Achilles, “the best of all the Greeks,” son of the cruel sea goddess Thetis and the legendary king Peleus, is strong, swift, and beautiful— irresistible to all who meet him. Patroclus is an awkward young prince, exiled from his homeland after an act of shocking violence. Brought together by chance, they forge an inseparable bond, despite risking the gods’ wrath. They are trained by the centaur Chiron in the arts of war and medicine, but when word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped, all the heroes of Greece are called upon to lay siege to Troy in her name. Seduced by the promise of a glorious destiny, Achilles Read more
If you’ve ever casually asked me for a book recommendation, there is a good chance I conjured this title without even thinking. The Dog Who Could Fly is a fascinating book that will both amaze the casual non-fiction reader and retain the gleeful attention of the more-seasoned. Damien Lewis (no relation) recounts yet another story too incredible to have come from the pages of a reputable novel – that of Antis the dog. This heroic pup evaded Germans in the no-man’s land of the Phoney War, flew for France as it collapsed, fled to Britain to join the RAF, served in over 30 missions, got wounded, evaded Russians, and then Read more
At the edge of the Russian wilderness, winter lasts most of the year and the snowdrifts grow taller than houses. But Vasilisa doesn’t mind—she spends the winter nights huddled around the embers of a fire with her beloved siblings, listening to her nurse’s fairy tales. Above all, she loves the chilling story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon, who appears in the frigid night to claim unwary souls. Wise Russians fear him, her nurse says, and honor the spirits of house and yard and forest that protect their homes from evil. After Vasilisa’s mother dies, her father goes to Moscow and brings home a new wife. Fiercely devout, city-bred, Vasilisa’s Read more
Yukio Mishima’s Confessions of a Mask catapulted him to literary stardom, and it’s easy to see why. Written in decadent, elegant prose, the novel chronicles the strain between the narrator’s dark fantasies and obsessions and respectable, interwar Japanese society, and his further regression into those fantasies and obsessions as he finds himself isolated from society. With its frank depiction of false modesty, unflinching confessions of otherwise-unspoken darkness, and its obsession with death, eroticism and the link between the two, it doesn’t make for easy reading, but it does make for immensely rewarding and provocative reading.
“Dorian Gray is the subject of a full-length portrait in oil by Basil Hallward, an artist impressed and infatuated by Dorian’s beauty; he believes that Dorian’s beauty is responsible for the new mood in his art as a painter. Through Basil, Dorian meets Lord Henry Wotton, and he soon is enthralled by the aristocrat’s hedonistic world view: that beauty and sensual fulfillment are the only things worth pursuing in life.” The 1890 Gothic classic Dorian Gray is one of my favorite novels. The beautiful prose and enticing story still has me rereading it every year and hoarding all different kinds of copies.
Meet Eleanor Oliphant: She struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she’s thinking. Nothing is missing in her carefully timetabled life of avoiding social interactions, where weekends are punctuated by frozen pizza, vodka, and phone chats with Mummy. But everything changes when Eleanor meets Raymond, the bumbling and deeply unhygienic IT guy from her office. When she and Raymond together save Sammy, an elderly gentleman who has fallen on the sidewalk, the three become the kinds of friends who rescue one another from the lives of isolation they have each been living. And it is Raymond’s big heart that will ultimately help Eleanor find the way Read more
Lydia Quixano Perez lives in the Mexican city of Acapulco. She runs a bookstore. She has a son, Luca, the love of her life, and a wonderful husband who is a journalist. And while there are cracks beginning to show in Acapulco because of the drug cartels, her life is, by and large, fairly comfortable. Even though she knows they’ll never sell, Lydia stocks some of her all-time favorite books in her store. And then one day a man enters the shop to browse and comes up to the register with four books he would like to buy―two of them her favorites. Javier is erudite. He is charming. And, unbeknownst Read more
Some people may consider it a waste of my access to books, but I don’t read many fiction titles. I wouldn’t personally bother creating stories when so many truly great ones have actually happened already and have long since slipped from our collective cultural memory. Tycoon’s War: How Cornelius Vanderbilt Invaded a Country to Overthrow America’s Most Famous Military Adventurer recounts such a story almost too fantastic to be fiction but too obscure to be widely known – that of William Walker and Cornelius Vanderbilt in Nicaragua in the 1850s. Despite the long title, its not some Doris Kearns Goodwin tome – it’s the length of an Eric Larson book Read more