Thursday, 14 January 2010

New Year's Resolution # 0101: drink less read more

January reads 1.
Bob Carr: My Reading Life. Carr is a former premier of the State of NSW down under. His book is like a compilation of notes on his library which includes volumes on writing, democracy and dictatorship, fiction, thrillers, politics, histories, literature, shakespeare etc. I like Carr’s Introduction:
Recommending books is an exercise in sharing – sharing pleasures.
I’m pleased to see that he enjoyed the works of some authors as i did. Carr suggests how to read:
Don’t just read for pleasure... otherwise you won’t get beyond spies, crime and the comic. Tackle works that are a challenge. The enjoyment comes with the comfortable familiarity of subsequent readings.
I have to check out his list now, although he did write in his book’s introduction (2008), that he might write differently in another ten years. I’ve got eight years before his next list then.

The Cambridge Companion to Bob Dylan is the latest book on a much-loved and admired writer and composer still practising his craft. I had the opportunity to see him in concert about two years ago. The contributors are very distinguished writers and authors including from the Academe. The book is laid out in two parts. The first part comprises Perspectives on Dylan’s achievements and influence and his place in the artistic tradition. Part 2 spotlights eight of Dylan’s Landmark albums (he’s released nearly 50). Overall the book is an excellent addition to appreciating Dylan and his immeasurable contribution to contemporary culture.

• I only recently watched a dvd of the Wing Chun kung fu action flick Ip Man which i enjoyed thoroughly. This film was released more than a year ago, about the kung fu master of Bruce Lee. The book on wing chun is co-written by Ip Man’s son Ip Chun.

January books set 2

• The Q&A Cosmic Conundrums... book on everyday mysteries is an entertaining and informative unravelling of the science of our world. It includes chapters on everyday life, life and death, beliefs and myths, numbers and games, meteorology and nature, the earth and sky, the heavens and the cosmos. So if you have a question, you just might find the answer here. Or like Newton asking how an apple could fall to the ground and setting out to find the answer, you might discover a universal law yourself as he did, such as that of gravitation.

1089 and all that is like a ride into the wonders of Mathematics if Maths is your idea of an adventure. Even those not overly enamored with maths will find some thrill in this book.

• For those who have troubles with correct spelling or choice of words like me, Quite Literally is a useful reference for all writers. So think laterally but keep it quiet. This is a fun and practical resource with more emphasis on British rather than American English.

• Some choices for fiction here too. I enjoyed American Rust by Philipp Meyer. This book has been hailed as a 'Great American Novel' and compared favorably to the works of Steinbeck and Cormac McCarthy. I passed on the Wambaugh book and may read Greene later.  A collection of short stories by Kurt Vonnegut published posthumously, is also here.

• I recommend The Mask of Dimitrios if you’re into thrilling spy stories. This Eric Ambler book is among his better ones and is just as good as a Le Carre 'Smiley' novel. Or maybe put the other way, Le Carre is as good as Ambler was in this book.

• Oh and listen to some Disney music composed by Randy Newman in the The Princess and the frog CD.

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