(On a Few Randomly Selected Books Reviewed)
Starting this issue I will write every now and then short reviews of a number of randomly selected books from my collection of more than a thousand books from various genres—from Fantasy Fiction, Classic Literature, True Crime, Poetry, History, Linguistics, Philosophy, Biography, Romance, to Music and many more.
I am yet to read many of those books, but I can fairly claim that I have read hundreds of them already. In fact, I have re-read for a number of times many of these.
1. The Great Indie Discography by M.C. Strong (Canongate Books, 2003). I bought this “bible” in 2004, for C$47.95; a bit expensive but it was worth my money. This book provides the histories and discographies of many artists and bands classified under Alternative Rock / Indie Rock—from The Stooges, Captain Beefheart, and Velvet Underground to The Cure, Depeche Mode, Echo & the Bunnymen, to The Lemonheads, Ned’s Atomic Dustbin, and Blur. Also, this book continues to be a fruitful springboard for knowing what essential MP3s to download or what CDs to purchase especially if you’re a big enthusiast of Alternative Rock music.
2. The Great Rock Discography by M.C. Strong (North Atlantic Books, 2002).Originally priced at C$44.95, this book I got for only C$9.99! Great deal, wasn’t it? This discography book covers a far wider range of Rock artists, and it’s a great complementary book to the one above.
3. Pocket Kama Sutra by Anna Hooper (Dorling Kindersley, 2004). This small book is a new guide to the ancient arts of lovemaking; not definitive but enough to satisfy the imagination and to put into action the creativity of any adventurous couples.
“The warm glow that follows lovemaking is all too easily dissipated if you simply go to sleep, or do anything that is either physically or intellectually demanding. Most lovers want to sustain the feeling of harmony; some like simply to lie quietly in each other’s arms.”
4. 4,000 Things You Should Know by John Farndon (Miles Kelly Publishing, 2003) – I’ve always been a big enthusiast of trivia and general knowledge.
Do you still remember the names of the three ossicle bones of the ear? What about the two moons of Mars? Who was the second person to set spaceboots on Earth’s moon?
“The world’s biggest fish is the whale shark, which can grow to well over a length of 12 meters. Unlike most sharks, it feeds mainly on plankton and is completely harmless.”
5. The Portable Jung, edited by Joseph Campbell (Penguin USA, 1976). Fresh from reading Jung by Anthony Storr and Freud and Jung: Years of Friendship, Years of Loss by Linda L. Donn, I decided finally to buy this definitive book, which contains Carl Gustav Jung’s biography and a lavish introduction to his key writings on analytical psychology and the adaptation and interpretation of mythology and anthropology. This book is a must-have for any enthusiast of the philosophical works of Jung.
6. 1,000 Poems from the Manyoshu (The Complete Nippon Gakujutsu Shinkokai Translation) (Dover Publications, 2005). This is the best companion to my Poems of the Masters: China’s Classic Anthology of T’ang and Sung Dynasty Verse. Manyoshu is the oldest existing, and most highly revered, collection of Japanese poetry, compiled sometime in the Nara period, which covered the years from about AD 710 to 794. One aspect of Japanese poetry that I love is its fondness for short forms—haiku, tanka, and shi.
“Slight not these flowers!
Each single petal contains
A hundred words of mine.”
The Last Leaf
A true literary connoisseur is someone who sheds a tear when reading a Romance pocketbook, gets lost in the worlds of a Fantasy Fiction novel but can find her way out unscathed but nevertheless braver and wiser, can follow the trail of a crime scene in a True Crime book, enjoys reciting lines from a Poetry book, and digs the roots of any music genre.