Friday, January 06, 2017

Books Read in 2016

I want to blog more about books and reading in 2017, so why not start and try to remember the books I read in 2016? This post will have to be a work in progress because I cannot remember most books I read.

The last week of the year was a great time for reading, since we were mostly hanging out in my youngest brother-in-law's house and it was very cold outside (it's Montreal after all!), so I read three books there, first I finished Feed by M. T. Anderson which I had bought together with the The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing books I and II for my son (I am yet to read those).

Feed is crazy and gave me a bit of a headache. It's all too real even though it was written BEFORE we were completely glued to our cell phones 24/7 and to our facebook, Twitter and Instagram feeds. I picked it up after a friend and children's lit scholar (and former blogger) mentioned in passing that the president-elect (a creature whose name shall never be mentioned in this space except by titles) sounded like the few quotes from the president in Feed.

Then I read a Brazilian book, Desde que o Samba é Samba by Paulo Lins, the author of the now famous novel then movie Cidade de Deus/ City of God. It's a supposedly historical fiction book about the history of samba music and it's pretty interesting, but way too full of sex and red-light district skirmishes to my liking. Sigh... and it was pretty repetitive in its structure, not well edited at all. It was interesting to learn more about how "Umbanda" -- one of the Brazilian African inspired religions -- originated. Lins had a few well-placed (if coming out of nowhere) cameos of famous people such as Carmen Miranda and the Brazilian poets Manuel Bandeira and Mario de Andrade (not very flattering portrayal of the sexual life of those two, probably the reality, though).

And I began, but not finished until Monday Jan. 2, another Brazilian novel, Azul Corvo this one available in English translation (Crow Blue) which I imagine must be good -- I'd recommend this book if you're interested in the experience of immigration/migration and knowing a little bit about the guerrilla movements in Brazil during the late 60s early 70s. Adriana Lisboa is an extremely talented novelist, I need to read all her books (I have read and taught another one, Symphony in White -- pretty heartbreaking tale of two sisters, trigger warning: sexual abuse & incest. It's masterfully written, though, and oh, so poetic!).

That was it for the last week (I've read two more books since Sunday)

Other books I read in 2016:

Between the World and Me. Wow, this book is a must read for those who want to know what it feels like to grow up Black in America. A tour de force.

Books I re-read: Sense & Sensibility back in February.

Then, before I watched the movie version of Lois Lowry's The Giver (precisely this beautifully illustrated edition), I re-read the book (which I'd read for the first time last year and never got to blog about! ;-(

And around the time of the election, I re-read the three sequels, Gathering Blue, Messenger -- very relevant for today, especially the whole thing of building a wall and shunning immigrants and refugees, and Son (which I didn't love when I first read it, but now think it's pretty good). I heartily recommend this quartet if you haven't read them!

I'll edit the post when I remember other books I read -- they weren't that many, unfortunately!

1 comment:

What Now? said...

I'm trying something new this year and using Goodreads, at the encouragement of a librarian friend. One thing it's already made clear to me is how many books I have going at once and how there are some books I just trail away from and never finish.