Sunday, December 20, 2015

The year 2015 in terms of books read

Year 2015 is like any other year in terms of my book challenge. I completed my 52 books challenge for 2015 with some more weeks to spare! I find that this year, the quality of the books I read are fantastic. There's a lot more breadth and also a lot more depth. I started reading up books on spiritual growth too, so I think that's a genre that I can always do more in depth. As usual, I'll put up a list of all the 53 books I've read this year, and then later I'll recommend a few which I think are superb reads.

My grandmother asked me to tell you she's sorry - Fredrik Backman
Wouldn't Take Nothing for My Journey Now - Maya Angelou
All God's children need travelling shoes - Maya Angelou
Mom & Me & Mom - Maya Angelou
The Sun My heart - Thich Nhat Hanh
The little book of Safe Money - Jason Zweig
The buddha walks into the office - Lodro Rinzler
What we see when we read - Peter Mendelsund
Way more than Luck: Commencement speeches - various
Inspiration from Buddha - Lim SK/Fu Chunjiang
The terrible and wonderful reasons why I run long distance - Matthew Inman
Linchpin - Seth Godin                             
The little book of market myths - Ken Fisher
Little book of big idea on business - Dr John Lipczynski
The 5th wave - Rick Yancey
The synchronicity key - David Wilcock
A man called Ove - Fredrik Backman
The power of positive thinking - Norman Vincent Peale
Then we came to the End - Joshua Ferris
The Mystery of the Shemitah - Jonathan Cahn
Inedia Non Eating - Joachim M Werdin
Crazy rich asians - Kevin Kwan
Here's looking at Euclid - Alex Bellos
The new new thing - Michael Lewis
Dust - Hugh Howey
My mother's secret - J.L. Witterick
Surely you're joking, Mr. Feynman! - Richard P. Feynman
Kim Jong-Il production - Paul Fischer
The Rosie Effect - Graeme Simsion
Killing sacred cows - Garrett B. Gunderson
Shift (1 to 3) - Hugh Howey
Wool (1 to 5) - Hugh Howey
Mindfulness in plain English - Ven. Henepola Gunaratana
The man who mistook his wife for a hat - Oliver Sacks
To sell is human - Daniel H. Pink
Alex through the looking-glass - Alex Bellos
The Singapore Permanent Portfolio - Alvin Chow
William Shakespeare's Star Wars - Ian Doescher
Out of our minds - Ken Robinson
The next 100 years - George Friedman
All the light we cannot see - Anthony Doerr
Faraday, Maxwell and the Electromagnetic field - Nancy Forbes
Barbarians at the Gate - John Helyar & Bryan Burrough
Son of Hamas - Mosab Hassan Yousef & Ron Brackin
What if - Randall Munroe
Robogenesis - Daniel H. Wilson
Robopocalypse - Daniel H. Wilson
The birth of Korean Cool - Euny Hong
Everything I never told you - Celeste Ng
The education of millionaires - Michael Ellsberg
I am the messenger - Mark Zusak
If you want to write - Brenda Ueland
Hope for the flowers - Trina Paulus

Here's the list of my top 7 books that I recommend for 2015

My grandmother asked me to tell you she's sorry - Fredrik Backman
A man called Ove - Fredrik Backman
My mother's secret - J.L. Witterick
All the light we cannot see - Anthony Doerr
Everything I never told you - Celeste Ng
Alex through the looking-glass - Alex Bellos
The next 100 years - George Friedman

1. Fredrik Backman is my new favourite author. I like his books and they are all translated from his native Swedish. His style focuses on a lot of character building, and at the end of the book, you'll laugh, cry and be touched by them. After reading his books, I realise that everyone became who they are because of the things that had happened to them. Their baggage, so to speak. In the end, we have to be kind to others, because once we know their story, you just cannot help but to do that. Ultimately, being kind to others is also being kind to yourself, because we also have baggage that we carry on our back constantly, like snails. Both the books below are excellent reading, easily the best and most touching novels I've read for the year.

2) J.L. Witterick style in this book is very refreshing. I've seen it employed in different books that I've read, but it's not as effective as it is done here. The story is like watching 4 different persons weaving a single piece of tapestry. Each knit and weave by different person gives you their unique viewpoint of the same tapestry, then as the weave gets bigger and spreads out, the seemingly disparate parts comes together until you see one complete tapestry. Once the threads comes together, you cease to see the 4 different weaving pattern but instead you just see one complete piece of art. It's like that when you read this book. It's also based on a true story, set in the Nazi occupied Poland during world war 2.

3, Some books you just have to read it yourself to feel it. This is yet another book set in occupied France during world war 2. I always feel that history should not be just about the facts. You can't empathize and learn history by just looking at the factual information. An important part of history lies in the stories of the survivors and also those who died. What made them who they are? Why do they do this and that? Would you do the same thing if this happened to you? This is one of the few books that talks about the war from both sides, in the eyes of children. You can't find such viewpoints from movies, and I think it's because it's almost always portrayed as the victor or the victim. This books shows that there is no winner and everyone is poorer but also richer because of the shared experience of the war.

4. How I love this book! First time author Celeste Ng nails it down in her debut writing in this novel. She captures the tension of characters so well and you can't help but flip the pages over and over again just to see what will happen. And I especially like the way in which a character do or says something, which is what everyone can see but you won't know what he or she is thinking about when doing that action. So, the book will tell you what they are thinking about a few pages later. You can immediately compare and contrast the difference between what you see and what they are thinking. Misunderstanding stems from communicating and also from not communicating. I think the author spent several years writing and re-writing this book, and keeps changing it as she went through a full round of pregnancy. This is like the author of The Book Thief, Markus Zusak, who reportedly wrote and rewrote the entire manuscript from scratch until it is the perfect version we cannot forget now.

5. Recommended by a reader from bullythebear, this books took me to a journey involving numbers and their implications in life. This is a page turner for me and I'm sure it'll be if you love mathematics somewhat. You don't have to follow pages and pages of differential equation to like this book, but you do have to love the spirit of mathematics. Alex Bellos goes around the world looking for people who loves numbers too. Very approachable and friendly read. If you're worried about not knowing enough mathematics to enjoy this book, don't worry - it'll be fine.

6. Recommended book again, haha :) Fantastic read - part prophecy, part fiction and part novel. As the title implies, George Friedman tried to speculate what are the major moves happening around the world in the next 100 years. Given that this book is published back in 2009, you can see some of the major currents that he underlined already being played in the world stage today. It also establish the Russian conflict and explains their behavior through Russia's geographical landscape. This book is very interesting if you like to make some sense of the world's major events and love to link economic theories with geography and I enjoyed this thoroughly. Word of advice - don't be so quick to dismiss US and her highly indebted state.


ryan said...


Do you have any book to recommend about stock trading?


My 15HWW said...

Hi LP,

Glad you enjoyed one of my book recommendations.

I think I am going to adopt your reading technique with regards to non-fiction so that I can get through more of them faster.

Let's see if I can hit 26 next year.

la papillion said...

Hi ryan,

Yeah, I subscribe to Dr Alexander Elder's methodology. So I recommend his books:

1. Trading for a living
2. Come into my trading room
3. Entries and exit
4. Sell and sell short

la papillion said...

Hi 15hww,

Thanks a lot for your recommendation :) I'll try to see if I can get my hands on his new books too ;)

Haha, pls let me know if you need recommendations :)

ryan said...

Hi LP,

Thanks for your recommendation :)

seefei said...

why u no read chinese book? good to try some...

la papillion said...

Hi seefei,

Haha, I don't think I'm at 'casual reading level' for my chinese! lol

I'll be too painful and too much work. Oh well...

Gudeg Lalas said...
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