Sunday, 13 September 2009

TSS - Recommendations

Gosh, these weeks are going by so fast, aren't they? Yikes. I can't believe it's Sunday already. Well, I hope you've all had a good week. This Sunday Salon I'll be going through my recent reads and also asking you guys to recommend a few books for me. :)

As some of you may have read, I started reading The Art of Loving by Erich Fromm last week and was unable to finish it in spite of it's meagre 100 pages. I can usually overlook and respect the fact that books will get dated but this was ridiculous and I felt like I was wasting my time reading it and gaining no real insight.

That's the second book this year I've not managed to finish which is a pretty good count for September.

Doctor Zhivago is still on hold and I've turned my attention to Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer. I can't imagine needing to explain what this series is about. Needless to say, so far I'm not a huge fan of the series. I kind of semi enjoyed the film - not enough to buy the DVD but enough to go and see it. I like Pattinson and I like Nikki Reed.

The first book I hated. I didn't like the way it was written, it was very fan fiction-y. None of the characters were that endearing and whenever Meyer brought up an interesting background for the supporting characters (like Carlisle) she closed it just as abrubtly.

I loved the second book. I couldn't put it down. But I have strong suspicions that may have to do with the fact that the glittery vampires are out of the picture most of the time. The werewolves' storyline is so much more interesting - I love learning about the tribe's background and old stories. I find Jacob a much more endearing character.

Now with this ... hmmm. It's okay. It's not as good as the second one but certainly much better than the first. I suppose the only thing I'm going to say about this is that I don't really understand the appeal in Edward Cullen. It scares me that pre-teen and teen girls are lusting after a character like this - a man who's very controlling and has those infamous stalker tendencies. What's attractive about a man who forces you into getting married at 18?

Anyway, I'm about 150 pages away from finishing. I'll save the rest of my thoughts for the review.

Yesterday I started my first e-book. Well ... I say, e-book. That's a lie. Somebody sent me a copy of Graham Greene's Brighton Rock in Word and, though I was unsure about how easy it would be to read in that condition, I'm finding it surprisingly easy.

That's about it as far as reading goes this week.

As far as personal subjects go it's exactly the same: I'm still relentlessly looking for a job. I've had to turn down three offers in the last week and a half because of location. I hate being in an awkward town and not being able to drive. :P

I've also been looking at university courses. I can't wait to go back and do my Masters and I'm determined to make it the best experience I've ever had. (Hence, dreaming the dream and looking at courses abroad ... Like I said, I can dream. ;-) ).

Before I end I wanted to ask you guys for any recommendations on the following:

1) Japanese/Geisha literature: I read Memoirs of a Geisha a few years ago and absolutely loved it. It really got me wondering about Eastern Asian culture and I realised that I knew absolutely nothing about it. Can anyone recommend any good reads? (You get a bonus for any more about geishas.)

2) Australian literature: I recently realised that I don't think I've read a single book written by an Australian ... or at least written about Australia/New Zealand/The nearby Islands. Whether it's contemporary and set there, or literature about the history, I'd love the recommendations.

3) Travel guides: Obviously this isn't fiction. I have plenty of books about 'First Time Travels', etc. and there're plenty of books about specific countries and places. I was just wondering whether anyone knew of any books aimed at people who have never travelled before and are looking for ideas about where to start. I've been to France quite a few times but that's just across the pond. I wouldn't know where to start for travelling - Are there any books that'll offer friendly suggestions about how to decide?

Thanks for any help you can give me guys. Will be trying to check everyone's blogs today - I'm so behind. :P My apologies.



serendipity_viv said...

I loved the Memoirs of a Geisha too. Someone recommended Lisa See. I picked up Snow Flower and The Secret Fan and I have also been told that Shanghai Girls is good. There is also the true story - Falling Leaves by Adeline Yen Mah.

Travel books - I don't know any one that would be for first time visitors, but can I recommend Cinnamon City by Mirands Innes, which has made me desperate to visit Marrakesh.

Australian - The Secret River by Kate Grenville. Personally, I found it slow and boring, but everyone else raves about it.

Good luck with the job hunt.

Amanda said...

Hm, I don't really know anymore Asian or Australian fiction, unfortunately. I do know the woman who Arthur Golden interviewed when he researched for Memoirs of a Geisha has written her own memoir about her life as a geisha, but I can't remember what it's called offhand, sorry!

Faye( Ramblings of a Teenage Bookworm) said...

I liked Elipse more. Hopefully the New Moon movie will be better the twilight.

kay - Infinite Shelf said...

I neither loved or hated the whole Twilight series - except for the very last book, which I had the hardest time going through! But like you, Edward's appeal isn't something I get. I would have sent him sparkle somewhere far in California at the first occasion! The werewolves story was more interesting for me, too.

I hope you can find some work soon - and maybe classes abroad! Who knows?

I wish I could recommend something good for you, but other than Snow Flower I have no idea either. This one was really good though, so if you haven't read it already, give it a try! :)

Ceri said...

Vivienne - Thank you so much for those recommendations. They're now on my wishlist eagerly waiting to be read. :D

Amanda - Thanks, I'll definitely be looking that one up. :-D

Faye - Me too. The 'Jacob' trailer was much more kickass than the original one released.

Kay - Haha! Edward in California - love it! I'll definitely be giving Snow Flower a try after two recommendations now. Thank you :)

Anonymous said...

Australian - Tim Winton is one of my all-time favourite Australian authors. Especially read his 'Cloud Street' and the short story collection 'Scission' (and if you want an Australia-meets-UK one by him, read the amazing 'The Riders').

David Malouf is also another brilliant Australian author, although my favourite novel of his is 'An Imaginary Life' (AMAZING book, must read), which is set in Roman-era Romania.

Ruth Park is an older, but highly acclaimed author, with good reason. If you want some light but very enjoyable reading, read her 'Playing Beatie Bow'. I've read it something like 64 times, guess what my favourite childhood book was? ;)

That's all of the Australian stuff I can think of at the moment, I'll keep it in mind though.

As for Asian - a very basic read, but a very engaging plot is Lian Hearn's "Tales of the Otori" series, which is like a historio-fantasy series. I can't remember if it has geishas, lol.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and 'Chinese Cinderella' by Adeline Yen Mah! I read it years ago and remember loving it, despite how damn sad it is.

Violet said...

I have kind of opp. views when it comes to the Twilight series. Loved the first and the third, the second, not so much the second.

I don't like reading ebooks but I guess I'll have to try one of them these days.

Japanese lit huh? I don't know, I loved Memoirs of a geisha. How about Chinese? Have you read The Empress Orchid by Anchee Min, I loved it. Its about the last empress of China, its fiction though.

Ceri said...

Elfmage - you're an absolute star. I knew I could rely on you for Australian recommendations ;-) Thank you. :-D

Violet - I don't really like e-books that much but I'm gradually coming around to the idea. I think my mum has 'The Empress Orchid' and she really loved it. I'll have to give it a go :)