I have kept a list of the books I read since 2012. The lists are here, at my BOOK LISTS PAGE.
2018 has been odd. From January til May, I still homeschooled my daughters and read aloud to them. They started school in August, and I have not been blogging or interacting with other readers that much. I’m slowly getting back, though.
I also have been part of a book club, but after this year I’ve decided I don’t want to be in it anymore. It felt like a chore. The selections this past year weren’t good.
I am who I am, with my love for the classics, my own goals and challenges. I love to read books in the spur of the moment, and to follow recommendations by others.
Reading with my dear friend Kim has been a pleasure. We started reading together around two years ago, and we both want to continue.
And now, the recap of books read.
NON FICTION READS:
18 out of my 65 reads were non fiction, that leaves a total of 47 fiction reads. Around 28% non fiction. One book in this category,
MEDITATIONS ON DON QUIXOTE, ORTEGA Y GASSET, I read for the second and third times this year.
- ¿Cómo leer un libro?, Dolores Rico Oliver ★★✫ ESSAY
- Meditaciones del Quijote, Ortega y Gasset (re-read 2x) ★★★★★ ESSAY
- Look Back to Happiness, Knut Hamsun★★★★ AUTOBIO/TRAVEL-LOG
- Velazquez, Enrique Lafuente Ferrari ★★★✫ ART
- A Room of One’s Own, Virginia Woolf ★★★✫ ESSAY
- A Circle of Quiet, Madeleine L’Engle ★★★✫ AUTOBIO/INSPIRATIONAL
- A Moonless, Starless Sky: Ordinary Women and Men Fighting Extremism in Africa, by Alexis Okeowo, ★★★★ POLITICAL ESSAY
- La Deshumanizacion del Arte y Otros Ensayos de Estetica, by José Ortega y Gasset ★★★★★ ESSAY ON ART
- Magritte, by Suzi Gablik ★★★★ ART
- The Princes in the Tower, Alison Weir ★★✫ HISTORICAL FICTION
- Secrets Revisited, Judy Simon ★★★★ AUTOBIO/INSPIRATIONAL
- Hourglass: Time, Memory, Marriage, by Dani Shapiro ★★★★ AUTOBIO/INSPIRATIONAL
- Meditaciones del Quijote, Ortega y Gasset (re-read 3x) ★★★★★ ESSAY
- A Grief Observed, by C.S. Lewis ★★★ ESSAY/PERSONAL EXPERIENCE
- Love Defined, by Kristen Clark ★★★ SELF HELP/CHRISTIANITY
- She’s Got the Wrong Guy: Why Smart Women Settle, by Deepak Reju ★★★★ SELF HELP/CHRISTIANITY
- The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America, by Erik Larson ★★★★ HISTORICAL FICTION
- Estudios sobre el amor, by José Ortega y Gasset ★★★★ ESSAY/PHILOSOPHY
My three favorites would be:
In case you are confused, José Ortega y Gasset is an only author. His last name is composed of two, Ortega and Gasset. He is called Ortega for short.
Meditaciones del Quijote, Ortega y Gasset (re-read 2x) ★★★★★ ESSAY
– I’ve read it 3x in my life, 2 alone this year. The title is a bit misgiving, since Ortega doesn’t talk about Don Quijote until the last part of the book, and even then, he doesn’t talk about the content of the book but what the book means as a modern novel and the departure Cervantes took in the world of literature.
These are the sections of this short essay:
Preliminar Meditation: 1. The Woods, 2. Deep and Shallow, 3. Streams and Orioles, 4. Trans-worlds, 5. Restoration and Erudition, 6. Mediterranean Culture, 7. What Goethe told a captain, 8. The panther, or about the senses, 9. Things and their meaning, 10. The Concept, 11. Culture. Safety, 12. The light as imperative, 13. Integration, 14. Parabola, 15. Criticism as patriotism,
Meditation I: Brief treaty on the novel: 1. Literary genra, 2. Exemplar Novels, 3. The Epic, 4. Poetry of the past, 5. The Rhapsodic, 6. Helen and Madame Bovary, 7. The Myth, Leaven of History, 8. Knights Stories, 9. Maese Pedro’s Altarpiece, 10. Poetry and Reality, 11.Reality, Leven of the Myth, 12. The Windmills, 13. Realistic Poetry, 14. Mime, 15. The Hero, 16. Lyricism’s Intervention, 17. Tragedy, 18. Comedy, 19. Tragicomedy, 20. Flaubert, Cervantes, Darwin.
Magritte, by Suzi Gablik ★★★★ ART
This book had a lot of history and philosophy in it. With modern art, like that of Magritte, reading about the painter and his times is the key to understanding and enjoying his art. (Even before, though, I had an affinity and obsession with his paintings.
La Deshumanizacion del Arte y Otros Ensayos de Estetica, by José Ortega y Gasset ★★★★★ ESSAY ON ART
I’m going to have to go with Ortega again. This was pretty amazing in terms of understanding a brief history of art and literature alongside. (Some parts are a bit obscure to me, -lack of knowledge, and the fact that Ortega doesn’t usually translate the quotes in Italian, Latin, or French. I was a bit lazy to look them up. I might the next read. And with Ortega, there’ll be other reads, no doubt.
Look Back to Happiness, Knut Hamsun, (unusual, different, must read again, or more by the author)
A Moonless, Starless Sky: Ordinary Women and Men Fighting Extremism in Africa, by Alexis Okeowo, (given that I don’t know anything about this topic, it opened my eyes and I found it well written.)
Fiction comprises 47 of my 65 books for the year. Six of the 47 were re-reads.
- The House of the Seven Gables, Hawthorne ★★★ XIX CENTURY AMERICAN
- Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad ★★★★ XX CENTURY AMERICAN
- A Man Called Ove, Fredrick Backman ★★✫ CONTEMPORARY
- If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler, by Italo Calvino ★★★✫ XX CENTURY MODERN, re-read
- Antología poética 1923-1977, by Jorge Luis Borges ★★★★★ POETRY
- Alfanhuí, Rafael Sánchez Ferlosio ★★★★★ XX CENTURY, SPANISH AUTHOR
- The Other Einstein, Marie Benedict ★★✫ FICTIONAL HISTORY CONTEMPORARY
- La corte de Carlos IV ★★★★★ HISTORIC FICTION, SPANISH AUTHOR
- Kristin Lavransdatter, The Cross ★★★★✫ XX CENTURY, DEPICTING MEDIEVAL NORWAY
- A Gentleman in Moscow, Amor Towles ★★★✫ XXI CONTEMPORARY
- La novela en el tranvía, Galdós ★★★★ XIX CENTURY, SPANISH AUTHOR, GALDOS
- News of the World, by Paulette Jiles ★★★✫ XXI HISTORIC FICTION, CONTEMPORARY
- Mansfield Park, Jane Austen, ★★★★★ JANE AUSTEN
- Soledades. Galerías. Otros poemas, by Antonio Machado ★★★★★ POETRY, re-read
- Selected Poems, by Nathaniel Tarn, Pablo Neruda ★★★★ POETRY
- El 19 de marzo y el 2 de mayo, Galdós ★★★★ XIX CENTURY, SPANISH AUTHOR. GALDOS
- True Grit, Charles Portis, ★★★✫ XX CENTURY MODERN, WESTERN
- The Silver Chair, C.S. Lewis ★★★★★ XX CENTURY, CHILDREN LIT
- Antología poética, by Alfonsina Storni ★★★★ POETRY, SPANISH
- Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, by Omar Khayyám, Edward FitzGerald, ★★★✫ POETRY
- Death with Interruptions, by José Saramago ★★★✫ CONTEMPORARY
- Persuasion, Jane Austen ★★★★★ JANE AUSTEN
- The Ink Dark Moon: Love Poems by Ono no Komachi and Izumi Shikibu, Women of the Ancient Court of Japan, ★★★★★ POETRY, JAPAN
- The Remains of the Day, by Kazuo Ishiguro ★★★★★ ISHIGURO re-read
- The Poetry of Gabriel Celaya, ★★★★✫ POETRY, SPANISH AUTHOR
- Little Fires Everywhere, Celeste Ng ★ CONTEMPORARY RUBBISH
- Bailén, Galdós ★★★★ HISTORIC FICTION, SPANISH AUTHOR, GALDOS
- Volverás a Región, Juan Benett ★★★★ XX CENTURY MODERN, SPANISH AUTHOR
- La peste escarlata, Jack London ★★★✫ XX CENTURY, POST-APOCALYPTIC
- The Buried Giant, Ishiguro, ★★★★ ISHIGURO, re-read
- The Inverted World, Christopher Priest ★★★★ XX CENTURY, SI-FI
- Corazón tan blanco, Julián Marías, ★★★✫ XX CENTURY, SPANISH AUTHOR
- Sense and Sensibility, Jane Austen, ★★★★✫ AUSTEN
- The Gods Themselves, Asimov ★★★★ SI-FI, ASIMOV
- A Pale View of Hills, Ishiguro, ★★★★★ ISHIGURO
- Death of a Nationalist, by Rebecca Pawel ★★★ HISTORIC FICTION, CONTEMPORARY
- Letter from McCarty’s Farm, by Ellen Kort ★★★★ POETRY
- East of Eden, by John Steinbeck ★★★★✫ XX CENTURY MODERN, AMERICAN
- Chains (Seeds of America, #1), by Anderson, Laurie Halse ★★★ YA, HISTORIC FICTION, CONTEMPORARY
- El artista del mundo flotante, Ishiguro, ★★★★★ ISHIGURO, re-read
- The Pilot’s Wife, Anita Shreve ★★✫ CONTEMPORARY RUBBISH
- My Sister’s Keeper, Jodi Picoult ★★ CONTEMPORARY RUBBISH
- Staying Alive, edited by Neil Attley ★★★★★ POETRY
- Interpreter of Maladies, Jhumpa Lahiri, ★★★★✫ CONTEMPORARY, SHORT STORIES
- The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, Agatha Christie ★★★★ CHRISTIE
- Lud in the Mist, Hope Mirrlees ★★★✫ XIX CENTURY, FANTASY
- The Great Gatsby, Scott Fitzgerald ★★★★★ XX CENTURY MODERN, AMERICAN, re-read
It would be difficult to pick three favorites.
All the poetry, yes, all of it I’ve loved.
Everything with ★★★★ four or more stars I recommend too.
Some books with three ★★★ or three and a half stars ★★★✫ , I’ve still have enjoyed very much, but I won’t recommend them unless you feel drawn to the author or genre.
Anything with less than three solid stars, don’t bother.
I have to mention an underestimated book by Ferlosio, Alfanhuí. If you love picaresque, poetry, language, a coming of age story, an unusual book, you’d love this title.
This is it for this post and the year in books. Before I close, I’d like to add that for 2019, I’ve decided to read WHICHEVER I WANT. No more book club obligations. I’m going to keep the two challenges, Back to the Classics, and The Classics Club. I’ve been shopping in my own shelves, and I have come up with a nice tower of books I’ve bought, and have not read yet. It’s not that I’m going to do what I see some have done, that of not buying books for a year, or very few, oh, no, not at all, -it’s more a change of focus. I do want to pay attention to my humble library. I’m falling in love again with some of my books. I also know I’m going to choose some books in the spur of the moment. And I’ll continue reading with Kim, (we always pick books we both appreciate, anyway).
Let me show you some of those beauties. More detailed pics to come soon. Some of those books are truly gorgeous.
There’s two columns, first, the column to the right with three pictures, last one with the Kindle leaning on the books.
Next three pics are of the left column, starting with Le Carré, and ending with Shaeffer.