Quote Of The Day #18

Image by Elena Tishkova from Pixabay "Orthodoxy" by G. K. Chesterton is on sale at Audible.com and you know me, who cannot resist a discount, which is the reason why my shelf is filled with books I don't feel like reading and my closet full of clothes I hardly ever wear. And Chesterton is rambling … Continue reading Quote Of The Day #18

New Word #38: Recently Learned

shiv: a knife or razor used as a weapon.kryptonite: an alien mineral that has the property of depriving Superman of his powers. (It's only used in fantasy novels or movies.)These are from Princess & Pages' posts here and here zany: amusingly unconventional and idiosyncratic.harping: talk or write persistently and tediously on (a particular topic).quibble: a … Continue reading New Word #38: Recently Learned

The Great Escape

I should have read "Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave" long time ago, but I didn't. Mostly because I was afraid that the description is so bloody and horrid that I would be depressed after reading it, but I turn out to be stronger than I thought. There are only two … Continue reading The Great Escape

Quote Of The Day #16

I just read the essay "It Is Obscene" from https://www.chimamanda.com/ by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, whose book "Americanah" I bought but haven't read yet. And it is such a wonderful essay, in which the author describes a student of her workshop who criticized her unfairly or heartlessly. People who ask you to ‘educate’ yourself while not … Continue reading Quote Of The Day #16

Resilient But Divided

When I was young, there's an old guy in our neighborhood who was rumored to have a colorful life--a farmer turned bandit, a bandit turned soldier turned small business owner. He's been to Russia and several other countries for business and had some beautiful souvenirs on display, which were covered under a piece of embroidered … Continue reading Resilient But Divided

Life And Existence

I've never known the difference between the word freedom and the word liberty--I think the two are interchangeable but most likely they are not. However I am too lazy to look it up. It's like watching all the seasons of "Frasier", but never really figuring out the difference between a psychiatrist and a psychologist. Still … Continue reading Life And Existence

Quote And Review–“An Introduction To Existentialism”

This book is so easy to read and so good that I can't tell you how much I love it. It's almost beyond my power of praise, just like "Notes From Underground" by Dostoevsky and "Words" by Sartre, which I love to read and hopefully to reread sometime. You don't need any philosophical background to … Continue reading Quote And Review–“An Introduction To Existentialism”

An American Marriage

This is the first book I read by the author Tayari Jones. I really like the book. In many places, it is very funny although the plot is about a terrible injustice done to the main character, Roy, who's handsome, well educated, married. He's wrongly accused of rape and is jailed for five years before … Continue reading An American Marriage

Words And Childhood

There are so many quotes from this book that I don't know where to start. It's Sartre's autobiography--the first 10 years of his life--when he and his widowed mother lived with his grandparents. It's a happy childhood, and Sartre repaid the love he received with penetrating comments. He couldn't have been so sharp as a … Continue reading Words And Childhood

Witchcraft And Cat Woman

Although I didn't grow up reading science fiction or fantasy books, I've always loved TV shows about witchcraft or cat woman. They are quirky, fun, frightening, charming and a lot more. That's until I read this book "Witch, A Tale Of Terror". Suddenly my happy witch meal becomes un-chewable and unappetizing when I know that … Continue reading Witchcraft And Cat Woman

Quote Of The Day #7

Really? Giving orders and being obedient are the same? I thought they are the opposite. Wait, let me think. They are the same only under the condition that the obedient party is willing to accept the order. And willingness can be hard to define and often the line between willingness and unwillingness is blurred and … Continue reading Quote Of The Day #7

New Word #14: Is There A Word For This?

I encountered the word “Tsundoku” in heterodoxbuddhism’s post here. Tsundoku is a Japanese term that means one who buys books but don’t read them. And this inspires me to think of other words that should have existed but for one reason or another don’t exist in English. Conversationer. This is not a word, but I … Continue reading New Word #14: Is There A Word For This?

Past, Present And Future

In the summer of 1830, Russia was experiencing one of its worst pandemics. Cholera spread far and wide. A sip of contaminated water or a little unwitting touch of sewage will make people sick--diarrhea, vomiting, shock and death quickly followed. The tsar imposed quarantines and travel restrictions and cordons guarded by the military on many … Continue reading Past, Present And Future

Merry Month Of May

Plans are made to be changed; reading lists are drawn to be unfinished. That's my motto for May. When I don't have to be ashamed of my own "grand" plan, I feel deliriously happy. As a slow reader, I need all the encouragement from an unhinged delusion of my reading capabilities. The fact is I … Continue reading Merry Month Of May

Conflict

In 1231 AD, the Mongolians--my ancestors--invaded Korea. The mighty Mongolian army, which at the time occupied a big region stretching from Middle East to East Asia, met with a resounding defeat by the little kingdom on the Korean Peninsular--the Mongolians were dumbfounded and couldn't believe what had happened. For the next 40 years, Mongolians invaded … Continue reading Conflict

Quote And Review

She was one of those people who enjoy poor health and she was always threatening to die, though in fact she lived onto her nineties. With time on her hand, she could nurse her neurosis, build resentments of slights and imagined slights, brood on our growing estrangement, and make it worse with arbitrary assertions of … Continue reading Quote And Review

Who’s Afraid

of Virginia Woolf? I really like that movie, but I don't really like Virginia Woolf's writing. Long time ago, when I was young and fervent, torturing myself through reading something I dislike was part of my duty. So I thought. That's when I took on Virginia Woolf but I dislike everything, from "Night And Day", … Continue reading Who’s Afraid

Something In Between

I dislike writing reviews, but I also dislike not saying anything after reading a book. So what to do? Which one I dislike more? Those people trained in writing workshops or master programs know how to criticize without offending anybody, but I'm unschooled in this direction. The compromise will be to read books written by … Continue reading Something In Between

Clueless

There should be a complete idiot's guide to commonly used terms and slang. The book "Black Rednecks and White Liberals" by Thomas Sowell really makes this guide more necessary than ever, for me at least. What is a redneck, a liberal, a conservative, a Quaker, a Methodist, an abolitionist, a New Englander etc.? I vaguely … Continue reading Clueless

January 2021 Book List

"Aria Da Capo" by Edna St. Vincent Millay. I somehow suspect that this one act play with an incomprehensible title is based on the infamous Stanford psychology experiment. Once people get into a situation, in this case an artificial wall and in Stanford's case an artificial prison, people tend to act according to the new … Continue reading January 2021 Book List

Good, Bad And Things In Between

There are no good books about Asia in English. I just can’t find any good books. If anybody read a good one, please let me know. I am so desperate for some good books in this direction that I have to read books about the Pacific Theater of WWII. I dislike books on wars, but … Continue reading Good, Bad And Things In Between

Finished And Unfinished In December

"The History of Sexuality, Vol. 1: An Introduction" By Michel Foucault. The first two chapters are exhilarating, but for the rest I just can't understand. Maybe philosophy is just not my thing. I have to re-read it one day when I have the energy. I miss my days as a teenager and twenty something when … Continue reading Finished And Unfinished In December

November Reading Wrap-up 2

Click Here For Wrap Up 1 What's the point of making a to-be-read plan, but leaving most of the list unread in the end. I knew I was not going to follow the list anyway. When it turned out just as I predicted, I felt vindicated of my own wisdom. "Knowing yourself, that's knowledge." An … Continue reading November Reading Wrap-up 2

November Reading Wrap-up 1

"Pangs of Love" by David Wong LouieI suffered a lot while reading "The Barbarians Are Coming", but as soon as I finish it, I take on this book. Do I ever learn? Am I an incorrigible self torturer? The first story "Birthday" is like "The Barbarians Are Coming" (BAC), deja vu all over again. The … Continue reading November Reading Wrap-up 1

Blocked And Unblocked

I am completely and probably irreversibly blocked right now after reading a book about blogging, which says what one wants to write is not what others want to read. It sounds really true. Just think about our own life experiences--what we really want to say is often not what other people want to hear. The … Continue reading Blocked And Unblocked

I Know I Won’t Finish These In November

"Nine Horses" by Billy CollinsEven his complaints are delightful to read. I wonder why? "Forgotten Wars: Freedom and Revolution in Southeast Asia" by C.A. Bayly, Tim HarperThe end of WWII is just an opening for new battles. It's as thick as two books, but I hate speed reading, which takes all the fun away. "Where … Continue reading I Know I Won’t Finish These In November

Unfinished October Reading

It's different from what I planned a month ago, but several lovable books have made it all worthwhile. "If I Had Your Face" by Frances Cha-- This is the first book I read about South Korea. Isn't it strange that I used to watch many South Korean movies, but never think of reading a book … Continue reading Unfinished October Reading

Read And Misread In October

Reading often goes hand in hand with misreading. Being an immigrant and reading English as a second language have taught me this fact. At first this made me rather uncomfortable--the sense of uncertainty and self doubt following me like a shadow in a bright sunset, which means the shadow is much bigger and longer than … Continue reading Read And Misread In October

The Peril Of Persistence

It's the peril of persistence. I was brought up on the principle of finishing what you started and now I am suffering the consequence. I can't go on with this book, but my habit of persistence doesn't allow me to give up in the middle. What to do? I can't stand "The Barbarians Are Coming" … Continue reading The Peril Of Persistence

Magnificent In Different Ways

This is not for me. I mean the book, "Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue". It's obviously for those native speakers. The magnificence described by the book must be felt by a lot of people, but as a non-native speaker I feel differently. If I feel the magnificence, it's a different kind of magnificence. Mencken and Orwell … Continue reading Magnificent In Different Ways

The Cauldron

There's always this table, on which books pile up high, in one of the local grocery stores, the ShopRite of Edison township. Sometimes one or two precariously perched books on top would fall off when an inattentive shopper passes by and inadvertently brushes against the table. I've seen the books forever but never noticed them … Continue reading The Cauldron

Another Misunderstanding

"Understanding Japan" starts slow but getting more interesting as it progresses towards the modern era. I have always been interested in Japan but haven't read books about it--so much for my interest. I hope you don't see me as a fraud. The people who are really into Japan would learn the Japanese language, immersed in … Continue reading Another Misunderstanding

Great Trials Or Bad Trials

I only finished five of the lectures of "The Great Trials Of World History", but already I feel that most of these trials are bad trials, not great trials. I think the author did this deliberately and "great" means "famous" rather than "good". The trials of Socrates, Giordano Bruno, Thomas Moor are so bad that … Continue reading Great Trials Or Bad Trials

Amazon Recommends

Amazon recommends me something at least once a day in my email; it sends me advertisements disguised as login screen on my Kindle Fire. But I've never bought anything through its recommendations. Not that I'm impervious to marketing campaigns. Also I am not devoid of common human weaknesses which are usually cleverly explored by ads. … Continue reading Amazon Recommends

Alternative Interpretation

There's always at least one alternative interpretation to events and stories of a philosophy book or a psychology book. I mean a book like "Emotional Intelligence". I wonder what will happen if the author change his angle a little bit and add the cultural and ethnic differences in his interpretation of emotional intelligence. For example, … Continue reading Alternative Interpretation

Incomprehensible Paradise

I am completely lost. I don't know what "Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained" is talking about. Is there even a plot for this long endless poem? I bought this book because it is on sale at Audible. Time and again, such a preference for discount has led to my not liking or even understanding a … Continue reading Incomprehensible Paradise

My Favorite

"The Philanderer" is the best play from Shaw that I've ever read, as good as "Man of Destiny", better than "Mrs Warren's Profession", Arms and The Man, You Never Can Tell, The Devil's Disciple, Caesar and Cleopatra, Man and Superman, Don Juan in Hell, Major Barbara, Pygmalion, Heartbreak House, The Apple Cart, The Millionairess. I … Continue reading My Favorite

Crucial Exploration

I thought it would be more suitably titled "Crucial Exploration" rather than "Crucial Instances". I like everything Wharton wrote, almost indiscriminately, even if when she's exploring different possibilities with her writing in her "Crucial Instances". Some people say "Crucial Instances" are better than her first short story collection "The Greater Inclination", but I have no … Continue reading Crucial Exploration

Hero Or Villain

I watched the movie by Oliver Stone, but the movie only piqued my interest to know more about Snowden. "Permanent Record" is the answer. It's a passive narration without much attention for interesting details or humor. I'm surprised that I have been fully engaged in listening from the beginning to the end. The last three … Continue reading Hero Or Villain