Holiday Reading List

Dec 25th, 2009, in Opinion, by

Suggestions to while away the lazy holiday days engrossed in worthy tomes of literature.


Perhaps a holidays reading list from you ?? Just your personal favorites…


The Songlines, Bruce Chatwin A strange, enigmatic and structurally flawed book, but by god that’s fine writing. I can read the first page alone over and over: “In Alice Springs – a grid of scorching streets where men in long white socks were forever getting in and out of Land Cruisers…”

The Old Man and the Sea, and For Whom the Bell Tolls, Ernest Hemingway – Bad Hemingway (To Have and Have Not, and the shooting-things-in-africa books etc) is very bad indeed, but Good Hemingway is unsurpassed. Literature students tend to give more attention to the earlier stuff, and it’s sometimes claimed that FWTBT is a bit trashy, but I say b*llocks. The description of the “smell of death”, and the massacre of the nationalists in the village? Doesn’t get any better…

Point of Departure and An Indian Summer, James Cameron – the greatest British journalist, and the best journalistic stylist ever. EVER!

Kim, Rudyard Kipling – liberal bed-wetters, and EW Said pontificate on the colonialist discourse, ignoring a couple of simple facts – Kipling was an Indian-born Englishman in the 19th Century; you can hardly condemn him for having a pro-empire outlook, AND, you won’t find many other books where the richness of India shines through with as much warmth and love as this one.

Shame, Salman Rushdie – A spectaculary sharp and acidic political satire. I wish someone would do to Indonesia what Rushdie did to Pakistan in Shame, but I can’t see it happening…

The Way of the World, Nicolas Bouvier
– luminous travel writing, absolutely supurb…

Train to Pakistan, Kashwant Singh
– A sizzling little novel by India’s best journalist and general all-round cool guy. Like, a million miles away from the usually over-ornate style of Indian writers.

Catch 22, Joseph Heller. Years later, an interviewer snidely pointed out to Heller that he had never written another book as good as this, his first. In response Heller just smirked and said, “Neither has anyone else…” He’s cool. This book is cool. Yosarian is, like, waaaaay cool…

Evidently I could go on like this for some time, but those are the ones I generally re-read at least once every couple of years…
How about you Mas Achmad? What’re yours?
Hey, and how about you Anthony “Hitler” Tolomeo? Any recommendations?

Happy Christmas my lovelies…

69 Comments on “Holiday Reading List”

  1. Hi Timdog,

    Personal faves ?? IMHO, I’ve inadvertently started another thread — perhaps Seksi Mr. Patoengs will create one.

    Lemme think.

    Sorry. Early V.S. Naipaul:

    Mystic Masseur, Suffrage of El Vira to House for Mr. Biswas.

    Used to like his travel books, but got turned off after reading his Indonesia chapters in both ’81 and ’98 books.

    All Paul Theroux – specially his travel stuff. Sneakily deceptive — Dark Star Safari, 2001 (or 02??) journey through Africa, lovely sample of his carmudgeonism.

    Mark Twain’s travel writing (because he’s mainly remembered for his novels). But Twain actually made it as far as Melbourne and Echuka in the late 19th century !

    John Steinbeck’s travel writings…

    Actually, I don’t think anyone can go wrong, just picking Penguins 100 classics of the 20th century and starting from start to finish, then maybe hitting Wikipedia & threads for context.

    Granta – a year’s subscription for $45 or so not so bad, (though I prefer to spend it on kretek and bar tips at Blora).

    New Yorker – good online deals.

  2. David says:

    Sorry. Early V.S. Naipaul:

    Never read early, only thing I’ve read ‘Beyond Belief’, but picking a bone with timdog from way back:

    Hey Achamd, can I do a little Naipaul parody? Pleeeeease Mas, please…

    VS Asshole says:

    Achmad was a poet. And a ukelele player. He had ideas above his station, and – trapped between worlds – his grasp of English was deficient. He lived. In Purbolinggo. I met him. On a website.
    The daylight faded. The website was filthy. Unclean and made of concrete. Banal, disgusting people jostled past, engaged in the act of denying their own culture.
    “Are you a Muslim?” I asked him.
    He was an educated man, and a ukelele player. The website had changed, and Achmad’s circumstances had also changed. But he was Javanese, and for the Javanese family is important.
    “Are you a Muslim?” I asked. Him. Again.
    But he, with his deficient English, did not understand.
    “You’re a disgusting little man,” I said, “stop denying your true Brahmanic identity. You make me want to vomit.”
    “Me play you ukelele song, sahib?” he said.
    I walked away. Disgusted.
    When action is essential and culture in a state of denial, ukeleles are important. Achamd, like all Javanese, was a liar. Symbols are crucial when circumstances are. In flux.
    The Jakarta Post, patronising its readers, described Achamd as hilarious. This was precisely where his cultural denial came into play.
    “When I was a boy, in the pesantren, I studied ukelele, and denied my own culture,” Achamd said. I vomitted.
    The ukelele. The imperfect use of English. The denial. All are linked.
    The train pulled away from the website. It was dirty. On the wasteland beside the track Achamd was squatting. Shitting. But the other posters on the website did not see this squatter, sh*tting. They were too busy denying their true cultural identity…

    That bizarre staccato style, huh? Here you go, a randomly chosen page from the Indonesia section of Beyond Belief, …. ok it does start off with, ‘so Dewi, what water did the monkey jump into?’…. but I’m talking about the writing style, you murdered him….

  3. Oigal says:

    Laugh..Google let you down again Assmad,

    I think you will find Mark Twain travelled to Echuca not Echuka (He got off on the river boats naturally) 🙂 For someone who comments constantly on Australia you are woefully ignorant of the place.

    For the Oigal Christmas Reading try:

    Three Empires on the Nile 1869-1899. The Victorian Jihad -Dominic Green

    Sailing alone around the world -Joshua Slocum (amazing guy, this bloke did it before it was cool, trendy and safe)

    Airport Reading

    One Crowded Hour – Tim Bowden (The story of Neil Davis, a combat camera man who was a classic example of living life to full and achieving so much in a short life. Again an amazing story which would make trolls quiver with embarrassment at their wasted lives)

    Sir Stamford Raffles – Richard Mann (Sort of 1/2 history 1/2 fiction but good light reading if you live and work in the region).

  4. Oigal,

    Neil Davis was ambulance chaser revelling in the exotic misery of Asia

  5. oh, but thanks for he books except for the Richard Mann one – are you joking ?- it almost makes me believe all the things I’ve written about you.

  6. Actually, Oigal, just to qualify the Neil Davis comment, yes it was an era when good cameramen had to be heroic just to do their job. But at the same time, why are the hundreds and hundreds of Southeast Asian journalists forgotten when Davis gets eulogized ? I’d honestly be keen to hear your opinion.

  7. Oigal says:

    Neil Davis was ambulance chaser revelling in the exotic misery of Asia

    He also knew instinctively that the war would be won or lost on the ground with Asian troops. So he made a very courageous decision to go out with the South Vietnamese army — the ARVAN as it was called. And this meant that you had to eat their food, you’d be out for days at a time, drinking paddy water. If you got injured, there would be no evacuation. But he knew he would have the story on his own

    Oh please, just for once try and be just a little objective (have you ever read his story, tell you what read the book and then comment just for once instead of googling the back page). In fact, he was well know to be streets away from the typical western journalist who did their reporting from briefings from the top of the Saigon hotel.

    why are the hundreds and hundreds of Southeast Asian journalists forgotten when Davis gets eulogized

    Despite the obvious troll baiting here and the more obvious answer, It would have a lot to do with accessability to their writings, the fact that most were subject to government censorship rendering what they wrote as at best suspect (Try and find a readable version of 1965 in Indonesia, not impossible but not easy). However, I am sure there were some. Unfortunately I don’t know of any from that era. How about you offer some up? Ideally one you have actually read rather than googled (if you have ever read any that is)

    Robert Mann, I did qaulify it as an airport read and at least 50% pure fiction (I would suggest the “airport read” in itself is a backhand compliment at best.

    Now you really are becoming a troll on the most inane subjects. Happy to debate a no hoper like yourself on any subject but if all you really have is this kind of thing then it becomes boring and not worth my time to write and the time of others to read.

  8. Oigal says:

    Seriously do read “One Crowded Hour” if you still feel the same then I honestly would be stunned.

  9. Oigal,

    That’s the beauty of the camera: they had no choice but to get out. I think your unsettling arousal over the Neil Davis myth comes from his former Rugby-playing and more importantly, the visual he gives you for your own Tarzan in Asia fantasies.

    On the forgotten correspondents: I don’t know. We don’t know. There’s Dith Pran, who the NYT correspondent left behind in Cambodia when he fled back home to accolades. There’s Pham Xuan An in Vietnam; Mochtar Lubis in Indonesia, to name but a few. Like Pran, though, there’s an army of invisible translators, reporters, who provided the legwork for correspondents who just put their name on the story, wreaping the glory because they where White.

  10. I’ll be happy to read One Crowded Hour if you read Politics and the English Language. Given it’s only an essay, it should take us about the same amount of time.

  11. Oigal says:

    As passing note…Well done on screwing up another good thread, your list of (non) accomplishments never ceasing to amaze me, sad little life you must lead if this how you get your kicks. It would have be nice to see what other people have actually read or recommend and with some valid reviews but hey…

    Rugby..seeing he was from Tasmania, born in the thirties..not likely to be a Rugby player. (You really need to stop commenting on australian culture, you embarrass yourself at every utterance. Of course, he may have been playing Rugby with Mark Twain for the Echuka (sic) sevens..Lol)

    here’s Dith Pran, who the NYT correspondent left behind in Cambodia when he fled back home to accolades.

    He wasn’t forgotten, in fact they made a movie if I recall correctly, didn’t do that for the white fella Davis

    Gee, even with a no thought troll exercise you manage to get so much incorrect.

    Pham Xuan An in Vietnam

    I assume he wrote a book on vietnam, it is available in english? You have read it? any good? or are just googling for wank again?

    Laugh..and for the stupidest self answered question tonight…

    why are the hundreds and hundreds of Southeast Asian journalists forgotten

    there’s an army of invisible translators, reporters, who provided the legwork for correspondents

    If they are invisible then I guess they would have never been remembered in the first place.

    Better question is why must they be invisible in their own countries? In no small part, thank to people like you and your crocodile sponsors who make it all but impossible for people like them to survive.

    Yawn…Really is like wrestling with pig discussing anything of substance with you. Boring self absorbed little crocodile. Therefore…see ya..I ‘ll get back to you the day you actually have something to say or comment on beyond the sad cliche pampered life you lead.

  12. Oigal,

    We can take this up another time. As you said, it’s supposed to be a book review thread.

  13. Burung Koel says:

    it’s supposed to be a book review thread.

    And you don’t think book reviewers get just as personal? Obviously neither of you reads the TLS. 🙂

  14. BK,

    Oigal’s scorched and fragile ego needs some time to recover when exposed to the searing heat and light of Achmad’s intellect.

  15. Oigal says:

    True BK, the difference being book reviewers should have read the books as opposed to croc-sponsored trolls who seem to equate being able to google titles to actually reading content in some vain but futile attempt to impress all with its knowledge (which falls a bit flat when one cannot get the most basic details of what is read correct).

    I do agree amusing at first but later boring.

  16. Oigal says:

    when exposed to the searing heat and light of Achmad’s intellect.

    Yes, its like being held under the blazing heat of a flickering penlight….aaaghh

  17. Oigal, Oigal.

    Clause diarrrhea again. Do read that essay, old fruit.

  18. Oigal says:

    🙂 Slow day in the lick spittle business today FONC, no innocent sheep to harrass? I figured you would be down at Bondi over the Holidays with your woolly mates spending you ill earnt gains.

  19. Just learn to write, Oigal. It’ll be better for everyone.

  20. Oigal says:

    Tsk Tsk FONC, No tantrums now. We tend not to take advice from crocodiles for obvious reasons. It might work on the poor bugger down the road you are ripping off but not here.

    Interesting you would choose Orwell as a reference as you and your masters were the very kind of despotic parasites and supporters he so warned against.

    Stranger still that essay which identifies you and yours in very clear terms.

    The essay certainly helps us to recognize the tools of the propagandist, how he uses language-everything from name-calling, demonisation and euphemisms in the absence of any relevent facts, to manipulate and gain influence (para phrased)

    This was a classic…

    “Stale Imagery” The oft refered evil bule or drunk at Blok M perhaps, doesn’t get any staler.

    Of course, that was the under lying theme of the essay, yet another warning about the kind of people you represent FONC. Sad part is, in your google and hunt mode you never really read or understood the message. Did you just grabbed five lines that seemed to fit your fragile point of the day? Was it because those points were somewhat seperated from the rest of the test making it somewhat less mentally taxing? Perhaps and more probable that someone else had lifted just that section and that is all you have read?

    Truely bizarre reference even for you, simply confirms the opinion that not only are you not as well read as your pretence, you don’t even skim-read google finds with any degree of skill or flair.

  21. timdog says:

    Gosh, look what happened while I was gone!

    Mr Patung – on the Naipaul skit, absolutely fair criticism. I was waaay too heavy-handed. However, in my defence, I did that one totally off the cuff and entirely from memory not having read any of Naipaul’s vile output for some time. I think what I was trying to get at was the fact that despirte the short, declarative sentences, the man ain’t got no rhythm, brudda… You gotta have rhythm, man. You’ve gotta, like, put bigger sentences up against smaller ones so they bounce of each other, like this:

    The air was thicker than water and the city was vast and dark under a sky the colour of bruised flesh. It was going to rain.

    Now as I made that up just by looking out the window it’s obviously not very good, but at least I know what I’m trying to do… And I think I got Naipaul’s absurd racist generalisations, staggering self-importance, and self-appointment as an expert on a subject he knows very little about rather well. And the constant references to an obscure, English-language newspaper in a non-English-speaking country. I remember that very clearly…

    I actually confess, Achmad, to never having read any Naipaul fiction. However, the first of his three India books, An Area of Darkness is recomended – though not as a good book. Instead it’s unintentionally hilarious as an accidental self-portrait of a man of truly staggering arrogance, racism, pomposity and – manifestly – total lack of self-awareness…

    Paul Theroux I like. His style is interesting – deceptively non-distinctive (it would be very hard to parody him without resorting entirely to subject matter) but totally flawless.
    However, I do have a few problems with his attitude: the sneering wear thin after a while; the sweaty-palmed fascination with prostitution – particularly if it involves oriental women – becomes increasingly wearisome as he gets older, and his general unreconstructed Orientalist twitterings about Southeast Asian women in his most recent travel book (Ghost Train to the Eastern Star) make him a soulmate of the most risable contributors on the Dating Indonesian Girls thread…
    But I do like him, and some of his fiction is great too, that rare comodity: easy reading that is actually of real quality and substance…

    I could do a list entirely of recommended travel books to if you like, but not today.

    I haven’t read One Crowded Hour (I will though, thanks Oigal for the rec).

    Though in spirit I echo Achmad’s complaint about the tendency for “heroic white men” to get all the attention with their war stories, Oigal’s point that “It would have a lot to do with accessability to their writings” is – as I’m sure you acknowledge if you’re totally honest Mas Achmad – a fair one.
    A while back on some other thread here I had an argument about the merits of “In the Time of Madness” by Richard Lloyd Parry.
    Odinius’ argument, I recall, was that Parry was no expert, made varuious glib generalisations, and that his book lacked any kind of real depth, insight or analysis.
    This is all entirely fair enough: Parry doesn’t speak Indonesian, was never resident in the country, and – like almost everyone else – ran away from East Timor before things got really messy…
    But from a purely literary standpoint, he wrote a damn fine book. And if all you want to do is stretch out on the bamboo chair on the porch with a cup of sweet coffee, a plate of rambutans and a good book while the warm tropical rain sheets off the eaves (self-aware, deliberate cliche disclaimer inserted here), then that’s what really matters. I’m going to go and do that now actually. Graham Greene I think – I am, after all a (self-aware, post-modern, ironic) white man in the tropics…

  22. @ Timdog,

    I beg to differ – I loved the Naipaul parody and thought it was spot on in terms of his travel writings. Methinks the good Mr. Patoengs was a bit harsh. My favorite was Ayu Utami, particularly “they were all off raping their sisters.”

    On Cameraman Neil Davis – yes, I suppose so – and he was actually a pretty good writer as well as cameraman, I’ve heard. He did get down and dirty. My comments are probably better fitted to the Year of Living Dangerously and the current generation of ambulance chasers.

    @ Oigal: on Orwell, oh dear. You better read it again. You’ve called me a crocodile way more than I’ve called you a Blok M slimeball, though it’s true I did get in a few caddy shots in the last couple of weeks. Taking it a bit easy over Christmas. But do take that advice at the end on board, if you would. No more multiple-clause abstractitis unless you want to embarrass yourself further, it’s really ugly stuff.

  23. Oigal says:

    Oh I think there is a fair bit of difference in a inane slur and an accurate description of you O wooly crocodile.

    Taking advice from you would require both respect for you as a person and for your knowledge (?). The reality is words respect and you are mutually incompatible as is google and real knowledge.

    I concur, I should probably should try and write better, yet on this page alone you have six outright errors in fact. So I think I will stick factual with best efforts over factual nonsense but hey nicely written (back to your essay again, dang he had you pegged).

    In truth, I would thoroughly enjoy talking or learning from someone with a more cultural intense perspective. It would be interesting to see how much I miss on the road to someplace else. That of course, immediately counts out frauds like you, not really interested in the spoilt 1% ers and their human toys or their opinion.

    Timdog, I found “Crowded Hour” a very interesting read, not primarily as a “boys own adventure” but as fascinating story in its own right. Reading between the lines ND was a pretty flawed character (ain’t we all). I don’t think anyone (except our little attention seeker) after reading the book would suggest that he was “Tarzan in Asia” nor presented as such. ND appeared to be into some pretty unsavory things and also acts of outright unexpected generosity, his personal life was a bizarre as the stories he covered. I did particularly enjoy reading about his time on the front with the ROK. At the time of first reading didn’t even know the ROK were involved in that conflict

    It was also bizarre he filmed his own death on the job (You can find it on You tube) which has got to some kind of statement for a cameraman of that era.

    Finally just to get up the Woolly Croc’s nose. I also enjoyed reading Winston Churchill’s auto of his time in India; sorry I have forgotten the name.

  24. @ Oigal,

    Ok. You’ve read it – this time understand it. BTW – on the stale imagery, I can’t agree, I think the Drunken Bule Reprobate is more of an archtype. I agree much about him is stale – breath, political views, thought in general. But I described his, “slobbering beer froth,” and in your case, “vomiting meat pies and chips onto a Blok M toilet floor,” along with “paying debts to bar girls.”

    You on the other hand, would probably write something like:

    the drunken Westerner, showing a complete lack of concern for others as well as accepted social norms exceeded his bodies’ alcoholic limits (showing a lack of social skills as well as not having acquired such skills through traditional Australian teenage social events : )), proceeded to empty the contents of his stomach onto the floor, imposing further inconvenience on the patron.

    Winston Churchill is good, but on reading your stuff, he’d be bound to say, “that is the sort of English up with which I shall not put.”

  25. Oigal says:

    Orwell is a bit subtle for you then, not surprising. Although I can find a google referenced back cover blurb for you if it helps. Only the truly superficial would think his point was “use more commas”. It was a warning about those that use language to demonise others and to hide their lack of substance.

    It’s made my day that you continually reference someone who essentially regards pretentious twits like you as both dangerous and morally devoid. Gotta love it

    As for the rest, done to death FONC.

    Psst, I will let you know when Churchill gets back to me on my postings.

  26. Oigal,

    What have you got against the humble comma ?

    Orwell’s message is important to get out. I agree that the point you made about the warning of how language is used was one main theme of the essay. But I think equally important was a plea for sound usage, (there’s no such thing as ‘correct’ usage).

    Waffley, multiple-clause sentences full of abstracitis and big, obscure words, is often used, as you do, to hide shallow thinking and obvious points. Ranting away on his keyboard such writers hopes that by boring the reader with academic waffle, she’ll assume he knows what he’s talking about.

    Your tone is that of an aggrieved, worldly gentleman, whose curmudgeonism hides the honest heart of an Aussie footy fan railing against Indonesia – and the world’s – injustices. Using Orwell to scrape through, we see your subconscious Tarzan in Asia fantasies informed by little more than Jakarta Post headlines and the occasional anecdote from your Pembantu or secretary.

  27. Oigal says:

    I agree that the point you made about the warning of how language is used was one main theme of the essay.

    Case in point..

    Your tone is that of an aggrieved, worldly gentleman, whose . hides the honest heart of an Aussie footy fan railing against Indonesia – and the world’s – injustices. Using Orwell to scrape through, we see your subconscious Tarzan in Asia fantasies informed by little more than Jakarta Post headlines and the occasional anecdote from your Pembantu or secretary

    Do you actually have a factual reference in amongst that “rail”anywhere?

    Do try not to use “stale imagery” such as “Tarzan in Asia” or “the occasional anecdote from your Pembantu or secretary” or at least try to keep it down to once a week. Just repeating a fabrication does not make it so, worse than that it’s boring!

    Same goes for using “word of the day” calenders. Is that two or three times in the last 24 hours the “curmudgeonism” has been let off it’s chain?

    Do try to keep on topic. Perhaps writing the “Aim” of your scribblings on a “post it” note and sticking to your computer before you engage people outside Menteng.

    “the honest heart of an Aussie footy fan railing against Indonesia” is classic example of losing your way. The only thing of discussion here is the little wooly croc and its inability to write anything of substance.

    You really should let this one go. The more you write, the more you look like the poster creature of Orwellian warnings.

    To be fair, I am kind of flattered by

    Your tone is that of an aggrieved, worldly gentleman, whose curmudgeonism hides the honest heart of an Aussie footy fan railing against Indonesia – and the world’s – injustices

    The comment relates to nothing in the thread never the less, I fail to see an insult in railing against injustice. I do understand why it would a concern to someone like your and your sponsors though.

    Remember the old Echuka High School motto written on their ruggers jumpers little croc, “substance beats sh*tters every time.

  28. timdog says:

    Gentlemen, please, this is becoming wearisome.
    In an attempt to change the topic here’s my list of recommended travel books, as threatened yesterday. None of them are about Indonesia I’m afraid.

    The Songlines, Bruce Chatwin – as above. It only gets filed as a travel book because no one knows where else to put it, but it is, indisputably, a book about travel and about place. And it is wonderful, wonderful writing.

    The Way of the World – Nicolas Bouvier. The French are the world’s most pretentious travel writers, all flowery self-indulgence: have a look at a book called Bali, Java in my Dreams by some godawful Frenchwoman. It is a book that actually prompted a physical response in me (grinding teeth, angry growling, and some swearwords) with its offensive pretension. Bouvier wrote in French, but he was Swiss, and though the book is all arty and airy, by god it’s good. If you don’t want immediately to traverse grand continental spaces and to eat kebabs and hang out with gypsies after reading it then you have no soul…

    A Time of Gifts, Patrick Leigh Fermour
    – This is a little like the above, but more English, and far, far more scholarly. Fermour created the template for the “travel with history” book battered to death by multitudinous mediocrities in the 80s and 90s…

    Arabian Sands and The Marsh Arabs, Wilfred Thesiger
    – A bizarre Victorian throwback, marooned in the 20th Century, a little too admiring of beautiful Arab boys but a far tougher nut than the ridiculous TE Lawrence, and exquisite writing.

    Video Night in Kathmandu, Pico Iyer – charming for its gentleness. This is kind of the anti-Paul Theroux. Iyer wanders through the “modern east” (briefly in Indonesia too), where Theroux would find ample scope for sneering, but there’s not one curl of the lip throughout.

    From the Holy Mountain, William Dalrymple – Dalrymple is a damn good journalist and my very favourite historian these days, but before that he wrote – at a disconcertingly young age – three great travel books in the Patrick Leigh Fermour mold, of which this is the best (and City of Djinns a close second).

    Two random modern ones – the Places in Between, Rory Stewart, and An Unexpected Light, Jason Elliot. Both about Afghanistan; both very high caliber.

    and here’s my very obscure one: The Narrow Smile, Peter Mayne. It’s out of print (1955 I think) which demonstrates how fickle the process of establishing a reputation as “classic” can be. This should be a “classic” of English travel writing. It is, in my opinion, the perfect example of the erudite, deceptively light, learned, self-deprecating, very funny but also occasionally melancholy and utterly English travel writing style demonstrated (less well) by better known authors like Robert Byron, Eric Newby and, lately, William Dalrymple. As it’s out of print you might as well get A Year in Marrakech instead, the only one of his books still available. It’s almost as good. Note the above reference to Robert Byron. The Road to Oxiana is good, don’t get me wrong, but I refuse to follow convention by making it the greatest English travel book ever. It’s not on my list.

    I could, evidently, go on and on and on and on and on with this… I might add more tomorrow.

    Oh, and how about a very quick reporters’ memoirs list:
    Point of Departure, James Cameron
    All the Wrong Places, James Fenton
    My War Gone By, I Miss it So, Anthony Lloyd
    The Place at the End of the World, Janine di Giovanni
    And hell, I think it’s a good book, so In the Time of Madness, Richard Lloyd Parry…

  29. Hi Timdog,

    I agree – please go ahead and get Mr. Patoengs to delete the argument if it’s ok with Oigal.

    Honestly, thanks for the new books.

    I’ve read “My War Gone By, I Miss It So”, one of the most chilling things I’ve ever read: a twin diary of an addiction to heroin and war. He actually first ‘chased the dragon’ in Indonesia of all places.

    One of Rory Stewart’s fist postings was out here too.

    Not sure about In the Time of Madness, it may well be good writing. He got some stuff into Granta. But for me the problem is different; he’s used violence in Kalimantan and elsewhere to craft the whole narrative, plus inserted some mushy stuff about his wife.

    I think Indonesia’s transition from 1998-now is remarkable due to the relative lack of violence compared to what could have taken place. I think if you analysed his Indonesia coverage, you’d find an if-it-bleeds-it-leads pattern there.

  30. madrotter says:

    In reaction to tim dog’s first list:


    I could’ve picked any other book by this incredible writer, BUFFALO GIRLS for example, but it’s nice to start this list with a book that won the Pulitzer right? This one was also turned into a tv mini-series with among others Robert Duvall… One in a series of books about the adventures of Texas Rangers August McCrae and Woodrow F. Call and some of the weirdest characters, mountainmen, indians, mexicans, whores, cows,


    If you like fast-paced cyber-punk this is your thing. Pretty new British science fiction writer Richard Morgan, I can also recommend his books about Takeshi Kovacs but Black Man really is my favorite book by him so far…


    Some of you here might have read this one, it’s for sale here in Indonesia, a Periplus book. I’m half way through this book and it’s one of the most amazing books I’ve read from all the Dutch writers that wrote books about the Colonial times in Indonesia….


    Also for sale here. These are transcriptures of lectures Carl Sagan gave at the Gifford Lectures in Scotland in 1985, amazing stuff this, an astronomer musing about religion, the Universe and lots more…


    Most of you know this one from the movie that was based on it, Blade Runner. Pretty good movie but (as so often) the book is way and I mean WAY better and i can recommend more books by him….


    Yeah, yeah, I know, I know, this was all already discussed on this forum, but I really loved these books…

    7. PHILIP CARLO – THE ICE MAN confessions of a mafia contract killer

    Picked this one up recently at the excellent 2nd hand bookshop Reading Lights in Bandung. Started reading it, about the life of contract killer Richard Kuklinski, and I just couldn’t believe the stuff I was reading, all the stuff this guy did, so I got on the internet. Turns out Mickey Rourke bought the rights for this book and is now turning it into a movie with himself playing Kuklinski. Watch his interviews on Youtube!!! And trust me, the book goes way further…


    I love every and each book by this writer. This one was also turned into a pretty weird movie with Bruce Willis and Nick Nolte. Beautiful stuff…


    Phillip Jose farmer past away last year. He wrote a lot of good science fiction and stirred up some dust in the 60’s when he wrote a book, The Lovers, about an insect-like alien having sex with a woman. They really did a number on him for this…
    To Your Scattered Bodies Go won the Hugo award in 1972 and they made it into an awful tv series a few years back. They’re trying it again and again they’re failing miserably. It’s he first in what is called the River-World series…


    Been listening to a lot of bebop again lately….

    might have to start a holiday movie list…..

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