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 an ‘F’

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: Fontamara
Author: Ignazio Silone
Translator: Eric Mosbacher
Publisher: Everyman
Publishing Date: November 15, 1994
No. of Pages: 160


It is Silone’s first novel and is among his most famous works. It received worldwide acclaim and sold more than a million and a half copies in twenty-seven languages. It was first published in German translation in Zurich, Switzerland in 1933, and was published in English by Penguin Books in September 1934. Fontamara is derived from the Italian ‘Fonte Amara’ (Bitter Stream.) Appearing on the eve of the Spanish Civil War, and published just a few months after Hitler came to power, when the world was beginning to take sides for or against fascism, the novel had a galvanising effect on public opinion. Fontamara ‘became the very symbol of resistance’ and ‘is widely agreed to have played a major role as a document of anti-Fascist propaganda outside Italy in the late 1930s,’ as it criticises the deceitful and immoral nature of the Fascist party and its followers.

Fontamara is a fictional small rural village in Marsica in the Abruzzo region. The people (the Fontamaresi) are poor and the village is very remote to the extent that the citizens are unaware of world events such as the rise of Fascism. There is a tremendous gap between the ‘’cafoni’’ (peasants) who populate ‘’Fontamara’’ and those who live in the city. The Fontamaresi work the Earth to survive, turn to emigration as a means of economic improvement and are ignorant to events happening outside of their town. They are cut off from the rest of Italy and thus unaffected by modernity and new technology. The Impresario is a stark contrast to the Fontamaresi, who have laboured for centuries to little avail, as he quickly became the richest man in the region and embodies the power, authority and immorality of the Fascists. The Fontamaresi are exploited due to their naïvety and ignorance, the women are raped by the squadristi (a group of Fascists), Berardo Viola makes the ultimate sacrifice to allow the continued distribution of clandestine texts to spread the word about socialism and encourage rebellion against Fascism and at the end the majority of the population are killed at the hands of the Government. (Source: Goodreads)

Title: Forbidden Colors
Author: Yukio Mishima
Translators: Alfred H. Marks
Publisher: Vintage International
Publishing Date: March 1999
No. of Pages: 403


From one of Japan’s greatest modern writers comes an exquisitely disturbing novel of sexual combat and concealed passion, a work that distills beauty, longing, and loathing into an intoxicating poisoned cocktail. An aging, embittered novelist sets out to avenge himself on the women who have betrayed him. He finds the perfect instrument in Yuichi, a young man whose beauty makes him irresistible to women but who is just discovering his attraction to other men.

As Yuichi’s mentor presses him into a loveless marriage and series of equally loveless philanderings, his protege enters the gay underworld of postwar Japan. In that hidden society of parks and tearooms, prostitutes and aristocratic blackmailers, Yuichi is as defenseless as any of the women he preys on. Mordantly observed, intellectually provocative, and filled with icy eroticism, Forbidden Colors is a masterpiece.

Title: Fear of Mirrors
Author: Tariq Ali
Publisher: Verso
Publishing Date: 2016
No. of Pages: 233


With the fall of Communism, East German dissident Vlady Meyer’s life begins to fall apart. As the German nation unifies, his wife splits up with him. He loses his university job now that the times have turned against his Marxist views. He want to tell his alienated son, Karl what his family’s long and passionate involvement with communism really meant, but he can’t. Vlady’s story is interwoven with that of Ludwik, Kim Philby’s recruiter, and his four comrades, brilliant Galician secret agents working for the Fourth Department of the Red Army.

Thoughtful and intimate, Fear of Mirrors unfolds an expansive plot that touches on the greatest political upheavals of the twentieth century. Its protagonist captures the hopes once roused by the Bolshevik Revolution and the hard realities that followed; Vlady Meyers is a mirror reflecting impeccably the intellectual milieu of an incomparable period.

Title: Fear of Flying
Author: Erica Jong
 Henry Holt and Company
Publishing Date: 2013
No. of Pages: 354


Fear of Flying is the story of Isadora Wing, a compulsive daydreamer, a seeker of saviors and psychiatrists, the author of a book of supposedly erotic poems, and a full-pledged phobic who fears flying but will not allow that fear to keep her off planes. Isadora relates to her adventures and misadventures with wit, exuberance, and the sort of absolute candor that for centuries before her was permitted only to men.

On a trip to Vienna to attend a psychoanalytic congress with her psychiatrist husband, she meets an uninhibited Laingian analyst who seems the embodiment of all her steamiest fantasies. He lures her away from her husband on an existential jaunt across Europe, sleeping by roadsides, changing partners with people met at campsites, and she reevaluates her life in some painful and funny ways. But the trip proves to be a journey backward in time as well as a reshuffle of the present. Increasingly, Isadora is haunted by ghosts of the past: a conductor who loved his baton; a Florentine philanderer; a professor of philosophy; any number of miscellaneous lays in the night; and her ex-husband, the graduate student who thought he could walk on water and almost tried it in Central Park. She is also haunted by her outrageous and amusing family: an artist mother who adores and resents her children; a father who makes wisecracks and money in abundance; and three sisters who have fled the family to marry a black man, an Arab, and an Israeli, respectively, and are now raising their polyglot children from Boston to Beirut.

Thus Isadora fears flying (in all possible senses of the word), she forces herself to keep traveling, to risk her marriage and her life, until she finds her own brand of liberation.

Originally published in 1973 by Holt, Rinehart and Winston, Fear of Flying, the internationally bestselling story of Isadora Wing by Erica Jong, coined a new phrase for a sex act and launched a new way of thinking about gender, sexuality, and liberty in our society. 

Title: The Fishermen
Author: Chigozie Obioma
 Little, Brown, and Company
Publishing Date: 2015
No. of Pages: 295


In a Nigerian town in the mid-1990s, four brothers encounter a madman whose mystic prophecy of violence threatens the core of their close-knit family.

Told from the point of view of nine-year-old Benjamin, the youngest of the four brothers, The Fishermen is the Cain and Abel-esque story of an unforgettable childhood in 1990s Nigeria, in the small town of Akure. When their strict father has to travel to a distant city for work, the brothers take advantage of his extended absence to skip school and go fishing. At the ominous, forbidden nearby river, they meet a dangerous local madman who persuades the oldest of the boys that he is destined to be killed by one of his siblings.

What happens next is an almost mythic event whose impact – both tragic and redemptive – will transcend the lives and imaginations of the book’s characters and its readers. Dazzling and viscerally powerful, The Fishermen never leaves Akure, but the story it tells has enormous universal appeal. Seen through the prism of one family’s destiny, this is an essential novel about Africa, with all its contradictions – economic, political, and religious –  and the epic beauty of its culture.

With this bold debut, Chigozie Obioma emerges as one of the most original new voices of modern African literature, echoing its older generation’s masterly storytelling with a contemporary fearlessness and purpose.