Year of Wonders  by Geraldine Brooks
I have been putting off reading this popular book for ages and this maybe because I have such high expectations of it. Unfortunately, it is now a “topical” book too since it deals with a plague spreading in the year 1666. We follow housemaid Anna Frith as she tries to come to grips with her town’s horrific situation and all the scapegoating and witch-hunts that are ongoing. The novel was inspired by a true case of the English village Eyam and boasts some 400 pages.
The Midnight Library  by Matt Haig
Perhaps I have not read this book yet because it is so popular and I am afraid to be disappointed. The premise appeals to me: “Somewhere out beyond the edge of the universe there is a library that contains an infinite number of books, each one the story of another reality. One tells the story of your life as it is, along with another book for the other life you could have lived if you had made a different choice at any point in your life. While we all wonder how our lives might have been, what if you had the chance to go to the library and see for yourself?…Nora Seed finds herself faced with this decision” (Goodreads). In the past, such “magical” books as The Night Circus and The Book of Flying also fell well below my expectations.
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn  by Betty Smith
This is a beloved American classic which I am almost sure I am going to love, not least because I like coming-of-age stories and New York City settings. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn tells of “Francie Nolan and her bittersweet formative years in the slums of Williamsburg” (Goodreads). At some 500 pages, the size is quite intimidating, but I am sure the book is a pleasure to read.
Hopscotch  by Julio Cortázar
Translated from the Spanish, this story is about “Horacio Oliveira…an Argentinian writer who lives in Paris with his mistress, La Maga, surrounded by a loose-knit circle of bohemian friends who call themselves “the Club.” A child’s death and La Maga’s disappearance put an end to his life of empty pleasures and intellectual acrobatics, and prompt Oliveira to return to Buenos Aires, where he works by turns as a salesman, a keeper of a circus cat which can truly count, and an attendant in an insane asylum. Hopscotch is the dazzling, freewheeling account of Oliveira’s astonishing adventures” (Goodreads). This 500+page book presents quite a challenge. It is supposed to be dense and quite philosophical, full of interior monologues, and drawing inspiration from such varied sources as Joyce, Zen Buddhism, New Wave Cinema and “riffing” aesthetic of jazz.
The Moor’s Last Sigh  by Salman Rushdie
I find Salman Rushdie books quite an undertaking and something tells me that The Moor’s Last Sigh will not be an exception. In this book, Rushdie “combines a ferociously witty family saga with a surreally imagined and sometimes blasphemous chronicle of modern India and flavours the mixture with peppery soliloquies on art, ethnicity, religious fanaticism, and the terrifying power of love” (Penguin Random House). The story here concerns “Moraes…Zogoiby, the last surviving scion of a dynasty of Cochinese spice merchants and crime lords…[who] travels a route…from India to Spain, [leaving] behind a tale of mad passions and volcanic family hatreds, of titanic matriarchs and their mesmerized offspring, of premature deaths and curses that strike beyond the grave“(Penguin Random House).
Have you read any of the books above? What were your thoughts on them? If not, do they sound interesting to you? What books do you have on your TBR shelf that you are (intentionally or subconsciously) avoiding reading? See also my first 2019 instalment of, in this case, “10 Books On My TBR I’m Avoiding Reading“. From that list, I have already read Roberto Bolano’s 2666, Orhan Pamuk’s The White Castle, Thomas Hardy’s Jude the Obscure and Haruki Murakami’s 1Q84.