Tag Archives: Carlos Ruiz Zafon

MY 2014 READING YEAR


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2014 has not been a good Reading Year for me – I got off to a bad start with eyesight problems, which weren’t resolved until mid-May, so  I’ve not read as many books as usual. My list shows books which I read during 2014, and  is a mixture of Old & New. Some of them were published way, way before 2014; some of them in the late 1990s in fact, but I only had the pleasure of discovering them this year. One of my less obvious categories is ‘Books About Books’ : I’m hooked on books, and love reading  books about reading and books. We all have our quirks.

I hope  my list will introduce some new  suggestions for your own reading .

Best Book of 2014

The 40 Rules of Love – Elif Shafak

Not to be missed book : 2014

The Buddha in the Attic – Julie Otsuka

Most Original Book of 2014

We Are all Completely Beside Ourselves – Karen Joy Fowler

Books About Books:2014

Tolstoy and the Purple Chair – Nina Sankovitch

Funniest Book: 2014

Nature Girl – Carl Hiaasen

Most Challenging Read of 2014

Living by Fiction – Annie Dillard

Best Gothic Novel : 2014

Marina – Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Best Non-Fiction : 2014

12 Patients (Life & Death at Bellevue Hospital) – Dr E  Manheimer

Best Travel Book : 2014

The Way of Stars & Stones – Wilna Wilkinson

Best short stories: 2014

The Barnum Museum – Steven Millhauser

Best Crime 2014

Diamond Dove – Adrian Hyland

Great Reads (Novels): 2014

The Bone Clocks – David Mitchell

Big Brother – Lionel Shriver

The Rosie Project – Graeme Simision

The World We Found – Thrirty Umnigar

Epic Fail/unreadable  2014

The Infatuation – Javier Marias

Swann’s Way – Marcel Proust

 

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SPANISH GOTHIC


Cathedral of Barcelona before 2007 restoration...

Cathedral of Barcelona before 2007 restoration Español: Catedral de Barcelona antes de la restauración de 2007 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A Shadow in the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon 

Carlos Ruiz Zafon  is a Spanish author, six books to his credit, but in the English-speaking world we had to wait for translations in 2004 and 2005 respectively.

I promised myself I would re-read this marvellous novel and I did.  It’s absolutely spell-binding, and such a good meaty read.  It has breadth, depth, it has romance, tragedy, horror, mystery, humour; the blurb describes it as a Gothic novel and I suppose it is – fog, crypts, shadows, tortured souls, furious fathers,  cruel husbands, pining maidens, ruined abandoned house – what more could anyone want?  Most of the women are badly done by, unhappy victims of men, life and Fate.  All this and not a fang in sight – who needs the vampire genre?

Briefly, the plot hinges on a dead novelist: Julian Carax. The novel begins with a visit to the Cemetery of Forgotten Books – how mysterious and atmospheric is that?  A father takes his ten-year-old son Daniel to a secret labyrinth visited and maintained by Barcelona’s second-hand booksellers.  The boy must choose a book to treasure and keep with him all his life. He chooses a novel written by Julián Carax, an author who has disappeared and whose books have been sought out and destroyed by a strange, shadowy figure named after a character from one of Carax’s novels – a character who represents the devil.  So we start a story of  intrigue, love, hate and obsession.

The Angel’s Game – Carlos Ruiz Zafon 

Zafon returns to Barcelona (he lives there) for another book-based tale of mystery, twists and turns in another story  based on the theme of books and writers, pregnant with atmosphere  and mystery …

I loved this book just as much as I loved Shadow of the Wind ; I’ll never part with either of these books, and know I shall re-read them whenever I need a book that tells a rippingly good story, that keeps me glued to the page and thoroughly entertained.  In fact, these two Spanish Gothics constitute my Literary First Aid Kit which I shall apply whenever I suffer from a surfeit of precious, trendy novels. My literary Asprin, if you will.  I recommend you add them to your shelves as a precaution.

 

 

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