The main reason for this post is to track my reading behavior, observe it and see how it evolves through time. Another reason for writing it is that, maybe, it might inspire someone to make reading a habit (and get trapped in the beauty of a reader's life), because, well, that's how I got "trapped". I mean by reading posts like this.
I did a post last year saying I made a new personal record of reading 13 books in one year, 2018. Honestly, I had no high expectations about 2019 back then. So let's see how it went.
As I did in 2018, I started my year by reading George RR Martin's books. This time I started with Fire&Blood. I loved it but I was a bit disappointed because I had high expectations, one of them was for the story to end in the 700 pages book, but it didn't end. Now I'm waiting for the second part of the Targarian History AND for The Winds Of Winter!
I also finished some books I started in 2018 and couldn't finish, which are: "Milk and honey" and "Frankenstein". Finally, I finished my January with "Macbeth".
I started reading "New Moon", the second part of "Twilight", during a camp near the sea in the summer of 2018. Then, I stopped reading it and started other books to only get back to it this February and directly move to the next parts "Eclipse" and "Breaking Dawn".
I've heard of "Strange Case of Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde" too many times not to read it, the last one was a reference to it in Paolo Coelho's book "Adultery".
Outlander was an amazing journey through time and a discovery of the way the world was working during and right before the Scottish rebellion against England and the mass migration to America... I watched the series first and then started reading the books. I only read the first book so far, but maybe I'll read the rest of them.
The third book is called "أن تبقي" (That you stay) by a Tunisian young writer called Khawla Hamdi. This is the second book in the series that I consider one of the best things I read in Arabic.
The fourth book I read in March was "الشخصيّة التونسيّة" (The Tunisian Personality). It's an academic study of what the inhabitants of "Tunisia" went through in the last 3 thousand years and how that affected our typical personality and shaped us.
April - July
From April to July (here I kind of lost the dates), I read four books: "A Midsummer night's dream", "Les Misérables", "حديث الصباح" (The Morning's Talk) and "Candide"
The best of them was "Les Misérables" by Victor Hugo who described it himself by saying
Ce livre est un drame dont le premier personnage est l’infini. L’homme est le second.
This book is a drama that has two characters, Infinity is the first and Man is the second.
It was another time travel but this time to France before, during and after the rule of Napoleon. It shows another side of the french revolution (or it's interior) and it shows, through the eyes of some real "characters", how cruel and hard the times were and yet how hopeful the people were. Les Misérables is a mixture of history, drama and other things, it teaches us so much, not only about France or Freedom or Revolutions but about Life itself.
August - September
In August- September, I read "أنتيخريستوس" (Antichristos), "In Search of Fatima: A Palestinian Story", "كليلة ودمنة"( Kalila & Demna) and "لأنّك الله" (Because You Are Allah). The ones I liked the most were:
- In search of Fatima which was the story of a child who went through war, exile, racism in the exile and disrespect from her own extended family because she was trying to adapt to that exile.
- Kalila & Demna which is a book that contains wisdom from thousands of years, most of it came from eastern Asia some from Persia, it was translated to most of the languages, the Arabic translation that I read was written about 14 centuries ago.
The Hound Of The Baskervilles (October)
To all the world he was the man of violence, half animal and half demon; but to her he always remained the little wilful boy of her own girlhood, the child who had clung to her hand. Evil indeed is the man who has not one woman to mourn him.
This one was my first adventure with Sherlock Holmes. I'm sure it won't be my last. That's all I can say about it.
The great Gatsby (October)
He smiled understandingly—much more than understandingly. It was one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it, that you may come across four or five times in life. It faced—or seemed to face—the whole external world for an instant, and then concentrated on YOU with an irresistible prejudice in your favor. It understood you just so far as you wanted to be understood, believed in you as you would like to believe in yourself and assured you that it had precisely the impression of you that, at your best, you hoped to convey.
If you watched the movie, you should recognize this paragraph and link it to this scene:
The stars my brothers (October)
It was a short and beautiful experience. Thank you @calluna for recommending it to me.
Gone With The Wind (November)
Now she would willingly have humbled herself and admitted that she had only hurled that accusation at him out of her misery, hoping by hurting him to alleviate her own hurt. But there never seemed an opportune moment. He looked at her out of black blank eyes that made no opportunity for her to speak. And apologies, once postponed, became harder and harder to make, and finally impossible.
2019 taught me something new about myself, or about my taste in literature. I learned that I love exactly THIS kind of books. Books where I can have another life in another time and another place, where there are detailed descriptions of places people behaviors and even accents, I found all this in "Gone With The Winds" as I found it in "Les Misérables" and "In Search Of Fatima" and "Outlander" (though the latter is a bit different from them because it is much less realistic) and I find some of that pleasure in the next book:
(BTW, I made a post about Gone With The Wind right after I finished it, check it out if you're interested)
Un Long Dimanche De Fiancailles (December)
Il avait neigé pendant leur cheminement dans les boyaux. Leurs manteaux était trempés, ils avaient froid. Chacun, en peinant dans la neige, taînait avec lui son nuage d'haleine et ses soucis, et sa peur, et le souvenir des siens que peut-être il ne reverrait pas.
Madame Bovary (December)
Mais elle connaissait trop la campagne ; elle savait le bêlement des troupeaux, les laitages, les charrues. Habituée aux aspects calmes, elle se tournait, au contraire, vers les accidentés. Elle n’aimait la mer qu’à cause de ses tempêtes, et la verdure seulement lorsqu’elle était clairsemée parmi les ruines. Il fallait qu’elle pût retirer des choses une sorte de profit personnel ; et elle rejetait comme inutile tout ce qui ne contribuait pas à la consommation immédiate de son coeur, étant de tempérament plus sentimental qu’artistique, cherchant des émotions et non des paysages.
After reading paragraphs like these last two, I can only say to myself "Thank god I can read French" because such words can't be translated without affecting their beauty (that's why I won't translate them here).
I started my 2020 a little late, I haven't finished any books yet. I only started reading one a few days ago. It's called "Azazel". I'm reading it in Arabic but it was originally written in Aramaic (or Syriac) more than 15 centuries ago nut only found and translated lately. Spoiler alert! No one knows if it was Biography or Fiction, that's how interesting it is. (I'll probably write something about it when I finish it)
goodreads.com is the source of all the book covers in this post