Jazzing things up with a tag. Exciting, I know.
Run along your shelves and pick out an author for every letter of the alphabet. If an author is missing for any alphabet, pick one from your tbr and you’re done.
But that’s boring.
Instead, I chose a title that I enjoyed enough to list as a recommendation for the authors that I’ve read. If those works that I’ve read under a particular alphabet wasn’t enough for me to present as a recommendation, then I would choose one from my Goodreads tbr list that I feel I (or you, if we have similar tastes) would like enough to recommend when I’ve read it. If an alphabet is missing, I’ll chose a title that I would like to read under that alphabet on my Goodreads tbr list. All titles that are chosen from the tbr list are marked with an asterisk (*) and alphabets that elude said list will be marked with double asterisks (**).
Aliens and space travel are often treated as (semi)serious subjects in novels and discussions, and by all means they should, because space is creepy and foreign and humans want to understand everything that is creepy and foreign. But Arthur doesn’t. He’s kinda forced into this whole space gibberish with his alien best friend, along with a paranoid android sidekick. Fun fun fun.
B- The Faraway Tree Trilogy by Enid Blyton
Three children, upon moving to their new house, decide to take a walk into the woods and stumble upon a massive tree that reach into the clouds. Being the adventurous little daredevils they are, up they climb the faraway tree and into a realm of magical beings. Except that the land they encounter with each climb is different and the children must get out of said land before they change or face entrapment forever!
I don’t always pride myself for being an avid reader of Blyton’s works (I’m a humble person. Yes, me, I am. ), but this book left such a deep impression on me that I still remember it 10 years from the day I read it. Blyton continues to remain one of those profolic writers that though sometimes generate misses, has hits that will stay with you for probably the rest of your life.
C- Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through The Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll
Amazing, delightful, whimsical story that will enchant everyone of all ages. The second book is, in my humble opinion, miles ahead of the first and I have no idea why its not yet adapted by someone somewhere. If you think watching its many adaptation suffice, you’re really missing out. And I don’t say that often.
D- The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson
A beautiful, charming cynic gets caught in an accident that burns away his physical attractiveness and replaces his skin with the monsters of his soul. As he recovers from the horrible burns, a gorgeous woman sits by his bedside everyday, recounting of tales they supposedly shared as lovers in another time. But as romance stories go, all is not well and its better to dive in not fully knowing where the story will go.
The Gargoyle was recommended to me in passing by a former teacher of mine, and by a stroke of improbability, was spared any information about what the book is about, which is very apt considering the amount of prejudice I have against romance novels in general.
*E- The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards
This is a book that has eluded me for years and strangely has never once crept up to me on an innocent Monday morning demanding immediate probing/searching for and later subsequent reading. However despite this unfathomable phenomena, I’m pretty certain that I’ll get to it before the end of my lifespan.
(Proceeds to forget entirely about said book)
*F- Fried Green Tomatoes at The Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg
I absolutely loved The All Girls’ Filling Station’s Last Reunion and I’m entirely sure of Flagg’s ability to make readers feel as if they’re part of the community by way of narcisstic mothers and self-conscious-but-lovely protagonists we can all relate to. Flagg is definitely one of the best women’s fiction writers out there and I’m nothing but excited for Fried Green Tomatoes.
*G- Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
At the time when Memoirs of a Geisha was a worldwide hit in your nearest cinemas, I was busy convincing myself that I want nothing to do with another historical fiction that may potentially give no qualms about the true historical facts they were based on. You see, a few months prior to Memoirs, I was introduced a historical fiction novel by a friend who waxed lyrical about her discovery of historical fiction as a genre and how the plot was so captivating and enchanting.
The book sucked.
It was inaccurate as hell and basically was just another romance book with half-assed political strifes and petty cat fights. Many years has passed since then and I’m pretty sure I’m ready for a historical fiction novel. Anytime now.
*H- The Guest Cat by Takashi Hiraide
The Guest Cat, by the acclaimed poet Takashi Hiraide, is a subtly moving and exceptionally beautiful novel about the transient nature of life and idiosyncratic but deeply felt ways of living.
I can always trust the Japanese with nuances and subtlety, and nobody says no to the cover art. Nobody.
Even my Goodreads tbr list ran out on this one. Recommendations?
*J- Cheaper by The Dozen by Frank B. Gilbreth Jr., Ernestine Gilbreth Carey
I used to think slice-of-life novels were written for old people reminiscing about younger days, identifying with wayward sons (every house has one of those) and rebellious daughters. I was obviously very uninformed. Having read a few such novels this year, I can very confidently say that the slice-of-life genre is a gem, and a big one at that. They give so much life and vitality into otherwise mundane days, as well as (not too crazy) adventures everyone can appreciate/relate to.
Time to get into granny mode!
K- Totto-chan: The Little Girl at the Window by Tetsuko Kuroyanagi
L- Or Else The Lightning God by Catherine Lim
Goodreads, Books Depository(unavailable)
Paying some homage here.
Lim is one of the most well known Singaporean authors and was the first Singaporean writer I’ve ever read. Her style is short and simple, no bombastic words nor overly lengthy sentences. Yet, the point(s) she conveys through every story is crystal clear and leaves you thinking for days about them.
Moreover, short stories are in my opinion, one of the most difficult form to write in since one would constantly need to inject charisma, charm, and wit (insert number of short stories) times to keep perspectives fresh. In that, Lim has done an excellent job and Lightning God is surely a good read, even for non-Singaporeans.
M- Gender and Sexuality in Modern Chinese History by Susan L. Mann
Aha, a non-fiction entry!
I read this while researching about an essay for a Chinese Philosophy class and its honestly hard to find a book whilst researching (books are either too difficult or grows increasingly irrelevant after each chapter), that sucks you in and teaches you so much through its pages. Though the title states that its on Modern Chinese history, I’m sure that the topics discussed can be applied to Western cultures as well. In fact, this was such a great book that I found myself slamming the table whilst reading in a fit of intense agreement with said text. Highly recommend that everyone pick this up.
*N- The Life and Death of Sophie Stark by Anna North
“It’s hard for me to talk about love. I think movies are the way I do that,” says Sophie Stark, a visionary and unapologetic filmmaker. She uses stories from the lives of those around her—her obsession, her girlfriend, and her husband—to create movies that bring her critical recognition and acclaim. But as her career explodes, Sophie’s unwavering dedication to her art leads to the shattering betrayal of the people she loves most. Told in a chorus of voices belonging to those who knew her best, The Life and Death of Sophie Stark is an intimate portrait of an elusive woman whose monumental talent and relentless pursuit of truth reveal the cost of producing great art, both for the artist and for the people around her.
Cinematography and the way it holds so much power over the portrayal of characters through a different angle/take/close up shot (all thanks to a film class I took whilst on exchange. Best class ever.) never ceased to amazing me. A character being explained and dissected through many other side characters just appeals to me, in the sense that I’m intrigued to see how books as a medium hold up to films in showing us a persona/psyche. Hopefully, this is going to have a positive reception from me. We shall see.
*O- Everything That Rises Must Converge: Stories by Flannery O’Connor, Robert Fitzgerald
The title itself is intriguing, Everything features short stories on race, faith, and morality. Recent events have led my spirit hanging a little low, so I thought a bit of O’Connor might do the trick. That plus I’ve never read anything from her amidst the praises surrounding her.
P- The Republic by Plato
I am utterly in love with Socrates. His thoughts, his method of enquiry, and his subsequent hilarious feigning of ignorance just gets to me every time. There are issues as to how accurately Plato has transcribed his ideas, nonetheless that doesn’t discount Socrates as one of the most brilliant thinkers of ancient Greece (heck, even today). Do yourself a favor and read this. You’ll see and think much farther than you ever thought you could.
I obviously give no shit about must read authors and just check out titles that are interesting. Yay me.
R- Interview with The Vampire (The Vampire Chronicles, #1) by Anne Rice
A boy meets a vampire hanging out at your local dingy bar and proceeds to interview him about all things important about the vampire life. Vampire obviously gives no fucks about answering immediate questions and rambles about his century-old life instead. To make matters worse, it’s (Or should I say he? Rude, I know, I apologise.) a melancholic one. Oh God.
Note: I’m still in the midst of completing this though (damn library deadlines and checking out too many books at once).
S- The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Richard Howard
Beautiful illustrations and loads of allegory. Perfect (seemingly) light story for everyone everywhere.
T- Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu
Strong contender with The Lord of The Rings but since my love for that is already widely known (PURE BRILLIANCE I TELL YOU. TOLKIEN IS GENIUS.), let it be that Lao Tzu take this spot.
Tao Te Ching is by far one of the most difficult Chinese philosophical works to comprehend. The writing, as much as the center point issue of The Tao, is ever fluid and ungraspable. If The Tao is explainable by one, then one has not attained the Tao. And maybe that is the point. Be fully prepared to be thrown off your seat when you read this.
*V- Mother Night by Kurt Vonnegurt
Mother Night is a daring challenge to our moral sense. American Howard W. Campbell, Jr., a spy during World War II, is now on trial in Israel as a Nazi war criminal. But is he really guilty? In this brilliant book rife with true gallows humor, Vonnegut turns black and white into a chilling shade of gray with a verdict that will haunt us all.
I’ve picked up Slaughterhouse Five exactly 5 years ago and ran in the opposite direction feeling utterly intimidated by a first page I couldn’t understand. Let’s hope history doesn’t repeat itself.
But seriously, the synopsis reminds me a little of Kafka’s The Trial, though I’m sure there are no sudden arrests without explanation. How very intrigued I am.
*W- Brief Interviews with Hideous Men by David Foster Wallace
I’m one of those people that put down Infinite Jest after the first 50 pages. In my defense, the library loan was due and I’m a slow reader. I couldn’t have known then that Infinite Jest is not a book you check out of the library. Nobody sane does that.
Brief Interviews is a collection of short stories that explores the strange and weird everyday people from your husband to the average woman on the street. Wallace’s writing is anything but average (very fucking difficult to understand actually) and erm, I’ll still give this a shot.
If my library carries it (They strongly favor/carry mainstream, popular books. Wallace isn’t one of them, ha ha ha.).
Probably one of the best graphic novels I read this year. A simple story about a Chinese immigrant and his day to day life on adapting and fitting into American culture. Along with his new Taiwanese friend, Danny’s stereotyped Chinese cousin Chin Kee and The Monkey King. Yang expertly threads the three stories together into nothing I’ve ever seen before.
Anyone who’s familiar with The Journey to The West (Wonderful, fun read if you haven’t already. Oh, btw it’s one of the four Great Chinese Classics. You’re welcome.) will be stunned by Yang’s ability to connect the dots of it with our protagonist’s constant desire to not be relegated as a F.O.B. Amazing piece of work.
Z- The Inner Chapters by Zhuang Zi
The Big Bird and The Small Birds. A certain Zhuang Zi dreamt of butterflies, or are the butterflies dreaming of Zhuang Zi?
This is one of the truly witty Chinese philosophers and no one else comes close. He combines mundane everyday animals and insects and spins them into a whole new allegory of profoundness. Do not underestimate him. His hilarious, feathery light writing may not be as complex as Lao Tzu, but his thinking is on par with him, and even exceeds him in certain ways. Pick this up and you won’t stop talking about it, because Zhuang Zi is amazing.
My professor loved Zhuang Zi and I can see why. I adore him too.
Man, what a tedious post to write on! Any recommendations for the missing letters will be very much appreciated. I hope you enjoyed reading this and as always, feel free to share your list and do let me know if you blog on it, I’d love to check it out.