August 31, 2016

Books I Have Read (August 2016)

Filed under: Books — Tags: — rvchua @ 4:35 am
  1. Library of Luminaries: Virginia Woolf: An Illustrated Biography by Zena Alkayat  – A short introduction to the life of Virginia Woolf with cute illustrations.
  2. The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories by Ken Liu  This is my first introduction to Ken Liu and there are fascinating aspects to his world which is a combination of scifi and fantasy. I learned in the early short stories that there isn’t always a happy ending with him.
  3. The Pyramid by Henning Mankell  This is the story of Kurt Wallander’s earlier cases prior to Faceless Killers. By this time I am used to Wallander’s tendency to do things by himself so I get a sort of satisfaction when he gets into physical situations that don’t end up well. Only one more Wallander book to go!
  4. A History of Women in Russia: From Earliest Times to the Present by Barbara Evans Clements – A favorite subject for me: history, Russia and women. It was slow paced but interesting and I am never keen about the parts that talks about politics. I was used to reading about the Romanovs so this offered a perspective of the other women from the serfs to the nobility. Also, history is never happy especially with the struggles that still continue.
  5. Djinn Issue 1 to 6 by Jean Dufaux  I don’t understand why I enjoyed this. A sultan’s harem, a ménage a trios, a woman who has sex with a lot of men to get what she ‘wants’, etc. Maybe it is because I am intrigued of what Jade really is. What is really a djinn in different cultures?
  6. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline  A quick read that helped me get out of the slow pace of the previous book. I understood some of the references but most of it I glossed over. I found the book entertaining however I couldn’t see the logic of having a highly advanced VR world with its hardware and power requirements yet people are starving.
  7. The Stonecutter by Camilla Lackberg – If I enjoyed the Wallander & Hole series, this was more enjoyable for me. The lead detective is not particularly astute nor his team the best however the multiple perspectives allowed me to see to the real problems of the people involved. The back story of the real murderer was also fascinating. At first I couldn’t understand why it had to go back to the 1920s while the current story was in the 21st century but then you realize how it all ties up. Everyone in the story had such messy lives and most of the marriages were awful that I couldn’t understand why they didn’t divorce or separate. The police doesn’t get a confession from the murderer but it is explained through his/her thoughts.
  8. Daytripper by Fabio Moon & Gabriel Ba – This has been on my TBR for a long time until I recently remembered it. I tried reading this a couple of times before and usually stopped after a couple of pages but last night I forced myself to finish it. It was not what I expected! It shows the life of a man, well actually the lives of a man and what could happen to him. One story he dies as a kid, as a middle-aged man and in the last reaches old age, All of it makes you think about the choices that you have made.
  9. Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie I am probably the exception out there who wasn’t blown away by this book. I appreciated the book’s perspective about race especially from Africans who emigrated to the US in the past couple of decades. It made me understand more of points that I just glossed over in TaNehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me which I found too forceful However I found the book too long and I wasn’t engaged by the story. There were parts of the book that I liked but was too infrequent to make me enjoy the book as a whole.
  10. Brain on Fire by Susannah Cahalan I’ve a read a lot of books about people’s memoirs of their illnesses. This book made me realize that despite being in the 21st century and access to latest medical information doesn’t guarantee that you will not have a wrong diagnosis. I found it interesting that there is a possibility that some autism may be an autoimmune disorder or that the brain is being attacked by the own bodies’ antibodies. Also that people who have been possessed by the devil may have this disease. I think the goal of the book is more on awareness of diseases and it is always good to have a second or third or fourth opinion.
  11. The Troubled Man by Henning Mankell – This is the last Wallander book and he is now 60 and developing signs of Alzheimer’s. Though he may be old, he can still be stubborn at times. He still gets beaten up in the book but it wasn’t his fault. Also, his daughter Linda is now a police officer at Ystad but on maternity leave. I don’t know if I missed out on what happened between Wallander and Martinsson. I remember in the eight book things didn’t go well between them and in the tenth book Martinsson is the only friend he has in the force. I don’t have An Event in Autumn so maybe there was something there. The book talks about getting old and dying so I was teary eyed at times.
  12. Cockroaches by Jo NesboIf I compare Hole to Wallander, he is has more experience in technical matters including forensics. This book is the second in the series and Harry is in Bangkok to investigate a Norwegian ambassador’s death. I almost had the same problem with The Dogs of Riga wherein I found it too convenient that the main characters in the book all speak English. In Cockroaches I found it a tad acceptable but Wallander who is bad with English manages to do an investigation in Latvia and finds the correct file in Latvian/Russian? This book was better than the first one but I was a bit disappointed when I learned who the murderer was. I prefer the later books of the Harry Hole series but reading these are just fun.

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