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


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

The Figurative Mountain

The figurative mountain exists in the book "Three Tigers, One Mountain", which is obviously referring to the East Asia. How about adding Russia as another tiger to the tree since the Russians have fought Japanese in many battles, on land and on high seas, for more than one hundred years. How about throwing Mongolia to … Continue reading The Figurative Mountain

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

All About Food

I haven't read many books on food, except two or three books of Anthony Bourdain and one by Marcus Samuelsson and one by Jim Gaffigan. So "Food: A Cultural Culinary History" is rather interesting in its grand scope and its comprehensiveness. People, who are used to food books, may want more specific things and more … Continue reading All About Food

Reading “The Myth”

I only understand a small portion of it. "The Myth of Sisyphus" needs to be reread, but just from my partial understanding of it, Sisyphus is considered to be enjoying his futile effort and useless task. If I read this book through the lens of an immigrant, I wonder if Camus is giving a foreboding … Continue reading Reading “The Myth”

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”