2011 Oscar Commentary

the lost thing dvd

You know how I have a thing for Shaun Tan. So you can imagine how happy I am to find that The Lost Thing (which I posted about mid last year) has been nominated for Best Animated Short Film at the 83rd Academy Awards! Granted it is competing with Pixar’s Day & Night (if you saw Toy Story 3 in the cinema, the short would’ve been screened just before) which I think might be one of the best short animated ever, so it’s a toughie. But I’m happy nonetheless!

day & night

Moving on to my favorite category: Best Animated Feature Film. Pixar movies have been nominated, and more often won, every single year since the award category was started in 2001, so it’s no surprise that Toy Story 3 is there. In fact, I’ll be surprised if it doesn’t win. Toy Story and Toy Story 2 were out prior to 2001, so they never had a chance to win an Oscar. The series deserve to get one, don’t you think? Also Toy Story 3 is nominated for Best Picture this year, one of only three animated movies ever to be nominated for Best Picture (first was Beauty and the Beast in 1991 and Up in 2009). The Illusionist (French, from the guys who brought you The Triplets of Belleville) is a nice inclusion. How To Train Your Dragon is said to be the best DreamWorks to date, so that’s no surprise too (no Shrek 4!).

On a side note, I watched Tangled yesterday and enjoyed it immensely. It has everything you want or expect from a Disney movie: the songs, the happy ending. With Disney you know it’s going to be safe, everybody is gonna be happy at the end, which is not a bad thing! I do wish they go back to making awesome 2D style films like they used to. With the highly acclaimed Tangled, does it mean Disney is making a comeback? I surely hope so. The omission at the award kinda bugged me a bit.

Now on to Best Picture. There are ten nominees:

  • Black Swan
  • The Fighter
  • Inception
  • The Kids Are All Right
  • The King’s Speech
  • 127 Hours
  • The Social Network
  • Toy Story 3
  • True Grit
  • Winter’s Bone

What a great list. Just watched Black Swan last weekend so it’s super fresh in my mind. A disturbing psychological thriller with ballet as center stage. What a great combination. Go Natalie Portman. Watched the advanced screening of The Kids Are All Right on free tickets many moons ago, before all the critics’ acclaims and the buzz. The film was nice. I love it when you go with no expectation at all and be pleasantly surprised. Because of some bad timing I missed Inception and The Social Network at the cinema, but I’m dying to see those. The King’s Speech was just out in Australia, so I haven’t got a chance to catch that. Would really like to see 127 Hours too after seeing the awesome trailer and knowing James Franco is playing (not yet out in Australia).

For Best Actor and Actress in Leading and Supporting Role, Michelle Williams nomination for Blue Valentine made me desperate to see the film. Saw the trailer and bits and I’m curious, especially that she’s playing with co-star Ryan Gosling. Love those two folks, can’t wait to see them together.

Another one I should note is Jacki Weaver for her role in Animal Kingdom, a true blue Aussie movie. Jacki’s nomination signifies the first time in 14 years that an Australian actor has been nominated for playing an Australian character in an Australian film that’s set in Australia. (Last time it was Geoffrey Rush, who won the Oscar for his work in Shine.) (from popsugar) So that’s a biggie. Animal Kingdom received very high acclaims here. I don’t however have urgent need to see it as it deals with Australian underground life. Not exactly my type of movie. Can you blame me? For mafia movies, I just make exception for Godfather.

The Academy Awards will take place on Sunday 27 February with Anne Hathaway and James Franco (nominated as Best Actor himself for 127 Hours) as youngest Oscar hosts. Take a deep breath everyone.

Nine Parts of Desire: The Hidden World of Islamic Women by Geraldine Brooks (1994)

nine-parts-of-desire-the-hidden-world-of-islamic-women“My interest in Islam had everything to do with being a women and zero to do with being a Jew,” thought Geraldine when asked by a Muslim Gaza woman why every time someone comes to research about Islam, they turn out to be Jewish. My interest in Islam has everything to do with growing up in the country with the biggest Muslim population in the world. Recently my brother in law married a Muslim and converted, and the same case with another friend. So this book which always seemed to be on the brink of horizon, was finally read.

Having lived in Indonesia and Malaysia for more than 18 years, Islamic rules and society are not new to me. However, there are always questions in my mind about how things came to be this way and that, about why Islam is often identified with oppression of women, about all the violence done in the name of Islam, about polygamy, and so on and so forth. Nine Parts of Desire did not answer all of them, but it definitely satisfied some and sparked things I would never have thought before. What I loved is that it specifically talks about women issues and Brooks has done her research first hand extensively, spending a decade talking and befriending many Muslim women in Middle East countries, poor and rich, ex-foreigners, converts, royal family. I applaud her for being so brave. Being a woman and a Jew at that really put her at disadvantaged position in that area. In many ways she’s everything I hope I could be.

There are 12 chapters in total, each discussing a different issue: veil, marriage, polygamy, jihad, about women in education, politics, army, business, art or entertainment. It covers many countries in Middle East: Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Jordan, Egypt, and more. One of my favorites is the chapter on women soldiers in UAE, the obstacles they need to break to become fully trained and qualified soldiers, fighting along with the men, even supervising them. In any country, women soldiers seem to be rare breeds, but this is even done in extreme Muslim country, who is used to having women at home and in complete obedience. The idea is so out of the way it seems absurd! Cool is the word to describe them!

In Indonesia polygamy is something that is quite real. Men from range of classes are known to take more than one wife, beknownst to one’s wife or otherwise. Influential clerics do the same, using Islam as reasoning base, and caused an uproar. Polygamy seems to be against the society’s conscience in this age, but for some people there’s always Islamic rules to fall back to. Here’s what the book says:

“In the Koran, polygamy is presented as an option for men, not as a requirement. In seventh-century Arabian society, there had been no restriction on how many wives a man could take. The Koran, in stipulating four as a maximum, was setting limits, not giving license. A close reading of the text suggest that monogamy is preferred.

The issue of polygamy is analogous to that of slavery, which was gradually banned in Islamic countries. As with polygamy, the wording of the Koran permits, but discourages, slavery. Muhammad’s sunnah included the freeing of many of his war-captive slaves. Because freeing slaves is extolled as the act of a good Muslim, most Muslims now accept that conditions have changed enough since the seventh century to allow them to legislate against a practice that the prophet probably would have chosen to ban outright, if his own times had allowed, Polygamy is already on the decline throughout the Islamic world, and many Muslim scholars see no religious obstacle to a legal ban on the practice.” ~ p186

On the issue of inheritance, the Koran states that daughter should receive only half of the son’s inheritance. Interesting point is that the Koran was actually advanced in its time when it was first out.

“The Koran sets out the formula for inheritance as an instruction which all believers must follow. In seventh-century Arabia the Koran’s formula was a giant leap forward for women, who up until then had usually been considered as chattels to be inherited, rather than as heirs and property owners in the own right. Most European women had to wait another twelve centuries to catch up to the rights the Koran granted Muslim women. In England it wasn’t until 1870 that the Married Women’s Property Acts finally abolished the rule that put all a woman’s wealth under her husband’s control on marriage.” ~ p186

It reminded me of the time last year when I read Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. For the life of me I couldn’t make sense of why the Bennett sisters and their mother get nothing if their father dies–the estate would instead go to a distant male cousin. Now that seems backwards in comparison with the Koran, doesn’t it?

In the face of politic, in 1994 women led three Muslim countries: Tansu Ciller for Turkey, Bagum Khaleda Zia for Bangladesh, and Benazir Bhutto for Pakistan. If you think about it, USA has never had a female president. Australia just appointed a female Prime Minister last year (2010). Why is that? It’s a wonder that I have no answer to. These Muslim women get death threats (and Bhutto was assassinated in 2007) for being female in authority position. You’d wonder how they got to the top in the first place.

There are a lot more aspects discussed in the book. Though at times Brooks cried disagreement, her objectivity is more prevalent throughout the book. What I concluded at the end was that Islam seems to be religion of contradictions and therefore it’s quite easy for some groups of people to twist the text to their own interpretation. Added to the mix is the conservative Arab culture where Islam is easily absorbed and takes root.

Nine Parts of Desire was published in 1994, so some things have obviously changed since then (just knew that Queen Noor of Jordan has become a widow in 1999). But to my understanding the progression of Muslim women’s lives and roles goes at snail’s pace, so I believe the book is still as relevant today. Check out the afterword written post 9/11 at Geraldine Brooks’ website. Love the last paragraph. Brooks writes so beautifully that I’m sure I’m going to check her other books including the fictions.

It could be very depressing to read about the unfairness and the inequality towards female gender in that part of the world, but above all Brooks looked into the women who succeed in their own small or big ways, who prevail against all odds. In many ways, it’s celebration of the strength of women, of the choices they make in their lives, whether we agree to or not.Brooks, Geraldine

“I have my own young sons now, and it is unlikely that I will go adventuring again into lives so far removed from my own.  Somehow, moving house between London and Sydney, Virginia and Massachusetts, I lost the chador in which so many of my memories were wrapped.  Yet they are with me, always; memories of women who trusted me across the chasm of faith and culture. When I think of them, I think of laughter and kindness, warmth and hospitality.  I think of the things that united us rather than those things on which we disagreed.  They wanted to live, to see their children live.  That, at least, we had in common.  That, at least, is a place to start.” ~ Nine Parts of Desire, New Afterword

5 stars
1994, 255 pp

Nine Parts of Desire at Geraldine Brooks website

More Memorable Quotes

“Almighty God created sexual desire in ten parts; then he gave nine parts to women and one to men.” ~ Ali ibn Abu Taleb, husband of Muhammad’s daughter Fatima and founder of the Shiite sect of Islam

“”Rose,” I said, incredulous, “are you telling me you’ve ruled him out because he had dirty fingernails? For goodness’ sake! You can always clean his fingernails.” She raised her head and gazed at me sadly with her huge dark eyes. “Geraldine, you don’t understand. You married for love. What’s a dirty fingernail on someone you love? But if you are going to marry somebody you don’t love, everything, everything, has to be perfect.”” ~ p65

“Few women’s colleges have their own libraries, and libraries shared with men’s schools are either entirely off limits to women or open to them only one day per week. Most of the time women can’t browse for books but have to specify the titles they want and have them brought out to them.

But women and men sit the same degree examinations. Professors quietly acknowledge that women’s scores routinely outstrip the men’s. “It’s no surprise,” said one woman professor. “look at their lives. The boys have their cars, they can spend the evenings cruising the streets with their friends, sitting in cafes, buying black-market alcohol and drinking all night. What do the girls have? Four walls and their books. For them, education is everything.”” ~ p150

Middle East Challenge, Aussie Author Challenge, Reading the World

Also reviewed by
Books in the City
| Hey Lady! Whatcha Readin’? | Muse Book Reviews

The Anticipated Movies of 2011

Movies based on books that I look forward to this year: (all books have yet to be read!)

1) Cloud Atlas (book by David Mitchell)

There isn’t much information on this one yet apart from rumours of impressive cast. Imdb says it’s out in 2011, but knowing how imdb works, don’t really count on it.

2) Jane Eyre (book by Charlotte Bronte)

First knew from Claire. Mia Wasikowska is playing! After watching her in The Kids Are All Right and Alice in Wonderland I can’t wait to see more of her performance. Check out the trailer.

Jane Eyre

3) The Invention of Hugo Cabret (book by Brian Selznick)

Martin Scorsese seems like an odd choice to direct this film based on children book, but we never know. I have flipped through the book before and the charcoal illustrations in it were astounding. Can’t wait to see how they would visualize it in a movie.

Hugo Cabret

4) The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn (book by Georges Rémi)

Actually I don’t know if there’s a Tintin book based on this particular story. I read Tintin books when I was small and lost track which one is which. The film is worked on by our neighbouring studio in New Zealand, the same studio who did Avatar with James Cameron (who happened to visit OUR studio last week, just saying… yes, THE Cameron). Directed by Steven Spielberg, using the same mocap technology with Avatar, I’m intrigued.

And now for the most exciting one of all!

5) Winnie the Pooh (book by A.A. Milne)

winnie the pooh

With Australian bad luck we might get the movie played here in 2012, but no matter, I’m going to wait. Did you get teary too watching the trailer? Did you? The 2D traditional animation is so perfect (I’m gonna scream if another person compares it with Yogi Bear). And the music! So true!

Oh simple thing, where have you gone? Why don’t we go somewhere only we know?

You will get more Pooh from me this year!

Did I miss any movie I should know about? Let me know!

A 2010 Wrap-up Meme

from Matt:

The first book you read in 2010: Waiting by Ha Jin

The last book you finished in 2010: Nine Parts of Desire by Geraldine Brooks

Your favorite “classic” you read in 2010: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

The book series you read the most volumes of in 2010: Bone by Jeff Smith (the last 2)

The genre you read the most in 2010: Literary Fiction and Comics

The book that disappointed you: Equal Rites by Terry Pratchett (just because expectation was high!)

The book you liked better than you expected to: One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (my first experience with GGM was lukewarm)

The hardest book you read in 2010 (topic or writing style): The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas (because of all the swearings)

The funniest book you read in 2010: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (did I laugh!)

The saddest book you read in 2010: A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry

The shortest book you read in 2010: The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter (149 pp)

The longest book you read in 2010: A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry (614 pp)

A book that you discovered in 2010 that you will definitely read again: The History of Love by Nicole Krauss

A book that you never want to read again: I don’t generally reread books, so almost all of them.

And you?

Can’t Let the New Year Go By Without A Set of Plans for 2011

QVB, MelbourneQVB, Melbourne
(Can never resist to take a jumping picture when met with big open field)

As much as goals are meant to be abandoned, I can’t help setting myself a few reading plans for this year and see how far I will drift away at the end of the year.

But first thing first, how did I go in 2010? The bullet points in italic were what I said beginning of 2010:

* Read more non-fiction. I plan to spend half of my commute time reading non-fiction. I’ve been doing it since last week and it seems to work.

Did not achieve this. Non-fiction is still less than 5% of my read. But I’m optimistic given the fantastic two non-fictions I read at the end of last year. It might have triggered me to look out for more.

* Read more short stories. I plan on doing regular Short Saturday (not every week, but hopefully often enough) in which I share my journey to find the greatest short stories ever.

I actually managed to read one short story per week for a number of weeks, but it died down somewhere in the middle of the year perhaps? I feel there’s very little incentive for me to read short stories. Too short and nobody cares when I write about them.

* New-to-me authors that I plan to tackle this year: David Mitchell, Sarah Waters, Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte (Pride and Prejudice and Jane Eyre specifically)

I managed to cross one of them as I read Pride and Prejudice last year, but that’s it. The rest will have to be brought over to 2011.

* Start on my personal project to read big readers’ all-time favorite books!

I had this twice (half of the quarterly thing I planned to do) so it’s not so bad. Will continue this project in 2011! I have one blogger in line, but I have yet to find the time and mood to read her book selections.

So what’s the plan for 2011?

I plan to tackle this year:
New-to-me authors: David Mitchell, Sarah Waters (both brought over from 2010), Yukio Mishima, John Steinbeck
Specific books: Jane Eyre, Anna Karenina (There are THREE War and Peace read-along that I know are going this year, but alas, my mind is set on Anna Karenina for 2011), Gone with the Wind, and His Dark Materials
Known authors: Truman Capote and T.C. Boyle (I’ve read both one of their short stories, which rocked my world, and I’ve been meaning to read their longer works)

On top of continuing my perpetual projects, I will try to read more authors specifically from South America as that’s one part of the world that I feel is really lacking from my reading life, and to add more new countries in general to my Reading the World project (in 2010 I only read 3 new countries). Just a personal musing: I find it funny when people say they want to read more “International fiction”. For me all fiction in English is International fiction, as English is not my first language and I don’t read books in my mother tongue (since they’re almost non-existent).

Now, challenges. I went back and forth in my mind about joining challenges this year. I want this year to allow whim reading as much as possible. But then challenges are good to meet people with overlapping book taste. Last year, having decided to not join some challenges though I had high interest in them, I ended up following the challenge site/page anyway, lurking and stalking. Seems a bit silly. Why not just join? That way I get to introduce myself to people “Hi, my name is Mee. I’m interested in these types of books and will try to read more of them this year…”, support the challenge host and spread some love. Even if I don’t complete them, who cares? There’s no challenge police (or is there?). So I created this challenge page for 2011 in which I gather all the challenges/non-challenge activities around the blogosphere that I’m interested to follow. Whether I’d be successful in completing them or not is beside the point. All in the name of fun. Guilt free!

So there you go, my set of plans. How about you?

I Spent My New Year in a Tow Truck (Plus 2010 In Review)

Yes I spent a good portion of my new year’s eve on the side of the road, in the middle of nowhere, about an hour from Melbourne. It was the hottest day of the summer of 39C and our car gave up (or blew up–I saw smoke). While waiting for the tow truck we were in pitch dark, me with a tiny torchlight on occasionally. Close to midnight the truck came and off we went to the closest small town. We cheered Happy New Year with the driver, who happened to be really nice. Then we finished off the night sleeping in the car. Woke up once because it got really cold (that’s Melbourne for you–four seasons in one day) and took our sleeping bags out. Spent new year morning in the garage parking lot with nobody at sight, because everything only opens on Tuesday the 4th.

But enough of the drama. At least we’re here in Sydney again, safe and sound, save the car and half of its content. We’ll have to go back to pick up the car later and I have yet to figure out when and how. Before the abrupt end of our journey though, I had the most fantastic time revisiting Melbourne. I lived there for 6 years before and it’s like my second home. It’s the place I live the longest in apart from my birth city. Had so much fun roaming around the city and revisited my favorite places.

melbourne central

What you may not realize is that all your year-end blog posts have kept me company during my darkest hours (literally) as I was reading them on my iPhone, praying for the battery to last longer. I love reading all of the Best Of 2010 lists and statistics and whatnot. Have not commented on any of them I believe, but I’ve been reading. So thank you all, for being around, not just in that pitch darkness, but for this whole year (and for some of you, even years before). I haven’t been the most active bloggers around as I struggle to juggle (hey that rhymes) all aspects of life but I know I want to keep this blog breathing. I get such fantastic reads and recommendations from book bloggers that it’s hard to imagine going through reading life alone ever again.

So talking about fantastic reads, the year of 2010 I believe has been my most successful. Not in numbers, definitely not, as I have only managed to read 35 books (in comparison with my highest number in 2009 of 57 books), but boy do I struggle to pick my favorites as I have so many of them! I gave so many 5 stars this year I thought I might’ve been getting soft. But really, why not 5 stars, if they’re all amazing?! I think as a reader I might just start to know which books are for me and which ones are not. Anyway let’s get on to the whole wrap-up thing. The format I took from my 2009 in review, which I think works quite well.

Favorite Books of 2010

Favorite Novels of 2010 (in the order of reading)

WaitingFlowers for AlgernonA Fine BalanceThe History of Lovealices-adventures-in-wonderland-and-through-the-looking-glass-and-what-alice-found-thereone hundred years of solitudeThe-Unbearable-Lightness-of-BeingThe Remains of the Day

  1. Waiting by Ha Jin
  2. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
  3. A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry
  4. The History of Love by Nicole Krauss
  5. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
  6. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez
  7. The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera
  8. The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro

Favorite Non Fiction of 2010

Banker to the Poornine-parts-of-desire-the-hidden-world-of-islamic-women

  1. Banker to the Poor by Muhammad Yunus
  2. Nine Parts of Desire by Geraldine Brooks

Actually, they’re the only 2 non-fiction I read this year (apart a couple of graphic memoirs), both my last books of the year (review pending for Nine Parts of Desire). But both are superb!

Favorite Graphic Novel/Comic/Manga/Picture Book of 2010

Pride of BaghdadThe Contract with God Trilogy

pedro and meOishinbo Ramenlost-thing

  1. Pride of Baghdad by Brian K. Vaughan and Niko Henrichon
  2. The Contract with God Trilogy by Will Eisner
  3. Pedro and Me by Judd Winick (memoir)
  4. The Oishinbo series by Tetsu Kariya and Akira Hanasaki (read two, can’t pick one)
  5. The Lost Thing by Shaun Tan (could’ve as well picked The Red Tree, but I haven’t reviewed that)

Did I just pick half of what I read in 2010 as favorites? Ah well, who’s counting right? Hope this year everything I read will be a favorite! Yes, I have great hopes!

How many books read in 2010?

I read 35 books and 16 short stories. A decline in number as I read 57 books in 2009 and 39 books in 2008, but a definite increase in quality!

How many fiction and nonfiction?

31 fiction (88.5%) and 4 non fiction (11.5%). Still struggling to increase the non fiction percentage.

Format breakdown?

20 all-text books (57%), 15 comics/picture books (43%). No audio book for me this year, I guess I’m just not really into it. The percentage is very similar with last year.

How many female and male authors?

1 male & female collaboration, 11 female (31.5%), 23 male (66%). Slightly better than last year, which was 25%/75% for female/male percentage, which shocked me.

How many new authors?

28 new authors (collaborating authors count as one). So only 8 books are not-new-to-me authors. That’s 80% new authors. I may try to keep this up in 2011 as there are a lot of new authors I want to try.

Favorite new authors?

Rohinton Mistry, Angela Carter, Nicole Krauss, Lewis Carroll, Eileen Chang, Gabriel García Márquez, Milan Kundera, Geraldine Brooks.

Angela Carter and Eileen Chang’s books didn’t quite make it to the top list, but I’d definitely love to read more of them. GGM book wasn’t a new author to me, but One Hundred Years of Solitude secured him on my favorite authors list. Some of my favorite books’ authors are not here because I have a feeling they might just be a one-hit wonder (e.g. Waiting, Flowers for Algernon), but I could be wrong!

Most read author of the year?

Shaun Tan (3 books). Who’s surprised?

Biggest disappointment of the year?

I would say Mouse Guard Fall 1152 by David Petersen and Equal Rites by Terry Pratchett didn’t quite meet my rather high expectations. But they’re not bad books.

Breakdown of Publication Years?

2 from 1800s (5%), 16 from 1900s (46%), 17 from 2000s (49%). Expected.

Oldest book read?

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (1813)

Breakdown of Ratings?

2010 ratings

Definitely the best so far! I read so many excellent books and no bad books! A happy reader I am!

How many challenges completed?

11 challenges (link will bring you to my Challenges and Projects 2010 that I just collected yesterday)

Perpetual Projects Progress

The individual project pages are on my side bar if you’re interested.

1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die

I read 9 books from the list in 2010, a slight off from the ideal 10 as I couldn’t finish the last one before the end of year (I read 12 in 2009). But I’m okay with that. It increased my percentage of 2.8% of the original 1001 books list to 3.7%. Slowly slowly getting there to 5%, maybe will reach that in 1012.

  1. A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry
  2. The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
  3. The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera
  4. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  5. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark
  6. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  7. The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman (this is actually a short story, don’t know why it’s on the list. You can read this quickly to up your number :)
  8. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
  9. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

I must say they’re all great books that I read this year. Several of them made to the top of my favorites of the year as you can see!

Reading the World

New countries added in 2010: Bangladesh, Canada (really?), Czechoslovakia. Pretty bad. Hope to add more countries to the list in 2011.

Pulitzer Prize

  1. Waiting by Ha Jin (Finalist 2000)
  2. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee (Winner 1961)
  3. The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck (Winner 1932)

Loved all of them.

Booker Prize

  1. Room by Emma Donoghue (shortlist 2010)
  2. The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas (longlist 2010)
  3. A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry (shortlist 1996)
  4. The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro (winner 1989)

All great books. The Slap is my least favorite, but it’s alright.

Commonwealth Writers’ Prize

This is a fairly new award that I just paid attention to last year, so I haven’t made much progress on it (full list here). But it’s an award that I would keep my eye on this year. Books read in 2010:

  1. The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas (SE Asia and South Pacific Best Book and Best Overall Book 2009)
  2. A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry (Canada and the Caribbean Best Book and Best Overall Book 1996)

Nobel Laureates in Literature

  1. Gabriel Garcia Marquez: One Hundred Years of Solitude
  2. Pearl S. Buck: The Good Earth (new-to-me author, sort of)

Special mention: Banker to the Poor by Muhammad Yunus (winner of Nobel Peace Prize in 2006)

Orange Prize

  1. The History of Love by Nicole Krauss (shortlist 2006)

The History of Love is on my favorite books of all time. But Orange Prize and me don’t seem to connect well, as not many books seem to interest me.

Disney Literature Challenge

Just one: Disney vs. Carroll on Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Couldn’t get to Pooh. This year I’m sure! Peter Pan might be next.

I might add Guardian’s 1000 Novels Everyone Must Read to my Perpetual Projects. Like I don’t have enough, eh?

If you’re still here. Congratulations, you made it! :) Thank you for staying with me and Bookie Mee up to this point. Here’s to more excellent reading years ahead!

Update 4 Jan ’11

A couple more stats that I picked up from others, just for my own notes:

Where did the books come from?

Own 19 books (received from publishers 3 books, from other–Claire–1 book) (54.5%), 16 books from the library (45.5%).

Translated books?

7 books (20%)


17 books (49%)

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