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.
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.
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!
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!!!