This year has been full of literary discoveries. Despite the lack of reviews posted on the blog, I still wanted to share with you some of my favorite readings of 2016. Here’s a comprehensive list.
CRIME AND PUNISHMENT, Fyodor Dostoevsky
This is most-likely the greatest novel I have read in a long time. Dostoevsky’s writing style and the way he built the plot made me so very fond of Crime And Punishment. The Russian writer depicts a wide panorama of characters, enriched by thorough psychological portraits. I’ll leave the rest so that you can discover it all by yourself.
O PIONEERS!, Willa Cather
The first episode of Cather’s Great Plains trilogy painstakingly recounts the story of the Bergsons, a Sweden family who has emigrated to America. The sketches of the Wilderness recreates a vivid environment for the female protagonist’s rise in a traditionally male-dominated world. Brilliant historical and feminist fiction.
LA PART DES FLAMMES, Gaëlle Nohant (untranslated)
Set At dawn of the eighteenth-century, La Part des Flammes relates the fate of three women: Sophie d’Alençon, Constance d’Estingel and Violaine de Raezal. From different generations and backgrounds, their lives are bind by the real-life acclaimed annual charity event Le Bazar de la Charité, located at the heart of Paris, which took fire in 1897. The embedded tale is recounted on a refined tone, making the reader to indulge in 1897 France.
THE TRIAL, Franz Kafka
Uncompleted dystopian and absurdist novel, The Trial, heavily influenced by Dostoevsky, is substantially loaded with philosophical questions. It relates the story of Josef K.’s sudden and unexplained arrestation. His quest is to defend himself without notice of his accusation. The novel echoes with real life events that have occurred throughout history and can thus be read as a parable, an existential tale or can be linked to totalitarianism and its tools of modern bureaucracy.
THE PROPHET, Kahlil Gibran
Published in 1923, The Prophet is a brief collection of essays based on philosophical and spiritual questions. Some words to describe it would be: awe-inspiring, life-changing masterpiece, beautifully poetic meditations.
‘Beauty is eternity gazing at itself in a mirror. But you are eternity and you are the mirror.’
QUIET, Susan Cain
Most-probably one of the greatest books I have read in far too long (in forever maybe). A very informative account of what makes an introvert, intended both for introverts and extroverts. Make peace with yourself as an introvert for every single trait you’ve ever been blamed. Now’s the time to accept yourself, so cultivate your Quiet Powers and rise. You will shine. (Read my full review here.)
THE FOUR AGREEMENTS, Don Miguel Ruiz
Using ancient Toltec wisdom as a basis, Ruiz recounts the four rules to live a fulfilled, free and blissful life. Those life lessons are applicable to every and any domain, to remind yourself of day by day and to enjoy without reserve. Read it, you will feel it.
BIG MAGIC, Elizabeth Gilbert
Whatever kind of art you practice — plain life it may be! — this book will be a definite source of inspiration. Gilbert, the proclaimed author of Eat, Pray, Love, guides you along her creative life journey to teach you about what it takes to live a more creative life, taking into account the good, the bad and the ugly.
FRANCOISE, Laure Adler (untranslated)
Françoise Giroud was a French journalist, writer and politician. She embodied the prominent figure of feminism in twentieth-century France. A self-made successful woman coming from a modest background, she paved her way to journalism, by co-founding L’Express, a renown and still published political magazine. This exhaustive biography will guide you along the great life Giroud led fighting for her beliefs.
THE HISTORY OF ROME #1, Livy
The only surviving work of Livy, The History of Rome is compounded of 142 ‘books’ which recounts the history of the Roman Empire, covering the period from the arrival of the Aeneas to the death of Drusus in 9B. The chapters are narrated through brief essays and plunge you into the antic Rome. Simple but effective, and enthralling!
THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS, Sigmund Freud
In this classic of psychology, Pr. Sigmund Freud offers an exhaustive account of his research on the unconscious. Dreams, considered ‘the royal road to the unconscious’, do not rely more on universal symbols than personal circumstances. As he narrates and analyzes his own dreams, the Professor also informs the reader with a method to understand their dreams. A gripping read, you’ll definitely want to learn more about it!
LEAVES OF GRASS, Walt Whitman
Whitman’s masterpiece is a celebratory ode to the American nation and its founders. The acclaimed eighteenth-century poet enhances the bond between people and nature. He depicts the Wilderness in all its beauty. Words to breathe. Refreshing.
THE ECLOGUES / THE GEORGICS, Virgil
The same way Whitman inspired American poetry, Virgil’s work inspired the European tradition of pastoral poetry, giving life to nature. These collections are among the greatest works of Latin literature and a must-read for anyone interested in poetry in general.
THE MASNAVI (BOOK #2), RUMI
This lengthy work of poetry, compounded of 25,000 verses and compiled in six different books, is also known as one of the most influential mystic poems of all times. Based on Sufis philosophy, Rumi conveys through his writing his spiritual teachings. A very profound poem to enjoy, if not for its universal wisdom and sometimes hard-to-grasp meaning, for its magnificent writing style.
Have you read any of these? What do you think of them?
What are the best books you have read this year?