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: Sandstorm

Sandstorm by Lindsey Hilsum

This post has been sitting in my drafts folder since March 6th. It’s a good time to clear my drafts this morning, once and for all. Yeah, wishful thinking.

This is my first full-on book on Libya. I came into this book with limited understanding on the average-sized African nation, having read quite a fair bit of Time and Newsweek magazines (shhh, please just leave the word ‘biased’ out of this) in the 80s and 90s as a kid. I wasn’t even a teen yet when I started skimming and half-reading those magazines.

I vividly recall Gaddafi gracing (I was a kid, what much do I know) the covers of those magazines, in his flamboyant robe and headgear. I even thought he was rather charming, as he was sometimes clad in his camouflage gear complete with a pair of black Docs (I assumed it was Docs since he did have quite a lot of contact with Marie Colvin, who was living in the UK then. Who knows. He might have gotten a pair of Docs just to impress her, am I not right?).

I wouldn’t be able to say anything substantial nor smart about this book (I don’t usually do so on this blog, anyway), because I have always considered myself a rookie in world affairs despite having read quite a number of books on current affairs and dictatorial regimes.

I always come away from these books with a fresh new understanding on how certain countries function. The way they function isn’t always the way a ‘normal’ country functions. There’s developed countries, developing countries, and then, there’s countries that are no where close to the ‘developing countries’ line, as dictated by certain, ‘accredited world governing bodies’. Libya is one of it. It is still, in 2019, a new country, though people elsewhere around the world are expecting it to be built into Rome in 8 years (Gaddafi was ousted from power in the wake of the fall of Tripoli to the rebel forces on 20 August 2011).

If you have another nonfiction, good read on Libya, please send them my way. Thank you. Also, preferable first-person accounts.

Thursday, April 11th, 2019.

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.

Currently Reading: The Return

I’m 21% through and I’m already recommending it. Hisham Matar has written two fiction works prior to this memoir.

I decided to read this first, before diving into Lindsey Hilsum’s Sandstorm (also on Libya).

Waiting for my boba again. I know. I shouldn’t be drinking too much boba… But… I’m Asian. Excuses, excuses…

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.

Read: Children of Nazis | Our Crime Was Being Jewish

Two books in one post.

Our Crime Was Being Jewish: Hundreds of Holocaust Survivors Tell Their Stories by Anthony S. Pitch

No words.

Children of Nazis: The Sons and Daughters of Himmler, Göring, Höss, Mengele, and Others— Living with a Father’s Monstrous Legacy, by Tania Crasnianski

Important book, though it would be necessary to have each as a standalone book. There are quite a few, but if you can’t get through all of them, this would do.

Some are still in denial (still Nazis), some have disowned their forefathers, some have vanished (not killed, but chose to live in obscurity), some have changed their names. It’s less than a hundred years, although it feels like it happened 100 centuries ago. Perhaps everyone is busy with life, trying to forget, trying to pretend it never happened. Well, too bad, you deniers. It happened. And it’s less than 80 or so years ago.

Read: Zlata’s Diary

Zlata’s Diary: A Child’s Life in Wartime Sarajevo: Revised Edition, by Zlata Filipović

What is the meaning of life? Why do we read nonfiction, feel the pain, and yet we continue to read nonfiction?

A dear friend of mine (actually, we refer to each other as ‘soul sisters’) is from Serbia, but unfortunately we never got to talk much about the war while we were hanging out together (we have weekend bookish excursions at a place called Bookworm, at Sanlitun), living and working as expats in a foreign country once upon a decade ago. But what I do know is that she feels deeply ashamed of the war, doesn’t quite want to discuss it unless invoked, and that she wish this war never had to happen.

There aren’t many books out there on this war that’s written from a child’s perspective. Thus, if you’re looking for something similar, you should grab this book.