This year I finished 52 books, about a book a week on average. That’s less than previous years, but there were some REALLY long ones: Les Miserables, not one but two translations of The Tale of Genji… and a fat amateurish non-fiction book about the experiences of Singapore educators that felt even longer than it was.
I might finish Atlas Shrugged, another really long one… Still a few hours left! XD
This year, 60% of the books I read were non-fiction. All my favorites were non-fiction (in bold below). Classic fiction titles were mostly chosen by the leader of the local book club I’m in in Singapore, The Hungry Hundred Book Club.
I’ve posted about the foreign classics on my other website, We Love Translations: World Literature in English.
Many books (both fiction and non-fiction) were about Singapore and/or written by Singapore authors; some were not Singaporean but were Southeast-Asian or Asian.
Well, my reading is following the book group selections and also the “last in, first out” rule that whatever I buy, I have to read it next, not ‘eventually’. I thought of this rule several years ago as a strategy for reining in book purchases, and I’m finally starting to follow it. There’s still a huge backlog, but the backlog has stopped growing. Yay.
See below for a sorted list of the books I read in 2021.
Continue reading Books I read in 2021
What’s the best translation of Les Miserables by Victor Hugo?
I researched the different translations of Les Miserables and posted on my other website, We Love Translations. That was, however, after I had already bought the two-volume Wordsworth Classics paperback edition of the Wilbour translation.
You know, the one with Zombie Cosette on the cover. = \
Anyway… Wordsworth is what I had, so Wordsworth is what I read!
I posted my review of Les Miserables at We Love Translations too. Check it out!
When and Why I Read Les Miserables (Vol 1)
I might have read it in high school, but if I did it was probably an abridged version. Time to attack the real thing! My copy is the Wordsworth Classics two-volume edition, translated by Charles E. Wilbour.
Genre: French literature
Date started / date finished: 27-Sep-21 to 19-Oct-21
Length: 494 pages
Originally published in: 1862/1994/2002
Amazon link: Les Miserables (Vol 1)
The book was originally published in 1947 under the French title La Peste. There are three English translations:
What is the BEST translation of The Plague by Camus?
I know some French—but not, like, a lot—and I haven’t read both the existing English translations. Still, you asked, so here’s my answer.
I recommend the Buss / Penguin translation of The Plague:
It’s got a nice afterword by Tony Judt. See below for other reasons.
Buy paperback from Amazon
Continue reading Which translation of The Plague by Camus should I read?
If you have never read The Tale of Genji, my advice is, DON’T START WITH TYLER. That’s what I did: I started with Tyler. That was a mistake.
Continue reading Which translation of the Tale of Genji should I read?
I purchased this fine piece of analog pixel art (cross-stitch embroidery) from a Carousell seller named Jess and had it framed by the craftsmen at Barakkath Frame Maker in Chinatown. I’m delighted with it!
The Chinese characters are:
sōng hè yán nián
pine crane prolong year
Pines and cranes are symbols of longevity. The flowers are a kind of peony (tree peonies, moutans, or mudan). They are medicinal as well as ornamental.
See close-up below.
Continue reading Pine Crane Prolong Year
I am pleased to present the new home of whichever of my posts are dedicated to English translations of books originally written in other languages. Posts on the site also focus on a couple of collections of translations of books across several languages, whatever language they were originally written in, and books about translation, language, and culture in general.
I watched 65 movies in 2020. That sounds like a lot, even for a lockdown / quarantine / stay-at-home kind of year, even for someone with no kids.
On the other hand, I don’t watch television.
Let that sink in.
TV shows add up fast! Movies don’t require the same time commitment. They come in self-contained 90-minute or two-hour chunks. Movie marathons are less likely to occur than TV binge-watching because not every movie is part of a series, and movies don’t tend to end in cliffhangers.
See below for stats and favorites.
Continue reading Movies Watched in 2020