At the start of the year, one of my resolutions was to read more books and buy lesser. I have so far been able to remedy this. Unfortunately, I still can’t keep myself from buying more books, hence, they keep piling up on my bookshelves. It didn’t help that I found myself lately in malls with increasing frequency. Each trip to the mall earned me an excuse to indulge in bookstores. And almost always, I end up purchasing books. Really, the impulsive buyer in me is just out of control! But books just provide me with a profound happiness that I cannot find anywhere else.
Here is my book haul for the third quarter of the year. It is a mixture of young adult and literary fiction.
Title: Cry, The Beloved Country
Author: Alan Paton
Publishing Date: 2003
No. of Pages: 312
Synopsis: “An immediate worldwide bestseller when it was published in 1948, Ala Paton’s impassioned novel about a black man’s country under white man’s law is a work of searing beauty. Cry, the Beloved Country is the deeply moving story of the Zulu pastor Stephen Kumalo and his son Absalom, set against the background of a land and a people riven by racial injustice. Remarkable for its lyricism, unforgettable for character and incident, Cry, the Beloved Country is a classic work of love and hope, courage and endurance, born of the dignity of man.”
Title: The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry
Author: Rachel Joyce
Publishing Date: 2012
No. of Pages: 296
Synopsis: “When Harold Fry leaves home one morning to post a letter, with his wife hoovering upstairs, he has no idea that he is about to walk from one end of the country to the other.
He has no hiking boots or map, let alone a compass, waterproof or mobile phone.
All he knows is that he must keep walking.
To save someone else’s life.”
Title: It’s Kind of a Funny Story
Author: Ned Vizzini
Publishing Date: 2015
No. of Pages: 444
Synopsis: “Ambitious New York City teenager Craig Gilner is determined to succeed at life – which means getting into the right high school to get into the right college to get the right job. But once Craig aces his way into Manhattan’s Executive Pre-Professional High School, the pressure becomes unbearable. He stops eating and sleeping until, one night, he nearly kills himself.
Craig’s suicidal episode gets him checked into a mental hospital where his new neighbors include a transsexual sex addict, a girl who has scarred her own face with scissors, and the self-elected President Armelio. There, Craig is finally able to confront the sources of his anxiety.
Author: Min Jin Lee
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publishing Date: 2017
No. of Pages: 484
Synopsis: “History is seldom kind. In Min Jin Lee’s bestselling, magisterial epic, four generations of a poor, proud immigrant family fight to control their destinies, exiled from a homeland they never knew.
In the early 1900s, teenaged Sunja, the adored daughter of a crippled fisherman falls for a wealthy stranger at the seashore near her home in Korea. He promises her the world, but when she discovers she is pregnant – and that her lover is married – she refuses to be bought. Instead, she accepts an offer of marriage from a gentle, sickly minister passing through on his way to Japan. But her decision to abandon her home and to reject her son’s powerful father sets off a dramatic saga that will echo down through the generations.”
Title: Crazy Rich Asians
Author: Kevin Kwan
Publisher: Anchor Books
Publishing Date: May 2014
No. of Pages: 527
Synopsis: “When New Yorker Rachel Chu agrees to spend the summer in Singapore with her boyfriend, Nicholas Young, she envisions a humble family home and quality time with the man she hopes to marry. But Nick has failed to give his girlfriend a few key details. One, that his childhood home looks like a palace; two, that he grew up riding in more private planes than cars; and three, that he just happens to be the country’s most eligible bachelor.
On Nick’s arm, Rachel may as well have a target on her back the second she steps off the plane, and soon her relaxed vacation turns into an obstacle course of old money, new money, nosy relatives, and scheming social climbers.
Title: A Spot of a Brother
Author: Mark Haddon
Publishing Date: 2007
No. of Pages: 503
Synopsis: “At fifty-seven, George is settling down to a comfortable retirement, building a shed in his garden, reading historical novels, listening to a bit of light jazz. Then Katie, his unpredictable daughter, announces that she is getting remarried, to Ray. Her family is not pleased – as her brother Jamie observes, Ray has ‘stranger hands’. Katie can’t decide if she loves Ray, or loves the way he cares for her son Jacob, and her mother Jean is a bit put out by the way the wedding planning gets in the way of her affair with one of her husband’s former colleagues. And the tidy and pleasant life Jamie has created crumbles when he fails to invite his lover, Tonie, to the dreaded nuptials.
Unnoticed in the uproar, George discovers a sinister lesion on his hip, and quietly begins to lose his mind.”
Title: Angela’s Ashes
Author: Frank McCourt
Publishing Date: 1996
No. of Pages: 363
Synopsis: “So begins the luminous memoir of Frank McCourt, born in Depression-era Brooklyn to recent Irish immigrants and raised in the slums of Limerick, Ireland. Frank’s mother, Angela has no money to feed the children since Frank’s father, Malachy, rarely works, and when he does he drinks his wages. Yet Malachy – exasperating, irresponsible and beguiling – does nurture in Frank an appetite for one thing he can provide: a story. Frank lives for his father’s tales of Cuchulain, who saved Ireland, and of the Angel on the Seventh Step, who brings his mother babies.
Perhaps it is story that accounts for Frank’s survival. Wearing rags for diapers, begging a pig’s head for Christmas dinner and gathering coal from the roadside to light a fire, Frank endures poverty, near-starvation and the casual cruelty of relatives and neighbors – yet lives to tell his tale with eloquence, exuberance and remarkable forgiveness.”
Title: The Little Friend
Author: Donna Tartt
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf
Publishing Date: 2002
No. of Pages: 555
Synopsis: “In a small Mississippi town, Harriet Cleve Dufresnes grows up in the shadow of her brother, who – when she was only a baby – was found hanging dead from a black-tupelo tree in their yard. His killer was never identified, nor has his family, in the years since, recovered from the tragedy.
For Harriet, who has grown up largely unsupervised, in a world of her own imagination, her brother is a link to a glorious past she has only heard stories about or glimpsed in photograph albums. Fiercely determined, precocious far beyond her twelve years, and steeped in the adventurous literature of Stevenson, Kipling, and Conan Doyle, she resolves, one summer, to solve the murder and exact her revenge. Harriet’s sole ally in this quest, her friend Hely is devoted to her, but what they soon encounter has nothing to do with child’s play: it is dark, adult, and all too menacing.
“Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book.” ~ John Green, The Fault in our Stars