It’s been a rainy past couple of days here in the Philippines. Books are just the perfect company in this bleak atmosphere. Buying new books, however, can be a challenge. In this time of uncertainty, it is a blessing to have online and delivery services which enables us to shop for the things we need sans the need to go out of the comfort and safety of our homes. It is through online bookshops that I managed to purchase a couple of books. The quarantine might be restricting my physical movements but it hasn’t stymied my passion to read more books.
In July, I was able to purchase around fourteen books (I think) but eight are still in transit so I guess these four books will only be posted in August, or when I receive them. For now, I’ll be featuring the books that have been delivered to me this July. Happy reading everyone and always keep safe!
Title: The Glass Hotel
Author: Emily St. John Mandel
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf
Publishing Date: 2020
No. of Pages: 301
Synopsis: “Vincent is a bartender at the Hotel Caitte, a five-star hotel on the northernmost tip of Vancouver Island. On the night she meets Jonathan Alkaitis, a hooded figure scrawls a message on the lobby’s glass wall: Why don’t you swallow broken glass. Leon Prevant, a shipping executive for Neptune-Avramidis, reads the words and orders a drink to calm down. Alkaitis, the owner of the hotel and a wealthy investment manager, arrives too late to read the thread, never knowing it was intended for him. He leaves Vincent a hundred-dollar tip along with his business card, and a year later they are living together as husband and wife.
High above Manhattan, a greater crime is committed: Alkaitis is running an international Ponzi scheme, moving imaginary sums of money through clients’ accounts. He holds the life savings of an artist named Olivia Collins, the fortunes of a Saudi prince and his extended family, and countless retirement funds, including Leon Prevant’s. The collapse of the financial empire is as swift as it is devastating, obliterating fortunes and lives, while Vincent walks away into the night. Until, years later, she steps aboard a Neptune-Avramidis vessel, the Neptune Cumberland, and disappears from the ship between ports of call.
In this captivating story of crisis and survival, Emily St. John Mandel takes readers through often hidden landscapes: campgrounds for the near-homeless, underground electronica clubs, the business of international shipping, service in luxury hotels, and life in a federal prison. Rife with unexpected beauty, The Glass Hotel is a captivating portrait of greed and guilt, love and delusion, ghosts and unintended consequences, and the infinite ways we search for meaning in our lives. ”
Title: Watership Down
Author: Richard Adams
Publisher: Perennial Classics
Publishing Date: 2001
No. of Pages: 476
Synopsis: “First published in 1972, Richard Adams’s extraordinary bestseller Watership Down takes us to a world we have never truly seen: to the remarkable life that teems in the fields, forests, and riverbanks, far beyond our cities and towns. It is a powerful saga of courage, leadership, and survival; an epic tale of a hardy band of Berkshire rabbits forced to flee the destruction of their fragile community and their trials and triumphs in the face of extraordinary adversity as they pursue a glorious dream called “home.””
Title: Talking to Ourselves
Author: Andrés Neuman
Translator(s): Nick Caistor, Lorenza Garcia
Publisher: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux
Publishing Date: 2015
No. of Pages: 148
Synopsis: “Lito is ten years old and is almost sure he can change the weather when he concentrates very hard. His father, Mario is gravely ill and eager to create a memory that will last for his son’s lifetime. They embark on a road trip in a truck called Pedro, but Mario cannot bring himself to reveal that this journey may be their last together. While father and son travel through strange geographies that seem to meld the different parts of the Spanish-speaking world, Lito’s mother, Elena restlessly seeks support in books, and soon undertakes a morally ambiguous adventure of her own.
Each narrative – of father, son and mother – embodies one of the ways that we talk to ourselves: through speech, thought and writing. While no on e in the family dares to tell the complete truth to the other two, the combination of their strikingly different voices evokes an affecting portrait of loss. With bittersweet humor and a wide-ranging intellect, Andrés Neuman uses these three textured monologues to describe the ways a family can be transformed, and how reading, sex, driving, and silence can become powerful modes of resistance. A tender yet unsentimental portrait of love, despair, and devotion, Talking to Ourselves is a profound reflection on grief and consolation of language. “
Title: Ghachar Ghochar
Author: Vivek Shanbhag
Translator: Srinath Perur
Publisher: Penguin Books
Publishing Date: 2017
No. of Pages: 118
Synopsis: “A young man’s close-knit family is nearly destitute when his uncle founds a successful spice company, changing their fortunes almost overnight. As the narrator – a sensitive, passive man who is never named – his mother, father, sister, and uncle move from a cramped, ant-infested shack to a large new house on the other side of Bangalore, the family dynamic starts to shift. Allegiances realign, marriages are arranged and begin to falter, and conflict brews ominously in the background. Before he knows it, things are “ghachar ghochar” – a nonsense phrase meaning something tangled beyond repair, a knot that can’t be untied.
Elegantly written and punctuated by moments of unexpected warmth and humor, Ghachar Ghochar is a quietly enthralling, deeply unsettling novel about the shifting meanings – and consequences – of financial gain in contemporary India.”