Saturday, 19 June 2010

On My Wishlist


On My Wishlist is a fun weekly event hosted by Book Chick City and runs every Saturday. It's where I list all the books I desperately want but haven't actually bought yet.

Oh gee my wishlist is longer then my arm, if not my whole body! I haven’t bought a book in a month so far due to my self-imposed book ban and it is killing me.


Hotel Iris by Yoko Owaga I discovered whilst poking around the Vintage Books website. I’m taking part in the Japanese Reading Challenge hosted by Dolce Bellezza and so wanted some Japanese literature.

Goodreads Description: A tale of twisted love, from the author of The Diving Pool and The Housekeeper and the Professor

In a crumbling seaside hotel on the coast of Japan, quiet seventeen-year-old Mari works the front desk as her mother tends to the off-season customers. When one night they are forced to expel a middle-aged man and a prostitute from their room, Mari finds herself drawn to the man's voice, in what will become the first gesture of a single long seduction. In spite of her provincial surroundings, and her cool but controlling mother, Mari is a sophisticated observer of human desire, and she sees in this man something she has long been looking for.

The man is a proud if threadbare translator living on an island off the coast. A widower, there are whispers around town that he may have murdered his wife. Mari begins to visit him on his island, and he soon initiates her into a dark realm of both pain and pleasure, a place in which she finds herself more at ease even than the translator. As Mari's mother begins to close in on the affair, Mari's sense of what is suitable and what is desirable are recklessly engaged.


I also want The Housekeeper and the Professor by the same author based on a recommendation from a friend who has recently read it and absolutely loved it. My library has neither and so I will probably be breaking my ban with both of these two the moment I’m able!

Goodreads Description: He is a brilliant math Professor with a peculiar problem--ever since a traumatic head injury, he has lived with only eighty minutes of short-term memory. She is an astute young Housekeeper, with a ten-year-old son, who is hired to care for him. And every morning, as the Professor and the Housekeeper are introduced to each other anew, a strange and beautiful relationship blossoms between them. Though he cannot hold memories for long (his brain is like a tape that begins to erase itself every eighty minutes), the Professor’s mind is still alive with elegant equations from the past. And the numbers, in all of their articulate order, reveal a sheltering and poetic world to both the Housekeeper and her young son. The Professor is capable of discovering connections between the simplest of quantities--like the Housekeeper’s shoe size--and the universe at large, drawing their lives ever closer and more profoundly together, even as his memory slips away. The Housekeeper and the Professor is an enchanting story about what it means to live in the present, and about the curious equations that can create a family.


On Parole by Akira Yoshimura is another Japanese novel I am desiring greatly as it just sounds really, really interesting.

Goodreads Description: Shiro Kikutani, a high-school teacher, murders his wife, wounds her lover, and sets the lover's house - with the lover's old mother in it - on fire." "In jail for life, he is convinced of his righteousness: his beautiful young wife had been in bed with another man. Why shouldn't he have stabbed her lover before plunging the kitchen knife's long blade into his wife?" "After sixteen years in prison, Kikutani is released into a world he no longer recognizes. He must adjust to the intensity of Tokyo while living with the memory of his crime. Akira Yoshimura charts the psychology of a quiet man as he negotiates through the traumas of freedom: finding a job, a place to live, even something as simple as buying an alarm clock. Kikutani takes comfort in the numbing repetition of the chicken farm where he works, only to be drawn inexorably back to the scene of the murder. As Yoshimura's carefully crafted plot swings in ever tightening arcs, we are drawn toward a shattering, perhaps inescapable conclusion.


We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver was recommended to be by someone – I can’t remember who now actually. It is bizarre that a book that I have heard of by title and author only, probably never interested me due to the child on the front cover. I don’t like photographs on front covers and for some reason I have never read a book about a parent and their child. Books about children and parenthood doesn’t interest me. Yet, when someone out of the blue recommends it to me I am suddenly interested in it? I don’t think I would ever have been had I even looked at it before.

Goodreads Description: A stunning examination of how tragedy affects a town, a marriage, and a family, for readers of Rosellen Brown's Before and After and Jane Hamilton's A Map of the World.

That neither nature nor nurture bears exclusive responsibility for a child's character is self-evident. But such generalizations provide cold comfort when it's your own son who's just opened fire on his fellow students and whose class photograph--with its unseemly grin--is blown up on the national news.

The question of who's to blame for teenage atrocity tortures our narrator, Eva Khatchadourian. Two years ago, her son, Kevin, murdered seven of his fellow high-school students, a cafeteria worker, and a popular algebra teacher. Because he was only fifteen at the time of the killings, he received a lenient sentence and is now in a prison for young offenders in upstate New York.

Telling the story of Kevin's upbringing, Eva addresses herself to her estranged husband through a series of letters. Fearing that her own shortcomings may have shaped what her son has become, she confesses to a deep, long-standing ambivalence about both motherhood in general and Kevin in particular. How much is her fault?

Anyway, on a trip to the coffee shop in the bookshop I thought I’d look through it whilst I was there and it looks magnificent. Definitely looking forward to this one.


Tokyo Year Zero by David Peace is one I came across randomly in the bookshop. Obviously the word ‘Tokyo’ pulled me due to my recent interest in anything Japanese.

Goodreads Description: On August 15, 1946—the first anniversary of the Japanese surrender—the partially decomposed, raped, and strangled bodies of two women are found in Shiba Park. More murders will soon be uncovered: women killed in the same way, and, it becomes clear, by the same hand.


A Long Long Way by Sebastian Barry I have wanted since reading The Secret Scripture a couple of months back. He is an Irish author and I got it into my head I need to read more books set in Ireland. It is set during the first world war, which I also carry an interest in.

Goodreads Description: In 1914, Willie Dunne, barely eighteen years old, leaves behind Dublin, his family and the girl he plans to marry in order to enlist in the Allied forces and face the Germans on the Western Front. Once there he encounters violence on a scale he could not have imagined and sustains his spirit with only the words on the pages from home and the camaraderie of the mud-covered Irish boys who fight and die by his side. Dimly aware of the political tensions that have grown in Ireland in his absence, Willie returns on leave to find a world split and ravaged by forces closer to home. Despite the comfort he finds with his family, he knows that he must rejoin his regiment and fight until the end. Sebastian Barry renders Willie's personal struggle as well as the overwhelming consequences of war.

It seems every time I look at my bookcase and think that I have enough, that there is not one book out there that could tempt me, that I feel that I need… I find another book to moon over.

All together now, if I bought these new from Book Depository they would cost me a a grand total of: £35.44 which doesn’t sound too bad now when you look at it… what am I saying? Of course it does!


  1. It's my first time commenting here, so I thought I'd say hello :)

    Also, I really want to read "What we talk about when we talk about Kevin" too. Both books by Yoko Owaga are on my wishlist as well. I have to admit that Hotel Iris is on there for the simple reason that it has my name in the title though ;)

  2. Hi Iris, thanks for commenting. :D

    I think if I saw my name in the title I'd be attracted too... I never have yet though.

  3. Great wishlist! Loos like some interesting reads! Here's mine:

  4. I am half way through with Hotel Iris. It is good, but I liked Housekeeper & the Professor better.

  5. We Need to Talk About Kevin sounds interesting. Hope you get to read them all.

  6. I haven't heard of any of your wishlist books - they sound interesting :)



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