A lot of things might have happened in the previous year to make it an unforgettable year. There definitely were some positive events and an equally high dose of negative events. After all, who can forget the turbulence that hit the aviation industry. I have dreamt more than two occasions on avoiding to travel by air, and have actually implemented it once. Yet, this is not what defined my year. Several things did though. However, what is germane to this blog will have to do with books and reading.
Ever since I reactivated my reading passion and began blogging in 2009, 2014 was the year I read the least amount of books. At 20 books, the average of was less 2 per month, though I went several months without reading a book. This amount of books in 2012 or 2013 would have been swallowed up in about two and half months of reading. But then again, this was 2014 where a lot of things happened. Below is a list of books I read in 2014, where a review is available I have linked it.
Books Read and Reviewed
- The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins: This was the first book I read in 2014. In fact, it was carried over from 2013. It was a selection of the Writers Project of Ghana's Book and Discussion Club. This could easily be considered the most arresting and suspenseful story I read in that year; though I read so few that every book could easily qualify as 'the most...'.
- The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie: I had anticipated reading this book that I couldn't believe I finally got to read it. I have heard of its density of language and of symbols. These things nearly prevented me from opening it but the satisfaction I got when I did is more than a young man's expectations on his first night of whatever. Apart from the furore its publication generated, the book itself is a socio-religio-cultural trip through time. This and Midnight's Children define Rushdie.
- The Case of Wagner, Nietzsche Contra Wagner and Selected Aphorisms by Friedrich Nietzsche: What can I say about this book. Okay, it is the book that Nietzsche damned Wagner for producing bad music and talked about what his likes are. It is a book for people interested in that subject matter. I read it basically because I wanted to read Nietzsche; or, more specifically, I wanted an introduction to Nietzsche.
- Lord of the Rings (I. Fellowship of the Ring, II. The Two Towers, & III. The Return of the King) by J.R.R. Tolkien: This was a reread of the Book I and a reading of the Book II & III. There is nothing to be said about Tolkien that has not been said already. These books are more than just stories. They are examples of creativity of language and truly define what the novel was meant for: to be novel. The only thing is that the story is short.
- Americanah by Chimamanda Adichie: This is Chimamanda's third published novel and fourth book. I have decided to read all of her books and I am on course. However, this book did not engage me as much as the others, with about two-thirds of the book written as a flashback.
- How to Spell Naija in Hundred Short Stories by Chuma Nwokolo: Chuma's voice is one that is unique and interesting to hear. His stories are filled with laughter and realities. He has a keen insight in life and presents it in a way that makes the reader goes 'aha!'. He turns small 'insignificant' events into great stories. If you have not read him do.
- The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle: I had always thought this was a complete novel only to discover it was a collection of short stories. I wonder the place of the movie adaptations in Doyle's short stories collections.
- Testament of the Season by Mawuli Adzei: Mawuli Adzei is the author of Taboo, a novel I read and truly enjoyed that addressed a lot of things in one sweep of the pen. This however is a collection of poems and in this the author sort to stay relevant. The subjects he addresses cover the entire world. The Writers Project of Ghana got him to read this at our monthly book discussion.
- Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks: This book had been on my shelf for several years. I had reacted negatively to Faulks James Bond novel and was afraid to open this. However, when I did, Faulks showed me the beauty of his writing, his ability to control the reader's emotions, and, more importantly, the uselessness of war; something I strongly believe in. The images Faulks conjures in this book about war is so realistic that the reader will forever be averse to wars.
Books Read but not Reviewed
- Eugenics and Other Evils by G.K. Chesterson: In this book Chesterson discussed certain scientific or pseudo-scientific propositions that tended to discriminate against the poor and sought to give power to a few scientist who actually do not understand what they were about and yet had placed themselves above society. They had given themselves the privilege to determine who is fit to marry and what constitute that fitness. This is an eye-opening book. Shows you that the world has not changed that much and that there are people who will not succumb to 'science says...' but will analyse and criticise to put society on its toes.
- The Psychology of Nations by G.E. Partridge: This book analyses war, its causes and effects, from different perspectives. It is an interesting essay.
- The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger: What an imagination. How could one come up with such a story of a time travelling man in a relationship with a 'normal' girl. The pains, the fears, the aspirations... what will happen if his daughter adopts the gene but a breakthrough in technology could help her to control her talent? This is such a nice story.
- Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell: Well this is one of the book I reread in the year, courtesy the Book and Discussion Club. I first reviewed this book on ImageNations on July 21, 2011. A reread was important as the book revealed more of its secrets. Nineteen Eighty-Four is a book that everyone should read. What are you waiting for, if you have not read it?
- My Name is Red by Orhan Pamuk: I bought this book because it is one of my desires, or reading goals, to read at least a book by a Nobel Laureate in Literature. And Orhan Pamuk is one of them. This book is a motley of things I can properly articulate until I read again. However, it tracks the history of the Ottoman empire, or I think it did, and the transformations or growth in its literature and arts. Or more specifically, the latter was used as a symbol of that history.
- Charlotte's Web by E.B. White: Why did I read this children story? I did because I have seen this on several lists and it has also been adapted into a movie (I think it has). Secondly, I never got to read a lot of these popular books. Like all children's book, it preaches virtues, in this case the importance of friendship and loyalty and the need to respect all regardless of features.
- Lord of the Flies by William Golding: This was also a reread (I first reviewed it on November 24, 2010). and I did not complete it. Again, courtesy of my book club.
- Notes from the Underground by Fyodor Dostoevsky: A selection of the book club, this is a small but dense book about a man and his love and his psyche.
- Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov: Once again, a selection of the book club, which I could not finish reading, and which I regret. And which I will read again! The language in this book is marvelous, which compensates for the unsettling subject matter. I now understand why this is one of the most banned books.
This is my appalling 2014 reading. Share your reading with me; perhaps you will give ideas for reading in 2015. I am yet to make any reading resolution except to improve on my 2014 performance. Happy New Year to you all.