02 January 2022

a book is a gift you can open again and again

I have read 58 books in 2021. I won't bother listing them all.

These are my top three.

Apeirogon by Colum McCann 

The story of Rami Elhanan and Bassam Aramin. They are friends, they are real, you can google them. Rami takes fifteen minutes to drive to the West Bank. Bassam needs one and a half hours for the same distance. Rami's number plate is yellow, Bassam's green. Both men are fathers of daughters. Rami's daughter was killed by a Palestinian suicide bomber outside a Jerusalem bookstore in 1997 at the age of thirteen. Bassam's daughter died in 2007 at the age of ten by the bullet of an Israeli border policeman.
(An apeirogon is a two-dimensional geometric shape with an infinite number of sides.)

The book consists of 1001 short sections, about friendship, grief, love, war, peace. I have never read anything like it.

The Promise by Damon Galgut

Reminded me of James Joyce in the way a big story is told via the limited interior world of (just four) people. A book about oppression but mainly told from the double standard viewpoint of greedy oppressors, the point of view of racists, who of course cannot see themselves as racists, but as suffering creatures. 

Small Things Like These by Claire Keegan

Short novella, not a word out of place.  It defines Ireland’s complex past, a winter's tale of courage - and its cost, set in Catholic Ireland.



Barbara Rogers said...

Thank you...these do look very interesting! I am re-reading Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer

am said...

Thank you for this list, Sabine.

Anonymous said...

A list like this makes me wish I still had an attention span that could still read books like this. I have a haiku attention span these days.

37paddington said...

Not a word out of place. Now that's a recommendation!

ellen abbott said...

I don't know that I could read the first two. I read for entertainment these days, to escape the horrors and injustices of the world that intrude upon us every day. Might try the third one though.

Elizabeth said...

I love Colum McCann -- "Let the Great World Spin" was one of my favorite books I've ever read, I think! "Apeirogon" is brilliant -- McCann is just stunning, I think. I haven't read the other two but will check them out!

martine said...

What a thoughtful selection. I loved Apeirogon and have had The Promise on my radar as it was on the Booker shortlist. Thanks for sharing