Triple Choice Tuesday: A Book Sanctuary

Triple-Choice-TuesdayWelcome to Triple Choice Tuesday. This is where I ask some of my favourite bloggers, writers and readers to share the names of three books that mean a lot to them. The idea is that it might raise the profile of certain books and introduce you to new titles, new authors and new bloggers.

Today’s guest is Tracey from A Book Sanctuary.

Tracey is from New Zealand but lives in London. She is a PA for an accountancy company by day and a blogger by night.

“I discovered blogging in 2009 when I accidentally stumbled across a reading challenge and the amazing world of book blogging and was instantly hooked,” she tells me.

“I especially enjoy books from around the world and recommendations from other readers. The one good thing about my daily commute is it gives me plenty of reading time!”

Without further ado, here are Tracey’s Triple Choice Tuesday selections:

Bronzehorseman

A favourite book: The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons

I was introduced to The Bronze Horseman about 10 years ago during a trip through Russia. A girl on my bus was reading it; I read it soon after and have never forgotten it. It is chunky at more than 600 pages long, an against the odds love story and a story of survival, set in Leningrad during the siege of 1941. I have a soft spot for books set in Russia and the characters just come to life in this story. The main female character, Tatiana, is a wonderful heroine and the author ended up naming one of her daughters after her. A Bronze Horseman is the first in a trilogy but is by far the best of the three books. Paullina Simons, who was born in then Leningrad before moving to the US with her family as a child, portrays Russia in what feels like an authentic way.

 

South-of-the-border-west-of-the-sun

A book that changed my world: South of the Border, West of the Sun by Haruki Murakami (translated from the Japanese by Philip Gabriel)

This was the book that opened my eyes to the amazing world of Japanese literature — I had no idea beforehand. I’ve read a few more of Murakami’s books since, but this is still my favourite and a great one of his to start with, I think. It’s not as long as some and isn’t too surreal. It follows the life of the narrator, Hajime, through his childhood in post-war Japan through to his 30s, his love of music, his insecurities which he is open about (an aspect of Murakami’s writing I love) and his relationship with his childhood friend Shimamoto — magical.

 

Blinding-absence-of-light

A book that deserves a wider audience: This Blinding Absence of Light by Ben Tahar Jelloun (translated from the French by Linda Coverdale).

This novel had a real effect on me when I read it back in 2009. It is based on true events. In 1971, the failed coup against King Hassan II of Morocco, resulted in the imprisonment of several of the military officers involved. The narration was based on the testimony of an actual junior officer and tells his story of being sent to Tazmamart Prison (a place that never officially existed) and being virtually buried alive in an underground dungeon. Every problem we think we have pales into insignificance when we consider how these men were kept for many years. No light, minimal air, water and food and not enough room to even stand up straight — severe physical, mental and sensory deprivation. And yet an incredible story of mental strength and the power of hope — very inspirational. This book has some beautiful passages and is a reminder of how little we really need in life to be happy, as well as highlighting the appalling real life story of these prisoners — not all of whom survived.

Thanks, Tracey, for taking part in my Triple Choice Tuesday!

These all sound like fabulous reads, and I’m particularly intrigued by This Blinding Absence of Light, which was shortlisted for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize in 2006.

What do you think of Tracey’s choices? Have you read any of these books?

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22 thoughts on “Triple Choice Tuesday: A Book Sanctuary

  1. Oh gosh, I read This Blinding Absence of Light and absolutely loathed it. Hard to criticise, when people actually went through all of that, but… hmm. Not one for me.

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  2. This Blinding Absence of Light is one of my favourite of the year! I can’t wait to read South of the border, west of sun. I’m saving it for last. All great selection Tracey.

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  3. I agree that This Blinding Absence of Light deserves more attention. It isn’t an easy read, but it is so powerful. I also bought The Bronze Horseman after Tracey said it was better than Helen Dunmore’s The Siege. I’m not sure how that can be possible, but I look forward to finding out! Great list. 🙂

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  4. Marg – I’m really pleased you obviously liked The Bronze Horseman too. It’s perhaps not as ‘literary’ as some choices but I just loved it.

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  5. Simon – I can understand your response to the book as well. It is dark and terribly sad. I think it is a book people will either love or hate. I don’t think there would be many middle of the road type of reactions to it.

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  6. Jo – thank you! I hope you enjoy South of the Border, West of the Sun – will look out for your thoughts on it. It’s nice and short too which is good sometimes I think.

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  7. Jackie – I will be really interested to see how you find The Bronze Horseman – it’s been quite a few years since I read it and I’m tempted to re read it soon. I haven’t actually read The Siege but am intrigued by the sound of it especially if it is also set in Russia?

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  8. I haven’t read South of the Border, West of the Sun but your review is intriguing. I’ll check it out. I’m reading IQ84 by him right now and really enjoying it. Another Japanese writer than I love is Kobo Abe. I highly recommend “Woman In The Dunes.”

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  9. Must chime in and say that I, too, loved The Bronze Horseman–have read it twice actually and might even read it again someday. I read the sequel, but not the one that came after–the first will always be my fave, too. I really must try Murakami–will have to look for this one to start with and thanks for the heads up on the Jelloun–will look for it as well!

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  10. Sorry – I’m getting confused! I think it was marg who recommended The Bronze Horseman. The Siege is an amazing book and deals with the siege of Leningrad. It isn’t a pleasant book, but as you admire Absence of Light that shouldn’t be a problem  I’ll be interested to see which book you prefer.

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  11. I am ashamed to say that I bought The Bronze Horseman when it came out in 2001 after loving Tully by the same author and it has sat languishing on my TBR pile ever since then..! Perhaps something to do with the very small print and the 600 plus pages? I have now pulled it out and shall start it today!

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  12. Jackie – No worries! I actually saw The Siege in the library the other day and thought about picking it up. I definitely will and will let you know what I think.

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  13. Alison – the 600 plus pages could definitely have had something to do with it! I’m wondering how you are getting on – hope you are enjoying it?

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  14. Sam – Hope you enjoy South of the Border.. it’s a nice book to curl up with for a spare weekend some time. Short enough to get through in a few sittings.

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