Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The books that changed my 2011

It is that time of the year…the time when we start to make lists about what we may do different in the year to come. And, as I'm no different than most, it is the time for me to figure out what I may like to try changing in 2011. But, before I do so I usually look at what had changed me in the year that is about to end, like the books that had an impact on my reading choices and are most likely to impact my to read list for 2011…

Now, these are very personal choices as this is a list of the books which had the most impact on me as a reader (who is implicitly "a person" as well). Thus, an excellent book such as Midnight Children, and an well prized one (1), is not on the list. But the more modest Sea of Poppies is included because of the approach which Amitav Gosh took to cultural transitions in India which was so familiar to me (the hopeful rationalism of Victorian England and colonial France) . By all means, written more powerfully and with an authentic voice, Midnight Children would probably stroke a deeper chord if I weren't born and raised in Europe…

I also chose not to include re-reads such as Madame Bovary and Anne Frank (because no matter the impact they had it was not as I first read them ) and for the same reason , Juliet Wilson and Julie Buffaloe- Yoder's chapbooks were not included either ( because I was already familiar with their writing from their blogs).

As a woman:

Adrienne Rich - The Dream of a Common Language
Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Mario Vargas Llosa - The Bad Girl
Susan Musgrave (ed.)-  Nerves Out Loud (YA)

As an MBA graduate:

Jared Diamond - Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed
J.H. Gittell - The Southwest Airlines Way: Using the Power of Relationships to Achieve High Performance. Operations management for companies that care more about people than about frills.

Once upon …the time of my youth - children, YA

Susan Musgrave (ed.)- Nerves Out Loud
Morris Gleitzman- Two Weeks with the Queen
Shyam Selvadurai - Swimming in the Monsoon Sea
Neil Gaiman – Sandman (Yeah, really. Though we did not dig Stardust)

Nostalgia ( les neiges d'antan)

Jacques Prevert - Paroles
Czeslaw Milosz – The Second Space
Herta MullerHerztier [Animalul Inimii , Romanian, translator Nora Iuga)

Relationships (but not the type your marriage counselor will encourage reading about)

Mario Vargas Llosa - The Bad Girl
Bryan Borland (ed.) - Fag Hag – A Scandalous Chapbook of Fabulously-Codependent Poetry
Ray Bradbury -Farewell Summer
Christopher Isherwood - A Single Man

The Other

Shyam Selvadurai - Swimming in the Monsoon Sea
Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Laila Lalami- On Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits
Andrea Levy -The Long Song
Amitav Gosh - Sea of Popies
Christopher Isherwood - A Single Man


Czeslaw Milosz –The Second Space
Arthur Koestler - Darkness at Noon

 (1) it did won the Booker of Bookers. But there's no reason to pout as there are enough laureates on the list ...


Monica Tarţa said...

Relationships (but not the type your marriage counselor will encourage reading about):)) Şi pe primul loc este Travesuras de la nińa mala - perfect de acord. Mişto listă! :)

Ana said...

asta inseamnă că-s cititor mişto ...:)

Julie said...

I always enjoy reading your reviews and your poetry. I like how you have categorized the books here. "Fag Hag" is definitely on my list to purchase, but it all looks good. Thanks for the information. I will bookmark this page for future reference.

Happy new year to you, Ana. I hope this coming year brings you many moments of joy. It has been a pleasure to read your blog and your work.

Ana said...


thank you for the nice words.
Besides Fag Hag, I think you will definitely like Collapse -it is a different style but it is a subject so dear to you :the environment and the human impact on it.

Wishing you a happy new year as well, and hope to see you visiting my blog in 2011 again.

Ahab said...

You're a fan of Czeslaw Milosz? Have you read THE CAPTIVE MIND by any chance? It's Molisz's take on the inner workings of the mind under totalitarianism.

Ana said...

I just discovered Milosz this year (as strangely as it may sound)so I only read a small collection of selected poems, the antology he edited and second space.
I shall add "the captive mind" to my list- it'll fit great under "obsessive" :) Thank you and have a happy new year

earthwalker said...

i was looking for good sci fi suggestions. I will read "sandman" then. if i don't like it, you are in trouble :)
i really liked "a single man", you borrowed it to me.

Ana said...

I wouldn't call Sandman Sci-Fi. Give it a try (I borrowed it from the library).
I am looking to borrow some Sci-Fi books from you. I am now reading Snow by Pamuk... :)
I'm glad you liked "A single man" and "On hope" - we shall exchange more books ...

Ana said...
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