Just like that, the first month of 2023 is in the books. 31 days out of 365 have been exhausted. I hope that January has been a month of blessings and good tidings for everyone. I can’t believe it is already February, the month of love! Anyway, before I can wave January goodbye, I am sharing my book haul for the month. As part of my New year’s resolution, I resolved to buy less and read more. I am setting myself up for failure. I thought I would succeed for I was able to rein myself in during the first three weeks of the year. And then the inevitable happened. Same old, same old. I will be featuring the four books I have on hand; about eight are in transit. For comparison, I finished the month with eight completed books. Without more ado, here is my January 2023 book haul.

Title: The Bridges of Madison County
Author: Robert James Waller
Publisher: Warner Books
Publishing Date: 1992
No. of Pages: 171

Synopsis: He noticed all of her…

He could have walked out on this earlier, could still walk. Rationality shrieked at him. “Let it go, Kincaid, get back on the road. Shoot the bridges, go to India. Stop in Bangkok on the way and look up the silk merchant’s daughter who knows every ecstatic secret the old ways can teach. Swim naked with her at dawn in jungle pools and listen to her scream as you turn her inside out at twilight. Let go of this” – the voice was hissing now – “it’s outrunning you.”

But the slow street tango had begun. Somewhere it played; he could hear it, an old accordion. It was far back, or far ahead, he couldn’t be sure. Yet it moved toward him steadily. And the sound of it blurred his criteria and funneled his own alternatives toward unity. Inexorably it did that, until there was nowhere left to go, except toward Francesca Johnson.

Title: The Art of Racing in the Rain
Author: Garth Stein
Publisher: Harper Books
Publishing Date: 2009
No. of Pages: 321

Synopsis: Enzo knows he is different from other dogs: a philosopher with a nearly human soul (and an obsession with opposable thumbs), he has educated himself by watching television extensively, and by listening very closely to the words of his master, Denny Swift, an up-and-coming race car driver.

Through Denny, Enzo has gained tremendous insight into the human condition, and he sees that life, like racing, isn’t simply about going fast. On the eve of his death, Enzo takes stock of his life, recalling all that he and his family have been through.

A heart-wrenching but deeply funny and ultimately uplifting story of family, love, loyalty, and hope, The Art of Racing in the Rain is a beautifully crafted and captivating look at the wonders and absurdities of human life … as only a dog could tell it.

Title: A Fine Balance
Author: Rohinton Mistry
Publisher: Emblem Editions
Publishing Date: 1997
No. of Pages: 713

Synopsis: Winner of The Giller Prize, the Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best Book, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Fiction, The Royal Society of Literature’s Winifred Holtby Award, and shortlisted for the Booker Prize, the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, and the Irish Times International Prize.

A Fine Balance, Rohinton Mistry’s stunning internationally acclaimed bestseller, is set in mid-1970s India. It tells the story of four unlikely people whose lives come together during a time of political turmoil soon after the government declares a “State of Internal Emergency.” Through days of bleakness and hope, their circumstances – and their fates – become inextricably linked in ways no one could have foreseen. Mistry’s prose is alive with enduring images and a cast of unforgettable characters. Written with compassion, humour, and insight, A Fine Balance is a vivid, richly textured, and powerful novel written by one of the most gifted writers of our time.

Title: Nora Webster
Author: Colm Tóibín
Publisher: Penguin Books
Publishing Date: 2015
No. of Pages: 311

Synopsis: Nora Webster is recently widowed. Unmoored by her sudden loss and the needs of her children whom she now must raise alone, she faces a future that was never meant to be. But within Nora is a strength – a quiet resolve not to succumb to others’ expectations – and through the discovery of music and gift of friendship, she may just find a way to live again.