You find out what you truly love when you don’t have a lot of extra cash sitting around — and let me tell you, my wallet found a little extra for Sol de Janeiro the entire time I was woefully underemployed last year. I love these heavily scented and long-lasting....

THE BEST BIT: Oh, how to pick a best bit in this book? Let me start with what I did not enjoy — or perhaps “understand” is the better word. Slowly but surely, humans on Earth are afflicted with physical blindness. At first, the plague seems controllable, and those stricken....

I didn’t realize it until I was halfway through that “Between Shades of Gray” is officially a YA novel—and even then, the only thing that gave it away was its length (though now that I’m thinking about it, there are plenty of long YA novels, so please excuse my stereotyping).....

IN SHORT: This is the story of two best friends, Elena and Lila, growing up in 1950s Naples. It is the first of four books — or as Ferrante (a pseudonym) has said, the first of four volumes in a single book. THE BEST BIT: What a singular book. The....

THE BOOK: The Ice Palace, by Tarjei Vesaas IN SHORT: This is an utterly strange story about the relationship between two young Norwegian girls, and the titular ice palace. THE BEST BIT: This is a crazy book. I loved it the first time I read it, and liked it the....

IN SHORT: This is the story of a woman whose life changes in strange ways following the murder of a man she admired. THE BEST BIT: I’m not sure that I have a best bit for The Infatuations, which does not so much play out, in a linear sense, as....

IN SHORT: This is the true, anonymously published story of one woman’s experiences in Berlin following the Nazi surrender, and the arrival of the Red Army. It is harrowing. THE BEST BIT: This book is specially special to me in my Around the World book journey, since it was my....

BOOK: Americanah, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie IN SHORT: Americanah is the story of Ifemelu, a Nigerian woman who immigrates to the U.S. and becomes a keen critic of our society; in parallel, we follow her true love, Obinze, as he tries to make his own way West. THE FAVORITE BIT:....

The World of Yesterday by Stefan Zweig: The End of Everything Bereft of an adjective to describe the experience of reading Stefan Zweig’s memoir and manifesto, The World of Yesterday, I looked up the definition of “uncanny”: “strange or mysterious, especially in an unsettling way.” That is the one that....

I am reading a book from every country in the world. Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China is my book for China. Buy it here. THE BOOK: Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China, by Jung Chang IN SHORT: This is the verifiably wild story of three women in China—from a....

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