Books. My Top Five Picks for Autumn.

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Hello there.

I have to study a lot. The picture above is the library at my University where I spent many hours every day. This Master in Linguistics Program is no joke; however, I mentioned earlier that I will always find time to read for pleasure  just because I love books so much. And even though I am sometimes only able to read “for pleasure” for about half an hour or so before I go to bed, but it is worth it. A separate post on all the independent bookstores where I find most of my gems will follow soon. Today, I just want to share what I am currently reading and the books that are already patiently waiting on my nightstand/office desk. I also have to announce that I will officially review books for HarperCollinsCanada. How awesome is that? I was really excited when they contacted me I have to say.

Autumn officially starts on September 23rd, which means we are slowly spending more time inside with tea, books and reading, candles, cookies and all that good stuff. You need something good to read? Here are my top five picks for Autumn. Enjoy!

Emma Donoghue. The Wonder.  

“A village in 1850s Ireland is baffled by Anna O’Donnell’s fast. A little girl appears to be thriving after months without food, and the story of this ‘wonder’ has reached fever pitch. Tourists flock in droves to the O’Donnell family’s modest cabin, and an international journalist is sent to cover the sensational story. Enter Lib, an English nurse trained by Florence Nightingale, who is hired to keep watch for two weeks and determine whether or not Anna is a fraud. As Anna deteriorates, Lib finds herself responsible not just for the care of a child, but for getting to the root of why the child may actually be the victim of murder in slow motion. A magnetic novel written with all the spare and propulsive tension that made ROOM a huge bestseller, THE WONDER works beautifully on many levels—as a simple tale of two strangers who will transform each other’s lives, a powerful psychological thriller, and a story of love pitted against evil in its many masks.” We all remember Emma Donoghue from the “Room”!!! 

Walk Through Walls: A Memoir by Marina Abramovic. 

“I had experienced absolute freedom—I had felt that my body was without boundaries, limitless; that pain didn’t matter, that nothing mattered at all—and it intoxicated me.” In 2010, more than 750,000 people stood in line at Marina Abramović’s MoMA retrospective for the chance to sit across from her and communicate with her nonverbally in an unprecedented durational performance that lasted more than 700 hours. This celebration of nearly fifty years of groundbreaking performance art demonstrated once again that Marina Abramović is truly a force of nature. The child of Communist war-hero parents under Tito’s regime in postwar Yugoslavia, she was raised with a relentless work ethic. Even as she was beginning to build an international artistic career, Marina lived at home under her mother’s abusive control, strictly obeying a 10 p.m. curfew. But nothing could quell her insatiable curiosity, her desire to connect with people, or her distinctly Balkan sense of humor—all of which informs her art and her life. The beating heart of Walk Through Walls is an operatic love story—a twelve-year collaboration with fellow performance artist Ulay, much of which was spent penniless in a van traveling across Europe—a relationship that began to unravel and came to a dramatic end atop the Great Wall of China. Marina’s story, by turns moving, epic, and dryly funny, informs an incomparable artistic career that involves pushing her body past the limits of fear, pain, exhaustion, and danger in an uncompromising quest for emotional and spiritual transformation. A remarkable work of performance in its own right, Walk Through Walls is a vivid and powerful rendering of the unparalleled life of an extraordinary artist.

[I have met her in 2010 at the MOMA so it is especially awesome to read this amazing book by Marina Abramovic. Check out this video, too!] 

The Gaslight. Steven Price. 

“London, 1885. In a city of fog and darkness, the notorious thief Edward Shade exists only as a ghost, a fabled con, a thief of other men’s futures — a man of smoke. William Pinkerton is already famous, the son of a brutal detective, when he descends into the underworld of Victorian London in pursuit of a new lead. His father died without ever tracing Shade; William, still reeling from his loss, is determined to drag the thief out of the shadows. Adam Foole is a gentleman without a past, haunted by a love affair ten years gone. When he receives a letter from his lost beloved, he returns to London in search of her; what he learns of her fate, and its connection to the man known as Shade, will force him to confront a grief he thought long-buried. What follows is a fog-enshrouded hunt through sewers, opium dens, drawing rooms, and seance halls. Above all, it is the story of the most unlikely of bonds: between William Pinkerton, the greatest detective of his age, and Adam Foole, the one man who may hold the key to finding Edward Shade.
Epic in scope, brilliantly conceived, and stunningly written, Steven Price’s By Gaslight is a riveting, atmospheric portrait of two men on the brink. Moving from the diamond mines of South Africa to the battlefields of the Civil War, the novel is a journey into a cityscape of grief, trust, and its breaking, where what we share can bind us even against our darker selves.”

Brain on Fire. Susannah Cahalan. 

“An award-winning memoir and instant New York Times bestseller that goes far beyond its riveting medical mystery, Brain on Fire is the powerful account of one woman’s struggle to recapture her identity.

When twenty-four-year-old Susannah Cahalan woke up alone in a hospital room, strapped to her bed and unable to move or speak, she had no memory of how she’d gotten there. Days earlier, she had been on the threshold of a new, adult life: at the beginning of her first serious relationship and a promising career at a major New York newspaper. Now she was labeled violent, psychotic, a flight risk. What happened?

In a swift and breathtaking narrative, Susannah tells the astonishing true story of her descent into madness, her family’s inspiring faith in her, and the lifesaving diagnosis that nearly didn’t happen. “A fascinating look at the disease that . . . could have cost this vibrant, vital young woman her life” (People), Brain on Fire is an unforgettable exploration of memory and identity, faith and love, and a profoundly compelling tale of survival and perseverance that is destined to become a classic.”

On Writers and Writing. Margaret Atwood.

“A brilliant, ambitious, insightful inquiry into the art of writing from the legendary Margaret Atwood. What do we mean when we say that someone is a writer? Is he or she an entertainer? A high priest of the god of Art? An improver of readers’ minds and morals? Looking back on her own childhood and the development of her writing career, Margaret Atwood addresses the riddle of her own art. Her wide-ranging reference to other writers, living and dead, is accompanied by personal anecdotes from her own experiences as a writer. The lightness of her touch is offset by a seriousness about the purpose and the pleasures of writing. Wise, candid, informative, and engaging, On Writers and Writing provides an insider’s view of the writer’s universe, written by one of the most celebrated writers of our time.” 

Since I moved to Canada, I want to read as much CanLit as possible but these days I am stuck with Margaret Atwood. What an amazing writer. 

What are you reading or recommending? I would love to hear from you. 

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