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: 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).

Read: Ten Days in a Madhouse

Ten Days in a Madhouse by Nellie Bly

While reading this – I kept thinking – Wow. These evil nurses and doctors are worse than Guantanamo, Nazis and Mengele, Russian gulags, Iran-Iraq, DPRK and Chinese prison camps combined.

Why so, if you may ask? But before I go there… First, this was published in 1886. Also, you should read about Nellie Bly – She pioneered what we call today, “investigative journalism”. And her time is before Martha Gellhorn, before John Hersey.

So – why are these people more evil than the ones who came after them? Because… they were supposed to be caring for the mentally ill? Well. What do I know.

That’s all there is to it.

Currently Reading: Hiroshima

I came across this book while reading In Extremis, a book about the life and death of Marie Colvin by Lindsey Hilsum.

I’m reading three other books concurrently, among them:

  • Sandstorm by Lindsey Hilsum
  • (Forgot the title, but it’s about Anne Perry and the murder in 1954)
  • Operation Playboy by Kathryn Bonella

I’m actually used to juggling few books at a time. Some wonder how I do it. Because it’s literally more than two.

I have three reading devices (Kindle basic, Paperwhite, Fire). Then there’s the hard copies of few of the books I’m reading.

So there’s four reads now.

One I read at night (underneath my pillow).

One I read while at the dining table (on the dining table, always).

Two I read when I’m outside in between breaks and other errands (one’s a book while the other is in one of my devices – both are always in my go-bag).

It’s not hard for me to get back into the book provided that it’s sort of under the same surroundings or setting.

At least it works for me.

I don’t have to go back a few pages in order to recall where I was (was I). Just turn the page, look at the previous page or paragraph, and I’m there.

The key, I believe, is to read every, single, day, and night. This helps me to stay ‘on track’ with all these reads.

I don’t know why I had developed this habit, or under what circumstances had this habit came to me. Probably because I have so many books which I want need to read, and also because my daily, mundane, noisy routine has compelled me to read even more so as to make up for all those noise.

How do you read? Whatever it is, be grateful that you can read, able to read. Because it’s beyond a privilege. It’s a blessing.


So far (2019), I’ve managed to finish four books:

  1. I, Who Did Not Die
  2. Small Fry by Lisa Brennan-Jobs
  3. The Return by Hisham Matar
  4. Ten Days in a Madhouse by Nellie Bly

Happy reading, everyone!

What Reading Spree?

“I just went on a reading spree!”

If you have days or times when you can ‘go on a reading spree’, well, I’m jealous of you, though not happy for you. There’s no happiness in seeing somebody, or anybody, for being able to read and read and read, and then, finish – done – next!

This book has been sitting on my dining table for two months. It’s not that I don’t want to finish it in one day or even within a week or two. The book is good. The author is fearless, passionate even, as she needs to interview talk to druglords who are incarcerated across few of the most notorious prisons in the world.

It’s funny how people pass comments like, wow, “You’re still reading that book?”, or, “You took that long to finish one book?”

It’s as if people who read don’t necessarily have lives beyond books (we wish we hadn’t, really), or, as if people who don’t read, knows what’s it like to actually spend quality time reading a book.

Some people could finish 700 pages in one setting, sure. They have different reading speeds, they could comprehend the context better, they didn’t have other commitments, they probably have no kids, grown kids who don’t need them, or they work in jobs that enables them to read, or they prefer to screw up their jobs and family or whatsoever so that they could read.

Who knows? Who are you to know?

I couldn’t read all day and night. Not even all day. There’s work, there’s chores, there’s kids, there’s texts to respond to otherwise they’ll call (which is worse) if you don’t respond.

Then there’s moody days and gloomy skies.

It’s so stupid, seeing bookworms belittling each other over “you just started that?! I finished that last month!”

Shut up, b*tch. Better, f*ck off.

This is why people are discouraged from reading. Well, at least one of the reasons. People just wouldn’t leave them alone.

If you come across a snobbish bookworm, send them the link to this post. May this be a STFU reminder for those morons.

“Reading sprees” are a privilege, never a right. Sure, neglect everything else and naturally everything will become a right for/to you. I hope our paths will never cross, and by that I mean literally and digitally.

Read: I, Who Did Not Die

I, Who Did Not Die by Zahed Haftlang and Najah Aboud with Meredith May

First book completed this year. I started in December 2018.

This book, is heavy. I came crashing into this book after decades of media absence from the Iran-Iraq war.

By ‘media absence’, I mean I haven’t read anything in-depth on the said war since the late 90s. As a teen, I read a lot of newspapers and news magazines, and I’ve read about the tortures and all the inhumane stories from this very war. But to relive it, with even gorier details (how they hang you), once again drags you back to hopelessness. The world, as we all should realize, by now, a year shy from turning 2020, is hopeless. There’s little hope left in humanity. Torture is still going on. So are wars. What’s new?

For Zahed and Najah to have survived the war and torture let alone found each other – proof that there’s still hope.

Thank you, Meredith May – for bringing this story to life, for writing this legacy. How is this not a bestseller, I have no idea. Probably the cover. This has got to do better than Educated by Tara Westover or that Crawdad book.

[2018] May The Best Book Win!

Over the past week, posts on my Facebook groups has been filled with hashtags #2018fav6, #2018fav9, you get the idea. I didn’t participate because it would be too hard to pick 6! But then along came a true genius who cooked up a fed-up post, asking us to share our least favorite books of the year. Needless to say I jumped in because that was super easy for me. I even thanked her for that!

Back to May The Best Book Win!

Here are my favorite books of the year. Some genres are intertwined (supposed to, for example, some memoirs are of war and history but I didn’t categorize them under that genre). So to get around that, I compartmentalized them under the genre intended by the author or publisher (“it’s a memoir about war and history, therefore it’s a memoir”).

Here’s the list! For a brief version click here.

Best in Memoirs, Autobiographies

Tie!

I’d Like to Apologize to Every Teacher I Ever Had: My Year as a Rookie Teacher at Northeast High, by Tony Danza

&

She’s Not There by Jennifer Finney Boylan

Best in Biographies

In Extremis: The Life and Death of the War Correspondent Marie Colvin by Lindsey Hilsum

Best in Current Affairs, War, History

Fire And Fury, by Michael Wolff 

Best in Business

Bad Blood: Secrets & Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou

Best in LGBTQIA

Becoming Nicole: The Transformation of an American Family, by Amy Ellis Nutt

Best in True Crime

Mossad: The Greatest Missions of The Israeli Secret Service, by Michael Bar-Zohar and Nissim Mishal

Best in Fiction

房思琪的初戀樂園, 林奕含 著 
Fang Si-Chi’s First Love Paradise by  Lin Yi-Han

You’ve reached the end of this post and the year – Thank you for reading my posts (or this blog). I hope you’ve found what you were looking for. Keep reading, stay foolish!