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Read 50 books in 2017

  • meditation7
    meditation7 Doing 0 cheers 2017-06-23 02:18:41

    The Bellini Card, by Jason Goodwin

    Third in the Investigator Yashim series, this one is different in that it's set in Venice of the 1800s. At first I was a little disappointed that, like the other books, it wasn't set in Istanbul, but the story quickly grew on me and I wound up fascinated by the history, politics and intrigue in Venice of this era. This novel has a greater focus on the art world and art history, which is always fascinating for me. Another novel superbly crafted by Jason Goodwin, satisfying to the end, and rich with all kinds of plot details that have me thinking about it for days after finishing it.

    Most mystery books that are part of a series have a certain formulaic quality about them. You read the first one and if it's good, you like it... but then they fall prey to their own success. You read the second and subsequent ones and they lose a little of the sheen of discovering the characters for the first time. Not so with these books. They are true literary gems that happen to be mysteries as well, and I was captivated by and enjoyed the second and the third book no less than the first one. The author is a true scholar who can weave an intelligent, multidimensional tale into historical events, keep the plot moving, and keep the reader's interest high, while doing so with masterful craft of the language. 5 out of 5 stars!

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  • joyjoei
    joyjoei Doing 2 cheers 2017-06-22 10:28:52

    34/50 : The Expats by Chris Pavone

    I didn't intend to finish this book by today but the more it was at the end, the harder I can put it down. There were so many twits and turns near the end.

    I had started this book a few months ago and at some parts I was confused and bored with it so I put it down and moved to another book. But a few days ago, I got back to my bookshelf and saw this book, I picked it up again, wanting to read something different and really wanted to finish this book so I read it where I had left off from last time. I managed to finish half of it in 2 days.

    It was fun and unpredictable. Maybe, my reading skill and attention span get better so I could finish it in an unexpected pace..

    I love how the author weaved words into phases, sentences and the story itself.. I think they are sophisticated and refined..

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  • meditation7
    meditation7 Doing 1 cheers 2017-06-22 00:19:06

    Yashim Cooks Istanbul, by Jason Goodwin

    I read the fiction books, now I had to peruse the cookbook with the recipes.

    A beautiful book with really great photos and excerpts from the novels where the recipes were originally mentioned.

    All the recipes are mouth-watering and appeal to my Mediterranean sensibility.

    I confess I haven't made any of the recipes yet, but I did note the use of spices that I found to challenge the way I think of certain flavors. ("Really? Cinnamon in that? Who would've thought! And fried mint in that, too?")

    The book is as much a pleasure to peruse for its aesthetic value as its culinary one.

    4 out of 5 stars for me.

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  • meditation7
    meditation7 Doing 1 cheers 2017-06-22 00:10:23

    The Snake Stone, by Jason Goodwin

    I am so happy that there are 5 books in this series. It's sooooo good that I don't want it to end. The author is erudite, entertaining, spins a good yarn, scholarly, and a good writer. And, if that wasn't enough, he's probably also a great cook, throwing in recipes in the middle of the story from time to time.

    This is the second book in the Yashim the investigator series.

    It's the 1830s and Istanbul is plagued by fake currency and faces the uncertainty that a dying sultan creates. A mysterious Frenchman steps onto the shore of Istanbul, befriends Polish ambassador Palewski, and Palewski introduces him to his best friend, Yashim. The Frenchman turns up dead a few days later, and Yashim is the prime suspect.

    Through a series of plot twists we learn all the ins and outs of the complex water distribution system in Istanbul, its keepers, its secrets. Characters from various nationalities abound, are well drawn, and are also pulled from history. Lord Byron and his involvement in the Greek independence war weaves in and out through the characters who interacted with him, and Greeks, Albanians, Brits, Frenchmen, and of course, Turks are well represented in the story.

    It is fun to go investigate after the fact which characters were really drawn from history and which are the author's imagination, and it's a credit to him that they're all so believable that you're surprised to find the discrepancies between fact and imagination.

    I loved this book. Jason Goodwin is a very accomplished author. 5 out of 5 stars.

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  • meditation7
    meditation7 Doing 1 cheers 2017-06-21 23:55:48

    Why We Get Fat (And What to Do About It), by Gary Taubes

    I had this audiobook in my collection for a long time before I got around to listening to it. I thought I knew the premise and what the author was going to say... and while ultimately I was right, I learned an incredible amount along the way once I got around to this book. What an amazing journey Gary Taubes leads you on! Very thorough researcher, leaves no stone unturned, and does so in a surprisingly readable and enjoyable way.

    While I wound my way over to this book through "Eat Fat, Get Thin" and "Always Hungry?" I found that I learned more, and got more fine level of detail on questions that were on the back of my mind through this book than those two other ones, although the two other ones were also good for different reasons.

    Furthermore, I read this book more from a sense of understanding health than anything else, and I was surprised to find out that many things that I'd done through the years that I considered desirable and healthy (as did most other people who commended me on my healthy lifestyle)... are actually not that healthy. Gary Taubes doesn't just say this, he presents and synthesizes all the current research that proves so.

    The historical background to his research too, going back to the 1800s proved to be as fascinating to me as any novel would be.

    Highly, highly recommended. 5 stars out of 5.

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  • meditation7
    meditation7 Doing 1 cheers 2017-06-21 23:45:33

    Eat Fat, Get Thin by Dr. Mark Hyman

    This was a gateway to other books that explored more in-depth the ideas presented by Mark Hyman. If there was one contention I had with this book, it would be the title. Obviously, it wouldn't be as pithy and catchy as the current one, but it really should read "Eat (the right kinds of) Fat While Leaving out (the wrong types of) Carbs, Get Thin"...

    Dr. Hyman had a podcast series called "The Fat Summit" where he interviewed about 25 different people from a wide spectrum of diets and views, and I learned more about everything that I was doing right (and wrong) with my diet than anything I'd seriously studied in quite a few years.

    I'd say this is a 4/5 stars for me. (The podcast seires was a definite 5 out of 5.)

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  • joyjoei
    joyjoei Doing 2 cheers 2017-06-19 07:06:18

    32 & 33/50 : ชีวิตคือปาฏิหาริย์ / คำที่แปลว่ารัก โดย วินทร์ เลียววาริณ

    Spent 2 days reading these 2 books. They are Thai motivational books with international & Thai inspiring stories..

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  • joyjoei
    joyjoei Doing 7 cheers 2017-06-16 03:43:54

    31/50 : Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

    When I started this book, I was confused with the characters and its beginning so I put it down and thought it was not the right time to read it yet. Maybe, I had to get myself more acquainted with classics or get my English improved. So I started another book and finished it. But while reading another book, I felt that this book was taunting me to get back to it. So, upon finishing other book, I had to grab "Wuthering Heights" back from the shelf and continued at where I'd left off. Still, the reading wasn't smooth and I had to get back to Goodreads several times for more understandings and simultaneously was impressed with the comments and that made me want to understand the book more.

    While reading and struggling with the story, I didn't feel like I like it that much but I must finish it before moving on to the next book; I couldn't leave it unfinished for the second time.

    Just finishing it now, I was numb, speechless, unanticipated and more confused.. Why it ended like that and why he, Mr. Heathcliff, died so easily?.. I thought the villain like him should go on living for a longer life..

    It was dark, yes. It was mean, yes. And I was supposed to hate Heathcliff for his brutality, meanness and vengeance. But I couldn't help pitying him, understanding him and liking him a great deal.. I don't care about Cathy, both the mother and daughter; I think they are vain, senseless and weak..

    I should get back to read it again, not right now though.. I might love it even more.. because of its darkness and confusing..

    As they said.. understanding other people's darkness helps understand your own.. or vice versa..

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    • cia007
      cia007 1 cheers 2017-06-16 05:24:48

      @joyjoei have you seen the original movie? It's in black and white film- one of my all-time favorites....really compliments the book!!

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      • joyjoei
        joyjoei Doing 0 cheers 2017-06-16 08:02:36

        @cia007 No, I have not. I will look up for it. Really want to watch the movie after reading the book.. Do you like the movie?

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      • joyjoei
        joyjoei Doing 0 cheers 2017-06-16 13:40:12

        @cia007 Yes, I just finished the movie and I love it!
        Slightly different from the book but it's pretty good..
        But I don't think this one is the original one. It was made in 2009, starred by Tom Hardy..

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  • joyjoei
    joyjoei Doing 3 cheers 2017-06-12 11:56:25

    30/50 : The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

    This is the second time I read this book. I didn't finish it the first time. I'd heard about how great this book was and the first time when I tried it, I found it too complicated for me and my English skill at that time was not yet capable of the book this thick and complicated so I put it back on the shelf for a few years and meant to read it again later when my reading skill and attention span have improved.

    While reading it, I was in awe with this novel and found it fascinating and thrilling; I was truly drawn with the story. It kept me going and I really wanted to know more and how it ended. As the story started to reveal itself, my heart was wrenching and at the same time I was surprised how it turned out..

    And I agree this is the book for book lovers..

    One of the great books and one of my favorites.

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