Skip to main content

Five books that have me gaga-eyed right now


It's been a while since I did a Mailbox Monday kind of post. Mostly, it's because I gave up on regularly tracking books. I love coming home every evening to packages at my doorstep, and then I spend some time staring at the book, reading a page, and trying to remember how the book came to land at my door. But opening my spreadsheet and keeping track of the books... yawn! Spreadsheet? What spreadsheet? I eventually do get to it, but by then the moment has passed, it's all business and schedules then, so blogging about the books doesn't come to mind. In addition, an overdose of ARC titles sends me off to the library often. I do end up doing a better job of reading the library books probably because they aren't restricted by schedules and usually I just read them right away.

That said, I was looking at the books in my immediate pile and decided that I was in a mood to showcase them. I won't be getting to any of the books for another two weeks (because their release dates are far off), but the library book is due back in 3 weeks, so that's probably what will get read first. See what I mean by library books not getting put off due to any reason?

The Map of Time by Felix J. Palma. I'm willing to confess right away that it is the cover that pulled me into this book. I'm not sure I have even a fair idea of what this book is about. Time travel? I do know that H.G. Wells' classic masterpiece, The Time Machine, has something to do with it. (Atria also sent a copy of The Time Machine with this book.) Moreover, the synopsis even has a mention of Dracula. I love books that have something to do with other books. Remember The Weird Sisters? All that reference to Shakespeare was just music to my ears (even if I am not a big Shakespeare fans). The Map of Time is actually a translation. It was originally published in Spanish.

Jamrach's Menagerie by Carol Birch. Didn't that title make your eyebrows lift up for a moment? Mine did, I promise. Jamrach's Menagerie was on the 2011 Orange Prize longlist, a fact that I just realized during the typing of this post. For some reason, that fact totally escaped me when I first saw this one online and then later when I received this book. This book is about all the things I don't usually read - there are plenty of animals, whale hunting, an adventure at sea. But it still has some kind of lure around it - a feeling of adventure that's pretty hard to ignore.

The Secret Lives of Baba Segi's Wives, also sometimes known as The Secret Lives of the Four Wives by Lola Shoneyin. I've been waiting since last year to read this. Being about polygamy (a topic that's disgusting and fascinating to read about) and set in Nigeria, this book is told mostly from the perspective of the youngest wife. I've been looking for different kinds of books on this topic. (The Lonely Polygamist by Brady Udall is another one that I want to read.) This book also was on the Orange Prize longlist this year. (Is it coincidence that I have two Orange Prize books on this post?)

Never Knowing by Chevy Stevens. This is one book I want to read but am also feeling a bit reluctant. I quite enjoyed her previous Still Missing, although there were aspects of the book that bothered me. What I did love best about Still Missing was the protagonist's voice and the pull of the novel, so that's something I would be expecting from this one too. I would be keeping my fingers crossed though that I don't get disappointed by her new book.

Blindness by José Saramago. At the start of this month, I expressed a desire to read more of Saramago's works. I had only read his The Elephant's Journey, which I loved, so after months, I'm quite ready to read some more of his books. Blindness is apparently Saramago's most famous work and it sure has a powerful concept for a plot - an epidemic of blindness. In a way, this book reminds me of that strange story I heard in childhood about a land of blind people where the one-eyed man is the king. I know Helen is reading this right now and I'm eagerly waiting to hear what she thinks.

So these are some of the books I'm pretty excited about right now. In the meantime, I'm reading and loving The London Train and The Picture of Dorian Gray (not the uncensored version though).

Comments

My son is a huge fan of The Time Machine - I'll have to tell him to look for The Map of Time.
Vasilly said…
 I love Blindness! It's one of my favorite books of all-time. I hope your enjoy it. Baba Segi and A Map of Time are in my tbr pile too. Happy reading.
Bibliophilebythesea said…
Aths, I hope that you love Blindness as much as me (read it twice).
Caribousmom said…
Well two of your books are waiting for me too! I just got Carol Birch's novel - and I agree...it looks fascinating. I also have The Secret Lives of Baba's Wives waiting to be read...looks great! I'll look forward to your reviews :)
christa @ mental foodie said…
I have reserved Never Knowing from the library.  I gave Still Missing 4 stars but there were parts that I thought was missing (no pun intended :) so we'll see how I like the 2nd book which supposedly tie in to the first one or something (can't remember and too lazy to check :)

christa @ mental foodie
http://mentalfoodie.blogspot.com/
Meghan said…
 Your choices look really good! Blindness is one that's been on my list for quite a while and I've seen good reviews of The Secret Lives of Baba Segi's Wives around as well. Looks like you will enjoy them!
Misha said…
All the books you've featured are on my rather huge wishlist too. The Map of time's cover is what grabbed my attention too - I admit I was very bored by The Time Machine but this looks very interesting.
I am dying to read Jamrach's Menagerie and The Secret Lives of Baba Segi's Wives especially since they were on the Orange Prize list. I am glad to hear that you're enjoying The London Train , which is another book I really want to read.
Jackie Bailey said…
Blindness is one of my all time favourite books. It is very different in style to Elephant's Journey so I really hope that you enjoy it. Be prepared for some disturbing scenes and some of the most thought-provoking writing you'll find. It is such a poweful book :-)
Athira / Aths said…
 I haven't read The Time Machine yet. But it's so small, I feel like reading it right away.
Athira / Aths said…
 Glad to hear Blindness is a favorite of yours! I've been hearing so much about it.
Athira / Aths said…
Wow! If you read it twice, then it must be really amazing! I will have to read it soon. 
Athira / Aths said…
Yay! Can't wait to read your thoughts on it! Both books certainly sound very exciting!
Athira / Aths said…
 Yeah, I did hear of some connection between Still Missing and Never Knowing - one of which is the same psychologist in both cases. But you're right about something missing :) in Still Missing, that kind of ruined the reading experience.
Athira / Aths said…
 I've been intrigued by the reviews for Baba Segi's Wives as well. I'm glad I can finally read it. I'm so looking forward to Blindness - so many have been recommending it!
Athira / Aths said…
 I haven't read The Time Machine, but it's small and I hope to read it soon. I am pretty excited about The Map of Time. There is some kind of feel of adventure around the book!
Athira / Aths said…
 I did read a page of Blindness and it certainly was very different in writing style from The Elephant's Journey. I think I will be able to read through the disturbing scenes, but I am happy that it's thought-provoking!
Samantha 1020 said…
Nice choices!  I have The Map of Time on my dresser waiting patiently for me to get the chance to read it.  I CANNOT wait!  I read Blindness two years back and it has still stuck with me.  It is one of those books that just doesn't let you go...I'm looking forward to hearing what you think about it.
Athira / Aths said…
 I cannot wait to start Map of Time either! Why won't the release date be here soon? I'm so glad you loved Blindness! It looks like it's going to be a thought-provoking read!
Darlene said…
I agree with you on the cover of The Map of Time. It is great. I haven't done a mailbox for a long time. I kind of got tired of doing it and I had stopped requesting books so my mailbox isn't all that busy now. I used to have a great system of keeping track of what was coming in too and got bored with doing it so stopped. Lol.

I hope you have a fantastic week and enjoy your books!
hcmurdoch said…
 The Secret Lives books sounds really intriguing to me and, as you mentioned, I am reading Blindness. Actually, I started to read it last night and then fell asleep because it was late so I am on page 10 or something pathetic like that.
Athira / Aths said…
It certainly is a lot of work keeping track of all the books coming in. Sometimes, I just like letting them swarm me. Have a fantastic week!
Athira / Aths said…
Hopefully, it's getting better? Or maybe it's a book that has to be read slow.  Either way, I'm hoping for a riveting read!
ashbrux said…
 The cover of Jamrach's Menagerie is beautiful! I think I'd want to read it just for the cover. 
Athira / Aths said…
I know, right! Every time I pass by my bookcase, that book just catches my eye. It's truly different! 
Aarti said…
I read Baba Segi last year and was pretty disappointed with it.  I just think it could have been much better than it was.  The cover is fabulous, though!

I also recently read The Map of Time.  It is HUGE and also left me strangely disappointed.  I think it could have been edited down to way fewer pages without losing much.
Lena said…
I want to read the Secret Lives of Babi Segi Wives too. It's on my list of books to read. Can't wait to see your review on it. 
Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said…
 Ooooo the Jamrach's Menagerie is gorgeous!
Jennygirl said…
Oh The cover for Map of time does suck you in.  I'm curious now too! And the polygamy book too.  I read The Red Tent several years ago, and the multiple wives dynamic as quite interesting.  Plus women are the stronger race anyway ;)  Happy reading.
Athira / Aths said…
I'm kind of worried that Map of Time is too long. I don't know yet if that's because it's wordy or because it's like a Tolkien book. Still, I'm excited about exploring it, but I'll keep my expectations lower. I did read mixed reviews about Baba Segi's wives and that's precisely what has me so curious.
Athira / Aths said…
It's a quick read - I can't wait to start it soon! Hopefully next week.
Athira / Aths said…
I agree - that cover is fantabulous!
Athira / Aths said…
I have heard plenty about The Red Tent - that's a book I simply must get to asap! Dynamics of women relationships always interests me!

Popular posts from this blog

Hell-Heaven by Jhumpa Lahiri (Short Fiction Review)

I first read Jhumpa Lahiri years ago, when her Interpreter of Maladies was making a huge buzz. At the time, I didn't catch any of the buzz, but for some reason, when I saw the book on the shelf at the store I was browsing in, I felt it just might be a decent read. Funnily, I read the entire short story collection without complaining about it, but for some reason, I cannot read any collection anymore without agonizing over its disjoint nature.

I did enjoy Interpreter of Maladies, but I did get bothered by the thread of loneliness and infidelity and distrust that laced through the stories. For that reason, I have been reluctant to read Unaccustomed Earth. However, when I came across Hell-Heaven at the NewYorker - a free short story from her book, I decided to go ahead and read it. I can't resist the pull of stories set in India or featuring Indian characters, and it is that same aspect that hooked me throughout this story.


In Hell-Heaven, the narrator contemplates the relations…

Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

Maybe that’s what religion is, hurling yourself off a cliff and trusting that something bigger will take care of you and carry you to the right place.
Bernadette Fox has a reputation. While her husband and her daughter Bee love her, there's barely anyone else who share the sentiment. Her neighbor Audrey loves to gossip mean things about her with her close friend, Soo-Lin. The other parents of kids at Bee's school look down on Bernadette because she doesn't involve herself in school affairs. Bernadette herself goes out of her way to avoid company.

And then one day, Bee comes home with an excellent report card and asks for her reward - a family trip to Antarctica. The very plan throws Bernadette into a panic but she has no other option. She hires a virtual assistant, based out of India to take care of all her demands, including getting prescriptions at her local pharmacy, doing her online shopping and taking care of some of the logistics of her trip. (It is ridiculous! Bern…

The Lottery by Shirley Jackson (Short Fiction review)

With the Hunger Games hype that engulfed us last week, it was hard to avoid all the discussion of similar works that existed. Of the many titles that I came across, two stood out particularly - a short story called The Lottery and a Japanese novel (and movie) called Battle Royale (which I'm reading right now and just cannot put down). The novel will be fodder for another post, so for now, I just want to rave about the awesomeness that was The Lottery.

In contemporary America, villagers across the country are gathering on the 27th of June (and some a day earlier) for an annual event called the Lottery. Children, women, men, all come to the main square of their village or town, where the lottery master keeps a black box full of paper chips. One of these chips is marked has a special mark on it to identify the winner (the person who draws that chip). Not everyone draws however, but only the head of the family. Husbands are viewed as the head of their families/households, and if the …