Friday, June 08, 2007

Recent Reads


- (audiobook) The Measure of a Man, autobiography by actor Sidney Poitier and performed by author. Very well written and very entertaining at places.

- Teresa Teng biography, in Chinese. Teresa Teng (Deng Li Jun) was one of the most popular Chinese singers through the 70s, 80s and early 90s. She died in 1995 of asthma in Thailand and this book was written for the ten year anniversary of her death. One of my favorite songs of hers is "Wishing We Last Forever", a poem by Su Dong Po from Song dynasty. An English translation of the poem is here. You can find lots of her videos on YouTube, mostly ripped from Karaoke discs. This is one of the better ones.

Started but didn't finish:

- (audiobook) Dubliners, short story collection by James Joyce. Joyce's book was one of the recent bookclub selections, but for whatever reason I never got the selected book from San Jose library (my queue was very long at one point, maybe someone decided to help me shorten it a bit). One thing about audiobook listened during commute hours is that the book needs to be very engaging. Unfortunately this book is not one of them.

- (audiobook) The world is flat. Another popular social study business book like Freakonomics. We lived through the dot com boom and bust, still living through the outsourcing, the job loss, the corporate global view, yada yada yada. Interesting to hear what the economics say about all that. I stopped when there was a little too much praising for our heavily accented friends on the other side of the earch, and the book was due with others waiting, so I gladly sent it back.

- (audiobook) Copy This, autobiography by Kinko's founder Paul Orfalea, read by the author. Now that I know what a big cheese thinks of his "co-workers", time to move on.

- (audiobook) Me Talk Pretty One Day, another book club selection. Had to stop when human waste showed up.

- (audiobook) Running with Scissors. This book has been on New York Times best seller list for many weeks. Mental illness is a big deal, especially if it happens to oneself or in ones own family. I can stand domestic violence, gay sex, girls with potty mouth, but had put a stop to it when it comes to bodily functions, again.

On deck:

- (audiobook) The Innocent Man by John Grisham. I used to be a huge fan of Grsham, but disappointed with his more recent books. So far this one sounds promising.

- (audiobook) Sweetwater Creek by Anne Rivers Siddons. I've liked every book I read by Siddons, so please let this be a good one too.

- Children's poetry by Robert Louise Stevenson, night time reading with Henry.

- (audtiobook) Harry Potter book five, The Order of the Phoenix. Listening to it with Henry when we are in the car together, like on the way to school every morning. Sometimes we end up stopping in the drop off line to finish a few more sentences. I make him explain all the stuffs I either don't remember or don't get.

- Poetry from Song dynasty, in Chinese of course, with an attempt to wake up and maintain my knowledge of classic Chinese literature. My heartfelt thanks to my online knitting friend Karin for reminding me that poetry is an important part of my life and being able to read and write Chinese poetry is something I should be very proud of. See Karin's blog entry here and comment on my blog here.

- The Lost Continent by Bill Bryson. When I have a few minutes at night, when I'm not crunching numbers, reading the paper, playing on the computer ....


Diane said...

I agree with your view on John Grisham. This book gets so bogged down in details that it's a chore to read.

Sarah said...

Vivian, I was so happy to learn about Teresa Teng. I had never heard of her before. I loved the video you linked, but also really enjoyed the one in Japanese. I was very impressed with how popular she was in Japan. Have you checked out A fan site run by a Japanese woman that is almost fanatical in its devotion.

Vivian said...

Teresa Teng developed her career in Japan and was very popular for a number of years. But by in large she is Chinese and I enjoy her singing in Mandarin Chinese. There is something subtle about a singer's performance in his or her mother tongue, Teresa in Mandarin, Andrea Bocelli in Italian, Julio Iglecias in Spanish, Frank Sinatra in English, which cannot be transferred to another language. Granted I don't understand Italian and Spanish, so my opinion about Bocelli and Iglecias might be a bit off. But Teresa's singing in Mandarin is distinctly different from her performance in Cantonese, English and Japanese, and I'm fluent in English, understand every word in Cantonese, and had studied some Japanese. There is singing with lyrics and rhythm, and there is singing with heart and emotion. I prefer the latter.