Thursday, June 21, 2007

About books: Thursday Thirteen...attempt #5

Books I have re-read in the last 6 months

These are some of the books in my library that I have recently re-read and thought I'd recommend...I read a lot and I feel about my books, especially the ones I have enjoyed and learned from... like mothers feel about their kids and to choose from amongst them is very tough. So I thought I'd make my job easier and simply narrow the choice to the books I have re-read recently!
This list doesn't imply that the books not listed here are ones I like any less....

1. Mister. God, This is Anna by Fynn
I could never do this book justice with any review that I could ever write... so even though I am contradicting what I've said earlier about choosing favorites... this book is one I love passionately. It's the story of 19-year old "Fynn" who finds Anna, a mischievous yet wise five and a half year old runaway. It's the story of the time he spent with Anna a very personal account of her outpourings on life. I'll just insert an excerpt
EXCERPT: Over the last few months, it had begun to dawn on me that Anna's real concern had very little to do with properties. Properties had the rather stupid habit of waiting upon circumstances. Water was liquid, except that is, if it was ice or steam. Then the properties were different. The properties of dough were different to the properties of dough or bread. It depended on the circumstances of the baking. Not for one moment would Anna have consigned properties to the dustbin. Properties were very useful, but since properties depended on circumstances, the roadway in pursuit of properties was unending. No, the proper thing to pursue was functions. Being outside Mister God and measuring him gave you properties, seemingly an unending list. The particular choice of properties that you made produced that particular kind of religion that you subscribed to. On the other hand, being inside Mister God gave you the function; and then we were all the same: no different churches, no temples, no mosques etc. We were all the same.

2. My Family and other Animals by Gerald Durrell
This is a lovely book that you'll read & re read. It's soaked in the sunshine of Corfu & is a detailed account of the author & his eccentric family, their unusual friends & their hilarious yet endearing experiences on this beautiful Greek island

3. The Life of Pi by Yann Martel
Winner of the Man booker prize this book is the amazing adventure of the son of a zookeeper, stranded in the middle of the pacific in a lifeboat, his only companions a hyena, an orangutan, a wounded zebra, a 450-pound tiger. Storytelling at its very best

4. A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway
I love the way he writes and invites you into his world...making you wish you were part of that magical world, soon disappearing. "This is how Paris was in the early days when we were very poor and very happy," he concludes. I didn't want the book to end as that would mean leaving the world he so beautifully captured within his words

5. The Myth of Sisyphus and other Essays by Albert Camus
Sisyphus was a Greek hero who was punished by the Gods to ceaselessly roll a rock up a slope and just when he had reached the top after hours and hours of labor the rock would slide down. Imagine pushing up a heavy rock knowing that as soon as you got to the top it would roll down and you would have to start pushing it all over again. And you will have to do this over and over. Camus relates this to the struggle we face in life but what makes this struggle different is the hero's total acceptance of his fate, his rebellion of his very fate. The central conclusion is that just because life is meaningless does not mean that it is bad. The collection of stories published as Le Mythe de Sisyphe in 1942 was the second of the absurds.
[From Amazon] "The work has been cited by critics as refined and carefully crafted. The collection stands as more literature than philosophy. Camus spent at least five years writing and editing the work. The polish is clear with the very first sentence: "There is only one really serious philosophical problem, and that is suicide."

6. The Wall & other stories by Sartre
Containing 4 other stories, ‘The Room’, Erostratus’, ‘Intimacy’ and ‘The Childhood of A Leader’, this is another of my books that I rediscover regularly and always take away something different from. Speaking of ‘The Wall’... I love the story because it lays bare how we feel about life - hours before we are about to loose it. It’s so easy to romanticize death but when it’s breathing down your neck… you literally piss in your pants.

7. Blood Sucking Fiends by Christopher Moore
[Review taken from his site] Jody never asked to become a vampire. But when she wakes up under an alley Dumpster with a badly burned arm, an aching neck, superhuman strength, and a distinctly Nosferatuan thirst, she realizes the decision has been made for her. Making the transition from the nine-to-five grind to an eternity of nocturnal prowlings is going to take some doing, however, and that’s where C. Thomas Flood fits in. A would-be Kerouac from Incontinence, Indiana, Tommy (to his friends) is biding his time night clerking and frozen-turkey bowling in a San Francisco Safeway. But all that changes when a beautiful undead redhead walks through the door ... and proceeds to rock Tommy’s life -- and afterlife -- in ways he never imagined possible.

8. The Curious Incident of the Dog at Night-time by Mark Haddon
This amazing debut novel is written from the perspective of an autistic boy trying to find out who killed the neighbor's dog. It takes us into his life & how he processes information & how he sees the world. It’s a journey into the other side.

9. Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri
Jhumpa Lahiri's extraordinary, Pulitzer Prize-winning debut collection of stories is a bouquet of stories that offers snapshots of life... traveling from India to New England and back again. In these stories she sketches the tumultuous journey and the feeling of displacement and settling into a culture that is so different from yours that it almost feels alien. It's about love and the strength it gives to cross hurdles of nations, cultures, religions, and generations.

10. Like Water For Chocolate by Laura Esquivel
"In a style that is epic in scope yet intensely personal in focus, Laura Esquivel's Like Water For Chocolate tells the story of Tita De La Garza, the youngest daughter in a family living in Mexico at the turn of the twentieth century. Through twelve chapters, each marked as a "monthly installment" and thus labeled with the months of the year, we learn of Tita's struggle to pursue true love and claim her independence. Each installment features a recipe to begin each chapter."

11. Of Human Bondage by Somerset Maugham
I don’t think I’ve read an author who is so eloquent in his simplicity. I love this book because it’s frighteningly real…imagine falling in love with someone who’s flaws you are so clearly aware of and they are flaws that go against the very grain of your personality. This semi-autobiographical novel explores obsession - it’s the story of a crippled doctor's destructive and compulsive passion for a coarse waitress who ridicules him every opportunity she can get. After she finally leaves him, he finds a comfortable love with a novelist. When Mildred returns, will he take her back? What sort of misery and pain await him if he does? Why do humans allow themselves to be bound to another in this way?

12. The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck
This is another of my all-time favorites. I am fascinated by China and its history so love reading about it. I remember when I had first read this book years ago I had said about it…’ a story in every line. And I still stand by that review

13. One Hundred Years Of Solitude
Like the book before I first read this book years ago and fell in love with it…. The imagery in my head was so vivid it was unbelievable. Weirdly enough when I read it again years later I realized how much we let our rationality get in the way of our imagination and somehow loose that picture sharp imagination. Nevertheless it's a book I revisit ever so often.
“One Hundred Years of Solitude chronicles, through the course of a century, life in Macondo and the lives of six Buendia generations-from Jose Arcadio and Ursula, through their son, Colonel Aureliano Buendia (who commands numerous revolutions and fathers eighteen additional Aurelianos), through three additional Jose Arcadios, through Remedios the Beauty and Renata Remedios, to the final Aureliano, child of an incestuous union. As babies are born and the world's "great inventions" are introduced into Macondo, the village grows and becomes more and more subject to the workings of the outside world, to its politics and progress, and to history itself. And the Buendias and their fellow Macondons advance in years, experience, and wealth . . . until madness, corruption, and death enter their homes

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sage said...

wow, you REread all those--that's quite a list, did you read many new books?

Random Magus said...

I read a couple by Amy Tan...
Heard audio-books by Alexander McCall Smith... The Friday Knitting Club, Madame Proust and the Kosher Kitchen... The latest Harry Potter

On my current reading list: The Time Traveller's Wife
The Kite Runner
Catch 22

I LOVE reading

Anonymous said...

I love reading too :) And this "Thursday Thirteen" idea. After reading a couple of your and Titania's lists, I've finally checked out the official page and will join next week ^^. I find memes really interesting and fun.

Danielle said...

Like water for chocolate is one of my favorite books I have reread it many times and enjoyed the movie as well. Magical realism, recipes, romance and drama all wrapped up in one.

Happy TT

Be well and enjoy the day.

Random Magus said...

Wonder: Cool.. your lists are going to be a lot of fun... I can bet

Danielle: Its one of my favorites as well... thats one reason I haven't watched the movies because I'm scared as they always ruin good books

Robin said...

Thanks for the great list. Do you read any Nabokov?

Random Magus said...

I have read Lolita...when I was moving here I had to leave almost 5 cartons of books behind.. I still managed to get a lot. Unfortunately this was one of the books I forgot.
The books I left behind are in my hubby's uncle's library

Techsplorer (Eagan, MN) said...

If you enjoyed The Curious Incident of the Dog at Night-time then you oughta read Haddon's second book: A Spot of Bother. It is quite different from his first. I've reviewed both on my blog and enjoyed them both immensely. And I cannot say enough good things about The Time Traveler's Wife—another excellent read!

Random Magus said...

Techsplorer (Eagan, MN): I just finished 'A spot of Bother' it was great and have started 'The Traveler's Wife'