It’s the second day of the week! It’s also time for a Top 5 Tuesday update. Top 5 Tuesdays was originally created by Shanah @ the Bionic Bookworm but is now currently being hosted by Meeghan @ Meeghan Reads.

This week’s topic: Top 5 smol books

Title: Death in Venice
Author: Thomas Mann
Translator (from German): Stanley Appelbaum
Publisher: Dover Publications, Inc.
Publishing Date: 1995
No. of Pages: 62


One of the most famous literary works of the twentieth century, the novella “Death in Venice” embodies themes that preoccupied Thomas Mann (1875-1955) in much of his work: the duality of art and life, the presence of death and disintegration in the midst of existence, the connection between love and suffering and the conflict between the artist and his inner self. Mann’s handling of these concerns in this story of a middle-aged German writer, torn by his passion for a Polish youth met on a holiday in Venice, resulted in a work of great psychological intensity and tragic power.

Title: Down the Rabbit Hole
Author: Juan Pablo Villalobos
Translator (from Spanish): Rosalind Harvey
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publishing Date: 2012
No. of Pages: 70


Tochtli lives in a palace. He loves hats, samurai, guillotines, and dictionaries, and what he wants more than anything right now is a new pet for his private zoo: a pygmy hippopotamus from Liberia. But Tochtli is a child whose father is a drug baron on the verge of taking over a powerful cartel, and Tochtli is growing up in a luxury hideout that he shares with hit men, prostitutes, dealers, servants, and the odd corrupt politician or two.

Short-listed for the Guardian First Book Award, Juan Pablo Villalobos’s Down the Rabbit Hole, a masterful and darkly comic first novel, is the chronicle of a delirious journey to grant a child’s wish.

Title: Three Elegies for Kosovo
Author: Ismail Kadare
Translator (from Albanian): Peter Constantine
Publisher: The Harvill Press
Publishing Date: 2000
No. of Pages: 87


A quarrel that has simmered for six centuries, stemming from a battle that changed the course of history.

28 June 1389, the Field of the Blackbirds. The Christian army – made up of Serbs, Bosnians, Albanians and Romanians – confronts an Ottoman army led by Sultan Mourad. In ten hours the battle is over, and the Muslims possess the field; an outcome that has haunted the vanquished ever since. These legends of betrayal and the symbols of defeat have continued to define the national identities of each race.

28 June 1989, the Serb leader Slobodan Milosevic launches his campaign for a fresh massacre of the Albanians, the majority population of Kosovo.

In three short narratives Kadare evokes that first defining moment in European history, identifying how the agony of the tiny population at the close of the twentieth century is a symptom of the sickness that European civilisation has carried in its bloodstream for six hundred years.

Title: The Pearl
Author: John Steinbeck
Publisher: Penguin Books
Publishing Date: 1992
No. of Pages: 90


When the news of Kino’s great find – the “pearl of the world” – spreads through the small town, no one suspects its power to deceive, to corrupt, to destroy.

Like his father and grandfather before him, Kino is a poor diver, gathering pearls from the Gulf beds that once brought great wealth to the Kings of Spain and now provide Kino, Juana, and their infant son with meager subsistence. Then, on a day like any other, Kino emerges from the sea with a pearl as large as a sea gull’s egg as “perfect as the moon.” With the pearl comes hope, the promise of comfort and of security…

A story of classic simplicity, based on a Mexican folk tale, The Pearl explores the secrets of man’s nature, the darkest depths of evil, and the luminous possibilities of love.

Title: The Cat Inside
Author: William S. Burroughs
Publisher: Penguin Books
Publishing Date: 2002
No. of Pages: 94


Originally published as a limited-edition volume, The Cat Inside is William S. Burrough’s moving and witty discourse on cats, one that combines deadpan routines and ream passages with a heartwarming account of his unexpected friendships with the many cats he has known. It is also a meditation on the long, mysterious relationship between cats and their human hosts, which Burroughs traces back to the Egyptian cult of the “animal other.” With its street sense, arcane erudition, and whiplash prose, The Cat Inside is a genuine revelation for Burroughs fans and cat lovers alike.