Happy Tuesday everyone! It is the second day of the week already but I hope everyone is doing well and is safe. Tuesdays also mean one thing, a Top Ten Tuesday update! Top Ten Tuesday is an original blog meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and is currently being hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.
This week’s given topic is Books I Was So Excited to Get, but Still Haven’t Read
Author: James Joyce
Acquired: Sometime back in 2015
Synopsis: Originally reviled as obscure and obscene, Joyce’s masterpiece now stands as one of the great literary achievement of the twentieth century. Loosely based on Homer’s Odyssey, the novel traces the paths of Leopold Bloom and other Dubliners through an ordinary summer day and night in 1904-a typical day, transformed by Joyce’s narrative powers into an epic celebration of life.
Title: My Antonia
Author: Willa Cather
Acquired: February 2018 I think; I am sure it is during the first quarter of 2018
Synopsis: Her fourth novel, My Antonia (1918), which she thought “the best thing I’ve ever done,” is set in pioneer-era Nebraska and is a story of contrasts – most noticeably the contrast between Antonia Shimerda, the destitute child of Bohemian immigrants, and Jim Burden, a native Virginian who, after being orphaned at the age of ten, is sent to live with his grandparents in Nebraska. The novel traces the parallel lives of Jim and Antonia – Jim (said to be modeled in Cather herself) goes to Harvard, becomes a traveling businessman, and returns to Nebraska infrequently; Antonia elopes with a shiftless railway conductor, comes home disgraced, and finds happiness with Anton Cuzak, a gentle farmer, like Alexandra Bergson of O Pioneers! – and like the land they both call home – Antonia comes to embody unshakeable simplicity and integrity.
Title: The Swan Thieves
Author: Elizabeth Kostova
Acquired: January 2019
Synopsis: Dr. Andrew Marlow has a perfectly ordered life, full of devotion to his work and the painting hobby he loves. This order is destroyed when renowned artist Robert Oliver attacks a canvas in the National Gallery and becomes his patient.
As Oliver refuses to speak, Marlow’s only clue is the beautiful haunted woman Oliver paints obsessively day after day. Who is she, and what strange hold does she have over this tormented genius? Desperate to help, Marlow embarks on a journey that leads him into the lives of the women closest to Oliver, and to a dark story at the heart of French Impressionism – a tragedy that ripples out to touch present-day lives.
Title: A Suitable Boy
Author: Vikram Seth
Acquired: April 2018
Synopsis: ‘It’s Lata,’ said Mrs. Rupa Mehra in a rush. ‘I want you to find her a boy at once. A suitable boy. She is getting involved with unsuitable boys, and I cannot have that.’
Vikram Seth’s novel is, at its core, a love story: the tale of Lata’s – and her mother’s – attempts to find this suitable boy, through love or through exacting maternal appraisal. Set in post-Independence India and involving the lives of four large families and those who orbit them, it is also a vast, panoramic exploration of a whole continent at a crucial hour as a sixth of the world’s population faces its first great General Election and the chance to map its own destiny.
Title: The Little Friend
Author: Donna Tartt
Acquired: Third Quarter of 2018
Synopsis: In a small Mississippi town, Harriet Cleve Dufresnes grows up in the shadow of her brother, who – when she was only a baby – was found hanging dead from a black-tupelo tree in their yard. His killer was never identified, nor has his family, in the years since, recovered from the tragedy.
For Harriet, who has grown up largely unsupervised, in a world of her own imagination, her brother is a link to a glorious past she has only heard stories about or glimpsed in photograph albums. Fiercely determined, precocious far beyond her twelve years, and steeped in the adventurous literature of Stevenson, Kipling, and Conan Doyle, she resolves, one summer, to solve the murder and exact her revenge. Harriet’s sole ally in this quest, her friend Hely is devoted to her, but what they soon encounter has nothing to do with child’s play: it is dark, adult, and all too menacing.
Title: Revolutionary Road
Author: Richard Yates
Acquired: February 2019, during the Manila Big Bad Wolf Sale
Synopsis: Hailed as a masterpiece from its publication, Revolutionary Road is the story of Frank and April Wheeler, a bright young couple who are bored by the banalities of suburban life and long to be extraordinary. With heartbreaking compassion and clarity, Richard Yates shows how Frank and April’s decision to change their lives for the better leads to betrayal and tragedy.
Author: Kurt Vonnegut
Acquired: February 2019
Synopsis: A fourth-generation German-American now living in easy circumstances on Cape Cod (and smoking too much), who, as an American infantry scout hors de combat, as a prisoner of war, witnessed the fire-bombing of Dresden, Germany, “the Florence of the Elbe,” a long time ago, and survived to tell the tale. This is a novel somewhat in the telegraphic schizophrenic manner of tales of the Planet Tralfamadore , where the flying saucers come from. Peace.
Title: The Last of the Mohicans
Author: James Fenimore Cooper
Acquired: I have two copies of the book. The first one is a mass paperback version I acquired last April 21, 2017, during Scholastic Warehouse Sale. I also acquired a hardbound version of the book last June 2019.
Synopsis: The chief extended his arm, and taking the other by the wrist, they once more exchanged friendly salutations. Then the Delaware invited his guest to enter his own lodge, and share his morning meal. The invitation was accepted, and the two warriors, attended by three or four of the old men, walked calmly away, leaving the rest of the tribe devoured by a desire to understand the reasons of so unusual a visit, and yet not betraying the least impatience, by sign or word.
Title: The Beautiful and Damned
Author: F. Scott Fitzgerald
Acquired: June 2019
Synopsis: First published in 1922, The Beautiful and the Damned followed Fitzgerald’s impeccable debut, This Side of Paradise, thus securing his place in the tradition of great American novelists. Embellished with the author’s lyrical prose, here is the story of Harvard-educated, aspiring aesthete Anthony Patch and his beautiful wife, Gloria. As they await the inheritance of his grandfather’s fortune, their reckless marriage sways under the influence of alcohol and avarice. A devastating look at the nouveau riche, and the New York nightlife, as well as the ruinous effects of wild ambition, The Beautiful and the Damnedachieved stature as one of Fitzgerald’s most accomplished novels. Its distinction as a classic endures to this day. Pocket Book’s Enriched Classics present the great works of world literature enhanced for the contemporary reader. Special features include critical perspectives, suggestions for further read, and a unique visual essay composed of period photographs that help bring every word to life. (Source: Goodreads)
Title: The Mists of Avalon
Author: Marion Zimmer Bradley
Acquired: July 2019
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.