Orhan Pamuk: The Museum of Innocence

I first came upon The Museum of Innocence while wandering around the dimly lit streets of Beyoğlu in search of dinner at midnight . It was my first night in Istanbul on my own after finishing a project in Etiler, another neighborhood on the European side of city. The unusual-sounding museum on the street sign piqued my curiosity…

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Paul Morand: The Man in a Hurry

Pierre Noix is a Parisian antiques dealer. In spite of his occupation, he is preoccupied with the future and neglects the present. Always thinking of the next action or task, he takes no time to enjoy the simple or grand pleasures of life – be it a cigar, a lobster entrée or the act of sex.…

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Banana Yoshimoto: Goodbye Tsugumi

What if you were born frail, chronically ill and the doctors predicted that you would die young? What if death looms over you like a permanent ominous cloak without revealing when your time will finally be up? How would you live your life? How would you treat those around you? How would you like to be remembered? “Goodbye Tsugumi”…

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Banana Yoshimoto: Kitchen

“The place I like best in the world is the kitchen,” declares a youthful Mikage Sakurai at the beginning of “Kitchen“. Written by Banana Yoshimoto*, Kitchen quickly become a bestseller when it was published in 1988. Yoshimoto also received some of Japan’s top literary prizes with her first book, further fanning the “Bananamania” in the country. Having recently read Kitchen –…

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Primo Levi: If This is a Man

It’d be impossible to read Primo Levi’s “If This is a Man” and not be affected by it. The memoir, first published in Italian in 1947*, is about Levi’s time in Auschwitz, a place from which few** survived the Holocaust to tell the world their story. If This is a Man is one of the best books I’ve…

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