Tuesday, January 12, 2016

My (Previous) Year in Reading: 51 to 60

…in chronological order.

2015 has been a great year when it comes to reading books for me. During it, according to Goodreads, I have gulped down 212 volumes that were not only novels for adults but also volumes that belonged in many other genres: YA, graphic novels, poetry, children's stories, short stories and books in translation. This has also been a year that I stopped writing reviews since I had much else occupying my mind and time, so below I'll give you no more than a few words about the books I have read. I hope some of my choices echo yours and I look forward to an exciting new year of reading. 

So here it goes:

51) Stay! By Alex Latimer. I guess this book proves that the child in me is almost dead. Don't get me wrong, I did enjoy reading it, but obviously I didn't like it as much as other people did. Anyway, this is the story of a-kind-of an eccentric dog that belongs  to young Ben, who parts company with him for awhile as the latter goes on a holiday with his parents. Will Ben's grandpa manage to look after Bustard as good as he should?

52) Bonsai by Alejandro Zambra. Zambra is one of the hottest names of Latin American literature at the moment and I can see why. This book that's as small or rather short as a bonsai tells a captivating story that explores some of the most important things, like love and loss, and art and the art of living. I'd recommend to all lovers of literary fiction.

53) Selected Poems by Emily Dickinson. This is a short poetry collection which I've bought and read in London in 1993. It was the first I have read by the poet and since then I have returned to her work time and again. Some of her most beautiful poems can be found in these pages.

54) The Great Zoo and Other Poems by Nicolás Guillén. It's not easy to find this book by the Cuban poet. It is available on AbeBooks but the cheapest copy costs 95$. This volume collects poems spanning more than 30 years of work, that talk about society, work, identity etc. I find myself returning to it every few years. Buy it if you can.

55) The Peculiar State by Patricio Pron. This is the story of a game unlike any other. A story about love and voluntary loss, and about the limits that are there to be broken in order for two people to find their metaphorical home. And it's a story about traveling and loneliness. A great idea and a lovely delivery on the virtual page.

56) Ink by Hari Kunzru. Some dreams come true while others turn into nightmares on the way. But then there are dreams that come out of the blue simply to remind us who we once were and how we are becoming somebody else, a person that perhaps we wouldn't like to see in the mirror anymore. A very compelling short story.

57) The Bigger Bang by Vassilis Gogtzilas. The thing with graphic novels is that sometimes in them I like the prose more than the art or vice versa, so every now and then I'm not quite sure about how to judge them. Well, in this case I didn't face this problem since both the prose and the art could be better, but the concept was quite good, and that's exactly why I awarded it three stars on Goodreads. Perhaps somebody else could turn this into a masterpiece. Perhaps…

58) Woodstock: Master of Disguise by Charles M. Schulz. I guess I could make a lot of people roll their eyes with my selections of reading material, but the truth is I enjoy most of what I read. I've first read this in a galley, as most of the new comic books that I write about, and I found it endearing and funny. The creator is a legend and his work is a living testament to his creative mind. Thumbs up!

59) The Fade Out Volume 1: Act 1 by Ed Brubaker, Sean Phillips andElizabeth Breitweiser. Ed Brubaker in the man. I mean The Man. I love his writing and whenever I see his name on a volume I can't help myself from reading it straight away. I don't think anyone does graphic novel noir as he does, so the only thing that I have to say regarding this tome is, simply: Read it.

60) Let Me Tell You a Story by Jorge Bucay. This reminds me more of a new age therapy session than a novel, but yet I enjoyed reading it a lot. It's the story of a young man who's trying hard to find a way of coping with everyday life, getting to know himself better and earning the valued prize of happiness on the way. Bucay is a literary superstar, and by reading this book someone comes to understand exactly why. Fans of Paulo Coelho should like this one too, since the one author seems to echo the other, as they both borrow freely from other sources.

To be continued.

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