Friday Finds -- Mar 05, 2010

Friday, March 5, 2010

Friday Finds

This meme is hosted by MizB at Should be reading. What great books did you hear about/discover this past week?

I came across some 'serious' books over the past week. I like it when that happens, or maybe not. My finds over a week, usually reflect the kind of book I am hoping to read next, and I have a couple of good books lined up for this weekend! I am thinking of going on a self-imposed read-a-thon, to give my much harassed grey cells a chance to rejuvenate.

My finds

Going after Cacciato by Tim O'Brien

I read a wonderful review of this book over at Dana's Rantings of a Bookworm Couch Potato. I have a fancy for books set during a war period, and this one stimulates my taste just fine.

In Tim O'Brien's novel Going After Cacciato the theater of war becomes the theater of the absurd as a private deserts his post in Vietnam, intent on walking 8,000 miles to Paris for the peace talks. The remaining members of his squad are sent after him, but what happens then is anybody's guess: "The facts were simple: They went after Cacciato, they chased him into the mountains, they tried hard. They cornered him on a small grassy hill. They surrounded the hill. They waited through the night. And at dawn they shot the sky full of flares and then they moved in.... That was the end of it. The last known fact. What remained were possibilities." 

It is these possibilities that make O'Brien's National Book Award-winning novel so extraordinary. Told from the perspective of squad member Paul Berlin, the search for Cacciato soon enters the realm of the surreal as the men find themselves following an elusive trail of chocolate M&M's through the jungles of Indochina, across India, Iran, Greece, and Yugoslavia to the streets of Paris. The details of this hallucinatory journey alternate with feverish memories of the war--men maimed by landmines, killed in tunnels, engaged in casual acts of brutality that would be unthinkable anywhere else.

 

I confess that it was love at first sight with this cover, when I saw it at Shelf Awareness. Those strong green and yellow hues and the beautiful setting had me in much before I read the synopsis. It makes me want to buy this book and own it, if only for the cover. But I'm hoping the book is just as mesmerizing!

In 1799, Jacob de Zoet disembarks on the tiny island of Dejima, the Dutch East India Company’s remotest trading post in a Japan otherwise closed to the outside world. A junior clerk, his task is to uncover evidence of the previous Chief Resident’s corruption.

Cold-shouldered by his compatriots, Jacob earns the trust of a local interpreter and, more dangerously, becomes intrigued by a rare woman – a midwife permitted to study on Dejima under the company physician. He cannot foresee how disastrously each will be betrayed by someone they trust, nor how intertwined and far-reaching the consequences.

Duplicity and integrity, love and lust, guilt and faith, cold murder and strange immortality stalk the stage in this enthralling novel, which brings to vivid life the ordinary – and extraordinary – people caught up in a tectonic shift between East and West.



Train to Pakistan by Khushwant Singh

I just heard about this book today during my email correspondence with a friend. The India-Pakistan feud is a topic that will kindle very strong reactions in every Indian and Pakistani. I have to say though that I've never read any books of that premise. Or maybe I have. It's hard recollecting when the news everyday has many stories to tell on the intense rivalry.

It is a place, Khushwant Singh goes on to tell us at the beginning of this classic novel, where Sikhs and Muslims have lived together in peace for hundreds of years. Then one day, at the end of the summer, the 'ghost train' arrives, a silent, incredible funeral train loaded with the bodies of thousands of refuges, bringing the village its first taste of the horrors of the civil war. Train to Pakistan is the story of this isolated village that is plunged into the abyss of religious hate. It is also the story of a Sikh boy and a Muslim girl whose love endures and transcends the ravages of war.

14 comments:

Aarti said...

Ooh, Train to Pakistan is good! I read it a few years ago, I think... it's definitely got a powerful punch. There are a lot of good stories around Partition in India/Pakistan, but that's a very good one. There's another short story that takes place in a hospital, but I can't remember what it was called...

Piyush said...

I recommend the Train to Pakistan as well. One of the best from Khushwant Singh.

bermudaonion said...

Great finds! The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet caught my eye too, but from the previous comments, it sounds like I need to read Train to Pakistan.

Christina T said...

Train to Pakistan sounds like an amazing book. Nice finds.

Here are my Friday Finds.

Diane said...

I'm looking forward to the David Mitchell book.

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

Interesting selection :) Happy weekend!

Wendy said...

I requested the David Mitchell book from Shelf Awareness (I LOVE his writing!!) and I really hope I get a copy :)

Terrific week in finds for you :)

Aleksandra said...

Wow, great finds!
Enjoy your weekend!

Cat said...

Excellent finds - I like the sound of all of them.

Alayne said...

Great finds! Mine is at The Crowded Leaf.

Emidy said...

These all seem so great! I'm sure you'll enjoy them. I love the cover of the second book you posted - it's so eye catching!

Emidy
from Une Parole

Dana said...

I definitely cannot recommend Going after Cacciato highly enough - I hope you enjoy it whenever you find time to read it! Those other books look great too!

Allison said...

Sounds like you found some good reads. I am now following you from Book Blog.
~Allison
http://luv-books.blogspot.com/

Aths said...

Aarti, Piyush, I am kicking myself for not having read Train to Pakistan! I need to read it soon!

Kathy, I agree, looks to me too that I should grab Train to Pakistan.

Diane, me too, girlfriend!!

Wendy, I requested too, and I sure hope I get it too. LOL

Emidy, that cover appealed so much to me too! :)

Dana, I really believe I will enjoy it too, thanks for reviewing it!

Christina, Juju, Aleksandra, Cat, Alayne, Allison, thanks! :)