February Bibliolust

The length of this month’s list may be a bit deceptive. Actually, some of this month’s lust is already in my hands while more a bit down the road or somewhat nonspecific. Melville House’s announcement of The Neversink Library has me drooling but none of those books come out until summer. The longlist for the 2010 Best Translated Book Award provides plenty more for me to consider and one on this list. In non-translated works, the National Book Critics Circle Award finalists led to at least one book on this month’s list and the list once again demonstrates my reliance on our wonderful library. (In fact, half the books I’ve read this year came from the library.)

Blindness of the Heart, Julia Franck — This German novel is one of the books on the longlist for the Best Translated Novel Award. It is one of the few held by the local library but I was surprised to see there was a waiting list for it. Therefore, I am now on it.

Crime: Stories, Ferdinand von Schirach — The only work in translation on this month’s list, a favorable NYTBR review placed in on the list. The book is a collection of short stories based on von Schirach’s years spent as a criminal defense attorney in Berlin.

Endgame: Bobby Fischer’s Remarkable Rise and Fall – from America’s Brightest Prodigy to the Edge of Madness, Frank Brady — Unquestionably because of my age, I’ve always found Bobby Fischer an intriguing individual. From the 1972 Cold War-suffused chess championship with Boris Spassky to his seeming disappearance and descent into mental health issues, I only hope this doesn’t fall in the category of a “tell-all”-type bio.

Half a Life, Darin Strauss — I’d read of this book when it was released but, for whatever reason, it didn’t really entice me. Now that the book, a memoir stemming from Strauss striking and killing a classmate with his car nearly two decades ago, is among the finalists for the NBCC Autobiography Award, I got on the reserve list for it at the library.

How to Write a Sentence: And How to Read One, Stanley Fish — Various blawgs and litblogs have been somewhat abuzz about this newly released work so it is another of the books for which I am on the reserve list at the library. (And, I must admit, I was somewhat surprised it had it already.)

To a Mountain in Tibet, Colin Thurbon — This book is proof of how general interest in a topic and reading one book can lead you to others. Like many others, Tibet intrigues me so after I finished Escape from the Land of Snows: The Young Dalai Lama’s Harrowing Flight to Freedom and the Making of a Spiritual Hero in January, I looked for some additional new books on Tibet, leading me to Thurbon’s travel memoir about a spiritual trek in Tibet following his mother’s death. Although the book doesn’t come out until next month, I’m first in line at the library.

Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life, Karen Armstrong — I am a fan of Karen Armstrong and found her second memoir, The Spiral Staircase, particularly impressive. This book is a bit out of the norm for her but that perhaps makes it a bit more intriguing. My hold at the library came through quicker than I thought and, like another book on the list, it currently resides on the TBR shelves at home.

Report Card:

January 2011

Total Bibliolust books: 4

Number read: 2 (50%)

Started but did not finish: 0

Cumulative (September 2008-January 2011)

Total Bibliolust books: 154

Number read: 114 (74%)

Started but did not finish: 9 (5.8%)

In literature, as in love, we are astonished at the choice made by other people.

André Maurois, An Art Of Living

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