All posts filed under: Book Reviews

Book Review: Liberal, Malay and Malaysian by Zan Azlee

Admittedly, I cringe at the word liberal whenever it comes out of my peers’ mouths, mostly because of how it was perpetuated and how the term has been abused to no longer represent its actual definition. It seems that liberal has morphed into a religion and no longer a concept. But the truth of the matter is, any book or articles that have the word liberal in it will somehow intrigue me to pick it up. You can only imagine the amount of internal struggle I have when reading Liberal, Malay and Malaysian by Zan Azlee and how the image of contradictory behaviors of those ‘liberals’ around me seemed to plague my memory. I picked up the book and didn’t stop till the captain announced a turbulent–plane ride has never been more exciting. I love the sub-title of the book, “Writings of a Walking Contradiction”, aren’t we all? I know I am. Being a Muslim and a Kadazan with a non-Malay name is as contradictory as it comes. We are all, in some way, a …

Book Review: The Travels of Marco YOLO by Marco Ferrarese

“Don’t try following my lead, for my trails have already been burnt.” It is rare that you find a book with its writer’s personality so clearly injected in every page. In just the first few pages, it already felt like I’d met Marco myself. The Travels of Marco YOLO is a travelogue but unlike the typical kind you find in most travel literature. First, can we take a moment to appreciate the title of this book? Marco freaking YOLO – that has made me L-legitimately-OL too many times since I first got this book in my hands several weeks ago. A millennial joke – and a slightly dated one at that – yes, but I appreciate a good pun any day of the year. Described as fiction, I spent days trying to differentiate between Marco YOLO and Marco Ferrarese but I could never draw a solid line between them as I could never figure out where one ended and the other began. Ferrarese draws inspiration from his own travels and it was only two-thirds into …

Book Review: Jungle Without Water and Other Stories by Sreedhevi Iyer

I wouldn’t have thought it possible to relate to stories on immigration and migration, for the most part, because I haven’t experienced anything like it myself. Jungle Without Water is, by leaps and bounds of nonchalance, a surprisingly relatable, illustrative and thought-provoking read. I mean, I’m not claiming to know a lot about the Indian community and how they live and see the world. But there are aspects in these stories that gave me an insight into their feelings and thoughts as I read this collection with curiosity. Some of the issues tackled are race, identity, and prejudice. Standouts for me have to be the title story; “Jungle Without Water”, “The Man With Two Wives” and “IC”. “Jungle Without Water” is about a boy who moved to another country to pursue his studies and is constantly searching for a place to pray in his new home. It reminds me of being homesick that one time I traveled to Australia (surprise surprise, the country the boy migrated to is also Australia) and was constantly searching for …

Book Review: ‘Midnight Monologues’ by Charissa Ong Ty

‘Fate’ may be too strong of a word but opening Charissa Ong’s Midnight Monologues and landing on this page sent chills down my spine and tears to my eyes. Anyone who knows me knows that I really only have one weakness and that weed-smoking, new age-preaching, human-shaped weakness has been the one thing guiding me through every reckless, thoughtless decision I’ve made in the last three years. ‘He’ has been my best friend but my biggest distraction. I had come across Midnight Monologues at a café in KL that turned out to be a slight bit too pretentious for my liking. But thank god for the gift of hipster culture and indulgence or I would have never stumbled upon this page, this book, this reminder that I haven’t quite learned how to be a whole person on my own yet and that’s fine. I bought the book on impulse and only ended up reading the rest on the plane back home. Her poems are separated into three sections: ‘Lost’, ‘Found’ and ‘Hope’; with an additional …