Day 1 – Best book you read last year
It was a tough year and I honestly did not have a lot of time to read (what a shame!), but I would give the winner cups to Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell, and Hey Whipple, Squeeze it! by Luke Sullivan. The two book pretty much say a lot about my year huh? It was all about Advertising and how to thrive and stand out. If you’re not working in the industry, then Hey Whipple would not be really on point. (If you are though, have you really NOT read it?). But Outliers is definitely a must-read for everyone. Very entertaining and enlightening! How lucky I badged in my housemate’s room and grabbed any book on her bed.
Day 02 – Books that you’ve read more than 3 times
Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling, the first book and the last book, since one is magical and happy, and the other is dark and tear-jerking as hell. And I think I’ve re-read some parts of Life of Pi (Yann Martel) a lot of times.
Oh, and how can I forget Norwegian wood (Haruki Murakami)? I think I could rehearse many erotic scenes and witty dialogues in my mind lolz.
Day 03 – Your favorite series
Harry Potter, no argument.
Day 04 – Favorite book of your favorite series
I’d go for The Deathly Hallows. The Fire Goblet is a very close runner-up.
Many Harry Potter fans would agree with me on this, I bet.
Day 05 – A book that makes you happy
Ahh, such a touch call. Books make me happy generally, even the ones that make me cry. Do I really have to pick? OK, then here are the best (possibly):
- Thuong Nho Muoi Hai (Twelve Months of Nostalgia) by Vu Bang. The author wrote it when he was living in Saigon, estranged from his own family in Northern Vietnam. He missed Northern culture so much, and the book perfectly reflected all the love, the hatred and the nostalgia. It just feels like my own heart talking. I had to bring the book with me when I first moved out to Saigon last year, to feel a little bit home.
- Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone. This is the modern fairy tale, no doubt!
- De Men phieu luu ki (Adventures of a Cricket) by To Hoai. When the author passed away, I felt like a part of my childhood just died.
Day 06 – A book that makes you sad
The Solitude of Prime Numbers by Paolo Giordano. I read it six, seven years ago, and yet I still can’t shake off the darkness. It is a slow book, and from my own experience I haven’t found many of my friends that have read, or enjoyed it. Sometimes it just feels a little bit too lonely to be in this world.
Day 07 – Most underrated book
I have no clue. I’ve got like two or three candidates here, but they are all mangas, so no.
Day 08 – Most overrated book
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. Not that I did not enjoy the book, but I just did not get the hype about it. Like, Hello by Adele is a good song but I don’t see how it’s better than her previous works (and personally I prefered Writings on the wall by Sam Smith, released roughly at the same time). Avatar was an OK movie on many standards, then how the hell did it get so much recognition? Then The Alchemist. Entertaining, maybe. But phenomenal and enlightening, really?
First, about the hidden messages, they are not very hidden in the book to be honest. They are all laid bare right on the surface, right on the words. I’d prefer books that keep me digging a little deeper. Moreover, most of the messages sound too positive and optimistic, which turns the book into some kind of self-help tutorial. Go for it! Dream it! The whole universe will listen! Come on, you know what? Those things may well be true, but only if you’ve shed enough tears and sweats to figure that out for yourself. A book can’t tell you everything about life. You’ve got to find your own treasure, that’s the real story of life.
Day 09 – A book you thought you wouldn’t like but ended up loving
Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. I did not expect to like any book at that moment actually (you seem to be very ignorant when under depression), but turns out the reading the book was a very pleasant experience.
Also, Su that ve quang cao (The truths about Advertising) by Thai Quan & Truong Tiep Trung. Short, solid, witty and funny. You may as well enjoy it even if you’re not in the business.
Day 10 – Favorite classic book
The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald.
And OK, I first read it because I’m a fan of Haruki Murakami, but The Great Gatsby is truly a masterpiece. Trust me I read it twice!
Day 11 – A book you hated
Well well, hate is a strong word. I don’t ever want to use “hate” for books. Uhm, but let’s think. Do I ever hate a book I read? I may say Chinese romance novels, but I’ve never read any of them so I’ve got no credits to say so. May I say I hate all textbooks?
I only had a terrible experience with reading when I tried And then there were none by Agatha Christie. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the novel. It was phenomenal and incredibly clever, but the translation killed all the mood. I literally wanted to scratch out the book because of some stupid Google translation. Still, the story is marvellous. You may have enjoyed the TV series lately, but the book is so further an experience.
So no, I don’t have a book that I hate. In fact, if I hated a book I would’ve stopped right after ten pages. Same treatment for people.
Day 12 – A book you used to love but don’t anymore
I am a faithful, loyal book lover. I don’t dump books I love.
Day 13 – Your favorite writer
F. Scott Fitzgerald.
Nguyen Huy Thiep.
Stephen D. Levitt & Steven J. Dubner.
Day 14 – Favorite book of your favorite writer
This is interesting.
Haruki Murakami – Kafka on the shore. I don’t see the hype about 1Q84 after already getting high with this masterpiece.
F. Scott Fitzgerald – The Great Gatsby. I have not read other books by Fitzgerald to be honest, but they are on my list.
Nguyen Huy Thiep – Khong Co Vua (There is no King) the short story.
Vu Bang – Mon La Mien Nam (Bizarre Foods of the South)
Stephen D. Levitt & Steven J. Dubner – Superfreakonomics
Day 15 – Favorite male character
OK, this may be awkward. I don’t want to admit it, but my favorite male character comes from an erotic story that I’ve been following. The author of the story is a genius in the way he/she builds up characters, and I am quite obsessed with this particular villain. His name is Lord Arlington from The Rebellious Slave. He’s handsome, gorgeous, smart, powerful, manipulative, mind-controlling, and most importantly crazy sexy, the alpha male devil that women often fantasize about.
And I beg you, don’t google the story haha.
Day 16 – Favorite female character
Midori from Norwegian wood. Oh my sexy, moon-eyed Midori. Someday I’m gonna find a Toru, and I’d be head over heels in love with him the way Midori was. If we could all live like Midori, life’d be all the more easier.
Day 17 – Favorite quote from your favorite book
“What really knocks me out is a book that, when you’re all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn’t happen much, though.”
_The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger_
“I suppose in the end, the whole of life becomes an act of letting go, but what always hurts the most is not taking a moment to say goodbye.”
_Life of Pi, Yann Martel_
Day 18 – A book that disappointed you
The Alchemist, for one. And Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto. I expected Kitchen to be a dark criminal tale, but it turned out to be a romantic story. Not that it was bad, but quite a bummer for me.
Day 19 – Favorite book turned into a movie
The Great Gatsby the movie is a very good adaptation. Harry Potter is nowhere near the level of the book, but still you can’t get a better cast than the amazing one we had.
Life of Pi, well, I’m not gonna argue with the academy. Of course Lee Ahn did a terrific job picturing the story on the big screen, and yeah, my Richard Parker looks badass.
Day 20 – Favorite romance book
The Girl Who Played Go by Shan Sa. It was brutal and heart-breaking, yet love blossoms in a hopeless place. Love, Lust and Life were portrayed to the best. I did not put the book down even for one minute. It was not romantic by Hollywood standard, but it was truly romantic for me.
Day 21 – Favorite book from your childhood
Chu Bong trong lang Ca (The Goby of the Fish Village). I don’t remember the author, nor can I find this anywhere in the Internet. A very good story though. I’m surprised it’s not more famous.
Day 22 – Favorite book you own
Duh, many of them.
Day 23 – A book you wanted to read for a long time but still haven’t
I want to finish the 1Q84 trilogy but haven’t had the time. And I’m keeping an eye on Conversations with God by Neale Donald Walsch.
Day 24 – A book that you wish more people would’ve read
69 by Ryu Murakami. It’s NOT an erotic book, OK? It’s just a very, very interesting book that I just don’t happen to know anyone who’s read it.
Day 25 – A character who you can relate to the most
Midori in Norwegian wood. I’m currently in love with a guy just the way Midori is with Toru Watanabe. And just like her, getting naked on the floor with him is *cough* pretty much all I think about.
Other than that I see myself in Holden Caulfield of Catcher in the Rye.
Day 26 – A book that changed your opinion about something
Superfreakonomics. It changed my opinion about pretty much everything, from prostitution to climate change!
(Oh the good old days I read books on Economics!!!)
Day 27 – The most surprising plot twist or ending
The ending of And then there were none by Agatha Christie. Genius!
And Life of Pi has a great and surprising revealing moment, too.
Day 28 – Favorite title
Y tuong nay la cua chung minh (This is our idea) by Huynh Vinh Son. Being a variation of a kid song title, the book name sounds catchy, easy to remember, and absolutely cute. So is the book.
Day 29 – A book everyone hated but you liked
What book does everyone hate? I have no idea.
I may count Hundred years of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez) as one. Of course, a Nobel novel is in no way universally hated, but my friends used to say they don’t find it very interesting. I had a great time with it though. (I did not get all the metaphors to be honest. I plan to try my luck with it another time).
Day 30 – Your favorite book of all time
Truyen Kieu by Nguyen Du. And I am NOT kidding.