My 3 recommended books of 2017

As mentioned in earlier post, 2017 can be considered as a successful reading year for me. I have finished more than 50 books, including several challenges like “The wind-up bird chronicle” – Haruki Murakami or “The trial” – Franz Kafka or “1984” – George Orwell. Yes, I am counting books. But, before judging, let me explain here: it is not for any kind of record at all. I have started my reading diary because of 2 main reasons. First, it helps me to see clearly what is my true interest in life. If you don’t know it yet, your book taste tells much about your personality (see a Huffington post here). Second, I combine it with a short review of each book, to the extent of whether should I read it again in the future, or at least which parts of the book that interest me. By doing so, I wish to compare my knowledge after re-reading it again next time, or of the same topic from some other books. Remember the quote: “You cannot step into the same river twice”. Now Andy Luong’s quote: “You cannot have the same experience from reading a book twice”.
Hence, in these last days of 2017, after reviewing my reading year, I think it is a good idea to share with you my recommended 3 books of 2017. Hope it can be a sort of motivation for some to start (or keep) the habit of reading in new year, as you may know from “Flow” – Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi that reading is one of the most “flow” activities.

1. The rainbow troop – Andrea Hirata

The book in 3 sentences: A modern Fairytale of a small school (with only 10 children) in a poor isolated island named Belitong in Indonesia, where the true value of education is shining. Facing with difficulties from early life, it is ironical why these innocent, talented and studious boys and girls do not know anything else except enjoying learning and playing together. Even though the ending might be a bit harsh and definitely not fairy tale style (especially with a boy who cycling 80km to school every day – Lintang), it is still for sure a valuable lesson for everyone (especially for a person who wish to dedicate career to education like me).

2. Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

The book in 3 sentences: This book is a story of a poor dropout student (with a Russian-difficult-to-remember name) who has one of the most striking and thought-provoking idea: all the big, famous, life-changing names/heroes in the history are massive killers (it is the way of development in human history, in order to accept or spread any new belief, most of the time people had to take revolution, sometimes in extreme cruelty). Because of this, and ironically his intelligence, he allows himself to kill who he thinks is the most redundant person in the world – an old usurer without family, and he considers it as the first step on his way to become great. However, the crime has punished him so harshly both psychologically and emotionally (where Dostoyevsky’s talent in describing human emotions has performed beautifully), only because of the reason that he is just a human.
P.s: pessimistically happy ending.

3. This is water – David Foster Wallace

The book in 3 sentences: An ideal short read in a Sunday afternoon, but you should prepare to be depressed a bit after reading. It is a transcribed version of a commencement speech delivered to students in one of the famous colleges in America, which expresses the idea of choice in a normal daily routine in life. Favourite quote: “The most obvious, ubiquitous, important realities are often the ones that are hardest to see and talk about”.  

P.s: Mr Viet Anh has caused me serious problem with his poem post. Afterthat, I came up with a strange idea that I might from now on have to finish all my posts with a sort of poem. Unfortunately my English is not that good yet, hence, hope you enjoy Vietnamese poem or whatever it is you might call!

Spiderum, ta chia sẻ cùng nhau
Điểm tô cho cuộc sống, đôi sắc màu
Ai đó cô đơn mong tìm nơi ẩn náu
Sách mở rộng lòng người, đóng nỗi đau

Bạn không đọc, tôi cũng không khẩn ép
Vì cuộc đời, vốn đẹp chẳng hoài nghi
Chỉ xin chúc trong bộn bề lo nghĩ
Tìm được cho mình một lối nghỉ an yên!

A Dreamer
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