Books 2014

Another year of non-productivity yet little books read. One of my new year resolutions will have to be about how I spend last time on the internet trying to consume all pop culture and simply finish reading my books.

This year’s favourite fiction find is a tie between Swann, Leonie Swan’s Three Bags Full and Downum’s Neocromancer series. I pretty much fell in love with the George’s sheep in Swan’s book and while I would rate The Bone Palace as my favourite out of the trilogy, I adore Isyllt Iskaldur and would love to see more books featuring this character if it happens.

Non fiction title of the year for me is definitely Strayed, Cheryl Strayed’s Dear Sugar. I started reading the book on the train, started to tear and then trying to hold it and pretend I wasn’t (in the process probably freaking the hell out of everyone) all the way to the cafe where I was waiting for friends for dinner.

I didn’t explore too much this year in terms of English comics; in part because of tighter reins on my wallet, but Fables is definitely coming to an end, and I will have to try and check what other Mignola titles I might be missing out on.

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Books 2013

My 50 books challenge has become harder and harder and at times I wonder; why? What has happened such that it’s been hard to keep track of my reading? A shorter attention span? Lethargy getting the better of me? Distraction from the internet?Parental units snooping on me too often as I’ve been cooped at home? Probably all of the above and more?

As I’ve also noted, despite the alarming number of drafts in my backlog, I’ve actually not published anything else in 2013- a very bad year for me in terms of my non-writing. I’ll probably cheat and quickly edit some of my drafts and post them up…

Meanwhile the 2014 year resolution is to get it together and work on it this year. Let’s see if it happens…

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Books Read 2012

Another year, yet another list of books.

The 50 books challenge hasn’t been fulfilled for the last couple of years and I am painfully aware it’s due to too much time on the internet reading reviews and articles to poring over pictures of cats and tattoos. That, coupled with my gaming needs leads to not-too-surprisingly, a lack of sleep and also inability to string words coherently together.

Also in the the past couple of years, my concentration span seems to have been on a rapid decline. Many a read book has been forgotten if it wasn’t noted physically on a scrap of paper in a scribble upon completion. (It could also simply mean said book wasn’t engaging enough to lodge a spot in my limited brain RAM rather than my brain cells giving it up on me early.)

I’m now pondering a slightly different approach next year to the reading challenge; a few short lines post book-read. An exercise in part a small reminder to force myself to write a bit more (as the lack of entries this year can attest) and in part to think about the book I’ve digested and lastly so I can do a best of series at the end of the year.

Perhaps I should also tack on an Unfinished category?

They won’t make the official count, but it’s a good way to track the books I actually was half-way through before having to return them to the library… Also long considered if I should add the Mandarin books and translated manga? Likewise, they won’t make the official book count because the Mandarin book count is pathetic whilst the manga bit tends to veer to overwhelming…

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Words of the Wise

Just a little while ago, I received a bizzare offer to renew a Long-Dead Romantic Involvement.

I immediately politely declined.

Aside from the lack of any more feelings of eros, I was bewildered that said person who had not met me for almost a decade suddenly wanted to renew our non-relationship in the first place. Our contact in this time had been sparse and brief, all via electronic mail. I could have grown tentacles or migrated to the ends of the world for all of what this person knew.

Anyhow, my refusal should have been the end of it, but said party sent a follow-up, demanding a reason for my refusal.

Taken aback (which part of no wasn’t clear enough?), I solicited friends for advice on the proper response and received an array of capricious yet delightful advice, granting me further insights into the different personas of my motley crew of friends.

Best of the Best 

NT: You must never use the word, “Sorry” in your reply, it puts the power back in their hands! (Analytic Breakdown)

PSY: You should reply, “What do you mean?” (Passive-Aggressive)

Chibi Tako: Ignore it. (Repudiate)

Rock Dolly: BREAK THE EGO. (Nullify)

Ditzy: So will you be moving or will it be the other party? (Outlandish)

Alien: I think you’re taking this too seriously. (Android)

What would I do without them?

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Unseen Gifts

A recently read poem has been re-playing in my head:

The Uses of Sorrow

by Mary Oliver

(In my sleep I dreamed this poem)

Someone I loved once gave me
a box full of darkness.

It took me years to understand
that this, too, was a gift.

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Happy Birthday, 上杉謙信

Happy Birthday to Uesugi Kenshin 上杉 謙信!

Although not within my top three Japanese favorite historical figures, he was regarded as one of the greatest Japanese daimyos in the Sengoku period.

I found his death poem, particularly moving:

「四十九年一睡の夢 一期の栄華一盃の酒」。

“Forty Nine Years; One night’s dream. A lifetime of glory; a cup of sake.”

Perhaps despite all that we seek or strive so hard for, in the end, it all comes to something so fleeting or simple?

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Books Read 2011

Sadly, yet another year where I started off strong, but faltered towards the second half. My reading has again slowed down, as always a reaction towards my getting too much on the internet. I do read a lot of junk online (and not just in relation to Baidu or Tumblr) but also a number of articles and recommendations. I just need to remember to not let it get in the way of the actual reading.

Onwards to the list!

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