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: Paranormal
Unfortunately, I am not much into horror fiction. It then comes as no surprise that my TBR list is bereft of books from this genre, except perhaps for the works of Stephen King and I am willing to invest my time in the works of Anne Rice. Anyway, since October is going to be an extension of my September reading month, I will be featuring works of American literature in this week’s update. But American literature, on its own, is vast. As such, I have divided it into parts. After featuring works of Indian American, Black American, Asian American, and Hispanic American writers, I will be featuring the works of European American writers this week. European influences in American literature are ubiquitous considering that Europeans were among the first colonizers of the American continent; even the continent’s name was derived from an Italian explorer, Amerigo Vespucci. Some of the European American writers I can name include Jeffrey Eugenides (Greek), Jonathan Safran Foer (Polish), and Mario Puzo (Italian). Without more ado, here are works of European American literature I can’t wait to immerse myself in. Happy Monday and happy reading!
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: Giants in the Earth
Author: O. E. Rölvaag
Translator: Lincoln Colcord and O. E. Rölvaag
Publisher: Harper Perennial Modern Classics
Publishing Date: 1999
No. of Pages: 531
Synopsis: The classic story of a Norwegian pioneer family’s struggles with the land and the elements of the Dakota Territory as they try to make a new life in America.
Author: Chuck Palahniuk
Ancestry: French, Ukrainian
Publishing Date: 2018
No. of Pages: 289
Synopsis: Tender Branson – last surviving member of the Creedish Death Cult – is dictating his life story into the recorder of Flight 2039, cruising on autopilot at 39,000 feet somewhere over the Pacific Ocean. He is all alone in the airplane, which will crash shortly into the vast Australian outback. But before it does, Branson will unfold the tale of his journey from an obedient Creedish child and humble domestic servant to an ultra-buffed steroid- and collagen-packed media messiah.
Title: 4 3 2 1
Author: Paul Auster
Publisher: Henry Holt and Company
Publishing Date: 2017
No. of Pages: 866
Synopsis: On March 3, 1947, in the maternity ward of Beth Israel Hospital in Newark, New Jersey, Archibald Isaac Ferguson, the one and only child of Rose and Stanley Ferguson is born. From that single beginning, Ferguson’s life will take four simultaneous and independent fictional paths. Four Fergusons made of the same genetic material, four boys who are the same boy, will go on to lead four parallel and entirely different lives. Family fortunes diverge. Loves and friendships and intellectual passions contrast. Chapter by chapter, the rotating narratives evolve into an elaborate dance of inner worlds enfolded within the outer forces of history as, one by one, the intimate plot of each Ferguson’s story rushes on across the tumultuous and fractured terrain of mid-twentieth century America. A boy grows up – again and again and again.
As inventive and dexterously constructed as anything Paul Auster has ever written, 4 3 2 1 is an unforgettable tour de force, the crowning work of this masterful writer’s extraordinary career.
Author: Kurt Vonnegut
Publisher: Delacorte Press/Seymour Lawrence
Publishing Date: March 1994
No. of Pages: 205
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: Two Lives and a Dream
Author: Marguerite Yourcenar
Translator (from French): Walter Kaiser, in collaboration with the author
Publisher: The University of Chicago Press
Publishing Date: 1994
No. of Pages: 216
Synopsis: Cristina Garcia’s acclaimed book is the haunting, bittersweet story of a family experiencing a country’s revolution and the revelations that follow. The lives of Celia del Pino and her husband, daughters, and grandchildren mirror the magical realism of Cuba itself, a landscape of beauty and poverty, idealism and corruption. Dreaming in Cuban is “a work that possesses both the intimacy of a Chekhov story and the hallucinatory magic of a novel by Gabriel Garcia Marquez” (The New York Times). In celebration of the twenty-fifth anniversary of the novel’s original publication, this edition features a new introduction by the author.
Title: My Name is Asher Lev
Author: Chaim Potok
Publishing Date: March 2003
No. of Pages: 369
Synopsis: Asher Lev is a Ladover Hasid who keeps kosher, prays three times a day and believes in the Ribbono Shel Olom, the Master of the Universe. Asher Lev is an artist who is compulsively driven to render the world he sees and feels even when it leads him to blasphemy. In this stirring and often visionary novel, Chaim Potok traces Asher’s passage between these two identities, the one consecrated to God, the other subject only to the imagination.
Asher Lev grows up in a cloistered Hasidic community in postwar Brooklyn, a world suffused by ritual and revolving around a charismatic Rebbe. But in time his gift threatens to estrange him from that world and the parents he adores. As it follows his struggle, My Name Is Asher Lev becomes a luminous portrait of the artist, by turns heartbreaking and exultant, a modern classic.
Good bunch of books – if you wanted an American-European occult you could do Henry James’ Turn of the Screw. That’s a good one if you haven’t read it but I’ll guess you probably have.
Otherwise I’ve read My Name is Asher Lev, 4 3 2 1, and Giants in the Earth – wow – good books, a wide variety.
I really feel like I should read Two Lives and a Dream as I read Memoirs of Hadrian and The Abyss long ago (and had to look up the titles).