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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
  • March 30, 2006


    Back on Track | Reading Update

    My reading has been in a slump recently, lingering and procrastinating over the overhype The Egyptologist by Arthur Phillips. I like historical novel with a tinge of adventure and the premise of the novel sounds really appealing. It is the story of an Egyptologist who is obsessed with finding the tomb of an apocryphal king. Situated not too far from the western bank of Nile in 1922, Professor Trilipush at the expense of financial difficulty and risk of forfeiting his imminent wedding thrives to derive an immortal fame that will remain after he dies, the value of which surpasses any financial rewards. He feels that he's born for the role to unravel the secret - that he knows more about the king Atum-hadu, the impulses and purposes, than he does about anyone and anything else in life. The story is a maddening suspenseful one, pieced together through an epistolary structure which mainly contains two narratives. It might seem witty to begin with, with a story that is layered with death, suspense and self-absorption and tries to produce this confusing effect to beguile readers, but it becomes so tedious and dessicated that I just wish to finish it for the sake of of ensuring I do not miss anything. So meanwhile, I re-read To Kill A Mockingbird, a beloved American classics which I haven't visited for years. People have sent me e-mails and left comment on the blog about how Dill from the book is Capote. Indeed, in his childhood Capote made friends with Harper Lee, who might have portrayed him as Dill in To Kill a Mockingbird. Vestige of Capote is found in this passage:

    "Dill was a curiosity. He wore blue linen shorts that buttoned to his shirt, his hair was snow white and stuck to his head like duckfluff; he was a year my senior but I towered over him. As he told us the old tale his blue eyes would lighten and darken; his laugh was sudden and happy; he habitually pulled at a cowlick in the center of his forehead."

    I just started Covering: The Hidden Assault of Our Civil Rights by Professor Kenji Yoshino. Perhaps its greatest contribution is its noble endeavor to show how covering affects all of us, whether we are white, black, yellow, red, or green, not just the marginalized or disenfranchised. Everybody covers, and everybody is harmed by it. Far from diluting his claim, this frank admission offers a way out from traditional civil rights discourse, which is increasingly viewed as provincial, dogmatic, and overly combative. Even people who are sympathetic to traditional (and more radical) civil rights efforts recognize this problem: the "race to the bottom" by which anybody who wants to comment on marginalization has to show how one personally has been suppressed by the system. But on the other hand, he clearly has faced his share of marginalization: Asian-American homosexuals are not exactly at the pinnacle of social acceptance. I'll post an update as I read along and follow up with a complete review.


    Blogger piksea said...

    I started listening to the audio version of The Egyptologist, but thought it might be something I'd prefer to actually read. That, however, sends it to the impossibly long TBR list. I can't wait to hear what you think of it. If you grow to like it better, I'll give it a boost up the list.

    Capote as Dill adds a new dimension to the book, doesn't it?

    3/31/2006 7:01 AM  

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