The Man Who Loved Books Too Much

authored by Allison Hoover Bartlett
reviewed by kansai2kansas

Readers are welcomed to the rustic cover displaying a plethora of (presumably) ancient tomes, which serves as an excellent overture to the monde of rare books and its collectors. Despite the factual account of the story, the book tends to unfold in a fiction-like pace.

Regardless what one thinks of the alleged book thief (whether he is truly cultured or simply cunning), one could delve into how actual, physical books can still hold dear values for us, even in this world of iPad and Nook and Kindle. The monde brings not only their stories per se, but also quaint memories of their significance to us (such as, how old were you when you read your first Harry Potter book? Who gave it to you?).

A highly recommended reading for proponents of the theory of existentialism and Nietzsche's idea of rationalisation (for they will be sated with the thief's alleged justifications of his larcenies), as well as philologists and bibliomaniacs alike.

Verdict: 7.5 stars out of 10



If you are a regular visitor of my blog, you might have noticed that sometime earlier this month, my blog was rendered inaccessible for a week.

I was making amends.

In the past, I had made several faux pas by saying some hateful or spiteful comments towards some of you (or several individuals you may be acquainted with).

They were merely fleeting opinions. I had not truly meant to say those things.

They also do not necessarily summarize my opinion of any individuals whatsoever. I have come to realise that such remarks were unnecessary, unjustified, and immature.

As for now, I would like to personally apologise to whomever amongst you readers who had been personally hurt by those writings of mine.

However, you might have noticed that I have not cleaned up my "bad posts" archives entirely. I have had nearly 900 blog posts from a diverse array of themes over the last six years, hence discarding those contemptful remarks of mine would have to take quite more of my time.

Be rest assured though, I will withdraw those "bad posts" in due time.


Spring equinox 2011

I finally understood what St Patrick's Day was created for. Spring has arrived!

One of my half-semester class has finally started last week, and with my full enrollment in all the required classes this semester, together with me having full-time 40 hours in the office every week... Man, college life is not lackadaisical after all.

As a matter of fact, it's going a bit too fast now.

I need some sleep, seriously.


Be strong, Japan!

American prayers are with you.


Decision Points

authored by George W. Bush
reviewed by kansai2kansas

Every chapter of this memoir, which provides a glimpse on the human side of Bush Jr., also deals with the major themes in his presidency.

I have to be honest here: the main reason I decided I want to read this book is because I would like to see what he has to say about his war in Iraq; and how his initial expectations of finding S. Hussein's nonexistent Weapon of Mass Destruction turned into one of his biggest flops.

He had his justifications that S. Hussein's was a dangerous regime, of course. However, one could not help but wonder why the American military had not similarly liberated Iran and North Korea from their respective tyrannies, two dangerous countries equally capable of inciting discord and endangering American lives. Only several pages were dedicated to the Iran and North Korea issue. I only wished he had elaborated more; at the very least he could have defined what kind of framework does USA have to build in the future to defuse the threats of those two rogue entities.

The financial crisis which most of the public dub as the main 'failure' of his presidency was also one of the main discourse of this book. Before the September 11 hit, he had foreseen the internet bubble burst , when he introduced tax cuts to ordinary Americans. It did hit him hard before he even had his one-year anniversary as a president though: Soon after the September 11 tragedy, "the Dow Jones plunged 684 points, the biggest single-day drop in history at that point". Which is why he could not stress the importance even better: the less success the terrorist organizations could achieve in threatening the world stability, the better. And somehow he does quite a convincing job in explaining how the victories of kicking Taliban out of the Afghan throne make the Middle East a more stable place.

Nonetheless, he also highlighted some of his (less publicized) legacies, such as signing the No Child Left Behind policy, modernizing the Medicare system, fighting the global AIDS, and helping secure the framework for the admission of several Eastern European nations into NATO.

Some of his accounts, which at times can be quite subjective, could turn out to be poignant stories too. Regardless of what you think of his presidency, it can be assured that this book will not be a disappointing read, especially for American history buffs.

Verdict: 8 stars out of 10



This has been a bizzare winter. Mid-February was as warm as early summer (hovering around 26-30 Celcius) before plunging back into around 7 Celcius by the end of last month.

It was quite a climate. If it goes on like this for the next three years, I may really relocate south after I graduate from college (either to Savannah, Georgia or Southern California).

I still could change my mind later, so don't hold me up for it.

In a more personal note, I'm engrossed with Presidential biographies these days. If year 2010 was the year of "European history during World War 2", when I was obsessed with all the paraphernalia that came with living in that particular period of time, perhaps 2011 will be my year of "Presidential biography".

I had read a biography of the incumbent Secretary of State Hillary Clinton a couple of months back.

As of today, I am reading the book Decision Points, a memoir penned by the former president George W. Bush. Don't get me wrong here, I have never been a fan of conservative politics myself.

I like reading Republican literature because they are what I call "literature of comfort", the kind of political reading that gives you an insight into how Americans view and desire stability... Republican figures give an insight into what we Americans see as it epitomizes security and strength.

Which is why it could well complement Democrat literature, the one I dub as "fun literature". It is the kind of political reading that shows you the 'upbeat side' of American politics, as it mostly embodies what people hope for their economic future.

A lot of people may not be a fan of Bush's policies, but hey, don't judge him and his policies to be the one and the same. I am almost halfway thru his memoir, and he is by far quite eloquent in describing how he had made mistakes and how he did what he thought was necessary, even if it had to tarnish his political image.

I'm thinking of reading Reagan and Carter's biographies next.

On my way to Indianapolis.


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