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It’s a Wrap! July 2011

Hiya! July has been crazy at work. One of my projects is on live run now and work swamped in by tidal waves.

I didn’t compromise on reading and the month was off on a good start as I finished 6 books quite early in the month but slow downed by Snow. Even it says it was 400 pages but the print is so small that it might as well be a 800-page book.

I have some difficulties catching up with my reviews and I thought of skipping a few reviews. But that is not my style so I wrote a string of reviews this week. This is the first time I haven’t been able to review all of the books I read. I have a lot to say about Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother about parenting methods but I have to return the book to the library and I’ll leave it till I got my own book through the mailbox to talk about it next month.

So this is what I read in July:

  1. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes 
  2. Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua 
  3. A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan 
  4. The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives by Lola Shoneyin 
  5. The Clothes on Their Backs by Linda Grant 
  6. Confessions of a Mask by Yukio Mishima 
  7. Underground by Haruki Murakami 
  8. The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ by Philip Pullman 
  9. Snow by Orhan Pamuk 

Quite a diverse selection, Japanese, African, Turkish etc. I am a little disappointed that I did not read more than last month but hopefully I will do that next month. My favourite is Flowers for Algernon. The other two Japanese literature from Mishima and Murakami and Snow by Orhan Pamuk are close favourites this month.

I rarely speak ill about books that I read but Jennifer Egan’s and Philip Pullman’s books are not books where my time is well spent. They don’t do anything for me, unfortunately.

Repeating the trend same time last year, these are stacks of books I bought for the month….

The left stack (top to bottom):

The Sunday at the pool of Kigali by Gil Couremanche – I first saw this book at Kimbofo@Reading Matters and really wanted to read about the Rwanda massacre, together with Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell I got both new copies for £1.

I bought The Longest Journey by EM. Forster, The Moor’s Last Sigh by Salman Rushdie and Who Moved My Cheese? by Dr. Spencer Johnson, three books for £1. Who moved my cheese? is just a reminiscence of good memory when the book was in the rage to persuade employees who refuse to accept change, well to do just that, give up your comfort zone and go look for a bigger cheese. 🙂

I read the entire series of Harry Potter series by 2007 but do not own a single copy. Well, since this Bloomsbury copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is going for £1. It’s a souvenir to remember the end of it.

My Favourite Wife by Tony Parson was one of my favourite when I first read it in 2008. This glittery hardcover was also going for £1, The Silver Lining Playbook by Matthew Quick was another favourite of mine. It talks about a guy who believes his life is a movie produce by God but he has mental health issue since “the bad thing” happen to him. It is funny and a book that will cheer you up if you think you are near to losing your mind. I have agreed with my colleague at work to read Stuart: A Life Backward by Alexander Master and then I have Bell Jar by Sylvia Path. So I think August is going to be a month of mental health books! 🙂

The right stack (top to bottom):

Underground – The Tokyo Gas Attack and the Japanese Psyche – I bought this for Hello Japan challenge and read it within the same month.

Half of the Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – I have two copies of this title now. I cannot resist new books, with glossy covers and pages that opens up instead of the need to prise open by fingers and stay prised until my fingers are sore. 😦 This Vintage Canada is a beautiful edition.

At Oxfam Bracknell, I took up these 5 books for a bargain of £1.49:

Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time by Mark Haddon – Read it, love it and want to keep it.
Miss Garnet’s Angel by Sally Vickers
Cat’s Eye by Margaret Atwood – My next Atwood on full-length this time.
Tales from Firozsha Baag by Rohinston Mistry – Short stories collection about life in India by Rohinston Mistry.
Of Bees and Mist by Erick Setiawan – This would be a great read to commemorate the Indonesian Independence Day in August 17.

Losing My Virginity – Richard Branson Autobiography – I’m not sure how this book got here, obviously I snapped it up on impulse but this man’s build one of the world’s greatest brand and I do like to read about successful people.

The next pile is books I won from many giveaways hosted throughout July. I have been very fortunate and would like to thank the following people who have hosted the giveaways and sent these books to me.

The Picture of  Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde – I won this in a blog hop giveaway hosted by Karen@Bookworld in My Head and thank her so much for giving me this beautiful copy of Penguin Cloth edition. I will read and treasure it for sure.

The Unit by Ninni Holmqvist and The Purge by Sofi Oksanen – I won this from Zee@Notes from the North Quarterly bundle giveaway for participants who read books by Scandinavian authors. I am very delighted with the windfall and I will aim to read a few more books for the challenge. I have Zee to thank for raising my awareness on Scandinavian literature.

Dreams of Joy by Lisa See – I thank the publisher at Bloomsbury for sending me this copy and I’m just wondering if I would miss anything if I don’t read Shanghai Girls first?

Plans for August?

I do have a few must read for August. I will read a book each from Indonesian and Malaysian author to commemorate both country’s national days that fall on the same month. Novroz@Polychrome Interest and Mel U@ Reading Life are hosting one for Indonesia Independence Day and feel free to join in if you are interested.

By middle of August I should be reading The End of Mr. Y with Vishy and towards the end of August I would like to invite you to join Diane@Bibliophile by the Sea and me to read The Frenchman’s Creek by Daphne Du Maurier on the first week of September.

August is also the last month to complete the Arabic Summer Challenge hosted by Lynx Qualey @ Arabic Literature. August is the month of Ramadhan where Muslims around the world fast from sunrise till sunset, besides fasting there are many Arabic Literature books that I want to get through. They are:

  • Gate of the Sun and As Though She Were Sleeping by Elias Khoury
  • Sharon and My Mother-in-Law by Amiry Suad
  • The Dark Side of Love by Rafik Schami – I have put this off long enough and it’s time to finish the book!
Looks like a busy month ahead.
What about you? What have you read this July and what will you be reading in August?

About JoV

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


31 thoughts on “It’s a Wrap! July 2011

  1. You had a good month! I think I have a very similar taste to you.

    If you have any suggestions for books that I should buy when in England (later this week), at a small price (preferably avail. at Tesco’s or so) please let me know. I have too many books already but would like to take advantage of some good offers. 🙂

    Posted by Leeswammes | August 1, 2011, 9:33 pm
  2. What an amazing selection of books! I’ve enjoyed reading you’re reviews in the past month so look forward to reading your reviews in August. I love how you have such a variety of books.

    Posted by Rachel | August 1, 2011, 10:46 pm
  3. Flowers for Algernon is such a powerful book, but I haven’t read it in decades! And you’ve got Dreams of Joy! I loved that book so hope you do too. Definitely read Shanghai Girls first

    Posted by Helen | August 1, 2011, 11:02 pm
  4. I recently read some blog reviews on Underground – The Tokyo Gas Attack and the Japanese Psyche and it sounds very interesting!

    Believe it or not, I’d actually read Losing My Virginity – Richard Branson Autobiography and really enjoyed it. I do have an interest in business memoir though – especially those who made something out of nothing! Quite inspiring really.

    I also liked The Unit by Ninni Holmqvist – it’s a “quiet” book, usually not my type, but it is thought provoking.

    Posted by christa @ mental foodie | August 2, 2011, 2:11 am
  5. Nine books is super stuff!! Surprised you didnt like Goon Squad.. have been hearing only good things about it..I have a few books on the shelf- HP Prisoner of Azkaban, Half of a yellow sun and Kafka on the shore. I’ll be lucky if i finish 2 books.Have a super reading-week !

    Posted by bhargavi | August 2, 2011, 7:51 am
  6. Oh wow Jo! You got/read so many books that I want to read! Do you remember when I mentioned Purge when we went book hunting? You might not remember it but now you’ve won it! Feel like I’ve been looking for Underground forever too.

    I’ve been intrigued by the Tiger Mother (can’t help it right coming from Chinese line?). Pretty glad it looks pretty good with you giving it 4 stars. I might look it up later.

    Posted by mee | August 2, 2011, 12:42 pm
    • Mee,
      Yeah. now that I got your attention when are you reading yours? LOL 😀
      Did you mention Purge? oh wow, let me read and tell you about it. YOu need to get Underground, it’s good. As you said The Tiger Mother is intriguing, I agree with what she said but I don’t condone many things she did to her children as well. Review to come!

      Posted by JoV | August 2, 2011, 2:10 pm
  7. Yaiii….Thank you for the shout out Jo. Hope to see your review of Indonesian author soon 🙂

    If you can give me link to Malaysian author, I would love to read that one too.

    Ah…you have bought Harry book7, looking forward to see what’d you think of it…I didn’t enjoy that last book.

    Posted by Novroz | August 2, 2011, 4:07 pm
  8. I wish my schedule allowed me to read this many books in one month.

    Posted by celawerd | August 2, 2011, 11:28 pm
    • Celawerd,
      My schedule doesn’t really allow me either. Just that I commute long distance, so that’s the time I had for reading. You will be surprised how much you could achieve by one hour of reading per day!

      Posted by JoV | August 5, 2011, 8:57 am
  9. Such a great collection of books! Congrats on a great month and all the best in August.

    Posted by amymckie | August 3, 2011, 4:29 pm
  10. a nice July Jov ,i ve not read that many I ve not added up yet buit have been slowing down to cut backlog of reviews I ve got ,August not sure I ve a couple of crime novels from greece and sweden ,a polish novel that I want to read and want try and clear few from my mount tbr ,all the best stu

    Posted by winstonsdad | August 3, 2011, 9:32 pm
    • Stu,
      I don’t expect many to read in this nice warm weather! But crime novels are always entertaining. Is there one from Greece? I really would like to know. I’ll be interested to know about the Polish novel you read, you read so widely geographically!

      Posted by JoV | August 5, 2011, 9:01 am
  11. Another great reading month

    Posted by Mel u | August 6, 2011, 9:51 am
  12. Jo, Great selection of books read and plans for August look good too! I have The Dark Side of Love sitting on my bookshelf but haven’t psyched myself up for it yet – it seems so huge – maybe in Autumn when there is more time. Can’t wait to see your thoughts on it. I have also read The Picture of Dorian Gray – so will have a chat once you have read it – I thought it was very scathing but very clever. And great to see you have picked up Purge – happy reading – enjoy 0:)

    Posted by Tracey | August 10, 2011, 7:29 am
    • Tracey,
      The Dark side of love is such a BIG book isn’t it?! makes me scare of reading it and not being to finish it. Thanks so much for taking such a huge interest in my pile! LOL 😀

      Posted by JoV | August 13, 2011, 9:47 am
  13. You’re my hero, Jo, I want to manage life and reading as well as you do! 🙂

    As usual, you read some fantastic books! Most of which I want to read, too. And sorry, i drooled over your purchase pile there ;D

    Hope you’ll enjoy TEoMY and The Unit, both interesting reads 🙂

    Posted by Bina | August 10, 2011, 9:29 pm
  14. Congratulations on a wonderful reading month, Jo! I had a long discussion with some of my friends on Amy Chua’s ‘Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother’ and many interesting points of view came out of it. I can’t wait to hear your thoughts on it. I can’t believe that you got three books for £1! What is the name of that bookshop? 🙂 I read ‘Who Moved My Cheese’ by Spencer Johnson many years back and loved it. I went on to read a couple of more books by him – ‘The One Minute Manager’ and ‘The Present’ – and loved them too. I think they give insightful management lessons in simple language by telling a story.

    Posted by Vishy | September 1, 2011, 6:02 am
    • Vishy,
      It’s the oxfam charity shop but it happens only in one branch in a place where I used to work. 😉 I didn’t know Dr. Spencer Johnson wrote “The Present”? Thanks for letting me know. Do you sleep? My goodness you seem to read a lot ! 🙂

      Posted by JoV | September 2, 2011, 7:37 pm
  15. Jo,

    Any chance you will soon be writing and posting up a review on Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother? 😛

    I was raised by one. There are undoubtedly pros… and cons, which is hard to imagine what kind of parenting methods I will insist when I have my own kids lol so I am particularly keen to read about your views on it.

    Posted by Ting | January 24, 2012, 1:30 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
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 »
Share book reviews and ratings with JoV, and even join a book club on Goodreads.

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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