My October reading is introduced to you by The Assistant!
- Takako Shimura “Wandering Son” vol.5 [Japan]
- Roxane Gay “Bad Feminist” [USA]
- Shamini Flint “A Deadly Cambodian Crime Spree” [Malaysia, Singapore]
- Agatha Christie “Death on the Nile” [UK]
- Rebecca Solnit “Men Explain Things to Me” [USA]
Wandering Son vol.5
I find it hard to review manga volumes separately instead of the story as a whole, and on top of that Wandering Son is a slice-of-life manga, unfolding gently and without much action or twists, so I'll just say that it continues being charming as usual and I will definitely read more volumes.
In which Mako-chan wins my heart. : 3
“In these funny and insightful essays, Roxane Gay takes us through the journey of her evolution as a woman of color while also taking readers on a ride through culture of the last few years and commenting on the state of feminism today. The portrait that emerges is not only one of an incredibly insightful woman continually growing to understand herself and our society, but also one of our culture.
Bad Feminist is a sharp, funny, and spot-on look at the ways in which the culture we consume becomes who we are, and an inspiring call-to-arms of all the ways we still need to do better.”
Underwhelming. Too much of stream-of-consciousness, ableist words and pop culture names I never heard of. Some essays I did enjoy, though. Just not as many as I expected to.
A Deadly Cambodian Crime Spree (Inspector Singh Investigates #4)
“Inspector Singh is in Cambodia - wishing he wasn't. He's been sent as an observer to the international war crimes tribunal in Phnom Penh, the latest effort by his superiors to ensure that he is anywhere except in Singapore.
But for the first time the fat Sikh inspector is on the verge of losing his appetite when a key member of the tribunal is murdered in cold blood. The authorities are determined to write off the incident as a random act of violence, but Singh thinks otherwise. It isn't long before he finds himself caught up in one of the most terrible murder investigations he's witnessed - the roots of which lie in the dark depths of the Cambodian killing fields...”
I'm trying to read books from as many countries as possible, and most crime and mystery novels I've read were Russian and British. So when I heard of the Inspector Singh Investigates series, I knew I had to read it! Shamini Flint is from Malaysia and currently lives in Singapore. Each book in the series is set in a new country. The library didn't have books #1-3, so I started with #4, A Deadly Cambodian Crime Spree. Although Inspector Singh can be quite arrogant sometimes, I liked reading about him. Other characters were interesting too! This is a dark book, dealing with Cambodia's horrific past, but I never felt that the shocking scenes there were gratuitous. They felt true to the story, honestly portrayed and needed. I plan to continue reading the series!
Death on the Nile (Hercule Poirot #17)
“Death on the Nile is a pre-Second World War novel, first published in 1937. It shows Agatha Christie’s interest in Egypt and archaeology and also reflects much of the flavour and social nuances of the pre-war period. Although the novel is set in Egypt, an exotic location, it is essentially a ‘locked room mystery’, as the characters are passengers on the river-steamer SS Karnak, cruising on the Nile. Amongst them is the famous Hercule Poirot, a short man dressed in a white silk suit, a panama hat and carrying a highly ornamental fly whisk with a sham amber handle – a funny little man.”
One more arrogant detective I read about in October. Wow, Hercule Poirot can be quite a jerk sometimes. =D Luckily there were many other characters offsetting his less pleasant qualities. The story is set in Egypt, but you won't learn much about Egypt itself. It's all very British. I enjoyed the story anyway, it was full of twists and gunshots and lies!
There was one really self-absorbed character, however…
“How lovely the sun is,” thought Linnet. “How warm—how safe… How lovely it is to be happy… How lovely to be me—me—me—Linnet—”
Men Explain Things to Me
“In her comic, scathing essay “Men Explain Things to Me,” Rebecca Solnit took on what often goes wrong in conversations between men and women. She wrote about men who wrongly assume they know things and wrongly assume women don’t, about why this arises, and how this aspect of the gender wars works, airing some of her own hilariously awful encounters.
She ends on a serious note— because the ultimate problem is the silencing of women who have something to say, including those saying things like, “He’s trying to kill me!”
This book features that now-classic essay with six perfect complements, including an examination of the great feminist writer Virginia Woolf ’s embrace of mystery, of not knowing, of doubt and ambiguity, a highly original inquiry into marriage equality, and a terrifying survey of the scope of contemporary violence against women.”
The titular essay is my favourite, you can read it online here. I didn't love every essay, but it's a really short book, so that was quite all right.