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The Boom Box. Very Short Introduction. Paperback: six volumes of 144 pages each. Oxford University Press, 2008.

The Boom Box. Very Short Introduction. Paperback: six volumes of 144 pages each. Oxford University Press, 2008.

A mini war library, from the highly acclaimed Very Short Introduction series packaged together in a stylish box, gives a complete introductory overview to the subject of war and warfare: Ancient Warfare, The Cold War, The Crusades, The French Revolution and The Spanish Civil War are the books contained in The Boom Box.

For You. Ian McEwan. Paperback: 68 pages. Vintage, 2008.

Ian McEwan, the author of two collections of stories and eleven novels and the holder of the Booker Prize 1998 for his novel Amsterdam, wrote this libretto for Michael Berkeley’s opera, which was commissioned by Music Theatre Wales and premiered at Theatr Brycheiniog in May 2008. The libretto tells the story of Charles Frieth, a preeminent composer, conductor and prodigious womaniser, the introductory note reads.

On Gold Mountain. Lisa See. Paperback: 432 pages. Bloomsbury, 2009.

In 1867, Lisa See's great-great-grandfather left China in search of riches on the ‘Gold Mountain’, the Chinese name for the promised land of America. His son Fong See later built a mercantile empire and became one of the most successful Chinese men in the country. Over the decades, each generation of the See family strived to grasp their dreams, realise their ambitions and overcome their disappointments and sorrows.

This sweeping chronicle of five generations of a Chinese-American family encompasses stories of adventure and heartache, racism and romance, secret marriages and sibling rivalries.

One Hundred Years of Solitude. Gabriel García Márquez. Paperback: 432 pages. Penguin, 2007.

This edition of Gabriel García Márquez's most celebrated novel was published to coincide with celebrations to mark the 80th birthday of this Nobel Prize-winning author in 2007. Famously associated with the term ‘magical realism’, Márquez is probably South America’s most famous literary export. One Hundred Years of Solitude, which Salman Rushdie called ‘the greatest novel in any language of the last 50 years', is the story of seven generations of the Buendía family.

About Love and other stories. Anton Chekhov. Paperback: 256 pages. Oxford University Press, 2008.

A unique collection of Chekhov's most lyrical stories in a new translation of great skill and originality, published to coincide with the centenary of Chekhov's death. The stories are arranged chronologically to show the evolution of Chekhov's art and include familiar as well as less well-known works.

Elusive and subtle, spare and unadorned, the stories in this selection are among Chekhov's most poignant and lyrical. They include well-known pieces such as 'The Lady with the Little Dog', as well as less familiar works like 'Gusev', inspired by Chekhov's travels in the Far East, and 'Rothschild's Violin', a haunting and darkly humorous tale about death and loss.

The Last American Man. Elizabeth Gilbert. Hardback: 288 pages. Bloomsbury, 2009.

At the age of seventeen, Eustace Conway ditched the comforts of his suburban existence to escape to the wild. Away from the crushing disapproval of his father, he lived alone in a teepee in the mountains. Everything he needed he built, grew or killed. He made his clothes from deer he killed and skinned and then used their sinew as sewing thread. This intimate portrait of an endlessly complicated man: a brilliant but flawed modern hero, is a New York Times Notable Book and National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist.

This column is a selection by The Slovak Spectator of English-language books recently released in Slovakia; it does not represent an endorsement of any of the books selected. The column is prepared in cooperation with the Oxford Bookshop Bratislava.

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