Friday, December 2, 2011

My book shelf now

I am recycling a post, which I had written a couple of weeks ago on the other blog site, but I have the slightest suspicion this part is still the step-child, nobody wants to look at.... 
In the meantime I have read A Mountain Of Crumbs and finished Falling Leaves, both related in their subjects, by two women, having written their memoirs coming from the East and Far East! It has been more then captivative reading, very moving, something I warmly recommend for everybody interested in history and the effects on our private lives. Both women immigrated eventually, at slightly different times, to the United States and it was with great interest that I, also a resent transplant, learned about their faith. I can relate, more then I sometimes can explain.
I will show some new finds of books about great design in a couple of days!
Here is the old new post:

I wanted to share some more books I have discovered lately, this time for adults. You can read about my children's and teen book recommendations here.

Let's get started: It's a fairly mixed bunch....

From the delightful Alan Bradley comes a new book in the Flavia de Luce series, which I adore! 
I Am  Half-Sick Of Shadows.
If an 11 year old English girl in the 1950's with a talent for chemistry and a nose for murder interests you only remotely, then you will be hooked....
This time it's another murder mystery right before Christmas at the crumbling Buckshaw Estate! 
If you haven't gotten a chance to read his previously written books, I very much recommend them. Absolutely charming!
Perfect for all Anglophiles! 

Another prolific writer, whom I have enjoyed reading over the years, is Bill Bryson. His latest book, At Home, now out in paperback, is another stroke of genius. He describes in entertaining and enlightening ways the history of home as we know it, and, perhaps, as we do not.  
It's a short history of private life and architecture in the English speaking western world from the times the Romans left England to present day America! 
Indeed: Bryson's enthusiasm brightens any dull corner!

Moving along: I have had read Lev Grossman's The Magicians and liked the book. It's fantasy/realism for adults and the comparison to Harry Potter or Narnia does not hold up to his skillful ways with words. It is interesting to notice, that the reviews are widely spread in all directions. From devotion to hate I have found everything. Personally I favor his storytelling and now the sequel has arrived. I will follow up with The Magician King, hopefully worthy its predecessor!

Sticking with a little more magical realism I am also looking forward to reading Karen White's The Strangers On Montagu Street
I enjoyed her previous books, in which she introduces the characters, always with a certain amusement. The main character represents the equivalent to the preppy WASP in the South! 
I feel it's a little antiquated that the author drives this  point home so strongly, but then, of course,  she creates the world the characters live in.  During this summer's break I have had plenty of fun following her around with ghosts in Charleston....It's light fare, but this is what I enjoy in-between...

Memoirs: I recommend three books. The first one - A Mountain Of Crumbs - by a Russian immigrant coming to America and her childhood and youth in the former Soviet Union. It is especially interesting for me, because I share many memories growing up under a communist regime. To read about her realities made me shiver.
She has been compared to Frank McCourt and his memoir Angela's Ashes. I guess this is already a great recommendation.

Another book which had me in it's grip from the first page is Adeline Yen Mah's Falling Leaves. The story of an unwanted Chinese daughter and her incredible journey into freedom, fulfillment and finally writing.

Of course, much has been said and written about Joan Didion's latest venture into memoir writing. After her highly acclaimed book The Year Of Magical Thinking she has now written about her daughter's death at the age of 38. Blue Nights.
I have reflected a little more about it here

Some of you might remember the German writer Bernhard Schlink, who wrote the bestselling story The Reader, which was subsequently made into the movie of the same title. (starring amazing Kate Winslet and Ralph Fiennes in the main roles)
There are many more great books by him, one I very much 
like is The Gordian Knot. Perhaps the translation from German into English suggests particular ideas (thinking of the Gordian Knot in history) but the more correct translation should be The Gordian Bow. Of course that doesn't sound remotely as good as knot and I guess this was the motivation behind the translation. The difference between a knot and a bow is obvious, the first is practically not to be easily unraveled, but rather  needs to  be cut in half, the latter can be pulled apart...There is of course some meaning behind the original title and this differentiation. Sorry to nit pick....
But go ahead and find out yourself! A classic noir thriller about love and deception.

Another book which has me sitting in anticipation is Alan Hollinghurst's The Stranger's Child.  There has been a wonderful interview with him on the Leonard Lopate Show; you can listen to it here. Just about everything in the story, set in England from the beginning  of WWI to the almost present days, has me all excited. Oh, go ahead and buy it already....

Finally I'll end this rather long post with my last book I have waiting in the shelf beside my bed....
The Night Circus.

Maybe it will be the right thing to do, to read it at night....
A little more magic and love and the spinning of one's imagination.... I can't stay away from it! 

But then again, we are in the right time for magic and believe!
Just a few sprinkles....

Happy Friday my dears!

All images via Barnes & Noble website.


  1. I am impressed with all you do and all you read. Very inspirational list.

  2. Victoria as I am an avid reader I am so excited about your selection. I will take more time to sift through and pick several. I always read at night before sleep!!

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