My Year in: Books

Any year in which you read Grande Sertão: Veredas is automatically excellent.

This year I read 32 books. I may have broken my record of rereads at 4. I continued reading in Italian, 2 books this year. Or should I start saying “consumed” books? Thirteen out of the 32 were audiobooks.

It may be hard for a non-Brazilian to understand what about Grande Sertão: Veredas makes it the best book of all time. It is probably as difficult as can be to translate. It is very hard to understand at first, even for solid, native readers. Suffice it to say that it is on par with the Iliad, the best Goethe or Shakespeare. Ranking works of art is nonsense. Still, Grande Sertão is number one for me.

If not for Grande Sertão, 2019 would have left a lot to be desired in terms of my reading. I am happy to put in a good word for Crucial Conversations, a book I listened to and immediately repeated. I seem to have reached that age when any meaningful personal growth is to do with interpersonal skills.

Crucial Conversations was one of several books I read around communication and management, the one big topic for me in 2019. It always feels like most of these books could have been fine as shorter blog posts, but you never know which ones should truly be books and I end up reading them whole. Also, a single good idea may easily be worth the dozen hours we spend on a given book, and that makes me think of The Culture Code, a serious candidate for a future reread as it may contain 2 or 3 really good ideas.

But then there is Grande Sertão: a book where every line, every phrase and word explodes with meaning, with angles on life, a love story to make Romeo and Juliet robotic and numb by comparison.

Maybe I’m ripe for some fiction after a long hiatus.

I log my reading, done or intended, on Goodreads. Please friend me there if you’d like and let’s find the next amazing book.