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Melaka Pictures + Reading Update

The second installment of pictures from Malaysia is now available. They are snapshots of beautiful and serene Melaka, once an important port along the strait but now is striving in silence. It was thrice colonized, by the Portuguese, the Dutch and the Brits. You may see the highlights from this slide-show:

[rockyou id=100106135&w=426&h=320]

A bit of a reading update. I have cleared the vacation pile except for one book, Contempt by Alberto Moravia, which I’ll get into eventually. The Russian Reading Challenge is moving along fairly well with two books down: Le Bal and The Kreutzer. Many of you have read and plan to read The Master and Margarita, which I have mentioned in yesterday’s post on Booking Through Thursday. The class for which I serve as a GSI (graduate student instructor) this term will also read Bulgakov’s Heart of a Dog, which will be my next Russian novel. Acquired from abroad is a novel translated from Thai called The Judgment, by Chart Korbjitti. It revolves around a young man who, less than a month after his father died, has taken his stepmother as his wife. Rumor has it that the two of them have cuckolded the old man before he even laid in the coffin.

I’ve been keeping a list of books that some of you mention. A partial list has been drawn from ideas of the last BTT post on bloggers’ favorite books that are unheard of. Someone mentions Black Lamb and Grey Falcon by Rebecca West, a favorite author of mine. Another blogger shares about A Thread of Grace by Mary Doria Russell. A while back Gentle Reader recommended Black Swan Green: A Novel by David Mitchell to me, an author I have never read. The same title surfaced again in Danielle’s post yesterday. On the same list of hers is Pomegranate Soup by Marsha Mehran, which sounds very comforting for the rainy, cold weather that we’ve been having lately. A recently-found literary blog of great staying power has led me to authors and titles that I’m not familiar with. Two books he has pointed out are Black Dirt by Nell Leyshon and Pilcrow by Adam Mars-Jones. This last book especially intrigues me with the hero’s opening lines:

“I’m not sure I can claim to have taken my place in the human alphabet… I’m more like an optional accent or specialised piece of punctuation, a cedilla, umlaut or pilcrow, hard to track down on the keyboard of computer or typewriter. Pilcrow is the prettiest of the bunch, assessed purely as a word. And at least it stands on its own. It doesn’t perch or dangle. Pilcrow it is.”

So there you have it, my line-up of books for the rest of this month and February. Happy reading and happy Friday.

10 Responses

  1. I second the recommendation of Black Swan Green. Happy BTT.

  2. I especially like the picture of town center. You’ve got great eye for architecture and sites.

    I’ve got a copy of the new Modern Library Classic Irene Nemirovsky. It’s a hardback volume containing Le Bal, Snow in Autumn and David Golder.

  3. Love the photos. I second John, you have a really good eye.

  4. Every time I look at your snapshots, I’m reminded of what a great eye you have for composition.

    I believe I read about the the skywalk between the two skyscrapers before in a book. It was nice to see what it looks like.

  5. Love the pics. Very beautiful.

  6. I’d like to read some Rebecca West as well! Someone is giving me their ARC of the Mary Doria Russell book, which I am looking forward to (and she gave it her thumbs up,too). I want to read the Mitchell book, too, but I won’t get to it right away, and I’d love to squeeze in Pomegranate Soup–it sounds like what I am in the mood for right now, but I really need to finish SOMEthing first!

  7. pussreboots:
    I’m enticed to read “new old authors.” I’m glad many of you have seconded the opinion.

    So did you get a copy of Nemirovsky?

    The maroon/deep pink color is very impressive and catchy, setting the town center aside from the rest of town.

  8. Stefanie:
    Thank you! 🙂

    I wish I can stay a bit longer and only if the skybridge has open window or a viewing deck. But they told me that after 9/11 the towers had to tighten security.

    Glad you like them. 🙂

    I still have to get a hold of Birds Fall Down, which Francine Prose had recommended in her book. 🙂

  9. Just want to update you guys that both Picrow and Heart of a Dog have been very engrossing reads. Check them out!

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