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A Guy's Moleskine Notebook

Thoughts and reflections on works of fiction and literature. Pondering of life through pictures and words. Babbling about gay rights. Travelogues and anecdotes.

  • [1] Annie Proulx: Brokeback Mountain
  • [2] Arthur Golden: Memoirs of a Geisha
  • [3] Yu Hua: To Live
  • [4] Alan Hollinghurst: The Line of Beauty
  • [5] Colm Toibin: The Master
  • [6] Carlos Ruiz Zafon: The Shadow of the Wind
  • [7] William James: The Varieties of Religious Experience
  • [8] Charles Higham: The Civilization of Angkor
  • [9] Graham Greene: A Burnt-Out Case
  • [10] Dai Sijie: Mr. Muo's Travelling Couch
  • [11] Alan Hollinghurst: The Swimming-Pool Library
  • [12] Mikhail Bulgakov: The Master and Margarita
  • [13] Colm Toibin: The Blackwater Lightship
  • [14] Alan Hollinghurst: The Folding Star
  • [15] Ross King: Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling
  • [16] Fyodor Dostoevsky: The Brothers Karamazov
  • [17] Jonathan Franzen: The Corrections
  • [18] Colm Toibin: The Story of the Night
  • [19] John Banville: Shroud
  • [20] Leo Tolstoy: Resurrection
  • [21] Peter Hessler: River Town, Two Years on the Yangtze
  • [22] Ian McEwan: The Atonement
  • [24] Gabriel Garcia Marquez: Love in the Time of Cholera
  • [25] Ignacio Padilla: Shadow without a Name
  • [26] Umberto Eco: The Name of the Rose
  • [27] Richard Russo: Straight Man
  • [28] Fyodor Dostoevsky: Notes from Underground
  • [29] Alan Hollinghurst: The Spell
  • [30] Hermann Broch: The Death of Virgil
  • [31] James Baldwin: Giovanni's Room
  • [32] Ken Kesey: One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest
  • [33] Xingjian Gao: One Man's Bible
  • [34] C. Jay Cox: Latter Days
  • [35] Harper Lee: To Kill A Mockingbird
  • [36] William Shakespeare: The Taming of the Shrew
  • [37] Daniel A. Helminiak: What The Bible Really Says about Homosexuality
  • [38] James Baldwin: Tell Me How Long the Train's Been Gone
  • [39] Kenji Yoshino: Covering - The Hidden Assault of Civil Rights
  • [40] Italo Calvino: If, On a Winter's Night A Traveler
  • [41] Arthur Phillips: The Egyptologist
  • [42] George Orwell: 1984
  • [43] Michael Warner: The Trouble with Normal: Sex, Politics, and Ethics of Queer Life
  • [44] Andrew Sullivan: Virtually Normal
  • [45] Henry James: The Wings of the Dove
  • [46] Jose Saramago: Blindness
  • [47] Umberto Eco: The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana
  • [48] Dan Brown: Da Vinci Code
  • [49] Kazuo Ishiguro: Never Let Me Go
  • [50] Ken Follett: The Pillars of Earth
  • [51] Leo Tolstoy: War and Peace
  • [52] Michael Thomas Ford: Alec Baldwin Doesn't Like Me
  • [53] Jonathan Franzen: How To Be Alone
  • [54] Jonathan Lethem: The Fortress of Solitude
  • [55] Matthew Pearl: The Dante Club
  • [56] Zadie Smith: White Teeth
  • [57] Fyodor Dostoevsky: The Double
  • [58] Jose Saramago: The Double
  • [59] Andrew Holleran: Dancer from the Dance
  • [60] Heinrich von Kleist: The Marquise of O & Other Stories
  • [61] Andrew Holleran: In September, the Light Changes
  • [62] Tom Perrotta: Little Children
  • January 04, 2007


    It's Official...I'm Moving...

    to WordPress. While I'm still working on the finishing touch on the new site, like categorizing all the archived posts, updating the blogroll, transferring all the Flickr pictures, and reorganizing the book reviews, the blog has pretty much moved into the new home at

    effective immediately. All new posts will be in the new site. Please make sure you change your blogroll or links because I don't want to lose anyone! The brand new site is exciting with wonderful features that are not available in Blogger. The biggest improvement is the categories (Books, Music, Movie, Travel, Gay Life, Friends...) under which individual post is filed. Also you will now find the Moleskine Notebook Book Reviews at the very top of the site under the header.

    Hope to see you at my new home! Bear with me the dust and construction. I'll keep on updating and touching up the new site. Let me a comment or two to let me know what you think. Cheers!

    January 03, 2007


    Technical Difficulty

    Thanks to Joshua who has pointed out that the new beta Blogger cannot be imported into WordPress. I almost did the switch although Blogger says, one reason or another, my account is not ready for the new version. Anyway, I'm moving to WordPress until I've got the nuts and bolts straight--backing up files, categorizing posts, picking a 3-column template...

    I have yet to start posting at the new address. I have registered an account with WordPress (same login id); but, until I have sorted out all the technical details to incorporate my 3-column blog into the WordPress template, I'll still be posting here. Cheers.

    January 01, 2007


    Moving to WordPress?

    Some fellow bloggers have moved to WordPress for a refreshing new look, but on top of that, to kiss Blogger glitches goodbye. I'm weighing my options here and consider moving to either WordPress or TypePad, which charges at least $4.95 for a basic membership. Things to consider:

    • import the entire content of my current blog to the new site
    • varieties of templates, as you can see, I prefer a 3-column format
    • comments moderation

    WordPress looks appealing since it allows user to categorize posts. I'm keeping my fingers crossed. Also I've got to get on the header for the blog. So much to do and this is only the first day of new year!

    December 31, 2006


    The Year in Review: Books

    I'm reading E. M. Forster's Maurice, which most likely will conclude the year of 2006 in reading. Since I started this blog back on Janurary 18 this year, a sense of responsibility, which inevitably takes up more of my time and effort, has imbued in me. The immediate effect is that I have read less. But when I looked back on the readings I have done this year, I realize reading less does not necessarily make me less bookish of a reader, who has evolved to become more serious, and cultivate a more eclectic taste. I still read more non-living than living authors, more Penguin classics than airport novels. Here is the year of 2006 in review:

    1. Jan 01-Jan 08 The Civilization of Angkor by Charles Higham (NF)
    2. Jan 10-Jan 19 Literary Theory by Terry Eagleton (NF) (not finished)
    3. Jan 22-Jan 28 Mr Muo's Travelling Couch by Dai Sijin (F)
    4. Jan 30-Feb 07 What The Bible Really Says About Homosexuality by Daniel A. Helminiak (NF)
    5. Feb 08-Feb 15 The Atonement by Ian McEwan (F)
    6. Feb 17-Feb 24 The Spell by Alan Hollinghurst (F)
    7. Feb 25-Mar 05 The Egyptologist by Arthur Philips (F)
    8. Mar 07-Mar 09 Giovanni's Room by James Baldwin (F)
    9. Mar 14-Mar 22 To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee (F) (re-read)
    10. Mar 23-Apr 04 Tell Me How Long The Train's Been Gone by James Baldwin (F)
    11. Apr 05-Apr 18 Covering: The Hidden Assault of Cicil Rights by Kenji Yoshino (NF)
    12. Apr 19-May 03 The Trouble with Normal: Sex, Politics and Ethics of Queer Life by Michael Warner (NF)
    13. May 04-May 16 Virtually Normal: An Argument about Homosexuality by Andrew Sullivan (NF)
    14. May 17-May 30 The Wings of the Dove by Henry James (F)
    15. Jun 01-Jun 07 The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana by Umberto Eco (F)
    16. Jun 07-Jun 12 The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown (F)
    17. Jun 13-Jun 21 The Pillars of Earth by Ken Follett (F)
    18. Jun 30-Jul 25 War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy (F) (re-read)
    19. Jul 26-Aug 01 Alec Baldwin Doesn't Love Me by Michael Thomas Ford (NF, Essays)
    20. Aug 02-Aug 10 The Fortress of Solitude by Jonathan Lethem (F)
    21. Aug 14-Aug 22 The Dante Club by Matthew Pearl (F)
    22. Aug 24-Aug 30 White Teeth by Zadie Smith (F)
    23. Aug 31-Sep 05 The Double by Jose Saramago (F)
    24. Sep 05-Sep 15 In September, The Light Changes by Andrew Holleran (F, SS)
    25. Sep 18-Sep 24 Dancer from the Dance by Andrew Holleran (F)
    26. Sep 25-Oct 09 Reading Like a Writer by Francine Prose (NF, writing)
    27. Oct 10-Nov 03 The Marquise of O- and Other Stories by Heinrich von Kleist (F, SS)
    28. Nov 05-Nov 20 Arthur and George by Julian Barnes (F)
    29. Nov 24-Nov 29 Runaway (Short Stories) by Alice Munro (F, SS)
    30. Nov 30-Dec 05 Little Children by Tom Perrotta (F)
    31. Dec 07-Dec 30 Stories by Anton Chekov (F, SS)
    32. Dec 13-Dec 18 The Painted Veil by W. Somerset Maugham (F)

    33. Dec 19-Dec 25 The Razor's Edge by W. Somerset Maugham (F)
    34. Dec 25-Dec 31 Maurice by E. M. Forster (F)

    The titles in boldface are my top 10 picks for the year. In-depth reviews of all the above can be found in this blog. Click over to the sidebar on the left should you're interested. Out of 34 books read this year, 6 are nonfiction and 28 fiction. The breakdown:

    Non-fiction: 6
    Fiction: 28
    Re-read: 2
    Gay-related titles: 11
    Number of journal pages: 147

    Happy New Year!

    December 29, 2006


    A Few Light Fares to Complement the 50 Things

    I consider myself a little weird and picky...but...
    You Are 90% Weird

    You're more than quirky, you're downright strange.
    But you're also strangely compelling, like a cult leader.

    Friends make up part of my life. They have modled and pruned me.
    You Are A Good Friend

    You're always willing to listen
    Or lend a shoulder to cry on
    You're there through thick and thin
    Many people consider you their "best friend"!

    And this one really hits home...
    How You Are In Love

    You take a while to fall in love with someone. Trust takes time.

    You give completely and unconditionally in relationships.

    You tend to get very attached when you're with someone. You want to see your love all the time.

    You love your partner unconditionally and don't try to make them change.

    You stay in love for a long time, even if you aren't loved back. When you fall, you fall hard.

    Happy New Year!

    December 27, 2006


    Now To The Round of New Year...

    Another Christmas had come and gone. Now to the round of New Year's festivities that will cut down some of the food indulgence! This time of the year is usually full of merrymaking, giving and receiving, as well as surprises. Santa has really been good to me this year. When I finally got to unwrap all the gifts--the holiday mysteries under pleasant disguises of wrapping papers--late Christmas night, I found:

    • a black Armani Exchange embroidered/woven shirt
    • a newspaper boy's cammello hat
    • a copy of Kafka's Soup: A Complete History of World Literature in 14 Recipes
    • a couple of Illuminations aromatherapy candles
    • a pair of AussieBum nylon rower midcut swim trunk (If you doubt yourself, wear something else. So true!!! LOL)
    • a Gap athletic-cut t-shirt
    • a Club Monaco V-neck wool striped sweater
    • an Abercrombie & Fitch gift card
    • a copy of Gay Life & Culture: A World History
    • a Hugo Boss mesh (oh my god) close-fit sweater
    • two pounds of La Colombe coffee, Nizza
    • a Joseph & Lyman cashmere sweater

    I'm so grateful although I have to say thank god no more gifts which I have to return or exchange at the store. Gone are also books that would be disgrace the library collection and that frighten me out of my wits! Just kidding. The best part of the holiday is to be ensconced with family and friends, in thier company, sharing, and conversations.

    December 26, 2006


    [62] Little Children - Tom Perrotta

    Light reading fare for Christmas. I saw the movie with Matty a while ago and so this movie tie-in would be somewhat interesting to read. After all, it's not too bad of reading.

    Talk about dysfunctional families and their drama. Set in a quiet suburb where nothing ever seems to happen in a way we think well-to-do upper middle class families have any issues, (WRONG!!!) Little Children brings forth inner-workings of what becomes a roaming crisis. Sarah, mother of a three-year-old, is a relapsed feminist, an ex-gender studies graduate student aborting her PhD who studies the behavior (which she concludes monotonous and boring) of suburban women. Their stroller rut at the park, which consists of playing, snacking, and strictly adhering to the offerings' timetable (which they deem conducive to the kids' being admitted to Ivy-League schools)was pleasantly interrupted by the surprised return of Todd, a stay-home dad whose dark feature, cropped blond hair, and jock physique have captured the hearts of the moms.

    No sooner have the thirty-something parents met did they hit it off. At least they have one thing in common: Unhappy (unfulfilling?) marriages. Sarah's husband has become more and more involved with his fantasy life on the internet than with his family. His indifference toward her engenders in her a sudden and desperate desire to visit the town pool, where she knows Todd would take his so on a clammy afternoon, as the cloud looms low, promising rain but not delivering. Todd, despite his being married to a fine woman with a svelte body, brooded over his failing to pass the bar exam. His problems are more intrinsic, springing from his troubled ego, salt-and-peppered by wounded vanity. Piqued at his uncertain career, he realizes something must be wrong with his being, as if he had sleepwalked through life to realize he cannot possibly be happy with any of the choices that the world offer him.

    Maybe Todd's wife, an aspiring documentary filmmaker, has incurred on him that he must feel to live up to a vision of himself that had never really been his own. But satirically who is this novel is NOT wearing a mask, hiding behind his/her true self? While the residents of the quiet suburban town wrangle out of their wits with these emerging dramas, sexual fling, unhappiness over wrong marriages, a ex-convict of child molestation returns to the community to live with his mother. How ironic and satirical that the one person who has nothing to hide, whom everyone in town shirks and scorns, in somewhat a positive way, helps these lost folks come to their own senses about who they are.