137 Books in One Year: How to Fall in Love With Reading

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Intended for anyone over the age of twelve, the novel might be seen as falling into the Young Adult bracket, a body of writing that has recently had new life injected into it. Yet, unlike most other crossover titles, it has been published as an adult book.

137 Books in One Year: How to Fall in Love With Reading

It is in a tradition of epic adventure that, in origin, was the fireside property of all ages; it uses the theme of youth growing to maturity as a means of exploring social mores; and it draws on a developing global culture, particularly among young people, where boundaries are generally becoming more fluid, whether between film and literature, or between cultures. Anyone who knows nothing more of Japan than the films of Akira Kurosawa will immediately recognise the landscape.

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The currents of passion and intrigue boiling beneath the restraints of ritual and etiquette; violence with the skill and concentration of a lethal dance; the sense of social hierarchy embedded in rigid codes of behaviour and notions of honour; and the acute awareness of the sensual beauty of the natural world and of art. Its story concerns the fates of two young people, Takeo and Kaede, caught up in political struggles whose dimensions they only gradually understand and whose course they cannot control.

The trappings and the sensibility of the novel are those of medieval Japan seen through the eyes of an Australian author. The strongest element is the story itself.

Keep your family well read

Hearn has made an effort, too, to acknowledge her appreciation of Japanese style in the writing. She is sparing of the use of simile or metaphor, relying on the accumulation of sensory details to create atmosphere. There is a feeling of restraint in the telling that fits the subject and which means that adult material, particularly the depiction of sex and violence, while not passed over lightly, is not needlessly elaborated.

A questioning of the different life experiences of men and women runs alongside a questioning of class and tribal divisions, and of the warrior ethos itself. All of which may or may not find more scope in the two books to come.

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It remains to be seen whether the novel does break new ground in publishing. Yet it comes knocking on my door. There are so many reasons we cannot become friends.

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I still have too many good friends from my previous work places and at the Bangkok Post. I have too many villagers who give support and I have missions to complete. Supara began writing the book two and a half years ago after she was diagnosed with cancer. The book is divided into three sections: her humble background as a daughter of poor Chinese immigrants and landless orchard growers; her time at this newspaper in the s to early s where she bagged numerous awards and received the Reuters Foundation Scholarship to study at Oxford University; and lastly her struggle with cancer.

The gem of the book is Supara's retrospection on her two decades being a journalist. Supara -- teasingly called "Princess of the Poor" in the office -- went after stories of injustice, social inequality, small people's hardships, land grabbing, human rights violations, Deep South violence, corruption and exploitation of natural resources by the powers that be.

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In the book, she offers critical thoughts on problems plaguing mainstream news reporting such as self-censorship, interference from politicians and commercial interests, and professional ethics. As a reporter, Supara's work was nail-bitingly tough. But surprisingly, From Dust To Dust is entertaining. It is written in snappy conversational tone, peppered with self-effacing humour and vivid prose, especially her description of the orchard at her home and her dilapidated former school. From Dust To Dust is a story of an impressive individual who never gives up on anything in life.

It's an ideal gift for those who look for inspiration, and I also wish to see this book required reading in journalism schools.

Don't all buildings look the same in Bangkok? Besides a few outstanding ones, the modernity of our architecture can feel anonymous. But look closely.

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Pay attention and you'll see that the city is blessed with a hodgepodge of old and new -- ancient traditional Ayutthaya architecture brought by the Chakri Dynasty, European-style buildings commissioned in Thailand during the reigns of King Rama V and King Rama VI, right to modernism. Robin Ward is a Scottish-Canadian architecture critic, graphic designer and writer. He has known Bangkok for over three decades, yet never found a guidebook for the city's architectural treasures.