So on to the second part in which I ask my schools friends about what’t they’ve been reading.

What they are reading now:
Omega Fellowship by Peter Croxton
Talulla Rising by Glen Duncan
The Taste of Sorrow by Jude Morgan
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

Summer reading list:
Darkside by Belinda Bauer
The Passage by Justin Cronin
Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

I’ve only read Talulla Rising and Wolf Hall both of which I loved (my thoughts are being penned as we speak – you may also want to listen to The Readers’ podcast discussing The Last Werewolf in which I participated, as well as my review). I’ve recently spied The Taste of Sorrow in my library and was itching to check it out as I’ve heard lots of good things about it, mainly from Ana , and I am a huge fan of the Bröntes. I also have a copy of The Passage on my shelf which I received from Polly. A nice mixture of books.

I’m hoping to tackle some big books this summer namely 1Q84 and War and Peace. Yes, yes, I know. I was supposed to have finished reading them ages ago, but you know what? Life gets in the way. Hopefully this summer will be nice and quiet with lots of reading time.

So what are your plans for summer? And have you made a summer reading list?

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Ah, it’s been a while, hasn’t it? The past six months have been rather hectic and my blogging sporadic. So thank you all for checking in and reading chasing bawa. I seem to have rediscovered by blogging mojo with the sunshine that has appeared over London. It’s the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics that will be dominating this summer here in Blighty and I am hoping against hope that it’ll be a hot one this year.

And as I have a hankering to know what people around me are reading, here’s Part 1 of what my friends are reading:

A Thorn in their Side: the Hilda Murrell murder by Robert Green – nonfiction about a peace campaigner who died in the 1980s in suspicious circumstances
The Oxford Despoiler and other mysteries from the casebook of Henry St Liver by Gary Dexter – Victorian sexologist mysteries!
Aylesbury, Bolton, Wolverhampton, Hove: a little man and 101 Cardiacs gigs by Adrian Bell

Prose Edda of Snorri Sturluson (norse myths) – a re-read
Dipping into The Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon
Vanity Fair by William Thackeray – giving it another go

The Story of Silbury Hill by Jim Leary and David Field – archaeology, and the history of the archaeological excavations at Silbury Hill
Dhalgren by Samuel Delany
The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing

A varied and interesting list, n’est ce pas? I haven’t read any of the titles above except for dipping into the Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon and I think I’ve been meaning to read The Golden Notebook for ages too. And since I’ve heard so much about Samuel Delaney, I really must check him out. What about you?

Ah, it’s been a while, hasn’t it? I’ve been so busy with my reading I forgot to ask others what they’ve been reading.

So we come back almost a year later to see what the Umamimart crew have on their shelves this Summer:

The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks by David Embury – First published in 1948, it’s considered a very important work among cocktail enthusiasts and craft bartenders because it was the first book to create a standardized system by which all classic cocktail recipes were broken down into components and ratios, thereby coming up with a system that enables anyone to “roll their own” once they understood the basic principles. Thus it was more than a simple book of recipes. It’s further significant because the author had reached drinking age prior to Prohibition, and bore witness to the decimation of cocktail culture as a result of Prohibition, thus serving as one of the few bridges between the pre-Prohibition standard of quality and modern day.

It’s also an interesting read because it’s tone is clearly from another era, where it sometimes borders on curmudgeonly and has a “father knows best” kind of feel to it. And there’s an extra significance for me because the author Mr. Embury was not a bartender, and not even in the spirits industry. In fact, he was a lawyer who happened to be a cocktail enthusiast. How cool does this sound?

Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer
A Tramp Abroad by Mark Twain

Everything by David Sedaris – I’ve worked chronologically from his first works to the newest animal book. I’m finding him less and less fun, but still worthwhile.
The biography of late print designer Vera Neumann – a super cool business woman running her own fashion company in the US from the 1940’s all the way into the 1980’s. Very inspiring.
Books on Shinto shrine rituals and customs.

Women, Time and Power by Leonard Shlain – Y rec
American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis – A rec
Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart – for book club
The Corrections by Jonathan Franzan – been on my book shelf for a year

Wordy Shipmates by Sarah Vowell – about the first European settlements in the US
The Wrong War: Grit, Strategy and the Way Out of Afghanistan by Bing West
US Magazines

Junmaishu wo kiwameru (Mastering Junmaishu) by Hiroshi Uehara
My Traumatic Movie Theatre – Tomohiro Machiyama

Reiki by Pamela Miles

Spoon fed: How Eight Cooks Saved My Life by Kim Severson

Blood, Bones and Butter: The Inadvertant Education of a Reluctant Chef by Gabrielle Hamilton – her memoir about her childhood memories of food, living on the streets and becoming a chef and owner of NYC’s Prune – probably my favorite restaurant of all time. It’s such an awesome blend of how life experience unexpectedly shapes and forms the way we put things into the world.

The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen – Just like Freedom, it’s all about how fucked up we all are and loving it.

I think you can see patterns of interests here. I love it when I see people reading recommendations by friends. I’ve only read The Corrections (which was an excellent portrayal of contemporary America), watched the film adaptation of American Psycho (which I thought was pretty arty and rather liked but have heard the book is very disturbing) and have Super Sad True Love Story on my shelf.

For someone who who doesn’t read enough non-fiction these days, it’s nice to see lots of fact-based books on this list. Many titles I haven’t come across here. Have you?

It’s been a while, hasn’t it? Lashings of apologies. I just keep forgetting…

So, what’s my family been reading? Check it!

An Artist of the Floating World by Kazuo Ishiguro – my Pa likes to read about Japan. He was very impressed with this one.

Picking Bones from Ash by Marie Mutsuki Mockett – I’m just happy my Pa is reading one of the books I left behind at home:)

Pro Theory or プロ論。―情熱探訪編 by B.ing (eds) Tokuma (publ) – my Ma likes to improve her mind since she’s a creative type. This book is all about work and how successful people have made it. She likes her non-fiction.

Daily 15 minute Meditation for Body and Soul or 心と体がスッキリする「1日15分」瞑想法 by 宝彩 有菜 PHP (publ) – my Ma likes to chillax

The Good Women of China by Xinran – my sis likes stories about strong women

Qi Kong by Shifu Yan Lei – my brother-in-law likes his martial arts

Hiccup: How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell – nephew no.1 loves to read and we all thought the film was magical. I even shed a tear.

The Little Book of Good Manners by Christine Coirault – nephew no.2 is trying to be a good boy

I’ve just finished reading Joe Dunthorne’s Submarine and have started re-reading Steven Erikson’s first Malazan book, Gardens of the Moon (because I must), Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House for A Year of Feminist Classics and am slowly savouring Sandra Newman and Howard Mittelmark’s Read This Next (hilarious).

So what are you and your family reading?

I’m supposed to be documenting who’s reading what around me every month, but alas, it keeps slipping my mind and I keep forgetting to ask people and it’s already 3 months since the last one. Gah.

So what have people been reading this month? I’ve asked my boarding school posse who still haven’t gotten tired of me after 22 years:

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee – being read in Chile at the moment
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson – same as above. Her sis and I have been going on and on about this series to her and she’s finally succumbed. Result.
Suspicions of Mr. Whicher by Kate Summerscale – being read by a crime fiction aficionado
The Buddha, Geoff and Me by Edward Canfor-Dumas – being read by the spiritual (and very fashionable) one
From Here to Maternity: One Mother of a Journey by Mel Giedroyc – being read by the mother of a delightful and extremely well-behaved baby girl

I’ve read the first two titles and have the third on my TBR. I remember getting the last title for my sister which she said was hysterical.

I commute to work on the tube and I’m always checking out what others are reading. Sadly, most read the Metro in the morning and the Evening Standard on the way home. However, I did see a lady reading an e-book yesterday and I spied a number of copies of Gary Shteyngart’s Super Sad True Love Story (which I really want to read) dotted along the Northern Line in the past month.

What about you? Are you curious about what people around you are reading?

This month I’m asking my foodie friends at Umamimart, where I have a fortnightly column Slightly Peckish, what they are reading and they’ve let me in on the list below:

Miriam’s Kitchen by Elizabeth Ehrlich – a memoir of Ehrlich’s mother-in-law through food and culture
City of Quartz: Excavating the Future in Los Angeles by Mike Davis – a deconstruction of LA’s shadowy history
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz – Pulitzer prize-winning novel about life in the Dominican Republic and New Jersey through the eyes of one Oscar Wao
Will You Please Be Quiet, Please?: Stories by Raymond Carver – a collection of shorts from the master of spare prose
Tokyo Underworld: The Fast Times and Hard Life of an American Gangster in Japan by Robert Whiting – the story of Nick Zappetti who stayed in Japan after WWII to carve himself a slice of the Japanese underworld
Buyology: Truth and Lies About Why We Buy by Martin Lindstrom – why we keep on buying stuff
The Kid Stays in the Picture by Bob Evans – life of one of Hollywood’s most colourful producers (Chinatown, Love Story) who was once married to Ali McGraw and painted the town red with Jack Nicholson
You’ll Never Eat Lunch in this Town Again! by Julia Phillips – life and times of one of Hollywood’s great female producers who worked with Scorsese and Spielberg
Too Fat To Fish by Artie Lange – memoir of the comedian
Density of Souls by Christopher Rice – a gothic tale of four tormented youths in New Orleans by Anne Rice’s son
Blind Fall by Christopher Rice – a tale about a soldier, his lover and murder
Snow Gardens by Christopher Rice – another gothic tale about students in a secluded campus
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy – a tale of love and forbidden passion
The Millennium Trilogy by Stieg Larsson – everybody’s reading this (that’s four of us here), and if you’re not, why aren’t you?

Wow, what a great list. Thank you guys!

Of these titles, I’ve only read two of the Millennium Trilogy and a couple of Christopher Rice’s books and Anna Karenina.

It’s interesting to see the diverse range which also strongly shows everyone’s interests! I love the fact that there’s a nice mix of fiction and non-fiction here.

And check out the recipe for Literary Agent, a cocktail perfect for bookish folk.

I can’t believe it’s been 5 months since I asked the people around me what they are reading. Where has the time gone? A question I ask myself daily.

This month I’m asking my family what they are reading and you’ll find an interesting selection below:

Yes, Please. Thanks!: Teaching Children of All Ages Manners, Respect and Social Skills for Life by Penny Palmano – for the good parent
What’s a Disorganized Person to Do? by Stacey Platt – for the organiser in you
Mr. Good (Mr. Men Classic Library) by Roger Hargreaves – for the little person
The Horse Prince by Lisa Thompson – for the not so little person
Shobogenzo: Zen Essays by Dogen translated by Thomas Cleary – for the contemplative
The Life of Hunger by Amélie Nothomb – for the Francophile
and the all important World Cup Magazine – for the footie-mad

Mmm, looks like my nephews, my dad and I are the only fiction readers at the moment…