food for thought #12: 2021 books review

2021 was the year I read more than I wrote. (I believe you noticed!) In this last 12 months, I completed more than 40 books, many of them I found exceptional. 

I believe it helped that I invested in an e-reader and subscribed to kobo’s streaming service. I have to be honest, even if I couldn’t find every author I wanted, thanks to this platform I was able to discover some books I would never have done if I had to buy them.

Anyway, in this post I would like to share with you the most significant authors and books I read in 2021.

Tokarczuk

Olga Tokarczuk was definitely a great confirmation. Awarded with the Nobel prize of literature in 2019, this polish writer had finally her books translated into portuguese language this year. And what a surprise!

 As I wrote before, ‘Tokarczuk’s way of writing is rare and remarkable’. I first read ‘Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead’, then in 2021 I read ‘Flights’, ‘Primeval and Other Times’ and ‘House of Day, House of Night’.

Tokarczuk is not easy to read. It is a huge but interesting challenge. If you’d like a suggestion to start I would recommend ‘Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead’. It has a classical literary structure that can be a great introduction to her laborious writing style.

Luiselli and Hustvedt

Another great discovery I made this year was Valeria Luiselli’s ‘Lost Children Archive’. In this novel, a family decides to take a cross-country car journey, from New York to Arizona, to record a series of anthropological audio projects and end up trying to save latin american migrants who seek refuge in the USA.

Luiselli’s way of writing is detailed, nearly obsessive, and pleasant, clearly ingenious. As it was such a rewarding reading, I am now patiently waiting to find her other novels.

Last but not least, I would like to distinguish Siri Hustvedt. One year ago I read ‘Memories of the Future’ and last september ‘The Blazing World’.

Both Hustvedt’s novels are vibrant but if you only had the chance to read one, I would suggest ‘The Blazing World’ and meet its protagonist, Harry Burden, a female artist that tries to destroy the art establishment’s ingrained sexism. 

Portuguese Authors

Throughout the year, I dedicated some time to discover the most recent portuguese literary values: Djaimilia Pereira de Almeida is the most striking, as the way she plays with our language and creates complex plots with such mundane characters.

Dulce Maria Cardoso is another recommendation. She has been novalising Portugal’s most important events of the last century – more precisely decolonization and dictatorship – through interesting stories that helped me to understand more of my country’s history and the society where I grew up.

Currently I am reading ‘The First Things’ by Bruno Vieira Amaral. I started to follow his stories in newspapers, where he signs some chronicles, and this book – his first novel! – has been a perfect close for my literary 2021.

Bruno Vieira Amaral writes about quotidian tragedies and achievements. His characters are truly human and you know what is fun? Every time I take the bus, or go to the supermarket, or roam around, I find these individuals everywhere. 

Amaral’s characters are so vivid and live such genuine reality that they could definitely be around us. Among you and me… they are us!

previous food for thought

Feel free to use the comment’s section down below to share your best literary memories of 2021. Can’t wait to read your feedback and get excited with your recommendations. Happy 2022!!!

8 responses to “food for thought #12: 2021 books review

  1. Em 2021, li muito menos do que gostaria, mas neste final de ano estou a ler, finalmente, o “Conduz o Teu Arado sobre os Ossos dos Mortos”. Estou absorvida pela escrita da autora e por toda a atmosfera para onde nos transporta. É excelente. Confirmo as tuas palavras.
    Espero ler mais no próximo ano. Já leste algo de Jon Fosse? Nunca li nada dele, estou com curiosidade e a pensar em começar com a “Trilogia”.
    Continuação de boas leituras 🙂

    • eu no espaço de 6 meses li todos os livros da menina Tokarczuk editados em Portugal! Deus meu, que maravilha, ela é incrível, cria um mundo tão estranho, tão trágico, tão especial!!

      Olha, ainda bem que me lembraste do menino Fosse porque fiz o download da ‘trilogia’ dele e talvez comece em breve. Também li tanta coisa motivante sobre a sua escrita 🙂

      Ano após ano, se há coisa que não me desaponta, é ler e descobrir novos autores ahah

      Beijinhos e bom ano Inês,
      PedroL

      • Foi mesmo um ano de muitas leituras para ti, Pedro. Espero que continues neste ritmo no próximo ano. Tens de juntar ao blogue de viagens, um blogue de livros 😉

        Sinto o mesmo que tu, mas não só com os autores. Se há coisa que gosto no mundo é descobrir novos livros, filmes, músicas. É bom irmos acrescentado estas coisas a nós ao longo do caminho 🙂

        Beijinhos e um bom ano

      • ahah a minha ideia é focar este blogue nas viagens que se podem fazer pelo mundo e pelos livros… com tempo chego lá eheh e agr em 22 vou mesmo avançar com alguns artigos premium, vamos lá ver…

        grande abraço Inês 🙂 PedroL

  2. Happy New Year, Pedro! I can heartily recommend Luiselli’s short book, Tell Me How It Ends: An Essay in Forty Questions. It’s about her experiences as a translator for undocumented migrants and it is brilliant. I also finally read her ex-partner, Alvaro Enrigue’s novel Sudden Death this year and enjoyed it immensely. He is the husband in the novel you read, and the work he is doing on their journey is related, I believe to the book he published in 2018 (which is coming out in an English translation this February).

    • ola and thank you so much for your feedback 🙂 oh well, I liked so much Luiselli that I’m sure I would like her other books! I tried to get it on ebook but on Kobo I couldn’t find… My plan is to order it online or try to get it in Madrid, either on spanish or english eheh

      I didn’t know about Enrigue’s, it must be amazing, will definitely try to find his books now eheh 🙂

      If you find any portuguese writer let me know your thoughts 🙂

      all the best and cheers from Lisbon,
      PedroL

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