In 2016, like in 2015, I set myself the challenge to read at least 12 books. I failed last year because I didn’t finish two of the books I started (The Hare with the Amber Eyes and The Adventures of Peregrine Pickle).
As the first half of the year has already gone by I thought it was a good occasion to recapitulate.
I have read a mixture of Spanish and English, fiction and non fiction.
I started with Nora Webster by Irish writer Colm Toibin, and so far this was the least appealing of them all. He may be very good in depicting Ireland but I found it really boring -this was a choice from my workplace book club. A sort of Spanish version of Nora Webster -a writer telling the story of his or her mother- was the title Antonia, the story of a woman who grows up very poor in Madrid during the Spanish Civil War until now. It is a straight forward book with direct language from its characters. Funny and sad, very interesting, specially for me who grew up in Madrid.
So far I have read three non fictions.
This Changes Everything has been an amazing read, it is about the strong links between economic powers and the lack of action towards reducing the greenhouse emissions in our Planet and how in our interest we, the people, can make a change by our own choices. I finished reading it at the beginning of the Year and only at the end of the book I felt quite positive about humans and their attitude towards the one problem that affects us all and our children-Global Warming. I thought there was room for solutions then. Because humans, we are intelligent. However, now after Brexit, and the menacing figure of Trump, the raise of the extreme rights in Europe, racism, I don’t think intelligence leads human minds and now, months after I read the book, my feelings are much more pessimistic and I am much more towards leftist left in the political spectrum.
Delivering Happiness is a book about customer service. An odd choice for me but certainly very inspiring and I am glad I read it. Basically doing good to others is good for you and economically rewarding too, as the millionaire authors tells. So be nice and helpful. I am applying advice from the book at work, and I feel better because I know being nice and helpful is meaningful.
Outliers, is a book about success, or lack of it. Very interesting and great read. I found particularly interesting to read about how your upbringing set you in the path to success or lack of it. As a result I am obsessed with setting the right paths for my kids.
Los Misterios de Madrid is a novel set in Madrid, again. Am I home sick? By an excellent Spanish writer. It reminded me of A Confederacy of Dunces, but I read that book so many years ago. It is funny and a page turner.
The Night Manager was another choice from the work book club. It was OK to read but I am not overly enthusiastic about it. Apparently there has been a TV dramatization of this book in episodes, that is why they chose it. I found it to be a very slow read and a bit difficult to follow with all that code language of the espionage world.
A Wild Sheep Chase, I finished this book yesterday while waiting for my 6 hours delayed plane from Almeria to the UK. AMAZING book by Murakami, I’d describe is as surrealistic realistic but I know there are more proper literary terms to tag this book. I haven’t read a book by Murakami that I don’t like, and this is possibly my favorite. However, I had to spend some time googling for interpretations of the plot. It is the story of a 29 year old man working in the publishing industry who is forced into finding a sheep with a star on its back that appears on a photograph used in a company pamphlet, in his quest he is accompanied by his girlfriend, who has magical ears, and both follow clues given by his other friend known as “The Rat”. I loved it. Recommend it if you like a bit of weirdness in your life.