#Reading in February
It’s the end of February! Crazy!
This month I read a lot of books. That’s why I will do a post of #BeenReading with only books. I blame it to the wifi, because it doesn’t work properly in my place. Thanks, Jazztel. And because I started to read poetry books.
You will see that most of the books are autobiographies. Apparently I am into that theme this month… That was subconscious. Stress on subconscious, not unconscious.
Another note: I’ve deleted the books that are only in Spanish editions. If you want to see them, click this link to go for the Spanish written post.
Last but not least: the following links are affiliated. Meaning that if you buy books through them I will get a tiny commission to buy more books. They’re my drug. Please nurture it, if it’s convenient for you.
Let’s begin, shall we? They’re in my chronological reading order:
Água Viva by Clarice Lispector | This author is beautifully philosophical. To me, she invented the stream-of-consciousness writing style. Reading her it’s like getting a cup of coffee with her and just listening whatever comes to her mind. I’ve also read The Passion According to G.H. and The Hour of The Star by her.
After reading the last book of this month -which you will see at the end of this post-, the writer who pioneered the stream-of-consciousness style was Virginia Woolf. Who apparently wrote a suicide note to her husband (also in a stream-of-consciousness style). That’s how I know about this fact. This should give you an idea of what the last book I read this month is about.
A Working Girl Can’t Win: And Other Poems by Deborah Garrison | Very subtle poetry. I really much enjoyed it. It was dark, funny and powerful. Smart writing.
Diving into the Wreck: Poems 1971-1972 by Adrienne Rich | This was just wrecking. I mean, look at the title, it’s just great. With this book, I started to fall in love with poetry. And you’ll see in this post that it won’t be the last book of poetry I have read…
Making Scenes by Adrienne Eisen | I fell in love with this book. It’s an autobiography of the author from her early 20s. She talks about eating disorders, book reading, struggling to get her shit together while becoming good at something in life while still trying to get laid. And paid. Her writing is SO good. Best book of the year so far. No doubt about it. Adrienne changed her name a few years later. Now she is known as Penelope Trunk.
Moby Dick by Herman Melville | I liked it. But I didn’t love it. The first part was cute. Yeah, I would describe it as cute. Because the characters are cute. You want to hug them. But towards the end of the book I end up losing a lot of interest… I didn’t care about the whale anymore.
The writing is great though. I get why so many people like it. I will try to re-read it in the far future. Probably I can enjoy it more when I’m 40. So this is a reminder note for my older-me to read Moby Dick.
Flash Fiction: 72 Very Short Stories edited by J. Thomas, D. Thomas y Thom Hazuka | As you can see from the title, it’s a compilation of short stories. So short, that you fly through them.
They vary from 100 to 700 words. It’s great for bloggers who want to practice their writing style in their posts. Because the majority of posts are short-lengthened, under 1.000 words. Posts that surpass this number, are less likely to be read. They become articles. Trust me, my shortest posts are the ones that are more shared, whilst the longest ones are harder to read. Unless I put lots of pictures like in this one. To compensate the excessive-word feeling. You’re welcome.
So posts under 1.000 are more viral. That’s why you should read flash fiction if you’re a blogger. Just if you want to improve your content quality.
Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen | Terrific. Smart and funny autobiography about mental health problems. It’s the story of the author’s 18 years-old period when she was diagnosed with depression and personality border disorder.
She was in a mental ward at the age 18 with other girls. Oh, you’ve probably seen the movie, starring Winona Rider and Angelina Jolie as the cover of the book clearly states. These movie covers annoy me. But it was the cheapest version.
Going back to the story, Susanna was diagnosed with a severe personality disorder and depression. The writing style is scintillating, because it’s from when the author was already old. Her perspective of her own experience is brilliant. Not only she writes perfectly, but also has lots of sense of humor. Very smart and cleverly written story. Please read it. Every teenager should read this.
The Illiterate by Agota Kristof | It’s another autobiography on writing. It’s okay. Agota has a minimalist writing style. You can see this from the outside: the book is tiny. It has nearly 80 pages but the content is powerful and still minimalist: no frills, no excessive words, not a blade of ramblings. It was straight to the point. I love that.
Years later, the author said she regrets publishing this book: it was a mistake. She did it for money, but she did not took it anyway when she got a prize worth 10.000€.
Well, I think this is a noble act as an obsessed writer. For an illiterate. I am glad she published this book anyway. And I am sure that more people are as well. Thanks Agota.
Nothing by Janne Teller | It’s been a long time since I wanted to read this book. I first saw it in a Youtube book review and never stopped seeing it through Social Media.
People was claiming to love the story and the writing. The cover of the book had good reviews as well. Great, Nur, what would you expect. There’s never a bad review in a book cover. So I read it. It was a quick and easy read.
I was a little disappointed. I didn’t quite like it. Characters were dull and the story was pointless. But who am I to make judgements like that. I wish I could even get a fiction novel published. So, congrats to Janne Teller. Though I wouldn’t like to write a book like that…
Lolito by Ben Brooks | I didn’t like this book but I finished it. It was bearable. There are other books that you want to throw outside the window, burn them or tear them apart. Or all three at the same time.
No, this would be I’ll-keep-it-because-the-spine-looks-cute-on-the-shelf occasion. There’s this one paragraph, though, that I liked. I then continued reading because I wanted to find something as beautiful as that paragraph, a glimpse of good writing and sensitivity. But it never appeared… Here’s the paragraph:
The station was eaten by the townhouses and then the fields ate the townhouses, first empty and then dotted with sheep. People removed their coats and light up their notebooks and a collective sigh is heard. Across the hallway a woman opens a bag of potato chips with cheese and onions. Flashes and hits five in her mouth. They shatter and sound like radio parasites.
Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative by Austin Kleon | This is the typical book you want to lend to EVERYONE in the world. Everyone should read this book. It’s too good and inspirational. I wish I could meet Austin Kleon. He has become one of my idols.
Look at the entrails of it… Amazing.
Curious Pursuits by Margaret Atwood | It’s a small book on feminism and the role of women in literature. Women as writers and characters in stories.
Atwood analyzes their role seen in books and stories that have been written. She is smart and identifies trends and behavioral patterns on women’s characters throughout the years. It’s entertaining. If you’re a man, you should read this book.
…Or Not to Be: A Collection of Suicide Notes de Marc Etkind | This is the most fascinating and morbid book of the month. It’s a compilation of suicide notes. You can find notes from famous people like Virginia Woolf, Van Gogh, Hitler, Kurt Cobain, Primo Levi, etc.; from groups of people that commit suicide in the same time frame (during a war, Golden Gate Bridge, Spring, Holocaust, Werther’s effect…). Even from anonymous people, whose notes are too good to ignore:
- Do not notify my mother. She has a heart condition. Written by Steven, a guy who jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge. There was no need to tell his mother, for she saw it on the evening news.
- Absolutely no reason except I have a toothache. Note from a 49 year old guy.
- $36. The amount of money found in the mouth of a jumper. What he meant by this gesture is open to interpretation.
Marc Etkind’s work is astonishing. He clearly does a great job throughout the book to expose all this intimate and heart-breaking notes. He also combines all this information with scientific data and psychological facts. Like the following ones:
“That’s the tragedy of suicide: everyone else can see other solutions except the suicide.”
“The logic of suicide creates a tunnel vision […] there are no alternatives, no other answers. Suicide notes often reveal this thinking by using phrases like “this is the only way” and “I must do this”.”
“In order to commit suicide, one cannot write a meaningful note; conversely, if one could write a meaningful note, one would not have to commit suicide.”
That’s the end of my reads from this month. I know there’s still a day left. But I am devoted to write instead of reading. So I am happy to leave it here.
My favorite reads this month, in order of preference:
1. Making Scenes, Adrienne Eisen (Penelope Trunk)
2. Girl, Interrupted, Susanna Kaysen
3. La Tumba del Marinero, Luna Miguel
4. Steal Like an Artist, Austin Kleon
Last month's: #BeenReading
What have you been reading? Any recommendation?