Shafak uses the narrative structure of A Thousand and One Nights to construct a story-within-a-story, as the mystery of the apartments stolen garbage is considered from a variety of perspectives. There is the narrator, a womanizing, raki-swilling academic with a penchant for Kierkegaard; Hygiene Tijen, the clean freak , and her lice-ridden daughter Su; madly flamboyant Ethel, a lapsed Jew in search of true love, and the charmingly naive Blue Mistress whose personal secret is just one of many hidden within the confines of the building. Add to this a strange, intensifying stench, the cause of which is revealed at the end of the book, and we have a metaphoric conduit for the cultural and spiritual decay at the heart of Istanbul.
Elif Shafak - The Saint of Incipient Insanities
The Saint of Incipient Insanities is the comic and heartbreaking story of a group of twenty-something friends, and their never-ending quest for fulfillment. Omer, Abed and Piyu are roommates, foreigners all recently arrived in the United States. Omer, from Istanbul, is a Ph.D. student in political science who adapts quickly to his new home, and falls in love with the bisexual, suicidal, intellectual chocolate maker Gail. Gail is American yet feels utterly displaced in her homeland and moves from one obsession to another in an effort to find solid ground. Abed pursues a degree in biotechnology, worries about Omer's unruly ways, his mother's unexpected visit, and stereotypes of Arabs in America; he struggles to maintain a connection with his girlfriend back home in Morocco. Piyu is a Spaniard, who is studying to be a dentist in spite of his fear of sharp objects, and is baffled by the many relatives of his Mexican-American girlfriend, Algre, and in many ways by Algre herself. Keenly insightful and sharply humorous, The Saint of Incipient Insanities is a vibrant exploration of love, friendship, culture, nationality, exile and belonging.
Elif Shafak - The Gaze
A new title from the author of The Flea Palace. Shafak explores the subject of body image and desirability in women and men. An overweight woman and her lover, a dwarf, are sick of being stared at wherever they go so decide to reverse roles. The man goes out wearing make up, and the woman draws a moustache on her face. The couple deal with the gaze of passersby in different ways. The woman wants to hide away from the world, while the man meets them head on, even compiling his own 'Dictionary of the Gaze' to show the powerful effects a simple look can have on a person's life. The narrative of The Gaze is intertwined with the dwarf's dictionary entries and the story of a bizarre freak-show organized in Istanbul in the 1880s as the author explores the damage which can be done by our simple desire to look at other people.
Elif Shafak - The Bastard of Istanbul
'Wonderfully magical, incredible, breathtaking... will have you gasping with disbelief in the last few pages' _Sunday Express_ One rainy afternoon in Istanbul, a woman walks into a doctor's surgery. 'I need to have an abortion,' she announces. She is nineteen years old and unmarried. What happens that afternoon will change her life. Twenty years later, Asya Kazancı lives with her extended family in Istanbul. Due to a mysterious family curse, all the Kazancı men die in their early forties, so it is a house of women, among them Asya's beautiful, rebellious mother, Zeliha, who runs a tattoo parlour; Banu who has newly discovered herself as a clairvoyant; and Feride, a hypochondriac obsessed with impending disaster. And when Asya's Armenian-American cousin Armanoush comes to stay, long-hidden family secrets connected with Turkey's turbulent past begin to emerge.
Orhan Pamuk - Istanbul
A shimmering evocation, by turns intimate and panoramic, of one of the world’s great cities, by its foremost writer. Orhan Pamuk was born in Istanbul and still lives in the family apartment building where his mother first held him in her arms. His portrait of his city is thus also a self-portrait, refracted by memory and the melancholy–or hüzün– that all Istanbullus share: the sadness that comes of living amid the ruins of a lost empire. With cinematic fluidity, Pamuk moves from his glamorous, unhappy parents to the gorgeous, decrepit mansions overlooking the Bosphorus; from the dawning of his self-consciousness to the writers and painters–both Turkish and foreign–who would shape his consciousness of his city. Like Joyce’s Dublin and Borges’ Buenos Aires, Pamuk’s Istanbul is a triumphant encounter of place and sensibility, beautifully written and immensely moving.
Claudia Roden - Arabesque
In the 1960s Claudia Roden introduced Americans to a new world of tastes in her classic A Book of Middle Eastern Food. Now, in her enchanting new book, Arabesque, she revisits the three countries with the most exciting cuisines today—Morocco, Turkey, and Lebanon. Interweaving history, stories, and her own observations, she gives us 150 of the most delectable recipes: some of them new discoveries, some reworkings of classic dishes—all of them made even more accessible and delicious for today’s home cook. From Morocco, the most exquisite and refined cuisine of North Africa: couscous dishes; multilayered pies; delicately flavored tagines; ways of marrying meat, poultry, or fish with fruit to create extraordinary combinations of spicy, savory, and sweet. From Turkey, a highly sophisticated cuisine that dates back to the Ottoman Empire yet reflects many new influences today: a delicious array of kebabs, fillo pies, eggplant dishes in many guises, bulgur and chickpea salads, stuffed grape leaves and peppers, and sweet puddings. From Lebanon, a cuisine of great diversity: a wide variety of mezze (those tempting appetizers that can make a meal all on their own); dishes featuring sun-drenched Middle Eastern vegetables and dried legumes; and national specialties such as kibbeh, meatballs with pine nuts, and lamb shanks with yogurt. Claudia Roden knows this part of the world so intimately that we delight in being in such good hands as she translates the subtle play of flavors and simple cooking techniques to our own home kitchens.
Frederick Forsyth - The Day of the Jackal
The Jackal. A tall, blond Englishman with opaque, gray eyes. A killer at the top of his profession. A man unknown to any secret service in the world. An assassin with a contract to kill the world's most heavily guarded man. One man with a rifle who can change the course of history. One man whose mission is so secretive not even his employers know his name. And as the minutes count down to the final act of execution, it seems that there is no power on earth that can stop the Jackal.
Sue Townsend - Adrian Mole - The Wilderness Years
Wednesday April 3rd. I am twenty-four and one day old. Question: What have I done with my life? Answer: Nothing. Grahame Greene died today. I wrote to him four years ago, pointing out a grammatical error in his book, The Human Factor. He didn't reply. Adrian Mole has at last reached physical maturity, but he can't help roaming the pages of his diary like an untamed adolescent. Finally given the heave-ho by Pandora, he seeks solace in the arms of Bianca, a qualified hydraulic engineer masquerading as a waitress. Between his dishwashing job and completing his epic novel, Lo! The Flat Hills of My Homeland, Adrian hopes that fame and fortune will not keep him waiting much longer.
Julia Child - The French Chef Cookbook
From Library Journal: Child's TV career began in 1963 with The French Chef on WGBH-TV in New England. The show proved very popular, and this book contains all the recipes featured in the 119 installments. The text is buttressed with photographs demonstrating cooking, cutting, and serving techniques.
E. M. Forster - A Room with a View / Howards End / Maurice
In these three novels Forster explores a perennial theme - the contradictory demands of passion ans civilization and the difficulties of staying true to the best ideals of each. A Room With A View, Howard's End and Maurice combine wit, a love of nature, astute social criticism and a complex and sympathetic understanding of human nature.
Philip Roth - Everyman
Philip Roth's new novel is a candidly intimate yet universal story of loss, regret, and stoicism. The best-selling author of The Plot Against America now turns his attention from "one family's harrowing encounter with history" (New York Times) to one man's lifelong skirmish with mortality. The fate of Roth's everyman is traced from his first shocking confrontation with death on the idyllic beaches of his childhood summers, through the family trials and professional achievements of his vigorous adulthood, and into his old age, when he is rended by observing the deterioration of his contemporaries and stalked by his own physical woes. A successful commercial artist with a New York ad agency, he is the father of two sons from a first marriage who despise him and a daughter from a second marriage who adores him. He is the beloved brother of a good man whose physical well-being comes to arouse his bitter envy, and he is the lonely ex-husband of three very different women with whom he's made a mess of marriage. In the end he is a man who has become what he does not want to be. The terrain of this powerful novel -- Roth's twenty-seventh book and the fifth to be published in the twenty-first century -- is the human body. Its subject is the common experience that terrifies us all. Everyman takes its title from an anonymous fifteenth-century allegorical play, a classic of early English drama, whose theme is the summoning of the living to death.
E. M. Forster - A Room with a View
Lucy has her rigid, middle-class life mapped out for her until she visits Florence with her uptight cousin Charlotte, and finds her neatly ordered existence thrown off balance. Her eyes are opened by the unconventional characters she meets at the Pension Bertolini: flamboyant romantic novelist Eleanor Lavish, the Cockney Signora, eccentric Mr Emerson and. most of all, his passionate son George. Lucy finds herself torn between the intensity of life in Italy and the repressed morals of Victorian England, personified in her terminally dull fiancé Cecil Vyse, until she finally learns to follow the power of her own heart. A Room with a View was brought to life in a film starring Helena Bonham Carter.
Susan Ward - Lebanese Cooking
The strong influence of Arab cooking and a host of European culinary styles combine to produce the range of dishes that constitute Lebanese cuisine. This book provides a comprehensive introduction to the cuisine, discussing Lebanese ingredients and their uses, as well as local specialities. The recipes range from the quick and simple, to the more complex and exotic, providing a range of soups, salads, starters, main dishes, side dishes and desserts.
Gretchen Rubin - The Happiness Project
Gretchen Rubin had an epiphany one rainy afternoon in the unlikeliest of places: a city bus. "The days are long, but the years are short," she realized. "Time is passing, and I'm not focusing enough on the things that really matter." In that moment, she decided to dedicate a year to her happiness project. In this lively and compelling account of that year, Rubin carves out her place alongside the authors of bestselling memoirs such as Julie and Julia, The Year of Living Biblically, and Eat, Pray, Love. With humor and insight, she chronicles her adventures during the twelve months she spent test-driving the wisdom of the ages, current scientific research, and lessons from popular culture about how to be happier. Rubin didn't have the option to uproot herself, nor did she really want to; instead she focused on improving her life as it was. Each month she tackled a new set of resolutions: give proofs of love, ask for help, find more fun, keep a gratitude notebook, forget about results. She immersed herself in principles set forth by all manner of experts, from Epicurus to Thoreau to Oprah to Martin Seligman to the Dalai Lama to see what worked for her—and what didn't. Her conclusions are sometimes surprising—she finds that money can buy happiness, when spent wisely; that novelty and challenge are powerful sources of happiness; that "treating" yourself can make you feel worse; that venting bad feelings doesn't relieve them; that the very smallest of changes can make the biggest difference—and they range from the practical to the profound. Written with charm and wit, The Happiness Project is illuminating yet entertaining, thought-provoking yet compulsively readable. Gretchen Rubin's passion for her subject jumps off the page, and reading just a few chapters of this book will inspire you to start your own happiness project.
Charles Frazier - Cold Mountain
A soldier wounded in the Civil War, Inman turns his back on the carnage of the battlefield and begins the treacherous journey home to Cold Mountain, and to Ada, the woman he loved before the war began. As Inman attempts to make his way across the mountains, through the devastated landscape ol a soon-to-be-defeated South, Ada struggles to make a living from the land her once-wealthy father left when he died. Neither knows if the other is still alive. _Cold Mountain_ is an Odyssean voyage, encompassing all the human tragedy and waste of war, and a powerful love story. Moving and uplifting, brilliantly written and utterly compelling, Charles Frazier's first novel is a classic story made fresh by a spectacular talent.
Kahlil Gibran - A próféta
A Próféta bölcseleti hitvallás az élet lényegesebb dolgairól. Egyéni, mint minden hitvallás. Hiszen csak a tételes hit merevül szabvánnyá: az, amit hinnem kell, de nem az, amit lelkem titkos rekeszében föltétlenül hiszek és vallok, az Úr ingyen kegyelméből. Tartozzam az egyistenhit bármelyik szárnyához, mint hívő keresztyén, zsidó, vagy muzulmán. Gibran épp ezt a láthatatlant, megfoghatatlant és végtelent kísérli meg költőin tükrözni. Mert prófétává lenni minden napkeleti elmének egyfajta mélylélektani igénye. Hiszen "az ismeret csak eszköz az ismeretlen közelítésére". Az érzékelhető világ e tekintetben ama csipetnyit lenézett keret csupán, amelyen a lényeg vízióként árad túl. Mert a "való világ" - a vaskos, a durva, az egyhangú - nem érdemel látnoki figyelmet; annak figyelmét, aki lát. Aki nem az ésszerűt követi, mert hiszen "csakis a szív értheti mindazt, ami az ész számára talány marad". A víziót - az ember és a Mindenség örök viszonylatát - csak jelkép érzékeltetheti. Titkát sem tudná bárminémű "teljes ismeret" valaha is feloldani. Ekként jutunk el "a múlt súlyától szabadult jövő" közegébe, hol is a politikai hittevés ugyanúgy helyet talál, mint az életbölcselet, vagy a költői szárnyalás. Mert feladatunk közös: "egy fényesebb jövő kapuját kitárni". Gibran szerint, aki mindezt "hiszi és vallja", minden újításnak és minden törésnek egyetlen közös nevezője: az Igazság. Igazság híján a két ellentétes dinamika mindegyike értelmét vesztené. Az újítók és rontók ellentéte csak látszólagos: ki-ki az Igazságot keresi egy látszaton túli közegben.
Paul Auster - Sunset Park (angol)
Auster (Invisible) is in excellent form for this foray into the tarnished, conflicted soul of Brooklyn. New York native Miles Heller now cleans out foreclosed south Florida homes, but after falling in love with an underage girl and stirring the wrath of her older sister, he flees to Brooklyn and shacks up with a group of artists squatting in the borough's Sunset Park neighborhood. As Miles arrives at the squat, the narrative broadens to take in the lives of Miles's roommates--among them Bing, "the champion of discontent," and Alice, a starving writer--and the unlikely paths that lead them to their squat. Then there's the matter of Miles's estranged father, Morris, who, in trying to save both his marriage and the independent publishing outfit he runs, may find the opportunity to patch things up with Miles. The fractured narrative takes in an impressive swath of life and history--Vietnam, baseball trivia, the WWII coming-home film The Best Years of Our Lives--and even if a couple of the perspectives feel weak, Auster's newest is a gratifying departure from the postmodern trickery he's known for, one full of crisp turns of phrase and keen insights. Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Kurt Vonnegut - Bluebeard
Broad humor and bitter irony collide in this fictional autobiography of Rabo Karabekian, who, at age seventy-one, wants to be left alone on his Long Island estate with the secret he has locked inside his potato barn. But then a voluptuous young widow badgers Rabo into telling his life story—and Vonnegut in turn tells us the plain, heart-hammering truth about man’s careless fancy to create or destroy what he loves.
Kurt Vonnegut - Galápagos (angol)
Galápagos takes the reader back one million years, to A.D. 1986. A simple vacation cruise suddenly becomes an evolutionary journey. Thanks to an apocalypse, a small group of survivors stranded on the Galápagos Islands are about to become the progenitors of a brave, new, and totally different human race. In this inimitable novel, America’s master satirist looks at our world and shows us all that is sadly, madly awry–and all that is worth saving.
Don DeLillo - White Noise
Winner of the National Book Award in 1985, Don DeLillo's postmodern masterpiece is about Jack and Babette, a middle America couple with children from previous marriages. After a deadly toxic accident and Babette's addiction to an experimental drug, Jack is forced to question everything about his life.
William Faulkner - As I Lay Dying
The death and burial of Addie Bundren is told by members of her family, as they cart the coffin to Jefferson, Mississippi to bury her among her people. And as the intense desires, fears and rivalries of the family are revealed in the vernacular of the Deep South, Faulkner presents a portrait of extraordinary power - as epic as the Old Testament, as American as Huckleberry Finn.