Reads

Trying to remember the books I read, to keep track of new books I read and books I want to read.

Last updated on 2 November 2013

Past Reads

Fiction

Catfish and Mandala: A Two-Wheeled Voyage Through the Landscape and Memory of Vietnam – Andrew X.Pham

Touring solo on a bicycle, I discover, is an act of stupidity or an act of divine belief. It is intense stretches of isolation punctuated with flashes of pure terror and indelible moments of friendship. Mostly, it is dirty work particularly suitable for the stubborn masochist. I was suckered into the adventure, the elegant simplicity of its execution, and, yes, even the glory of its agony.

I want to talk but there is no one. I wander the lakeshores, watching the snow line creeping down the volcano. Silence distills the days into one long continuous moment. I drift onward. I talk to myself, hum favorite tunes in my head for hours on end. Solo touring provides too much time for contemplation, self-doubt.

Life and Death in Shanghai – Nien Cheng

The Red Guards debated whether to reverse the system of traffic lights, as they thought Red should mean Go and not Stop. In the meantime, traffic lights stop operating.

In The Laps of the Gods – Li Miao Lovett

The Hotel on the Roof of the World – Alec Le Sueur

Lost Horizon – James Hilton

Red Sorghum – Mo Yan

The Republic of Wine – Mo Yan

Big Breasts & Wide Hips – Mo Yan

Three Sisters – Bi Feiyue

The Aquariums of Pyongyang – Kang Chol-hwan

Jia – A Novel of North Korea – Hyejin Kim

Escape from Camp 14: One Man’s Remarkable Odyssey from North Korea to Freedom in the West – Blaine Harden

There is no “human rights issue” in this country, as everyone leads the most dignified and happy life. – [North] Korean Central News Agency, March 6, 2009

Using word of mouth, brokers in Seoul offered “planned escapes.” A low-budget version cost less than two thousand dollars. It involved months or years of travel through China, via Thailand or vietnam, to Seoul, and it could require treacherous river crossings, arduous travel on foot, and weeks of waiting in an unsanitary Thai refugee camp.

A first-class planned escape, complete with a forged Chinese passport and an air ticket from Beijing to Seoul, sold for ten thousand dollars or more. From start to finish, brokers and defectors said, going first class could take as little as three weeks.

Kim Kwan Jin was managing a state run global insurance fraud before he defected to South Korea in 2003.

Korean National Insurance Corporation, the state monopoly that orchestrated the fraud, prepare a special birthday gift for Kim Jong Il’s birthday every year.

From his office in Singapore, Kim Kwan Jin watched in early February 2003 as his colleagues stuff twenty million dollars in cash into two heavy duty bags and send them, via Beijing, to Pyongyang. This was money paid by international insurance companies..

Pyongyang, A Journey in North Korea – Guy Delisle

Nothing to envy : ordinary lives in North Korea – Barbara Demick

The party issued regular edicts saying that men shouldn’t allow the hair on top of their head to grow longer than five centimeters – though an exemption was granted for balding men, who were permitted seven centimeters.

From a North Korean first-grade math book – “Eight boys and nine girls are singing anthems in praise of Kim Il-sung. How many children are singing in total?”

From a North Korean first-grade math book – “Three soldiers from the Korean People’s Army killed thirty American soldiers. How many American soldiers were killed by each of them if they all killed an equal number of enemy soliders?”

A North Korean Poem in a first-grade book titled “Where Are We Going”
Where have we gone?
We have gone to the forest.
Where are we going?
We are going over the hills.
What are we going to do?
We are going to kill the Japanese soldiers.

A North Korean Song taught in music class titled “Shoot the Yankee Bastards”
Our enemies are the American bastards
Who are trying to take over our beautiful fatherland.
With guns that I make with my own hands
I will shoot them. BANG, BANG, BANG.

I used to hold my mother’s hand.
Then I let go to reach for the fruit and cake.
Oh, how I miss holding my mother’s hand.

If a shirt has a collar, it was cut off because collars were a status symbol..

He now knew for sure that he didn’t believe. It was an enormous moment of self-revelation, like deciding one was an atheist.

Escaping North Korea – Defiance and Hope in the World’s Most Repressive Country – Mike Kim

In The Art of War, Sun-Tzu wrote, “Without using local guides, you cannot exploit the lie of the land.”

Lila Watson – “If you have come here to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.”

Little Princess – Conor Grennan

Into Thin Air – Jon Krakauer

Touching My Father’s Soul: A Sherpa’s Journey to the Top of Everest – Jamling Tenzing Norgay

The Diary of Ma Yan – Edited and Introduced by Pierre Haski

Nightmare in Laos: The True Story of a Woman Imprisoned in a Communist Gulag – Kay Danes

Welcome to Hell: One man’s fight for life inside the Bangkok Hilton – Colin Martin

You’ll Never Walk Alone – A True Story About the ‘Bangkok Hilton’ – Debbie Singh

Such a Long Journey – Rohinton Mistry

A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry

Family Matters – Rohinton Mistry

Village by the Sea – Anita Desai

Fasting, Feasting – Anita Desai

The Inheritance of Loss – Kiran Desai

Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard – Kiran Desai

The Romantics – Pankaj Mishra

The God of Small Things – Arundhati Roy

English, August – An Indian Story – Upamanyu Chatterjee

The White Tiger: A Novel – Aravind Adiga

The moment you recognize what is beautiful in this world, you stop being a slave.

Between the Assassinations – Aravind Adiga

Last Man in Tower – Aravind Adiga

India – One Man’s Personal Journey Around the Subcontinent – Sanjeev Bhaskar

Shantaram – Gregory David Roberts

In this life, we do what we can to improve ourselves..

There is no act of faith more beautiful than the generosity of the very poor.

If you know bikes at all, you can tell a lot about a man by how he rides.

Interested in everything, committed to nothing.

Sacred Games – Vikram Chandra

He napped easily in the day, stored sleep like a camel hoarded water.

Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie

No More Tomorrows – The Compelling True Story of an Innocent Woman Sentenced to Twenty Years in Hellhole Bali Prison – Schapelle Corby with Kathryn Bonella

A Little Bit One O’clock – William Ingram

Reef – Romesh Gunesekera

Monkfish Moon – Romesh Gunesekera

Dusk – F.Sionil Jose

Don Vincent – F.Sionil Jose

Touch Me Not – Jose Rizal

What is the What – Dave Eggers

Street of the Small Night Market – Sylvia Sherry

Most books by Haruki Murakami

If a pistol appears in a story, eventually it’s got to be fired.

Repetition can improve your technique and refine your style.

I was concentrating so hard on the critical recount that I didn’t even notice. Or more precisely, my eyes had seen the opening doors, but I didn’t fully grasp the significance of the event

You could never trust a person with a poor appetite. It’s like he is leaving space for something.

The Lemon Tree: An Arab, a Jew, and the Heart of the Middle East – Sandy Tolan

Once upon a country : a Palestinian life – Sari Nusseibeh with Anthony David

Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen – Christopher McDougall

Call of the Wild – Jack London

White Fang – Jack London

Walden – Henry David Thoreau

The man who goes alone can start today.

I had three pieces of limestone on my desk, but I was terrified to find that they required to be dusted daily, when the furniture of my mind was all undusted still, and threw them out the window in disgust.

I would rather ride on earth in an ox cart, with a free circulation, than go to heaven in the fancy car of an excursion train and breathe a malaria all the way.

On the Road – Jack Kerouac

To Kill A Mockingbird – Harper Lee

I Know This Much is True – Wally Lamb

She’s Come Undone – Wally Lamb

The Hunger Games Trilogy – Suzanne Collin

Millennium Trilogy: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest – Stieg Larsson

Two Arms and a Head: The Death of a Newly Paraplegic Philosopher – Clayton Atreus

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values – Robert M. Pirsig

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time – Mark Haddon

The Importance of being Earnest – Oscar Wilde

A Child Called “It”: One Child’s Courage to Survive – Dave J. Pelzer

My Sister’s Keeper: A Novel – Jodi Picoult

The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini

A Thousand Splendid Suns – Khaled Hosseini

They had been halfhearted tokens of penance, insincere, corrupt gestures meant more for his own appeasement than hers.

Life of Pi – Yann Martel

Zoo is better for animals, would you prefer to stay in Ritz calton with room service or in the wild.

 

Law of human nature for people who lives by the sea to be suspicious of swimmers and people who live in the mountains to be suspicious of mountain climbers.
To choose doubt as a philosophy of life is akin to choosing immobility as a means of transportation.

1984 – George Orwell

Animal Farm – George Orwell

David Copperfield – Charles Dickens

Z for Zachariah – Robert C. O’Brien

Hector and the Search for Happiness – Francois Lelord

Lesson no. 3: Many people see happiness only in their future.

Lesson no. 6: Happiness is a long walk in beautiful, unfamiliar mountains.

Hector Finds Time – Francois Lelord

Hector and the Secrets of Love – Francois Lelord

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry – Rachel Joyce

The Buddha, Geoff and Me – Edward Canfor-Dumas

No Easy Day – Mark Owen

The Perks of Being a Wallflower – Stephen Chbosky

She said that by introducing me to all these great things, Mary Elizabeth gained a “superior position” that she wouldn’t need if she was confident about herself. She also said that people who try to control situations all the time are afraid that if they don’t, nothing will work out the way they want.

And used to read books from the following authors when I was younger:

Agath Christie

Jeffery Archer

John Grisham

Lee Child

Steve Berry

Dan Brown

David Eddings

George R.R Martin

Tad Williams

Michael Crichton

Frederick Forsyth

Non-Fiction

The Heart of Things – A.C. Grayling

Freedom – OSHO

Courage – OSHO

Awareness – Anthony DeMello

The Introvert Advantage: How to Thrive in an Extrovert World – Marti Olsen Laney

Joy at Work – Dennis W.Bakke

Steve Jobs – Walter Isaacson

Hard Truths to Keep Singapore Going – Lee Kuan Yew

Rich Dad, Poor Dad – Robert Kiyosaki

Freakonomics – Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner

Black Swan – Nassim Nicholas Taleb

The Tipping Point – Malcolm Gladwell

The Richest Man in Babylon – George Clason

How to Win Friends and Influence People – Dale Carnegie

Good to Great – Jim Collins

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – Stephen R. Covey

The Five Secrets You Must Discover Before You Die – John Izzo

Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen – Christopher McDougall

Eat and Run: My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon Greatness – Scott Jurek with Steve Friedman

Always do what you are afraid to do – George Bernard Shaw

The Greatest: The Haile Gebrselassie Story – Jim Denison

With Bare Hands – Alain Robert

Band of Brothers: E Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne from Normandy to Hitler’s Eagle’s Nest – Stephen E. Ambrose

Word Freak – Stefan Fatsis

Letter to a Christian Nation – Sam Harris

Free Will – Sam Harris

The God Delusion – Richard Dawkins

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business – Charles Duhigg

The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari – Robin S.Sharma

There are no mistakes in life, only lessons. There is no such thing as negative experience, only opportunities to grow, learn and advance along the road of self-mastery.

Happy Together – Bill Cloke

Currently Reading

Wild Swans – Jung Chang

To Read

Snow and other books by Orhan Pamuk

Silent House by Orhan Pamuk

The Buddha in Your Mirror – Woody Hochswender, Greg Martin and Ted Morino

Buddhism Plain and Simple – Steven Hagen

Books by Kazuo Ishiguro

Narcopolis by Jeet Thayil

Between Clay and Dust by Musharraf Ali Farooqi

Wool by Hugh Howey

Influence by Robert B. Cialdini

Alien Interview

 

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