Another Update

Two weeks to the end of the year. I am looking forward to 2018 as I always do look forward to new years, new weeks, new days. They are always a chance to start again, and goodness knows I need a fresh start.

I’ve been trying to squeeze in a new read or two before the end of 2017, but nothing apart from Mt Anderson’s Landscape With Invisible Hand is sticking. Even so, it’s going very slowly, like I like it, but my attention keeps drifting.

This morning I started re-reading Susan Cooper’s The Dark is Rising Sequence. I think I need something familiar and comforting to see me through Christmas, but I’m not sure if I’ll re-read all five books. I’ve also just started Under the Pendulum Sun by Jeannette Ng. Just a page or so in, but I’m hopeful that I will want to carry on.

I’ve been spending a lot of time getting my 2018 planners ready. I have two: an ana.tomy monthly planner with lots of extra pages (blank, grid and dotted) that I intend to use solely for work; and a Muji dotted notebook that I hope to use as a daily (bullet) journal to help me be organised in my non-professional life. I have spent 2017 drifting and procrastinating, even more than usual, and this needs to change. I really need to be more productive, more disciplined, and more switched on. Also, I need to save for Japan. Now, that’s something to look forward to!

 

 

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Update

I see that the last time I blogged was on 23rd November. The time has gone by so quickly, but, at the same time, my life creeps by and even yesterday feels like long time ago.

I haven’t been feeling great, but that’s not my excuse for not blogging. After all, do I need an excuse not to blog? No.

The truth is I just haven’t felt like it. And also, I haven’t felt like anything much, not even reading. I’ve completed  just one book since my last post: Akata Witch (a re-read) by Nnedi Okorafor. (I liked it even better this time round.)

The other book I’m supposed to be reading is MT Anderson’s Landscape with Invisible Hand, but I’m failing, not because it isn’t good. Do I sound crazy when I say that some books hold you at arm’s length? I don’t know, maybe I’m projecting.

I just started Elizabeth Taylor’s The Wedding Group and hope to have better luck there, but I shall also try harder with Anderson’s novel.

While I was in George Town, apart from Akata Witch, I read Dina Zaman’s new collection Holy Men, Holy Women. It’s a compilation of her Malaysian Insider (I think) columns and I stopped reading because I couldn’t bear it: It’s shallow and ignorant and silly. I am supposed to review it for The Star, but I wonder if I can afford to make yet another enemy. Well, perhaps Dina will be sensible about it.

I will blog more regularly. I hope I will be more organised and more diligent and disciplined in 2018. Must try harder all round.

 

 

WWW Wednesday

  1. Once again, I am doing this Wednesday meme on Thursday 🙂
  2. I have not updated this blog since last week’s WWW Wednesday 😦

What are you currently reading?

Landscape With Invisible Hand by M.T. Anderson.

I started this last week, but have been busy reading mss and so, I’m paused now at Chapter Four or so. So far, the story is taking me by surprise. I had no idea what this book was about and I am looking forward to seeing how things develop.

What did you recently finish reading?

Northern Girls: Life Goes On by Sheng Keyi

Will try to find time for a review. I liked the story, but I’m not sure about the translation.

Sour Heart by Jenny Zhang

And I’ve written the review. I am impressed with myself because I find reviews hard to write. However, I only wrote 600 words (didn’t want to force another 200 words). Will post the piece on this blog once the review is published in the paper.

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

Another book I’m supposed to review (waiting for my editor’s OK). I enjoyed this and I was wondering if I’m the only one who expects Celeste Ng’s work to be diaspora fiction and is pleasantly surprised that it isn’t. Actually, I didn’t warm to her first novel, but raced through this one. I like stories about big, good-looking families that fall apart.

What do you think you’ll read next?

I thought I was going to have time to grab a copy of Under a Pendulum Sun by Jeannette Ng before leaving for Penang, but no luck. It will have to wait til I get back.

I’m off to Penang tomorrow and will take my Kindle with me. Plan to read The Devotion of Suspect X by Keigo Higashino and/or whatever suits my mood.

I’m also hoping to buy a few books at the George Town Literature Festival, which will be on while I am there. (May also attend a few events – I’m undecided.) Am interested in Intan Paramaditha who retells fairytales and hope her collections Sihir Perempuan and Spinner of Darkness and Other Tales will be available. (Actually, I’m not sure if those aren’t Indonesian and English versions of the same collection.)

Am also looking forward to reading Dina Zaman’s new collection of essays Holy Men, Holy Women.

Other books I’m hoping to read soon:

Akata Witch (re-read) by Nnedi Okorafor

Akata Warrior by Nnedi Okorafor

A couple of books by Ayu Utami. I have them in both Indoensian and English, and would like to read the Indonesian (original) versions first. I would also like to read the original Indonesian version of Eka Kurniawan’s Man Tiger and Beauty is a Wound. So many books …

(I probably should not have subscribed to Netflix.)

 

 

 

WWW Wednesday

I’m late, but it’s still Wednesday in the Americas.

What are you currently reading:

Sour Heart by Jenny Zhang

This is for review. I love the stories but they are very hard to read, for a variety of reasons. Stay tuned for the review.

Northern Girls: Life Goes On by Sheng Keyi

I started reading this because the heroine is a Chinese girl with big breasts and there’s a description in the first page about how her ‘assets’ make people feel uncomfortable. Being bosomy myself (and Chinese) I could relate. I’ve continued reading because the book offers a view of Chinese society that is quite new to me. Will try to write a review when I’m done.

What did you recently finish reading?

The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman, which I loved (you can read my review here) and Inspector Imanishi Investigates by Seicho Matsumoto, which I also loved. I want to read more by this author, but there aren’t many English translations. I’m hoping to write a review of Imanishi, but, in the meantime, you can read my review of another of his murder mysteries (A Quiet Place) here.

What do you think you’ll read next?

Good question as I have a long list of books (old and new) I want to read. Possible candidates:

Under a Pendulum Sun by Jeannette Ng

I’ve read good and bad reviews of this book, and both make me super curious about it. The idea of a Christian missionary spreading the ‘good news’ to the fae is intriguing and I am looking forward to the theological debates that one reviewer complained about. In any case, I think Pendulum Sun will definitely be unlike anything else I’ve read.

The Devotion of Suspect X by Keigo Higashino

I’ve read iMalice by the same author and didn’t quite get it, but I am keen to give Higashino another try, especially as I think I’ve now got the hang of the slow, meditative pace of Japanese crime novels (thanks to the two by Seicho Matsumoto that I read recently).

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

I received a review copy from the distributor but I have not spoken to my editor about reviewing it. Heard Ng on the BBC yesterday and the discussion about the book didn’t really excite me. I didn’t like her first novel, Everything I Never Told You, found it somewhat flat and colourless. Well this one is about race, class and privilege, which are subjects I am interested in so I will give Little Fires Everywhere a chance.

I am excited that Akata Warrior by Nnedi Okorafor is out, but I want to re-read Akata Witch first.

I also want to re-read Pamela Dean’s Secret Country trilogy.

(Book I want to read most at this moment: Under a Pendulum Sun by Jeannette Ng)

I’m curious to see how much the book titles in my WWW Wednesday post will have changed next week.

A ‘Mix-Tape’ for Marisa

A mix-tape for Marisa ❤

The Garden of Jane Delawney by Trees

 

Have you Heard the News Today by Cosmic Rough Riders

 

These Days by Nico

 

Northen Sky by Nick Drake

 

Autopsy by Fairport Convention

 

White Winter Hymnal by Fleet Foxes

 

Little Girl Blue by Nina Simone

 

She’s Got Medals by David Bowie

 

Hounds of Love by Kate Bush

 

Next Life by Suede