Sunday, March 16, 2008

List #16: Books that are staring me in the face (and haven't had time to read)

On my table where I usually set up my computer to work, I have a line of books. I plan to read them all, that's why they are lined up in front of me. Every time I clear off the table and dust the books, I tell myself that I'll get to them soon. Sigh! Here's a sample:

1. The Kindgom of Siam: The Art of Central Thailand, 1350 - 1800
I saw this exhibit at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco in 2005. I had to take my recertification exam for my PA license so I arranged to do it in SF. After the exam, I visited the museum - wonderful place. This exhibit was there - many of the pieces I had seen in the National Museum of Bangkok but they were different in these new surrounding. Many had been cleaned up and the museum curators had investigated some of the pieces, shedding new light on their origins and context.

2. The Cat from Hue - A Vietnam War Story by John Laurence. During the Battle of Hue during the Tet Offensive of 1968, Laurence had his first battle experience and later became a well-respected CBS reporter. This is a story of his time in Vietnam.

3. Japan, a Modern History by James McClain - I like what I've read of this book because it has more information on culture than just historical facts.

4. Food for the Heart, the collected teachings of Ajahn Chah - I've meditated at the International Forest Monastery, which had been set up by Chah many years ago.

5. A Psychiatrist in Paradise - treating mental illness in Bali by Denny Thong. Looks like a good book on the personal experiences of cross-cultural psychiatry. Really have to read this.

6. A Problem from Hell by Samantha Power - this book, an exploration of genocide through the years, won a Pulitzer Prize.

7. Fruit of the Lemon by Andrea Levy. Levy grew up in Jamaica. I've read Small Island, which is a wonderful book about Jamaicans in Britain during and after WWII.

8. The Elegant Universe by Brian Greene - I would love to read this book. After the first few chapters, I feel like my head is going to explode and I stop but I really will read this book some day. It involves String Theory, a multidimensional theoretical construct that explains the nature of the universe.

9. Beginnings, Middles and Ends by Nancy Kress - a book on developing a novel.

10. Pol Pot by Philip Short - I have a signed copy which I bought in 2005 when Short gave a talk at the Eliot Bay Bookstore in Seattle. Since I've worked so much in SE Asia, and with people affected by war, this and the other depressing books on my list give me some kind of insight about the way the world is.

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