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Books etc.

pretty much all kind of books, stories, whatever

The Inimitable Jeeves (MP3 Book)

The Inimitable Jeeves (MP3 Book) - P.G. Wodehouse, Frederick Davidson two stars

granted, it's funny, really funny. however, it's also true that wodehouse should be imbibed sparingly. listening this book as continuous background noise made me think that wodehouse is a real sadist. poor bertie. i won't be surprised if tom and jerry were inspired by bertie and jeeves.

Selected Poems

Selected Poems - W.H. Auden, Edward Mendelson but what does it mean to finish reading poem compilation? i'm not really finish reading it, just returning it. I'm glad I tried reading Auden, I have his more complete collection on the way.

Reading list is always a temptation to go book hunting

Another reading list for those of you whose TBR stack hasn't threatened to topple down. This one has civilization as its theme. Interesting and important enough theme. Let's see if any of it would be read this year.

The Collected Short Stories

The Collected Short Stories - Roald Dahl Honestly, I can't read too many Dahl's short story in one go. They're either too sinister, scary or horrifying and bound to give you literary equivalent of indigestion if taken too much. It's not to say that they're also most wonderful and memorable stories; but, moderation in all things, right?

I'll be reading this in-between other stuffs from now on.

Would be Writer and Writer

Old School - Tobias Wolff

Found the book thanks to an old Harriet Gilbert's podcast. Isn't she great? I've found so many books from her BBC shows, either A Good Read or World Book Club. Love her voice and how she digs up interesting points from a book, writer or her guests. She always managed to bring up something I've not noticed in my own reading. (Perhaps it only shows what a sloppy reader I am :D )

Anyhow, a book that snuff around famous authors (Robert Frost, Ayn Rand and Papa Hemingway), of course it would practically jump to my hand.

It's also about boy's boarding school, which I have a soft spot ever since I read Stalky & Co. Also, remember Skippy Dies? There's just something about reading those boys cooped up and tumble around like puppies. Well, granted, Stalky is no puppy, more like lean young wolf. But there's something vulnerable about them that just wring my heart. Is there any counterpart book in girl boarding school? I can only remember The Lake of Dead Languages; of course I've read dozens of Blyton's; but it's just different though it did make me fall in love with boarding school story in general.

So, these boys are highly literate, or at least the story focused on the boys who are instead of the usual tech geek or sporty ones. I wonder if there's really such thing. I hope there is. Reading them getting heated up to win a private audience with authors warmed my heart. Those are the boys I'd like to know when I'm their age, or maybe to meet the adult ones now.

This is their story, potrait of a writer as a young man. Of dreaming to become a writer when you're still paying your dues to parents and basic education. Yearning to be out there, exercising their ultimate power as school magazine editor and basically biding their time. And then they have this chance to meet their heroes, to be in the face of a greatness, to be "anointed" as the protaganist put it.

The giant themselves, well, they're usually become a giant because we made them one. I mean, of course they're great writers, but they're still human. Frost with his mischievousness, Rand with her posturing and Hemingway with all his troubles. I love it that Wolff showed both of them, how they are in the eyes of the boys and showing them as person when they came, through the interview.

How about the school? From the beginning Wolff has shown that it's not a paradise. From the first chapter:

....you were steadily giving ground to a system of honors that valued nothing you hadn't done for yourself.

That was the idea, so deeply held it was never spoken; you breathed it inwith the smell of floor wax and wool and boys living close together in overheated rooms. Never spoken, so never challenged.



If that doesn't give you a shiver and an inkling of something not quite right, then I don't know what else can. It's wonderful that the last third or quarter of the book dwells on the school itself, its honor code, its flaws, also on being a teacher, how it really affect your way of life and thinking. Just a wonderful ending.

Last thought, the part with Rand and her protagonist Roarke, the great architect. I've known Rand, being an architecture student myself once upon a time, but haven't read her book. Her conviction of a design to be purely a one person genious vision or it isn't worth having at all.
I can't really agree with it and yet I yearned to be that person. And then there's a diary entry on Alan Bennett's Writing Home on how he had a working session with musicians where they could take suggestion gracefully and making the music so much better, and Bennett wonder why it's different in writing world, and I believe general art (painting, design,etc.) Something I still need to chew for a while.

Old School

Old School - Tobias Wolff FIVE STARS!!!!

Found the book thanks to an old Harriet Gilbert's podcast. Isn't she great? I've found so many books from her BBC shows, either A Good Read or World Book Club. Love her voice and how she digs up interesting points from a book, writer or her guests. She always managed to bring up something I've not noticed in my own reading. (Perhaps it only shows what a sloppy reader I am :D )

Anyhow, a book that snuff around famous authors (Robert Frost, Ayn Rand and Papa Hemingway), of course it would practically jump to my hand.

It's also about boy's boarding school, which I have a soft spot ever since I read [b:Stalky & Co|45057|Stalky & Co|Rudyard Kipling|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1347932389s/45057.jpg|44367]. Also, remember [b:Skippy Dies|7146335|Skippy Dies|Paul Murray|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1301970939s/7146335.jpg|7410973]? There's just something about reading those boys cooped up and tumble around like puppies. Well, granted, Stalky is no puppy, more like lean young wolf. But there's something vulnerable about them that just wring my heart. Is there any counterpart book in girl boarding school? I can only remember [b:The Lake of Dead Languages|120274|The Lake of Dead Languages|Carol Goodman|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1320554718s/120274.jpg|3159707]; of course I've read dozens of Blyton's; but it's just different though it did make me fall in love with boarding school story in general.

So, these boys are highly literate, or at least the story focused on the boys who are instead of the usual tech geek or sporty ones. I wonder if there's really such thing. I hope there is. Reading them getting heated up to win a private audience with authors warmed my heart. Those are the boys I'd like to know when I'm their age, or maybe to meet the adult ones now.

This is their story, potrait of a writer as a young man. Of dreaming to become a writer when you're still paying your dues to parents and basic education. Yearning to be out there, exercising their ultimate power as school magazine editor and basically biding their time. And then they have this chance to meet their heroes, to be in the face of a greatness, to be "anointed" as the protaganist put it.

The giant themselves, well, they're usually become a giant because we made them one. I mean, of course they're great writers, but they're still human. Frost with his mischievousness, Rand with her posturing and Hemingway with all his troubles. I love it that Wolff showed both of them, how they are in the eyes of the boys and showing them as person when they came, through the interview.

How about the school? From the beginning Wolff has shown that it's not a paradise. From the first chapter:
....you were steadily giving ground to a system of honors that valued nothing you hadn't done for yourself.

That was the idea, so deeply held it was never spoken; you breathed it inwith the smell of floor wax and wool and boys living close together in overheated rooms. Never spoken, so never challenged.


If that doesn't give you a shiver and an inkling of something not quite right, then I don't know what else can. It's wonderful that the last third or quarter of the book dwells on the school itself, its honor code, its flaws, also on being a teacher, how it really affect your way of life and thinking. Just a wonderful ending.

Last thought, the part with Rand and her protagonist Roarke, the great architect. I've known Rand, being an architecture student myself once upon a time, but haven't read her book. Her conviction of a design to be purely a one person genious vision or it isn't worth having at all.
I can't really agree with it and yet I yearned to be that person. And then there's a diary entry on Alan Bennett's [b:Writing Home|20574|Writing Home|Alan Bennett|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1316129422s/20574.jpg|1705467] on how he had a working session with musicians where they could take suggestion gracefully and making the music so much better, and Bennett wonder why it's different in writing world, and I believe general art (painting, design,etc.) Something I still need to chew for a while.

On Being Blue

On Being Blue - William H. Gass this is the longest short book i've ever read, have difficulty in concentrating and following Gass' line of thinking.

Cold Comfort Farm

Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons, Lynne Truss, Roz Chast two stars

It is funny, but she's really painfully self righteous meddling person. I can't really believe on her romance with Charles either.

A High Wind in Jamaica

A High Wind in Jamaica - Richard Hughes, Francine Prose if i really have to judge or rate or whatever, it might be a four star book.

I don't think this is a book for children, I don't think so. It's story about children, but I'm not sure I'd want my future-children to read it though they might enjoy it tremendously. For one thing, the book doesn't infantilize, romanticize or in any way sugar coating childhood. Children are unpredictable and have meanness in them unsurpassable by adult. I think we rather tend to forget or try to ignore this (too much Disney or Blyton consumption?) Having said that, I think this book is rather wonderful in its spiky horrible way. Highly recommended.

The Black Frog's Doodles: You Know...Teapots and Stuff

The Black Frog's Doodles: You Know...Teapots and Stuff - Igor-Alban Chevalier, Scott Robertson five stars!

i love sketches, often i like it more than the finished painting or drawing. sketches have a spirit and wilderness in it that often tamed down in the subsequent work. am going to stare at this book more to study the lines $& hatching.

Color: A Natural History of the Palette

Color: A Natural History of the Palette - Victoria Finlay three stars

The Discovery of France: A Historical Geography, from the Revolution to the First World War

The Discovery of France: A Historical Geography, from the Revolution to the First World War - Graham Robb via steve reads, baby shipment to paris

Regeneration

Regeneration - Pat Barker a five

No Place For Heroes: A Novel

No Place For Heroes: A Novel - Laura Restrepo it's really only worth two stars for me

i have to admit that i did get interested and read it more or less in one sitting. i did want to know what happened in the past. but, i didn't enjoy reading it. it felt artificial to me. i can't imagine their conversation as mother-son. or that mateo really speak that way. their conversation feels only as an instrument to tell the past story. as comparison, i enjoy more H's blattering about painting and writings in Jose Saramago's Manual and Sartre's Age of Reason. something is not right when those deep rumination and tons of self inspection can be more enjoyable compared to a basically thriller story.

An Unnecessary Woman

An Unnecessary Woman - Rabih Alameddine via openletters monthly

Asimov's Annotated "Don Juan"

Asimov's Annotated "Don Juan" - George Gordon Byron, Isaac Asimov, Milton Glaser another brainpickings find