This tag is associated with 16 posts

Five Star Billionaire by Tash Aw

UK publication date: 28 February 2013 USA publication date: 2 July 2013 Tash Aw’s Five Star Billionaire opens with enticing self-help get rich book format. “Move to Where the Money is” followed by a short chapter of “How to achieve Greatness” and many how to’s short articles that carries sound advice and also personal experience of Walter … Continue reading


Waiting by Ha Jin

Thanks to Mee, I put this book on my TBR for a long time. Now I finally read it. I remember Mee raves about this book and gave it 5 stars, so I thought I’ll give it a go and surprised myself that I finished this book in one day. Warning: May contain minor spoiler. Communist … Continue reading

The Flowers of War by Geling Yan

December 1937. The Japanese have taken Nanking. A group of terrified convent school girls hide in the compound of an American church, the priest is Father John Engelmann. Among the girls, is Shujuan, through whose 13-year-old eyes we witness the calamity that is to befall the church and its refugees. The church is a neutral … Continue reading

Under the Hawthorn Tree by Ai Mi

What is it: Jingqiu, an innocent young woman from a poor and politically questionable family in the city, is selected as one of a small group of students to be sent to the countryside to work on a glorious new education project that will further the Cultural Revolution. Clever, curious and eager, she wants to … Continue reading

Gold Boy, Emerald Girl by YiYun Li

I thought it will be great if I could write a more focused review, so I am trying out a new format here today. What it is: A collection of short stories mostly revolving around lonely Chinese characters who are grasping at happier future, but are grounded in the bleak realities of everyday life. Gold Boy, … Continue reading

Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie

Chairman Mao’s Cultural Revolution was hardly a laugh a minute, but the semi-autobiographical Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie, is surprisingly buoyant and humorous in tone. This seems to be the spirit of Asia. At times of hardship and difficult times, Asians move on to toil and sweat in the hope to alleviate … Continue reading

The Long March Home by Zoë S. Roy

Since 23 January is the Chinese New Year, I thought I read a Chinese Literature to commemorate the day. The blurb: The Long March Home tells the story of three generations of women. Agnes, a young Canadian goes to China as a missionary from the United Church of Canada and falls in love with a Chinese … Continue reading

The Vagrants by YiYun Li

In a cold morning in March in Muddy River, and a “counter-revolutionary” – a once fanatical member of Mao’s Red Guard who became a pro-democracy activist – is to be publicly denounced and executed.  Gu Shan is the 28-year-old daughter of teacher Gu and his wife, the parents who questioned themselves the cause that brought … Continue reading

Message from an Unknown Chinese Mother by Xinran

China is one of the few countries where female suicides are higher than male ones, by 25 per cent to be exact. At the end of 2006 there were over 120,000 registered adoptive families for Chinese orphans, almost all girls, in 27 countries. After reading Xinran’s Message from An Unknown Chinese Mother you can understand … Continue reading

Miss Chopsticks by Xinran

In Sanniu’s Chinese village in AnHui, girls are called ‘chopsticks’, boys ‘roof-beams’. Unlike sturdy roof-beams, chopstick girls are so disposable that Sanniu’s parents have named her and her five sisters only with numbers: Sanniu means ‘Three’. Three has other 5 sisters, Sister One is married, sister Two killed herself when she is forced to engage … Continue reading


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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 »
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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)