Reading Slump

Terrible, terrible, terrible reading slump. I have been reading, I did finish a couple of books over the past few weeks, but things have been really unstable as of late and hence, affected my reading goals.

I am 62% through J.D. Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy. It’s a really good read, and it could be easily finished in a setting. Yes, that kind of book.

I just started Madame Mao: The White-Boned Demon by Ross Terrill. No shit but I misplaced the book around the house somewhere. So I’m probably gonna be stuck at page 12 for a very long time.

Also, just bought No Turning Back by Rania Abouzeid. This is a read I’d want to be 100% with. So I doubt I’ll be able to start anytime soon.

I think that’s pretty much it. I can’t remember whether I wrote about finishing The Slaughter by Ethan Gutmann but yeah I did and I really don’t want to talk about it.

Still Reading: Hiroshima

Hiroshima by John Hersey

My post on Litsy this morning:

I know I take too long to finish a real book. But who’s keeping score but yourself? Just keep reading.

In other books, I’m 80% through with Mercury. I accidentally stumbled on a one star review, which had fellow one star reviews posting as ‘replies‘, on Goodreads. The women all agreed it was trash.

Well, the author has more than 20+ years as a journalist for a national newspaper. And actually spent real time with Freddie Mercury. If the book is trash – then the person who’s reading it must be trash if not trashier. Because all they see is trash.

p.s. See image below. Ladies, if you think you can write a better book, by all means, go ahead. Just make sure you never publish it. Because it 👏 is 👏 gon 👏 na 👏 suck.

(from my Fire 7)

p.s. Yeah. I’m Gina. Today.

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.

TBR: In Extremis

Marie Colvin (January 12, 1956 – February 22, 2012)

Finally, a book on Marie Colvin, although not by Marie Colvin. This is what the world needs, a biography of a fearless journalist, a written legacy to remind us that we need journalists like Marie Colvin, and of course, Lindsey Hilsum, the author herself.

I bought Sandstorm (Lindsey Hilsum’s first book) but I haven’t gotten to it yet, and now this! Sometimes it’s hard to get my priorities right. Should I blog about books, read my books, take a break from my books, be a parent, do some chores, make some money? The answer will always be – do it all at once!

p.s. For those of you whom might be interested, there’s a tribute book on Marie Colvin, titled On The Front Line: The Collected Journalism of Marie Colvin. As I write this, it is currently priced at $0.99 on Kindle, though not for long. If you’re in my vicinity and would like to check it out, I have it in paperback as well, just drop me a line.

Just Starting: JonBenét Ramsey

True crime is one of my go-to subgenres. I don’t jump in on every true crime that’s out there, only the ones that I have shallow to familiar knowledge of. JonBenét, is one tragedy that is impossible to forget.

I started reading the papers and news magazines when I was little (post to come someday). The little girl’s murder was all over the tabloids. I was only eight years older than her. I vividly recall accusations pointing toward her parents, specifically her mother. Nothing else.

(I’m at p.27 and from what I’m reading, this is so Amanda Knox-like. The cops and the media never learn. They just never learn).

When this book showed up on my Kindle store racks, I dived. I am aware that there’s not going to be an answer (some readers HATE open-ended investigative journalism reads, and this might be one of it, like Jeff Ashton’s book on Casey Anthony. I’m okay with it.). Still, this book might add more factual pieces to the puzzle I’ve been subconsciously constructing since the mid-90s, and in the years after, sporadically (via on and off updates I came across randomly online).

Little JonBenét would have been 28 this year. Only 28.

TBR: The Sarawak Report

This is the other book which was included in the paper bag. Time to search for my reading light. The last time I used one was 2007. If that fails, I’ll just have to get a new one online!

ETA: Realized I gave my reading light away to a special little someone! That thing was bought sometime in 2003-4, and runs on x4 AAA batteries (omg I hope she treasures that relic). So I ended up buying new ones, a design which I came across on Litsy! Hope it’ll arrive before Christmas!

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 😆

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

Question is, should I feel bad? 🤔 😆

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

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.)