From a novel about deserting US soldiers in Iraq to essays on why to read poetry, these are titles that should sit on your shelf, writes Jane Ciabattari.

——By Jane Ciabattari

6、Daniel Galera, The Shape of Bones

Galera, one of Granta’s Best Young Brazilian Novelists, writes of Hermosa, a plastic surgeon haunted by a violent episode from his past. One morning he leaves his wife and toddler daughter and heads to the Andes to take on the risky Cerro Bonete with a professional climber friend. The drive, which takes him back to Porto Alegre and his boyhood neighborhood of Esplanada, becomes a meditation on that place – “once the cosmos, now a toy town… stirring up old ghosts.” Galera describes Hermosa’s daredevil mountain bike races, his fraught relationships with a group of buddies whose rivalry leads to frequent fights, and the moment of choice that shaped his future. In subtle, textured prose, translated from the Portuguese by Alison Entrekin, he captures the process through which a 15-year-old becomes a man. (Credit: Penguin Press)

  • stir    英[stɜ:(r)]    美[stɚ]    v.    苏醒; 奋起; 传播; 发生   
  • daredevil    英[ˈdeədevl]    美[ˈderdevl]    n.    冒失鬼; 胆大妄为    
  • rivalry    英[ˈraɪvlri]    美[ˈraɪvəlri]    n.    竞争,对抗,对立
  • subtle    英[ˈsʌtl]    美[ˈsʌtl]    adj.    微妙的; 巧妙的   
  • textured    英[ˈtekstʃəd]    美[ˈtekstʃərd]    adj.    质地粗糙的,手摸时有感觉的    
  • prose    英[prəʊz]    美[proʊz]    n.    散文

7、Emma Reyes, The Book of Emma Reyes

This extraordinary memoir from Colombian painter Emma Reyes, who died in 2003, is drawn from letters written over three decades. Translated from the Spanish by Daniel Alarcón, Reyes writes with captivating detail of a childhood of severe deprivation. Her first memory, from the 1930s, involves games on the rubbish heap outside the windowless room in Bogota where she lived with her mother and two siblings. They move to Guateque, where her mother gives birth to her fourth illegitimate child (he is left on his father’s doorstep). She abandons Emma at the age of seven. She and her sister end up in a convent, where they join 150 orphan girls in shame and menial labor. Emma escapes in her teens, and becomes an influential artist and intellectual associated with Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, Jean-Paul Sartre and Gabriel García Márquez. (Credit: Penguin Classics)

  • severe    英[sɪˈvɪə(r)]    美[sɪˈvɪr]    adj.    严峻的; 严厉的; 剧烈的; 苛刻的
  • deprivation    英[ˌdeprɪˈveɪʃn]    美[ˌdɛprəˈveʃən]    n.    剥夺; 丧失; 免职,废止
  • heap    英[hi:p]    美[hip]    n.    堆,堆积; <口>许多,大量
  • llegitimate    英[ˌɪləˈdʒɪtəmət]    美[ˌɪlɪˈdʒɪtəmɪt]    adj.    非婚生的,私生的; 法律不容的; (指辩论等的结论) 不合逻辑的
  • convent    英[ˈkɒnvənt]    美[ˈkɑ:nvent]    n.    女修道院
  • menial    英[ˈmi:niəl]    美[ˈminiəl, ˈminjəl]   adj.    (指工作) 卑贱的,不体面的

8、Margaret Wilkerson Sexton, A Kind of Freedom

New Orleans from World War Two through the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina is the backdrop for Sexton’s powerful first novel, which traces the complex downward spiral of a black family over three generations. Evelyn, a Creole debutante, falls for Renard, from a lower-class family, in 1944, still a time of Jim Crow segregation. Her family objects, but as Renard heads to war, their bond is set. In the 1980s their daughter Jackie struggles to raise her son after her once promising husband Terry loses his pharmacist job and begins using crack cocaine. His struggles with rehab leave her in despair. By 2010, their son TC is released from Orleans Parish Prison after a stint for drug possession, eager to redeem himself but surrounded by temptation. Despite the struggles, A Kind of Freedom glimmers with hope. (Credit: Counterpoint)

  • aftermath    英[ˈɑ:ftəmæθ]    美[ˈæftərmæθ]    n.    后果; 余波; 再生草
  • debutante    英[ˈdebjutɑ:nt]    美[ˈdɛbjʊˌtɑnt, ˈdebju-]    n.    初进社交界的上流社会年轻女子
  • cocaine    英[kəʊˈkeɪn]    美[koʊˈkeɪn]    n.    古柯碱; <药>可卡因
  • stint    英[stɪnt]    美[stɪnt]    n.    定额,定量; 限额,限量
  • redeem    英[rɪˈdi:m]    美[rɪˈdim]    vt.    兑现; 偿还; 赎回

9、Fleur Jaeggy, I Am the Brother of XX

Jaeggy, winner of the Premio Bagutta, is back with a new collection of 21 finely distilled and evocative stories. Jaeggy writes of Joseph Brodsky’s Brooklyn in the story Negde – in winter he visits the Promenade: “It’s nice to sit on a bench and think, with a feeling of reciprocity, of the void.”. In The Salt Water House the narrator takes a trip to the Mediterranean coast with poet Ingeborg Bachmann, who craves solitude (when Calvino comes to visit, few words are spoken). The brother in the title story aims to make himself invisible to his family, especially his spying older sister. Other stories, set on a tour of Auschwitz, or a in a house with a strange little girl with cold vacant eyes, are characterised by a quiet “imposed by violence”. (Credit: New Directions)

  • evocative    英[ɪˈvɒkətɪv]    美[ɪˈvɑ:kətɪv] adj.    唤起的; 激起的; 唤出的
  • reciprocity    英[ˌresɪˈprɒsəti]    美[ˌresɪˈprɑ:səti]    n.    互惠; 相互作用
  • narrator    英[nəˈreɪtə(r)]    美[nəˈreɪtər]    n.    (故事的) 讲述者,(戏剧、电影等的)解说员
  • crave    英[kreɪv]    美[krev]    vt.    渴望,热望; 恳求,恳请
  • impose    英[ɪmˈpəʊz]    美[ɪmˈpoʊz]    vt.    强加; 征税; 以…欺骗

10、David Abrams, Brave Deeds

Abrams’ second novel follows a squad of contemporary US soldiers on an Awol mission. “We walk, we walk, we walk,” he writes. “We head into the fireball sun, packed in battle armour….” The six men march across Baghdad, risking court martial, even death, to attend the funeral of their leader, staff sergeant Rafe Morgan. He’s a tough leader who quotes Ray Bradbury and Gwendolyn Brooks. They are, they admit, men of flaws, not heroes. Their Humvee fails, they suffer from hunger and thirst, their tempers are rubbed raw, they draw attention from Iraqi civilians and insurgents. Battles flare up, along with recollections of other encounters. But they continue. Abrams joins Phil Klay, Matthew Gallagher and Roxana Robinson in building the new wave of US war literature. (Credit: Grove Atlantic)

  • squad    英[skwɒd]    美[skwɑ:d]    n.    (军队中的) 班; (暗杀) 小组; 体育运动的运动(代表)队    vt.    把…编成班; 把…编入班
  • sergeant    英[ˈsɑ:dʒənt]    美[ˈsɑ:rdʒənt]    n.    [军] 军士,中士; 警官,巡官; 高级律师
  • insurgent    英[ɪnˈsɜ:dʒənt]    美[ɪnˈsɜ:rdʒənt]    n.    起义者,叛乱者,造反者