The cheap shirts were sorely needed. A whole heap of my shirts had frayed collars and unravelling seams. They were in this condition because I haven't bought any shirts since the last time I was in Malaysia 3 years ago. Whenever I am there I track down the reject shops where the big US manufacturers dump all their unwanted stock from the previous season. Because I am normal sized by comparison to the average yank, but a great hulking godzilla compared to the average Malaysian, it's very easy to find shirts that fit. And as for looks, my signature style is to look blandly unfashionable, so it's a perfect match! And at about $10 per shirt, you can't go wrong!
As for the books, my Smaller Half and I came back with about half our luggage consisting of books. We bought some medical textbooks in Malaysia and some novels to read as well. But we were very controlled until we hit Melbourne in transit on the way home and found a book clearance sale where everything was $10 and you got 30% off for total sales over $100. So we kind of cut loose and bought a whole heap of stuff. To be fair, my Aged Mother had instructed me to buy myself a couple of interesting books for Christmas for myself so she could discuss them with me. That was what started the avalanche.
So we've made a new rule that we aren't allowed to get any more books until we've read the ones we have. Ha ha ha. Anyway, here's a list of the books we bought, since I think it gives a pretty well-rounded picture of our reading taste:
- Stieg Larson, The girl with the dragon tattoo. Murder mystery.
- Matthew Frederick, 101 things I learned in architecture school. Architecture for morons.
- Somerset Maugham, Ashenden. Semi-autobiographical tales of the author's time as a spy in the Great War.
- Peter Doherty, The beginner's guide to winning the Nobel Prize. Scientific autobiography.
- Aleksandr Solzhenityn, One day in the life of Ivan Denisovich.
- JG Ballard, The drought. Disaster epic sci-fi.
- Virginia Woolf, Mrs Dalloway. Bought to sate my Virginia Woolf obsession.
- Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, The final days. (Of Richard M Nixon)
- Peter Singer, Pushing time away. A philosopher's biography of his Jewish grandparents life in Vienna.
- Beginner French. Mais oui!
- Larry McMurtry, Books. How can you resist a title like that?
- Orhan Pamuk, My name is red. Praised by a friend years ago, hence acquired.
- Kate Grenville, The secret river. Ditto.
- Ernest Hemingway, A farewell to arms. Dangerous reactionary lunatic writes good stuff.
- Ernest Hemingway, For whom the bell tolls. Ditto.
- AA Milne, The house at Pooh corner. Go Pooh!
- Steven Erikson, Gardens of the moon. Forced upon me by an eager relative, not really my thing...
- Malcolm Gladwell, Blink. The longest magazine article in the world. The perfect airplane book.