In 2021 I read less then previous years but nonetheless I’ve read some interesting works I would like to share. My favorite non-fiction work was Walter Isaacson’s biography on Steve Jobs and my favorite work of fiction was Stupeur et Tremblements by Belgian writer Amélie Nothomb.
South of the Border, West of the Sun1
How to avoid a climate disaster1
Extension du domaine de la lutte1
Icebound: Shipwrecked at the Edge of the World1
Stupeur et Tremblement1
In 2020 I enjoyed the books listed below, an almost equal mix of fiction and non-fiction.
With four books in Dutch and two in French, 2020 is a high point for both languages, compared to other years of the last decade. I’ll try to continue reading at least one book in French every year.
Back in 2017 I read Alain Mabanckou’s ‘Black Moses’ in English, which was my introduction to this author. I’m very happy to have read this year his ‘Demain j’aurai vingt ans’ and ‘Les cigognes sont immortelles’ in their original language. Both books I heartily recommend.
The best work of fiction I’ve read in 2020 is a Dutch classic: Harry Mulisch ‘De aanslag’. A book which is very to the point and that leaves the reader impressed. In English, I was impressed by An Yu’s debut novel ‘Brased Pork‘, which has a Murakami vibe.
In the non-fiction section I found Amy Stanley’s ‘Stranger in the Shogun’s City’ a very interesting read and Kishore Mahbubani’s ‘Has China Won’ very insightful. The former a biography about a common woman’s life in 19th century Japan, the latter a different perspective on the geopolitical struggle between the USA and China.
Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men1
Roma Intima. Liefde, lijf en lust1
De komst van Joachim Stiller1
The Ride of a Lifetime1
Groetjes uit Vlaanderen1
De tragiek van de macht1
Demain j'aurai vingt ans1
The Sum of the People1
Les cigognes sont immortelles1
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck1
Stranger in the Shogun's City1
Has China Won?1
In 2019 I’ve enjoyed the below books.
I’ve completed the fifth and final book of Dream of the Red Chamber (紅樓夢) and can lay this Chinese classic to rest, although BaoYu and DaiYu will stay with me for quite some time.
My favorite book of the year is A Gentleman in Moscow: a truly great read!
I can also recommend Marguerite Duras’s L’Amant to improve ones French.
The Lieutenant of Inishmore (Modern Classics)1
Kafka on the Shore1
The Story of the Stone, or The Dream of the Red Chamber, Vol. 5: The Dreamer Wakes1
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - Hufflepuff Edition1
The Regency Years1
A Gentlemen in Moscow1
The Far Right Today1
The Handmaid's Tale1
In 2018 I’ve enjoyed the below books.
After reading ‘Journey to the West’ and ‘Water Margin’ in previous years, I started on another of the great Chinese classics: The Story of the Stone, or Dream of the Red Chamber (紅樓夢), as it is better known. I rate it much higher then the other two, a true masterpiece. It does not feel outdated or repetitive like the others sometimes do. However, I still have one volume to go, the final twenty chapters.
I’ve also read some interesting non-fiction about the past, present and future of solar energy and about the history of the legendary ship ‘Endeavour’.
Taming the Sun: Innovations to Harness Solar Energy and Power the Planet (The MIT Press)1
The Story of the Stone, or The Dream of the Red Chamber, Vol. 1: The Golden Days1
The Displaced: Refugee Writers on Refugee Lives1
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - Slytherin Edition1
The Story of the Stone, or The Dream of the Red Chamber, Vol. 2: The Crab-Flower Club1
The Story of the Stone, or The Dream of the Red Chamber, Vol. 3: The Warning Voice1
Endeavour: The Ship and the Attitude that Changed the World1
The Story of the Stone, or The Dream of the Red Chamber, Vol. 4: The Debt of Tears1