Thursday, April 05, 2012

A New List!

My Mortal Enemy seems to have been a really good choice for us! I really enjoyed reading all the posts and also the comments on the discussion forum. I'm happy to have been tagged to put up our next short list of selections: I hope there's something here that works as well for as many people. It's a pretty random assortment - except that I realized as I was setting up the links that three of them are NYRB Classics titles! They all just look interesting to me.

Alaa Al Aswany, The Yacoubian Building: "Some live in squalor on its rooftop, others inhabit the faded glory of its apartments and offices - here a womanizing aristocrat, there the secretly gay editor of Le Caire newspaper. Religious fervour jostles with promiscuity; bribery and exploitation with joy and elation; modern life with ancient culture."

Ivy Compton-Burnett, A House and Its Head: A House and Its Head is Ivy Compton-Burnett's subversive look at the politics of family life, and perhaps the most unsparing of her novels. No sooner has Duncan Edgeworth's wife died than he takes a new, much younger bride whose willful ways provoke a series of transgressions that begins with adultery and ends, much to everyone's relief, in murder."

J. G. Farrell, The Siege of Krishnapur: "Farrell's story is set in an isolated Victorian outpost on the subcontinent. Rumors of strife filter in from afar, and yet the members of the colonial community remain confident of their military and, above all, moral superiority. But when they find themselves under actual siege, the true character of their dominion—at once brutal, blundering, and wistful—is soon revealed."

Penelope Lively, City of the Mind: "Wherever architect Matthew Halland looks in London, the city offers him its history - and his own. Here lie memories of his boyhood, his daughter Jane's early years and his failed marriage. Here too is the London of prehistory, of grander times and of the Blitz. But Matthew is occupied with constructing a new future for London in Docklands, and as he strives to look ahead for the city he begins tentatively to forge new beginnings of his own."

David Mitchell, Black Swan Green: "a single year in what is, for thirteen-year-old Jason Taylor, the sleepiest village in muddiest Worcestershire in a dying Cold War England, 1982. But the thirteen chapters, each a short story in its own right, create an exquisitely observed world that is anything but sleepy."

Elizabeth Taylor, Angel: "Angelica Deverell lives above her diligent, drab mother’s grocery shop in a dreary turn-of-the-century English neighborhood, but spends her days dreaming of handsome Paradise House, where her aunt is enthroned as a maid. But in Angel’s imagination, she is the mistress of the house, a realm of lavish opulence, of evening gowns and peacocks. Then she begins to write popular novels, and this fantasy becomes her life. And now that she has tasted success, Angel has no intention of letting anyone stand in her way—except, perhaps, herself."

Let the voting begin! I'll tally the results by next Friday (April 13).




Stefanie said...

So hard to choose because several of these are on my TBR list! I'll go with City of the Mind but I will happily read any of them. Nice list Rohan :)

Danielle said...

Maybe if I don't vote on one specific one I will be better at reading and participating next time around? :) So, that's to say, I'm happy to read any--nice choices!

litlove said...

Hmm, tricky choice! I'd be happy to read any of them (and have read Angel, only so long ago I have forgotten all the details and would willingly read it again - it was good). I think I will probably go, though, with Black Swan Green as Mr Litlove read it a couple of years ago and really enjoyed it.

SFP said...

I'm voting for The Yacoubian Building, which I bought last year after it was suggested for the Slaves, but I'd be fine with any of these titles. I brought Angel home from the library a couple weeks back, and own the Compton-Burnett, Farrell and Mitchell (I've read the last two of those).

Rebecca H. said...

I'll vote for Angel -- and I'll try to participate this time around!

Colleen said...

Hello! I haven't participated before but am going to try. I vote for The Yacoubian Building!

Rohan said...

So: 1 for City of the Mind, 1 for Black Swan Green, 1 for Angel, 2 for Yacoubian Building! Hardly a landslide but majority rules, and most seem happy with whichever, so Yacoubian Building it is.