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.

 

 

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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.

Top Ten Tuesday: Nope, Not Reading THAT!

I’m joining in this week’s Top Ten Tuesday meme (hosted by The Broke and the Bookish) about what puts me off reading a book.

1. First and foremost: An all-male cast of characters. This is also why I’m not too keen on westerns and war movies: Not enough women in them. Might it be something to do with having three sisters and no brothers; and going to an all-girls school from age six to seventeen? I definitely prefer the company of women.

But I did read and enjoy Stalky & Co by Rudyard Kipling so maybe schoolboys aren’t quite ‘men’ and so don’t repel in the same way.

2. A shopaholic protagonist. (You know what series I’m talking about.)

3. Minute descriptions of any kind of child abuse.

4. Details about genocide, and graphically violent scenes especially that of torture, unless they are in murder mysteries.

5. Cats who solve mysteries. (You know the series I mean.)

 

 

6. Books about a school for wizards, unless it’s A Wizard of Earthsea. (Actually, I had to read all seven Harry Potter books for my job, and I’m still bitter about those hours I’ll never get back.)

7. Verbosity. (I prefer abridged Charles Dickens.)

8. Preachy religious content.

9. Latin American magic realism.

10. Every interesting or likeable character being killed off. (You know what series I’m referring to.)

 

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Couldn’t Stop Reading

I’ve taken quite a break from the Top Ten Tuesday meme, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, but I’m back this week with books I found hard to stop reading, although none were short enough to read in one sitting. I’m listing books I read in 2016/17. Also, no re-reads.

The Imperial Radch Trilogy (all three books) by Ann Leckie

The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives by Lola Shoneyin

I Do Not Come to You By Chance by Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani

Lagoon by Nnedi Okorafor

Riders by Joyce Chng

The Shepherd’s Crown by Terry Pratchett

Everything Good Will Come by Sefi Atta

All Alone in the Universe by Lynne Rae Perkins

Sorrow’s Knot by Erin Bow

Girl Defective by Simmone Howell

Looking for Transwonderland by Noo Saro-Wiwa