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: 2023 Releases
First off, let me greet everyone a Happy New Year! I hope that the coming year will be brimming with blessings and good tidings. I hope that everyone will be healthy, in body, mind, and spirit. Back to this weekly update. I have already shared the 2023 releases I am looking forward to through my annual Books I Look Forward List. As such, instead of listing 2023 releases, I will be sharing books on the 1,001 Books You Must Read List that I resolve to read this year. I was just going through the list when the idea hit me. Here are books on the 1,001 Books You Must Read List that I am looking forward to reading this year. Have a great Monday everyone!
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 Magic Mountain
Author: Thomas Mann
Translator: H.T. Lowe-Porter
Publisher: Penguin Books
Publishing Date: 1960
No. of Pages: 716
Synopsis: A spectacular novel of ideas, The Magic Mountain is one of Germany’s most formative contributions to modern European literature, both for the themes it discusses and for its highly sophisticated structure.
Young, naive, and impressionable, Hans Castorp arrives at a sanatorium high in the Swiss Alps to find himself surrounded by exponents of widely differing political and philosophical attitudes. Amid sickness and decay he is forced to explore both the meaning of love and death and the relationship of one to the other. As he does so, the pattern that emerges from his discussions with his companions, and from his own musings, becomes a symbol of the forces below – forces that would culminate in the First World War and the destruction of pre-1914 civilization.
Title: The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge
Author: Rainer Maria Rilke
Translator: Stephen Mitchell
Publishing Date: April 1985
No. of Pages: 260
Synopsis: “She this is where people come to live; I would have thought it is a city to die in.” So begins Rilke’s only novel, the brief, haunting Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge. First published in 1910, it has proven to be one of the most influential and enduring works fiction of our century – an instance of lyric expression unmatched in modern prose.
Malte Laurids Brigge is a young Danish nobleman and poet living in Paris. Obsessed with death and with the reality that lurks behind appearances, Brigge muses on his family and their history and on the teeming, alien life he sees in the city around him. Many of the themes and images that occur in Rilke’s poetry can also be found in the resonant pages of the novel, which pre-figures the modernist movement in its self-awareness and imagistic immediacy. As Rilke wrote after the book was published, “Poor Malte begins so deep in misery and, in a strict sense, reaches to eternal bliss; he is a heart that strikes a whole octave: after him almost all songs are possible.”
William H. Gass has contributed an introduction to accompany Stephen Mitchell’s powerfully fluent contemporary version of this great book.
Title: Portnoy’s Complaint
Author: Philip Roth
Publisher: Random House
Publishing Date: 1969
No. of Pages: 274
Synopsis: Portnoy’s Complaint n. [after Alexander Portnoy (1933-)] A disorder in which strongly-felt ethical and altruistic impulses are perpetually warring with extreme sexual longings, often of a perverse nature. Spielvogel says: ‘Acts of exhibitionism, voyeurism, fetishism, auto-eroticism and oral coitus are plentiful; as a consequence of the patient’s “morality,” however, neither fantasy nor act issues in genuine sexual gratification, but rather in overriding feelings of shame and the dread of retribution, particularly in the form of castration.’ (Spielvogel, O. ‘The Puzzled Penis’, Internationale Zeitschrift fur Psychoanalyse, Vol. XXIV, p. 909.) it is believed by Spielvogel that many of the symptoms can be traced to the bonds obtaining in the mother-child relationship.
Title: The Hours
Author: Michael Cunningham
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publishing Date: 1998
No. of Pages: 226
Synopsis: In The Hours, Michael Cunningham, who is recognized as “one of our very best writers” (Richard Eder, Los Angeles Times), draws inventively on the life and work of Virginia Woolf to tell the story of a group of contemporary characters who are struggling with the conflicting claims of love and inheritance, hope and despair.
The novel opens with an evocation of Woolf’s last days before her suicide in 1941, and moves to the stories of two modern American women who are trying to making rewarding lives for themselves in spite of the demands of friends, lovers, and family.
Clarissa Vaughan is a book editor who lives in present-day Greenwich Village; when we meet her, she is buying flowers to display at a party for her friend Richard, an ailing poet who has just won a major literary prize. Laura Brown is a housewife in postwar California who is bringing up her only son and looking for her true life outside of her stifling marriage.
With rare ease and assurance, Cunningham makes the two women’s lives converge with Virginia Woolf’s in an unexpected and heartbreaking way during the party for Richard. As the novel jump-cuts through the twentieth century, every line resonates with Cunningham’s clear, strong, surprisingly lyrical contemporary voice.
Author: Roberto Bolaño
Translator: Natasha Wimmer
Publishing Date: September 2009
No. of Pages: 893
Synopsis: Three academics on the trail of a reclusive German author; a New York reporter on his first Mexican assignment; a widowed philosopher; a police detective in love with an elusive older woman – these are among the searchers drawn to the border city of Santa Teresa, where over the course of a decade hundred of women have disappeared.
In the words of The Washington Post, “With 2666, Bolaño joins the ambitious overachievers of the twentieth-century novel, those like Proust, Musil, Joyce, Gaddis, Pynchon, Fuentes, and Vollmann, who push the novel far past its conventional size and scope to encompass an entire era, deploying encyclopedic knowledge and stylistic verve to offer a grand if sometimes idiosyncratic, summation of their vulture and the novelist’s place in it. Bolaño has joined the immortals.
Author: James Joyce
Publisher: Dover Publications, Inc.
Publishing Date: 2009
No. of Pages: 732
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.