The year 2019 is almost over and it is time to look back at my reading and blogging experiences.
After a hiatus, I started again to blog more or less regularly and I hope this will be also the case for 2020.
As for my reading, I didn’t keep a diary to track down the books I read this year, but the number is approximately 130, so roughly two and a half books per week, of which around 60% were fiction, 40% non-fiction. Almost all books I read were “real” printed books, only one book was read electronically. I read books in four languages (German, English, French, Bulgarian).
Every book year brings interesting discoveries, pleasant surprises, some re-reads of books I enjoyed in the past, and a few disappointments. Here are my highlights of the last year:
The most beautiful book I read in 2019: Arnulf Conradi, Zen und die Kunst der Vogelbeobachtung (Zen and the Art of Birdwatching)
Best re-reads in 2019: Michel de Montaigne, Essais; Karl Philipp Moritz, Anton Reiser; Salomon Maimon, Lebensgeschichte (Autobiography)
Best novels I read in 2019: Marlen Haushofer, Die Wand (The Wall); Uwe Johnson, Jahrestage (Anniversaries); Jean Rhys, Sargasso Sea
Best poetry books I read in 2019: Thomas Brasch: Die nennen das Schrei (Collected Poems); Johannes Bobrowski, Gesammelte Gedichte (Collected Poems), Franz Hodjak, Siebenbürgische Sprechübung (Transylvanian Speaking Exercise); Yehuda Amichai, The Poetry of Yehuda Amichai; Anise Koltz, Sich der Stille hingeben (Surrender to the Silence); Mahmoud Darwish, Unfortunately It Was Paradise; Vladimir Sabourin, Останките на Троцки (Trotzky’s Remains); Rainer René Mueller, geschriebes, selbst mit stein
Best Graphic Novel I read in 2019: Art Spiegelman, Maus
Best SF novel I read in 2019: Arkady and Boris Strugatsky, The Doomed City
Best crime novel I read in 2019: Ingrid Noll, Halali
Best philosophy book I read in 2019: Ibn Tufail, The Improvement of Human Reason
Best non-fiction books I read in 2019: Charles King, The Moldovans; Charles King, Midnight at the Pera Palace; Timothy Snyder, The Road to Unfreedom; Adriano Sofri, Kafkas elektrische Straßenbahn (Kafkas Electric Streetcar); Rebecca Solnit, A Field Guide to Getting Lost; Lucy Inglis, Milk of Paradise; Adina Hoffman and Peter Cole, Sacred Trash; Sasha Abramsky, The House of Twenty Thousand Books
Best art book I read in 2019: Hans Belting, Der Blick hinter Duchamps Tür (The View behind Duchamp’s Door)
Best travel book I read in 2019: Johann Gottfried Seume, Spaziergang nach Syrakus (Walk to Syracuse)
Biggest book disappointment in 2019: Elena Ferrante, Neapolitan Novels
Favourite book cover in 2019: Ivo Rafailov’s cover for the Bulgarian edition of Marjana Gaponenko’s Who Is Martha? (this edition is upcoming in January 2020)
Most impressive translator’s work: Jennifer Croft’s translation of Flights by Olga Tokarczuk; Vladimir Sabourin’s translations in his Bulgarian poetry anthology Радост на Началото (The Joy of the Beginning)
Most embarrassing authors in 2019: Peter Handke; Christoph Hein; Zachary Karabashliev
Good as always: Vladimir Sorokin, The Blizzard; Clarice Lispector, Near to the Wild Heart; Ismail Kadare, The Traitor’s Niche; Jabbour Douaihy, Printed in Beirut; Georg Klein, Die Zukunft des Mars (The Future of the Mars); Phillipe Claudel, Le rapport de Brodeck (Brodeck), Kapka Kassabova, Border; Naguib Mahfouz, The Midaq Alley
Interesting Authors I discovered in 2019: Samanta Schweblin, Mouthful of Birds; Olga Tokarczuk, Flights; Isabel Fargo Cole, Die Grüne Grenze (The Green Border); Hartmut Lange, Das Haus in der Dorotheenstraße (The House in the Dorotheenstraße); Erich Hackl, Abschied von Sidonie (Farewell to Sidonia)
And which were your most remarkable books in 2019?
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