Monday, August 23, 2010

Bali: The Books We Read

There was a lot of beach time on this trip and we were pretty excited to have access to relatively cheap used English books after having to order them online here in Japan. We took full advantage. John eats books, especially when he had Bali belly and was laid up.

I guess we're supposed to be of the Kindle generation, but I love the synchronicity of finding a gem of a book in the middle of all the Dan Brown/Danielle Steele clogging up those book stands. Like when I found Elizabeth Gilbert's novel Stern Men in Kuta or when we found a book recommended to us by my uncle or....well, here's the list.
  1. Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Steig Larrson--The Swedish title is actually Men Who Hate Women. Everyone and their mother is reading this book right now so we gave in and jumped on board. We were constantly tempted to buy the 2nd book but we heard that it doesn't end, just rolls right into the 3rd one and it seemed too much of a commitment to buy the next two. Now we're watching the Swedish movie.
  2. What the Dog Saw by Malcolm Gladwell--impulse buy, Tokyo airport. Interesting essays.
  3. Marching Powder by Rusty Young. I've been wanting to read this book for years but couldn't find it at my local library. Biography of a British drug smuggler in San Pedro prison in La Paz, Bolivia.
  4. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer. We laughed, we cried, we liked it.
  5. Stern Men by Elizabeth Gilbert. Really good novel.
  6. Journeys through Shadows by Dewa Anggraeni. Takes place in Bali and Australia.
  7. The Man in the High Castle by Philip K Dick. Premise is what if Japan and Germany had won WW2?
  8. In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan. This is a must read for everyone who eats.
  9. Embroideries by Marjane Satrapi. Funny/poignant graphic novel by the author of Persepolis.
  10. What is the What by Dave Eggers. Novel/autobiography about one of the Lost Boys of Sudan
  11. Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel. John loved it. Leave it to him to read a 560 page book set in the 16th century on a beach holiday.
Started but not finished or brought home unread:
  • As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
  • Island Beneath the Sea by Isabel Allende
  • Brooklyn by Colm Toibin
  • Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller
Some only one of us has read and some we both read. We liked all of them.

Please send us your reading recommendations. We have visitors coming this fall so maybe we can order some used books online and have them sent to our visitors to bring over to us. Happy reading!


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  2. Do whatever you can to get your hands on Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart.

  3. Will do--thanks, Josh! Keeping sending books (and manuscripts) our way please!!