- The House of Mirth – Edith Wharton
- The Good Thief – Hannah Tinti
- Quiet – Susan Cain
- Eiffel’s Tower – Jill Jonnes
- Through the Language Glass – Guy Deutscher
I’ve selected two novels that I’m eager to re-read. The House of Mirth is my favorite book by my favorite author, Edith Wharton. Its protagonist, Lily Bart, was raised as a socialite, but due to the loss of her family fortune and her status as a single woman at the turn of the 20th century, she finds herself stranded in New York society. She must find a way to support herself while trying to maintain her ties to the only life she has ever known. The Good Thief, a novel by Hannah Tinti set in 19th-century New England, chronicles the adventures and misfortunes of Ren, a boy rescued from an orphanage by a young man claiming to be his long-lost brother. The two fall in with a band of outlaws and con men, and Ren makes surprising discoveries about the nature of truth and family.
The non-fiction books I have selected all have something to do with my professional interests as a world language teacher. Susan Cain’s Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking is of interest to me as an introvert who has chosen to study and work in a field that I sometimes find exhausting. Guy Deutscher’s Through the Language Glass explores the ways in which a person’s native language shapes his or her view of the world – and how culture shapes language. Finally, Eiffel’s Tower, by Jill Jonnes, tells the stranger-than-fiction story of the 1889 Paris World’s Fair and the construction of a tower that no one imagined would become an iconic monument.