• Current Reads

      Life after Life Jill McCorkle
      This Is Your Captain Speaking Jon Methven
      The Starboard Sea Amber Dermont
      Snark David Denby
      Bring Up the Bodies Hilary Mantel
  • Popular Tags

  • Recent Reflections

  • Categories

  • Moleskine’s All-Time Favorites

  • Echoes

    The HKIA brings Hong… on [788] Island and Peninsula 島與半…
    Adamos on The Master and Margarita:…
    sumithra MAE on D.H. Lawrence’s Why the…
    To Kill a Mockingbir… on [35] To Kill A Mockingbird…
    Deanna Friel on [841] The Price of Salt (Carol…
    Minnie on [367] The Rouge of the North 怨…
  • Reminiscences

  • Blog Stats

    • 1,081,859 hits
  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 1,710 other followers

Weeding

btt button

I checked in at the Booking Through Thursday blog, which is the host for a weekly book meme or blogging prompt. Here is this week’s prompt:

Do you ever weed out unwanted books from your library? And if so, what do you do with them?
image

Weeding in progress. I have to weed more often as the pile of unwanted books stagger more quickly than my acquisition pile does. The rule is I would nix any book of which I don’t have much impression. I line up paper shopping bags from the grocery and start putting books in. Don’t look back.

Penguin 16-20

image

Penguin Books launches their Christmas Book-a-Day challenge, Season’s Readings. A prompt for everyday up to Christmas Day. Are you getting into the holidays spirit?

16. For someone I love
Love: Poems by Pablo Neruda

17. Funny read
Without Feathers by Woody Allen

18. Massive Tome
The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand

19. Traveling home—reading this
I’m actually going home *after* Christmas and New Year, in mid-January. I have been fussing with my reading list for this trip to Asia and two of them are The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters and All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr.

20. Set where I live
Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan, a tribute to books in print and type set in my very own San Francisco

Holiday Book Meme

1gift

You are all buying books for gifts, right? Good. Well, here’s a book meme that will give you some shopping ideas.

1. Name five books that you read this year that would make excellent gifts.
a) The Silent Wife by A.S.A. Harrison. It’s so well-paced and unpredictable. It’s a prickly story of a marriage gone awry—and dangerous. Insidious.
b) Unlikely Destinations: The Lonely Planet Story by Tony and Maureen Wheeler. Perfect gift for someone whose passion is travel. It’s a memoir but also a vast armchair travel book of the world.
c) The World of Yesterday by Stefan Zweig. For lover of European literature. A man’s heartfelt memoir to a bygone era that had shaped him as a person. It’s poignant to read about how Hitler’s seizure of power represents the absolute, nightmarish opposite of every value Zweig believed in.
d) The Novel Bookstore by Laurence Cosse. A creative novel about a bookstore that would only sell “good literature.” Members of an elite bookstore’s clandestine selection committee are assaulted. It invokes the debate of what superlative work in the literary sphere constitutes.
e) Ficciones by Jorge Luis Borges. Just read it, he will blow your mind.

2. What’s your favorite holiday book?
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. In recent years I have taken up with mysteries. Hercule Poirot’s Christmas by Agatha Christie is also a favorite.

3. Tell us about your fabulous local book store.
San Francisco is blessed to have many local bookstores. One is Aarvark Books, an older joint with great selection of used books, especially fiction. They have a beautiful residence orange tabby, Owen, who always comes sit on my lap while I browse.

4. What book would you like to see made into a movie?
It’s already happening, and I’m very excited: The Silent Wife by A.S.A. Harrison.

5. When you go book shopping for other people, do you buy yourself a book too?
I never walk out of the bookstore empty-handed. There’s this running list of books to be acquired in head.

6. Which author do you wish would write faster because you can hardly wait to read more from them?
Gillian Flynn. I absolutely love the way she builds up suspense and tension in her books.

7. What author did you discover in 2014 that you think everyone should read?
Mark Pryor is a relatively new comer in mystery/thriller genre. I discovered his book just cold turkey. The books are all set in Paris (how can you resist?) with the chief of security at the US Embassy as the lead.

8. What book did you read as teen that you hated, but then loved when you reread it as an adult?
It’s a tie between Great Expectations by Charles Dickens and Walden by Henry David Thoreau.

Penguin 11-15

image

Penguin Books launches their Christmas Book-a-Day challenge, Season’s Readings. A prompt for everyday up to Christmas Day. Are you getting into the holidays spirit?

11. Christmas Classic
I always used to pick A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens; but The Christmas Train by David Baldacci is not a bad choice. I like story set in a train.

12. Book of poems
Love: Poems by Pablo Neruda

13. Stocking filler
What I call “loo literature” books! Books on etiquette, about dogs and cats, and little travel tips kind of books.

14. Read at school
A Separate Peace by John Knowles has stayed with me all these years. The loss of innocence and peer betrayal first shocked me in my formative years and continues to remind me of our regard of morality.

15. Favorite colour cover
I like very plain cover without a lot of design. I opt for black and grey.

Penguin 8-10

image

Penguin Books launches their Christmas Book-a-Day challenge, Season’s Readings. A prompt for everyday up to Christmas Day. Are you getting into the holidays spirit?

8. It’s a mystery!
Defend and Betray by Anne Perry really blew me away. She’s really dark, and her mystery often probes the darkness of human heart. This is one of the three mysteries in a single volume. I enjoyed every one of them.

9. I judged this by its cover
1momentCute, chick lit-ish, well-written tale about an ex-techie woman in Silicon valley saving an old neighborhood bookstore. Charming!

10. Latest purchase
With the giftcard I received for my birthday I bought A Gathering of Old Men and A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines.

Penguin 5-7

image

Penguin Books launches their Christmas Book-a-Day challenge, Season’s Readings. A prompt for everyday up to Christmas Day. Are you getting into the holidays spirit?

5. Quintessentially British
The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro

6. Everyone should read
The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov

7. Childhood favourite
The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

Penguins Challenge

image

Penguin Books launches their Christmas Book-a-Day challenge, Season’s Readings. Here are my answers for the first 4 days.

1. Iconic first line
“The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.” The Go-Between by L.P. Hartley

2. Last read
A Time to Kill by John Grisham, actually one of the best reads this year.

3. On my Christmas list
On my wishlist is All the Light We Cannot See: A Novel by Anthony Doerr

4. For chilly nights
Any Agatha Christie would do, but I’ll go for Peril at End House, which I haven’t read.

Kane and Abel, Encore

btt button

I checked in at the Booking Through Thursday blog, which is the host for a weekly book meme or blogging prompt. Here is this week’s prompt:

If you could change the ending of any book you’ve read, which would it be and how would you change it?

As per the review I posted yesterday, I would like to prolong the lives of the two titular characters in Kane and Abel, who have died with some regrets. The book spans over 60 years in the 20th century with many ups and downs, hinging on a vendetta held by the hotelier on the banker because of a loan refused by the bank during the crash of 1929, made worse by inaccurate assumptions and misunderstandings. The ending is a boot but I just wish the two old men would live longer. I learned that Jeffrey Archer actually rewrote the book for its 30th anniversary edition, which was the version I read, to make the plot tighter and with dangling carrot in every chapter.

Scary

btt button

I checked in at the Booking Through Thursday blog, which is the host for a weekly book meme or blogging prompt. Here is this week’s prompt:

What’s the scariest book you’ve ever read?

I actually wrote a post about scary and creepy books that stay with me over the years. They are not ones with monsters and ghosts lurking on the pages but more atmospheric, full of creepy suggestion. Books that make my hair stand include The House Next Door by Anne Rivers Siddons, The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson, And Then Then Were None by Agatha Christie and most surprisingly, the one that never advertised horror, but surprise is in store at every turn of a chapter, Under the Skin by Michael Faber.

For the sake of contributing to this week’s BTT, I would add Stephen King’s The Shining. The evil is encroaching, and it could be that Danny’s shining has empowered it. The book does end with an explosive climax, pun intended, that sends me over the edge. It’s almost like fighting against unknown, unseen evil. The characters understand the hotel is evil; that it sought Danny, his power, and that it would do anything it could to get him. This book is a big spooker, atmospherically speaking, and haunts me tremendously.

Obscure

btt button

I checked in at the Booking Through Thursday blog, which is the host for a weekly book meme or blogging prompt. Here is this week’s prompt:

What’s your favorite genre that other people might not read? I mean, mysteries, romances, real-crime … these are all fairly widespread categories. But real readers don’t usually limit themselves to just the “big” genres … so what’s your favorite little-known type of book? Books on dogs? Knitting books? Stories about the space race? Mathematical theory?

I like to read aviation books, especially anything pertaining to commercial jetliners. When I was a little boy, noise of jetliners was part of daily life as jumbo planes descended into the old Hong Kong Kai Tak Airport at a precarious angle. I was always fascinated by planes and the very first time flying was love at first sight. I was obsessed with everything air-travel. Now that I travel extensively for work and leisure, airports and airplanes become a second home. I read up on airport passenger terminal design, aircraft configuration, engines, and aerodynamics. A bit of a morbid fetish is the television program ACI: Air Crash Investigation, documentaries and re-enactment of crashes based on true stories.