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: Siblings
Upon introspection, I have noted that I have read quite a lot of books that involved siblings. Some of these books explored family dynamics while some explored a plethora of subjects. Even my current reads, A.S. Byatt’s The Children’s Book involves a set of siblings although the book doesn’t focus on exploring the dynamics of the Wellwood siblings. Another recent read about siblings is Amor Towles’ The Lincoln Highway. Other books I enjoyed include Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov, Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility, Junichiro Tanizaki’s The Makioka Sisters, Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird, and Pat Conroy’s Beach Music and The Prince of Tides. Wow. I didn’t realize I have read that many. Nevertheless, here are other books about siblings currently sitting on my to-be-read list.
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!
Title: The Virgin Suicides
Author: Jeffrey Eugenides
Synopsis: First published in 1993, The Virgin Suicides announced the arrival of a major new American novelist. In a quiet suburb of Detroit, the five Lisbon sisters – beautiful, eccentric, and obsessively watched by the neighborhood boys – commit suicide one by one over the course of a single year. As the boys observe them from afar, transfixed, they piece together the mystery of the family’s fatal melancholy, in this hypnotic and unforgettable novel of adolescent love, disquiet, and death. Jeffrey Eugenides evokes the emotions of youth with haunting sensitivity and dark humor and creates a coming-of-age story unlike any of our time. Adapted into a critically acclaimed film by Sofia Coppola, The Virgin Suicides is a modern classic, a lyrical and timeless tale of sex and suicide that transforms and mythologizes suburban middle-American life.
Title: The Memory Keeper’s Daughter
Author: Kim Edwards
Synopsis: It should have been an ordinary birth, the start of an ordinary happy family. But the night Dr. David Henry delivers his wife’s twins is a night that will haunt five lives forever.
For though David’s son is a healthy boy, his daughter has Down’s syndrome. And, in a shocking act of betrayal whose consequences only time will reveal, he tells his wife their daughter died while secretly entrusting her care to a nurse.
As grief quietly tears apart David’s family, so a little girl must make her own way in the world as best she can.
Title: Purple Hibiscus
Author: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Synopsis: Fifteen-year-old Kambili and her older brother Jaja lead a privileged life in Enugu, Nigeria. They live in a beautiful house, with a caring family, and attend an exclusive missionary school. They’re completely shielded from the troubles of the world. Yet, as Kambili reveals in her tender-voiced account, things are less perfect than they appear. Although her Papa is generous and well respected, he is fanatically religious and tyrannical at home—a home that is silent and suffocating.
As the country begins to fall apart under a military coup, Kambili and Jaja are sent to their aunt, a university professor outside the city, where they discover a life beyond the confines of their father’s authority. Books cram the shelves, curry and nutmeg permeate the air, and their cousins’ laughter rings throughout the house. When they return home, tensions within the family escalate, and Kambili must find the strength to keep her loved ones together.
Purple Hibiscus is an exquisite novel about the emotional turmoil of adolescence, the powerful bonds of family, and the bright promise of freedom. (Source: Goodreads)
Author: Marilynne Robinson
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: Franny and Zooey
Author: J.D. Salinger
Synopsis: First published in The New Yorker as two sequential stories, ‘Franny’ and ‘Zooey’ offer a dual portrait of the two youngest members of J. D. Salinger’s fictional Glass family.
Franny Glass is a pretty, effervescent college student on a date with her intellectually confident boyfriend, Lane. They appear to be the perfect couple, but as they struggle to communicate with each other about the things they really care about, slowly their true feelings come to the surface. The second story in this book, ‘Zooey’, plunges us into the world of her ethereal, sophisticated family. When Franny’s emotional and spiritual doubts reach new heights, her older brother Zooey, a misanthropic former child genius, offers her consolation and brotherly advice.
Written in Salinger’s typically irreverent style, these two stories offer a touching snapshot of the distraught mindset of early adulthood and are full of the insightful emotional observations and witty turns of phrase that have helped make Salinger’s reputation what it is today. (Source: Goodreads)
Title: East of Eden
Author: John Steinbeck
Synopsis: In his journal, Nobel Prize winner John Steinbeck called East of Eden “the first book,” and indeed it has the primordial power and simplicity of myth. Set in the rich farmland of California’s Salinas Valley, this sprawling and often brutal novel follows the intertwined destinies of two families—the Trasks and the Hamiltons—whose generations helplessly reenact the fall of Adam and Eve and the poisonous rivalry of Cain and Abel.
Adam Trask came to California from the East to farm and raise his family on the new rich land. But the birth of his twins, Cal and Aaron, brings his wife to the brink of madness, and Adam is left alone to raise his boys to manhood. One boy thrives nurtured by the love of all those around him; the other grows up in loneliness enveloped by a mysterious darkness.
First published in 1952, East of Eden is the work in which Steinbeck created his most mesmerizing characters and explored his most enduring themes: the mystery of identity, the inexplicability of love, and the murderous consequences of love’s absence. A masterpiece of Steinbeck’s later years, East of Eden is a powerful and vastly ambitious novel that is at once a family saga and a modern retelling of the Book of Genesis. (Source: Goodreads)