Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Book Shopping Friday

"There is no such thing as a moral or immoral book; books are well written or badly written."

The Picture of Dorian Gray (1891) by Oscar Wilde

On Wesak Day last Friday, I made my way up to KL to cross out a few titles of my 2010 book list at my favourite bookstore, KLCC's Kinokuniya. Ms Kino and I have a tempestuous relationship, but we've alway kissed and made up after every fight.

Anyway, these were my purchases,

Books 29-05-10
Stacks of things always make me happy; books, pancakes, bacon...

This was pretty much the only time I managed to get so many of the books I've wanted (with my preferred covers to boot) right off the shelves. Usually, I have to resort to placing a special order and returning a month or two later to retrieve the goods, and everyone knows how much I detest driving up to our crime-ridden, semi-perpetually jammed capital city with its labyrinthine road system and its absurd parking charges

For the sake of documentation, I bought,
  1. Anathem by Neal Stephenson.
  2. Od Magic by Patricia A. McKillip
  3. Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan
  4. The Yiddish Policemen's Union by Michael Chabon
  5. The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ by Philip Pullman
  6. Kraken by China Miéville
Except the last two, I've written briefly on why I wanted these books in my book list. Kraken was a later addition to the lot because I only found out about it literally hours after I wrote the post - and the only reason I need for me to buy a new China Miéville book without checking its reviews out first is... Hello? it's China fucking Miéville!

The new Philip Pullman book, however, flew completely under my radar. While I enjoyed the heck out of the first two books of his His Dark Materials trilogy, I fear that this new offering from him would be bogged down by more of the same problems that The Amber Spyglass had (it was overburdened by his godless polemics, if you must know). He's a bit of a provocateur, I think, and as big a flaming atheist I may be, I don't think I would enjoy reading specialty atheist books - partly because I do not want other people's philosophies and opinions to blend with mine too much. Believe it or not, I have never touched the works of Dawkins, Hitchens or any of the other celebrity "new atheism" authors to date.

But get this; the book was shiny!

The Good man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ
"Like whoaaa..."

"This is a story," it insisted on the back in the same gilded letters emblazoned across the front. It's a "what if" tale, in the grand tradition of fantasy novels and I must admit that the premise intrigued me very much; what if Jesus had an evil twin brother named Christ? It is, as I was led to understand, a retelling of the gospels from that simple seed of a blasphemous idea. I might review it if it grew into anything good.

Besides, it came with a not insubstantial discount,

There's that fine print, of course.

Tender Morsels, Kraken and Pullman's book all carried the 20% discount sticker and what more, the latter two were trade paperbacks! I got them for almost the standard price of mass paperbacks (which are still quite prohibitively pricey according to most folks' standards). Fuck the petrol, flour and rice subsidies. What we need to do is subvent more of our government funds into books, books, books. Do you know how poorly read and unlettered the average Malaysian is? There were people who asked me if Tolkien's novelisation of The Lord of the Rings movies is any good. Face meets palm.

By the way, the only other overtly Christian fantasy novels I've read were C. S. Lewis' The Screwtape Letters and that famous absurdist biographical tale of the Nazarene's life, Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal by Christopher Moore (a baptised Methodist, by the way) which attempted hilariously to account for the Joshua's "lost" years which spanned from his childhood to the establishment of his ministry. I highly recommend it to anyone who has a well-developed sense of humour, which is a much rarer faculty of cognition than most people expect.

In other news, I got also bought half a dozen cupcakes from the new bisou outlet at KLCC for Phoebs (who happened to have been around for the weekend) and family,

I really wanted to try the black sesame one but, oh well.

Afterwards, Phoebs and I met up with Jen and her boyfriend, David, for lunch at The Pink Sage Diner in Solaris Dutamas which I've been dying to check out after reading her review of the place. And thanks for the Glee folder, Jen! I'd put a picture of it here but Phoebs have already absconded back to Penang with it, lips sucking Puck's face like an octopus all the way.

Oh look, it's 5:43 am. Maybe I can catch an hour's sleep before drifting into the surgical ward like the morning time zombie I usually am, but I doubt it; it takes far too freaking long for me to lull myself to sleep. Good morning and good bye, y'all.

Booked for the next couple of months,
k0k s3n w4i


février said...

book shopping! *claps gleefully* i love your book shopping posts :D i log them away for until i finally get off my lazy ass for a break from watching stuff online to buy a book.

love your book posts <3

Jen said...

or i could just borrow all these books off you.

Phoebs said...

im not an octopus T__T puck's keepin my papers nice & safe :D

k0k s3n w4i said...

beve: or you can update your blog. it's been FOREVER since i've heard from you, you twit :)

Jen: the books and i disagree. the books and i are one.

Phoebs: ugh, thought you moved on to crushing on dexter? what a fickle cephalopod you are.

février said...

i tweeted *content with self*

jen: or you could borrow his books while he meanwhile peevishly stands over his little black book with two columns: names of people who've/re borrowing books and how long it's been since (un)returned.

k0k s3n w4i said...

beve: meh, i've always lent people books when they ask. so long as they don't crease the spines, and that they promise to return them to me eventually.

gosh, the last time you tweeted was a whole month ago! and i just realise that you have a twitter account!