Books I read in 2020

2020 obviously was a fantastic year for reading. I read 17 books, which is more that the double than the previous year. Here are some of the books that I enjoyed the most in 2020.

Bill Bryson is one of my favorites of all times and it is always a pleasure to read about his travels across Europe in the 80’s. Forty years ago traveling abroad was a completely different experience that today’s and this book shows how things were done back then. Very nice reading.

I discovered Raymon Carver when I read ‘Cathedral‘ and surely will read more of him in the future. He has this extraordinary magical power to write open-ended stories to involve the reader into his books.

Then it comes ‘Hunger‘ by Knut Hamsun. This is a fantastic journey into the mind of a troubled individual. Hamsun won the Nobel Prize of literature in 1920. I was so delighted with Hamsun, that I couldn’t wait to read more of him and I found ‘In Wonderland‘ , in which Hamsun narrates his trip across Russia, from Finland to Turkey, on train and on a carriage pulled by horsepower. Very funny reading indeed.

The two books of Hamsun above mentioned were originally written in Norwegian and because I loved Lyngstad’s translations to english, I decided to look a bit more into other Norwegian books translated by Lyngstad. A book that caught my attention is ‘Novel 11 Book 18‘ by Dag Solstad. This book is a bit strange but it is a really enjoyable reading, and I will read more books of Solstad in the future.

And now it comes a classic: ‘The house of the Dead‘ by F. Dostoevsky. This book is absolutely perfect. It takes you to the deeps of the mind of a prisoner in Siberia in the nineteenth century. Dostoevsky continues fascinating ours minds even after 160 years have passed since the book was published, and that is quite remarkable.

My last book in 2020 was, ‘The unusual second life of Thomas Weaver‘ by S. Inmon. This is a very recent book and I love it. Two brothers, Thomas (14) and Zak (17) in 1976 go to a party and Thomas accidentally kills his brother while driving under the rain. 40 years later Thomas, was never able to recover from his grief, and decides to end his own life. He dies and and suddenly wakes up again in 1976 and he will try to change his destiny and that of his beloved brother. I also read a couple of novels from Thailand that I liked too.

Now that 2021 has started, I decided to read more. I am now simultaneously reading two novels. One is the second part of the book by S. Inmon. The book starts in 1976 and then one of the characters of the first book goes back to 1966 where and he will be forced to change his own future. Very good book.

The second book that I am reading now is ‘Palace Walk‘ by Naguib Mahfouz, and it is a fantastic book. Mahfouz won the nobel prize of literature in 1988. I think he is the first writer from an arab country to win the award. The book is about a wealthy egyptian family in the early twenty century. Perhaps one of the reasons that made me start this book is that the narrative is extremely beautiful. This book reads almost like poetry. Just to give an example of how Mahfouz describes something as mundane as feeding hens, here is a very brief excerpt:

… Their beaks fell on the grain quickly and regularly, like sewing-machine needles, leaving little indentations in the dust like the pockmarks from a drizzle. How good she felt when she saw them gazing at her with clear little eyes, inquisitive and questioning, while they cackled and clucked with a shared affection that filled her heart with tenderness”. I highly recommend this book to anyone.

Books that I read in the past nine years.

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