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: Title Starting with a ‘B’

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 Beekeeper of Aleppo
Author: Christy Lefteri
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Publishing Date: 2020
No. of Pages: 307

Synopsis: Every morning, Nuri the beekeeper rises early to hear the call to prayer before driving to his hives in the countryside. On weekends, his wife Afra, a gifted artist, sells her paintings at the open-air market in the square. They live simply, rich in family and friends, in the hills of the beautiful Syrian city of Aleppo – until the unthinkable happens. When all they love is destroyed by war, Nuri knows they have no choice except to leave their home. But escaping Syria will be no easy task: Afra has lost her sight, leaving Nuri to navigate her grief as well as a perilous journey toward an uncertain future in Britain.

Moving, intimate, and beautifully written, this is a story for our times: It reminds us that our lives can be upended instantly – and brings a journey in faraway lands close to home, never to be forgotten.

Title: The Bridge of Heaven
Author: S.I. Hsiung
Publisher: Graham Brash (Pte) Ltd
Publishing Date: 1986
No. of Pages: 391

Synopsis: Diminutive 86-year-old Professor Hsiung is an undisputed giant in his own right. His international reputation as a literary phenomenon came with the publication and performance of the much-acclaimed play in English, Lady Precious Stream. It was staged in London from 1934 to 1936 and ran for 900 performances.

Jiangxi-born and Beijing-educated, Professor Hsiung has published several other books which have been translated into many languages. His novel, The Bridge of Heaven, is described by H.G. Wells as “more illuminating … than any report or treatise (on China). The reader will find the characters of Mr & Mrs. Ma and Li Ti-mo irresistible, and the reactions of the hero, Ta Tung, a startling illumination of the revolutionary motives and tendencies of multitudes of Chinese.

Title: Brooklyn
Author: Colm Toibin
Publisher: Scribner
Publishing Date: May 2010
No. of Pages: 262

Synopsis: “One of the most unforgettable characters in contemporary literature” (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette), Eilis Lacey has come of age in small-town Ireland in the hard years following World War Two. When an Irish priest from Brooklyn offers to sponsor Eilis in America, she decides she must go, leaving her fragile mother and her charismatic sister behind.

Eilis finds work in a department store on Fulton Street, and when she least expects it, finds love. Tony, who loves the Dodgers and his big Italian family, slowly wins her over with patient charm. But just as Eilis begins to fall in love, devastating news from Ireland threatens the promise of her future.

Title: Before the Coffee Gets Cold, Tales from the Café
Author: Toshikazu Kawa
Translator (from Japanese): Geoffrey Trousselot
Publisher: Picador
Publishing Date: 2020
No. of Pages: 192

Synopsis: “Every now and then, a customer like Gohtaro would come to the café after hearing the rumour that you could travel back in time.

‘Are you familiar with the rules?’ Kazu asked briefly – there were customers who rolled up at the café with no idea of them.

‘More or less…’ he replied hesitantly.

‘More or less?” Kyoko shouted.

Gohtaro shrugged apologetically. ‘You sit in a chair, someone makes you a coffee, and you return to the past… that’s all I’ve heard.’

Title: Beasts of No Nation
Author: Uzodinma Iweala
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Publishing Date: 2005
No. of Pages: 142

Synopsis: In this stunning debut novel, Agu, a young boy in an unnamed West African nation, is recruited into a unit of guerilla fighters as civil war engulfs his country. Haunted by his father’s own death at the hands of militants, Agu is vulnerable to the dangerous yet paternal nature of his new commander. While the war rages on, Agu becomes increasingly divorced from the life he had known before the conflict started – a life of school friends, church services, and time with his family still intact.

In a powerful, strikingly original voice that vividly captures Agu’s youth and confusion, Uzodinma Iweala has produced a harrowing, inventive, and deeply affecting novel.

Title: The Black Notebook
Author: Patrick Modiano
Translator (from French): Mark Polizzotti
Publisher: Mariner Books
Publishing Date: 2016
No. of Pages: 131

Synopsis: Paris in the 1960s was a city rife with suspicion and barely suppressed violence. Amid this tension, Jean, a young writer adrift, met and fell for Dannie, an enigmatic woman fleeing a troubled past. A half century later, with his old black notebook as a guide, he retraces this fateful period in his life, recounting how, through Dannie, he became mixed up with a group of unsavory characters connected by a shadowy crime. Soon Jean, too, was a person of interest to the detective pursuing their case – a detective who would finally provide the key to Dannie’s darkest secret.

The Black Notebook bears all the hallmarks of this literary master’s unsettling and intensely atmospheric style. Patric Modiano invites us into his unique world, a Paris infused with melancholy, uncertain danger, and the fading echoes of lost love.