Every month, I bookmark some of the strongest book recommendations that I come across. Most are books I hear about for the first time, others are books I've previously not been interested in, but this particular blogger has managed to convince me otherwise. Then, I choose one title from the list and read the book.
So far, I've chosen two books via Blogger Recommends - Kafka on the Shore and The Wasp Factory, and it's interesting that I may not have read them (at least now), if not by doing this feature. And both books were amazing, making me look forward to my next choice. Now, I wanted to highlight some amazing titles and reviews I found last month, while I debate which one to read next.
My Top Five Finds
1. I'm sure I have read way too many books on the Holocaust - but then many are fiction or near-fiction. Auschwitz by Dr. Miklos Nyiszli is his eyewitness account about the horrifying medical experiments conducted on Auschwitz prisoners under the "Angel of Death", Dr. Josef Mengele. In his review, Zohar @ Man of la book does say that it was difficult to get through it, but I can't imagine passing off a book about a topic that I've never yet read much about.
2. The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka is now a very popular title, what with being a National Book Award finalist, but the first time I came across it was via Carrie @ Nomadreader's review. This book about a group of young women brought from Japan to San Francisco as "picture brides" sounds just fascinating. At just 130 pages, I wouldn't expect it to be holistic and deep enough, but apparently it is.
3. Amitav Ghosh is one of those authors I always mean to read, but somehow never get to. That dreaded thing called hype turns me away each time. So when Tiina @ A Book Blog of One's Own reviewed The Calcutta Chromosome, I thought this a better book to start with. Not having heard anything much about this, it's almost intriguing in its relative lack of hype. Set partly in the past, the future, and sometime in between, this sci-fi novel about malaria sounds very compelling.
4. Amara Lakhous' Clash of Civilizations over an Elevator in Piazza Vittorio caught my eye right away thanks to its intriguing title and the fabulous cartoonish cover, when I saw Marie @ The Boston Bibliophile's review. I love reading books that feature multiple (more than the customary 2 or 3) narrators - sometimes they might not be connected at all, and it's fascinating to explore life through the web of vague associations that exist between people.
5. Terry Trueman's Stuck in Neutral has a really fantastic theme - it's about a young boy who has cerebral palsy, because of which he cannot communicate with anyone or move his body. To anyone who has been in close proximity to someone with any kind of brain illness, the whole concept of not being able to reach the other person is more a harrowing reminder than just a fearsome thought. So when Helen @ Helen's Book Blog reviewed it, I had to go wishlist it.
Other titles that caught my fancy
6. Kindred by Octavia Butler - The Sleepless Reader. I already have this in my wishlist, but I wanted to say how much I loved Alex's review.
7. The Soul of a New Machine by Tracy Kidder - Sophisticated Dorkiness. Books about technology? You got me there! Especially one written so early as 1981!
8. Instant City by Steve Inskeep - Wordsmithonia. Nonfiction books about South Asia almost always catch my attention.
9. How to be a Woman by Caitlin Moran - Book World in my Head. I love books with a shade of feminism! (Note: my definition of feminism could be different from yours.)
10. There but for the by Ali Smith - At Home with Books. Another one with multiple narrators.
I'm still torn between two choices and might just read both of them. The Buddha in the Attic has finally arrived from the library after a long wait (I requested it when I first came across it). I also want to read Auschwitz. I would have imagined that after reading the somewhat-creepy The Wasp Factory, I would go for a lighter read, but this book sounded too good to pass up!