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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
  • April 01, 2006


    Books Read in the First Quarter 2006

    We're now officially emerging into daylight saving time (it's not April fool!) as the first quarter of 2006 closes out. Looking back at my Moleskine journal, I haven't really achieved much reading in the past three months. Nine books in three months, all but one in the fiction/literature category. But I'm starting a non-fiction by Professor Kenji Yoshino called Covering: The Hidden Assault of Civil Rights, a book that talks about coerced conformity exercised by minority groups. Minority embodies ethnic groups, immigrants, the physical challenged, gays and lesbians. Anyway I'm slowly plowing through the could-be-the-next controversial book of the year that explores the struggle for equality of gays in America from the broader perspective of the civil-rights movement. A gay Asian American, Yoshino argues that society resists allowing full equality for gays by instead advocating conversion, passing as straight, and covering homosexuality, tactics similarly imposed on racial and other minorities.

    Anyway I'll leave you with my list of books read in the first quarter, in chronological order of which they were read:
    1. The Civilization of Angkor | Charles Higham 12/27/2005-1/8/2006
    I finished this book in Hong Kong shortly after the return from Angkor, Cambodia. It draws on some of the latest and authoritative research in archaeology in order to illuminates the unique architecture and motifs that were dictated by religious influence of the Angkor ruins. The book affords a better understanding of what I actually saw in Angkor.

    2. Mr. Muo's Traveling Couch | Sijie Dai 1/22-1/28/2006
    A modern fairy tale under the disguise of a political allegory. The elements of the short second-novel bear vestige of the Cultural Revolution in the 1960s. It represents a conscience of the social injustice to which many Chinese people were subjected. It's an okay read, although I enjoyed Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress, his debut, more.

    3. What the Bible Really Says About Homosexuality | Daniel A. Helminiak 1/30-2/7/2006
    An eye opener. I'm completely amazed. It clearly states that the Bible supplies no basis for the condemnation of homosexuality. In fact, it is indifferent to the issue. Point by point, scripture by scripture it shows how some of the most controversial passages in the Bible are irrelevant in accusing homosexuality.

    4. The Atonement | Ian McEwan 2/8-2/15/2006
    At first I thought it was chic-lit because everyone was talking about it or buying it at Borders. This novel explores the ineluctable consequence of a misconduct prompted by a child's incomplete grasp of adult relationships. It somehow provokes a sense of sympathy with the vulnerability of human heart.

    5. The Spell | Alan Hollinghurst 2/17-2/24/2006
    This could be the best read so far this year. Tinged with pique and cross-purpose jokes, page by page the novel weaves a tapestry of love, lust, and loss among a group of middle-class gay Englishmen who are friends, ex-lovers, father and son. In exploring each of these relations and the uneasy conflicts, Hollinghurst's elegant, crisp prose fosters a sharp observation and psychological insight that accentuate these men's vulnerability.

    6. The Egyptologist | Arthur Phillips 2/25-3/5/2006
    I really had high hope for this one: rich historical background with a touch of adventure. But the unreliable narrator and the confusing effect the author (who obviously thinks he's very witty) bore me. ZZZZZZZZ... I regretted I didn't check this book out from the library. I managed to finish for the sake of finishing something I paid money for.

    7. Giovanni's Room | James Baldwin 3/7-3/9/2006
    Touching and moving story. This one, at least for me, makes us examine our heart in relationship. Why can't we just let down the guard and be loved? We always want to wait to make sure the feeling is right, but how can we be sure? It explores the troubling emotions of man's heart with unusual candor and yet with dignity and intensity. It delves into the most controversial issue of morality with an artistry.

    8. To Kill A Mockingbird | Harper Lee 3/14-3/22/2006
    Re-visit a timeless classics in American literature after I saw the Capote movie, which reminds me of Dill in the novel. What strikes me the most this time is the narrative of the nine-years-old. Her perspective is unbridled of the biased and disapproving voices of the town, of which nobody does even one thing to help Tom Robinson, let alone risking one’s own life to defend a black man who in the secret courts of men’s hearts have no case.

    9. Tell Me How Long the Train's Been Gone | James Baldwin 3/23-4/1/2006
    A man hovering between life and death struggles to make out of his multiple identities: black, bisexual, and artist. He is torn between a white woman and a young black man, to both of whom he shows admirable loyalty and love.


    Blogger piksea said...

    The two Baldwin books sound really good. I am pretty sure that Giovanni's Room is on one of my many reading lists. I read Another Country, and despite the compelling themes of race and sexuality, I didn't love it. The characters were all so damaged and angry that it was hard to empathize. I'll have to give him another go and see what I'm missing.

    4/04/2006 12:04 PM  
    Anonymous Danielle said...

    I did pretty good for the first three months, but I suspect my reading will start slowing down now. I just try and take on too much usually. I loved the book Atonement, but I loaned it out and never got it back! :( I will have to check out the other books on your list--I also read To Kill a Mockingbird this year finally--it was great!

    4/06/2006 1:14 PM  

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