Posted by: mollyscafeistanbul | September 1, 2011

Molly’s café books Aug 2011

These are the books I managed to read this month.

James Baldwin lived in Istanbul 50 years ago and now a friend has bought a flat in the building Baldwin lived in. so, when Baldwin’s Another Country came into the café, I decided I should read it. It was actually a rather depressing book. Baldwin was a very good writer and he certainly dealt with topics that were probably rather shocking at the time, specifically race and homosexuality. I think the race issues have not been resolved for many people on both sides of the white/black line, and the struggle with one couple was the fact that the black woman hated whites, including in a strange way, the white man who loved her. Homosexuality came up with several men in the novel and it was more graphic than I expected, though not in a negative way. Underlying all of the relationships, straight couples, gay couples, and friends, is the nature of love and how it can build and destroy. I am glad I read the book, but I am glad I finished it, as it was heavy. He wrote it in Istanbul in 1961. Coincidentally, this video has been going around on Facebook, made at about the same time:


I already wrote about one of Joyce Carol Oates’ book of horror stories. I read another one in spite of myself. I didn’t want to but at the end I just kept reading story after story. This was the Museum of Dr. Moses, which is also the title of the last story. I think it was Dr. Moses because he collected awful things. Other stories involve death in various ways, mostly creepy. I think this time I will not read any moreof these books– especially since there aren’t anymore in the café.




Another book that I was reluctant to read was Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. It is kind of a chick book and it is very popular, and I am resistant to jumping on bandwagons. Even when I started it I was kind of put off by the off and on flippant tone. However, I stayed with it and often I actually enjoyed it. I didn’t see the movie, so I don’t know how they could have extrapolated from the book. I didn’t find it a life-changing book at all, but now there are three copies in the café– one in Dutch!



I also read Lost in the Forest by Sue Miller, mostly because it was on the top of the pile of books beside my bed. It was a very good story about a divorced couple and their children. The mother had remarried but her husband was killed in a freak accident. Of course the story dealt with his death and the relationships everyone in the family had had with him, but also with their relationships with each other. I thought it was a pretty good read.


A book that I pretty much slogged through was Possession by A.S. Byatt. It was a very intelligent and intellectual book, so it was not light reading. I confess to pretty much skipping over the long poetry pieces, but I appreciated the story of two 19th century poets who became lovers. A couple of academics unravelled the story, with a surprise ending. This was not an easy book for bedtime reading, but it would be a good book for reading when you are awake and aware.




And of course I had to follow it up with a popcorn book, which I read in a few nights– Faye Kellerman’s Justice. I went on a Faye Kellerman binge a few years ago– read 5 in a week. Hey, it was the first summer of my cafe and things were kind of dead. So it was nice to dip in to her stories again. They are police mysteries, but not too gory. This was more of the same, but I enjoyed it, especially after having had to be reading Byatt so seriously.



Most of these books are on the shelves (sometimes just writing a little something about them makes them get chosen), so come get them!


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