Let us start this list with a wonderful quote:
“You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, who had ever been alive.” ~ James Baldwin
Without more ado, here are the books I hauled (purchased) in September. Happy reading!
Title: Perfume: The Story of a Murderer
Author: Patrick Suskind
Translator: John E. Woods
Publisher: Vintage International
Publishing Date: February 2001
No. of Pages: 255
Synopsis: “In the slums of 18th-century Paris a baby is born, Jean-Baptiste Grenouille clings to life with an iron will, growing into a dark and sinister young man who, although he has no scent of his own, possesses an incomparable sense of smell. He apprentices himself to a perfumer and quickly masters the ancient art of mixing flowers, herbs, and oils. But his quest to create the “ultimate perfume” leads him to commit a series of brutal murders until no woman can feel safe as his final horrifying secret is revealed.”
Title: The Elegance of the Hedgehog
Author: Muriel Barbery
Translator: Alison Anderson
Publisher: Gallic Books
Publishing Date: 2008
No. of Pages: 320
Synopsis: “Renee is the concierge of a grand Parisian apartment building on the Left Bank. To the residents she is honest, reliable and uncultivated – an ideal concierge. But Renee has a secret Beneath this conventional façade she is passionate about culture and the arts, and more knowledgeable in many ways than her self-important employers.
Down in her lodge, Renee is resigned to living a lie; meanwhile, several floors up, twelve-year old Paloma Josse is determined to avoid a predictably bourgeois future, and plans to commit suicide on her thirteenth birthday.
But the death of one of their privileged neighbours will bring dramatic change to number 7, Rue de Grenelle, altering the course of both their lives forever.”
Title: H Is for Hawk
Author: Helen Macdonald
Publisher: Grove Press
Publishing Date: 2014
No. of Pages: 279
Synopsis: “The instant New York Times bestseller and award-winning sensation, Helen Macdonald’s story of adopting and raising one of nature’s most vicious predators has soared into the hearts of millions of readers worldwide. Fierce and feral, her goshawk Mabel’s temperament mirrors Helen’s own state of grief after her father’s death, and together raptor and human “discover the pain and beauty of being alive” (People). H Is for Hawk is a genre-defying debut from a unique and transcendent new voice in literature.”
These last two were my main (well, only) purchases from the recently concluded Manila International Book Fair. Actually, they were the only reasons why I even participated in this year’s event.
Author: Salman Rushdie
Publisher: Random House
Publishing Date: 2019
No. of Pages: 390
Synopsis: “Inspired by the Cervantes classic, Sam DuChamp, mediocre writer of spy thrillers, creates Quichotte, a courtly, addled salesman obsessed with television who falls in impossible love with a TV star. Together with his (imaginary) son, Sancho, Quichotte sets off on a picaresque quest across America to prove worthy of her hand, gallantly braving the tragicomic perils of an age where “Anything-Can-Happen.” Meanwhile, his creator, in a midlife crisis, has equally urgent challenges of his own.
Just as Cervantes wrote Don Quixote to satirize the culture of his time, Salman Rushdie takes the reader on a wild ride through a country on the verge f moral and spiritual collapse. And with the kid of storytelling magic that is the hallmark of Rushdie’s work, the fully realized lives of DuChamp and Quichotte intertwine in a profoundly human quest for love and a wickedly entertaining portrait of an age in which fact is so often indiscernible from fiction.”
Title: The Testaments
Author: Margaret Atwood
Publisher: Nan A. Talese Double Day
Publishing Date: September 2019
No. of Pages: 415
Synopsis: “Fifteen years after the events of The Handmaid’s Tale, the theocratic regime of the Republic of Gilead maintains its grip on power, but there are signs it is beginning to rot from within.
At this crucial moment, the lives of three radically different women converge, with potentially explosive results. Two have grown up on opposite sides of the border: one in Gilead as the privileged daughter of an important Commander, and one in Canada, where she marches in anti-Gilead protests and watches news of its horrors on TV. The testimonies of these two young women, part of the first generation to come of age in the new order, are braided with a third voice: that of one of the regime’s enforcers, a woman who wields power through the ruthless accumulation and deployment of secrets. Long-buried secrets are finally bringing these three together, forcing each of them to come to terms with who she is and how far she will go for what she believes. As Atwood unfolds the stories of the women of The Testaments, she opens up our view of the innermost workings of Gilead in a triumphant blend of riveting suspense, blazing wit, and virtuosic world-building.”
How about you fellow readers, what books were you able to haul in September? Share it in the comment box!