Archive for January 1, 2012

My Top-Flop 2011 and Happy New Year from France

January 1, 2012 28 comments

I wish a Happy New Year to everyone. Many thanks to all the readers and commenters of this blog; it’s been a pleasure to share this year of reading with you. Thanks for the pertinent comments, the recommendations, the answers to my questions and the time you gave me. We all have busy lives and I see the time you spend reading me as a priceless gift. I virtually kiss you on the cheeks à la française (not to be mistaken with a French kiss, right?) and I wish you happiness and success in your life for this brand new year.

I also send into the electronic void a special thank you to the followers who have subscribed to Book Around The Corner or follow me on Twitter but never make themselves known through comments. I hope my automatic e-mails don’t land in your spam box!

As far as literature and blogging are concerned, 2011 has been eventful and funny. I was involved in the Dutch literature Month in June and in the German Literature Month in November. I almost completed Sarah’s Not a Rat’s Chance in Hell’s Challenge and managed to read one of books of the Literature & War Readalong hosted by Caroline. My friends and me also started our Book Club. Should you be interested in joining us for one book or the other, welcome on board.

2011 was my second year of blogging and my English has improved, at least that’s how I feel. I write and read faster and I’m able to discover original English texts more easily. I’ve read about 100 books this year, which is a lot more than the usual due to special personal circumstances. The list of all the books I’ve read in 2011 is available on the Reading List page. Hopefully, 2012 will be back on the normal track even if that means less reading time. I also realize that one third of the books I’ve read in 2011 were brought to my attention or recommended by fellow bloggers or commenters. So thank you Caroline, Guy, Leroy, Max, Himadri for Nooteboom, West, Fontane, Thompson, Barry, Joyce, Bukowski, Lermontov, Tagore or Spark. Keep on reviewing excellent books and suggesting reading ideas.

Book bloggers enjoy lists and I’m no exception. I have a lot of fun discovering other bloggers’ best-of-the-year reading lists, so I won’t spare you mine. I’ve linked each title to its review, in case you’d like to read it –that’s self-promotion, i.e. time for me to put into practice all the marketing classes I endured!!

I’m afraid they’re mostly classics and I should have added Proust but he has a special pedestal. I enjoyed some contemporary books but hardly discovered two that deserved to be on this list. I think Delphine de Vigan and Max Barry captured something essential about our modern working lives in corporations. If it’s not your world, it’s worth discovering it through their books. If it’s your world, you’ll feel less alone with your daily experience.

In April, I wrote a review of Time for Outrage! by Stéphane Hessel. It was entitled Much Ado About Nothing as I thought that there were no new ideas in this book and nothing to fuss about. I was wrong since it launched movements in Spain, in Greece, in America and in other countries. Will they change something?

I’ve also put together a list of my worst 2011 reads, as they tell you who I am as much as the ones I loved. So, here’s my hell list:

  • Madman Bovary by Claro (Abandoned)
  • War of the Worlds by HG Wells (Abandoned)
  • The Yiddish Policemen’s Union by Michael Chabon. (Abandoned but I had fun writing the review)
  • Therapy by Sebastian Fitzek (Endured until the end because I was stuck in a hospital and had nothing else to do)
  • L’otage du triangle d’or by Gérard de Villiers (Endured until the end for the sake of my lovely daughter)
  • Things by Georges Perec (Endured until the end for the sake of Great Literature)
  • The Passport by Herta Müller (Endured until the end for the sake of the Nobel Prize)
  • La fille aux yeux d’or by Honoré de Balzac (Endured until the end because it was short and well, Balzac is Balzac)

Good for me, there were less than 10 painful reads. Some of them are good literature but didn’t suit me and some were simply trash books. I’ve also linked each title to its review as I’m a strong believer that negative reviews are as useful as positive ones. Personally, I follow a blogger more than I read reviews and I care to read about the books they didn’t like.

 But I prattle, I prattle and I almost forget the essential,



Categories: Personal Posts
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