Alexandra who grew up in 1970’s war-torn Rhodesia. I read the first page and it was written in good humour and satire on an otherwise grim setting. The House of Stone by British journalist Christina Lamb first drew me to the conflict between the white and the black people, and I yearn to read more about Zimbabwe.
  2. The Regeneration Trilogy by Pat Barker – When I saw these 3 books sitting pretty on the charity bookstore I was tempted. I have vowed to read titles from past Man Booker Prize winners and I knew Pat Barker’s The Ghost Road won in 1996. Alas! It was the 3rd book of the trilogy. I went next door and talked to my librarian Carol, and she gave me a great positive endorsement of the trilogy and she thought it’s absolutely brilliant. The head librarian Marjorie said the same thing, except one book on WWI which is better than this trilogy is Sebastian Faulk’s Birdsong. Carol said “At least you get two endorsements now, and we don’t always agree with each other!! So at least we agree on that!” With that feedback, I ran back to the shop and bought the trilogy. I could have borrowed them from the library, but I thought the collection of 3 books propitiously available on a charity book store call out to me to find them a good home, so here comes JoV the super reader to save the day! 😉
  3. The Freedom of My Second Life by Malika Oufkir – An ex-library copy. After the awe inspiring tale of the Oufkir in La Prisonniere, I had to find out how she adjust to her new found freedom after being incarcerated for 20 years in the middle of desert in Morocco. Her courage and her will to live is so so unbelievably strong, I strongly urge you to find inspiration from her amazing life story, you will never think the same about a loaf of bread after that!
  4. War Trash by Ha Jin – Another one of Bookie Mee favourites (or was it Waiting?), I found this for 10p hardback in the withdrawn book for sale section of the library. I wouldn’t miss it for the world. I hope the library keeps trashing out good books and perceived unpopular books that I want! 

I think I should stop here now, but then a light bulb turned on and I forgot to mention the 10 books of Daphne Du Maurier collection I got from a charity book store on the 1st of September 2010. That brings the number of books purchased and received this month up to 24!!!! (Jaw dropped, no regrets).

Plans for October

I plan to quickly plough through travel guides on my upcoming vacation destinations and perhaps complete an exam paper, restrain from further library looting and target to read 4 books next month.

How’s your September? What are your plans for the rest of the year?

Happy Autumn (or October) everyone!

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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

25 thoughts on “It’s a wrap: September 2010

  1. Great list of books read-In your books purchased-I hope to read Dead Souls by year end-I read a number of years ago Traveler’s Tales of Thailand-I agree it is a good source of information-I have been to Thailand also-mostly Bangkok and Chaing Mai-

    Posted by Mel u | September 30, 2010, 12:19 am
    • Mel, you are the first one I know who read Traveler’s Tale! I have been to Bangkok twice, Chiang Mai, Koh Samui and Hatyai. Plan to explore the west coast of Thailand like Phuket or Krabi / Phi-phi islands in the future. Can I join you on a Dead Souls read-along?

      Posted by JoV | September 30, 2010, 10:27 am
  2. What a beautiful picture! You continue to acquire books I don’t want to read, but that’s great – I read your reviews instead! :–)

    Posted by rhapsodyinbooks | September 30, 2010, 2:09 am
  3. While I did not care at all for The Reader (haven’t seen the movie, but pretty much nothing about the book worked for me), I read and enjoyed The Sound of Waves not too long ago, and I agree that Pat Barker is amazing. I’ve only read Regeneration, but I quickly snapped up the other two books in the trilogy when I saw them because I knew I’d need to read them too!

    Posted by Steph | September 30, 2010, 3:32 am
    • Hi Steph, I hope to hear what you think about the other 2 books of Regeneration trilogy. I read war true stories, but not into war novels, so I was feeling a bit iffy about this one. I am happy to get good vibes on The Sound of Waves and Regeneration. 🙂

      Posted by JoV | September 30, 2010, 10:22 am
  4. I hate it when that happens – you think you’ve been reading like crazy then it turns out you haven’t. Never mind though we all do it. Sometimes it works the other way around too.

    Holidays….I am so jealous…I haven’t had a holiday that needed a travel guide for years now 😦 Oh well, I shall just have to hear about yours

    Posted by Bernadette in Australia | September 30, 2010, 4:59 am
    • Bernadette, it is frustrating isn’t it, between reading a lot and found out the outcome is different than what we think? I hope you go on a holiday with a travel guide soon! 😉

      Posted by JoV | September 30, 2010, 10:20 am
  5. I’m really pleased that you’ve got Flowers for Algernon – it is one of my favourite books. I also look forward to your thoughts on Sugar Street. Have a great October!

    Posted by Jackie (Farm Lane Books) | September 30, 2010, 7:10 am
  6. You have some fantastic books there. Ive only read one of the Pat Barker books but I havent brought the others yet. Flowers for Algernon is a wonderful book and also of the others look really good.

    Posted by Jessica | September 30, 2010, 9:07 am
    • Thanks Jessica, I hope you get to read Pat Barker books. It is really encouraging so many of you think Flowers for Algernon is great, can’t wait to read it as soon as I return all my library books! 😉

      Posted by JoV | October 3, 2010, 8:40 pm
  7. Oh yay Flowers for Algernon! Can’t wait to hear what you think about it!
    Secondly, no it’s not War Trash that I read, but nevermind that, I’d love to know what you think about other Ha Jin’s books too :). The one that I read and loved earlier in the year was Waiting. Loved that one so much. Hope you get to read it soon or later.
    I’ve read The Reader years ago and been meaning to watch the movie. I really look forward to it.
    On the other hand, I’m not interested to read Pat Barker’s trilogy. I tend to stay away from any kind of “war books” :). There were reviews on all three of them quite recently at arukiyomi if you’re interested (just do a search).

    Posted by mee | September 30, 2010, 11:01 pm
    • @Mee, Another Flowers for Algernon fan! Arukiyomi writes brilliant review and I love his spider web ratings and wonder how he does it! 😉 But I am dying to read something by Ha Jin and then move on to Waiting!

      Posted by JoV | October 3, 2010, 8:36 pm
  8. What are my plans for the rest of the year? Hmmm. Read more books I guess, lol. On a serious note. Time flies. Before we know it, it will be yet another Christmas, yet another New Year Resolution … and etc.!

    Posted by Wilfrid | October 1, 2010, 12:25 am
  9. Even I read my first Gogol after I read The Namesake. Unlike you, I read ‘The Overcoat’ which was mentioned in the book.

    I will wait for your review on Saturday. I liked his On Chesil Beach and Amsterdam. Didn’t like Atonement that much.

    Posted by Anamika | October 1, 2010, 10:58 am
  10. Looks like you had a great reading month to me, but then I never read as much as all the other bloggers 😉 I thought I would read more in September, too, but somehow I only started lots and didn’t finish that many.

    Will have to try to hunt down some Japanese fiction that you recommended when I’m back at my library!

    Your books acquired pile looks amazing (drool!). Happy reading in October, Jo! 🙂

    Posted by Bina | October 2, 2010, 12:14 pm
  11. Wow this has been a book packed month! You still read 7 books and purchased or acquired a lot more! 🙂 September saw me reading 5 books –

    Shit My Dad Says – Justin Halpern
    The Stone Diaries – Carol Shields
    Brick Lane – Monica Ali
    Five Little Peppers and How They Grew – Margaret Sidney
    Bonjour Tristesse – Francois Sagan

    Of which I equally enjoyed Halpern and Sagan. Ploughed and yawned my way through Ali. Have you read it, did you like it?

    September also saw me buying a ton of books from a book sale that is still going on. Currently busy resisting the temptation to go and check again if new stock has come… 😀

    Posted by Birdy | October 2, 2010, 4:54 pm
    • @Birdy, like you I yawned my way through Monica Ali, I have tried In the Kitchen, and couldn’t get past the first chapter. I haven’t read any of the titles you have mentioned besides Ali. I’m always game for a good book sale. Unfortunately, book sale is always on as long as my used bookstores are opened, and there are 4 to 5 shops in one street, as you can see why I blown my budget every month! 😦

      Posted by JoV | October 3, 2010, 8:28 pm
  12. I’ll never forget Flowers for Algernon, which, when I read it was also titled Charley. There’s an indelible memory in my mind of him learning to bake bread…I don’t want to spoil the novel for you, but it’s one you won’t forget I’m sure. Lovely and sad at the same time. For me, I’m longing to read some Mishima. Soon, I hope!

    Posted by Bellezza | October 2, 2010, 8:15 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


JoV's favorite books »
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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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