Reads from July

FFS! July is about to hang itself out to dry and I haven’t even written a single post! Of course this shouldn’t count.

So… I’ve been reading. I was slacking, especially the month of May. My average of four books per month – well, I broke the spell. I broke it. Not proud of it, but life happened, and I broke it.

I’ve read 22 books this year, which means I’m six books short.

SIX! Since I can’t quite explain the reason behind the slack, so be it.

Walk Through Walls by Marina Abramovich has officially made my top three list. It’s such a DAMN GOOD BOOK. Damn amazing life, damn amazing everything. I wish I had known about her sooner.

So I finished Brave by Rose McGowan in 3 days. Quite a feat for me because I can only read during certain hours in a day.

A Dark Night in Aurora by William H. Reid was a good read, I managed to resonate with something though I’d rather not talk about it in real life.

Ordeal by Linda Lovelace. Doesn’t matter whether I believe her or not. What matters is that she managed to get it out in a book. Again, I know what’s it like to be attached to a bloody abusive pig.

Voices from Chernobyl by Svetlana Alexievich. I don’t need to explain why it should be a compulsory read for people in general. Lies, cover-ups, more lies.


So the above’s what it is.

What am I currently reading? Gosh, plenty. Bookishly speaking, I am shameless. So here goes.

I’m still reading Megan K. Stack’s Every Man in this Village is a Liar. I’m also still reading How Starbucks Saved My Life by Michael Gill. Also, still trying to finish The Body Book by Cameron Diaz (which isn’t an easy read because it’s a rich-people-only kinda book. And there are two more books. One’s Facing the Wave by Gretel Ehrlich and I can’t remember the other.

I have few other reads waiting in my Kindle. Okay. Hundreds. I keep buying. I just don’t have enough time in a day to bloody read.

August is around the corner. Still, SIX books short. Who cares but I!

Read: Mercury

Mercury: An Intimate Biography of Freddie Mercury by Lesley-Ann Jones

I read this before watching the movie. The movie could only cover this much, plus there are tens other biographies of the late Freddie Mercury. I decided to go with this because it’s written by a journalist – someone who was actually there, having bore witness to, and living it up during one of the greatest decades of music production.

To each their own. Love prevails. 5 stars.

Read: Men We Reaped; Gypsy Boy

Men We Reaped

Worst part of the book? I think it’s about the Chinese girl trying not to get bullied and hence chose to hate on blacks so that she could “be” left alone by the whites – by hating on the blacks. It’s disgusting, having to publicly express hatred toward another race in order to survive in a f*cking school. A f*cking school. Only in America? Don’t think so. I didn’t go to school with kids from other races until my teens. Even then, they were considered ‘exotic’ because there were so few of them. We actually wanted to make friends with them, because their culture is different, intriguing, something we don’t get to experience probably because our country’s school system is so segregated it’s f*cking ridiculous.

Gypsy Boy

Before reading this book, I never had to have an opinion about their way of life, their culture. After all, I live in Asia. There are no Gypsies here. While I’m aware of how certain people hate them (why, what for), I never dug deeper beyond the stereotypical “all Gypsies are thieves and uncouth” line. I did have first-hand conversations with Europeans (friends, ex-colleagues) about the Romany people, but they weren’t white supremacists so there weren’t much to hate on beyond those lines. So I’ve finished the book – Still no opinion. It’s their way of life. To the normal society, they are in dire need to change or “be changed” (i.e. continue to be discriminated against until their culture vanishes altogether). It’s sad, it’s tragic. It’s no different than oppressed little girls forced to go through FGM or marry old men at the tender age of 5.

Read: Sandstorm

Sandstorm by Lindsey Hilsum

This post has been sitting in my drafts folder since March 6th. It’s a good time to clear my drafts this morning, once and for all. Yeah, wishful thinking.

This is my first full-on book on Libya. I came into this book with limited understanding on the average-sized African nation, having read quite a fair bit of Time and Newsweek magazines (shhh, please just leave the word ‘biased’ out of this) in the 80s and 90s as a kid. I wasn’t even a teen yet when I started skimming and half-reading those magazines.

I vividly recall Gaddafi gracing (I was a kid, what much do I know) the covers of those magazines, in his flamboyant robe and headgear. I even thought he was rather charming, as he was sometimes clad in his camouflage gear complete with a pair of black Docs (I assumed it was Docs since he did have quite a lot of contact with Marie Colvin, who was living in the UK then. Who knows. He might have gotten a pair of Docs just to impress her, am I not right?).

I wouldn’t be able to say anything substantial nor smart about this book (I don’t usually do so on this blog, anyway), because I have always considered myself a rookie in world affairs despite having read quite a number of books on current affairs and dictatorial regimes.

I always come away from these books with a fresh new understanding on how certain countries function. The way they function isn’t always the way a ‘normal’ country functions. There’s developed countries, developing countries, and then, there’s countries that are no where close to the ‘developing countries’ line, as dictated by certain, ‘accredited world governing bodies’. Libya is one of it. It is still, in 2019, a new country, though people elsewhere around the world are expecting it to be built into Rome in 8 years (Gaddafi was ousted from power in the wake of the fall of Tripoli to the rebel forces on 20 August 2011).

If you have another nonfiction, good read on Libya, please send them my way. Thank you. Also, preferable first-person accounts.

Thursday, April 11th, 2019.

Read: We’re Going to Need More Wine

We’re Going to Need More Wine by Gabrielle Union

Summary:

  1. Reading “Between The World and Me” by Ta-Nehisi Coates before this helped, a, lot.
  2. I wish there were like, 22 more chapters, at least.

That is all. Gave it a 5 on Goodreads.

Read: Anne Perry and the Murder of the Century

I took quite a while to finish this book as the author went in really deep on this (he’s most certainly not the first to write about the girls, hence he had a lot of referencing to do). I can’t recall whether he wasn’t born yet or whether he was a toddler when the murder took place, but the author hails from New Zealand and is a lawyer who was (is?) based in Hong Kong when he began writing this book. It was mentioned somewhere in the foreword.

The author made a lot of references to the girls’ diaries, often citing old movies and literature which were favored by the girls. Bear in mind all these were in the early 1950s, so even if you’re familiar with WW2, it’s not enough. The references to WW2, the cold, bitter weather, South Africa, the state the families were in (post-war), probably took up less than 5% of the book. I say this because I am (indefinitely) not into classic literatures, thrillers, plays… Well, generally the sort of things that were heavily described throughout the book.

I didn’t have much difficulty reading the book, the prose wasn’t ‘old English’, but I did bump into dry bits where I couldn’t relate to at all, as the girls were really into fiction and imaginary characters plus stuff people who enjoy Romeo and Juliet might be able to connect with.

Other facts were okay and informative, such as mental illness in the 1950s, the court battles, family predicaments. The best takeaway, for me, were within the last few chapters, where the author attempted to analyze how the girls were raised by their mothers – the abandonment, the resentment, the shortcomings between mother and daughter relationships etc. I did highlight a few passages. It made me cringe, as I myself, am a mother…

Would I recommend this book to anyone? I don’t know. None of my close friends who are bookworms are into true crime nor would they give a **** about these two murderesses. Don’t think they’ll bat an eyelid with Leopold and Loeb neither.

I gave 5 shining stars on Goodreads. Everything in the name of effort and details.

p.s. It seems that I didn’t write about the girls, the murder… What is there to write?

Read: The Return

The Return: Fathers, Sons, and the Land in Between by Hisham Matar

The author didn’t quite address how he felt – When the revolution was happening, when Qaddafi/Gaddafi was captured, tortured. There’s almost nothing on that, so in case you were hoping for a wee bit on that, don’t.

The book is literally what it presents itself to be – The author’s search and yearning for his father, who was betrayed by the Egyptian SS, imprisoned by the dictator, and of course, disappeared by the regime.

*spoiler alert*

The body of the author’s father was never found. He never met anyone specifically who could give him a straight answer, or closure, on what happened to his late father.

There were dry facts in between the pages, which is beyond necessary for those who are not familiar with the regime’s history.

There’s also no talk of the country post-Qaddafi. Like I said, it’s about him, his father, and the regime in between – and Egypt is part of the narrative as well.

If you are looking for a dose on the revolution and other issues which were not addressed in The Return, I think you should consider “Sandstorm”, written by Lindsey Hilsum. I’m currently reading that book, so hopefully I’ll get to learn more about Libya then.