Only 75% or 10 Good Books
While everyone else is looking forward to what 2017 is going to bring them and keep thinking of their New Year’s resolutions, I’m looking back. (Yes, I’ve always been a weirdo!) I don’t think I achieved much in 2016, although some before and after pictures would tell a different story. The problem is that I always have loads of goals, probably too many, so there’s no way everything could be achieved in just one year. (It seems I’ll have to be patient and persistent once again.) But… there’s one goal that I’m always able to keep in my mind and try really hard to achieve it – it’s reading as many books as possible.
I started keeping track of my read books in 2015. (I do this on Goodreads.) The aim was too read 50 that year and I did it. In the begining of 2016 I raised the stakes and said that the magic number would be 60. Hmm… I read 45 books and sadly that’s only 75% of what had been planned. But on the other hand that’s 13831 pages – not too bad when you look at it this way, right?
Some more facts: the shortest read book was only 44 pages long – A Christmas Tree by Charles Dickens (this was right before Christmas, when I was still hoping to reach my reading goal this year) and the longest one – 530 pages! But they were read with an extreme gusto and this book is certainly my number one in the top ten books that were read last year.
Anyway, keen readers, if you are ready, here’s my top 10.
- All the Light We Cannon See by Anthony Doerr – “bestseller about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II.“ It so beautifully written that I wanted to read it in one go and at the same time to savour every sentence, every chapter for as long as possible.
- The Night in Lisbon by Erich Maria Remarque – probably the best love story ever told! Heartbreaking record of the worst mistakes in history and crimes to humanity. “It is a harrowing tale of bravery and butchery, daring and death, in which the price of love is beyond measure and the legacy of evil is infinite.”
- A Song for Issy Bradley by Carys Bray – it’s a story of one Mormon family and their massive loss. “Intensely moving, unexpectedly funny, and deeply observed, A Song for Issy Bradley explores the outer reaches of doubt and faith, and of a family trying to figure out how to carry on when the innermost workings of their world have broken apart.”
- The First Phone Call from Heaven by Mitch Albom – is it possible to get a phone call from your loved one who is dead? Apparently it is. Intriguing and consoling, it is “a page-turner that will touch your soul“.
- Love in Lowercase by Francesc Miralles – a good book to start your New Year with. “The main character of the book wakes up on New Year’s Day and is convinced that the year ahead will bring nothing more than passive verbs and un-italicized moments, but… an unexpected visitor slips into his Barcelona apartment and refuses to leave.” It’s a beautiful love story that teaches to look for happiness in little things.
- Burning Bright by Tracy Chevalier – it is a realistic historical novel set in the final decade of the 18th century England. “As in her previous novels, Chevalier mixes historical characters and her own creations; among the real people vividly portrayed here are circus pioneer Philip Astley and radical poet/engraver William Blake.”
- The Bastard of Istanbul by Elif Shafak – this author is my last year’s find. She’s Turkish, yet she writes about Armenian genocide, now that’s an unexpected fact. “Full of vigorous, unforgettable female characters, The Bastard of Istanbul is a bold, powerful tale that will confirm Shafak as a rising star of international fiction.“
- The Forty Rules of Love by Elif Shafak – before you start reading this book get yourself a pretty notebook as you’ll be able to fill it with wise and timeless “lessons, or rules, that offer insight into an ancient philosophy based on the unity of all people and religions, and the presence of love in each and every one of us”. This is a novel with two parallel narratives—one contemporary and the other set in the thirteenth century Middle East.
- Slade House by David Mitchell – in just a few sentences? “Down the road from a working-class British pub, along the brick wall of a narrow alley, if the conditions are exactly right, you’ll find the entrance to Slade House. A stranger will greet you by name and invite you inside. At first, you won’t want to leave. Later, you’ll find that you can’t.” A great ghost story.
- Disgrace by J.M. Coetzee – “Set in post-apartheid South Africa, J. M. Coetzee’s searing novel tells the story of David Lurie, a twice divorced, 52-year-old professor of communications and Romantic Poetry at Cape Technical University.” Sounds pretty simple, right? Yet everything is much more complicated. I’d say this book is schocking, stiring up all kinds of emotions.
Read more, learn more and always stay focused.