2012 and 2013 Stuff

Happy belated new year y’all! I just came back from my 17-days road trip around Spain, Gibraltar, and Morocco a few days ago (follow Wandering Mee for travel related content), got a bit ill, got back to work, and overall am just trying to catch up with real life!

2012 has been an okay year reading-wise. As older blogging friends probably know, my reading has gone down terribly since I came to London in May 2011. But in the past couple of months I feel like I start getting a bit of the groove back. So I’m feeling good about 2013!

My plan is to KISS – Keep it Super Simple ;). Read books I’ve always been meaning to read. I’ll be prioritizing British authors and books that are set in London/Britain. Fall in the categories are Philip Pullman, Jeanette Winterson, The Secret History, Sherlock Holmes, Rudyard Kipling, Wolf Hall, The Hobbit / LOTR, more Oscar Wilde, more Bill Bryson, more Jane Austen, finishing Jane Eyre (I’m currently in the middle of Fingersmith by Sarah Waters and Londoners, both of which are set in London/England and I’m feeling really good about them). Will occasionally fit in American or European authors and book that are set in Europe like Hemingway (Fiesta, Moveable Feast). (update: also E.M. Forster, Graham Greene)

Some books I read in 2012 that I would love to mention:

peter panhalftheskyShortcomingsneither here nor therethe handmaid's tale

Peter Pan — J.M. Barrie
Half the Sky — Nicholas D. Kristof, Sheryl WuDunn
Shortcomings — Adrian Tomine
Neither Here Nor There — Bill Bryson
The Handmaid’s Tale — Margaret Atwood

Three of them I never talked about in Bookie Mee, oh no! Though I’m sure I will mention some of them again, like Peter Pan, which I absolutely completely and utterly fell in love with. Words of J.M. Barrie pierced my heart, just like Oscar Wilde (who I also read this year, but have not mentioned, because I haven’t finished his whole collection of short stories). You know, the type that make your heart vibrate and hum. Love <3.

Half the Sky, what an important book. I am not new of stories of hardships in third world countries, but I admit I had to stop a couple of times when reading the book because it got too difficult to swallow. Very painful at times, but also very hopeful. Each chapter is closed with a hopeful inspiring story of real people doing real work out there. I have the deepest admiration for the couple journalists Nic Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn and am now following their social media to get updates and opinions from the field.

Shortcomings in many ways surprised me in its rawness and honesty in portraying Asian Americans. I definitely will look out Adrian Tomine’s books again anytime in the future. Bill Bryson is another wonderful finding in 2012, an author whose books I want to read all now! I have to stop myself binging his books too soon. The Handmaid’s Tale helped me in getting my reading mojo back by being extremely readable. What to say, Atwood does good stories.

So there you go, sort of mini-reviews of much loved books :)

I also feel like mentioning some books that were out in 2012 that I’m dying to read below. I’m such a bad reviewer, I would rather wait until everyone reads first before deciding that I want to read them too! So note that I have NOT read the books below! :)

building storiesgrimm talessong of achilles
Building Stories by Chris Ware, Grimm Tales by Philip Pullman, The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

I’m dying — DYING I tell you! — to read Building Stories! Graphic novel that comes in board-game-like packaging?! I just need to wait until I succumb and buy it! The same with Grimm Tales. I’m a BIG sucker for original fairy tales — I devour them like candies, so original Grimm tales with notes sound like absolutely my thing! Mine! (I’m probably more excited about the notes than the tales even) The same with Greek mythology, nom nom nom! It’s really only a matter of time before I get to these three books!

gone girljoseph antonready player one

Another three that intrigue me: Gone Girl — Gillian Flynn, Joseph Anton — Salman Rushdie, Ready Player One — Ernest Cline

Both Gone Girl and Ready Player One are highly influenced by my favourite podcasters Michael from Books on the Nightstand and Gavin from The Readers :).

I haven’t read many, or any reviews at all in fact, for Joseph Anton. But Salman Rushdie is someone I had heard since I was small, from my dad. Far before I knew his books, far before I read in English. I heard the stories of him being chased after by Ayatollah Khomeini for writing Satanic Verses, and it stuck with me until now. So it was rather an out-of-this-world experience when I had the chance to see him talk about Joseph Anton a few months back, somewhere near Soho. He was a childhood story then, and he is a living author now. Living to tell the experience of being hunted by the Muslim extremists and going into hiding (Joseph Anton was the fake name he used during that period). I may not get to read Joseph Anton anytime soon, but it’s definitely one I would read in the future.

Just a little personal story, after I went to his talk that night, I wrote my dad an email after: dad, do you remember when you told me the story about Salman Rushdie, back when I was in primary school? He’s able to write his story now after 15 years in hiding and I went to see him talking about it.

And he was quite impressed to say the least. First probably because I do remember everything he told me, and second that I have now seen him in person.

*cough* excuse the little father-daughter moment :)


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12 thoughts on “2012 and 2013 Stuff”

    1. Thanks Jackie, hope you have a wonderful 2013 too! Yes as I remember it Fingersmith is in the list of your favorite books (it probably is in many people’s list). I’m so relieved that I love it! :)

  1. Mee, Fingersmith is on my TBR list. And I also need to read Gone Girl. I hope this year is a great one for you in terms of reading, and everything else. :)

    1. Suko, thanks and hope things are going well for you too this year :). Fingersmith was on my TBR for such a long time, so happy I finally got to it!

  2. How long are going to be in London? Several years? Good idea. There’s Antony Trollope, Dickens and Thackeray to read. All great stuff. But it’ll take a while to read them all – they always wrote them in three volumes! It takes about 9 months to read Trollopes novels – I know this interesting fact because my wife read them while she was pregnant….

    1. john, I’m not sure how long yet, hopefully several years. “Read them all” is definitely not my goal, as there are too many books! But I’ll try to read more authors that I haven’t read before, making British authors a priority. (Have not tried Trollope or Thackeray) It’s an impressive feat to read all Trollope!

  3. I’m so curious about Gone Girl too since I’ve heard so much about it! I have to admit Fingersmith is the least favourite of Sarah Waters’ books for me but it may be due to my having read it years before I fell in love with her novels. Because of that, I’m planning to re-read it as I know so many people love it (my favourite is still The Night Watch) and then watch the tv adaptation. And I’m glad to see you are planning to read both The Secret History and The Song of Achilles.^^

    1. Oh I’m surprised to hear that Fingersmith is your least favorite of Sarah Waters’ books, because it usually tops the list for other people (hence I chose to read it as my first). I actually just literally finished it a few hours ago, and I’m firmly going to read more of her books! :) I was always thinking to read Tipping the Velvet (was torn between that and Fingersmith before I started reading), but now The Night Watch definitely intrigues me as well, so it’d be a tie with Velvet for my Sarah Waters number two. Will watch the tv adaptation of Fingersmith too a bit later!

      On the other hand I just realized that The Secret History is American and not British. For some reason I always thought it’s British! That kinda changes things so the priority has gone down a bit unfortunately as I am prioritizing British books. But I’m sure I’ll get to it soon or later :)

      1. I really got into Sarah Waters’ novels after reading The Little Stranger which I really enjoyed. Then I read the rest of her novels although I still have Tipping the Velvet to read. I saw the tv adaptation first so I wanted some time in between before starting her book. I think she’s due another novel soon and can’t wait.

        Yeah, The Secret History is American – I was keeping quiet because I wanted you to read it, heh;P But I’m sure you’ll get to it soon! I’m also really curious about Pullman’s new book too.

        1. I remember when Little Stranger was out and everybody seemed to be reading it! But somehow the “haunted house” theme never really appeals to me. The Night Watch and Tipping the Velvet really intrigue me. Hope to get to them sooner than latter. Would love to see what she’s coming with next!

          LOL about the Secret History. I must have sounded silly when I listed it as one of the British books! ;)

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