GOOD BOOKS FOR YOUR WEEK-END
Here are some of the latest fiction titles I added to my already too long Goodreads TBR:
The Old Man and His Sons (1940)
These are the Faroe Islands as they were some fifty years ago: sea-washed and remote, with one generation still tied to the sea for sustenance, and a younger generation turning toward commerce and clerical work in the towns.At the post-hunt whale-meat auction, Ketil enthusiastically bids for more meat than he can afford. Thus when Ketil is seventy, he and his wife struggle to repay their debt.He1987), novelist and translator, was considered the most important Faroese writer of his generation and is known for his fresh and ironic style.
The Book on Fire (2009)
Balthazar, book thief and bon vivant, arrives in Alexandria to steal from the famous library. But from the moment he steps off the boat, a veiled figure shadows him. Zeinab, literary prostitute and avenging ghost, will be his chaperone through the city of books. With her help, he succeeds in penetrating the underground library. But once inside, instead of ransacking it, he becomes obsessed with the youngest librarian, Shireen, who was born in the library and is herself more than half book. Their love story forms the heart of the novel. Balthazar schemes to get Shireen out of the library. But Zeinab has plans of her own . . . In sumptuous, evocative prose, ‘The Book on Fire’ explores the relationships between creation and destruction, between belief and imagination, between desire and fulfillment
The Home-Maker (1924)
Although this novel first appeared in 1924, it deals in an amazingly contemporary manner with the problems of a family in which both husband and wife are oppressed and frustrated by the roles they are expected to play. Evangeline Knapp is the perfect, compulsive housekeeper, while her husband, Lester, is a poet and a dreamer. Suddenly, through a nearly fatal accident, their roles are reversed: Lester is confined to home in a wheelchair and his wife must work to support the family. The changes that take place between husband and wife and particularly between parents and children are both fascinating and poignant.
And the non-fiction titles:
How Proust Can Change Your Life (1997)
Alain de Botton combines two unlikely genres–literary biography and self-help manual–in the hilarious and unexpectedly practical How Proust Can Change Your Life.
Who would have thought that Marcel Proust, one of the most important writers of our century, could provide us with such a rich source of insight into how best to live life? Proust understood that the essence and value of life was the sum of its everyday parts. As relevant today as they were at the turn of the century, Proust’s life and work are transformed here into a no-nonsense guide to, among other things, enjoying your vacation, reviving a relationship, achieving original and unclichéd articulation, being a good host, recognizing love, and understanding why you should never sleep with someone on a first date. It took de Botton to find the inspirational in Proust’s essays, letters and fiction and, perhaps even more surprising, to draw out a vivid and clarifying portrait of the master from between the lines of his work.
Here is Proust as we have never seen or read him before: witty, intelligent, pragmatic. He might well change your life.
The Earth Moved: On the Remarkable Achievements of Earthworms (2004)
“Engrossing” (The Christian Science Monitor), “fascinating” (TimeOut New York), “delightfully nuanced” (Entertainment Weekly), “terrific” (New York Newsday), “inspiring” (Bust magazine). “You know a book is good when you actually welcome one of those howling days of wind and sleet that makes going out next to impossible” (The New York Times).
The Earth Moved has moved reviewers across the country. In witty, offbeat style, Amy Stewart takes us on a subterranean adventure and introduces us to our planet’s most important gatekeeper: the humble earthworm. It’s true that the earthworm is small, spineless, and blind, but its effect on the ecosystem is profound, moving Charles Darwin to devote his last years to studying its remarkable attributes and achievements.
With the august scientist as her inspiration, Stewart investigates the earthworm’s astonishing realm, talks to oligochaetologists who have devoted their lives to unearthing the complex web of life beneath our feet, and observes the thousands of worms in her own garden. Stewart’s “ease in gliding from worms to plants to humans will remind readers of John McPhee’s essays on canoes, oranges, the geology of America” (Providence Journal). “Stewart’s book paddles along in Rachel] Carson’s wake. Read her book and you’ll start to see how the rhododendron bed in front of your house is a kind of Mars for frontier science”.
The Great Northern Express: A Writer’s Journey Home (March 6, 2012)
From bestselling, nationally celebrated author Howard Frank Mosher, a wildly funny and deeply personal account of his three-month, 20,000-mile sojourn to discover what he loved enough to live for.
Several months before novelist Howard Frank Mosher turned sixty-five, he learned that he had prostate cancer. Following forty-six intensive radiation treatments, Mosher set out alone in his twenty-year-old Chevy Celebrity on a monumental road trip and book tour across twenty-first-century America. From a chance meeting with an angry moose in northern New England to late-night walks on the wildest sides of America’s largest cities, The Great Northern Express chronicles Mosher’s escapades with an astonishing array of erudite bibliophiles, homeless hitchhikers, country crooners and strippers, and aspiring writers of all circumstances.
Full of high and low comedy and rollicking adventures, this is part travel memoir, part autobiography, and pure, anarchic fun. From coast to coast and border to border, this unforgettable adventure of a top-notch American writer demonstrates that, sometimes, in order to know who we truly are, we must turn the wheel towards home.
HAVE YOU READ ANY OF THESE?