It’s been a long time

August 23, 2011 § 10 Comments

I wish I had a better reason for being away for so long, other than “I was busy with work”, but I’m afraid that’s just what it was. I haven’t been reading much, if at all, and I didn’t even have time to update this lovely little blog of mine.

But I suppose it’s always nice to know that this place hasn’t disappeared, and knowing I can still come back and write here gives me some comfort, despite my having neglected it for so long.

So now. Since my last post, which I notice sadly, is about Revolutionary Road which I read so so long ago, what have I been up to?

Well, it’s not like I haven’t been reading at all. I’ve read a couple of books, barring the ones that I had to for work. Like this one:

I read this during my trip back to New Zealand earlier this year. I was back with the family for about 3 weeks, and with almost zero workload (I say almost, because I did have some work I had to submit online), I finally had time to read. My dad had just finished this book, and he highly recommended it to me.

I quite enjoyed the book. Maybe it was because it was just too long since my last book. Or maybe it was just the fact that I didn’t know much about the Vietnam War, much less the massacre that happened in My Lai, so everything was new to me. The writing itself wasn’t too shabby, though there were some parts that were repetitive, some a little dry. But otherwise, I enjoyed it much.

And then I also read this book:

My verdict? This book is a work of genius. Absolutely loved it to bits. The way Saramago could weave the story and the characters was nothing short of amazing. I had heard some wonderful things about Saramago, and when I saw this book in the library, I thought I’d give him a shot, instead of sticking with the authors I normally do. Boy, am I glad I did.

It’s a little sad, though, that I can’t find Saramago in the Malaysian National Library. Or maybe I just wasn’t looking hard enough. His books are also a little hard to find in the bookshops in Malaysia. I wonder why. But anyway, after reading Blindness, I’m sold. I really want to read his other books. Lovely writing, amazing storytelling.

I also did some short stories while I was in NZ:

This book has got some crazy, funny stuff in it. Some were rather weird, and I don’t think I quite got it. But I read somewhere that his stories are satirical, and they did remind me of Jonathan Swift somehow. I love Jonathan Swift, I think his stories and his writing is just out-of-this-world funny. This book gave me the same feeling.  It’s funny, and you can’t help but laugh. But then again, there’s a certain realism to the situations in the stories, it rather feels like you’re laughing at yourself and at society.

**

So. What else is new?

These books are new. *cue happy face*

I bought these earlier in June, when there was a huge book fair going on in Kuala Lumpur. Some of them were on 70% discount, and they are brand new. How do you resist heavenly smelling brand new books that are on discount?

It does not happen. There is no resisting this temptation.

I bought some other books as well, but they’re not here right now (I’ve got a couple of places where I live sometimes, so I spread out my books so that there’s something for me to read if I have the time).

I also bought the entire collection of Sherlock Holmes, though it’s not the fancy collection. They were going for a very cheap price, and I’ve always loved Sherlock Holmes, so into my bag they went. I’m now reading one story a day, just before I go to sleep. It feels good.

From top:
Yukio Mishima’s After the Banquet (I’ve always liked Mishima, though I have yet to read a single book of his. This is my first.)
The Ox Tales Fire series (I’ve heard some good things about the Ox Tales series. And I was on the hunt for short story collections.)
Margaret Atwood’s Moral Disorder (Atwood was also an easy choice, since I liked the couple of books I’ve read from her. This is another short story collection, so into the basket it went.)
Anthony Burgess’s Earthly Powers (I was actually thinking of buying The Malayan Trilogy, if for no other reason than that it is about Malaya. I hope I’m right about that deduction…. But I couldn’t find it, and this book did entice me from the first few paragraphs.)
Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own & Three Guineas (Yet another author I think I’d like, but haven’t tried.)
James Hogg’s The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner (The title just caught me.)
Haruki Murakami’s Hard-boiled Wonderland and the End of the World (It’s a Murakami. How to resist? How to RESIST?!)

I also got some second-hand books for an awesome deal of RM8.50:

These books were, although used, rather well taken care of. And they were going for such a great price, I just couldn’t walk past without going in. And you know what happens when a book lover goes into a bookshop.

From top:
Archie Comic (From way back when I was a kid. I didn’t own them back then, just used to read them at my friend’s house. I got one for old times’ sake.)
Raj Kamal Jha’s Fireproof (The opening lines sounded interesting, and the premise sounds promising.)
Donna Tartt’s The Secret History (A book I’ve been wanting to read for a long long time.)
Sebastian Faulks’s Birdsong (I’m not really sure what this book’s about, but I remember noting it down somewhere in one of my many notebooks that I’d like to read this, so…)
Jonathan Safran Foer’s Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (I jumped at this the moment I saw it. I remember wanting to read this book because of all the good things I’ve heard/read about it.)

So there you have it. Some old some new.

But wait, there’s more:

Because of my absolute love for notebooks, I got some new ones, if only just to sit on my shelf and look pretty. Of course, I’m meaning to use them, because I’m the kind of girl who still loves the old way of pencil on paper.

They’re pretty things, they make me happy. *cue smiley face*

And because I’m so happy, I’ll just pop in a couple of other photos of what’s sitting on my shelf.

And another couple more for the ones who love manga/anime as much as I do:

Have a beautiful day!

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§ 10 Responses to It’s been a long time

  • JoV says:

    It’s just so awesome to see you back here and with so many lovely books read and purchase! I’m impressed with your 2nd hand book find in KL. I inspire to open a 2nd hand book one day but I suppose there are ppl who actually beat me to it! 🙂 I wanted to read Saramango as well and since you said there isn’t one in KL, I better scour around here in the UK for one!

    Love your figurines and your dark bookshelf, especially Chicken soup for the soul in Mandarin! 🙂

    • Michelle says:

      Thanks JoV! I’m impressed myself that there are such gems hidden in the most unassuming places in KL. I never thought I’d find a place like that. It’s sad that it’s closing down, though. If you do open a 2nd hand bookshop one day, I’ll be sure to go visit (that is, if it’s in KL, of course!)

  • Tony says:

    Wow! That’s a post that makes up for a long absence 😉

  • sakura says:

    Welcome back Michelle! We missed you! I’m really happy to see Donna Tartt’s The Secret History there in your pile. It’s my no. 1 favourite book in the world:) The other titles look interesting too. I haven’t read any Saramago yet but have been meaning to. They did a film of Blindness a few years back but I thought I’d read the book first. Have you seen it?

    • Michelle says:

      I’ve heard one too many times that Donna Tartt’s book is really good, especially The Secret History. And since it was going for so cheap, I thought, why not?

      You have to try Saramago, he’s really good. I didn’t know about the film though. *makes mental note to go check it out*

  • mee says:

    Michelle, so good to read your post again! 😉
    Did you get to read The Unbearable Lightness of Being at the end? (saw the book peeking but you didn’t mention it. I loved the book!) Also believe it or not, I just started reading a couple of pages of Hardboiled Wonderland and the End of the World. There are definitely a few books there in your pile that I would really like to read (we always have somewhat similar taste :). And now that you loved Blindness that much I must really get to it sometime!
    Love the photos! Love your figurines (Conan so cute!) and the notebooks (I like pretty notebooks too). Keep sharing when you can 🙂

    • Michelle says:

      I knew you’d catch the book in that picture. Unfortunately, though, I didn’t get the time to read that book. For some odd reason, I just never seem to be able to read it. It’s been following me back from the library so many times already, and still I haven’t been able to read it!

      I like that you said to keep sharing when I can, because that’s what I’ll be doing. I’ll be sharing only when I can. Which isn’t very much or very often, I have to say. =)

  • Welcome back! I agree that Blindness is a work of genius and the best news is that many of his other books are almost as good. I hope you manage to find some somewhere.

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