Reading Log #3: September 2013

imageIn September, I finished reading seven books which is two more than either July or August.  And yet the total page-count was a couple of hundred less than last month’s.  This was because several of the books were shorter.  Indeed, two were of short story or novella length.  But the good news is that, at 49 books finished thus far in 2013, I am just ONE short of my goal for entire year!


BOOKS FINISHED – SEPTEMBER 2013:

1.  The James Bond Bedside Companion by Raymond Benson (2012)
2.  A Brief History Of The Vikings by Jonathan Clements (2005)
3.  A Stab In The Dark by Lawrence Block (1981)
4.  Killed At The Whim Of A Hat by Colin Cotterill (2011)
5Extraction by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child (2012)
6.  Fortunately, The Milk by Neil Gaiman (2013)
7.  We Are ASEAN: The ASEAN Community by Pachara Phoklang (2013)

My favorite of these — and the biggest surprise — was the Colin Cotterill novel.  I read the first two of his Dr. Siri Paiboun novels while in Laos about three years ago but hadn’t been able to track down the others until stumbling across the lot of them just last month.  The find also included the first two of the Jimm Juree series, of which Killed By The Whim Of A Hat is the first. I loved everything about the book — from the hilariously true observations about how things are done and people behave in Thailand to the odd George Bush quotations that serve as chapter headings.  Many laugh-out-loud moments throughout!  And I found myself copying many passages into the Quotes section of the MyBookDroid app.  I’m doing the same while reading the second Jimm Juree entry — Granddad, There’s A Head On The Beach.

The James Bond Bedside Companion was quite entertaining.  It inspired me to begin re-watching the movies in chronological order.  I basically grew up on these but haven’t watched the earlier movies in years.  Great fun to do so again.  And I may even try reading the Ian Fleming novels again; I’ve only read two previously and found them rather tedious. Apparently, these were two of his worst (according to The Companion).  I also have eBooks of the ‘continuation’ novels by John Gardner, Raymond Benson, Jeffery Deaver, etc. that I’d like to get to… someday.

According to my tracking apps and other record-keeping, I spent a total of 2082 minutes reading books this month, consuming some 1344 pages.  That makes a total of 71,335 book-pages read since January 2010 (12,986 so far this year) and 319 books finished.

I couldn’t decide on just one favorite quote for September so I’ll include two.  Both are from Colin Cotterill’s Killed At The Whim Of A Hat and both are much funnier if you’ve spent a bit of time in Thailand.  From page 20 comes this observation:

There are twenty-eight villages called Maprao down here, thirty Thai Bays, thirty-four Middle Bays, and thirty-nine River Mouths. In the south 1,276 villages are named after fruit and vegetables. Exactly 2,567 bear the name of a person who used to live there. It is precisely this absence of imagination that epitomizes the south for me. I doubt anyone down here would even care enough to sit in front of a computer screen and work it out. If southern Thais had colonized Australia I imagine the year 2000 would have seen the opening ceremony of the Big Harbor Olympics.

Page 74 features the following wry commentary on the recent political minefield that Thailand has become:

The call was from my former colleague, Dtor. She was breathless to tell me that our Government House had been invaded by old yuppies in yellow shirts overnight. Politics used to be a lot more complicated before the recent introduction of the English Premiership system of colored shirts which helped no end to know who was who. The yellows, headed by a media magnate and backed discreetly by the military, were locked in battle with the red shirts, mostly from the north, backed by an ex-football-club owner, ex-prime-minister, ex-telecommunications czar, ex-policeman currently in exile. It was a matter of time before we got the black and white stripe and the large pink polka dot factions. I kept thinking, “If you could just give them a ball…”

So true, so true…


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