In 2016 I read/re-read forty books, mostly novels, but also short story collections, plays, children’s books, manga, graphic novels, biographies and other kinds of non-fiction. Like last year I read books in Danish, English and Japanese – no German, French, Norwegian or Swedish this year either, I’m sorry to say.
Some of the non-fiction that I have read has been truly remarkable, especially Jens Andersen’s biography about the Swedish author Astrid Lindgren, who wrote mostly for children and is one of my all-time favourite authors. You really get to see the person behind the stories and Astrid Lindgren was truly a brave, strong woman who dared be herself. Not unlike her character Pippi Longstocking!
Of non-fiction, I was furthermore impressed by Kevin Marx’ “Speak Japanese in 90 Days: A Self Study Guide to Becoming Fluent: Volume One”, which so far is the best textbook in Japanese that I have read.
As for fiction, Ransom Riggs, trilogy about the peculiar children, “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children”, “Hollow City” and “Library of Souls”, was quite a revelation to me. These books are truly magic and not only for young adults. I could hardly wait to see the first one made into a film, but what a disappointment it was, even though it was directed by Tim Burton and had Asa Butterfield in the leading role as Jake. As long as Burton followed the narrative of the book, everything was fine, but changing Jake’s love interest and especially the ending of the story was awful. Worst of all, Burton’s ending didn’t leave room for sequels and I for one am very sad that I shall never see an emu-raffe, get to know the talking dog Addison MacHenry or visit the scary library of souls. Shame on you, Burton, but well done, Riggs. I hope more books will be added to the series.
Other works worth mentioning are the novels of the Japanese author Hiromi Kawakami – I hope to read more of her in the future – and then of course everything by Shakespeare, Tove Jansson and Ursula K. Le Guin.
As for the worst read in 2016, it has to be J. K. Rowling’s “The Cursed Child”. I know we are supposed to “keep the secrets” of this manuscript/play, so I won’t reveal anything, but it’s damn boring reading with a ridiculous premise and even more plot-holes and loose ends than the Harry Potter books. Besides, if we are to keep the secrets, why make the story so obvious and see-through that you can guess everything in advance?
Other disappointing works this year were Kim Newman’s “An English Ghost Story” and the short stories of both Haruki Murakami and J. K. Rowling, but for different reasons, as the ghost story wasn’t scary, Rowling’s stories had already been published on Pottermore and Murakami’s were so boring that I forgot about them immediately after reading them!
To end this on a happier note, I’m glad to say that I had a short story collection called “Metanoia” published last year. It is available on Amazon of course, as e-book. This is my first book since the official biography “Look Wot I Dun”, which I wrote about the British drummer Don Powell from the band Slade, published in 2013 by Omnibus Press. The reason for this long wait was that I have been very ill the past three years and have had surgery three times – once a year, actually. To finally have “Metanoia” published was great and the reviews were great too. Thank you. “Metanoia” was my published book number eighteen, thanks to my readers. I really appreciate it.
If you want to know, which other books I read in 2016, here’s the full list of books:
Andersen, Jens: “Denne dag, et liv. En Astrid Lindgren-biografi”
Beskow, Elsa: “Elsa Beskows eventyr – et udvalg”
Bradbury, Ray: “October Country”
Bradbury, Ray: “The Day It Rained Forever”
Capote, Truman: “The Early Stories of Truman Capote”
Falkenberg, Lise Lyng: “Metanoia”
Hua, Yu: “Boy in the Twilight: Stories of the Hidden China”
Höglund, Anna: “om det her taler man kun med kaniner”
Jansson, Tove: “Moominvalley in November”
Jansson, Tove: “The Moomins and the Great Flood”
Johnson, Adam: “Fortune Smiles”
Kawakami, Hiromi: “Kvinden ved havet” (“Manazuru”)
Kawakami, Hiromi: “Senseis mappe” (“Sensei no kaban”)
Le Guin, Ursula K.: “Always Coming Home”
Le Guin, Ursula K.: “City of Illusions”
Le Guin, Ursula K.: “Four Ways to Forgiveness”
Le Guin, Ursula K.: “Ni liv” (“Nine Lives” / “Vaster than Empires and More Slow”)
Le Guin, Ursula: “The Dispossessed”
Le Guin, Ursula K.: “The Lathe of Heaven”
Le Guin, Ursula: “The Word for World is Forest”
Marx, Kevin: “Speak Japanese in 90 Days: A Self Study Guide to Becoming Fluent: Volume One”
Mazzucchelli, David: “Asterios Polyp”
Murakami, Haruki: “Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman”
Murakami, Haruki: “Maend uden kvinder” (”Onna no inai otokatachi”)
Murakami, Haruki: “The Elephant Vanishes”
Murakami, Haruki: “The Strange Library”
Newman, Kim: “An English Ghost Story”
Reuter, Bjarne: “Zappa”
Riggs, Ransom: “Hollow City”
Riggs, Ransom: “Library of Souls”
Riggs, Ransom: “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children”
Rowling. J. K.: “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child”
Rowling. J. K.: “Hogwarts – An Incomplete & Unreliable Guide”
Rowling, J. K.: “Short Stories from Hogwarts of Heroism, Hardship and Dangerous Hobbies”
Rowling, J. K.: “Short Stories from Hogwarts of Power, Politics and Pesky Poltergeists”
Seth: “It’s a Good Life, If You Don’t Weaken”
Shakespeare, William: “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”
Shibahara, Tomoyo: “Marugoto: Rikai Japanese language and culture Elementary1 a2”
Valente, Catherynne M.: “The girl who circumnavigated Fairyland in a ship by her own making”
All the best for 2017 and keep on reading!