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For thirty-five years, Hanta has been compacting wastepaper and books, and it's his love story. Set in Prague under Communist rule, Hanta sees thousands of books destroyed under his watch. But he "saves" as many as he can and collects them in his home. He may be simple, and at times just plain foolish, but he loves his books as ardently as any intellectual. My favorite book of all time, I reread this book over and over again, and its beautiful, rambling sentences become my own kind of devotional. I absolutely love this book for its silly, misguided narrator and his compulsive love for the written word.
A quiet green notebook with "Provence, 1970" scribbled on the cover was found by M.F.K. Fisher's nephew buried in a storage unit afer her death. From the notebook, letters, and her diaries, he pieces together the story of one winter spent in Provence cooking, musin, and collaborating with Paul and Julia Child, James Beard, Richard Olney, and a number of mid-century chefs. You'll delight in the peculiarities of the personalities, the elaborate menus, and the remembrances of a life well liked.
I dare you not to finish this book in one sitting. Everyone I know who has read it, including myself, has been unable to put it down. The author chronicles her battle with a rare autoimmune disease that swiftly attacked her brain with symptoms that included psychotic breaks, seizures and catatonia. The doctors didn't know the cause and raced against time to find a cure. A fascinating look at how we diagnose and treat disease -- and how family, friends, and doctors came together to save a life.
This quietly beautiful story collection explores human relationships with animals and our frequently changing role within the animal kingdom. And it also shows us our own ruthless, reckless animal instinct. Her writing is playful and curious -- reminding me of Amy Hempel (who she studied under) and even the great Alice Munro. Highly recommended.
One of the best debut novels I've ever read. Period.