In response to a tag from flowerville.......
Total number of books owned
Well....Never done this before. I am poor at deciding about hates and loves generally. But I am participating with some relish. I will only consider the last 2 years, since they have been kind in allowing some freedom to read much more than before. In the last 2 years, I have bought 270 plus books. These include novels, poems and essays, and some philosophy. I don't borrow from my local library as it is not worth the trouble. If I consider the books that I actually own, then the number is greater. Some books have been borrowed by friends over the years and not returned.
Last book bought
The day before.........The Obscene Bird Of Night, Donoso. I have not started reading it yet. I am attracted to the cover. I am a cover fetishist but not literally. I buy books in sprees. It is a kind of sad mania. Whenever I am in a bookshop, I lose concentration and get restless. I throw my love at books. My favourite bookshop is Borders, but I generally buy online.
Last book read
Amulet, by Roberto Bolano. I wrote a post about it yesterday. I don't generally write about any book I read until weeks or months later. I let it simmer and seethe inside. Amulet is an exception. I had to do something to do something about it. I do not know why I had ignored it till now. I don't know why things and books ignore us sometimes. I read it at the suggestion of atenea, whose blog I admire without knowing how to read it.
I have this strange habit of reading a few books at the same time. They exist in parallel worlds and do not generally meet. I am reading Landscapes of war by Juan Goytisolo, Pedro Paramo by Juan Rulfo, Querelle Of Brest by Jean Genet, Dancing Arabs by Sayed Kashua.......... I must pick up The obscene bird now.
Five books that mean a lot to you
Like Alok, I will not include the Russians or books read more than 2 years ago.
The book of disquiet by Fernando Pessoa: I have named my blog after this book. It needs no praises from myself. Suffice to say that it is a wonderfully disconcerting experience to read it. It is the love of the morbid and a simultaneous running away from it. It is truly great. Everyone should read it more than once and then many times afterwards.
Hopscotch by Julio Cortazar: I have read the first two pages many, many times. It reminds me of my own circle that is now scattered, seperated by the Atlantic. It also makes me jealous, considering the bohemian, love struck, star struck eyes and the sad sad jazz all over its pages. I think it is a sad novel despite the hyper, experimental text.
The savage detectives by Roberto Bolano: I have not written about this book here because I feel unable to. I completed it this July, after my own departure lounges had saturated my eyes. No body writes like Bolano, honestly. He grows upon you. It is LSD for the soul and the crash. All those who love writing and writers and books and the folklore of this love must read it. And the politics is the blade behind the words. I love Latin American fiction, not just the usual tame magic realism type.
the loser by Thomas Bernhard: This book is better than one thinks it is. It gave me the expression I thought I should have known before, namely deterioration process. I have actually not been fazed by my own deterioration process since reading it, as one East Anglian friend must know.
I saw Ramallah by Mourid Barghouti: I am a bit biased against the Arab novel sometimes for it lacks the formal structure of the novel in the western sense. I think the novel is a western European invention. That aside, this novel is pure elegy, calm one however. It tells you of the pain of not returning to what was once home. Barghouti is a great poet and this novel is a tribute to Palestinian pain and all freedom lovers generally. Insomniacs must avoid this book.
I must mention that I have not listed the Russians or Joyce, Melville or Jean Genet or Nabokov or Sebald. This summer I discovered Juan Goytisolo but the trilogy is partly unread. Goytisolo, is the writer's writer, the poets poet. I have also not mentioned poetry, for then I would talk about Federico Garcia Lorca or Borges or Darwish.
One book that I did not like that I read this year is war and war by Krasznahorkai.