Tuesday, 5 June 2007

Reading List Update.

Used to be I did these reading lists once a month. Now it's once every 6 months. I must be getting forgetful. So this is a list of what I have read so far in 2007 (minus one book).

I am currently reading:

Bila Tuhan Berbicara by Faisal Tehrani
A science-fiction post-apocalyptic novel and boy does it have lots of science in it, especially from the point of a vulcanologist. The science is balanced out by a healthy (some would say unhealthy) dose of theology. The novel is actually presented in a drama format and it's interesting where Faisal takes the reader within this self-limited confine. I'll be writing a review about this book soon, so watch for it.

I have previously finished reading:

15 Jan 2007: The Dharma Bums by Jack Kerouac
Likeable, but hard to read. I have a feeling that Spontaneous Prose is an acquired taste, like wasabi or sambal belacan. On the whole, it is an okay book. I liked Ray's hitch-hiking and freight hopping journeys across the US as well as his musings on life and people. But it's very unlikely I will be reading this again any time soon.

29 Jan 2007: The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon
A breathtaking story of two young Jewish boys who create a famous comic book hero, not unlike the story of Siegel and Shuster, creators of Superman.

5 Feb 2007: Fanny Hill by John Cleland
Porn in Victorian English is still porn. Is porn literature? Leave it long enough and anything becomes literature, it seems. Dated and boring.

14 Feb 2007: The Third Policeman by Flann O'Brien
Read my review!

27 Feb 2007: The List by Tara Ison
Read my review!

3 Mar 2007: Hear the Wind Sing by Haruki Murakami
Read my review!

8 Mar 2007: Pinball, 1973 by Haruki Murakami
Read my review!

23 Mar 2007: Naratif Ogonshoto by Anwar Ridhwan
This by far the best Malay novel I've ever read. I'm planning on reading the English translation (titled "Tales of Ogonshoto") soon, and when I'm done with that I'll write a review. In the mean time, you won't hurt yourself if you got yourself a copy and read it. The English translation is published by DBP so you'll probably only be able to find it in DBP or Dawama's stores.

10 Apr 2007: The City by Joel Kotkin
A good concise look at what makes (and made) a city tick. At the core of this book is the author's statement that a successful city requires three elements: security, economy and religion/culture.

16 Apr 2007: Advencer Si Peniup Ney by Faisal Tehrani
A ney player (a ney is a type of middle eastern flute) is visited by a group of 40 djinn who take him to a country in the clouds where hedonism is the way of life. Interesting fantasy premise, but bogged down by a very blatant need to lecture and talk down to its readers. Would've been much more enjoyable if all that was a little more subtle.

7 May 2007: The Consumption of Kuala Lumpur by Ziauddin Sardar
An interesting look at the political and cultural history that created Malaysia's capital, Kuala Lumpur, from a foreign perspective. The book begins from Malaysia's "official" starting point in history, Parameswara's Malacca and continues till the late 90s, in the midst of one of Malaysia's most tumultuous political era ever: Anwar Ibrahim's ousting. The latter is where the book flounders. The history was interesting because the perspective that the author gave was a different take from the official Malaysian version, but when it comes to current issues, it's a been-there-done-that kind of deal.

12 May 2007: Confessions of an Old Boy by Kam Raslan
Read my review!

16 May 2007: After Dark by Haruki Murakami
His latest book! Not out yet in Malaysia but Kinokuniya will have stock very soon. My review should be published in the Star by then.

27 May 2007: The Raw Shark Tales by Steven Hall
Jaws meets Existentialism. Good pun on Rorshach tests too. Haw haw. Expect a review of this soon too!

28 May 2007: May 13 by Kua Kia Soong
Read my review!

3 Jun 2007: The New York Trilogy by Paul Auster
Gumshoe detective story meets Existentialism. This is as good as they say it is. I must reread this one day as I haven't unlocked all the puzzles that are thrown at you in the book. Makes me want to go out and buy all the rest in Auster's oeuvre.

I might be reading these next:
  • Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie
  • The Best Short Stories of J.G. Ballard by J.G. Ballard
  • The Paris Review Interviews Vol. 1 ed. by Philip Gourevitch
I'm not sure if I should go for fiction or non-fiction for now.

Previous Reading Lists:

8 comments:

  1. Advencer?
    Ouch!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yeah... I get that quite a bit.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi Ted,
    I am John Norafizan, a malay novelist. I love reading murakami's too. Mesmerising and magical. Though I haven't read After Dark. I just finished reading Norwegian wood last week. Quite a departure from his other works. I have finished reading Faisal Tehrani's Bila Tuhan Berbicara, i'm quite agree with you some of the ideas he put forward is provocative. But I like his books nonetheless.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi John! Thanks for dropping by.

    I enjoy reading Faisal's books too, because I like reading about his views on Islamic philosophy though I find that I seldom agree with him. The faults I find with Bila Tuhan Berbicara are that it trivialises homosexuals and justifies terrorism, but one the whole, the story that was the framework of his ideas was on the whole a likeable read.

    Norwegian Wood was my first Murakami and it changed my life. I've loved him ever since :) Not surprised you haven't read After Dark yet, it just came out. I know Kinokuniya has one copy of the American edition in stock. I'm guessing they'll be bringing in more when my Star review gets published... whenever that is.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks! I'll get a copy of After Dark later and will be waiting for your review in the star :)

    I don't think you have read my books though? hehehe

    ReplyDelete
  6. No, sorry! Judging from the covers... I might not be your target audience? But perhaps I shouldn't judge your books by their CESB covers? Which would you recommend me read?

    ReplyDelete
  7. I would recommend you my second book Tunjukkan Aku Satu Bintang. It's a story about family and God. A vey bad priest and suicidal muslim mum. Christianity and Islam. No lovey dovey story :) :. And it has been chosen the best CESB book for 2005.

    I guess you are right, you shouldn't judge the books by their cover :)

    ReplyDelete
  8. Thank you! I shall look for it next time I hit the bookstores.

    ReplyDelete

Currently Available E-Books

Available from: Amazon | Smashwords | iTunes | Google Play | Kobo
Available from: Amazon | Smashwords | iTunes | Google Play | Kobo
Available from: Amazon | Smashwords | iTunes | Google Play | Nook