There were no obvious choices for my favorites this year. I had lots of memorable experiences, but also quite unexpectedly disappointing ones. Some books gave me a hard time but I was thankful in the end. Some others were a treat while I kept turning the pages, and then when I was done not much remained. Some defeated me, some others were surprisingly easy and fun despite a very difficult reputation. How do I approach this diversity? This year I’ll try categories:
Classics: although I tried some Greek classics last year, the most memorable ones were a bit less ancient… and a lot more fun
- Alexandre Dumas, Les Trois Mousquetaires (1844)
- Chretien de Troyes, The Knight with the Lion (middle ages)
Mysteries: I couldn’t not name an Italian mystery, could I?
- Gianrico Carofiglio, Le Perfezioni Provvisorie (2010): an endearing lawyer turned improvised P.I.
- Liza Cody, Gimme More (2000): a thriller without a murder, and a very noisy book about rock
Non-Fiction: very WW2-oriented this year
- Daniel Mendelsohn, The Lost (2006)
- 2 Diaries: A Woman in Berlin (1945) or Helene Berr’s Journal (1942): pick your side of the conflict, but cry both sides
Fiction: (a.k.a. The Rest)
- Siri Hustvedt, The Sorrows of an American (2008) but The Summer Without Men was great too
- Yoko Ogawa, Secrete Crystallization (Jap. 1994): super sad and weird, but so much worth it
If I had to choose only one, it would probably be The Lost by Daniel Mendelsohn. It was quite a big book with big ambitions and a big emotional journey for the writer and the readers alike. It’s not an easy read by all means, but I recommend it whole-heartedly.