- The Body Where I Was Born, by Guadalupe Nettel
From a psychoanalyst's couch, the narrator looks back on her bizarre childhood, in which she was born with an abnormality in her eye into a family intent on fixing it. In a world without the time and space for innocence, the narrator intimately recalls her younger self, a fierce and discerning girl open to life's pleasures and keen to its ruthless cycle of tragedy. With raw language and a brilliant sense of humor, both delicate and unafraid, Nettel strings together hard-won, unwieldy memories taking us from Mexico City to Aix-en-Provence, France, then back home again to create a portrait of the artist as a young girl. In these pages, Nettels art of storytelling transforms experience into inspiration and a new startling perception of reality.
- Primeval and Other Times, by Olga Tokarczuk
Set in the mythical Polish village of Primeval, a microcosm of the world populated by eccentric, archetypal characters and guarded by four archangels, the novel chronicles the lives of the inhabitants over the course of the feral 20th century in prose that is forceful, direct, and the stylistic cousin of the magic realism in Gabriel García Márquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude. Told in short bursts of "Time," the narrative takes the form of a stylized fable, an epic allegory about the inexorable grind of time and the clash between modernity (the masculine) and nature (the feminine) in which Poland's tortured political history from 1914 to the contemporary era and the episodic brutality visited on ordinary village life is played out.
- The Bone People, by Keri Hulme
In a tower on the New Zealand sea lives Kerewin Holmes, part Maori, part European, an artist estranged from her art, a woman in exile from her family. One night her solitude is disrupted by a visitor—a speechless, mercurial boy named Simon, who tries to steal from her and then repays her with his most precious possession. As Kerewin succumbs to Simon's feral charm, she also falls under the spell of his Maori foster father Joe, who rescued the boy from a shipwreck and now treats him with an unsettling mixture of tenderness and brutality. Out of this unorthodox trinity Keri Hulme has created what is at once a mystery, a love story, and an ambitious exploration of the zone where Maori and European New Zealand meet, clash, and sometimes merge. Winner of both a Booker Prize and Pegasus Prize for Literature, The Bone People is a work of unfettered wordplay and mesmerizing emotional complexity.
- The House of the Spirits, by Isabel Allende
"The House of the Spirits is an enthralling epic that spans decades and lives, weaving the personal and the political into a universal story of love, magic, and fate. It brings to life the triumphs and tragedies of three generations of the Trueba family. The patriarch Esteban is a volatile, proud man whose voracious pursuit of political power is tempered only by his love for his delicate wife, Clara, a woman with a mystical connection to the spirit world. When their daughter Blanca embarks on a forbidden love affair in defiance of her implacable father, the result is an unexpected gift to Esteban: his adored granddaughter Alba, a beautiful and strong-willed child who will lead her family and her country into a revolutionary future."
- The Elephant Vanishes, by Haruki Murakami
"With the same genius for dislocation that he brought to his internationally acclaimed novels, Haruki Murakami makes this collection of stories a determined assault on the normal. A man sees his favorite elephant vanish into thin air; a newlywed couple suffers attacks of hunger that drive them to hold up a McDonald's in the middle of the night; and a young woman discovers that she has become irresistible to a little green monster who burrows up through her backyard. By turns haunting and hilarious, The Elephant Vanishes is further proof of Murakami's ability to cross the border between separate realities -- and to come back bearing treasure."
- Northanger Abbey, by Jane Austen
«In this spirited comedy of manners Catherine Morland, a plain, unspoiled small-town girl on holiday in Bath, meets and falls in love with Henry Tilney, a handsome young clergyman. Henry's father, believing Catherine to be wealthy, invites her to be a guest at Northanger Abby, the family's country estate. Catherine, who has read too many Gothic romances and who is possessed of too vivid an imagination, views the abbey as a house of nightmarish horror — an aspect of the book that gleefully parodies the fantastic Gothic romances by Ann Radcliffe and other popular writers of the period. An amusing assortment of misunderstandings and plot twists result in the satisfying romantic conclusion characteristic of the author’s works.»
- The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, by Junot Díaz
Oscar is a sweet but disastrously overweight ghetto nerd who—from the New Jersey home he shares with his old world mother and rebellious sister—dreams of becoming the Dominican J.R.R. Tolkien and, most of all, finding love. But Oscar may never get what he wants. Blame the fukú—a curse that has haunted Oscar’s family for generations, following them on their epic journey from Santo Domingo to the USA. Encapsulating Dominican-American history, "The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao" opens our eyes to an astonishing vision of the contemporary American experience and explores the endless human capacity to persevere—and risk it all—in the name of love.
- Betrayal at House on the Hill (Board game)
In the spirit of the book and movie for October, let's play a haunted house board game! The game is called "Betrayal at House on the Hill", and has great reviews all around. "This fun and suspenseful game is a new experience almost every time you play - you and your friends explore 'that creepy old place on the hill' until enough mystic misadventures happen that one of the players turns on all of the others!" We'll be playing one or two rounds (each one takes about an hour), and Anna will be hosting.