Welcome to Part 2 of Down the TBR Hole! I have WAY too many books on my goodreads TBR, so I’m going from the beginning to see what I can get rid of to slim it down a bit. Off we go!
The Death of the Moth and Other Essays by Virginia Woolf
A highly acclaimed collection of twenty-eight essays, sketches, and short stories presenting nearly every facet of the author’s work.
I do enjoy Virginia Woolf very much, but I’ve got a lot more pressing things to read at the moment. Besides, my copy is all the way across the country. I’m gonna get rid of it for now. GO
The Beautifull Cassandra by Jane Austen
‘She has many rare and charming qualities, but Sobriety is not one of them.’
A selection of Austen’s dark and hilarious early writings – featuring murder, drunkenness, perjury, theft, poisoning, women breaking out of prison, men forging wills and babies biting off their mothers’ fingers…
I bought this absolutely ages ago, when I was in a real classics kick. I don’t have any real urge to read this anymore, especially after reading reviews saying this is not as good as her novels. GO
Death and the Penguin by Andrey Kurkov
Viktor is an aspiring writer with only Misha, his pet penguin, for company. Although he would prefer to write short stories, he earns a living composing obituaries for a newspaper. He longs to see his work published, yet the subjects of his obituaries continue to cling to life. But when he opens the newspaper to see his work in print for the first time, his pride swiftly turns to terror. He and Misha have been drawn into a trap from which there appears to be no escape.
While this sounds really interesting, and I am looking to read more translated fiction, I don’t think I’m going to get the satire. It often goes straight over my head. GO
One Night, Markovitch by Ayelet Gundar-Goshen
Captain Corelli’s Mandolin meets The Marrying of Chani Kaufman in this cinematic novel about the birth of Israel and the true story of the marriages of convenience that were arranged to smuggle Jewish women out of Nazi-occupied Europe.
On the eve of World War II, a ship bearing twenty young men sets sail from the Palestine Territory toward Europe. Eagerly awaiting them on the other side are twenty young women, whom the men have never met. They have been set up in arranged marriages to enable Jewish women to escape Nazi Germany and enter Palestine without being turned back by the British.
But when Yaacov Markovitch, a thoroughly unremarkable man, finds himself married to Bella Zeigerman, the most beautiful woman he has ever set eyes upon, things start to get complicated. Yaacov’s fake marriage is the beginning of a lifelong obsession, as he vows to make his beautiful bride, Bella, love him, despite her determination to break free. Their changing fortunes take them through war, upheaval, terrible secrets, tragedy, joy, and loss.
This is just such an interesting summary that I can’t help but decide to KEEP.
Chasing the King of Hearts by Hanna Krall
An extraordinary love story, spanning 60 years, from 1939 to 2000, from the Warsaw Ghetto to Israel.
‘This is the last leg of my journey. It would be silly to lose my mind now. ‘After the deportation of her husband to Auschwitz, Izolda Regenberg, alias Maria Pawlicka, has only one aim: to free her husband. Her race to beat fate might appear absurd to others, but not to her. In times of war and destruction she learns to trust herself.
Again, KEEP. I believe this is translated, and like I said, I really do want to read more translated works.
Death by Water by Kenzaburo Oe
Kenzaburo Oe was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature for creating “an imagined world, where life and myth condense to form a disconcerting picture of the human predicament today.” In Death by Water, his recurring protagonist and literary alter-ego returns to his hometown village in search of a red suitcase fabled to hold documents revealing the details of his father’s death during WWII: details that will serve as the foundation for his new, and final, novel.
Since his youth, renowned novelist Kogito Choko planned to fictionalize his father’s fatal drowning in order to fully process the loss. Stricken with guilt and regret over his failure to rescue his father, Choko has long been driven to discover why his father was boating on the river in a torrential storm. Though he remembers overhearing his father and a group of soldiers discussing an insurgent scheme to stage a suicide attack on Emperor Mikado, Choko cannot separate his memories from imagination and his family is hesitant to reveal the entire story. When the contents of the trunk turn out to offer little clarity, Choko abandons the novel in creative despair. Floundering as an artist, he’s haunted by fear that he may never write his tour de force. But when he collaborates with an avant-garde theater troupe dramatizing his early novels, Kogito is revitalized by revisiting his formative work and he finds the will to continue investigating his father’s demise.
I’ve got a copy of this, so KEEP. I enjoy books within books, and I’m interested to see how this plays out.
The Monogram Murders by Sophie Hannah
‘I’m a dead woman, or I shall be soon…’
Hercule Poirot’s quiet supper in a London coffeehouse is interrupted when a young woman confides to him that she is about to be murdered. She is terrified – but begs Poirot not to find and punish her killer. Once she is dead, she insists, justice will have been done.
Later that night, Poirot learns that three guests at a fashionable London Hotel have been murdered, and a cufflink has been placed in each one’s mouth. Could there be a connection with the frightened woman? While Poirot struggles to put together the bizarre pieces of the puzzle, the murderer prepares another hotel bedroom for a fourth victim…
I lent this to a friend and he said it wasn’t great, so GO.
What Belongs To You by Garth Greenwell
On an unseasonably warm autumn day, an American teacher enters a public bathroom beneath Sofia’s National Palace of Culture. There he meets Mitko, a charismatic young hustler, and pays him for sex. He returns to Mitko again and again over the next few months, drawn by hunger and loneliness and risk, and finds himself ensnared in a relationship in which lust leads to mutual predation, and tenderness can transform into violence. As he struggles to reconcile his longing with the anguish it creates, he’s forced to grapple with his own fraught history, the world of his southern childhood where to be queer was to be a pariah. There are unnerving similarities between his past and the foreign country he finds himself in, a country whose geography and griefs he discovers as he learns more of Mitko’s own narrative, his private history of illness, exploitation, and want.
I’ve read quite a few good reviews of this, so KEEP.
The Memory of Lost Dreams by Davon M. Custis
Malik Soules has never seen such an amazing sight. There lay the city of Imperia: gutted, destroyed, cracked with broken windows, every skyscraper went slanted within this deep underground cavern.
What happened to this place so long ago?
He accidentally stumbles upon a machine called REQUIEM. By mistake, it sends him into a strange new world: where futuristic technology rules and sheer terror fills the hearts of ordinary citizens.
He can’t seem to escape this nightmarish dream!
I honestly can’t remember why I added this to my TBR? GO
Missoula: Rape and Justice in a College Town by Jon Krakauer
Missoula, Montana is a typical college town, home to a highly regarded state university whose beloved football team inspires a passionately loyal fan base. Between January 2008 and May 2012, hundreds of students reported sexual assaults to the local police. Few of the cases were properly handled by either the university or local authorities. In this, Missoula is also typical.
In these pages, acclaimed journalist Jon Krakauer investigates a spate of campus rapes that occurred in Missoula over a four-year period. Taking the town as a case study for a crime that is sadly prevalent throughout the nation, Krakauer documents the experiences of five victims: their fear and self-doubt in the aftermath; the skepticism directed at them by police, prosecutors, and the public; their bravery in pushing forward and what it cost them. These stories cut through abstract ideological debate about acquaintance rape to demonstrate that it does not happen because women are sending mixed signals or seeking attention. They are victims of a terrible crime, deserving of fairness from our justice system. Rigorously researched, rendered in incisive prose, Missoula stands as an essential call to action.
I enjoy Krakauer’s investigative journalism, and I think he’s finally talking about a topic that interests me. KEEP.
So, what do you think? Should I reconsider any of these books? What does your TBR look like? Let me know!