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Angury

Angury's Reading Diary 2017

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Hello everyone.

This is my first ever book blog. I felt the need to create one this year as I graduate in June and will be starting my first job in August. I am going into quite a busy, hectic career but I didn’t want to lose my love of reading, so I felt that having a diary to keep me up to date of my to-read lists and a platform to write my reviews would give me motivation.

As a reader, I enjoy a variety of genres, but you’ll find that my to-read list falls into three broad categories: Fiction, Medicine/Anthropology and Philosophy.

My to-read list isn’t a list of every single book I want to read (which is several pages long), but just a list of books that are on my radar for the upcoming months.

-

Currently reading:
The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov


Books Read in 2017

January

• The Scarlett Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne (3.5/5)
• Against Nature by Joris-Karl Huysmans (4/5)
• The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories by Ken Liu (4/5)
• Journal of Solitude by Mary Sarton (3/5)
• The Immoralist by Andre Gide (2/5)
• Philosophy and Psychiatry: A Companion by Jennifer Radden (4/5)

 

February

• Against Interpretation and Other Essays by Susan Sontag (3/5)

 

March

• Maskerade by Terry Pratchett (4/5)

• Exit West by Mohsin Hamid (3/5)

• The Royal Game by Stefan Zweig (3/5)

 

April

• Beware of Pity by Stefan Zweig (4/5)

• The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery (3/5)

 

May

• Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace (4/5)

• The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry (2/5)

• Anthropological Approaches to Psychological Medicine edited Vieda Skultans & John Cox (4/5)

• The Gambler and A Nasty Business by Fyodor Dostoevsky (2/5)

 

June

• Status Anxiety by Alain de Bottom (3/5)

• The Denial of Death by Ernest Becker (4/5)

• Train Dreams by Denis Johnson (2/5)

• Death in Venice and Other Stories by Thomas Mann (3/5)

• Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov (4/5)

 

July

• A Critique of Pure Reason by Immanuel Kant (4/5)

 

August

 

September

• This is going to hurt: Secret Diaries of a Junior Doctor by Adam Kay (4/5)

• Palace of the Damned by Darren Shan (3/5)

• Brothers to the Death by Darren Shan (2/5)

 

October

• Middlemarch by George Eliot (4/5)

• Stoner by John Williams (4/5)

 

November

• Indian Philosophy Volume I - Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan (4/5)

 

December

• The Magus - John Fowles (4/5)

 

Edited by Angury

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To-Read

Fiction
• Abe, Kobo - The Woman in the Dunes
• Barbery, Muriel - The Elegance of the Hedgehog
• Bukowski, Charles - Tales of Ordinary Madness
• Bulgakov, Mikhail - The Master and Margarita
• Byatt, A.S. - Possession
• Camus, Albert - The Plague
• Catton, Eleanor - The Luminaries
• Christensen, Kate - The Epicure's Lament

Eliot, George - Daniel Deronda
• Eliot, George - Middlemarch
• Dostoyevsky, Fyodor - Demons

• Dostoyevsky, Fyodor - The Gambler and A Nasty Business
• Dostoyevsky, Fyodor - The Idiot
• Faulkner, William - As I Lay Dying

• Fowles, John - The Magus
• Gide, Andre - The Immoralist
• Hall, Sarah - Daughters of the North
• Hall, Sarah - Haweswater

• Hamid, Mohsin - Exit West
• Hardy, Thomas - The Return of the Native
• Hesse, Herman - Journey to the East
• Hesse, Herman - Narcissus and Goldmund
• Hesse, Herman - The Glass Bead Game

• Jelinek, Elfriede - Greed

• Johnson, Denis - Train Dreams
• Kavenna, Joanna - Come to the Edge
• Lish, Atticus - Life is with People
• Liu, Ken - The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories
• Mann, Thomas - Death in Venice and Other Stories

Morrison, Toni - The Bluest Eye
• Nabokov, Vladimir - Ada or Ardor: A Family Chronicle
• Nabokov, Vladimir - Pale Fire
• Nutting, Alissa - Tampa

• Perry, Sarah - The Essex Serpent
• Pratchett, Terry - Maskerade
• Quincey, Thomas de - Confessions of an English Opium-Eater

• Remarque, Erich Maria - All Quiet on the Western Front
• Sartre, Jean-Paul - The Age of Reason
• Selby, Hubert Jr - The Demon

•Shan, Darren - Brothers to the Death

• Shan, Darren - Palace of the Damned
• Singh, Khushwant - Train to Pakistan
• Thackeray, William Makepeace - Vanity Fair
• Thomas, Michael Ford - Suicide Notes
• Wallace, David Foster - Infinite Jest

• Williams, John - Stoner
• Zweig, Stefan - Beware of Pity
• Zweig, Stefan - The Royal Game


Medicine, Psychology & Anthropology
• Bateson, Gregory - Steps to an Ecology of Mind: Collected Essays in Anthropology, Psychiatry, Evolution and Epistemology
• Brewer, John D. - The Public Value of the Social Sciences: An Interpretive Essay
• Cantacuzino, Marnia - The Forgiveness Project
• Carel, Havi - Health, Illness and Disease: Philosophical Essays
• Cooper, Rachel - Psychiatry and Philosophy of Science
• Diamond, John - C: Because Cowards Get Cancer Too
• Gifford, Fred - Philosophy of Medicine
• Kahneman, Daniel - Thinking, Fast and Slow

• Kay, Adam - This is going to hurt: Secret Diaries of a Junior Doctor
• Kleinman, Arthur - The Illness Narratives: suffering, healing and the human condition
• Kleinman, Arthur - Rethinking Psychiatry: from cultural category to personal experience
• Laing, Ronald D. - Wisdom, Madness and Folly: The Making of a Psychiatrist 1927-57
• Levi-Strauss, Claude - Myth and Meaning: Cracking the Code of Culture
• Mishler, Elliot G. - The Discourse of Medicine: Dialectics of Medical Interviews
• Ofri, Danielle - What Doctors Feel: How Emotions Affect the Practice of Medicine
• Osler, William - A Way of Life: An Address to Yale Students, Sunday Evening, April 20, 1913
• Perry, Sarah - Every Cradle is a Grave: Rethinking the Ethics of Birth and Suicide
• Phillips, Adam - On Kindness
• Radden, Jennifer - The Philosophy of Psychiatry: A Companion
• Reynolds, Richard - On Doctoring: Stories, Poems, Essays
• Selzer, Richard - Letters to a Young Doctor
• Sigerist, Henry E. - Medicine and Human Welfare (Terry Lectures)

• Skultans, Vieda and Cox, John - Anthropological Approaches to Psychological Medicine 
• Sontag, Susan - Illness as Metaphor
• Storr, Anthony - The Integrity of the Personality
• Svenaeus, Fredrik - The Hermeneutics of Medicine and the Phenomenology of Health: Steps Towards a Philosophy of Medical Practice
• Tallis, Raymond - The Black Mirror: Looking at Life through Death
• Woolf, Virginia - On Being Ill


Philosophy
• Alain de Botton - Status Anxiety

• Aristotle - The Art of Rhetoric
• Aurelius, Marcus - Meditations
• Becker, Ernest - The Denial of Death
• Burton, Neel - Plato: Letters to my Son
• Dewey, John - How We Think
• Jaspers, Karl - Philosophy of Existence

Kant, Immanuel - A Critique of Pure Reason

• Kierkegaard, Soren - The Concept of Anxiety
• Merton, Thomas - Thoughts in Solitude

• Radhakrishnan, Sarvepalli - Indian Philosophy Volume I
• Russell, Bertrand - The Analysis of Mind
• Tallis, Raymond - In Defence of Wonder and Other Philosophical Reflections
• Wittgenstein, Ludwig - Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus

Literature & Writing
• Prose, Francine - Reading Like a Writer: A Guide for People Who Love Books and for Those Who Want to Write Them
• Eagleton, Terry - How to Read Literature
• Eagleton, Terry - Literary Theory: An Introduction
• Huxley, Aldous - Literature and Science
• Midgley, Mary - Science and Poetry
• Thomas, Francis-Noel - Clear and Simple as the Truth: Writing Classic Prose
• Sontag, Susan - Against Interpretation and Other Essays

Other
• Atkinson, Charles Francis - Art and Artist: Creative Urge and Personality Development

• Bevan, Aneurin - In Place of Fear
• Debord, Guy - The Society of the Spectacle
• Kalanithi, Paul - When Breath Becomes Air
• Orwell, George - Down and Out in Paris and London
• Rosseau, Jean-Jacques - Confessions
• Sarton, May - Journal of a Solitude

• Sutherland, John - Blue: A Memoir - Keeping the Peace and Falling to Pieces
• Tolstoy, Leo - What is Art?

Edited by Angury

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That should be more than enough for now. 2017 is going to be a busy year for me, but hopefully it will be filled with lots and lots of books. :)

Edited by Angury

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I'm very happy to see you've decided to create a reading log! :smile2: Good luck with your studies and your job! Is the job secured already? 

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I hope you have a great reading year in 2017 :):readingtwo:. Good luck with your studying and the job!

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Thanks for the kind words everyone. I've just started my next book so I look forward to updating this blog as I go along.

 

I'm very happy to see you've decided to create a reading log! :smile2: Good luck with your studies and your job! Is the job secured already?

Yes, in the area I work in (Medicine) we are pretty much guaranteed a job in the UK, which I know is a big privilege.

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Yes, in the area I work in (Medicine) we are pretty much guaranteed a job in the UK, which I know is a big privilege.

 

That's so wonderful for you! Yes, it's a bit of a privilege to say the least (and I don't mean to sound bitter or envious :D ), but you've studied hard and I'm sure you'll work hard, too :yes: 

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I hope you enjoy keeping up with your book blog, Angury :)  Lots of good books on your TBR, I particularly enjoyed Middlemarch.  Wishing you a very good reading year in 2017. :D

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I finished reading The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories by Ken Liu yesterday.

 

It's a collection of short stories, many of them award-winning and mainly revolving around the integration of Chinese communities with the Western world. As an immigrant, I found these stories to be particularly poignant as they touch at the heart of what it means to lose ones identity and shed ones skin. The question of how to integrate both cultures has often been at the back of my mind, and I feel that many of the stories in this collection raise similar questions in a beautifully moving way.

 

The stories are also what would be defined as 'sci-fi' - most are set around advanced technologies which while centuries away, are not difficult to imagine in our current society. Along with questions of immigration and identity, they also raise questions about what it means to be human, and how our emotions and our weaknesses make us who we are. If life is just an algorithm and the brain a collection of neurotransmitters and electrical signals, can we then break down thoughts and emotions into entities that can be shaped and formed according to our will? Everyone will have different answers to this question, but these stories set out to show what the world would be like if humans had such power over the atoms themselves.

 

I only recently started reading short stories again as I have had little time to read, and I've found that if you manage to find the right story, you can be transported to another world just as easily as reading a thousand page novel.

 

The most famous short story in this collection is The Paper Menagerie which won the Hugo, Nebula and World Fantasy Awards. It is a very quick read, but one that stays with you after the last page. It can be read for free below and I would highly recommend it if you have a few minutes to spare:

 

http://io9.com/5958919/read-ken-lius-amazing-story-that-swept-the-hugo-nebula-and-world-fantasy-awards

Edited by Angury

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Acculturation. It's a fascinating subject. At one end of the continuum: total integration into the host culture. At the other extreme: alienation, detachment, mental illness. And myriad degrees and shades in between.

 

You have a businesslike and focused TBR Angury! How did The Scarlet Letter read? I have that on my TBR too, I think that would be an excellent read after the Becker Outsiders book.

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Acculturation. It's a fascinating subject. At one end of the continuum: total integration into the host culture. At the other extreme: alienation, detachment, mental illness. And myriad degrees and shades in between.

 

You have a businesslike and focused TBR Angury! How did The Scarlet Letter read? I have that on my TBR too, I think that would be an excellent read after the Becker Outsiders book.

 

Absolutely - I find the impact of culture on healthcare to be a particularly interesting topic. There are so many health problems that are only present in certain cultures, and the experience of ones childhood, ones surroundings and the beliefs and values that one is brought up in have a such a massive impact on the way we view our bodies and our minds - especially when they start to degenerate. I think this is highlighted quite well in the Western worlds obsession with individualism (and the subsequent social costs), science and the quest for immortality no matter what the price.

 

Haha, I feel like I need to make my blog as condensed as possible, otherwise I'll just become overwhelmed with books that I become attracted to but never actually open. :P

 

Thank you for your thoughts on Becker's Outsiders book. I will add it to my TBR list - like I said, if you need any recommendations for books on deviance within healthcare, just let me know (although you have a pretty interesting TBR list yourself). Certainly many of the books on my TBR list revolve around this topic of being an outsider, whether it is from ones society, ones family or even from ones self. 

 

Regarding The Scarlett Letter, it is definitely a book I would recommend.

 

The novel is filled with beautiful prose, rich in imagery and metaphor. It is not a fast-paced book, and I think to enjoy it you really need to sit down and savour every sentence. While it was written some time ago and revolves around issues that now may seem irrelevant, I think the sense of anger, loss and the feeling of being unwanted is very real throughout the novel - I think it would fit nicely into what we have just been discussing about the idea of being an outsider in ones society and how one copes with such isolation. It's really quite an inspiring read, and the strength of the main character is quite uplifting.

 

The one thing I would say about the novel is that its style of writing may become a bit of an obstacle. Personally I found it to be a refreshing break from the other styles of writing I've been reading recently, but most of the negative reviews I've read about the novel tend to focus on the 'dreariness' of the writing style - you really do have to focus on every word.

 

Let me know what you think of it though. :)

Edited by Angury

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I am currently one-hundred pages into Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace and enjoying it. I've been a fan of his for a number of years, having mainly concentrated on his short stories. I've also watched some of his speeches and interviews on Youtube and really enjoy his perspectives and insights into life.

 

Last week I stumbled across an article about Wallace which talked about his personal life and his vices. I generally try to avoid reading too much about a writers personal story as I prefer to enjoy novels as they are i.e. in my own head rather than through the lens of a writers life story. This time though, I couldn't help myself. I was very, very surprised at what I read about Wallace - stories about his stalking behaviours, sexist remarks, aggressive tendencies etc.

 

I know that we are all human and authors by no means live by a higher standard than the rest of us. I also know that these vices are often what make writers so good - their ability to delve into the more difficult and vile emotions that the rest of us try to forget. However, as someone who put Wallace in such high esteem (another error on my part), I can't help reading Infinite Jest with another set of eyes now. My perception of him and therefore of his writing has completely changed. It feels like a massive upheaval for my views to change so swiftly and in such a different direction.

 

I also know that I am being unfair - I've only read one perspective on the guy, have never met him (and sadly never will) and am prepared to put up my hand and say that I am by no means perfect either. Yet in a way I feel like after reading that article, the book has already been ruined for me - which is such a pity.

 

This has never happened to me before with other writers. For example, I love Sylvia Plath's work and part of the magic for me is understanding her own story, her experiences of health issues and the hardships she faced both as a young woman and as a writer, and how they have shaped her work.

 

Anyway, after my rambling (which is precisely why I created this blog), I am interested in hearing other readers thoughts. Has anyone else had a similar experience? Or are you generally able to separate an authors personal life from their written works?

Edited by Angury

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I'm sorry you had such an experience :(. I usually don't look up author biographies much either, and try not to let it bother me if I do know something, but sometimes you can't un-know something. The only example from my own life would be Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card. But in that case I knew about the author's views beforehand, so that's a bit different than your experience (I did like the book for what it was though). It can be hard to separate the art from the artist. I'm sorry you had a bad experience :(.

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Happy reading =)
Although I have not read Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman, I've had in on my shelf for ages, and one of my lecturers last year seems to be obsessed with him, so he was mentioned at least three times per lecture. I feel like I know all his theories now and don't even need to read the book anymore, but I can definitely say his area of research is really interesting and you should give the book a try soon :D

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Apologies for the lack of updates, I have been in India up in the Himalayan mountains undertaking a five week Psychiatry placement which has just ended.

 

On my last day, I asked the Head of Psychiatry to sign me off, and he asked me for £100 in return.. describes the subordination and corruption in India pretty well I think.

 

Anyway, I have just finished reading Maskerade by Terry Pratchett (fantastic book, I will write a more thorough review in a few days), and am half way through Exit West by Mohsin Hamid, a book about the wars in the Middle East, immigration, and the climate of our current political culture from the point of view of two individuals. A very relevant book I feel. 

 

I will be spending the next two weeks travelling around India, which means I will have a lot of time to read on the journeys, so I will make sure to keep this blog updated. :) 

 

Would love to hear how everyone else's reading has been going.

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That is shocking about the Head of Psychiatry. Was the time on the placement itself of value? I hope you get through the rest of your stay in India without any more such incidents. Stay safe. 

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On 01/04/2017 at 3:53 PM, vodkafan said:

That is shocking about the Head of Psychiatry. Was the time on the placement itself of value? I hope you get through the rest of your stay in India without any more such incidents. Stay safe. 

 

It's sad to see there's so much corruption in the country - I think it's one of the main reasons why the country is so underdeveloped despite the work ethic and determination that I saw in many of the people there.

 

The placement was very insightful in terms of seeing a completely different healthcare system. I had assumed that there would be a significant difference in the types of mental health problems given the different culture (religious, collectivist etc) yet what I found was that the mental health problems were similar to those in the UK, but it was the doctors who were completely different in terms of their manner, the patient-doctor relationship and the use/abuse of medical ethics and human rights.

 

Anyway, I just finished reading Beware of Pity by Stefan Zweig - finished it in two days. It's one of the few books I've read that revolves around an emotion. While there is a clear plot and character development, the main foundation of the story is the emotion of pity and how it can cause havoc with our lives. There were so many moments throughout the novel which I could relate to - will definitely write a more thorough review about it later. :)

Edited by Angury

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I am now back from India, and just finished reading The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery. 

 

It's a very well-known book, but its Goodreads page is filled with some very negative reviews. While I don't depend wholly on Goodreads, I do like to have a quick overview to see what other people think. 

 

However, having just finished this book, I can say that it is a fantastic book. I can see why some people may not like it - the writing is flamboyant (but beautiful) and the characters are 'up themselves' so to speak. Yet this is also why it is so good. It takes a while to like the characters, but they are so fascinating and so different, that just reading about their thoughts is enough to make up the whole story. I love how the story is interspersed with little thoughts on Philosophy and culture, but it also points to a bigger issue of class structure and how it is still very much present in our minds and the way we behave towards others.

 

It is certainly not a book for everyone, but it is one that deserves a special mention.

 

I am now going to go back to Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace - I was about a third of the way through. I had to stop reading it when I was in India because it was a bit too heavy during travelling (in writing, not in size), but now I can get back into it.

 

I also bought a two-part volume on Indian Philosophy while I was in India. It is written by Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, a famous Indian philosopher who brought Indian thought to the West and subsequently became the 2nd President of India. It offers an overview of Indian philosophy, something that I think is often ignored. I've just read the Introduction so far but I am hoping to intersperse my reading of it with Infinite Jest.

 

 

 

Edited by Angury

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I've had The Elegance of the Hedgehog on my Kindle for a little while, but haven't yet been in the mood to pick it up.

 

I've heard so many things about Infinite Jest; it's a pretty difficult read apparently, a love-it-or-hate-it read. Not sure if I will ever get around to reading it, given that I have so many others on my Kindle and TBR pile. :o

 

Hope you had a nice time in India.

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