Skip to main content

My crystal ball of Kindle availability proved right for last week.  Room by Emma Donahue (Canada) was announced the winner of her group and will be going to Sydney for the big winner party.  In the discussion we agreed that this book was the last on our list to read.  I even had it in my hand as it is on the shelf at Target.  But I put it back.  So here is Room's second chance.  If you are into second chances.

Now on to the next group of 12 books.  This week they are from South Asia and Europe.  But the subjects are not limited to that geography only the authors.  I made an effort to link to the author's web site.  Some I couldn't find.  I think it is important to get a web site if you are writing before someone snaps up your name and makes you pay for the domain name.

The links make this next group is more like a shopping trip.  Most links have pictures of the author and the cover of the book.  

South Asia and Europe Best Book:

Lyrics Alley by Leila Aboulela (UK)

Lyrics Alley was inspired by the life of the poet Hassan Awad Aboulela. It is a work of fiction, filled with imaginary characters and situations and not intended as an accurate biography. My father often spoke to me about his cousin Hassan, who passed away before I was born.  from author's web site Leila Aboulela

The Betrayal by Helen Dunmore (UK)

Leningrad in 1952, a city recovering from war. Andrei, a hospital doctor, and Anna, a nursery teacher, are forging a life together. They try to avoid coming to the attention of the authorities, but their private happiness is precarious. Stalin is still in power, and when Andrei has to treat the seriously-ill child of a senior secret police officer, he and Anna are caught  in a web of betrayal.  from author's web site Helen Dunmore

The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell (UK)

Set in atmospheric coastal Japan, this epic story centers on an earnest young clerk, Jacob de Zoet, who arrives in the summer of 1799 to make his fortune and return to Holland to wed his fiancée. But Jacob's plans are shaken when he meets the daughter of a Samurai.  from author's web site David Mitchell

The Long Song by Andrea Levy (UK)

At a conference in London, several years ago, the topic for discussion was the legacy of slavery. A young woman stood up to ask a heartfelt question of the panel: How could she be proud of her Jamaican roots, she wanted to know, when her ancestors had been slaves? from author's essay on the writing of this novel on the author's  web site Andrea Levy

Sex and Stravinsky by Barbara Trapido (UK)

For all its fluidity, the story stands on the granite of a complex moral and emotional realism. This is especially apparent when the action moves to South Africa, Trapido's own birthplace. Here, Trapido demonstrates an insider's off-hand fearlessness. She does justice to the Shakespearean transformations of post-apartheid South Africa, to claims of birthright, revelations of terrible losses and gains and to the "loud, non-stop screaming that rises above the shrill hum of the crickets".  from a review by Helen Dunmore --- Barbara Trapido talking about Frankie and Stankie another book of hers.

Union Atlantic by Adam Haslett (UK)

video of Adam Haslett discussing this book.  This might be 30 minutes long.  I didn't get through all of it.  Working on this diary and household chaos.

At the heart of Union Atlantic lies a test of wills between a young banker, Doug Fanning, and a retired schoolteacher, Charlotte Graves, whose two dogs have begun to speak to her. When Doug builds an ostentatious mansion on land that Charlotte's grandfather donated to the town of Finden, Massachusetts, she determines to oust him in court. from the author's web site Adam Haslett


South Asia and Europe Best First Book:

Serious Men by Manu Joseph (India)

Excerpt from the author's web site Manu Joseph "AYYAN MANI'S THICK black hair was combed sideways and parted by a careless broken line,like the borders the British used to draw between two hostile neighbours. His eyes were keen and knowing. A healthy moustache sheltered a perpetual smile. A dark tidy man, but somehow inexpensive. "

Check out he journalism tab on his website.  You may be there for a while.  He has written some excellent and readable essays.


Saraswati Park by Anjali Joseph (India)

youtube interview of Anjali Joseph

The novel is set in Bombay, but concentrates on quieter aspects of the city, namely a banyan tree in Fort and the characters surrounding it. I’ve come across banyan trees in various works of Indian literature before, they often appear as focal points – so it’s interesting to observe how their significance unfolds in relation to the plot of the respective novel. In this case, the novel centres on the characters Mohan, his wife Lakshmi and their newly arrived nephew Ashish. Harper Collins writes that ‘As Saraswati Park unfolds, the lives of each of the three characters are thrown into sharp relief by the comical frustrations of family life: annoying relatives, unspoken yearnings and unheard grievances.’  from the interview by Sandeep Sandhu

The House with the Blue Shutters by Lisa Hilton (UK)

THE HOUSE WITH BLUE SHUTTERS. A place that has witnessed the horrors of wartime, the petty concerns of peacetime, and the secrets that bind past and present. A place where history echoes off every wall… ---  from the Atlantic Books Catalogue

Children of the Sun by Max Schaefer  (UK)

Max Schaefer's debut has wonderful material: Britain's gay neo-Nazis in the 70s and early 80s. Haunted by the politically and sexually ambiguous image of the braced and booted skinhead, it is filled with brilliant evocations of period atmosphere.  reviewed by James Hawes


Grace Williams says it Loud by Emma Henderson (UK)

Mostly, in the outer world, she doesn't speak at all. Whole stretches of dialogue pass, even though she's present, without a word from her. When they're putting on The Little Mermaid for the Briar's Christmas play, Grace longs to be the mermaid: she knows she could do it, she knows all the mermaid's lines off by heart. But it has to be someone who's "dry, and who could be relied on not to improvise". Grace makes noises, but they're not the right ones. "Stop improvising, please, Grace." Another year, she's allowed to be Sleeping Beauty – but only for half the play, while Beauty's asleep.  from the review by Tessa Hadley

Sabra Zoo by Mischa Hiller (UK)

"It's Hiller's evocation of the war through a teenager's eyes that gives this novel both depth and gravitas."

Literary Review   from the author's web site Mischa Hiller  (the first chapter is available to read here)


The winners have been announced

The Memory of Love
Happiness is a Four-Letter Word

Canada and Caribbean,
Bird Eat Bird

South Asia and Europe,
The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet
Sabra Zoo

South East Asia and Pacific.
That Deadman Dance
A Man Melting


If time were no problem, I would read (choice) next. Share what attracted you in the comments.

0%0 votes
20%1 votes
40%2 votes
0%0 votes
0%0 votes
0%0 votes
20%1 votes
0%0 votes
0%0 votes
0%0 votes
20%1 votes
0%0 votes

| 5 votes | Vote | Results

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  This is my first reading of one of your diaries (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    88kathy, inHI

    which, apparently, is part of a series. Thanks for the great list of books -- I've just come to a time when I'm in the market for a new stack.  Is there a place where I can find a description of the diary series so that I can tune into what's up with it?

    A tiny quibble. Your link to "Room" in the opening paragraph misnames the book.  It isn't "The Room" but rather, "Room."  I haven't read the book, so I don't know the significance of this difference in its context, but the definite article changes the meaning of the noun, for sure.

    The man who reads nothing at all is better educated than the man who reads nothing but newspapers. --- Thomas Jefferson

    by Alice Olson on Mon Mar 07, 2011 at 06:58:10 AM PST

    •  I was asked to do Award Winners and Best (0+ / 0-)

      Sellers.  I was asked because I suggested it as a series.

      Interest has fallen from 20 comments to 2.  This next diary may me my last.  

      I will probably finish Commonwealth Writers' Prize.   And then open up the 8:AM EST for someone in that zone.

      •  Sorry to hear this (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        88kathy, Limelite, cfk

        But time is an important commodity, and I understand what it takes to write and link a diary.

        I have bookmarked every one of your diaries.

        You've introduced me to an award series I did not know existed.  most of my reading is non-fiction, but I love international contemporary fiction.  I find the awards helpful in sorting out the best material.  I usually read from among the Man Booker awards and nominees.

        Now I have a new, and more comprehensive list.

        Thank you.

        •  There will be another one. And possibly an (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Limelite, cfk

          award I just learned about.  It's just early and I haven't had all my coffee yet.  First day of school.  

          I really do like best sellers and award winners.  I am fascinated with the 'also rans'.  I am glad they are giving those people some publicity.

          That is why I was very impressed with the Commonwealth Writer's prize.  They announce 48 finalists and narrow it down to 8 for the final prize which is £10,000 for best book and £5,000 for best first book.

          I know many people at DK4 are writers.  I hope they have gotten my message to get their domain name now and not wait.  Some of the authors who didn't have a web site looked like they were being sold their own name by a domain squatter.

      •  BTW Your Diary Has Had Over 40 Views (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        88kathy, cfk

        The read to comment ration averages around 3-6:1 in almost all R&BLers diaries.

  •  Thank you! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    88kathy, Limelite

    I agree that I like the fact that so many people are given awards.

    In other awards, I often disagree about the winner and love one of the also nominated so I agree those are interesting, too.

    Join us at Bookflurries: Bookchat on Wednesday nights 8:00 PM EST

    by cfk on Mon Mar 07, 2011 at 12:58:34 PM PST

  •  I am picking Serious Men because of (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Limelite, cfk

    Manu Joseph's essays on his web site.

  •  There Are at Least Three Titles in Your Diary (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cfk, 88kathy

    that are going on my LTBR (List To Be Read).
    The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet
    Serious Men
    Saraswati Park

    Try not to be discouraged by low activity.  You're in the wake of an incredibly busy day and I think some readers may be suffering from exhaustion!

    Also, it takes time to establish a successful series; you have to keep showing up, it doesn't happen over night.

    Funny you should have expressed your displeasure tonight because I was mulling over an idea about a diary on rejection suffered by so many authors whose books are now classics or who have gained Best Selling Author status.

    Speaking of Literary Prizes never heard of.  I just learned of the Craig Prize, exclusively for African literature.  Already 10 years old!

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site