Book Casing

Great books recommended by great people.

Daniel Alarcón's Bookcase

Daniel Alarcón (born 1977 in Lima, Peru) is a Peruvian-American author who lives in San Francisco, California; he has been a Distinguished Visiting Writer at Mills College and a Visiting Writer at California College of the Arts. In Spring 2013, he was a Visiting Scholar at the UC Berkeley Investigative Reporting Program. Daniel Alarcón’s work has been published in The New Yorker, Harper's, Granta, Virginia Quarterly Review and elsewhere, and anthologized in Best American Non-Required Reading 2004 and 2005. He is Associate Editor of the Peruvian magazine Etiqueta Negra, and he edited a portfolio for the magazine A Public Space on the writing of Peru in 2007. He is a former Fulbright Scholar to Peru, and a 2011 Artist in Residence at the Headlands Center for the Arts. His novel At Night We Walk in Circles was published by Riverhead Books in October 2013.

Photo by: slowking4

Recommends

“Una obra maestra”. —The New Yorker

Arturo Belano y Ulises Lima, dos quijotes modernos, salen tras las huellas de Cesárea Tinajero, la misteriosa escritora desaparecida en México en los años posteriores a la revolución. Esa búsqueda —el viaje y sus consecuencias— se prolonga durante veinte años, bifurcándose a través de numerosos personajes y continentes, Con escenarios como México, Nicaragua, Estados Unidos, Francia y España, y personajes entre los que destacan un fotógrafo español a punto de la desesperación, un neonazi, un torero mexicano jubilado que vive en el desierto, una estudiante francesa lectora de Sade, una prostituta adolescente en permanente huida, un abogado gallego herido por la poesía y un editor mexicano perseguido por unos pistoleros, Los detectives salvajes es una novela donde hay de todo: amores y muertes, asesinatos y fugas, manicomios y universidades, desapariciones y apariciones.

Los detectives salvajes es la novela que lanzó a Roberto Bolaño a la fama literaria internacional antes de que 2666 estableciera su reputación para siempre. El libro ganó el Premio Herralde de Novela y el Premio Rómulo Gallegos, y fue uno de los libros del año para The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times y The New York Times Book Review.

Found via: Ideal Bookshelf

Tadeusz Borowski’s concentration camp stories were based on his own experiences surviving Auschwitz and Dachau. In spare, brutal prose he describes a world where where the will to survive overrides compassion and prisoners eat, work and sleep a few yards from where others are murdered; where the difference between human beings is reduced to a second bowl of soup, an extra blanket or the luxury of a pair of shoes with thick soles; and where the line between normality and abnormality vanishes. Published in Poland after the Second World War, these stories constitute a masterwork of world literature.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

Found via: Ideal Bookshelf

A native of Sarajevo, where he spends his adolescence trying to become Bosnia’s answer to John Lennon, Jozef Pronek comes to the United States in 1992—just in time to watch war break out in his country, but too early to be a genuine refugee. Indeed, Jozef’s typical answer to inquiries about his origins and ethnicity is, “I am complicated.”

And so he proves to be—not just to himself, but to the revolving series of shadowy but insightful narrators who chart his progress from Sarajevo to Chicago; from a hilarious encounter with the first President Bush to a somewhat more grave one with a heavily armed Serb whom he has been hired to serve with court papers. Moving, disquieting, and exhilarating in its virtuosity, Nowhere Man is the kaleidoscopic portrait of a magnetic young man stranded in America by the war in Bosnia.

Found via: Ideal Bookshelf

A NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD WINNER

New York Times Book Review 10 Best Books of 2008 Time Magazine's Best Book of 2008 Los Angeles Times Best Books of 2008 San Francisco Chronicle's 50 Best Fiction Books of 2008 Seattle Times Best Books of 2008 New York Magazine Top Ten Books of 2008 Three academics on the trail of a reclusive German author; a New York reporter on his first Mexican assignment; a widowed philosopher; a police detective in love with an elusive older woman--these are among the searchers drawn to the border city of Santa Teresa, where over the course of a decade hundreds of women have disappeared.

In the words of The Washington Post, "With 2666, Roberto Bolaño joins the ambitious overachievers of the twentieth-century novel, those like Proust, Musil, Joyce, Gaddis, Pynchon, Fuentes, and Vollmann, who push the novel far past its conventional size and scope to encompass an entire era, deploying encyclopedic knowledge and stylistic verve to offer a grand, if sometimes idiosyncratic, summation of their culture and the novelist's place in it. Bolaño has joined the immortals."

Found via: Ideal Bookshelf

La ciudad y los perros no solamente es un ataque contra la crueldad ejercida a un grupo de jóvenes alumnos del Colegio Militar Leoncio Prado, sino también una crítica frontal al concepto erróneo de la virilidad, de sus funciones y de las consecuencias de una educación castrense malentendida. Aunada a la brutalidad propia de la vida militar, a lo largo de las páginas de esta extraordinaria novela, la vehemencia y la pasión de la juventud se desbocan hasta llegar a una furia, una rabia y un fanatismo que anulan toda sensibilidad. ENGLISH DESCRIPTION Translated to over 30 languages, this is perhaps Vargas Llosa’s most violent book. Set in a military school in Lima, where an unwritten code of survival of the fittest is imposed. Here, he focuses on the brutality of military life and the strong pyramidal hierarchy that mirrors Peruvian society, where violence, exploitation and human degradation guarantee that each layer of the social pyramid maintains its place. All the conflicts of Peruvian society arise with rage and impotence in this testimonial novel in which Vargas Llosa paints a social and political picture.

Found via: Ideal Bookshelf

:

The War in Eastern Bosnia 1992-1995

The winner of the 2001 Eisner Award for Best New Graphic Album. Sacco spent five months in Bosnia in 1996, immersing himself in the human side of life during wartime, researching stories that are rarely found in conventional news coverage, emerging with this astonishing first-person account.

Praised by The New York Times, Brill's Content and Publishers Weekly, Safe Area Gorazde is the long-awaited and highly sought after 240-page look at war in the former Yugoslavia. Sacco (the critically-acclaimed author of Palestine) spent five months in Bosnia in 1996, immersing himself in the human side of life during wartime, researching stories that are rarely found in conventional news coverage. The book focuses on the Muslim-held enclave of Gorazde, which was besieged by Bosnian Serbs during the war. Sacco lived for a month in Gorazde, entering before the Muslims trapped inside had access to the outside world, electricity or running water. Safe Area Gorazde is Sacco's magnum opus and with it he is poised too become one of America's most noted journalists. The book features an introduction by Christopher Hitchens, political columnist for The Nation and Vanity Fair.

Found via: Ideal Bookshelf

“A small, almost perfect book.” –Rolling Stone

Upon his return to Europe from fighting on the eastern front in World War I, Franz Tunda finds that the old order is gone and Europe has changed utterly. Disillusioned by the new ideologies, he is the archetypal modern man taken up by the currents of history.

Found via: Ideal Bookshelf

Haile Selassie, King of Kings, Elect of God, Lion of Judah, His Most Puissant Majesty and Distinguished Highness the Emperor of Ethiopia, reigned from 1930 until he was overthrown by the army in 1974. While the fighting still raged, Ryszard Kapuscinski, Poland's leading foreign correspondent, traveled to Ethiopia to seek out and interview Selassie's servants and closest associates on how the Emperor had ruled and why he fell. This "sensitive, powerful. . .history" (The New York Review of Books) is Kapuscinski's rendition of their accounts—humorous, frightening, sad, groteque—of a man living amidst nearly unimaginable pomp and luxury while his people teetered netween hunger and starvation.

Also recommended by

Found via: Ideal Bookshelf

You might also enjoy books from