A long time passed between the day I started blogging and the moment I created my Goodreads account at the beginning of the year. I wish it hadn’t taken me so long to finally decide to set it up, though, because I’ve been finding it quite useful. Besides being a good tool to keep track of the books that I own but haven’t read yet (previously I only used a spreadsheet to list the books that I had read), it also made me realise that some of the books I really liked haven’t been read by that many people.
Some of the books that I cherish have fewer than two thousand ratings on Goodreads. So, in comparison with other books, they are not particularly popular. Nevertheless, they are still worth reading. These are the five that I wish more people would read:
The Dumb House by John Burnside deals with quite uncomfortable topics, but that didn’t prevent me from being in awe of the way sentences were crafted. From the outset we know that Luke has performed a cruel experiment on his own children. He was fascinated by the tale of the Dumb House, so he wanted to know whether language was learnt or innate. His obsession not only with this story but also with the matter of life and death and the existence of a soul takes him down a dark path.
Vinte e Zinco by Mia Couto
Written by the Mozambican author Mia Couto, Vinte e Zinco takes place during the last days before the Carnation Revolution in 1974. The main character in this novella is Lourenço, an inspector of the Political Police (PIDE) in the then Portuguese colony of Mozambique. His cruelty is well-known, but that doesn’t prevent his aunt from expressing feminist views and mingling with black people.
Taking place for the most part in 1918, Moonstone: The Boy Who Never Was tells the story of Máni, a motherless 16-year-old boy who lives in Reykjavik with his great-grandmother’s sister. He loves watching films, and his sexual identity is particularly relevant for the development of the plot. The writing style is impressive, and the ending is both heart-warming and heart-breaking.
Livro by José Luís Peixoto
Livro, which means ‘book’ in Portuguese, is not only the title of this novel by José Luís Peixoto, but it’s also the name of a significant character. Set in the 60s, it has as background the Portuguese emigration to France. It clearly highlights the struggles that so many people had to overcome to achieve a better life, while delving into the story of a particular family.
If you like collections of short stories featuring magical realism elements, I wholeheartedly recommend Diving Belles by Lucy Wood. We are taken on a journey to the past of various characters, without their present being overlooked. Various of the stories also contain sea references, which was something I particularly enjoyed.
Have you read any of these books? Are there any books that you really liked and wish more people would read? Tell me in the comments!