Sum up: May 2020

June 4, 2020 § 1 Comment

After Sweet Bean Paste, I’ve only managed to finish a couple of books, and before I knew it, it was June.

Time has flied by.

I’m not sure what inspired me to pick H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine, but I have had enough reading experience so far to know better than to question the forces at work. This slim volume was written a long, long time ago (1895, that’s more than a century!), but somehow, it didn’t read like ancient text. I’ll be eternally grateful for that, because I know I very often shy away from the classics because I’m afraid I might not be able to fully grasp the language.

It’s a simple enough story, and one that has been told and retold in all shapes and forms throughout the years. It’s interesting for me, though, that I have never once read or watched any of the remakes/retellings of this well-loved classic. Perhaps that’s a blessing in disguise. I went into the book having nothing in my mind’s eye, and left it with some very vivid images implanted in my head of the Eloi and Morlocks that no movie will ever be able to erase.

I’ve also managed to finish Sophie Hardach’s The Registrar’s Manual for Detecting Forced Marriages. I remember like it was yesterday, when I picked this book from a mountain of other books at the Book Sale of the Year. I had found the title extremely tantalising, and did not even bother to read the blurb. And while I won’t say that the book has been disappointing, it also somehow didn’t achieve my expectations of it. Perhaps my expectations were ill-placed.

Yet at the same time, reading such a story about illegal immigrants and terrorists and the lives of those who fall through the cracks seems only too eerily apt. In Malaysia, a country where a majority of us are descendants of immigrants, we have somehow managed to conveniently forget our roots. Especially during this Covid-19 pandemic, we have learned to draw arbitrary lines in the sand to separate the “us” and the “them”, as if it were even possible.

It is sad that so much has changed, and yet, nothing really has.


Hope everyone is keeping as well as possible under the circumstances. The world needs more kindness.

§ One Response to Sum up: May 2020

  • Vishy says:

    Very interesting books you’ve read, Michelle! Sorry to know that you didn’t like Sophie Hardbach’s book as much as you had hoped to. I loved reading your thoughts in both the books. Take care and stay safe.

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