I spotted this tag on Clemi’s Bookish World, and though I am not a Taylor Swift fan (or maybe I am and just don’t know it yet), I decided to post the tag because the questions are interesting. My answers somehow ended up to be more French than intended, and I omitted the category: “Peace: A book character you’d die for because you love them so much” because I could not decide on just one. I am tagging everyone who is interested in doing this fun tag.
– The Tenant (Le Locataire chimérique) by Roland Topor – After finishing this psychological, existential book, I really did not know what to make of the ending – but it is definitely thought-provoking. The book astutely explores alienation and the search for identity in a big city as the main character begins to realise that his neighbours may have nefarious designs upon him. The film of 1976 is equally good.
– The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry – This whimsical classic French tale is moving and inspiring, but also somewhat melancholic. It was one of my favourite books growing up.
– Texaco by Patrick Chamoiseau – This is a tour-de-force of experimental writing and fascinating premise. This book is set in Martinique, France and is about slavery, and the battle for freedom and recognition. It is told through the unforgettable voice of Marie-Sophie Laborieux, a high-spirited woman whose family try to survive in turbulent times.
– The Emperor of Paris by C.S. Richardson – The premise of this book sounded delightful, promising romance and enchantment – Octavio, an imaginative boy, works at the Notre-Dame bakery in Paris when he crosses paths with Isabeau, who works at the Louvre and likes to lose herself in the paintings she restores. However, the book faulted disastrously on the execution – I thought it was rushed, disjointed and confusing.
– The Sorrows of Young Werther by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe – Maybe this book did not make me cry uncontrollably, but it definitely made me very sad. This is the depiction of a cry of a soul and emotional pain of Werther who falls deeply in love with the lovely Charlotte only to find out that she already has a match. This tale of unrequited love is an absolute classic.
– Martin Eden by Jack London – Perhaps I would have changed the ending in this book, but, otherwise, this is an extraordinary, criminally under-read book by Jack London. It felt like it spoke directly to me, telling me the ultimate truths about the human condition and society.
– Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne – This may not be “the” childhood book, but it was my childhood book. No other book from my childhood filled me with so much scientific and natural wonder. I used to devour other books by Jules Verne, but this one is the most memorable.
– Summerwater by Sarah Moss – This is one book that I am eager to plunge into this August/September. The blurb says: “On the longest day of the summer, twelve people sit cooped up with their families in a faded Scottish cabin park. The endless rain leaves them with little to do but watch the other residents.” It sounds like something understated I will enjoy especially since I am currently in the mood for something simple and evocative.
– The Diving Bell and the Butterfly by Jean-Dominique Bauby – This is a beautiful and inspiring book which I recommend to everyone. It is a memoir of a French journalist who suffered a stroke and found himself completely paralysed in a locked-in syndrome, a frightening condition where the mind remains functioning and perfectly lucid, but a person is unable to move, except maybe for their eyeballs.
– The Color Purple by Alice Walker – This novels centres on the lives of African-American women living in Georgia, US in the early twentieth-century. The focus is on a sisters’ relationship that endures in spite of the distance and various hardships. Racism, systematic oppression and domestic violence are just some of the topics dissected in his extraordinary novel. I could not pick up another book for a long time after finishing this one because I was still pondering the many issues that it addressed.
– Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut – I realise that this is a very odd choice for this category, but I just felt that I read this book at the exact right time (for me). It was many years ago now while I was going through certain academic and personal issues, and I distinctly remember being on the same wavelength with the maddening world of Vonnegut as he depicted the effects of the war with one peculiar and unabashed irony. So it goes.
– Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë – This is a boring answer, but here we go. I think Jane Eyre is a perfect heroine, and the book has a lot of emotional depth.
– The Black Book by Orhan Pamuk – I am currently reading this book and I cannot imagine any other which is more haunting. Set in Istanbul, it follows Galip, an increasing disillusioned lawyer who tries to locate his missing wife and his absent friend. The book explores the nature of identity, as well as cultural and psychological duality.
– Betty Blue (37° 2 le matin) by Philippe Djian – Betty and Zorg are a perfect, criss-crossed couple who find themselves at the opposite ends of their emotional and mental battles. Their love story is exhilarating, passionate and tragic.
– Bellefleur by Joyce Carol Oates – I follow Eric on his YouTube channel and I know of his passion for the writings of Joyce Carol Oates. Thus, I thought in Bellefleur I would find a perfect book for me because I love historical fiction books set in opulent houses where once-very-rich inhabitants suffer through a bit of an existential crisis. Not only the story and its characters did not capture my attention at all – I really struggled to get even half way through.