Saturday, 15 July 2006


Day after day, day after day,
We stuck, nor breath nor motion;
As idle as a painted ship
Upon a painted ocean.

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
Samuel Taylor Coleridge

I'm not quite a poetry kind of guy, but these lines have stayed with me since the first time I read them in my Form 3 English class. They are also perfect for describing the state that I am in now. I look like I'm working and moving here and there but I'm actually accomplishing and producing nothing. More like hardly working instead of working hard.

I'm still pruning my thesis outline like a bonsai tree shrub, try to figure out what shape it should take. I'm having a difficulty sorting out what to include and exclude. The semester is slowly going into the second week. I need to concentrate more. And another cup of coffee.

What I can tell you with much enthusiasm is the distractions that I've come upon lately. I think there's something funny about concentrating since the more I try to concentrare, the more I can't seem to be able to do so. Anyways...

It's the World eBook Fair!

I heard about this from the Malaysian Bookcrosser mailing list. From July 4th to August 4th, over a milllion eBooks (mostly in PDF) on various topic are available for download, including rare books, out-of-print books, scientific texts and publications from the UN, various US departments, the White House and university libraries. The ones that caught my attention were classical works by famous authors, since Project Gutenberg is one of the participants.

Tolstoy! Dostoyevsky!

Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.
Some of you may recognise this. It's the opening line from Leo Tolstoy's much-beloved work, Anna Karenina. It's one of the books I downloaded from the fair. With such a sharp (and somewhat true) observation about the family life as an opening, I feel like I'm called upon ("seakan terpanggil!") to check it out. Only God knows when will I'll actually start reading it though...

Between the two Russian literary giants, Fyodor Dostoyevsky may not be most favoured, but he sure can hold his own weight against the competition. With critically-acclaimed works like Crime and Punishment, Poor Folk and Notes from the Underground, Dostoyevsky is also worth checking out. I helped myself to a copy of The Idiot. In primary school, I saw a translated version of it by Fajar Bakti Publishing, curiously titled Si Tolol.

You can alternatively listen to audio recordings of Dostoyevsky's Notes from the Underground chapters at LibriVox, if reading isn't quite your thing.

And of course, there's...

Honey and Clover, season 2!!!

Yeah, sure, it's basically an animated drama series about a bunch of graduate art students and their lectures and friends, but the gorgeously water-painted backgrounds in the show are an absolute eye candy for me. And it's hilarious. Can't wait.


Jiwa Rasa said...


Thanks for blogging on World eBook Fair. My PDA is full of ebook which I have yet to complete, but I will still go and have a look. :)

I have not tried audiobook, but the list in librivox sounds tempting.

Thanks again for the links.

Anonymous said...

Dostoevsky? My...!his psychological, socialist as well as atheist approach might be one of the most quoted since Sigmund Freud! Crime and Punishment as well as the Insulted and Humiliated are the ones that truly portray his life in cold Siberia in 1800's. read Anna Karenina..u're far behind!

rol said...

jiwa rasa,
I know the feeling. But then again, they're only on offer for a month right? Thanks for dropping by, and for writing a blog that takes me back to when DBP was my favourite publisher (which was a decade and a half ago...).

How are you? Long time no hear. Well, I'm very far behind, and I already have some books I'm reading at the moment. So Tolstoy or Dostoyevsky or Anna, they'll have to just get in line and wait. Truth is I first heard of Dostoyevsky when I read Frank McCourt. He was working as a manual labourer in New York right after he finishes school in Ireland when a guy told him (repeatedly) to go to the library and read Crime and Punishment.

Anonymous said...

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