In the ever ending tradition of monthly bookstore pilgrimage, here I am yet again with a hefty book haul. I guess I called it already in November – no month is complete without any book purchases. With the holiday spirit hanging in the air, purchasing just one more book (yes, always just one more book) has become my mantra. LOL. Anyway, here are my holiday purchases.

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Title: Slow Homecoming
Author: Peter Handke
Publisher: New York Review Books
Publishing Date: 2019
No. of Pages: 278

Synopsis: “Provocative, romantic, and restlessly exploratory, Peter Handke is one of the great writers of our time. Slow Homecoming, originally published in the late 1970s, is central to his achievement and to the powerful influence he has exercised on other writers, chief among them W.G. Sebald. A novel of self-questioning and self-discovery, Slow Homecoming is a singular odyssey, an escape from the distractions of the modern world and the unhappy consciousness, a voyage that is fraught and fearful but ultimately restorative, ending on an unexpected note of joy.

The book begins in America. Writing with the jarring intensity of his early work, Handke introduces Valentin Sorger, a troubled geologist who has gone to Alaska to lose himself in his work, but now feels drawn back home: on his way to Europe he moves in ominous disorientation through the great cities of America. The second part of the book, “The Lesson of Mont Sainte-Victoire,” identifies Sorger as a projection of the author who now writes directly about his own struggle to reconstitute himself and his art by undertaking a pilgrimage to the great mountain that Cezanne painted again and again. Finally, “Child Story” is a beautifully observed, deeply moving account of a new father – not so much Sorger or the author as a kind of Everyman – and his love for his growing daughter.”

47864242Title: Girl, Woman, Other
Author: Bernardine Evaristo
Publisher: Black Cat
Publishing Date: 2019
No. of Pages: 452

Synopsis: “Bernardine Evaristo is the winner of the 2019 Man Booker Prize and the first black woman to receive this highest literary honor in the English language. Gone, Woman, Other is a magnificent portrayal of the intersections of identity and a moving and hopeful story of a group of black British women. Suffused with empathy and vibrant humor, Girl, Woman, Other is populated with unforgettable characters, from a lesbian playwright to a jaded schoolteacher to a nonbinary social media influencer. Sparklingly witty, centering voices we often see othered, and written in an innovative fast-moving form, this is a polyphonic social novel by a masterful British writer who has finally been lauded at the level she has long deserved.”


Title: Human Acts
Author: Han Kang
Publisher: Portobello Books
Publishing Date: 2016
No. of Pages: 224

Synopsis: “In the midst of a violent student uprising in South Korea, a young boy named Dong-ho is shockingly killed.

The story of this tragic episode unfolds in a sequence of interconnected chapters as the victims and the bereaved encounter suppression, denial, and the echoing agony of the massacre. From Dong-ho’s best friend who meets his own fateful end; to an editor struggling against censorship; to a prisoner and a factory worker, each suffering from traumatic memories; and to Dong-ho’s own grief-stricken mother; and through their collective heartbreak and acts of hope is the tale of a brutalized people in search of a voice.

An award-winning, controversial bestseller, Human Acts is a timeless, pointillist portrait of an historic event with reverberations still being felt today, by turns tracing the harsh reality of oppression and the resounding, extraordinary poetry of humanity.{4404B604-8D59-47E3-BFD0-CD429235E995}Img400

Title: The Starless Sea
Author: Erin Morgenstern
Publisher: Double Day
Publishing Date: 2019
No. of Pages: 494

Synopsis: “Far beneath the surface of the earth, upon the shores of the Starless Sea, there is a labyrinthine collection of tunnels and rooms filled with stories. Zachary Ezra Rawlins is searching for this place, though he does not know it. When he discovers a mysterious book in the stacks of his campus library, he begins to read and is entranced by the tales of lovelorn prisoners, lost cities, and nameless acolytes.

A bee, a key, and a sword emblazoned on the book lead Zachary to two people who will change the course of his life: Mirabel, a fierce, pink-haired painter, and Dorian, a handsome, barefoot man with shifting alliances. These strangers guide Zachary through a door conjured from paint to the place he has always yearned for.

Amid twisting tunnels filled with books, gilded ballrooms, and wine-dark shores, Zachary falls into an intoxicating world soaked in romance and mystery. But a battle is raging over the fate of this place, and though there are those who would willingly sacrifice everything to protect it, there are just as many intent on its destruction. As Zachary, Mirabel, and Dorian venture deeper into the space and its histories and myths, searching for answers and one another, a timeless love story unspools, casting a spell of pirates, painters, lovers, liars, and ships that sail upon a Starless Sea.

51SXN17hetL._SX321_BO1,204,203,200_Title: An Orchestra of Minorities
Author: Chigozie Obioma
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publishing Date: 2019
No. of Pages: 443

Synopsis: “On the outskirts of Umuahia, Nigera, a young poultry farmer named Chinonso sees a woman about to jump from a highway bridge. Horrified by her recklessness, Chinonso joins her on the roadside and hurls two of his prized chickens into the water below to demonstrate the severity of such a fall. The woman, Ndali, is stopped in her tracks.

Bonded by this night on the bridge, Chinonso and Ndali fall in love and begin to imagine a life together. When Ndali’s wealthy family objects to the union because Chinonso is uneducated, he sells most of his possessions to attend a college in Cyprus. But when he arrives, he discovers that there is no place at the school for him: he has been utterly duped by the young Nigerian who made the arrangements. Penniless, homeless, and furious at a world that continues to relegate him to the sidelines, Chinonso gets further away from his dream, from Ndali, and from the farm he called home.”

Apart from these five books I have purchased during the month, I also received two books as gifts, it being the season of generosity and gift giving. Though to be honest, these books were given to me as part of a Kris Kringle. Nonetheless, a gift is a gift. 🙂 To those who bough these books for me, I am always grateful to you.


Title: The Dutch House
Author: Ann Patchett
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publishing Date: 2019
No. of Pages: 337

Synopsis: “At the end of the Second World War, Cyril Conroy combines luck and a single canny investment to build an immense real estate empire, propelling his family from poverty to enormous wealth. His first order of business is to buy the Dutch House,a lavish estate in the suburbs of Philadelphia. Meant as a surprise for his wife, the house sets in motion the undoing of everyone he loves.

The story is told by Cyril’s son, Danny, as he and his older sister, the brilliantly acerbic and self-assured Maeve, are exiled by their stepmother from the house where they grew up. The two wealthy siblings are thrown back into the poverty their parents had escaped from and find that all they have to count on is each other. It is this unshakable bond that both saves their lives and thwarts their futures.

Set over the course of five decades, The Dutch House is a dark fairy tale about two smart people who cannot overcome their past. Despite every outward sign of success, Danny and Maeve are only truly comfortable when they’re together. Throughout their lives they return to the well-worn narrative of what they’ve lost with humor and rage. But when at last they’re forced to confront the people who left them behind, the relationship between an indulged brother and his ever-protective sister is finally tested.”


Title: 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World
Author: Elif Shafak
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Publishing Date: 2019
No. of Pages: 308

Synopsis:  “In the pulsating moments after she has been murdered and left in a dumpster outside Istanbul, Tequila Leila enters a state of heightened awareness. Her heart has stopped beating but her brain is still active – for 10 minutes 38 seconds. While the Turkish sun rises and her friends sleep soundly nearby, she remembers her life – and the lives of other,s outcasts like her.

Tequila Leila’s memory bring us back to her childhood in the provinces, a highly oppressive milieu of religion and traditions, shaped by a polygamous family with two others and an increasingly authoritarian father. Escaping to Istabbul, Leila makes her way into the sordid industry of sex trafficking, finding a home in the city’s historic Street of Brothels. This is a dark, violent world, but Leila is tough and open to beauty, light, and the essential bonds of friendship.

In Tequila Leila’s death, the secrets and wonders of modern Istanbul come to life, painted vividly by the captivating tales of how Leila came to know and be love by her friends. As her epic journey to the afterlife comes to an end, it is her chosen family who brings her story to a buoyant and breathtaking conclusion.

And these seven books comprise my final book haul for 2019. Now that I go over it, all but two books were published in 2019, a rare feat on my part as I am mostly a backlist reader. How about you fellow reader, what books did you receive or did you buy in December? Do share in the comment box.

Happy reading!