Ordinary Girls + Silent Invasion

As always, I buy more than I can ever read.

Currently halfway through Ordinary Girls by Jaquira Diaz. I’m enjoying the book, and it is the kind that could be read in one setting. This would make a good movie, except not a movie that the world wants to see. They do, but they would refuse. Not every movie is a slumdog millionaire. But this, is worthy of anyone’s time. We tend to forget them. We tend to ignore them. We tend to overlook their cries for help.

This Covid-19 pandemic has also given me much free time to connect with friends around the world. I was chatting with AL, a close friend of mine who was formerly a Chinese citizen. He’s now downunder and really making it in life and he’s the kind of model immigrant that any country would like to make him theirs. I’m not exaggerating.

So we were chatting about how scary XJP is, and skipped the dumb part about Trump on purpose. After all, what’s the point, wasting our time talking about Trump? Long story short, he was telling me that he just read Silent Invasion by Clive Hamilton and that I should be reading it now. And I told him it’s been on my TBR pile since it was released but haven’t really gotten to it just yet.

Halfway through our “XJP is the scariest CCP leader in history” chat, I bought it. $9.99, bearable. Bearable because I spend so much on books that every single cent counts when it comes to books.

Looking forward to finishing these two before our lockdown ends on 28th April 2020. I don’t see this as a long way to go. Because the pandemic is no joke…

This is it. Isolate. Read more.

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.)

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.