Once again it has become more than necessary for me to sort through the stuff in the long-neglected basement. And I’m coming across lots of unread books that desperately deserve to be read. Once again I’m resolving to read more from my own shelves. I’m hoping that listing them will be a reminder to keep my focus on the books I have, rather than on the ones I want. So here’s a selection of some of the books I rediscovered.
The Alienist, Caleb Carr: “fast-paced and riveting, infused with historical detail, The Alienist conjures up Gilded Age New York” (a ripsnoter of a plot, according to the Arizona Daily Star)
First sentences: Theodore is in the ground. The words as I write them make as little sense as did the sight of his coffin descending into a patch of sandy soil near Sagamore Hill, the place he loved more than any other on earth.
Apples Are from Kazakhstan, Christopher Robbins: “few would guess that Kazakhstan—a blank in Westerners’ collective geography—turns out to be diverse, tolerant, and surprisingly modern”
First sentence: A very ordinary man was seated beside me on the flight from London to Moscow, and when I look back and try to remember him I realize he was spectacular in his ordinariness.
As If I Am Not There, Slavenka Drakulic: “a story of hope and survival amidst the Balkan tragedy”
First sentences: The child is lying naked in his cot. He is stretched out on a sheet, perfectly still, his arms and legs splayed, like someone surrendering.
Bonita Avenue, Peter Buwalda: ”
First sentence: When Joni Sigerius first took Aaron to meet her parents at their converted farmhouse one Sunday afternoon in 1996, her father’s handshake was so firm it hurt.
Chronicle in Stone, Ismail Kadare: “a touching coming-of-age story and a testament to the perseverance of the human spirit”
First sentence: It was a strange city, and seemed to have been cast up in the valley one winter’s night like some prehistoric creature that was now clawing its way up the mountainside.