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Books in 2014

05 Jan

26 in 2012

23 in 2013

21 in 2014

Is this a trend?

I hope it’s not but it’s clear that other activities are taking up more of my time. I’m not sure how i feel about that. Books are the only thing that have always been a part of me. In bad times and in good times.

What is also clear is that i need to be more careful when choosing what to read, particularly when it comes to fiction. Far too many of the books I read this year proved to be disappointing. Only one fiction book, The Secret Garden, is on my Must Read list. I will need to do better “research” when making a decision of what to read. Also, it’s probably best to avoid recent publications and focus more on older publications. A question that i will be making myself whenever i decide on a book to read is why? Why this book?

For example.

I’m currently re-reading The Way We Live Now by Anthony Trollope. Why? Because i loved it the first time and it’s even better the second time. Even though the events described take place in the 19th century they still apply today.

I’ve also started reading Political Order and Political Decay: From the Industrial Revolution to the Globalization of Democracy, by Francis Fukuyama. Why? Because i think the world is going through a lot of changes, especially Europe. Democracy as we know it is proving to be unable to provide the answers to the problems we are facing. Sometimes it’s even part of the problem.

I realise my answers are a bit lame. But they will do for now.

Only 6 out of the 21 books were non-fiction which is surprising to see as i seem to be getting more out of them. Granted, two of them were epic but i still could have read more.

It’s a shame that i only thought about my reading at the end of the year instead of during. That can change.

STATS

  • 6 out of 21 books are non-fiction
  • 1 out of 21 was an audio book
  • 1 out of 21 was written by a female author
  • 1 out of 21 was a re-read

MUST READ

SecretGarden82011_12_12_2_38169354Sleepwalkers

The Secret Garden, by Frances Hogson Burnett

This is the only fiction book to make it to the top. I read this twice, once with my niece in Greek and then the original English version on my own. Even in the poorly translated Greek version the message of this book comes through. The joy for life. A must read for children and adults alike.

A Life too Short: The Tragedy of Robert Enke, by Ronald Reng

A heart wrenching book about the life of the German goalkeeper, Robert Enke. He struggled with depression and in spite of the help from his family and friends he committed suicide at the prime of his life. If i was doing a Book of the Year award this would probably have been it. This is a very personal choice for me. Tremendous.

The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money and Power, by Daniel Yergin

Now with the tumbling of oil prices in 2014 the timing of this epic book was perfect. What we are seeing now has happened many, many times before. It helps putting events into perspective.

Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914, by Christopher Munro Clark

This book does exactly what it says on the tin. It does not cover the war but what led to it and whether it could have been prevented. A war i knew, and still do, very little about.

I also re-read The Sense of an Ending, by Julian Barnes (Audio Book). Still a brilliant book.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

JackalanofficerandaspyrobertharrisGorky-Parkthe-quiet-american-penguin-classicsAll QuietGardenInto the Wild

  • The Iron Jackal (Tales of the Ketty Jay *3), by Chris WoodingReminds me of Firefly the TV show. I love this book series. Makes me feel i’m a teenager when i’m reading it. 
  • An Officer and a Spy, by Robert Harris
  • Gorky Park, by Martin Cruz Smith – Re-read after around 20 years. A superb thriller.
  • All Quiet on the Western Front, by Erich Maria Remarque
  • The Quiet American, by Graham Greene
  • The Garden of Evening Mists, by Twan Eng Tan – Close to being a Must Read
  • Into the Wild, by Jon Krakauer (non-fiction)

RECOMMENDED

  • A Bracelet of Willow and Copper, by Garrett Alley
  • Thousand Cranes, by Yasunari Kawabata

INDIFFERENT/AVOID

  • Russian Folk Tales, by Ivan Iakovlevich Bilibin
  • Far North, by Marcel Theroux
  • Mr Penumbra’s 24-hour Bookstore
  • Beauty and Sadness, by Yasunari Kawabata
  • The Sound of Things Falling, by Juan Gabriel Vascuez
  • The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business, by Charles Duhigg (non-fiction)
  • Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth and Happiness (non-fiction)
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Posted by on January 5, 2015 in Books

 

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