Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Books I read in 2014

Another year has gone and it is time for my annual reading list. Once again I’ve read (or re-read) 40+ books throughout the year, mostly novels and short stories, but also children’s books, manga, biographies and other non-fiction. Most of the books I’ve read in the original language (Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, English, French and a bit Japanese – no German books this year, sadly), but the list also includes translations of books from Spain, Finland and Russia as well as the more complicated Japanese books.

My favourite in 2014 was without doubt Madeline Miller’s “The Song of Achilles”. In this, her first novel, she retells Homer’s “Illiad” in the voice of Patroclus, Achilles’ highborn companion and lover, as the novel is composed as an autobiography. The love story between the degraded Patroclus and his sworn brother, the demigod Achilles, is brilliantly written and very moving and the depiction of the Trojan War is heart breaking.

I would also like to call attention to Pat Barker’s “Regeneration” trilogy, especially volume two, “The Eye in the Door”. These novels are fantastic and I was surprised to learn that the author is a woman, as both the tone and the subject of the books are very masculine. The trilogy consists of historical novels on the First World War, especially the effect that the war had on British soldiers.

During 2014, I re-read a lot of books written by old favourite authors of mine, like the Danish H. C. Branner and the Norwegian Johan Borgen, but I also got a new favourite and that is the Japanese female author Banana Yoshimoto. She writes about urban existentialism and the exhaustion of young Japanese trapped between imagination and reality in contemporary Japan. She does this in a very subdued and - to me - Japanese way with recurrent use of dreams and sense impressions. So far, I have written three books by her, “The Lake” being my favourite, and I can’t wait to read more.

With Miller, Barker and Yoshimoto being my favourites in 2014, it is safe to say that it was a year of female authors for me. Unfortunately, I didn’t get anything published myself, at least not in my own name, as I’ve been very ill all year, but I expect to finish a new short story collection in 2015. Anyway, here is my complete reading list and I hope it will inspire you to read some books yourself:

Baggesen, Jens Immanuel: “Epigrammatisk Billedbog”
Barker, Pat: “Regeneration” (Regeneration trilogy, vol. 1)
Barker, Pat: “The Eye in the Door” (Regeneration trilogy, vol. 2)
Barker, Pat: “The Ghost Road” (Regeneration trilogy, vol. 3)
Bishop, Michael: “Med lidt hjælp fra vennerne og andre science fiction-historier”
Borgen, Johan: “Blåtind”
Borgen, Johan: “Elsebeths Hjerte og andre nye noveller” (“Nye Noveller”)
Borgen, Johan: “Far og Mor og Os”
Borgen, Johan: “Jenny og påfuglen”
Borges, Jorge Luis: “Ficciones”
Branner, H.C.: “Ingen kender natten”
Branner; H. C.: “Legetøj”
Branner, H. C.: “Røde heste i sneen”
Branner; H. C.: “Søskende”
Branner; H. C.: “Thermopylæ”
Burroughs, William S.: “Junky”
Carey, Peter: “Jack Maggs”
Geneser, Kenneth Maximilian: “Petrarcas hemmelighed”
Geneser, Kenneth Maximilian & Lars Holger Holm: “Gotisk”
Geneser, Kenneth Maximilian & Lars Holger Holm: “Gotiske forvandlinger/Gotiska förvandlingar”
Genet, Jean: “Querelle de Brest”
Ginsberg, Allen: “Howl, Kaddish and Other Poems”
Kawabata, Yasunari: “Senbazuru” (“Thousand Cranes”)
Kingsley, Charles: “The Water-Babies”
Langberg; Jesper: “Ikke et sekund spildt”
Lyng, Ajatsa: “Jin Boys vol. 5 - The Mariposa Effect”
Malamud, Bernard: “A new Life”
Miller, Madeline: “The Song of Achilles”
Mínervudóttir, Guðrún Eva: “Yosoy”
Murakami, Haruki: “After the Quake”
Murakami, Ryu: “In the Miso Soup”
Nagel, Carsten: “Passionsfrugter & al slags vejr”

Nakamura, Shungiku: “Junjo Romantica”, vol. 16
Niemi, Mikael: “Populærmusik fra Vittula”
Pelevin, Viktor: “The Helmet of Horror”
Rifbjerg, Klaus: “Nansen og Johansen”
Weinreich, Torben: “Kun en tiøre! – og andre sære, sjove, og sørgmodige tekster for børn fra 1800 til 1900”
Weston, Marta Cullberg: “Ditt inre centrum. Om självkänsla, självbild och konturen av ditt själv”
Wiedemann, Finn: “I grunden har vi det jo godt”
Yamada, Taichi: “Strangers”
Yoshimoto, Banana: “Kitchen/Moonlight Shadow”
Yoshimoto, Banana: “N*P”
Yoshimoto, Banana: “The Lake”


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