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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
  • May 31, 2006

     

    Reading Update

    So another month before the end of the second quarter. I haven't read as much as I used to, but the bright side of that is I have paid closer attention to the word and the language I read. I just finished The Wings of the Dove but my mind still ponders at the unresolved issues of the novel. Kate Croy is quite a conflicted and perpetually conflicting character. I am somewhat compelled to forgive her treachery and greed after the revelation that her father, despite his meager presence in the novel, was the impetus of all her amoral desire. Depending on what your taste for writing is, Henry James for sure is not for everybody. What erudite, poetic and meandering prose to one might seems clunky to another. Narrative van afford this procrastinating, roundabout nature that the words never truly come out in dialogues but the conversations often are rather hinted, overheard, and not always understood. Anyway, nuff said about this until I finish my complete review, which reminds me to stock up on moleskine notebooks.

    Meanwhile, I'm studying the Lonely Planet Thailand guide to map out details of the December trip that I revealed in the last post. Despite of the meager centerfold pictures and illustrations other guidebooks offer, Lonely Planet provides detailed practical information and directions. The editorial team contrives to update restaurant and accommodation listings. I ate at several of the listed restaurants (usually the local flavors and cheap eats) in Bangkok last year and had a delicious cup of latte at Passport Books in Banglamphu (near the backpacker haven Khao San Road with guesthouses and used bookstores galore). But the point is, a little preparation and planning will save you from wasting time and from falling into the traps of scams and touts.

    I also bought my first ever pictorial novel, The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana by Umberto Eco, who is the author of two favorite novels of mine: Foucault's Pendulum and The Name of the Rose. Queen Loana's intrigue (though unpromising at first when I leafed through it) is appealing: A 60ish Milanese antiquarian bookseller nicknamed Yambo suffers a stroke and loses his memory of everything but the words he has read: poems, scenes from novels, miscellaneous quotations. His wife Paola fills in the bare essentials of his family history, but in order to provoke original memories, Yambo retreats alone to his ancestral home at Solara, a large country house reminiscent of his childhood with an improbably intact collection of family papers, books, gramophone records, and photographs. Should I categorize this to my vacation pile?

    For those of you who are new to this blog, I have posted selected book reviews on the left column. You will also find what I'm reading at the moment when you stroll down the page. I'm still slowly working my way through Literary Theory, Alec Baldwin Doesn't Like Me... and Arthur & George. Thanks to Cipriano at Bookpuddle for pointing Jose Saramago's latest, Seeing to my direction.

    Happy Wednesday everyone! Happy reading!

    4 Comments:

    Anonymous Victoria said...

    I notice that you're reading Kazuo Ishiguro's "Never Let Me Go" and "Arthur and George" at the same time? I thought both were very subtle novels, but that Ishiguro pulled away for sheer moving thematics. I'd be interested to know what you think. :-)

    5/31/2006 10:25 AM  
    Blogger Robert said...

    Happy Wednesday to you too, my lil' bookworm! *wiggle* *wiggle*

    5/31/2006 11:05 AM  
    Anonymous iliana said...

    I'm jealous of your trip :) I'm sure you'll have a fantastic time. I do like the Lonely Planet guide books. How about the Rough Guides? Have you checked those out?

    5/31/2006 8:45 PM  
    Blogger Matt said...

    Victoria-
    Yes, Ishiguro and Barnes are both very literary and subtle. I think Never Let Me Go sort of evokes one of his previous works The Unconsoled - in the sense that both novels start off like a mainstream novel telling a story out of reconstructing the past. But somewhere down the memory lane of that narrative reveals that the story might not be real. That's all I'm going to say it lest it ruins your pleasure of reading. :)

    Hey Robert, I'm having the time of my life being a bookworm! :)

    Iliana-
    Thanks for point Rough Guides to my direction. I'm checking out the website. You know this upcoming trip would be quite arduous - lots of treking, train traveling, exploring the wilderness in the country. Looks like I need to rid of my suitcase and travel with a gigantic backpack and a couple pairs of boots, and of course, a couple good novels!

    6/01/2006 12:24 PM  

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