Read: Not That Bad

Not That Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture by Roxane Gay

I had a selfish thought halfway through this book. I had a hard time keeping up with certain essays not because I couldn’t identify with their culture (culture has never been a barrier for me in reading), but because I couldn’t identify with them – who were these women, what are their nationalities, where were they originally from?

Since I’m not familiar with roughly 80% of the contributors (FYI, Roxane Gay didn’t write this book), I found myself having to Google each and every one them (probably 4/5 of them didn’t have ‘Wiki’ pages, though I could be wrong – but that estimate was what my memory had presented me with), before I was able to carry on with their respective essays.

I won’t delve further. It’s just sad to know that most men won’t pick up this book. So what hope do we women have (left)? Empowerment. We empower each other with our often traumatic experiences so that other women can, hopefully, do better, know better, and have the courage to call out indecent behavior and not think twice before KICKING THOSE GROINS.

TBR: Billion Dollar Whale

Weeks ago, my dad bought a bestseller. It didn’t make sense for me to buy another copy solely for my Kindle, so I asked him about his read-in-progress (supposedly reading progress but whatever). He said he hasn’t started because he’s been busy with work (he’s been sleeping in hotels more than his own bed. My country has a lot of people who just don’t seem to want to get their taxes right).

A week or so later, my dad returned from yet another business trip. We were having breakfast when I asked him about his read-in-progress. Again, same answer – he hasn’t started, too busy, yada yada.

Ten or so days went by, and this time, we made dinner plans. Before heading out, I texted my sister-in-law and asked her to check if dad had finished the book, and if so, to bring that book over.

We were already waiting at the diner when my dad arrived with my brother and family. He cruised in with his walking stick, his left hand holding a paperbag. I thought it was filled with toy cars as cuddly-but-stern-looking grandpa has a habit of getting his grandkids last minute airport gifts whenever he made business trips. But I was wrong. The paperbag was meant for me! He pushed it at my face I grabbed it and in it were two big fat paperbacks – Billion Dollar Whale*, the one which I’ve been ‘pestering’ him about; and The Sarawak Report*, which I am not in a hurry to read yet.

Stunned, I asked, “Wow! You (managed to) finished it??!”

(Actually, my tone was more “Wow, dad, how the hell did you find the make time to even start let alone read it??!”)

He replied, with his I-am-a-tax-guy-don’t-mess-with-me-face,

“No. I haven’t had the time, too busy,” before sitting down next to me.

Shocked Elated, and feeling somewhere borderlining shamelessness and guilt, I could most certainly guess that my dad is totally fed-up with his pesty bookish daughter me πŸ˜†

So? Guess these sweet, dreamy smelling paperbacks are mine now 😁

Question is, should I feel bad? πŸ€” πŸ˜†

p.s. It’s been two weeks and I haven’t started on BDW neither. Still reading Mossad πŸ™ˆ

I love you, dad! ‘Thanks‘ for the books. I’ll pass them back when it’s December (Christmas and New Year’s, come on!). Hope the tax department decides to fine and jail everyone so you can take a break just to read!

*(Both titles were released this year, few months after a historical election win for the opposition party (9th May 2018); instantly becoming bestsellers in Malaysia. For the curious, here are some keywords to help you navigate: “1MBD“, “Jho Low”, “Najib Razak”, “PetroSaudi“, and finally, this link on Medium.)

Goodreads Choice Awards 2018: Voted (and guilty)

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Ah, the annual Goodreads Choice Awards 2018.

I voted “Educated” (Memoir/Autobiography) and “Bad Blood” (Non-Fiction).

Of the 20 within the Memoir/Autobiography category, I read two, the other being “A River in Darkness“, by Masaji Ishikawa (a book which I read in 2017, not 2018).

Of the 20 within the Non-Fiction category, I read two, the other being “Not That Bad“, edited by Roxane Gay.

If you think about it, you could only vote based on the books you chose toΒ read, which makes it rather… hmmm. It’s like voting for a parliamentary (or congress) candidate, except that you only know about the one or two you choose to support without giving 18 others a chance. Doesn’t matter because they never caught your attention anyway!

Regardless. I voted. What a hypocrite! I’ve only read two from each category!

Looking forward to the final results. Openly vouching for John Carreyrou here!

Read: Becoming Nicole – The Transformation of an American Family

Out of 10 books, I’d say eight are read from word to word. As for the remaining two, I tend to skip long-winded paragraphs, especially when it gets repetitive or simply doesn’t carry much or any weight at all.

Becoming Nicole is one of the eight books, and I know for sure that I’ll be including it as the final five contenders for my Best Book of 2018!

I’m not running a fancy blog with mind-blowing, intelligent reviews. But what I am, is that I’m one hell of a serious reader, and that I have learned so much from this family.

Pick up a copy. Learn about the Maines’s.

Read: Daddy’s Curse

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I have to admit – I didn’t catch the title’s drift until after I’ve finished the book. I gave it 5 stars. I think I was a bit biased, and Amazon banned me (I have yet to contest the ban, but I’ll be on it as soon as I have the time to spare. Because, you know, some things are simply not worth the time of your life).

Unlike most books on trafficking, this wasn’t written by a journalist, or someone with a journalistic background (I’ve read more than 20 books on human trafficking, and nearly all of them are written by investigative journalists). I was aware of this fact before deciding to purchase this read.

I’m not going to delve into the storyline or the synopsis. There are countless websites for that.

Here’s what else I did. I got in touch with the author and we managed to exchange a couple of emails. Here’s why. Somewhere in the author’s page, I learned that he was adopted. Being an aspiring writer myself with the growing gains and pains as an adoptee, I felt an instant connection. So I sent him an email about the book and told him that I, too, was adopted. There were a couple of exchanegs back and forth and then we lost touch (the author was working on his next book – writing and publishing, which I’ve purchased and yet to read). It won’t be hard to reconnect. It just takes passion and time.

So that’s the story of my journey with this book. It’s a quick and intense read, one could easily finish it in one or two settings, tops. While the writing can be improved, I don’t think it needs to. Every writer has his/her own way of storytelling. Just because I am used to the “investigative” way of storytelling doesn’t mean I should deprive myself from appreciating other writing styles.

If you like to travel, chat and listen to local folklore and tales, make lasting friendships, learn of others’ lives and hardships, hope to be a better person and pay it forward, this book is for you.

Read: Unbelievable

katyturWow. What can I say. I read this right after Fire And Fury! It was a back-to-back WTF reading experience, and needless to say, it wore me down and I never recovered to wanting to read another book on Trump, not even Bob Woodward’s Fear.

(I’m not even on the fence on Fear. I assume it’s gonna be same shit, different book, similar perspective. What I need, even though 2018 is already coming to an end, is another book. Not a Hillary-bashing book. But a pro-Trump book that would make (or “made”? Have I missed that boo?) the same waves as Fire And Fury did. Any recommendations?)

So, why did I choose Katy Tur? Am I family with her? No. Do I know her? Not quite. Have I seen her report live from anywhere during the presidential rallies? Nope. Do I even follow her on Twitter? Not then.

(Okay, just because I don’t know who she is doesn’t mean I don’t know shit. I’m a big fan of Cooper and Amanpour. I’ve even read Dispatches from The Edge when it was released years ago.)

So why did I pick this up? Because she’s a female reporter amidst all those nasty xxx allegations against Trump? Not gonna lie. Yes, very likely. But I think the bulk of it came from reviews. Reviews that were rather riveting before its release, which felt almost as good as Fire And Fury (I pre-ordered Fire And Fury on Kindle).

How was the book? I gave it 5 stars. She’s a journalist, and the fact that she could write better than how I could control my breathing only made the book a better read.

If I were to sell this book and get people to read it… Here’s a pathetic attempt anyway:

She covered the presidential run. She was a journalist before Trump wanted to be POTUS. She’s used to stressful situations (going live on TV when you have nothing much savvy (it’s Trump) to report on is very stressful). She roped in bits and pieces of her private life (think struggles with relationships with a very demanding job). Plus – these are important, history-making anecdotes leading up to the election of The Most Powerful Man in the World.

Pick it up. You’re bound to enjoy the ride.