Books to Read between August 2011 and June 2012

As I was looking through my Summer Reading List 2011, I realize that I have not been able to read many of the books on my list (there are 34 on the list!). So, as I look ahead to the beginning of the new academic year, August 2011 to June 2012, these are the books I ‘plan’ to complete (and, these are not re-reads, but new reads!). While this is not a complete list (I have a tendency to add books to my ‘to read lists’ every chance I get) I am keen to read the following because, either I have heard great things about the novels, or because they look interesting, fascinating, intriguing, and is something out of my ordinary reading.

Here is my newest list (which will be added to during the course of the next few days, weeks, months):

1. Eleven by Mark Watson

Summary (from Goodreads):

ONE MOMENT… ELEVEN LIVES… ENDLESS CONSEQUENCES

Xavier Ireland is the assumed name of a radio-show host with a devoted following of listeners riveted by the sleepless loners who call in throughout the night to seek his advice. Off the air, he leads a low-key life of avoiding his neighbors, playing Scrabble, and maintaining an awkward friendship with his cohost, Murray. But his life begins to change when he meets a cleaning lady named Pippa, who becomes a constant, surprisingly necessary presence in his life as he starts facing up to his past and discovering solace and redemption in the most unexpected places. British comedian Mark Watson’s North American debut humorously and poignantly explores life and death, strangers and friends, heartache and comfort, and whether the choices we don’t make affect us just as powerfully as the ones we do.

2. Thirteen by Richard K. Morgan

Summary (from Goodreads):

Like most other hit men, Carl Marsalis dreams of a quiet retirement, but those hopes vaporize when he’s picked up in Miami by the government. They make him an offer that he can’t refuse if he wants to survive. With that offer comes a dangerous new assignment and a threat that galvanizes his attention. A vivid near-future tale by the author of the Philip K. Dick Award–winning Altered Carbon.

3. Embassytown by China Mieville

Summary (from Goodreads):

Embassytown: a city of contradictions on the outskirts of the universe. Avice is an immerser, a traveller on the immer, the sea of space and time below the everyday, now returned to her birth planet. Here on Arieka, humans are not the only intelligent life, and Avice has a rare bond with the natives, the enigmatic Hosts – who cannot lie. Only a tiny cadre of unique human Ambassadors can speak Language, and connect the two communities. But an unimaginable new arrival has come to Embassytown. And when this Ambassador speaks, everything changes. Catastrophe looms. Avice knows the only hope is for her to speak directly to the alien Hosts. And that is impossible.

4. One of Our Thursdays is Missing by Jasper Fforde

Summary (from Goodreads):

Jasper Fforde’s exuberant return to the fantastical BookWorld opens during a time of great unrest. All-out Genre war is rumbling, and the BookWorld desperately needs a heroine like Thursday Next. But with the real Thursday apparently retired to the Realworld, the Council of Genres turns to the written Thursday.

The Council wants her to pretend to be the real Thursday and travel as a peacekeeping emissary to the warring factions. A trip up the mighty Metaphoric River beckons-a trip that will reveal a fiendish plot that threatens the very fabric of the BookWorld itself.

Once again New York Times bestselling author Jasper Fforde has a field day gleefully blending satire, romance, and thriller with literary allusions galore in a fantastic adventure through the landscape of a frisky and fertile imagination. Fans will rejoice that their favorite character in the Fforde universe is back.

5. Dona Nicanora’s Hat Shop by Kristan Hawkins

Summary (from Goodreads):

Dona Nicanora is a woman led by her dreams. She imagines adventures far beyond her small, swampy South American village, and ideally quite far away from her relentless family and neighbours. It’s quite simple: what she needs is the love of a good man, and a shop full of her own beautifully handcrafted hats. But Nicanora’s life is never quite straightforward. And from the day an entirely silent stranger arrives in Villa de la Virgen, strange happenings occur, and Dona Nicanora’s world is turned on its head.

Here is a bittersweet tale of hopes frustrated and fulfilled, with an irresistible love story at its heart.

6. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz

Summary (from Goodreads):

This is the long-awaited first novel from one of the most original and memorable writers working today.

Things have never been easy for Oscar, a sweet but disastrously overweight, lovesick Dominican ghetto nerd. From his home in New Jersey, where he lives with his old-world mother and rebellious sister, Oscar dreams of becoming the Dominican J. R. R. Tolkien and, most of all, of finding love. But he may never get what he wants, thanks to the Fukœ-the curse that has haunted the Oscar’s family for generations, dooming them to prison, torture, tragic accidents, and, above all, ill-starred love. Oscar, still waiting for his first kiss, is just its most recent victim.

D’íaz immerses us in the tumultuous life of Oscar and the history of the family at large, rendering with genuine warmth and dazzling energy, humor, and insight the Dominican-American experience, and, ultimately, the endless human capacity to persevere in the face of heartbreak and loss. A true literary triumph, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao confirms Junot Dí’az as one of the best and most exciting voices of our time.

7. Enough About Love by Herve Le Tellier

Summary (from Goodreads):

Any man—or woman—who wants to hear nothing—or no more—about love should put this book down.

Anna and Louise could be sisters, but they don’t know each other. They are both married with children, and for the most part, they are happy. On almost the same day, Anna, a psychiatrist, crosses paths with Yves, a writer, while Louise, a lawyer, meets Anna’s analyst, Thomas. Love at first sight is still possible for those into their forties and long-married. But when you have already mapped out a life path, a passionate affair can come at a high price. For our four characters, their lives are unexpectedly turned upside down by the deliciously inconvenient arrival of love. For Anna, meeting Yves has brought a flurry of excitement to her life and made her question her values, her reliable husband, and her responsibilities to her children. For Louise, a successful career woman in a stable and comfortable marriage, her routine is uprooted by the youthful passion she feels for Thomas. Thought-provoking, sophisticated, and, above all, amusing, Enough About Love captures the euphoria of desire through tender and unflinching portraits of husbands, wives, and lovers.

8. The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton

Summary (from Goodreads):

A foundling, an old book of dark fairy tales, a secret garden, an aristocratic family, a love denied, and a mystery. The Forgotten Garden is a captivating, atmospheric and compulsively readable story of the past, secrets, family and memory from the international best-selling author Kate Morton.

Cassandra is lost, alone and grieving. Her much loved grandmother, Nell, has just died and Cassandra, her life already shaken by a tragic accident ten years ago, feels like she has lost everything dear to her. But an unexpected and mysterious bequest from Nell turns Cassandra’s life upside down and ends up challenging everything she thought she knew about herself and her family.

Inheriting a book of dark and intriguing fairytales written by Eliza Makepeace – the Victorian authoress who disappeared mysteriously in the early twentieth century – Cassandra takes her courage in both hands to follow in the footsteps of Nell on a quest to find out the truth about their history, their family and their past; little knowing that in the process, she will also discover a new life for herself.

9. In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson

Summary (from Goodreads):

Isaac’s Storm, The Devil in the White City, and Thunderstruck have all proven Erik Larson’s ability to adroitly craft multilayered nonfiction. In his new In The Garden of Beasts, he demonstrates that gift again as he unfolds the often startling story of William E. Dodd, the first American ambassador to Nazi Germany, and his family. History professor Dodd was an unlikely choice to represent the United States in Hitler’s Berlin; indeed, he was FDR’s fifth choice for the post. His on-the-job education in the barbarities of the “New Germany” sometimes contrasted with that of his romantic, impressionable, party-loving daughter Martha. Larson places these very personal stories within the context of the ever-worsening events.

10. Tolstoy and the Purple Chair by Nina Sankovitch

Summary (from Goodreads)

Nina Sankovitch has always been a reader. As a child, she discovered that a trip to the local bookmobile with her sisters was more exhilarating than a ride at the carnival. Books were the glue that held her immigrant family together. When Nina’s eldest sister died at the age of forty-six, Nina turned to books for comfort, escape, and introspection. In her beloved purple chair, she rediscovered the magic of such writers as Toni Morrison, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Ian McEwan, Edith Wharton, and, of course, Leo Tolstoy. Through the connections Nina made with books and authors (and even other readers), her life changed profoundly, and in unexpected ways. Reading, it turns out, can be the ultimate therapy.

Tolstoy and the Purple Chair also tells the story of the Sankovitch family: Nina’s father, who barely escaped death in Belarus during World War II; her four rambunctious children, who offer up their own book recommendations while helping out with the cooking and cleaning; and Anne-Marie, her oldest sister and idol, with whom Nina shared the pleasure of books, even in her last moments of life. In our lightning-paced culture that encourages us to seek more, bigger, and better things, Nina’s daring journey shows how we can deepen the quality of our everyday lives—if we only find the time.

Advertisements

3 thoughts on “Books to Read between August 2011 and June 2012

Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s