Book Twenty 2013, Claraboya

The first book written by José Saramago in 1952,  but the last he publish, posthumous.

It was lost for about forty years, the publisher only got back to him

P1030623when he was already an acclaimed author.

The story revolves around a building in Lisbon were the many lives of its very particular residents becomes to unravel. Through jumping from apartment to apartment in each chapter we can see tiny worlds  forming in each house all of them with their internal wars and blissful moments.

Full of wit, tragedy, longing, the very worldly necessities of their every day lives, Saramago explores what became the omnipresent theme in all his novels, the beauty and hideousness that is the human condition.

His clear and powerful voice is already there, lazed with beauty and grace we become witness to the birth of one of the most illustrious literary genius of this century. For my money it is the second best novel I have ever read by the master Saramago second only to “Ensayos sobre la ceguera”.

So that’s 10,140 pages down, 39,602 pages to go.

Total Pages : 121,720 pages

Books Eighteen and Nineteen,2013

This past few weeks I read two amazing books, mind you that I’m not that into science fiction I’m more of a fantasy guy. That been said I think that one of the books I read is probably the greatest science fiction novel I have read.

To start of  I read the Second book of the trilogy, written by the Italian writer and archaeologist Valerio Massimo Manfredi about  the enigmatic Macedonian king, Alexander the Great.

This book chronicles the quest  of Alexander to conquest Asia.  As he marches on he recovers some Greek cities that had fallen into the hands of the Persians  His journey takes him south until he reaches the Libyan desert were he  founds himself in the ancient enigmatic land of Egypt, there he decides to build the greatest city the world has ever seen, Alexandria.

He also encounters who is perhaps is greatest enemy and the only one that could challenge is march down Asian territories, Memnon of Rhodes, the Greek mercenary commander of King Darius III army. Alexander himself call him the only worthy enemy he has encounter .

In all this is a very entertain book that introduces us to one of the greatest man to ever walk this earth.

The second book was Orson Scott Card’s behemoth of a book.

Ender’s  Game follows little Andrew ” Ender”  Wiggin, the boy genius who is the only hope for our planet to defeat the ever present “buggers” threat, an insectoid-like creatures that have tried to invade earth on a couple of occasions.

The novel follows Ender training in battle and commander school and you witness how his military genius blossoms at a very tender age.

With a tremendous pace and several plot twist this is a book that I think will be revisited several time in the coming years.

So that’s 9,723 pages down, 40,019 pages to go.

Total Pages 121.303 pages .

Books Fifteen,Sixteen, and Seventeen 2013

So I have been away for a while, you know how it is with life.

But that hasn’t stop me from reading.

ImagenIn this past weeks I have finish three amazing books, one graphic novel and a very interesting magazine about generations throughout human history.

Imagen

The first book I finish was “The Golden Compass” by Philip Pullman, this intricate story follows the witty Lyra Belacqua and her dæmon, a sort manifestation of ones soul in the form of an animal, Pantalaimon. Our heroine is trown into a perilous journey where she must face the mysterious Lord Asriel and his quest to find the enigmatic origin of the substance known as “Dust”, the ruthless Mrs.Coulter, the exiled armored bear Iorek Byrnison, the child-stealing Gobblers, the honorable gyptians and even several clan of witches. With it’s profound subject matter and beautiful narrative this novel is destined to become and ageless classic.

The second novel is Kerouac’s masterpiece “On the Road”, a chronicle of the journey throught a infinite number of miles that Sal Paradise and Dean Moriarty travel in order to find the meaning of their existence. A rocky road fill with jazz, drugs and the ever stretching mystical highways of america. This novel tap into my need to go out and explore the world, to find some epiphany with the radio blasting and the road unfolding before me.

The third book was the collection of short stories “Smoke and Mirrors” by Neil Gaiman. I will highly recommend this book to witness the large scope that Mr. Gaiman can cover. Some of my favorite stories are collected in this volume like “The Price” the story of the brave black cat, or ” Murder Mysteries” the thriller about the murder of an angel. I also found new material to me, especially the tip of the hat to H.P. Lovecraft.

As you can see the range of this novels are all over the place, but and with any good book they make take a journey into the unknown.

So that’s 9,044 pages down,  40, 698 pages to go

Total Pages 120,624 pages

Book Fourteen 2013, Norwegian Wood

A beautiful novel laced by lost love and forgotten lovers, our narrator Toru Wanatabe, takes us on a reminiscence of his college years, his sexual conquests and mishaps.

But the main drive of the story is the infatuation of our narrator with two lovely ladies, Naoko and Midori.

As  a back-drop to the story our narrator bear witness to the Tokyo student protest in the late 60’s. An event that was behold in many other nations.

As always Mr. Murakami weaves an intricated story full of beautiful moment as well as heart-wrenching events, all of this accompanied by a radiantly poetical narrative.

Of the three novels I have read of this japanese author this is my favorite.

As an interesting fact, the name of the novel comes from a Beatles song of the same name, and has mention throughout the novel as the favorite song of Naoko.

So that’s 7,651 pages down 42,091 pages to go

Total Pages 119,231 pages

Book Thirteen 2013, Invisible Monsters

This was going to be the first novel publish by Chuck Palahniuk but the publisher find it really disturbing and decided not to go ahead. After the success of Fight Club they gave it a second shot.

 
The story follows a disfigured super-model who goes by many false identities given by Brandy Alexander, a transsexual with whom she spends most of the book.
 
From the moment they meet in the hospital you’re thrown into a menagerie of eccentric characters that goes from a triage of drag queens to a special vice agent who is obsessed with how he looks in a speedo.
 
The story touches deeply in the burden of being perfect and how can she  find new beginnings after her way of life is literally rip apart. 
 
This is no light reading, but as all of this authors work is beautifully executed.
 
So that’s 7,369 pages down, 42,373 pages to go.
 
Total Pages 118,949 pages

Book Twelve 2013, Frankenstein

As stated in past post reading this book has become a new tradition, being of course the second year that I intentionally read this fantastic book an plan to do it , for the foreseeable future, at least once a year.

Mary Shelley wrote it as part of a competition of who could write the best horror story, said competition was between herself, her husband Percy Shelley, Lord Byron and John Polidori.

P1020945

The story that emerged from Mary followed the tragically fantastic tale of Victor Frankenstein and his obsession with bestowing life to a creature form by scraps of dead bodies, that with a spark brings to life.

In his success, Victor, creates a hideous deform creature who he resents from the first moment the creature takes a breath.

He is later haunted by the very creature he created as his life is systematically destroy and everyone he loves is taken from him.

For me it raises question of that troublesome persona buried deep in the dark confines of our being, latent , evil and waiting to get out.

Who is the monster here?

The Creature or the Creator.

So that’s 7,172 pages down, 42,570 pages to go.

Total Pages 118,752 pages

Book Eleven 2013, No Country for Old Men

This is the second book of Cormac McCarthy I have read this year, and let me tell you as always he doesn’t disappoint.

Of all the book I have read by this incredible author this one is the most accessible and will be a great launching point for someone who is looking to delve in his amazing body of work.

The novel is set in 1980 on the border of Mexico and the United States after a drug deal goes terribly wrong, good old boy Llewelyn Moss stumbles upon the massacre, where he finds a huge shipment of heroin and a couple of million dollars abandon.

Against his better judgement he takes the money and opens up a whirlwind of trouble mainly in theImagen figure of the psychopath hit-man Anton Chigurh. Following their steps is veteran Sheriff Ed Tom Bell, he also provides so in-depht thoughts about the rise of violence and the degradation of society.

Touching on subjects that are both timeless and the building blocks of our society.

McCarthy make us dwell on the very things that makes us human and how sometimes  they transform us into monsters.

So that’s 6,965 pages down, 42,777 pages to go.

Total Pages 118, 545 pages

Book Ten 2013, Rayuela

P1020844Couldn’t be happier to arrive in this year first milestone.
The 10th book of the year!
This honors fell to the master-piece by argentinian writter Julio Cortázar, Rayuela.
The story chronicles the life of Horacio Oliveira which mainly centers in two periods of his life.
The first being when he lives in Paris, apparently he goes there to study but never does, where he forms a group of rag-tag bohemians known as ” El Club de la Serpiente” and haves torrid love affair with “La Maga”, event that deeply scars him, that even when he returns to Buenos Aires her ghost keeps haunting him.
The second period he goes back to Buenos Aires and reunites with a old friend, Traveller. He embraks in a couple of odd jobs in a circus and as an night orderly in a mental hospital. All of this while having visions of Talita, Traveller’s wife, as she was her long lost “Maga”.
The innovative form of a non linear way to read the book, gives the reader, control over how to enjoy this master-piece.
A must-read for anyone who enjoys latin american literature.
This puts me right on schedule with my goal, so on to the next book, No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy.
So that’s 6,512 pages down,  43,230 pages to go.
Total Pages 118,092 pages

Book Nine 2013, Trainspotting

Being the first novel of Irvine Welsh, this deeply disturbing and heart-rending tale follows the caotic lifes of a group of scottish junkies.

The reader witness through, mainly of our main character and anti-hero Mark Renton, little snips of their every-day life,their failure to leave “skag” behind and the actions that leads them down a dangerous path of petty crimes,  a mayor drug deal and some HIV scares.

This is an excellent novel, but don’t thread lightly, it’s crudeness and hard topics may be a little to much for some reader.

So that’s 5,743 pages down, 43,999 pages to go.

Total Pages 117,323 pages

Books Seven and Eight 2013, Manual de Pintura y Caligrafía and Todos los Nombres

When I first decided to make the 50 book list for this year the idea of making progress with the very extensive bibliography of nobel prize winning author José Saramago was priority number one.

The list contains five books, from which this two books are number three and number four.

That leaves only one left to read. Claraboya

As always Saramago explores the hidden magical essence of even the simplest things.

In “Manual de Pintura y Caligrafía” the stories follows the inner-thoughts of a mediocre painter. A rebel in heart living of making portrait for the social elite. Tired of painting worthless art, he focus on capturing his views on a journal with some beautiful calligraphy.

In ” Todos los nombres” our story focus on a clerk of the Central Registry of  Births, Marriages and Deaths who only things beside work is collecting clips from papers and magazines of famous people. One day going thru some files of this famous persons, by accident, takes a file of a regular person, a women . He becomes infatuated with this enigmatic  woman and starts a journey to find out more about her.

Two very different books exploring the same thematic of human obsession of finding something worth sacrificing yourself over.

So that’s 5,479 pages down, 44,263 pages to go

Total pages 117,059 pages

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