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Reflection

October: Wrap-up post

 This month is an embarrassing month for me. So embarrassing that I probably shouldn’t have blog about it in the first place. 😦

I only finished 3 books and I love all of them:

  1. Yalo by Elias Khoury 
  2. The History of Love, Nicole Krauss 
  3. The Temple of the Golden Pavilion, Yukio Mishima

I thought I could squeeze in one or two more before I go on holiday, but then it is not to be as travelling planning took up too much of my time. I had a hard time thinking what I will bring as my holiday read. I probably won’t have time to read for sightseeing trip. I have settled for The Power and Glory by Graham Greene because it is a slim book and came back with only 60 pages read. I also spent awhile pondering which travel guides that I couldn’t live without when I am visiting those two major cities.

Before reading literature these recent years, all I ever read was management books, textbooks and travel books. Travel books being the most enjoyable of all. While travelling in Asia, I have relied heavily on Lonely Planet travel guides and the title for countries like Vietnam, Thailand, Bali are beautifully and comprehensively written. I found all that I need and I have never swayed from using any other travel publications. I bought my own travel guides then and it costed a lot.

Now that the library stock up some travel books from various travel publications, I am in the position to do more comparison. Lo and behold, the unthinkable of reading any other travel guides other than Lonely Planet has come to past and I am now a newly convert for the Rough Guide series.

Here’s why, Rough guides:

  • Introduce places that is not necessarily tourists haunt and the sites are not listed in any other travel guides. E.g. Rough guide Budapest led us to the Holocaust Memorial Shoes at the embankment and the Tropicarium (more about that in later posts) while no mention of it in other guidebooks.
  • Well researched, thorough and comprehensive. e.g. contextual history of the city.
  • Has got the clearest maps.
  • Special and separate sections for accommodation, food, shopping, topic of interests, book listing – history, memoirs and travels for further reading, which is brilliant.

Recent Lonely Planet publication gave me the impression of being wishy-washy, particularly so on the Europe continent. Although rough guide contains less coloured pages, I am happy to compromise on that in return for more information.

A worthy mention of the DK eyewitness guide. The maps and illustration are stunning and it is so easy to digest. It is really great when you are looking for relics or artifacts on the trip and wonder what it looks like and what they are. It doesn’t help you to plan your trip, nor contain practical information for you to get around.

The Top 10 Budapest however gives you the top 10 features of every major site and recommended so many walking tours that would make your holiday a slimming retreat (I know because it happened to me, I lost some weight!) with a positive outcome. The book is lean, a great little gem to take with you on  your travel without adding more weight to your luggage.

I ended up bringing the Top 10 Budapest and the two Rough guides with me for holidays.

The Discovery Insight Guides however contains many colourful pages and gave reader an honest view of the country in terms of socio-political, economic outlook of a country, but it is of little use while on the road. This will serve as a National Geographic sort of read and best enjoy in the comfort of your armchair with scones and tea.

As for plans for November, I don’t really have one. I will be reading Midnight’s Children together with 10 others, so if you want to sign up right now, just click on the icon on the left or leave a comment and I’ll entered you in the list.

Keep warm and have fun!

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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

8 thoughts on “October: Wrap-up post

  1. It is quality, not quantity and I would love to read Golden Temple and History of Love so you are two up on me 🙂

    Posted by Jackie (Farm Lane Books) | November 4, 2010, 5:53 pm
  2. Embarrassing month. . . aw bless you. . . you’ve come down to my level now as I finished off four books last month 🙂

    Posted by jessicabookworm | November 4, 2010, 10:43 pm
  3. I am late in commenting Jo, but hope you had a wonderful holiday in Budapest and Vienna 🙂 Hope you can post some pictures of these beautiful cities that you took.

    I loved reading your description of Travel guides! I use ‘Lonely Planet’ Guides myself – whenever I travel I get the Lonely Planet guide of the concerned country and read it from end-to-end 🙂 I also like very much the Eyewitness Travel guides published by DK. They have beautiful pictures and are a pleasure to read. I have read one or two Insight guides too, and they are wonderful too in a different way as you have said – they provide historical, social and cultural information about a country. They are wonderful reads as books.

    Posted by Vishy | November 9, 2010, 5:46 am
    • Hi Vishy, I am like that too. I used to read Lonely Planet end-to-end, chart my day to day itinerary and plan my budget. I will try to post more pictures about the beautiful cities, I have already scheduled one for tomorrow, related to our bookish love for library. I just simply love travel guides. Contrary to public general perception, guidebooks are not useful for travels only, it is much more than that, it is a comprehensive “biography” – as I may call it – of a country, it is a great non-fiction read. 😀

      Posted by JoV | November 9, 2010, 11:58 am

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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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