And another two bite the dust

I finished "Perfume Dreams" and "The Last Lecture" this weekend.  "The Last Lecture" was a real page-turner.  It’s a short book but a very captivating read.  I started and finished it in a day – it was that good.  I have to admit, I did cry.  I never took Randy Pausch’s class at CMU, but I knew a lot of kids who did.  One of his classes was a requirement for non-CS majors in my graduate program.  I was not so fortunate to fall into that group — curse my CS degree!  =)  One of the themes of Randy’s book was the cognitive dissonnance of his looking and feeling perfectly healthy but internally having a body ridden with terminal cancer.  His whole book was also a cognitive dissonnance for the reader — it was sad knowing that Randy passed away and these were words he meant to leave behind for his kids, for the students whose lives he’s impacted, for all the other students he would never get to teach.  At the same time, it was inspiring and uplifting.  He led a shorter life than seems fair, but at the same time led a fuller and happier life that I’m sure most would be envious of.  I highly recommend this book — a great read!
"Perfume Dreams" was ok… not great.  I don’t think I get as much from books on the challenges of adapting and adjusting to a new culture while trying to retain a connection to your native culture.  I live it every day, so I guess there isn’t anything eye-opening in Andrew Lam’s words.  Among the other books I’ve read on the Vietnamese-American experience, it was closer to the top.  Not overly sappy or depressing but still moving all the same.
On to the rest of the list…
  • Leave it to Psmith (*)
  • Stumbling on Happiness (*)
  • The Tapestries (*)
  • Bartimaeus Trilogy  (*)
  • Wild Nights
  • Twilight
  • Catfish and Mandala
  • Dear First Lady: Letters to the White House
  • Seeing Vietnam
  • The Last Lecture – CHECK!
  • Perfume Dreams (*) – CHECK!
  • Everything is Illuminated  (*) – CHECK!
  • The Time Traveler’s Wife  (*) – CHECK!
  • Monkey Bridge (*) – CHECK!
  • Kiln People  (*)  – CHECK!
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