For an end-of-the-year round up, twelve books that entertained, educated or disappointed me in the last twelve months:
The winter’s first – and in these parts possibly only – snowfall put me in mind of books in which winter features prominently. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the ones that came to mind immediately were children’s stories. So here are seven snowy stories to surprise your children (nieces, nephews, grandchildren, your best friend’s horrible brat…) with. Perhaps for Christmas? 🙂
It is a most wonderful comfort to sit alone beneath a lamp, book spread before you, and commune with someone from the past whom you have never met.
Yoshida Kenko: A Cup of Sake Beneath the Cherry Trees
(Essays in Idleness)
En septiembre 1931, el poeta Federico García Lorca hizo un discurso por la ocasión de la inauguración de la biblioteca pública en su pueblo natal, Fuente Vaqueros en Granada.
In September 1931, the poet Federico García Lorca made a speech on occasion of the inauguration of the public library in his hometown, Fuente Vaqueros in Granada.
La cita de la semana / Quote of the Week
¡Libros! ¡Libros! He aquí una palabra mágica que equivale a decir amor, amor, y que debían los pueblos pedir como piden pan o como anhelan la lluvia para sus sementeras.
(Federico García Lorca: Medio pan y un libro)
Books! Books! Here is a magic word that is equivalent to saying love, love, and what people should ask for like they ask for bread or yearn for rain for their crops.
(Federico García Lorca; Half a Bread and a Book)
The book is green with golden letters, cloth bound. Sunlight faded the spine into autumnal yellow so that you can no longer make out the title and the author very well. When you open it, the yellowed pages rustle, feeling slightly stiff to the fingers. The title page is followed by the picture of the author printed on smooth, glossy paper that contrasts with the coarser pages that follow it. I turn the pages and think: they don’t make books like this anymore.
And then there’s the way it smells. The smell of decades which lingers on your fingers even after you put the book down.
There is always room and occasion enough for a true book on any subject; as there is room for more light the brightest day and more rays will not interfere with the first.
(Henry David Thoreau: A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers)
Picking up where I left off on Monday night… that is, the problem of re-reading books.
The Dangers of Re-Reading
The Book Vargas Llosa Dares Not Re-Read
A few days ago on Zenda Libros I read the transcript of a group interview with three authors: Mario Vargas Llosa, Arturo Pérez-Reverte and Javier Marías. One of these I’d follow to hell, another won the Nobel Prize and the third one is still on my to be read pile.
Which kind of reader are you:
- The avid reader of new books who never re-read a book in his life?
- Or the avid re-reader of old favourites who hasn’t picked up a new book in the last ten years?
Some books have unforgettable First Lines – others have unbeatable endings… (And some have both, with some pretty impressive stuff in between.)
Unos libros tienen inolvidables primeras líneas – otros tienen insuperables finales… (Y algunos tienen los dos, con algo muy impresionante en medio.)
Some books have unforgettable first lines…
Unos libros tienen inolvidables primeras líneas…
Okay, so your work sucks and you only live for the holidays, right? Or maybe your work is the best thing ever, but even so you do go on holidays sometimes – right? So you need a book to read that’s just the right length for a short-haul flight.
(I’ll let you know my recommendations for long-haul when I’ve managed to get further than three hours’ flight.)
Nine Quirky Facts I Read Last Year
Books are not merely a source of entertainment but also of knowledge… (today’s cliché). How many of the following nine facts do you know?
Nueve hechos raros que leí el año pasado
Los libros no son sencillamente una fuente de entretenimiento, pero también lo de conocimiento… (cliché de hoy). ¿Cuáles de los nueve hechos siguientes ya sabes?
In the past week I’ve been engaged in looking at my statistics… And since the blog moved from being self-hosted to wordpress.com during the year, I had to collate the statistics manually, a task during which I found myself evaluating the pros and cons of…
Last year I borrowed the title of this well-known spaghetti western of my childhood for an end-of-year post, choosing a book for each category. I don’t see why I shouldn’t cast a look back at this year’s reading and do so again… (And I hope you appreciate that I’m sparing you an embedding of Ennio Morricone’s theme tune to play in the background while you’re reading this!)
Packing for a late season holiday? Or stuck in the office yearning for the sun-drenched Greek islands? Whichever it is, here are nine books you should consider:
A fit of September blues, accompanied by September skies. (That means grey; where I come from September skies are famous for their particularly beautiful deep blue colour.) My September blues, however, are not merely due to the fact that summer is over; my plans for rowing up the Thames à la Three Men in a Boat are over too. For reasons I don’t want to discuss here not only we didn’t succeed in following the Three Men upriver this summer, we didn’t even have a holiday. Maybe better luck next year?
So – for a while at least – this is the last post in the Upriver series. And what better way to wind up and lighten the September blues at the same time than to immerse ourselves into some books set on boats (and envy the people who get to sail on them)?
Acabo de leer El club Dumas de Pérez-Reverte: un juego precioso de literatura y libros en forma de una novela de misterio. Y me quedo sonriente.
I’ve just finished reading The Club Dumas by Pérez-Reverte: a delightful game of literature and books in the form of a mystery novel. And I’m still smiling.
Life is short and bookshelves are long… and it’s too easy to get suckered into a book, keep turning the pages, start philosophising or daydreaming and forget to live. So here’s five books you should avoid like the plague if you don’t want to become a book addict:
Lord Street, in the small Victorian seaside town of Southport in Lancashire, has the airs and graces of Paris. Except that, if you’re to believe the locals, it’s the tree-lined avenues of Paris which have the airs and graces of Lord Street: the exiled Napoleon III lived here before he became king of France and afterwards he had Paris rebuilt in the same style. In any case, Lord Street is the main shopping street of Southport which you can’t avoid en route from the railway station to the pier (there’s a lovely stretch of sandy beach too although you’d have to question the sanity of anyone who wanted to go for a swim in the Irish Sea) and in between two bright and modern shops with their sparkling clean plate-glass windows, belonging to well-known chains, there is a narrow and uninspiring passageway.
In response to the weekly photo challenge Travel Theme: Books by Ailsa of Where’s My Backpack.