In honor of summer reading, I decided to post some books that I have devoured so far this year. I also bookmarked a list of what I would like to read in the future here if you want to take a gander. I would love to hear your top picks this summer. I pretty much like any genre as long as it’s well written and interesting – heck I once read “Battlefield Earth” in its entirety because I wanted to understand the mind of Scientology founder, L. Ron Hubbard. My thoughts: Good book – scary religion.
Just to give you an idea of what I don’t like – 50 Shades of “oh just shut up already”. I know that was harsh but considering I enjoy a trashy-read like the best of them yet 50 Shades just sucks in my opinion. Granted I only downloaded the sample but once I read about the 26 year old billionaire, unless you are Mark Zuckerburg who hardly seems the “sex god” type, I can’t see it. Twilight seems like a Hemingway masterpiece to the 50 Shades trilogy. Anyway, rant aside, below is a list of other honorable mentions I read this year. Enjoy and please do give me your tips! I am always looking for that “Primo Levi” quality of novel that I can’t get out of my brain.
- The Land of My Fathers: A Son’s Return to the Basque Country, Robert Laxalt. link. I read this in anticipation of our trip to the Basque, a very poignant eyes-on account of every aspect of this fascinating culture and land. I really liked it.
- The Diary of a Single Parent abroad, Jill Pennington. link . Woman and husband decide to move their family to Italy’s countryside from Britain. Husband decides he would rather stay with his “girlfriend” back home, needless to say it doesn’t end pretty; we deduce he is a prick and she is a survivor who wears the same sandals for nine years. Entertaining true-life story that makes you want to kick her ex in the nether regions and hope on a train to lend a hand with her ever-growing farm.
- Ciao, America!: An Italian Discovers the U.S, Beppe Severgnini. link. Like the curious person I am, I always love reading about what other people think of America and its idiosyncrasies. Beppe is hilariously charming and reading this book feels like pulling a chair up to a scene of someone viewing the USA for the first time, loved it.
- Agaat, Marlene van Niekerk link. This book is about the relationship between a 67 year old woman suffering with Lou Gherig’s disease (setting is South Africa) and her coloured caretaker. I found the book to be slow in the beginning and long-winded at times but I still consider it a good book. Tough to read during some parts.
- The Accidental Billionaires: Sex, Money, Betrayal and the Founding of Facebook, Ben Mezrich link. After watching the Social Network, I had to read this book. It wasn’t as good as I thought it would be but I did enjoy having yet another peek at the birth of Facebook and how these guys my same age, are now billionaires. One note: I found the “rich twins” quite annoying when reading this (and watching the movie). I was left thinking that all massively successful companies likely stepped on someone(s) on the way to the top. No surprise and not that much sex either.
- Among the Thugs, Bill Buford link. Our friends Kate & Rob lent this book to me and wow – It is an incredible read that I can’t seem to put down even if I want to. While I have seen the movies This is England and Green Street Hooligans – reading this American journalist’s first-hand account of being among crazy football hooligans is mind blowing. He tries to put the violence and behavior in a sort-of perspective, if even possible, by analyzing the idea of “the crowd” and the powerful momentum it has. Great read – be ready to read about some terrible violence and uncouth behavior.