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

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

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

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

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

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

All Those Unknown Battles

This book, "The Decisive Battles of World History" is almost a sequel to "History's Great Military Blunders and the Lessons They Teach". When I finished one, I have to finish the other. I have to say I like this one even better. The inclusion of Japanese Russian Japanese conflicts (Battle of Tsushima, Battles of Khalkhin … Continue reading All Those Unknown Battles

No Excuses

My interest in the book, "No Excuses: Existentialism And The Meaning Of Life", stems from my fascination with the philosophical feud between Camus and Sartre. Can rebels rebel without violence? Or is violence avoidable if rebels want to achieve their goal? Can freedom and justice coexist peacefully? Is absolute freedom something against freedom? Is absolute … Continue reading No Excuses

Theory and Practice

How much do political practices follow political theories? A skeptic's view on "The Modern Political Tradition". This is the best among the "Great Courses" series that I've listened to in the past several years, although I didn't really get the audible book for this one, but rather the Amazon video. Professor Cahoone has made distinctive … Continue reading Theory and Practice

Something I Should Have Done Long Ago

I should have read "Full Dark, No Stars" long time ago. I know I would have liked it ten years ago. However I encounter Stephen King too late, long after I've lost interest in extraordinary circumstances and gory details. Now I am more into uneventful bantering and boring routine of life. I remember as a … Continue reading Something I Should Have Done Long Ago

Reading “The Rebel”

I've been trying to read this book forever, but now with the intention of reading "The Plague"--so fitting during the current pandemic--I am forcing myself to understand the rebellious morality first before proceeding to the infected town and its philosophical consequence. The problem is that Camus' book has a lot of references on figures of … Continue reading Reading “The Rebel”

Finishing “My Life in Middlemarch”

I found this book much more interesting than "Middlemarch", George Eliot's life more exhilarating and gratifying than the characters she created, for example Dorothea, the description of the relationship between Eliot and George Henry Lewes more interesting than most of the relationships described in novels--I mean many novels including "Middlemarch". Although I read it long … Continue reading Finishing “My Life in Middlemarch”

Finishing “In Defense of Women”

"In Defense of Men" should be the more apt title since throughout the book men are described as being defenseless in face of the scheming women in almost everything and especially in marriage. I don't believe a word of it and I can hardly believe that Mencken believed in what he was writing. The book … Continue reading Finishing “In Defense of Women”

Finishing “Choose Your Own Autobiography”

I should stop buying things just because they are on sale. I should, but I won't. This book appears in my audible library and at first I thought it's an easy read. However, I've never watched "How I met Your Mother" and have never watched anything that's mentioned in the book except "Titanic", in which … Continue reading Finishing “Choose Your Own Autobiography”

Reading “My Life in Middlemarch”

It's like a book review runs amok, extending from the convention of a mere essay of several pages to an entire book of 293 pages. I bought this book due to its title and the brief description in amazon website. I never really like "Middlemarch", and I am very interested to see how and why … Continue reading Reading “My Life in Middlemarch”

Reading “Slouching Towards Bethlehem”

The title must mean something. Something biblical? I have no idea. I didn't know how it ends up in my audible library, when I bought it, why I bought it. I guess it was on sale during one of the previous holiday seasons and I bought several in one shot. The incomprehensible title, the discount, … Continue reading Reading “Slouching Towards Bethlehem”

Reading “Ego Is the Enemy”

It should be named "Ego Is Both the Friend and the Enemy". The story of Howard Hughes is very interesting--the worst businessman ever who is famed for losing money in every business adventure he's involved in, lol. Although I don't know much about all these prominent figures, I somehow watched "The Aviator", probably dragged to … Continue reading Reading “Ego Is the Enemy”

Rereading “S & S”

I've read this book long time ago, but can't remember much about it; I've watched the movie a long time ago, with Ang Lee as the director, but can't remember anything except Hugh Grant as Edward--a great portrayal of the role, exactly as what Jane Austen had portrayed him. Emma Thompson played Elinor, who's a … Continue reading Rereading “S & S”

Reading “The 48 Laws of Power”

I bought this book on sale from Audible and thought that it should be named, "The 48 Laws of Wicked Power". Intelligence is used for manipulation, kindness for popularity, generosity for future advantage, agreeableness for influence. It's a bit too depressing to read. I can just imagine anybody who practices these 48 laws will soon … Continue reading Reading “The 48 Laws of Power”

Reading “In Defense of Women”

I select this book purely for its name, the kind of judging a book by its cover, which I confess that I've always practiced even if I hate myself doing that. Mencken is mostly jesting and never being serious. So some of the negative reviews are really taking him too seriously, which he had no … Continue reading Reading “In Defense of Women”

Reading “1876”

I've read "Burr" and so I think reading this sequel is inevitable. Since I am not so familiar with the early history of the States, I don't quite know which characters are fictional and which characters are historical figures. The same for the book "Burr". Is Charles Schermerhorn Schuyler a real historical figure? It really … Continue reading Reading “1876”

Reading “Even The Stars Look Lonesome”

I really enjoy this book. The prose is deliberately poetic, but with none of those affected erudition that's hard to understand. From its deliberate simplicity, wisdom and wit are conveyed. I don't think she meant to be funny but there are many humorous places--the marriage to end all marriages, abstract figures that only their labor … Continue reading Reading “Even The Stars Look Lonesome”

Reread “Mansfield Park”

It's another round of Jane Austen for me. After finishing "P&P", "Persuasion", I am proceeding to "Mansfield Park" and "Emma". I don't think I would go so far to "S & S" and "Northanger Abbey" and "Lady Susan". I draw a line here. I can't help comparing "Mansfield Park" to "Dreams of Red Chamber" since … Continue reading Reread “Mansfield Park”

“The Korean War” by Bruce Cuming

After reading "In the Ruins of Empire", my curiosity of Korean War just gets more intense. There are several books to choose from and I hesitated between this one and "The Coldest Winter", which I have it in my kindle library for quite a while but haven't had the time to read. Listening will be … Continue reading “The Korean War” by Bruce Cuming

Reread “Pride and Prejudice”

I liked this book when I was young, but then as years pass by, I can't help noticing the laughable implausibility of the main characters, the summary and unsympathetic rejection of Charlotte's views on marriage which were held by many women due to necessity rather than preference. Thank goodness the society has progressed and "well-educated … Continue reading Reread “Pride and Prejudice”

Read or Not Read “Quotable Winston Churchill”

I've always wanted to read a book by Churchill or about Churchill, but never done it. The problem is once I start to read a book, I want to finish it even if I don't like it. I am afraid that I won't like a book of Churchill because of his prejudices against people from … Continue reading Read or Not Read “Quotable Winston Churchill”

A Witty Conservative–About A Book of Churchill’s Quotes

I wish it is longer. My favorite quote, "Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm." "A woman is as old as she looks, a man is as old as he feels…" Since I've never read any book of his or any book about him, I really don't know much about … Continue reading A Witty Conservative–About A Book of Churchill’s Quotes

Logic or No Logic

Reading Girl Logic: The Genius and the Absurdity by Iliza Shlesinger I especially like the beginning portion of the book where the author pointed out the contradicting expectations the society put on women. More so right now than in the past. I really laughed hard, but I don't want to spoil it for anybody. However … Continue reading Logic or No Logic