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: The Dark Heart

The Dark Heart by Joakim Palmkvist (Author) and Agnes Broomé (Translator)

This book speaks volumes. VOLUMES. Volumes of unnecessary hoarding of family fortune – to an extent of (likely) mental abuse. But then again! Here comes my usual line as a reader – What do I know?

Also, extremely brave of one of the subject matters – Therese Tang, of Missing People Sweden. If it weren’t for her, Göran Lundblad would still be buried 6.5 feet under, in his own farm; one that he’s been so overprotective over, even from his own daughter and loyal worker (specifically Sara Lundblad, who planned his murder).

Curious as always, I followed Therese Tang on Instagram, a spur of the moment thing because I wanted to see how normal of a person she is, while imagining her (and her role) in the book. Martin Törnblad, the murderer, might be released in 2026. Would he hunt her down and kill her, for ‘betraying’ him? Therese’s IG is not private. Her life is there for him to see. I suppose she’s trying to live a normal life, a life without fear.

But what do I know? Without her bravery, families wouldn’t have closure. Martin would’ve probably killed Sara for God knows what mental reason, and the list of probabilities goes on.

The book was dry in bits, but necessary. Though you may need to bear with some geographical facts which can be a bit heavy to digest (and get your bearings).

Currently Reading: The Marcos Dynasty

“The Marcos Dynasty” by Sterling Seagrave

Mind-blowing, and I’m barely at 1% (the book’s 506 pages). Having relatives from the Philippines, growing up in a multicultural, multiracial community, and being next door neighbors with them, I literally had no idea how bad (read: fake) it was. And this is only page 14.

However, having highlighted this paragraph (along with 12 others), I find myself unable to identify with it, though I was born and raised in (“Malay”) Malaysia. On the contrary, having lived in Beijing, China, for nearly 10 years, I agree with it, almost completely.

99% to go.

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: 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.