Friday, January 13, 2017

The 2016 Book Report:

Two thousand and sixteen has now vaporized itself into history and while I had set up to read 25 books within said year, I miscounted the darned number I've gone through and missed out on the 25th book. I did only have about 3 days left  of the year when I finished what turned out as the 24th - Sir A. C. Doyle's "The Study in Scarlet"; but supposing I read one that was only a pamphlet-thick in the remaining days, then I would have completed the bloomin' challenge, right? What a lamentable oversight... 

Be that as it may, like what Mr. Gibbs said about the supposed death of Commodore Norington in "Dead Man's Chest," "Best not wallow in our sorrows!" Another year is upon you and I and here's hoping I would be able to complete 25 indeed (though not a promise), but in the meantime, here's my recap. 

Among the books I went through this year, I've proven why classics such as "War and Peace" and "Tale of Two Cities" are choice books for centuries and understand why it will remain so. These books have the staying power of mercurial objects with their universal themes, representations, characterization and even quite frankly their moral lessons. 

"The Picture of Dorian Gray" I thought was psychological with a touch of supernatural and one I imagine would play with someone's mind if one allows it. "Twenty Thousand Leagues" was venturesome and quite fun.  It was the year of my first Balzac with "Cousin Bette" which was rather lengthy but I can now surmise that Balzac is my French auteur du jour en cé moment. "Romola" I enjoyed too, not realizing it was set in Renaissance Florence with the likes of Niccolo Machiavelli making a cameo appearance, George Eliot is a true power house in English Lit; makes one curious about the authoress.

Among the contemporary ones I've read, "The Book Thief" was heart-rending and Diane Ackerman's was like an encyclopedia of the cuerpo mortal. "The Other Hand" or "Little Bee" had a questionable ending in my view, one that I would ask the author about if I ever did meet him for I could not see it as equitable at all. Bourdain's "Kitchen Confidential" was informative in terms of the culinary substratum, and "The Sisters Brothers" was funny apart from a few hiccups. "Blindness" was disturbing and thought-provoking, so much that "The Age of Innocence" became a breath of fresh air. 

In all, my reading choices weren't regrettable and here's looking forward to more books in 2017; one never knows whether I'll be able to finish 25 of those codices this time? 

Ciao my dearests! And as I always say, "Read! Even if it's just a dictionary." 


1. (January) The Elegance of a Hedgehog, Muriel Barbery  
2. (February, March) War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy  
3. (March) The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair, Joel Dickson  
4. (March) Cooking with Fernet Branca, James Hamilton Paterson  
5. (April) Love in the Time of Cholera, Gabriel Garcia-Marquez  
6. (April) The Sisters Brothers, Patrick DeWitt  
7. (May) The Book Thief, Marcus Zusak
8. (May) The Natural History of the Senses, Diane Ackerman  
9. (May, June) Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, Jules Verne   10. (June) Blindness, José Saramago  
11. (July) Age of Innocence, Edith Wharton  
12. (July) The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, Annie Barrows, Mary Anne Shaffer  
13. (August) Balzac and the Little Seamstress, Dai Sijie  
14. (August, September) Kitchen Confidential, Anthony Bourdain  
15. (September) The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden, Jonas Johansson  
16. (September) The Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde  
17. (October) The Old Curiosity Shop, Charles Dickens  
18. (October) Cousin Bette, Honoré de Balzac   
19. (October, November) Persuasion, Jane Austen    
20. (November, December) Little Bee or The Other Hand (UK), Chris Cleave  
21. (December) Romola, George Eliot  
22. (December) A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens  
23. (December) Sign of the Four, Arthur Conan Doyle  
24. (December) A Study in Scarlet, Arthur Conon Doyle