How are you all?
For the bigger part of today I was lying in bed, scratching myself away.. for what reason? I’ll soon let you know if you manage to read till the end of this post!
It’s been awhile since I did a monthly wrap-up. I have been busy for the last two months and it looks like it is not going to let up till Christmas! I did so-so as I finished 4 books in August and 5 in September, and if I count each part of the book A Suitable Boy that I finish reading as one book, I would be finishing reading 5 books in August and 6 in September. And you think counting how many books you read would be easy, uh-huh not with a big tome though!
So here’s what I read for the past two months:
- The Sound of Waves By Yukio Mishima
- Thousand Cranes by Yasunari Kawabata
- Swimming Studies by Leanne Shapton
- Important artifacts and personal property from the collection of Lenore Doolan and Harold Morris including books, street fashion and jewelry by Leanne Shapton
- Evening is the whole day by Preeta Samarasan
- The Shadow of the Sun (My African Life) by Ryszard Kapuscinski
- The Loving Spirit by Daphne Du Maurier
- Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys
- The Garden of Evening Mists by Tan Twan Eng
Looking back I thought I have took an easy way out, reading books which are mostly less than 180 pages, at least 5 or them are such. Amongst my favourite non-fiction is The Shadow of the Sun and favourite novel is The Garden of Evening mists.
I have also finished two parts of A Suitable Boy, here are the reviews:
I have also shared some travel pictures from my summer holidays:
It is interesting to discover a huge community in travel blogging. For those who found my blog through my travel pictures posting, my heartfelt thank you for dropping by and subscribing to my blog. 2012 is indeed my travelling year, so there will more travel pictures to come. I don’t think I can run a travel blog separately with the limited hours I have in a day but hope it is ok if I use this space to talk about the two hobbies I love best in my life, books and travelling. 😉
About 3 weeks ago I stumbled upon this series of Penguin Celebration in British Heart Foundation charity book and music store. I love collecting books in series, so it was my good fortune that I came across these. Except for White Teeth which I have it for more than 2 years, the rest are new purchase in September:
White Teeth by Zadie Smith
At the center of this invigorating novel are two unlikely friends, Archie Jones and Samad Iqbal. Hapless veterans of World War II, Archie and Samad and their families become agents of England’s irrevocable transformation. A second marriage to Clara Bowden, a beautiful, albeit tooth-challenged, Jamaican half his age, quite literally gives Archie a second lease on life, and produces Irie, a knowing child whose personality doesn’t quite match her name (Jamaican for “no problem”). Samad’s late-in-life arranged marriage, produces twin sons whose separate paths confound Iqbal’s every effort to direct them, and a renewed, if selective, submission to his Islamic faith. Set against London’s racial and cultural tapestry, venturing across the former empire and into the past as it barrels toward the future, White Teeth revels in the ecstatic hodgepodge of modern life, flirting with disaster, confounding expectations, and embracing the comedy of daily existence.
What a Carve Up! by Jonathan Coe
The novel concerns the political and social environment in Britain during the 1980s, and covers the period up to the beginning of aerial bombardment against Iraq in the first Gulf War in January 1991. It is a critique of British politics under the Conservative government of Margaret Thatcher (and, briefly, John Major) and of the ways in which national policy was seen to be dictated by the concerns of narrow, but powerful, interest groups with influence in banking, the media, agriculture, healthcare, the arms trade and the arts. Coe creates the fictitious Winshaw family to embody these different interests under one name and, ultimately, one roof.
The Other Side of the Story by Marian Keyes
Jojo Harvey is a literary agent whose star is on the rise. In love with both her married boss and her burgeoning career, not much distracts her. Until she finds herself representing two women who used to be best friends. One of them, Gemma, has suddenly found herself from a broken home – at the age of thirty-two. Meanwhile, Lily – the woman Gemma has always blamed for stealing her one chance of happiness – is enjoying the overnight success of her debut novel. Set in the world of publishing, ‘The Other Side of the Story’ is about love, loyalty, glass ceilings and survival tactics – and what to do when you get your chance for revenge.
Any Human Heart by William Boyd
Logan Gonzago Mountstuart, writer, was born in 1906, and died of a heart attack on October 5, 1991, aged 85. William Boyd’s novel Any Human Heart is his disjointed autobiography, a massive tome chronicling “my personal rollercoaster”–or rather, “not so much a rollercoaster”, but a yo-yo, “a jerking spinning toy in the hands of a maladroit child.” From his early childhood in Montevideo, son of an English corned beef executive and his Uraguayan secretary, through his years at a Norfolk public school and Oxford, Mountstuart traces his haphazard development as a writer. Early and easy success is succeeded by a long half-century of mediocrity, disappointments and setbacks, both personal and professional, leading him to multiple failed marriages, internment, alcoholism and abject poverty.
English Passengers by Matthew Kneale
In 1857 when Captain Illiam Quillian Kewley and his band of rum smugglers from the Isle of Man have most of their contraband confiscated by British Customs, they are forced to put their ship up for charter. The only takers are two eccentric Englishmen who want to embark for the other side of the globe. The Reverend Geoffrey Wilson believes the Garden of Eden was on the island of Tasmania. His traveling partner, Dr. Thomas Potter, unbeknownst to Wilson, is developing a sinister thesis about the races of men.
Meanwhile, an aboriginal in Tasmania named Peevay recounts his people’s struggles against the invading British, a story that begins in 1824, moves into the present with approach of the English passengers in 1857, and extends into the future in 1870. These characters and many others come together in a storm of voices that vividly bring a past age to life.
The Impressionist by Hari Kunzru
In India, at the birth of the last century, an infant is brought howling into the world, his remarkable paleness marking him out from his brown-skinned fellows. Revered at first, he is later cast out form his wealthy home when his true parentage is revealed. So begins Pran Nath’s odyssey of self-discovery – a journey that will take him from the streets of Agra, via the red light district of Bombay, to the green lawns of England and beyond – as he struggles to understand who he really is.
Everything is illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer
A young Jewish American–who just happens to be called Jonathan Safran Foer–travels to the Ukraine in the hope of finding the woman who saved his grandfather from the Nazis. He is aided in his search by Alex Perchov, a naïve Ukrainian translator, Alex’s grandfather (also called Alex), and a flatulent mongrel dog named Sammy Davis Jr. Jr. On their journey through Eastern Europe’s obliterated landscape they unearth facts about the Nazi atrocities and the extent of Ukrainian complicity that have implications for Perchov as well as Safran Foer. This narrative is not, however, recounted from (the character) Jonathan Safran Foer’s perspective. It is relayed through a series of letters that Alex sends to Foer. These are written in the kind of broken Russo-English normally reserved for Bond villains or Latka from Taxi. Interspersed between these letters are fragments of a novel by Safran Foer–a wonderfully imagined, almost magical realist, account of life in the shtetl before the Nazis destroyed it. These are in turn commented on by Alex, creating an additional metafictional angle to the tale.
There were four more books on the same shelf that would add to my collection but I have already own How to be Good by Nick Hornby, Accidental by Ali Smith and Note on Scandal by Zoe Heller on other paperback edition.
There are still two copies sitting in the store which I’m torn as to whether I should own them:
- Marina Lewycka – A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian (read it in year 2008, hilarious)
- Meg Rosoff – How I Live Now
Have you read any of these books? What do you think of them?
As for the itching and scratching, I’m sad to say that I got Chicken pox from my sons. Both my sons came back from school with Chicken pox and I thought since I had it in my childhood I should be spared from it. Oh no no no, apparently there is always a possibility of having it again but the effect will be milder as I had it before… so here I am taking my anti-viral tablets (in case it become full blown, as it can be deadly for an adult), paracetamol for fever. I manage however to finish A Suitable Boy (finally! Review out later this month) today while watching more of those red pimples popping up on my body and head. 😦
Autumn has always been my favourite season although it comes with a promise of erratic change of weather and virus this year. I hope you have a wonderful one nonetheless! 🙂