17 January 2006

Books I've read recently

A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary
by Xiaolu Guo
At first I didn't like this book because reading the low level English was a bit too much like my job, but it gets better. I also couldn't stand the creepy boyfriend, the type of which I've met many in Asia preying on my stuents. But, eventually I fell in love with this book. Keep focussing on the main character. She's very honest and innocent to the point where you almost start to worry about her. I can't say more without giving the game away, but I'd highly recommend this book.

The Anti 9-5 Guide by Michelle Goodman
Somewhat inspiring by she annoyingly loves to use cliches and it gets a bit old after the first 500. Also, the book would be more relevant to those in their 20s and who also live in the U.S.

Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven
by Susan Jane Gilman
Read my review here

Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts
Easily one of the best books I've ever read! It took me a long time to read as I not only moved house twice in the duration, but one of the moves was between Japan and NZ. I was also doing an intensive course, job hunting, starting a new job, and all the other things in life that distract you from your purpose on Earth of being a reader. I really don't know how to review this book as I was so blown away by it. I can only say that I would and I do recommend it to everyone I meet, so please read it!

Shark's Fin and Sichuan Pepper by Fuscia Dunlop
I really loved this book and I'm having a hard time taking it back to the library. Major attachment issues! Fuscia went to China as a student and quickly became bored with learning random useless words in her Chinese classes. So, she ended up spending more time in local cafes talking to the chefs and asking about what they were cooking. In short, her Chinese improved in leaps and bounds, and she ended up an expert in Sichuan cookery. The best part is how she slowly went from a person who couldn't look at a thousand year egg, to someone who'd eat just about anything. I'd recommend this to anyone who's lived abroad and also has a deep love of cooking and food (such as I do!).

The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri

Three Cups of Tea by Mortensen and Relin
I highly recommend it:-)

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

Saving Fish from Drowning by Amy Tan
I like Amy Tan yet I've only read two books by her previously and one was autobiographical. Unfortunately, this book was not as good. It was interesting, but the plot was extremely dragged out and I kept thinking I might give up. But, no! Never give up! The best may be yet to come... well, the ending was quite "nice", but I really don't think it was her best work.

The Buddha of Suburbia by Hanif Kureishi
This book is seventeen years old and was made into a TV movie when I was at Uni. I never saw it, and indeed, never got round to reading the book until this year. Now I know why it was so popular...it's brilliant! It follows the "growing up" up a young Brit of Indian descent in London and contains great references to class, racism, sexuality, pop culture, the arts, and day to day life in Britain fromt the 50's to the 80's. It's also a commentary on the general process of finding your place in the world and really highlights that it is a process and not just a "do it and then achieve it" scenario. Some of it is hilarious in it's transparent portrayal of everyday life in Britain for those on the 'edges' of society.

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