Hello, readers! Welcome to another #5OnMyTBR update. The rule is relatively simple. I just have to pick five books from my to-be-read pile that fit the week’s theme.
This week’s theme: Books Published Before 2000
This shouldn’t be much of a problem considering the fact that I am quite a backlist type of reader. I have several books on my (perpetually growing) to-be-read list that were published pre-2000. This is dominated by the must-read literary classics and five is too small a number to even provide a perspective on my reading list. Nevertheless, here are five books on my TBR pile. These are books I already have on my pile and are books written by writers whose works I have not read previously. To align with this month’s reading motif, these are all books written by female writers.
5OnMyTBR is a bookish meme hosted by E. @ Local Bee Hunter’s Nook where you chose five books from your to-be-read pile that fit that week’s theme. If you’d like more info, head over to the announcement post!
Author: Marilynne Robinson
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publishing Date: 2001, originally published in 1980
No. of Pages: 219
Synopsis: ’A modern classic that “brilliantly portrays the impermanence of all things, especially beauty and happiness” (Paul Gray, Time), Housekeeping is the story of Ruth and her younger sister, Lucille, who grow up haphazardly, first under the care of their competent grandmother, then of two comically bumbling great-aunts, and finally of Sylvie, the eccentric and remote sister of their dead mother. The family house is in the small town of Fingerbone on a glacial lake in the Far West, the same lake where their grandfather died in a spectacular train wreck and their mother drove off a cliff to her death. It is a town “chastened by an outsized landscape and extravagant weather, and chastened again by an awareness that the whole of human history had occurred elsewhere.” Ruth and Lucille’s struggle toward adulthood beautifully illuminates the price of loss and survival, and the dangerous and deep undertow of transience.
Title: Out of Africa (and Shadows on the Grass)
Author: Karen Blixen/Isak Dinesen
Publisher: Vintage International Publishing
Publishing Date: October 1989
No. of Pages: 462
Synopsis: “At the age of twenty-seven, Isak Dinesen (nee Karen Blixen) left Denmark and sailed for East Africa to marry her Swedish cousin, Baron Bror Blixen. Together they bought a four-thousand-acre coffee plantation in Kenya. From 1914 to 1931 she managed the plantation, even after she and her husband separated. Her account of those years Is transformed by the magic of her prose and her supreme gift as a storyteller into a vibrant re-creation of Africa, filled with her affection for and understanding of the land and its people.”
Title: The Mists of Avalon
Author: Marion Zimmer Bradley
Publisher: DelRey Books
Publishing Date: November 2000, originally published in December 1982
No. of Pages: 876
Synopsis: “In Marion Zimmer Bradley’s brilliant reworking of the powerful Arthurian epic, we see the tumult and adventures of Camelot’s court through the eyes of the women who bolstered the king’s rise and schemed for his fall. There is Morgaine, an intense woman gifted with the Sight, who has sworn to keep the old religion alive against the growing tide of Christianity that threatens her way of life – even if it means fighting a deadly battle against her beloved brother. And the devout Gwenhwyfar, married to Arthur out of a sense of duty, determined to bring Britain into the light of her God.
From their childhoods through the ultimate fulfillment of their destinies, we follow these women and the diverse cast of characters that surrounds them as the great Arthurian epic unfolds stunningly before us. As Morgaine and Gwenhwyfar struggle for control over the fate of Arthur’s kingdom, as the Knights of the Round Table take on their infamous quest, as Merlin and Viviane wield their magics for the future of Old Britain, the Isle of Avalon sips further into the impenetrable mists of memory, until the fissure between old and new worlds – and old and new religions – claims its most famous victim.”
Title: The Infernal Desire Machines of Doctor Hoffman
Author: Angela Carter
Publisher: Penguin Books
Publishing Date: 2011, originally published in 1972
No. of Pages: 271
Synopsis: “Desiderio, an employee of the city, which is under a bizarre reality attack from Doctor Hoffman’s mysterious machines, has fallen in love with Albertina, the Doctor’s daughter. But Albertina, a beautiful woman made of glass seems only to appear to him in his dreams. Meeting on his adventures a host of cannibals, centaurs and acrobats, Desiderio must battle against unreality and the warping of time and space to be with her as the Doctor reduces Desiderio’s city to a chaotic state of emergency – one ridden with madness, crime and sexual excess.”
Title: Fear of Flying
Author: Erica Jong
Publisher: Henry Holt and Company
Publishing Date: 2013, originally published in 1973
No. of Pages: 354
Synopsis: “Fear of Flying is the story of Isadora Wing, a compulsive daydreamer, a seeker of saviors and psychiatrists, the author of a book of supposedly erotic poems, and a full-pledged phobic who fears flying but will not allow that fear to keep her off planes. Isadora relates to her adventures and misadventures with wit, exuberance, and the sort of absolute candor that for centuries before her was permitted only to men.
On a trip to Vienna to attend a psychoanalytic congress with her psychiatrist husband, she meets an uninhibited Laingian analyst who seems the embodiment of all her steamiest fantasies. He lures her away from her husband on an existential jaunt across Europe, sleeping by roadsides, changing partners with people met at campsites, and she reevaluates her life in some painful and funny ways. But the trip proves to be a journey backward in time as well as a reshuffle of the present. Increasingly, Isadora is haunted by ghosts of the past: a conductor who loved his baton; a Florentine philanderer; a professor of philosophy; any number of miscellaneous lays in the night; and her ex-husband, the graduate student who thought he could walk on water and almost tried it in Central Park. She is also haunted by her outrageous and amusing family: an artist mother who adores and resents her children; a father who makes wisecracks and money in abundance; and three sisters who have fled the family to marry a black man, an Arab, and an Israeli, respectively, and are now raising their polyglot children from Boston to Beirut.
Thus Isadora fears flying (in all possible senses of the word), she forces herself to keep traveling, to risk her marriage and her life, until she finds her own brand of liberation.
Originally published in 1973 by Holt, Rinehart and Winston, Fear of Flying, the internationally bestselling story of Isadora Wing by Erica Jong, coined a new phrase for a sex act and launched a new way of thinking about gender, sexuality, and liberty in our society. “