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Time to unwrap these bags!

Last February 16, 2018, Big Bad Wolf finally opened its first Philippine sale at the World Trade Center. Being a bookworm myself, I was one of a few thousand who were itching to have pick the best books for their reading pleasure and for their collection. My excitement was on an all-time high and when it finally came to crunch time, I was able to haul some of the best titles. Here is the first part of my over-20 book haul. This is comprised of mostly regional literature. Some were written in English but most were originally written in a foreign language before being translated into English.

If you want to know how my Big Bad Wolf experience went, click here.

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Asian authors also have a strong presence in the world of literature.

Title: The Zenith
Author: Duong Thu Huong
Translator: Stephen B. Young and Hoa Pham Young
Publisher: Viking
Publishing Date: 2012
No. of Pages: 509
Synopsis: “In her new novel, The Zenith, Duong Tho Huong offers an intimate, imagined account of the final months in the life of President Ho Chi Ming at an isolated mountain compound where he is imprisoned both physically and emotionally. He is grieving over the fate of his country, and caught up in memories of his late wife, Miss Xuan, who was brutally murdered by his political enemies in 1958. He was never allowed to make his marriage to her public, and the lives of the two children she bore him now hang by a thread.

Duong Thu Huong juxtaposes the tales of three other figures with that of Ho’s. one is of a woodcutter named Quang, a village elder whose life is a symbolic parallel to the president’s; both men, late in life, had married beautiful young wives and were betrayed by those close to them, and both lived under a dark fate, almost of their own making. Also told are the stories of Vu, the president’s loyal friend and close political ally, who is the adoptive father of his son, and of Hoang An, the brother-in-law of Miss Xuan, who is seeking to avenger her murder as well as that of his own wife.”

Title: Journey Under the Midnight Sun
Author: Keigo Higashino
Translators: Alexander O. Smith with Joseph Reeder
Publisher: Little, Brown
Publishing Date: 2015
No. of Pages: 539
Synopsis: “A twenty-year-old murder.

A chain of unsolvable mysteries.

Can one detective solve this epic riddle?

When a man is found murdered in an abandoned building in Osaka in 1973, unflappable Detective Sasagaki is assigned to the case. He begins to piece together the connection of two young people who are inextricably linked to the crime: the dark, taciturn son of the victim and the unexpectedly captivating daughter of the main suspect. Over the next twenty years we follow their lives as Sasagaki pursues the case – which has remained unsolved – to the point of obsession.”

Title: Color of the Sea
Author: John Hamamura
Publisher: Anchor Books
Publishing Date: November 2007
No. of Pages: 321
Synopsis: “Raised in Japan and Hawaii, Sam Hamabda has been trained in the ways of the samurai. After graduation strikes out for California and falls in love for the first time with a beautiful young woman named Keiko. But then the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor, igniting the war and making Sam, Keiko, and their families enemies of the state.

Sam is drafted into the U.S. Army and sent on a secret mission, but his very identity both puts his life at risk and gives him the strength he needs to survive. Taking us from the lush Hawaiian Islands of the 1930s to the wartime world of madness in Hiroshima, Color of the Sea is the unforgettable story of one Japanese boy’s coming of age.”

Title: A True Novel
Author: Minae Mizumura
Translator: Juliet Winters Carpenter
Publisher: Other Press LLC
Publishing Date: 2013
No. of Pages: 854
Synopsis: A True Novel begins in New York in the 1960s, where we meet Taro, a relentlessly ambitious Japanese immigrant trying to make his fortune. Flashbacks and multilayered stories reveal his life: an impoverished upbringing as an orphan, his eventual rise to wealth and success – despite racial and class prejudice – and an obsession with a girl from an affluent family that has haunted him all his life. A True Novel then widens into an examination of Japan’s westernization and the emergence of a middle class.”

Title: War Trash
Author: Ha Jin
Publisher: Vintage International
Publishing Date: May 2015
No. of Pages: 350
Synopsis: “Ha Jin’s masterful new novel casts a searchlight into a forgotten corner of modern history, the experience of Chinese soldiers held in U.S. POW camps during the Korean War. In 1951 Yu Yuan, a scholarly and self-effacing clerical officer in Mao’s “volunteer” army, is taken prisoner south of the Thirty-eighth Parallel. Because he speaks English, he soon becomes an intermediary between his compatriots and their American captors.

With Yuan as guide, we are ushered into the secret world behind the barbed wire, a world in which kindness alternates with blinding cruelty and one has infinitely more to fear from one’s fellow prisoners than from the guards. Vivid in its historical detail, profound in its imaginative empathy, war Trash is Ha Jin’s most ambitions book to date.”

Title: Someone Else’s Garden
Author: Dipika Rai
Publisher: Harper Press
Publishing Date: 2011
No. of Pages: 374
Synopsis: “Will she recall that night? Or is it one of those too horrible times that her brain, taking pity on her soul, will choose to wipe out the memory? When she realizes what happened, she will recall it as the night she did her duty for her family, with no sense of shame or lingering fear. She will be matter-of-fact about it, resigned and, therefore, resilient.

Mamta, born low-caste and female in rural India against a backdrop of poverty and prejudice, is destined to be some man’s property. Her father says that bringing her up is only “tending someone else’s garden” until a husband is found for her. Eventually saved from becoming one of the nameless and faceless millions of rejected humanity, Mamta survives but at a terrible cost.

Lyrically told, this powerful story of a woman’ struggle to find acceptance compels us to question: Is life random? Or do we have a destiny?”

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African literature is on the rise!

Title: The Automobile Club of Egypt
Author: Alaa Al Aswany
Translator: Russell Harris
Publisher: Canongate
Publishing Date: 2015
No. of Pages: 475
Synopsis: “Inside the walls of the Automobile Club of Egypt two very different worlds collide – Cairo’s European elite and the Egyptian staff who wait on them.

The servants, a squabbling, humorous and lively group, live in a perpetual state of fear under the tyrannical rule of Alku. When Abd el-Aziz Gaafar becomes the target of Alku’s cruelty and his pride gets the better of him, a devastating act sends ripples through his family. Soon, the Gaafars are drawn into the turbulent politics of the club – public and private – and both servants and masters are subsumed by Egypt’s social upheaval.

Egyptians both inside and outside the Automobile Club will face a stark choice: to live safely but without dignity, or to fight for their rights and risk everything.

Title: We Need New Names
Author: NoViolet Bulawayo
Publisher: Reagan Arthur Books
Publishing Date: May 2013
No. of Pages: 292
Synopsis: “Ten-year-old Darling and her friends navigate their shantytown in Zimbabwe with the exuberance and mischievous sprit of children everywhere. Whether they’re stealing guavas from rich neighborhoods nearby or memorizing a snippet of pop culture gleaned from a rare glimpse at television, life is a game. But they are shadowed by memories of Before. Before their homes were destroyed by paramilitary policemen, before the schools closed, before their fathers left for dangerous jobs abroad.

Darling is given an escape: She has an aunt in America. Determined to take advantage of America’s famous abundance but far from the insulation and comforts of her community in Zimbabwe, Darling must reckon with the sacrifices and mixed rewards of assimilating to her new home.

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European literature is timeless.

Title: The Tin Drum
Author: Gunter Grass
Translator: Ralph Manheim
Publisher: Vintage Classics
Publishing Date: 2004
No. of Pages: 565
Synopsis: “On his third birthday Oskar decides to stop growing. Haunted by the deaths of his parents and wielding his tin drum Oskar recounts the events of his extraordinary life; from the long nightmare of the Nazi era to his anarchic adventures in post-war Germany.”

Title: Raised from the Ground
Author: Jose Saramago
Translator: Margaret Jull Costa
Publisher: Vintage
Publishing Date: 2013
No. of Pages: 387
Synopsis: “This early work is deeply personal and Jose Saramago’s most autobiographical, following the changing fortunes of the Mau-Tempo family – poor, landless peasants not unlike the author’s own grandparents. Saramago charts the family’s lives in Alentejo, southern Portugal, as national and international events rumble on in the background – the coming of the republic in Portugal, the First and Second World Wars and an attempt on the dictator Salazar’s life. Yet nothing really impinges on the farm labourer’s lives until the first strings of communism.

Title: The Complete Fairy tales
Author: Hans Christian Andersen
Publisher: Wordsworth Editions
Publishing Date: 2009
No. of Pages: 1183

Do watch out for the second batch of my Big Bad Wolf PH sale book haul! To those who have been to the sale, share in the comment box books that you were also able to purchase.

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