Saturday, February 17, 2007

Last year's backlog

Overall, 2006 was not a very bad year for my reading life. Posted five (5) titles in the lectiograph. Actually finished reading more than that. Just had no time or will to write something about the other books. I still plan to do so before the current quarter ends. And, just for the record, I was able to start with a few other books sometime during the last quarter of 2006. But, guess I'm not reading them regularly. So, they're still beside my mattress, just waiting for me to pick them up again. Been making some plans to revive my self-discipline and allot blocks of time each day just for reading. I've also resolved to read more slowly after reading this article from Jessica Zafra's blog. Plus, I've lifted my self-imposed moratorium on buying new books.

So, here's my bedside stockpile at the moment:
  1. Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior by Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche. This is supposed to be a secular book. Perhaps inspired by the author's vision of promoting Buddhist thought without the limitations posed by sectarianism. Shambhala is supposed to be a legendary kingdom in Tibet whose inhabitants lived up to the highest ideals of enlightened warriorship: being courageous, heroic, fearless, and selfless at all times. For more on Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, Shambhala has this page on him.
  2. Dune: The Machine Crusade by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson. First book by Brian Herbert that I'm reading. Good to know that somebody has been putting historical flesh to the universe that Frank Herbert has left behind. Interesting story so far. But not as tight as the original Dune novels. Let me see, there's a Priestess of the human jihad against the machines, a scheming Grand Patriarch of the jihad, Atreides and Harkonnen Primeros (some sort of generals), a class of Sorceresses who could blow up machines with their minds, the inventor of the space-folding engine who discovered her power to reconstitute every cell in her body after being reduced to a pulp by the machines, brains of wise people (Cogitors) floating in fluid inside containers, etc. Problem is, I'm almost halfway through the book and I still don't have any idea how all these strands are going to weave together. And, the opening quotes don't come anywhere near those of Frank's novels in terms of philosophical substance and depth.
  3. Living in Truth by Vaclav Havel. Haven't been into my socialist and communist bashing modes lately. But what the heck. Just thought of reading this book that I acquired years ago -- when the Eastern bloc's disintegration was fresh in the minds of those who still care -- before all of its pages turn yellow and start to crumble. Besides, as one review puts it, Vaclav Havel's critique goes down to society's fundamentals, be it communist or Western democracy.
  4. The Seduction of Silence by Bem Le Hunte. Finished about three-fourths of this book. Still have to muster enough interest and will to finish the remaining one-fourth.
  5. Are You Somebody?: The Accidental Memoir of a Dublin Woman by Nuala O'Faolain. Interesting views and anecdotes on other famous writers. Am not sure if this is the first memoir that I've bought and actually started reading. Liked that line in the introduction about her problems being trivial only because they are shared by many people. Lot of sincerity and courage in that. Enjoyed the stories about her adolescent escapades. I've seen her recent novel in one of my book hunting trips. Am now thinking of buying a copy.
  6. Jakarta Jive by Jeremy Allen. This book was lent to me by an Indonesian friend. Thought for some time that it was a gift. There's a certain fascination with the viewpoint and stories of a foreigner writing about such a diverse society and culture. And at a very interesting point in its history (during the 1997 economic crisis).
  7. Spanish in Three Months by Isabel Cisneros. Borrowed this from my partner who went to Peru last year. Thought I should be learning at least one European language. Temporarily gave up Russian. Think it was German before that. Hope I'll have more patience and luck with Spanish.
  8. Seeking the Heart of Wisdom: The Path of Insight Meditation by Joseph Goldstein and Jack Kornfield. Comes with a Foreword by the Dalai Lama. Been browsing through chapters or portions of this book before I decided to start reading it from page one.


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