For April, we reached renown writer Murathan Mungan. He prepared, in his words, a “7×7” reading list for young readers, consisting of books that are a must for every library…
“The books I chose for you are gathered with respect to modern literature. I chose seven books which are, in my opinion, a must for a library; books which could be read over and over again, in different stages of one’s life. You can find, seven woman writer’s short stories or novels in this list.”
1. Elsa Morante /Arturo’s Island
“ON A SMALL ISLAND in the Tyrrhenian Sea there lives a boy as innocent as a seabird. Arturo’s mother is dead; his father away. Black-clad women care for him, give him the freedom to come and go as he likes. Then the father returns with a new wife, Nunziata, a girl barely older than Arturo. At first hatred and contempt are all the boy feels for his stepmother. In time, Arturo and Nunziata re-create the tragedy and passion that are as old as the history of men and women.”
2. Ursula K. Le Guin / The Disposessed
“A bleak moon settled by utopian anarchists, Anarres has long been isolated from other worlds, including its mother planet, Urras—a civilization of warring nations, great poverty, and immense wealth. Now Shevek, a brilliant physicist, is determined to reunite the two planets, which have been divided by centuries of distrust. He will seek answers, question the unquestionable, and attempt to tear down the walls of hatred that have kept them apart.
To visit Urras—to learn, to teach, to share—will require great sacrifice and risks, which Shevek willingly accepts. But the ambitious scientist’s gift is soon seen as a threat, and in the profound conflict that ensues, he must reexamine his beliefs even as he ignites the fires of change.“
3. Marguerite Yourcenar / Oriental Tales
“This collection includes: How Wand-fo was Saved, Marko’s Smile, The Milk of Death, The Last Love of Princess Genji, The Man Who Loved the Nereids, Our Lady of the Swallows, Aphrodissia; the Widow, Kali Beheaded, The End of Marko Kraljevic, The Sadness of Cornelius Berg, and a Postscript by the Author.
“From China to Japan, the Balkans to India, Oriental Tales addresses love, conquest, betrayal, murder, religion, and passion in an eloquent and exquisite telling.”–Kirkus Reviews.”
4. John Rhys / Wide Sargasso Sea
“Wide Sargasso Sea, a masterpiece of modern fiction, was Jean Rhys’s return to the literary center stage. She had a startling early career and was known for her extraordinary prose and haunting women characters. With Wide Sargasso Sea, her last and best-selling novel, she ingeniously brings into light one of fiction’s most fascinating characters: the madwoman in the attic from Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre. This mesmerizing work introduces us to Antoinette Cosway, a sensual and protected young woman who is sold into marriage to the prideful Mr. Rochester. Rhys portrays Cosway amidst a society so driven by hatred, so skewed in its sexual relations, that it can literally drive a woman out of her mind.”
5. Arundhati Roy / The God Of Small Things
“Compared favorably to the works of Faulkner and Dickens, Arundhati Roy’s debut novel is a modern classic that has been read and loved worldwide. Equal parts powerful family saga, forbidden love story, and piercing political drama, it is the story of an affluent Indian family forever changed by one fateful day in 1969. The seven-year-old twins Estha and Rahel see their world shaken irrevokably by the arrival of their beautiful young cousin, Sophie. It is an event that will lead to an illicit liaison and tragedies accidental and intentional, exposing “big things [that] lurk unsaid” in a country drifting dangerously toward unrest. Lush, lyrical, and unnerving, The God of Small Things is an award-winning landmark that started for its author an esteemed career of fiction and political commentary that continues unabated. ”
6. Flannery O’Connor / Everything That Rises Must Converge
“Flannery O’Connor was working on Everything That Rises Must Converge at the time of her death. This collection is an exquisite legacy from a genius of the American short story, in which she scrutinizes territory familiar to her readers: race, faith, and morality. The stories encompass the comic and the tragic, the beautiful and the grotesque; each carries her highly individual stamp and could have been written by no one else.”
7. Alice Munro / Too Much Happiness
“Unsurprisingly, “Some Women” offers readers a panoply of images of womanhood.
It begins by hearkening back to an earlier time, when “girls wore waist cinches and crinolines that could stand up by themselves”.
But then locates the narrator as being so old that even she is amazed by the number of years that have passed, and then readers travel back again to our ancient chronicler’s thirteenth summer.
This is, above all, a story about the passage of time, the passing of seasons and generations and, simultaneously, a progression of ideas and concepts, from the treatment of illness to, yes, views on women’s roles in society.”