Without libraries what have we? We have no past and no future. – Ray Bradbury
It’s no secret that I love libraries and recently I have been suffering with the worst reading slump. So I thought browsing some bookshelves other then mine would maybe help with the whole slump issue.
So a few weeks ago I popped into my local library on one chilly, crisp autumn Saturday morning to have a rummage through their bookshelves to see what treasures I could find. And let me tell you I definitely was not disappointed!
Here are the treasures I came across:
The Last Children of Tokyo by Yoko Tawada – “Yoshiro celebrated his hundredth birthday many years ago, but every morning before work he still goes running in the park with his rent-a-dog. He is one of the many aged-elderly in Japan and he might, he thinks, live forever. Life for Yoshiro isn’t as simple as it used to be. Pollution and natural disasters have scarred the face of the Earth, and even common foods are hard to come by. Still, Yoshiro’s only real worry is the future of his great-grandson Mumei, who, like other children of his generation, was born frail and grey-haired, old before he was ever young.As daily life in Tokyo grows harder, a secretive organisation embarks on an audacious plan to find a cure for the children of Japan – might Yoshiro’s great-grandson, Mumei, be the key?” Goodreads
The Nakano Thift Shop by Hiromi Kawakami – “Among the jumble of paperweights, plates, typewriters and general bric-a-brac in Mr Nakano’s thrift store, there are treasures to be found. Each piece carries its own story of love and loss – or so it seems to Hitomi, when she takes a job there working behind the till. Nor are her fellow employees any less curious or weatherworn than the items they sell. There’s the store’s owner, Mr Nakano, an enigmatic ladies’ man with several ex-wives; Sakiko, his sensuous, unreadable lover; his sister, Masayo, an artist whose free-spirited creations mask hidden sorrows. And finally there’s Hitomi’s fellow employee, Takeo, whose abrupt and taciturn manner Hitomi finds, to her consternation, increasingly disarming.” Goodreads
An Unrestored Woman by Shobha Rao – “The twelve paired stories in Shobha Rao’s An Unrestored Woman trace their origins to the formation of India and Pakistan in 1947, but they transcend that historical moment. A young woman in a crushingly loveless marriage seizes freedom in the only way left to her; a mother is forced to confront a chilling, unforgiveable crime she committed out of love; an ambitious servant seduces both master and mistress; a young prostitute quietly, inexorably plots revenge on the madam who holds her hostage; a husband and wife must forgive each other for the death of their child. Caught in extreme states of tension, in a world of shifting borders, of instability, Rao’s characters must rely on their own wits. When Partition established Pakistan and India as sovereign states, the new boundary resulted in a colossal transfer of people, the largest peacetime migration in human history.” Goodreads
Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien – “In Canada in 1991, ten-year-old Marie and her mother invite a guest into their home: a young woman who has fled China in the aftermath of the Tiananmen Square protests. Her name is Ai-Ming. As her relationship with Marie deepens, Ai-Ming tells the story of her family in revolutionary China, from the crowded teahouses in the first days of Chairman Mao’s ascent to the Shanghai Conservatory in the 1960s and the events leading to the Beijing demonstrations of 1989. It is a history of revolutionary idealism, music, and silence, in which three musicians, the shy and brilliant composer Sparrow, the violin prodigy Zhuli, and the enigmatic pianist Kai struggle during China’s relentless Cultural Revolution to remain loyal to one another and to the music they have devoted their lives to. Forced to re-imagine their artistic and private selves, their fates reverberate through the years, with deep and lasting consequences for Ai-Ming – and for Marie.” Goodreads
Teach Yourself: Complete Spanish by Juan Kattan-Ibarra – I picked this one up as I did Spanish back in high school between the ages of 12-14 and was actually in a gift and talented program for it but unfortunately did not continue with it when I chose my options for my GCSES and have low key regretted it every since. So, for while now I have been want to start learning Spanish again and decide that the time to do that was apparently now.
Men Without Women by Haruki Murakami – “Across seven tales, Haruki Murakami brings his powers of observation to bear on the lives of men who, in their own ways, find themselves alone. Here are vanishing cats and smoky bars, lonely hearts and mysterious women, baseball and the Beatles, woven together to tell stories that speak to us all.” Goodreads
Nothing to Envy: Real Lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick – “Nothing to Envy follows the lives of six North Koreans over fifteen years—a chaotic period that saw the death of Kim Il-sung, the unchallenged rise to power of his son Kim Jong-il, and the devastation of a far-ranging famine that killed one-fifth of the population. Taking us into a landscape most of us have never before seen, award-winning journalist Barbara Demick brings to life what it means to be living under the most repressive totalitarian regime today—an Orwellian world that is by choice not connected to the Internet, in which radio and television dials are welded to the one government station, and where displays of affection are punished; a police state where informants are rewarded and where an offhand remark can send a person to the gulag for life. Demick takes us deep inside the country, beyond the reach of government censors. Through meticulous and sensitive reporting, we see her six subjects—average North Korean citizens—fall in love, raise families, nurture ambitions, and struggle for survival. One by one, we experience the moments when they realize that their government has betrayed them.” (I picked this one up for #NonFictionNovember) Goodreads
Not only am I supporting my local library by borrowing its books but I am also helping to support the authors whose books I have borrowed. I’m extremely excited about the books I managed to find and cannot wait to read them all.
Have you read any of these books? If not, have you read any other books by these authors that you would recommend. If so, please do leave a comment below.
(photo is my own please do not copy/take/use without permission first).