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text 2020-03-06 00:06
Coping with OPS: Option Paralysis Syndrome
Sleeping Beauty - Ross Macdonald
Sense & Sensibility - Joanna Trollope
The New World: A History of the United States Atomic Energy Commission, Volume I 1939-1946 - Richard G. Hewlett
British Strategy and War Aims 1914-1916 (Rle First World War) - David French
The Origins of the Cultural Revolution, Volume I: Contradictions Among the People, 1956-1957 - Roderick MacFarquhar

Today I began addressing my usual pre-travel problem of what to take to read. It's one that I've been facing for a few days now, but with my commitments for the week out of the way I can give it the focus it needs.


As usual, I have plenty of books from which to choose -- so much so that it poses the perennial problem of option paralysis. And also as usual, books that seemed ideal at first became less appealing upon further consideration. But I think I'm narrowing it down successfully.


The first book that I'm planning to take is a Ross Macdonald novel. They're as close to a sure thing as I can get in terms of reading enjoyment, and I have a paperback of one of his books that I haven't read yet, so it will be perfect for the trip. The only problem is that I enjoy them a little too much, so I can't count on that occupting me for more than a day or two.


The second book will probably be Joanna Trollope's book in the Austen Project. I enjoyed Curtis Sittenfeld's contribution to it so much that I decided to give another of the volumes a try. We have the updates of Sense and Sensibility and Emma, but for some reason the latter has little appeal for me (Amy Heckerling may have ruined me in terms of Emma updates) so I'll try Trollope's volume instead. I may supplement it with another novel, probably one of my sci-fi paperbacks, but I haven't decided on that yet.


That leaves my big choice -- and I mean that in more ways than one. I'm hoping to take one of my larger nonfiction books with me as my primary read, in part because I realized why I have some many of them waiting to be read on my shelves. I do a good amount of my reading when I work out, which usually favors books that I can hold while I'm pedaling on a recumbent bike or a treadmill. This precludes bringing my whoppers, as they're a little much to handle. That's not a problem at the farm, though, as I end up spending hours stretched out on a sofa, which is an ideal way to read a nice, thick tome. Currently I'm leaning towards a history of the Manhattan Project, but I may select something on the First World War or even take a second crack at the first volume of MacFarquhar's Origins of the Cultural Revolution. It's a major decision, but by giving myself a day and a half to make it I'm pretty sure I'll be able to select something that will make the next week especially enjoyable.

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text 2018-02-12 21:51
Widen your horizons
The People's Republic of Amnesia: Tiananmen Revisited - Louisa Lim

Last year, I decided that I wanted to try my best to learn about different countries and cultures. I became especially interested in China and their Cultural Revolution. (You may recall Do Not Say We Have Nothing.) To that end, I picked up The People's Republic of Amnesia: Tiananmen Revisited by Louisa Lim which is a work of non-fiction that culls firsthand accounts from those who lived through that time and documents how their lives were subsequently changed. The biggest takeaway I had from this book was that I know next to nothing about the history of China...and most of its people can say the same. There has been so much collusion and cover-ups that most people are unaware of the true nature of historical events that occurred in their country. And those that would tell the truth are hushed up one way or another. The government's control works under the guise of "stability of the nation" which keeps the populace blind and even afraid of digging deeper. There is also a fear of the West because of massive political and cultural indoctrination that has occurred over several years. The seasons of political and cultural change can easily be marked by the different people in power. The party 'line' made it imperative that change be accepted by each and every citizen. Firsthand accounts from those who participated in (or lived through) the Cultural Revolution (more info on that here) illustrates the power wielded by those in power. All of these people are still being monitored and silenced. They can never advance in their careers which in a money obsessed country like China spells a certain shunned existence. It was a powerful, eye-opening experience reading this book. It has only increased my interest in learning about new places and people. If you're not a huge fan of nonfiction because you find it too dry then this would be an excellent one to give a shot as it reads more like a work of literature. 10/10 for the obviously thorough research and excellent writing.


What's Up Next: The Little Virtues by Natalia Ginzburg


What I'm Currently Reading: I've Got This Round: More Tales of Debauchery by Mamrie Hart

Source: readingfortheheckoft.blogspot.com
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review 2017-09-29 17:02
Fear-mongering, transformation, and awakening
Do Not Say We Have Nothing: A Novel - Madeleine Thien

Much like when I read The Historian, I was unable to decide if what I was reading was fiction or nonfiction. (Of course, there were no vampires in this book so maybe this isn't the best comparison except for the way they both made me feel.) I couldn't put down Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien despite how much I sometimes wanted to in order to spare myself further heartbreak. This is the story of those who lived through China's Cultural Revolution and their successors a world away in Canada...at least a tiny little slice. Our main characters rotate between Sparrow, Kai, and Zhuli who lived during Mao Zedong's reign of terror, Ai-Ming who took part in the demonstrations of Tiananmen Square, and Marie who wants to piece everything together in present day Canada. This is also about music and its power to lift the soul or to mire it in secrets. A lot of sensitive topics are touched on in this book including but not limited to torture, public humiliation, and sexual assault. This is not just a work of historical fiction but also a mystery about people, events, and a book that keeps resurfacing. Intricately woven with details which seem to make the story come to life in vivid color right before your eyes this book is one that I think everyone should experience. This is the hallmark of excellent historical fiction. 10/10


For a nearly complete list of the classical music mentioned in the book: Spotify.


Source: Goodreads



What's Up Next: Hunger by Roxane Gay


What I'm Currently Reading: Roald Dahl's Book of Ghost Stories

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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url 2015-11-14 01:14
Calls Across the Pacific - Zoë S. Roy

The novel is sold at the Small Press Distributor.

Source: www.spdbooks.org/Producte/9781771332293/calls-across-the-pacific.aspx
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review 2015-11-06 03:51
Calls Across the Pacific, a novel

Fiction. Asian & Asian American Studies.


Amid the Cultural Revolution, Nina Huang, one of the sent-down youths, says goodbye to her boyfriend and sneaks across the bay by boat to Hong Kong, where she is granted political asylum. After her subsequent immigration to the U.S. and later to Canada, Nina's employment and education, and her experiences with romantic/sexual relationships, are a radical departure from the moral code she knew in China. Twice during the time she is living in North America, she travels back to China to reunite with her mother as well as friends, and to see how Chinese society and politics are evolving, and she finally decides, as a journalist, to interview and record her contemporaries' experiences of life in China for a Western audience. In doing so, however, as an escaped citizen who has returned with an American passport, Nina puts herself in dangerous situations and finds herself needing to flee from the red terror once again.

Source: www.spdbooks.org/Producte/9781771332293/calls-across-the-pacific.aspx
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