If you love quality literature with an international flair, you're going to love Jim K.'s ideal bookshelf. Jim (not surprisingly) also facilitates our International Fiction Book Club and he does a great job selecting some awesome reads from around the world.
The ten books I can’t live without leaves a hollow ring, not a true ring. I could live without them but I would be diminished. I could choose another ten on another day but will focus on why these ten mean so much to me. Perec’s masterpiece is a jigsaw puzzle, painted, cut and jumbled up to perfection. The Palace is Simon’s innovative recreation of his experience during the Spanish Civil War and resonates with rich language and imagery. Women inspires me to write. Zazie is a pure joy and sparkles with slang in translation. Conversation in the Cathedral is a circular novel that covers all the bases of why Peru became politically corrupt. I read Les Miserables in 1969 and it led me to dream about literature. The Erasers was a landmark in fiction and offered a fresh approach to what a novel could be. The Ark Sakura is the ultimate of modern Japanese fiction that symbolizes much of Japan’s history and culture in microcosm. Old Masters is my favorite book by my favorite stylist while Passing Time is a perfect example of the story within the story within a murder mystery. What do all these books have in common? They are all novels and they are all written with a unique and innovative technique that rings true.
--Alison Donnelly, Children's Librarian