Welcome to the Fluff! Here I blog my goals, especially my reading and studies, and my ongoing downscaling and using up of material stuff and working towards a more minimalist lifestyle.

I've read ...

Last Edit: 14 June 2018
Italicised titles are currently in progress/unfinished and intend to get back to

The Bible

No-one could be considered truly well-educated without a solid knowledge of mankind's greatest book, the Bible. To date, I've read through the complete scriptures 22 times in 8 different English translations and one Chinese, as well as 3 more so-called 'New Testaments' (better name being Christian Greek Scriptures). I usually have three different readings in progress at any given time these days, and, whilst I wouldn't claim myself to be an expert (in this or anything), I do enjoy it a lot and I think it really worthwhile studying further.=)

New World Translation: easily the best available, read 14 times so far.
15th reading, third with 2013 revision (2016-8):  Gen - Micah 4
2014-2018 congregation reading: Gen - Luke 1 

NWT Chinese version

New International Version - complete

Good News/Today's English Version - complete

New Living Translation - complete

(Stephen Byington) Bible in Living English - complete

Contemporary English Version - complete

New Century Version - complete

The Amplified Bible - complete  

New Revised Standard Version

New Testament by JB Phillips

An American Translation, NT

The Message: Matthew - Revelation, the complete Christian Greek Scriptures, (New Testament).
I decided to read the Hebrew Scriptures in this version on-line from Jan-Sept 2012, but the first few verses put me right off.  I can't say I've enjoyed much of the Christian Greek section. There is only one translator and what he believes clearly colours his work - and not necessarily with the shades of truth either! I've compared certain passages with 2 Greek interlinears and he's definitely manipulated certain 'inconvenient' parts to reflect his own theology. Not really recommended, although interesting in some parts.  The idea of putting it into colloquial speech and idiom is good, but it's just taken WAY too far and often you feel he's overdone it.

English Standard Version - Gospel of Mark (free sample booklet)

Over the last 25+ years, I've also read and studied a good number of books and literally hundreds of articles about the Bible, be it on general topics or concentrating on certain subjects (family life, advice for youths, creation, living by Bible standards, genuine Christian service (i.e. beyond charitable activities), finding real happiness etc) or individual Bible books (verse-by-verse commentaries, chronological studies, 'lessons from') including:
Proverbs, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts, The Letters of James and Peter, and Revelation

Oxford Illustrated History of the Bible - chapters 4-11 are interesting and useful, but most of the rest is just plain nonsense!

Classic Literature

20th Century

Brent-Dyer, Elinor M - complete Chalet School series, The School By the River

Burnett, Frances Hodgson - The Secret Garden, The Making of a Marchioness, The Methods of Lady Walderhurst

Cather, Willa - O Pioneers!

Chesterton, G K - Complete Father Brown, Horne Fisher Short stories

Christie, Agatha - N or M?, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, Sleeping Murder, Cat Among the Pigeons

Conrad, Joseph - The Secret Agent

Du Marier, Daphne - Rebecca

Fitzgerald, F Scott - The Great Gatsby

Forster, E M - A Room With a View, Howards End

Galsworthy, John - The Man of Property, Indian Summer of a Forsyte, In Chancery, Awakening, To Let, The White Monkey, A Silent Wooing, The Silver Spoon, Passers By, Swan Song, On Forsyte 'Change, Maid in Waiting, Flowering Wilderness, One More River, Forsytes, Pendyces and others

Graham, Winston - Ross Poldark, Demelza

Henry, O - 100 Selected Stories

Huxley, Aldous - Brave New World

Ishiguro, Kazuo - The Remains of the Day

Joyce, James - Dubliners

Kipling, Rudyard - Stalky and Co

Kleinbaum, NH - Dead Poets Society

Lee, Harper - To Kill a Mockingbird

Montgomery, Lucy Maud - Anne of Green Gables (also read this in Chinese!!), Anne of Avonlea, Anne of the Island, Anne of Windy Poplars/Willows, Anne's House of Dreams, Anne of Ingleside, Rainbow Valley, Rilla of Ingleside, The Blue Castle, Jane of Lantern Hill, The Tangled Web, Emily of New Moon, Emily Climbs, Emily's Quest, Chronicles of Avonlea, Further Chronicles of Avonlea, Road to Yesterday, Pat of Silver Bush, Mistress Pat, Complete Uncollected Short Stories, The Story Girl, The Golden Road

Nesbit, Edith - The Railway Children

Orwell, George - Animal Farm, Nineteen Eighty-Four

Ransome, Arthur - Complete 'Swallows and Amazons' series - 12 novels

Rhys, Jean - Wide Sargasso Sea

Stockett, Kathryn - The Help

Wallace, Edgar - P C Lee Series

Waugh, Evelyn - Brideshead Revisited

White, Ethel Lina - Fear Stalks the Village, Wax, Step in the Dark, The Wheel Spins, Some Must Watch, She Faded Into Air, Cheese

Wodehouse, PG - Carry on Jeeves, The Mating Season

19th Century

Alcott, Lousia M - Little Women and Good Wives, about half of Little Men.

Austen, Jane - complete novels, including fragments and juvenilia, Sanditon completed by someone else and 2 lots of Pride and Pejudice from Darcy's angle (20th/21st C, of course and not really JA).

Braddon, Mary Elizabeth - Lady Audley's Secret, Aurora Floyd, The Doctor's Wife, Three Times Dead, The Captain of the Vulture, John Marchmont's Legacy, Henry Dunbar, Birds of Prey, Charlotte's Inheritance, Run To Earth, Fenton's Quest, Ralph the Bailiff and other tales, Milly Darrell, Flower and Weed and other tales, The Lovels of Arden, The Cloven Foot

Brontë, Anne - Agnes Grey, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall plus some poems

Brontë, Charlotte - Jane Eyre, Shirley, Villette, The Professor

Brontë, Emily - Wuthering Heights plus some poems

Burney, Frances - The Wanderer (see also 18th Century list)

Collins, Wilkie - Almost all fiction in print (except Iolani, which I haven't got to yet): Armadale, Basil, The Biter Bit & Other Stories, The Black Robe, Blind Love, The Dead Secret, The Evil Genius, The Fallen Leaves, The Frozen Deep, The Guilty River, The Haunted Hotel, Heart and Science, Hide and Seek, I Say No, Jezebel's Daughter, The Law and the Lady, The Legacy of Cain, Man and Wife, Miss or Mrs, The Moonstone, Mr Wray's Cashbox, My Lady's Money, The New Magdalen, No Name, Poor Miss Finch, A Rogues Life, The Two Destinies, The Woman in White, The Yellow Mask & Other Stories

Conan-Doyle, Sir Arthur - complete Sherlock Holmes works

Coolidge, Susan - What Katy Did

Dickens, Charles - Great Expectations, Bleak House, Hard Times, Domeby & Son, Martin Chuzzlewit, A Christmas Carol

Elliot, George - Middlemarch

Flaubert, Gustave - Madame Bovary

Gaskell, Elizabeth - Mary Barton, Ruth, My Lady Ludlow, Cranford, North and South, Wives and Daughters, Cousin Philis, The Moorland Cottage and Other Stories, Sylvia's Lovers

Gissing, George - The Odd Women

Haggard, Henry Rider - King Solomon's Mines

Hardy, Thomas - Tess of the Durbervilles, Under the Greenwood Tree

Howells, WD - The Rise of Silas Lapham

James, Henry - The Turn of the Screw, The Aspern Papers, The Bostonians, The Portrait of a Lady

La Fanu, Sheridan - Uncle Silas

Mitford, Mary Russell - Our Village

Oliphant, Margaret - Hester, The Executor, The Rector, The Doctor's Family, Salem Chapel

Perkins Gilman, Charlotte - The Yellow Wallpaper

Poe, Edgar Allen - a few tales

Trollope, Anthony - The Warden, Barchester Towers, Dr Thorne, Framley Parsonage, The Small House at Allington, The Last Chronicle of Barset, Can You Forgive Her?, Phineas Finn, The Eustace Diamonds, Phineas Redux, The Prime Minister, The Duke's Children, The Way We Live Now 

Verne, Jules - Journey to the Centre of the Earth

Wells, H G - The Time Machine

Wilde, Oscar - The Picture of Dorian Gray, The Importance of Being Ernest, Lady Windermere's Fan, An Ideal Husband, A Woman of No Importance, Salome (which I did NOT like!), Lord Arthur Saville's Crime and Other Stories, The Happy Prince and Other Tales, The Portrait of Mr WH

Wood, Ellen - East Lynne, A Life's Secret, Danesbury House, The Foggy Night at Offord

Zola, Emile - The Ladies' Paradise

18th Century

Burney, Frances - Evelina, Cecilia, Camilla (see also 19th Century list)

Defoe, Daniel - Robinson Crusoe

Edgeworth, Maria - Castle Rackrent, The Absentee

Fielding, Henry - Tom Jones, Joseph Andrews, Shamela

Fielding, Sarah - David Simple

Godwin, William - Caleb Williams

Goldsmith, Oliver - The Vicar of Wakefield

Hays, Mary - Memoirs of Emma Courtney

Haywood, Eliza - The History of Miss Betsy Thoughtless

Inchbald, Elizabeth - A Simple Story

Lennox, Charlotte - The Female Quixote

Radcliffe, Ann - Romance of the Forest, Mysteries of Udolpho, The Italian

Richardson, Samuel - Pamela, Clarissa

Sheridan, Richard Brinsley - The Rivals, St Patricks Day, The Duenna, A Trip to Scarborough, The School for Scandal

Swift, Jonathan - Gulliver's Travels

Pre-18th Century

Jonson, Ben - The Alchemist

Shakespeare, William (perhaps.... and perhaps not....who really wrote those plays, I wonder...) - Romeo and Juliet, Midsummer Night's Dream, Measure for Measure.

The Anglo-Saxon World Oxford World's Classics anthology

The Canterbury Tales (Oxford Selection in modern English) 

Benn, Aphra - The Fair Jilt, Oroonoko

From here onwards, the list is not at all likely to be complete as I only started this section spring 2010.

Travel Autobiography

Le Vey, David - A Tour of Mont Blanc

Marsh, Janine -  My Good Life in France

Mayle, Peter - A Year in Provence 

Stewart, Chris - Driving Over Lemons  A Parrot in the Pepper Tree, The Almond Blossom Appreciation Society, Last Days of The Bus Club, Three Ways to Capsize a Boat

History and area studies (esp. China etc)

Bailey, JP  - China in the Twentieth Century

Chang, Gordon - The Coming Collapse of China

(Gray, Jack - Rebellions and Revolutions - part read)

Hibbert, Christopher - Queen Victoria: A Personal History, The Dragon Awakes: China 1793-1911

Jenner, W J F - The Tyranny of History

Knowlson, T Sharper - The Origins of Popular Superstitions and Customs

Lee, Christopher - This Sceptered Isle Vol 1

Starkey, David - Elizabeth I: Apprenticeship

Studwell, Joe - The China Dream, part reaf)
Wilkinson, Kenneth - Teach Yourself - Chinese Language, Life and Culture

Zang Xiaowei et al - Understanding Chinese Society


Aitchinson, Jean - Teach Yourself Linguistics

Baker, Mona - In Other Words (most of)

Bodmer, Frederick - The Loom of Language

Chen, Ping - Modern Chinese, History and Sociolinguistics

DeFrancis, John - The Chinese Language, Fact & Fantasy

Doyle, Terry & Meara, Paul - BBC Lingo, How to Learn a Language

Farber, Barry - Learn Any Language

Graddol, Cheshire & Swann - Describing Language (part)

Klain, Wolfgang - Second Language Acquisition

Lewis, Marilyn - Learning Foreign Languages

Lonsdale, Chris - The Third Ear 

Milnroy, James & Milnroy, Lesley - Authority in Language

Open University U210 Course Team - English: History, Diversity and Change, Using English: From Conversation to Canon, Learning English: Development and Diversity, Redesigning English

Ramsey, S Robert - The Languages of China

Shekhtman, Boris - How to Improve Your Foreign Language Immediately

Self Development

Buzan, Tony - Use Your Head, The Power of Creative Intelligence

Buzan, Tony & Keene, Raymond - The Age Heresy

Carnegie, Dale - How to Win Friends and Influence People

Christian, William - Your Own Worst Enemy - Overcoming the Habits of Adult Underachievement

Cornell, Ann Weiser - The Power of Focusing

De Bono, Edward - Thinking Course  

Domar, Alica D - Be Happy Without Being Perfect (which I could relate to very little of, therefore I am NOT a perfectionist - YAY!)

Gendlin, Eugene - Focusing

Jacobsen, Mary-Elaine - The Gifted Adult

Kondo, Marie - The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying, Spark Joy

Quackenbush, Thomas - Relearning to See

Robinson, Ken - The Element - How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything  (I can't say it did though...)

Sher, Barbara - Refuse to Choose


Bowden - Science versus Evolution

Open University S103 Discovering Science books: 1 Water for Life, 2 A Temperate Earth, 3 The Earth and it's Place in the Universe, 4 Unity Within Diversity, 5 Energy


Edwards, Betty - Color

Stevens, Helen M - Embroidered Flowers, The Embroiderer's Year, Embroidered Butterflies