2018 In Books

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.

  1. ¿Cómo leer un libro?, Dolores Rico Oliver ★★✫ ESSAY
  2. Meditaciones del Quijote, Ortega y Gasset (re-read 2x) ★★★★★ ESSAY
  3. Look Back to Happiness, Knut Hamsun★★★★ AUTOBIO/TRAVEL-LOG
  4. Velazquez, Enrique Lafuente Ferrari ★★★✫ ART
  5. A Room of One’s Own, Virginia Woolf ★★★✫ ESSAY
  6. A Circle of Quiet, Madeleine L’Engle ★★★✫ AUTOBIO/INSPIRATIONAL
  7. A Moonless, Starless Sky: Ordinary Women and Men Fighting Extremism in Africaby Alexis Okeowo, ★★★★ POLITICAL ESSAY
  8. La Deshumanizacion del Arte y Otros Ensayos de Estetica, by José Ortega y Gasset ★★★★★ ESSAY ON ART
  9. Magritte, by Suzi Gablik ★★★★ ART
  10. The Princes in the Tower, Alison Weir ★★✫ HISTORICAL FICTION
  11. Secrets Revisited, Judy Simon ★★★★ AUTOBIO/INSPIRATIONAL
  12. Hourglass: Time, Memory, Marriage, by Dani Shapiro ★★★★ AUTOBIO/INSPIRATIONAL
  13. Meditaciones del Quijote, Ortega y Gasset (re-read 3x) ★★★★★ ESSAY
  14. A Grief Observed, by C.S. Lewis ★★★ ESSAY/PERSONAL EXPERIENCE
  15. Love Defined, by Kristen Clark ★★★ SELF HELP/CHRISTIANITY
  16. She’s Got the Wrong Guy: Why Smart Women Settle, by Deepak Reju ★★★★ SELF HELP/CHRISTIANITY
  17. The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America, by Erik Larson ★★★★ HISTORICAL FICTION
  18. Estudios sobre el amor, by José Ortega y Gasset ★★★★ ESSAY/PHILOSOPHY

My three favorites would be:

  1. MEDITATIONS ON DON QUIXOTE, ORTEGA Y GASSET

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.

2. MAGRITTE, BY SUZI GABLIK

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.

3. THE DEHUMANIZATION OF ART AND OTHER ESSAYS ON ART

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.

Honorary Mentions:
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 Africaby Alexis Okeowo,  (given that I don’t know anything about this topic, it opened my eyes and I found it well written.)

FICTION BOOKS:

Fiction comprises 47 of my 65 books for the year. Six of the 47 were re-reads.

  1. The House of the Seven Gables, Hawthorne ★★★  XIX CENTURY AMERICAN
  2. Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad ★★★★ XX CENTURY AMERICAN
  3. A Man Called Ove, Fredrick Backman ★★✫ CONTEMPORARY
  4. If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler, by Italo Calvino ★★★✫ XX CENTURY MODERN, re-read
  5. Antología poética 1923-1977, by Jorge Luis Borges ★★★★★ POETRY
  6. Alfanhuí, Rafael Sánchez Ferlosio ★★★★★ XX CENTURY, SPANISH AUTHOR
  7. The Other Einstein, Marie Benedict ★★✫ FICTIONAL HISTORY CONTEMPORARY
  8. La corte de Carlos IV ★★★★★ HISTORIC FICTION, SPANISH AUTHOR
  9. Kristin Lavransdatter, The Cross ★★★★✫ XX CENTURY, DEPICTING MEDIEVAL NORWAY
  10. A Gentleman in Moscow, Amor Towles ★★★✫ XXI CONTEMPORARY
  11. La novela en el tranvía, Galdós ★★★★ XIX CENTURY, SPANISH AUTHOR, GALDOS
  12. News of the World, by Paulette Jiles ★★★✫ XXI HISTORIC FICTION, CONTEMPORARY
  13. Mansfield Park, Jane Austen★★★★★ JANE AUSTEN
  14. Soledades. Galerías. Otros poemas, by Antonio Machado ★★★★★ POETRY, re-read
  15. Selected Poems, by Nathaniel Tarn, Pablo Neruda ★★★★ POETRY
  16. El 19 de marzo y el 2 de mayo, Galdós ★★★★ XIX CENTURY, SPANISH AUTHOR. GALDOS
  17. True Grit, Charles Portis, ★★★✫ XX CENTURY MODERN, WESTERN
  18. The Silver Chair, C.S. Lewis ★★★★★ XX CENTURY, CHILDREN LIT
  19. Antología poética, by Alfonsina Storni ★★★★ POETRY, SPANISH
  20. Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, by Omar Khayyám, Edward FitzGerald, ★★★✫ POETRY
  21. Death with Interruptions, by José Saramago ★★★✫ CONTEMPORARY
  22. Persuasion, Jane Austen ★★★★★ JANE AUSTEN
  23. The Ink Dark Moon: Love Poems by Ono no Komachi and Izumi Shikibu, Women of the Ancient Court of Japan★★★★★ POETRY, JAPAN
  24. The Remains of the Day, by Kazuo Ishiguro ★★★★★ ISHIGURO re-read
  25. The Poetry of Gabriel Celaya★★★★✫ POETRY, SPANISH AUTHOR
  26. Little Fires Everywhere, Celeste Ng ★ CONTEMPORARY RUBBISH 
  27. Bailén, Galdós ★★★★ HISTORIC FICTION, SPANISH AUTHOR, GALDOS
  28. Volverás a Región, Juan Benett ★★★★ XX CENTURY MODERN, SPANISH AUTHOR
  29. La peste escarlata, Jack London ★★★✫ XX CENTURY, POST-APOCALYPTIC 
  30. The Buried Giant, Ishiguro, ★★★★ ISHIGURO, re-read
  31. The Inverted World, Christopher Priest ★★★★ XX CENTURY, SI-FI
  32. Corazón tan blanco, Julián Marías, ★★★✫ XX CENTURY, SPANISH AUTHOR
  33. Sense and Sensibility, Jane Austen, ★★★★✫ AUSTEN
  34. The Gods Themselves, Asimov ★★★★ SI-FI, ASIMOV
  35. A Pale View of Hills, Ishiguro, ★★★★★ ISHIGURO
  36. Death of a Nationalist, by Rebecca Pawel ★★★ HISTORIC FICTION, CONTEMPORARY
  37. Letter from McCarty’s Farm, by Ellen Kort ★★★★ POETRY
  38. East of Eden, by John Steinbeck ★★★★✫ XX CENTURY MODERN, AMERICAN
  39. Chains (Seeds of America, #1), by Anderson, Laurie Halse ★★★ YA, HISTORIC FICTION, CONTEMPORARY
  40. El artista del mundo flotante, Ishiguro, ★★★★★ ISHIGURO, re-read
  41. The Pilot’s Wife, Anita Shreve ★★✫ CONTEMPORARY RUBBISH
  42. My Sister’s Keeper, Jodi Picoult ★★ CONTEMPORARY RUBBISH
  43. Staying Alive, edited by Neil Attley ★★★★★ POETRY
  44. Interpreter of Maladies, Jhumpa Lahiri, ★★★★✫ CONTEMPORARY, SHORT STORIES
  45. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, Agatha Christie ★★★★ CHRISTIE
  46. Lud in the Mist, Hope Mirrlees ★★★✫ XIX CENTURY, FANTASY
  47. 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.

ALFANHUí, RAFAEL SANCHEZ FERLOSIO

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.

6 thoughts on “2018 In Books

  1. Excited to continue reading along together 🙂 So many great classics to still discover! I feel the same way…look at my own shelves for 2019 and work on those along with others that come up. But feel more free in choosing rather than reading what others think I should. If that makes sense…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I can’t do book clubs or sign up for challenges, either–I just have to do my own reading my own way. “Contemporary Rubbish” made me laugh out loud. I get that category…I really do. What a great pile of books! I see many favorites in there…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, hahaha. I also like your arm chair category. The only challenge I can do is the Back to the Classics. It’s 12 classics, and it works because I tend to read several classics every year. Beyond that, I have to do my own reading as well.

      Like

  3. Looks like a great year, and that pile of books looks like it’ll be a great 2019! I’m particularly interested to eventually read Speak, Memory.

    Happy New Year!

    Liked by 1 person

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