Tag Archives: books
11 Apr

london 2.23C 13C sunny (feel like 12C) tuesday 2017

well, i did go out just now. cant say i could have differentiated the feeling of 13C from what it would feel like if it is 12C. haha. just goes to show how ridiculous these feel like temperatures are.

anyway it was very pleasant, and all that i need to do was within one bus ride , the C10. i just went to the post office, and the library. both near the bus stops.

now i am back at my flat to wait for ian, my friend who i had arranged to meet.

originally we were supposed to meet at the age uk canteen , in their office near russell square gardens in bloomsbury. but it involved 3 changes of buses for me, so even though there are no long walks between the changes, i felt i dont really want to bother. so i emailed him last night to ask if we can change it to him coming to my flat instead.

he finished work at about 1 or 2pm, near angel, it is about the north east corner of central london. might take him some time to cycle to me. anyway i am putting my foot up on the sofa and that is nice. and have rice being cooked now which i shall eat with a warmed up vegetable curry left over from the huge batch that my friend john had cooked before he left for his journey up north.

i also am steaming brocolli that simon bought and which we ignored for so long , it has got brown all over the top. that is the trouble with brocolli, it does not keep well. i have to eat it or have to throw it away and i am too thrifty to throw it away. 

now i got a cup of coffee (instant) by my side and enjoying a short post on my blog.

i borrowed a new book from the library. it is the mandibles – a family 2029-2047 by lionel shriver. it is a futuristic novel about new york and america. would be interesting to read , though i daresay from the few pages i have read that it will be about how awful it is, water rationing, food shortages, no meat, everything very expensive. all quite depressing really, but i guess i shall soldier on and read it. sigh cant really have a fun novel these days. gone are the days of enid blyton and childhood fun , with kids doing adventure with a small a, and just being kids and having fun with a bit of danger , but not too much and not too dangerous , no one gets killed for one thing. 

added.9.52pm 12C dry. actually that curry turned out to be lamb curry, with lots of veg. i topped it up with the steam brocolli, very tender after the steaming, and with rice, it was a delicious meal. i seem to like other people’s cooking more than my own . my appetite have not been diminished by my infected foot. i shall take that as a sign that it is healing, and the food is what the body wants to build up cells again.

not much things i want to watch on tv tonight. perhaps they are saving all the good programs for the easter weekend that is this weekend. it will force me to read this book i borrowed. that might be a good thing, as i dont seem to be in the mood for it, but when there is nothing to read, i will just have to take it up and read it and that might draw me into the book if i give it a chance. 

so for 4 days no newspapers for me , as the libraries will all be shut. 

free chocolate

5 Mar

london 3.09pm 10.2C occasional rain sunday 2017

two books i borrowed from the library this morning, and a free bag of chocolates from a voucher in today’s mail on sunday newspaper.(there are more chocs in the bag than shown).

‘ the transatlantic marriage bureau’ tells a very interesting story about a time about 1895 when there were 9 american heiresses married to uk aristocrats, the largest number in any year.

the other book is by christian cameron, part of the tyrant series. historical fiction of the aftermath of alexander the great’s conquests featuring his generals who came after him. this is the last book of the series and is new to me. so i am starting from the end. added. 6.3.17 i find it impossible to read it, maybe that would teach me to start the series with the final book. or it might be the writing style. anyway i am abandoning it. the other book about the american marriages to aristrocrats is more interesting.

1st day of spring

1 Mar

london 1.13pm 10C cloudy wednesday 2017

or so i would like to think. though i would say the spring equinox 21st would be the natural day when spring starts. but hey, if it brings spring earlier, why not take today as it. haha. its quite cloudy and do not feel spring like, even though it is rather warm. but more of the daffodils are out and nodding their heads in agreement (it seems).

read recently that people who handle the package chicken sold in supermarkets should wash their hands when they get home, because it seems not only is the chicken inside contaminated, the outside of the wrapping is also contaminated. what a state we have come to, hasn’t it? does that mean i have to wash my reuseable shopping bag too? and someone did say what about the cashier who takes the chicken package and swipe it … do they have to clean their hands afterwards, otherwise they will spread the germs to all the shopping of all their customers.

well, now u can understand why i always wash my hands as soon as i get into the house. though i do it before i read of this contaminated packaging. it is just that every surface u touch when u are out and about is really very dirty. its been touched by countless others and you dont know where their hands have been or what they have touched. 

 i suppose if u really are that worried about contamination, you should wash your clothes everytime u wear it outside. it is taken to extreme i should think.

i should separate the outdoor clothes from those that i wear indoors. (no sooner said then done now…haha.) but they are all in the same cupboard. 

perhaps it is not necessary at all, seeing our immune system has protected us very well. if it has not, there would be an epidemic of deaths and sickness from this long ago. 

i am at the library and saw a book, ss-gb prominently displayed with a tag (as shown on tv) and put on the recommended shelf, so i decided to borrow it , but the machine says i cannot and to ask at the desk.

but i had a previous experience some time ago, where i did take another book with a similar advise from the macchine to take to the desk and was told by the librarian on duty that day that it has been pre booked , and so i was not allowed to borrow it. in the past, the librarian have always let me borrow it first.

after that episode, i stopped taking  these books to the desk.

well today i see the same book on the returned shelf. but after what happened the last time, i decided to just ask the man at the desk what their policy was. i said last time i took a book to the desk the librarian did not allow me to borrow it because it has been prebooked.

he said if i find the book in the ordinary shelves i can borrow it even if it has been prebooked. but not if it is on the  just- returned shelves. so that clarifies things. well, i did not tell him that book is sitting there right now. i will let him find out for himself.

i know  that sounds rather selfish of me.hehe.  but i think if that is their policy than they want to find it for themselves and dont want our help.

i suppose u could say it is only fair that someone who has booked and paid for it, should get priority… i guess u may be right. haha. i am in two minds about reading that book, the ss-gb. it is being shown on tv now, and people have complained they cannot hear the actors. i never can hear the actors  anyway, so i rely on the subtitles. but it sounds like a grim story… or rather i think i might prefer to read the book, rather than see it enacted on tv. the style of the author is more important i think than the story itself. 

added. 5.26pm today my direct debit have taken out £145.50 for the tv license, and just now i read online that they are increasing it to £147 from 1 april. not much of an increase £1.50,though the new article was saying it like it is a huge increase.  and will be increasing with inflation for 5yrs.

 it has remained steady at £145.50 a year since 2010. some people object to paying it as they say they dont watch it. i watch it, and i like it for its no advertising. and it has programs that i like to see. its about £12 a month. i wish it is less biased and keep neutral…or at least present a balanced presentation. for eg during the referendum to leave the EU, it was very biased for remain. in the past it has been famous for being even handed. it might serve its remit to give balanced views from now on. but i guess it was so convinced that voting for brexit is suicide, it feels compelled to sway the voters.

of course it receives money from the EU, so it is not exactly a disinterested body. nothing like receiving money to make u side with the person giving it to you and even more when the money will dry up if we brexit. 


why go into a macdonalds to buy salad?

24 Feb

london 5.18am 7.6C friday 2017 dry night.

i got woken up just now by simon coughing, he looks like he is coming down with something. then he was able to go back to sleep, whilst i could not. so i decided to get online and browse the internet instead. and read this interesting article in the daily mail about a book, how things become popular by derek thompson. with quotes like this…

why do we go into a macdonalds wanting to order a salad but end up ordering a double cheeseburger instead?

or i like it because it is popular, i hate it because it is popular, referring to fashion. ( and they end up wearing the same clothes as another in a function. haha)

‘the tension between neophilia and neophobia’. Neophilia is the liking of new things, neophobia the fear or dislike of them, and both come into play when you are launching any product. As Thompson rather pithily puts it: ‘Many people crave new products, ideas and stories, provided that they are just like the products, ideas and stories they already know.’

its an interesting book i shall keep an eye out for it in the library. it does not offer a solution, it seems. 

what is your reason for that macdonald behaviour? my opinion is that i dont think it is value for money to pay for a salad. somehow i get a feeling that a hamburger is better value for money. you can buy one with chips for £1.99 , with one of those free vouchers that u can find in any metro newspaper. i dont think it is worth it to pay that money for a salad. (come to think of it, i dont even want to buy the hamburger, so i dont think it is worth it to buy it even at that price…am i confused or what?!! haha .i think if i were travelling and cannot cook, i will be tempted to get a hamburger for that price.)

for one thing, it is very easy to make a salad yourself, it takes no skill at all… whilst it does take a lot of effort to make a hamburger. also, i dont think many people actually go into a macdonald to buy a salad. if they are vegetarian they would not want to set foot inside a macdonalds at all and will order their salad in a vegetarian place. after all, if u are a vegetarian you want people to know it and your credibility will be destroyed if they see u inside a macdonalds.

so that question may not be quite true, not many go into a macdonalds to buy a salad only. in fact, he should ask why does anyone go to a macdonald to order a salad? haha. so maybe the book is full of questions that no one asks really. haha. 

another tidbit of news i see is the headline result of the by election. with the conservatives taking copeland. (its in the lake district)and labour retaining  stoke.  it is the first time in 35yrs that a party in govt has taken an opposition seat in a by election.  that is historic indeed. and it also is bad news for UKIP. even with all the things in its favour,( the labour candidate who won is a ardent remainer , in a place which have voted for brexit), it still cannot capture stoke. 

added 10.35am 7.3C sunny . i went back to sleep and just woke up again. and reading my post i was extremely impressed with wikipedia. i noticed they have immediately updated their entry about copeland and stoke with the new MPs, that were just elected earlier this morning. 

a parallel universe

29 Dec

london 2.03pm 13.6C sunny bluesky thursday 2016

not for the first time do i feel i am living in a parallel universe where there is no fog, there is blue sky and sunny day.

the news i read online says there has been fog today , so bad that it stops departures from airports (but not arrivals, isn’t that strange? but that is what applies in that alternate universe). whereas here i am, no fog, blue sky in fact for the 2nd consecutive day. not a cloud in the sky. how come? of course the rational explanation is that the fog is early in the morning, when i am sound asleep. haha.

but i sometimes wonder whether our souls can slot ourselves into a universe of its own choosing , one where our lives are just what we want, amongst all the parallel universes there are…  where other lives and  events may be go haywire, but does not really become personal and impinge on our lives.

it might be a fanciful way of looking at things. but if u consider that there is a trend of thought which says u call for what u wish… then there might be a universe where u really live the life you want, or rather your soul wants, and it might be in a universe where hitler won the war, where things are very different from what they are. maybe even there is no battle of hastings, or it was won by harold, and the england we have now is very different. i dont think many realise how big a game changer is william the conquerer’s invasion of england. hmm, i suppose it would make for a historical novel.

this universe i am in has the internet and is very mechanical , by which i mean hardware and software… rather than mental , mind control and all that. we seem to have moved from wielding the power of the mind and relied on mechanical stuff to get things done. so we rely on planes to fly instead of just levitating ourselves. anyway it is just me wondering , or fantasising …

perhaps i m thinking of these because i have been reading terry pratchett and his world vision in his books about the discworld. an entirely different universe.  i got three books of his.

finished the light fantastic and saw in my tv guide that there is a tv adaptation of it, along with the first book, the colour of magic. i saw the first part yesterday on pick tv, and today the concluding part will be shown at 5pm.  so it is rather nice to see a visual presentation of what a director thinks it should look like. reading the wiki entry, it is the first time i realise these are the two books that started the series of his discworld.

authors have been creating alternate universes all the time, it seems.

 added 12.22pm friday 30.12.16 4.1C foggy . i see another terry pratchett film , going postal,on pick tv today. i googled it and found out that sky has been adapting books to films and it has done three of terry pratchatt’s disc world books. and they are now being shown on pick tv which is on freeview. though i think the books are better. 


starting to read game of thrones series.

15 Nov

london 3.21pm 16.2C (warm today) tuesday 2016 cloudy/rain

a dull day but warm. due to a plume of warm air coming up from the south.

i am reading the first of the game of thrones series. the whole series of books is available on the shelf in my local library. i have read a bit of it long ago before it became a film, and gave up on it.

but recently i borrowed his latest book, ‘knight of the 7 kingdoms’ about a hedge knight , set about 100 yrs before the events dealt with in the game of thrones. and it was so good that i decided i shall revisit that series.

he has another book written ages ago called tuf voyaging, which i enjoyed a lot too. so he has a good record of books that i enjoy. so i am sure i shall enjoy this series. i wont bother to see the films made for tv i think. i enjoy the written words, because they give a more rounded version and allow me to use my imagination to visualise it. these are really thick books. 

it is great escapism these books and their depiction of a strange world that is a mix of periods. googling him i found he has written other books and this article mentions them. i shall keep an eye out for them. 

addd. 7.12pm 15C wet . saw this article saying google have decided to go ahead to build  their headquarters in kings cross. coming on top of facebook committing to build their headquarters in battersea power station, it seems brexit has not deterred these two internet giants from using london as their base. 

drama in books are prefect because u can take it or leave it whenever u like.

3 Nov

london 7.28pm 10.6C dry night thursday 2016

10.10pm 9.4C dry

i wonder how is other people’s day today. perhaps nothing happened, like mine today. i daresay most people’s days nothing happens really.

for most people the routine of work takes hold, and then home to veg out over the tv and then to bed. as for  meals they might cook it at home or from the takeaway, or some might go out to eat. rinse and repeat the next day. 

and life for a retired person must be even more uneventful. time seems to go by quite quickly for me these days. by the time i am ready to go out it is around lunch time. since i have oats for breakfast every day, it fills me up and i dont feel hungry at all come lunch time.

so i go out to the library and spent time there reading the papers and looking to see if there are any interesting books to borrow.

i saw philip roth’s latest book, american pastoral, about a man about my age talking of another man who is 7yrs older than him, someone who he looks up to and revere, until he was asked by that person to write about his father , as a memory of his father’s life, and … this is as far as i have reached in my reading up to date.

a lot of it resonates with me as this guy is about my age, and looking back on his life. though so much of it is about sports. and american sports at that. but the nostalgia is similar to mine. i daresay there will be lots of skeletons in the cupboard of both characters, that will come out in due course i am sure. the characters lead colourful and busy lives, which is different from mine.  

 generally i come to realise that my life actually is quite even and thankfully not full of drama. i dislike drama, so maybe that is why my life is so lacking in it. i wont have much to write about if i were to write an autobiography of myself.

unlike this guy , zayn something, who is with one direction, the band, and who left the band to strike out on his own and he wrote an autobiography , and he is only in his 20s, but it seems he suffers from anxiety and some disorder of the mind. so young and have so much happen to him. i think so many of these people who perform in front of the public seem to have a lot of mental problems, depression, anxiety, bipolar, and lots more. i wonder if it is something that comes with the territory, performing seems to require that they have these mental traits come along as baggage, and almost seems to me that u have to have one of those mental things if u want to be a performer.

i think i would not like that kind of life, having to perform to the public and be in the public eye all the time. i like being anonymous. i like having no plans, nor ambitions, nor goals. that to me is an ideal life not one that is governed by appointments and being busy, busy and having to deal with people. i think i have a hermit’s disposition.

i like reading about other people’s lives, either in real life, as an autobiography, or in fiction, as a adventure fantasy novel. books are marvelous that way, in that i can pick it up, read it and put it down and do another book, or get back to my own life, without all the excitement in the book that those characters in the book have to live through.

it’s nice to drop the drama and get back to my own uneventful life and still be able to pick up the drama where i left it when i next read the book again. sometimes the drama gets too much for me, so much happening to the hero, that i get tired of it and have to put down the book and read another, or simply get back to my own life , just for a bit of rest from the relentless drama in the book. 


free books

18 Sep

london 8.38am 15.5C sunday 2016

i still get a frisson of joy when i see books lying around for the taking , free. coming from malaysia, growing up in it where books are expensive and good english books are hard to come by, it is a real joy to be able to just pick up books for the taking. i pass by the recycling bins in my housing estate and saw load of books scattered around. there is a bin for recycled books but i think the people who left these wanted others to pick up and read them. i saw this two that i like. the tom holt one is unusual. i did not know he wrote historical novels. this must be an early book. i have read a bit of it, and it is very well written. the writing flows well. 

its a far cry from the 3 booker prize shortlist books that i am ploughing through now, and finding it hard going. hot milk, deborah levy; David Szalay, All That Man Is; Madeleine Thien, Do Not Say We Have Nothing. 



long list of booker prize 2016

28 Jul


On Wednesday morning the Man Booker Prize for Fiction announced its 2016 “dozen,” a longlist of 13 authors vying for the prestigious literary award. The £50,000 prize is open to authors of any nationality writing originally in English, whose works have been published in the U.K.This year’s list features five American writers, three debut novelists,…

via Inside the 2016 Man Booker Longlist — The Atlantic

london 1.17am 19.6C thursday 2016

in that article i found a link to a website that reviews books and i thought this one about the best reads of 2015 quite interesting.


hot summer

7 Jun

london 1.57pm 24.4C cloudy but bright. tuesday 2016

this weather reminds me of malaysia, though not so humid , it being only about 50% . but i have to be careful that nostalgia is not biasing my memories…i doubt this weather now is anything like malaysia. malaysia will be much hotter. 

it gives  me some idea of what 25C is like. it is going on the top end of pleasantness… any higher and i think it will tip over into unpleasant… that is because today is cloudy and the sun is not out in its full force.  and it is forecast to rain a lot about now. 

but also reminds me it is nothing compared to the searing heat and humidity of malaysia when the day can be  32C and 80% humid. even the torrential downpours dont seem to make it cooler.  i have forgotten about that heat and cannot imagine it now.

i was at the library and they have anthony burgess malayan trilogy , a series of books he wrote set in malaya during 1955-57. i read a bit of it while at the library, but did not borrow it. those stories are so old now… he does sprinkle the story with malay words… kedai , kiri (which he use meaning toting up the bill on his shop account.) it is the story of a english man  working in the civil service in what was then malaya just before the country got independance, and all the characters he lived with during those days described from a british point of view;  at least that was my impression. i did not read it all… somerset maugham did a similar thing too, with his malayan stories… a lot of drinking and drunkeness i recall.

no mention of the lovely foods that abound in malaysia… unlike nowadays when it is all that people talk about now whenever u read blogs in that region. now that ramadan has started, there will be huge range of foods in the evening for sale.

it is a paradox really that at a time of fasting… is really the signal for such a vast array of foods to come out around now, foods that are not prepared or on sale any other time. and for feasting to occur in the evening. it does not only happen in malaysia, it happens in saudi arabia and that middle east region too… and for all i know, in pakistan too. i wonder whether in the edgeware road, it is all dead in the day time but come bursting to life when the sunsets… daylight is from 4.44am to 9.14pm. such long hours to be fasting, dont u think? 


Digital StillCamera

Digital StillCamera

london near hyde park corner, that plot of green with wellington arch in it.