Memoirs of a Geisha
Knopf Publishing Group; November 2005
Nitta Sayuri tells the story of her life as a geisha. In Memoirs of a Geisha, we enter a world where appearances are paramount; where a girl's virginity is auctioned to the highest bidder; where women are trained to beguile the most powerful men; and where love is scorned as illusion. Sayuri's story begins in a poor fishing village in 1929, when, as a nine-year-old with unusual blue-gray eyes, she is taken from her home and sold into slavery to a renowned geisha house. Through her eyes, we see the decadent heart of Gion, the geisha district of Kyoto, with its marvelous teahouses and theaters, narrow back alleys, ornate temples, and artists' streets. And we witness her transformation as she learns the rigorous arts of the geisha: dance and music; wearing kimono, elaborate makeup and hair; competing with a jealous rival for men's solicitude and the money that goes with it. But as World War II erupts and the geisha houses are forced to close, Sayuri, with little money and even less food, must reinvent herself all over again to find a rare kind of freedom on her own terms. Memoirs of a Geisha is a book of nuance and vivid metaphor, of memorable characters rendered with humor and pathos. And though the story is rich with detail and a vast knowledge of history, it is the transparent, seductive voice of Sayuri that the reader remembers.
Harry Potter and the Half Blood Brother
J. K. Rawlings
Scholastic, Inc.; July 2005
This novel begins as a "grim mood" has fallen over the country. The minions of Lord Voldemort continue to grow as his evil spreads. The Ministry of Magic has stepped up security everywhere, and as Harry enters his sixth year at Hogwarts, he begins to see himself and everyone around him in a different, more discerning light. With rumors swirling about Harry being the prophesied "Chosen One," he begins taking private lessons from Hogwarts headmaster Albus Dumbledore. As Dumbledore prepares Harry for his destined clash with Voldemort by revealing jaw-dropping insights into the Dark Lord's past, who his parents were, what happened after he left Hogwarts, and more. Harry also struggles to uncover the identity of the Half-Blood Prince, the past owner of a potions textbook he now possesses that is filled with ingenious, potentially deadly, spells. But Harry's life is suddenly changed forever when someone close to him is heinously murdered right before his eyes. With only one book to go before the series' projected conclusion, Rowling masterfully sets the stage for what will surely be an epic battle to end all battles. The chess pieces are all in place for a magic-powered endgame that will be as thrilling as it is bittersweet.
A Million Little Pieces
Knopf Publishing Group; September 2005
When he entered a residential treatment center at the age of twenty-three, James Frey had destroyed his body and his mind almost beyond repair. He faced a stark choice: accept that he wasn't going to see twenty-four or step into the fallout of his smoking wreck of a life and take drastic action. Surrounded by patients as troubled as he, including a judge, a mobster, a former world-champion boxer, and a fragile former prostitute and a droning dogma of "How to Recover," Frey had to fight to find his own way to confront the consequences of the life he had lived so far, and to determine what future, if any, he holds. A Million Little Pieces is an uncommonly genuine account of a life destroyed and a life reconstructed.
Compiled by: Sanyat Sattar
(R) thedailystar.net 2005