At the start of the year, I made a reading resolution. At the top most of this list is the resolution to read more and buy less. I guess I was overestimating myself although I have already admitted at the start that it would be a moot mission as I began buying as much book as I could. In three months, I was able to buy more than twice than what I have read. Gee. Oh well, I have an innate understanding of myself I guess.
While I’m kicking myself for my voracious appetite for books, let me first share my golden haul for the first quarter of 2018. Although I bought some of these books fresh from the bookstore, most of them were bought from online sellers. Reading is helping me become a more sociable person. At least on the side of social media. This list doesn’t include my Big Bad Wolf PH book haul which you can check by clicking on the below links:
Due to the volume of books I have bought, I have cut this piece into two. Happy reading!
“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” ― Dr. Seuss, I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!
Title: An American Marriage
Author: Tayari Jones
Publisher: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
Publishing Date: 2018
No. of Pages: 308
Synopsis: “Newlyweds Celestial and Roy are the embodiment of both the American Dream and the New South. He is a young business executive and she is an artist on the brink of an exciting career. But as they settle into the routine of their life together, they are suddenly ripped apart by circumstances neither could have imagined when, while visiting Roy’s parent in their small Louisiana town, Roy is arrested and sentenced to twelve years in prison for a crime Celestial knows he didn’t commit.
Though fiercely independent, Celestial finds herself unmoored, taking comfort in Andre, her childhood friend and Roy’s best man at her wedding. As Roy’s time in prison passes, she is unable to hold on to the love that has been her center. When, after five years, Roy’s conviction is suddenly overturned and he returns to Atlanta ready to resume their life together; Celestial is faced with a soul-wrenching decision: whether to let go or to try to rebuild a marriage that has lost its underpinnings.”
For my review of Tayari Jones’ latest work, click here.
Title: Call Me By Your Name
Author: Andre Aciman
Publishing Date: 2018
No. of Pages: 248
Synopsis: “Call Me by Your Name is the story of a sudden and powerful romance that blossoms between an adolescent boy and a summer guest at his parents’ cliff-side mansion on the Italian Riviera. Unprepared for the consequences of their attraction, at first each feigns indifference. But during the restless summer weeks that follow, unrelenting buried currents of obsession and fear, fascination and desire, intensify their passion as they test the charged ground between them. What grows from the depths of their spirits is a romance of scarcely six weeks’ duration and an experience that marks them for a lifetime. For what the two discover on the Riviera and during a sultry evening in Rome is the one thing both already fear they may never truly find again: total intimacy.” (Source: Goodreads)
Title: If On A Winter’s Night A Traveler
Author: Italo Calvino
Translator: William Weaver
Publisher: Harcourt, Inc.
Publishing Date: 1981
No. of Pages: 260
Synopsis: “If on a winter’s night a traveler turns out to be not one novel but ten, each with a different plot, style, ambiance, and author, and each interrupted at a moment of suspense. Together they form a labyrinth of literatures, known and unknown, alive and extinct, through which two readers, a male and a female, pursue the story lines that intrigue them – and one another.”
Title: The Monk of Mokha
Author: Dave Eggers
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf
Publishing Date: 2018
No. of Pages: 323
Synopsis: “The Monk of Mokha is the exhilarating true story of a young Yemeni American man, raised in San Francisco, who dreams of resurrecting the ancient art of Yemeni coffee but finds himself trapped in Sana’a by civil war.
Mokhtar Alkhanshali is twenty-four and working as a doorman when he discovers the astonishing history of coffee and Yemen’s central place in it. He leaves San Franciso and travels deep into his ancestral homeland to tour terraced farms high in the country’s rugged mountains and meet beleaguered but determined farmers. But when war engulfs the country and Saudi bombs rain down, Mokhtar has to find a way out of Yemen without abandoning his people or sacrificing his most American of dreams.”
Title: The Double
Author: Jose Saramago
Translator: Margaret Jull Costa
Publisher: Hardcourt Inc.
Publishing Date: 2002
No. of Pages: 324
Synopsis: “Tertuliano Maximo Afonso is a history teacher in a secondary school. He is divorced, involved in a rather one-sided relationship with a bank clerk, and he is depressed. To lift his depression, a colleague suggests he rent a certain video. Tertuliano watches the film and is unimpressed. During the night, noises in his apartment wake him. He goes into the living room to find that the VCR is replaying the video, and as he watches in astonishment, he sees a man who looks exactly like him – or, more specifically, exactly like the man he was five years before, mustachioed and fuller in the face. He sleeps badly.
Against his own better judgment, Tertuliano decides to pursue his double. As he establishes the man’s identity, what begins as a whimsical story becomes a dark meditation on identity and, perhaps on the crass assumptions behind cloning – that we are merely our outward appearance rather than the sum of our experiences.”
Title: Gone With The Wind
Author: Margaret Mitchell
Publishing Date: May 2011
No. of Pages: 959
Synopsis: “Margaret Mitchell’s epic saga of love and war has long been heralded as The Great American Novel. Gone With the Wind explores the depths of human passions with indelible depictions of the burning fields and cities of Civil War and Reconstruction America. In the two main characters, the irresistible, tenacious Scarlett O’Hara and the formidable, debonair Rhett Butler, Margaret Mitchell gives us a timeless story of survival and two of the most famous lovers in the English-speaking world since Romeo and Juliet. Gone with the Wind is a thrilling, haunting, and vivid book that readers will remember for the rest of their lives.”
Author: Ian McEwan
Publisher: Jonathan Cape
Publishing Date: 2010
No. of Pages: 283
Synopsis: “Michael Beard is a Nobel Prize-winning physicist whose best work is behind him. Trading on his reputation, he speaks for enormous fees, lends his name to the letterheads of renowned scientific institutions and half-heartedly heads a government-backed initiative tackling global warming. A compulsive womanizer, Beard finds his fifth marriage floundering. But this time it is different: she is having the affair, and he is still in love with her.
When Beard’s professional and personal worlds collide in a freak accident, an opportunity presents itself for him to extricate himself from his marital mess, reinvigorate his career and save the world from environmental disaster.”
Title: Drop City
Author: T.C. Boyle
Publishing Date: 2003
No. of Pages: 444
Synopsis: “It is 1970, and a down-at-the-heels California commune devoted to peace, free love and the simple life has decided to relocate to the last frontier – the unforgiving landscape of interior Alaska – in the ultimate expression of going back to the land. The novel opposes two groups of characters: Sess Harder, his wife, Pamela, and other young Alaskans who are already successfully homesteading in the wilderness, and the brothers and sisters of ‘Drop City,” led by Norm Sender and three idealistic emigres from the east coast, Star, her boyfriend, Marco, and Ronnie. As these two communities collide. Unexpected friendships and dangerous enmities are born as everyone struggles with the bare essentials of life: love, nourishment and a roof over one’s head.”
Title: Enduring Love
Author: Ian McEwan
Publisher: Random House
Publishing Date: 1997
No. of Pages: 231
Synopsis: “This story begins on a windy spring day in the Chilterns when the calm, organized life of Joe Rose was shattered by a ballooning accident. The afternoon, Rose reflects, could have ended in mere tragedy, but for his brief meeting with Jed Parry. Unknown to Rose, something passes between them – something that gives birth in Parry to an obsession so powerful that it will test to the limits Rose’s beloved scientific rationalism, threaten the love of his wife Clarissa and drive him to take desperate measures to stay alive.”
Title: Palace Walk
Author: Naguib Mahfouz
Translators: William Maynard Hutchins and Olive E. Kenny
Publisher: Anchor Books
Publishing Date: January 1991
No. of Pages: 498
Synopsis: “Volume I of the masterful Cairo Trilogy. A national best-seller in both hardcover and paperback, it introduces the engrossing saga of a Muslim family in Cairo during Egypt’s occupation by British forces in the early 1900s.” (Source: Goodreads)
Title: The Blind Assassin
Author: Margaret Atwood
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing Plc
Publishing Date: 2000
No. of Pages: 521
Synopsis: “Laura Chase’s older sister Iris, married at eighteen to a politically prominent industrialist but now poor and eighty-two is living in Port Ticonderoga, a town dominated by their once-prosperous family before the First War. While coping with her unreliable body, Iris reflects on her far from exemplary life, in particular the events surrounding her sister’s tragic death. Chief among these was the publication of The Blind Assassin, a novel which earned the dead Laura Chase not only notoriety but also a devoted cult following: as Iris says, she herself lives ‘in the long shadow cast by Laura.’
Sexually explicit for its time, The Blind Assassin describes a risky affair in the turbulent thirties between a wealthy young woman and a man on the run. During their secret meetings in rented rooms, the lovers concoct a pulp fantasy set on Planet Zycron. As the invented story twists through love and sacrifice and betrayal, so does the real one’ while events in both move closer to war and catastrophe. By turns lyrical, outrageous, formidable, compelling and funny, this is a novel filled with deep humour and dark drama. It is Margaret Atwood at her breathtaking best.”
Title: Go Set a Watchman
Author: Harper Lee
Publisher: William Heinemann
Publishing Date: 2015
No. of Pages: 278
Synopsis: “Maycomb, Alabama. Twenty-six-year old Jean Louise Finch – ‘Scout’ – returns home from New York City to visit her ageing father, Atticus. Set against the backdrop of the civil rights tension and political turmoil that were transforming the South, Jean Louise’s homecoming turns bittersweet when she learns disturbing truths about her close-knit family, the town and the people dearest to her. Memories from her childhood flood back, and her values and assumptions are thrown into doubt.”
“Books are the plane, and the train, and the road. They are the destination, and the journey. They are home.” ― Anna Quindlen, How Reading Changed My Life
Do watch out for the second part of my 2018 First Quarter Book Haul!