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15000pages

Apr. 7th, 2019

03:54 pm - Book 12 - 2017

Book 12: Dragon Soul by Derek Padula – 1945 pages

Description from Goodreads.com:

With a foreword from Christopher Sabat and Sean Schemmel, Dragon Soul: 30 Years of Dragon Ball Fandom is a grand celebration of the world's greatest anime and manga and it's momentous 30th Anniversary.

Thoughts:

Derek Padula has written a ton of books about the anime Dragon Ball Z, of which I have been a fan for nearly twenty years. When I got back into DBZ a couple of years ago, I discovered Padula, and undertook to read this book, his celebration of 30 years of DBZ through the stories of fans from across the world. It’s a slog, that’s for sure, and unfortunately most of the stories are pretty much the same kind of thing - ‘I was having a hard time in life and DBZ saved me because everyone is <insert relevant personality characteristic>’. I don’t begrudge Padula or the people who were affected by DBZ in such a profound way, but it got kind of repetitive after awhile. The best part was the forward by the show’s two most famous English voice actors.




12 / 50 books. 24% done!


6076 / 15000 pages. 41% done!

Currently reading:

And coming up:

Current Mood: tiredtired
Current Music: The Greatest Show - Panic! At the Disco

02:57 pm - Book 11 - 2017

Book 11: Hard Eight by Janet Evanovich – 277 pages

Description from bookdepository.co.uk:

The #1 bestselling phenomenon continues in the eighth Stephanie Plum novel. The stakes get higher, the crimes get nastier, the chases get faster, and the men get hotter. This time Stephanie, Morelli, Ranger. Lula, Valerie, and Grandma Mazur are strapped in for the ride of their lives. Stephanie is hired to find a missing child. But things aren't always as they seem and Stephanie must determine if she's working for the right side of the law. Plus, there's the Morelli question: can a Jersey girl keep her head on straight when more than just bullets are aimed for her heart? And with the Plum and Morelli relationship looking rocky, is it time for Ranger to move in for the kill? Janet Evanovich's latest thriller proves that Hard Eight will never be enough.

Thoughts:

This Stephanie Plum novel introduces the character of Albert Kloughn, a hapless lawyer who ends up falling for Stephanie’s sister Valerie. Other than that, its a standard Stephanie Plum novel - crazy Lula and Grandma Mazur, sexy Ranger and Morelli, pretty useless Stephanie. A mother and daughter goes missing and Stephanie’s grandmother asks her to investigate on the side. Needless to say this leads to much silliness, and a little bit of scary (why Stephanie doesn’t find a new job she’s actually half decent at nobody knows, least of all her). An uneventful read.


11 / 50 books. 22% done!


4131 / 15000 pages. 28% done!

Currently reading:

And coming up:

Current Mood: tiredtired
Current Music: Rewrite the Stars - James Arthur & Anne-Marie

Mar. 24th, 2019

01:54 pm - Books 1 - 10.

1. Hall - The Well Of Loneliness (486 pages)
2. Jaffrey - Curry Easy Vegetarian (234 pages)
3. Lu - Warcross (357 pages)
4. Foulcher - Reclaiming Humility: Four Studies In The Monastic Tradition (317 pages)
5. M.Miller - The Song Of Achilles (358 pages)
6. Kondo - Spark Joy: An Illustrated Guide To The Japanese Art Of Tidying (253 pages)
7. Mansfield - The Collected Stories (761 pages)
8. Bolz-Weber - Accidental Saints: Finding God In All The Wrong People (192 pages)
9. M.Shelley - The Last Man (500 pages)
10. Ingram - Eat Your Heart Out (132 pages)

Total so far: 3 560 pages

Current Mood: calmcalm
Current Music: Bright Eyes - "Saturday As Usual"

Feb. 10th, 2019

06:35 pm - Book 10 - 2017

Book 10: State of the Union by Douglas Kennedy – 436 pages

Description from bookdepository.co.uk:

Hannah Buchan thinks herself ordinary. She is not the revolutionary child that her painter mother and famous radical father had hoped for. Raised in the creative chaos of 1960s America, Hannah vows to reject her parents' liberal lifestyle, and settles instead for typical family life in a nondescript corner of Maine. But normality isn't quite what Hannah imagined it would to be, and try as she might to fight it, the urge to rebel against the things that hem her in grows ever stronger. Eventually, a series of encounters puts Hannah in an exhilarating but dangerous position - one in which she never thought she would find herself. For decades, this one transgression in an otherwise faultless life lies buried deep in the past, all but forgotten - until a turn of fate brings it crashing back into the limelight. As her secret emerges, Hannah's life goes into freefall and she is left struggling against the force of the past. State of the Union is a stunning and grippingly honest story about life, love and family, set against the backdrop of two different but strikingly similar eras.

Thoughts:

Another book that I picked up at the local $2 biannual book fair, and I won’t deny that I picked it up because of the title - I thought it had a political theme (it could be argued that it does, but its tenuous). Having said that, I absolutely fell in love with it and flew through reading it. Hannah’s story, the manipulation she faces from a variety of fronts, and the growth she gets out of her experiences, and emancipating herself from her situation, is juxtaposed beautifully against that of her daughter’s story. The setting, New England, helped too; I love the region. Kennedy has no trouble writing a realistic lead female character, and I felt equal parts sad and happy for Hannah as her story came to a resolution (I kind of wanted to punch her husband by the end). Reminds me of a Jodi Picoult book without the jumping from perspective and dramatic twist ending. I will definitely read more of Kennedy.


10 / 50 books. 20% done!


3854 / 15000 pages. 26% done!


Currently reading:


  • The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli – 106 pages

  • Dragon Soul by Derek Padula – 1945 pages

  • Hard Eight by Janet Evanovich – 277 pages

And coming up:


  • The Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant: Volume 3: White Gold Wielder by Stephen Donaldson – 500 pages

  • The Odyssey by Homer – 324 pages

  • The Mammoth Book of Futuristic Romance edited by Trisha Telep – 481 pages

Current Mood: tiredtired
Current Music: Bohemian Rhapsody - Queen

04:51 pm - Book 9 - 2017

Book 9: Griffith Review 51: Fixing the System edited by Julianne Schultz and Anne Tiernan – 326 pages

Description from bookdepository.co.uk:

Griffith Review 51- Fixing the System sets out to examine Australia's political and social system and to investigate why so many believe it to be unfit for purpose. While Australia has never been richer, its people better educated and the country better connected internationally, there is a widespread perception that systems and key institutions are broken. Interest groups flex their muscle and block each other. Risk management has paralysed the system. Commentators proclaim the 'end of the reform era'. They lament the rise of a 'new volatility' in the nation's electoral politics; the demise of the capacity and will to lead; and the paucity of debate of the problems and challenges facing Australia. They complain about the resistance to change and openness to bold new ideas, and the ability to talk frankly and fearlessly about the kind of society we want to build for the future. All this is happening in a world that is changing rapidly, but without a clear road map. Edited by Julianne Schultz and Anne Tiernan, Fixing the System examines this chorus of complaint. It asks what is broken and examines the reasons how and why. It considers what needs to be done to revive the lucky country. Contributors include Carmen Lawrence, Clare Wright, Peter Van Onselen, Paul Ham, Gabrielle Carey, Chris Wallace, Jonathan West, Megan Davis, Stephen Mills, Anne Coombs, Graham Wood, Lee Kofman and many more.

Thoughts:

The University I work for, Griffith, issues four ‘Griffith Review’ books each year. These books are a compilation of essays on a particular, timely topic. My boss randomly came around one day and asked if anyone wanted to read the latest Griffith Review, and me, being the nerd I am, said ‘sure’. This volume was about the issues in the Australian political and social system. There seems to be an ongoing dialogue in Australia on who and what we are, versus what we intend to be. We seem to struggle to work out what we want our identity to be - personally, I think this is as a result of being a British colony smack bang between Asia and the United States, with a very multicultural population (27% of Australians are not born here, over 50% have a parent who was born overseas - myself included). There is no real answers out of this volume, just a lot of discussion of the variety of issues, including reflections of new Australians on the struggle with fitting in. Though the topic of this volume wasn’t really my area of interest (beyond it being about my country), I did end up getting a subscription to the Griffith review, so it must have hit a nerve in some way.




9 / 50 books. 18% done!


3418 / 15000 pages. 23% done!

Currently reading:


  • The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli – 106 pages

  • Dragon Soul by Derek Padula – 1945 pages

  • State of the Union by Douglas Kennedy – 436 pages

And coming up:


  • The Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant: Volume 3: White Gold Wielder by Stephen Donaldson – 500 pages

  • The Odyssey by Homer – 324 pages

  • Hard Eight by Janet Evanovich – 277 pages

Current Mood: busy
Current Music: Someone Like You - Adele

12:50 pm - Book 8 - 2017

Book 8: My Life by Bill Clinton – 957 pages

Description from bookdepository.co.uk:

President Bill Clinton's My Life is the strikingly candid portrait of a global leader who decided early in life to devote his intellectual and political gifts, and his extraordinary capacity for hard work, to serving the public. It shows us the progress of a remarkable American, who, through his own enormous energies and efforts, made the unlikely journey from Hope, Arkansas, to the White House--a journey fueled by an impassioned interest in the political process which manifested itself at every stage of his life: in college, working as an intern for Senator William Fulbright; at Oxford, becoming part of the Vietnam War protest movement; at Yale Law School, campaigning on the grassroots level for Democratic candidates; back in Arkansas, running for Congress, attorney general, and governor. We see his career shaped by his resolute determination to improve the life of his fellow citizens, an unfaltering commitment to civil rights, and an exceptional understanding of the practicalities of political life. We come to understand the emotional pressures of his youth - - born after his father's death; caught in the dysfunctional relationship between his feisty, nurturing mother and his abusive stepfather, whom he never ceased to love and whose name he took; drawn to the brilliant, compelling Hillary Rodham, whom he was determined to marry; passionately devoted, from her infancy, to their daughter, Chelsea, and to the entire experience of fatherhood; slowly and painfully beginning to comprehend how his early denial of pain led him at times into damaging patterns of behaviour. President Clinton's book is also the fullest, most concretely detailed, most nuanced account of a presidency ever written - - encompassing not only the high points and crises but the way the presidency actually works: the day-to-day bombardment of problems, personalities, conflicts, setbacks, achievements. It is a testament to the positive impact on America and on the world of his work and his ideals. It is the gripping account of a president under concerted and unrelenting assault orchestrated by his enemies on the Far Right, and how he survived and prevailed. It is a treasury of moments caught alive, among them: - The ten-year-old boy watching the national political conventions on his family's new (and first) television set. - The young candidate looking for votes in the Arkansas hills and the local seer who tells him, - Anybody who would campaign at a beer joint in Joiner at midnight on Saturday night deserves to carry one box. . . . You'll win here. But it'll be the only damn place you win in this county.- (He was right on both counts.) - The roller-coaster ride of the 1992 campaign. - The extraordinarily frank exchanges with Newt Gingrich and Bob Dole. - The delicate manipulation needed to convince Rabin and Arafat to shake hands for the camera while keeping Arafat from kissing Rabin. - The cost, both public and private, of the scandal that threatened the presidency. Here is the life of a great national and international figure, revealed with all his talents and contradictions, told openly, directly, in his own completely recognizable voice. A unique book by a unique American.

Thoughts:

I was only a child when Bill Clinton became President, and back in those days the world was far less globalised, there was no war on terror, etc, etc, so I neither knew much about America nor do I remember much about Clinton’s presidency beyond the whole ‘I did not have sexual relations with that woman’ escapade. Alas, 20-something years later, I not only have a Masters in politics, but I’ve been to America seven times and the antics of the current US President (you know the one) is broadcast all over the TV/Internet etc every second of every day. I managed to pick up this very thick biography for $2 at a biannual book sale. Clinton’s story is an interesting one, and he doesn’t shy away from a difficult childhood, the faults he has as a result, and the mistakes he’s made, though he doesn’t always go into these with the detail one would hope. Needless to say, his intentions are always noble (we are always the hero in our own mind), but politics is politics, and he rarely gets the outcome he was hoping for. As an Australian, I’m obviously removed from the day to days of American politics, and can only arrive at an opinion based on what I see from the outside. In Australia, I’m probably considered conservative leaning (I consider myself socially progressive and fiscally conservative), but in America, nine times out of ten, I’d probably fall under the definition of a Democrat (I refuse to align to one party completely; I’m what we call a ‘swinging voter’ here in Australia). Bearing that in mind, I like Bill Clinton as a politician; he was probably the right man for the times. He would not fare half as well today. I have a copy of George W Bush’s biography on my reading list as well - I’m looking forward to comparing the men!


8 / 50 books. 16% done!


3092 / 15000 pages. 21% done!

Currently reading:

And coming up:

Current Mood: hungryhungry
Current Music: My Mum on the phone

Jan. 1st, 2019

10:26 pm - Book 7 - 2017

Book 7: Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty – 470 pages

Description from bookdepository.co.uk:

Perfect family, perfect house, perfect life; Jane, Madeline and Celeste have it all ... or do they? They are about to find out just how easy it is for one little lie to spiral out of control.

Thoughts:

When Liane Moriarty first came out, I read every book she wrote (this was years ago). At some point, I either forgot about her, or missed that she’d realised like five more books and gone international (I always liked the fact that all her books were authentically Australian without ramming the Australian-ness down your throat like so many Aussie authors do). I can’t remember if I’d heard about the Big Little Lies TV show before or after I bought this book, but I actually didn’t read it till my Mum did. Driving to the beach, Mum read the first chapter to me in the car. We laughed so much - we’d never heard something so authentic to our own experiences at an Australian school. Mum finished the book before me, and then as I worked my way through it, trying desperately to work out just what had happened, she did something uncharacteristic - refused to spoil it for me! That in of itself was a testament to Moriarty’s storytelling! Anyway, long story short, I loved this book. And I know the TV series is lauded (and I certainly enjoyed it), but the book is better (I also hate that they had to make it American - the aforementioned Australian-ness is part of its charm - it kind of feels like taking the English out of Harry Potter!). Funny, poignant, real, it deals with a number of really big issues in a very human way. In this case, the hype is deserved! A must-read.


7 / 50 books. 14% done!


2135 / 15000 pages. 14% done!

Currently reading:

And coming up:

Current Mood: tiredtired
Current Music: Rhythm of my Heart - Rod Stewart

12:58 pm - Books 91 - 100.

91. King - Letter From Birmingham Jail/The Three Dimensions Of A Complete Life (52 pages)
92. Ta Hsueh & Chung Yung (The Highest Order Of Cultivation & On The Practice Of The Mean (152 pages)
93. Pope Francis & Spadaro - Open To God, Open To The World (213 pages)
94. Miranda & Sun - Gmorning, Gnight!: Little Pep Talks For Me & You (200 pages)
95. Clayton - Chronicle Of The Pharaohs: The Reign-By-Reign Record Of The Rulers & Dynasties Of Ancient Egypt (212 pages)
96. Garcia & Miralles - Ikigai: The Japanese Secret To A Long & Happy Life (147 pages)
97. Majzlik - A Vegan Taste Of India (110 pages)
98. Ford - Theology: A Very Short Introduction (165 pages)
99. Flintoff - How To Change The World (120 pages)
100. Norwich - Byzantium: The Early Centuries (365 pages)

Total of this year: 22 189 pages.
*hits rewind button*

Current Mood: artistic
Current Music: Crystal Castles - "Doe Deer"

Dec. 5th, 2018

01:18 pm - Books 81 - 90.

81. Levitin - The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight In The Age Of Information Overload (408 pages)
82. Clemens - The Veggie-Lover's Sriracha Cookbook: 50 Vegan 'Rooster Sauce' Recipes That Pack A Punch (97 pages)
83. Beckett - Sister Wendy's Bible Treasury: Stories & Wisdom Through The Eyes Of Great Painters (177 pages)
84. D.Brown - Inferno (606 pages)
85. Orwell - Animal Farm (130 pages)
86. Stauch - Vegetarian Viet Nam (234 pages)
87. Beckett - Sister Wendy On The Art Of Christmas (46 pages)
88. Beckett - Sister Wendy On The Art Of Mary (45 pages)
89. Beckett - Sister Wendy On The Art Of Saints (46 pages)
90. Steinbeck - The Pearl (104 pages)

Total so far: 20 453 pages.

Current Mood: calmcalm
Current Music: REM - "Man On The Moon"

Nov. 19th, 2018

09:58 pm - Book 6 - 2017

Book 6: Seven Up by Janet Evanovich – 373 pages

Description from bookdepository.co.uk:

Semiretired mob guy Eddie DeCooch is caught trafficking contraband cigarettes through Trenton, New Jersey. When DeCooch fails to show for a court appearance, bond enforcement agent Stephanie Plum is assigned the task of finding him and dragging his decrepit ass back to jail. Not such an easy job, it turns out, since DeCooch has learned a lot of tricks over the years and isn't afraid to use his gun. He's already shot Loretta Ricci, an innocent old lady, and left her for worm food in his shed. He wouldn't mind shooting Stephanie next. Likeable losers (and Steph's former high school classmates) Walter "MoonMan" Dunphy and Dougie "The Dealer" Kruper have inadvertently become involved with DeCooch. They've gotten sucked into an operation that is much more than simple cigarette smuggling and holds risks far greater than anyone could have imagined. When Dougie disappears, Steph goes into search mode. When Mooner disappears, she calls in the heavy artillery and asks master bounty hunter Ranger for help. Ranger's price for the job? One night with Stephanie, dusk to dawn. Not information she's want to share with her sometime live-in roommate, vice cop Joe Morelli, A typical dilemma in the world of Plum. And on the homefront, Stephanie's "perfect" sister, Valerie, has decided to move back to Trenton, bringing her two kids from hell with her. Grandma Mazur is asking questions about being a lesbian, and Bob, the bulimic dog, is eating everything in sight--including the furniture. Mud wrestling, motorcycles, fast cars, fast food, and fast men. It's Seven Up. Absolutely Janet Evanovich at her very best.

Thoughts:

This Stephanie Plum book continues to build the supporting cast, the big one being Mooner who pops up again in later books, and it this introduced of additional characters that has generally served as an improvement to this series. Valerie, Stephanie’s sister also brings some fun times to the story, with her life events making Stephanie look a little less hopeless (or maybe its a family trait!). But Mooner is the shiner here, and I really enjoy his character. He’s hopeless, but hilarious, somehow a voice of reason and of chaos all at the same time. Grandma Mazur also brings some fun with her questions about lesbianism (inspired by comments from Valerie). Probably the one thing that annoys me about these books is Ranger’s constant moves on Stephanie. I love Ranger as a character, but that whole thing kinda annoys me. Anyway, still a light, fluffy entertaining read.


6 / 50 books. 12% done!


1665 / 15000 pages. 11% done!

Currently reading:

And coming up:

Current Location: Helsinki Airport, Finland
Current Mood: relievedrelieved
Current Music: Come Alive - Years & Years & Jess Glynne

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