Mar 10, 2017

Book Haul from Europe


Besides beauty products, I'm extremely excited over books shopping as well when I travel. I will scout for books that I can hardly get here (Malaysia book scene is pretty disappointing). One problem with buying books while traveling is the weight. Sometimes I have a lot interesting books that I want to buy, but I am limited to how heavy I can carry. Anyway....

On the previous trip, I limit myself to 5 books, but in the end, I managed to pick up 4 books that I really wanted to read.


#1 London's Strangest Tales by Tom Quinn

I read a book from the same series before - Law Strangest Cases. This book is informative, funny and entertaining at the same time. If you think you know London inside out, you need to read this book. I manage to know a lot of new facts and unpublished histories in between the pages. Each story is only one or two pages long which pack in about 50 short stories. My favourite story is A Mistress's Revenge. Let me attempt to type it out for you:

Disputes between lovers always involve emotional excesses and when lovers fall out it adds a new twist to the old saying: all's fair in love and war.

Salisbury Square, just off Fleet Street, once witnessed the conclusion to one of the strangest emotional disputes in the history of England. The problem began when Frederick, Duke of York (the second son of mad George III), began to lose interest in one of his mistresses, one Mrs Mary Anne Clarke. Mrs Clarke was his favourite mistress from 1803 until 1809 but then his enthusiasm began to wane. In short he completely lost interest in her. Mrs Clarke was furious at being unceremoniously dumped, but she would have accepted this meekly enough if the Duke had given her the pension she felt she deserved, together with a house in a fashionable part of London. The Duke for his part thought that he could completely discard her and that would be the end of it, but he had reckoned without the fury of a woman scorned. 

When the Duke refused to see her or give her any money Mrs Clarke sat down and wrote her memoirs, in particular her memories of her relationship with the Duke. The notoriety of Mrs Clarke and the public's appetite for scandal meant the publisher was convinced he would have a huge sale and make his fortune, so he printed 10,000 copies - an enormous number for any book at the time. Mrs Clarke then let the Duke know that the books was about to come out. In earlier times he'd have her head cut off, but even in Georgian England such an idea was unthinkable. The Duke knew when he was beaten. He immediately paid her a pension, bought her a house and bought up all 10,000 copies of the book - these were piled up in Salisbury Square and burned. If one copy survived and were to turn up now it would be worth a fortune! 

I cannot suggest if the facts are proven to be historically accurate, but it is entertaining and in fact, if you ever read it, you should take it in a pinch of salt. If you would like to know London from a different dimension, pick this book up.

I bought this book at Harrods for GBP7.99. Worth every quid.


#2 Lonely Planet's Travel Writing

I am not a good writer. But I'm a good traveler. You know what they say, "when you travel, you are speechless until you write it down". In order for me to share my travel experiences, I need to learn some writing techniques. My vocabularies are limited, I am grammatically insensitive, I don't have my own writing flare and I am not a good story teller. This book would be a great help.

If you are pursuing travel writing, I urge you to pick up this book. It is overwhelmed with tips and tricks. Plus, there's also writing exercises. The book also includes a comparison of layman writing vs. professional writing and how to get from layman to professional standard.

This is not a leisure reading. It is resembles a textbook.




#3 The Secret Life of the Natural History Museum - Dry Store Room No.1 by Richard Fortey

Richard Fortey is a British paleontologist at the Natural History Museum. One of the highlight of my London trip is the Natural History Museum, in fact that's the place I was so looking forward to visit and I didn't mind the super long queue at all. I didn't manage to go through all of the museum exhibitions. My only focus was the dinosaur (Night in a museum, does it ring a bell?). I bought this book at the Natural History Museum gift shop - I thought it was a souvenir apt for myself. I have not read the book yet, but I believe this is going to be one of my favourite book soon. The book tells the tale behind the scene of the museum - what the public get to see, what are the things filed under high confidential, and other day to day operation at the museum.


#4 The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

I mentioned a little bit of this book being one of my February favourites. This book is about getting your life into place and feel content of what you have. The book is separated by month - basically it is a book for a year project. Each month is focus on a topic. The first topic (January) is about clearing your clutter. That part was relevant. On the second chapter, it is about marriage, which I cannot relate to. Hence I am slowing down on the book and may skip a few chapters which are irrelevant at this junction of my life. The chapters on children and spouse aren't my cup of tea. Otherwise, this book is pretty helpful and insightful to keep my messy life in place. Putting the book in practice is really a tough one to follow.

I think this is a good book to have as bedside table book.


Anyway, how's your reading going for 2017? What book will you pick up this weekend? I'm still digging into The Happiness Project at the moment.
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