After watching Sophie’s video “If Goodreads was a dating App” on her YouTube channel, Portal in the Pages, I decided to take a look at my Goodreads recommendations. Did any of the books there appeal to me? Did I discover new books to add to my wish list? From the 40 books (I’m not going to list them all) that Goodreads thinks that, for some reason, I would like, I’m certain that I want to read merely four. I’m ambivalent about other two. These books were either already on my wish list, or I had at some point considered adding them to it. I sadly didn’t discover any new books that I may want to read in the future. Exploring my Goodreads recommendations ended up not being particularly useful.
Nevertheless, I still want to share with you the four books that I plan to read from that list, plus the two that I’m uncertain whether I want to read or not!
O Retorno (The Return) by Dulce Maria Cardoso
I’ve recently mentioned this book on a post about the contemporary Portuguese authors I want to read books by. It is set in 1975 after the independence of Angola. The main character, Rui, is a young boy who has recently arrived in Portugal. His family had to flee Angola and he is having a hard time settling in.
Autobiografia by José Luís Peixoto
I have a complicated reading relationship with the Portuguese author José Luís Peixoto, some of his books I loved, others not so much. Autobiografia is one of his most recent releases. It is set in Lisbon at the end of the 1990s, when a young writer meets a far more established one: José Saramago. The story mixes reality with fiction, and its premise remembers me of The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis, a novel in which Saramago turned Fernando Pessoa and his heteronym Ricardo Reis into characters.
Todos os Nomes (All the Names) by José Saramago
A middle-aged man who works at the archives of a civil registry office is the main character in this novel. He spends his free time collecting news about famous people. When he realises that he doesn’t have much information about their date of birth or their parents, he decides to look for that data at the archives where he works. While doing so, he becomes intrigued by the life of a woman he has never heard of.
Terra Sonâmbula (Sleepwalking Land) by Mia Couto
Mia Couto’s debut novel is set during the civil war in Mozambique. In this story, the brutality of war is in sharp contrast to the humanity of the characters. Having already read various books by Mia Couto, I expect this novel to also feature some elements of magical realism.
While all of the books I already knew that I wanted to read from my Goodreads recommendations were written by Lusophone authors, the two I’m not sure about were penned by two British women.
Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo
This novel by Bernardine Evaristo has certainly been celebrated. I’m unsure about whether I want to read it or not, though, since I’m afraid the story is too fragmented for my taste. The book focuses on the lives and struggles of twelve different characters. They are mostly black, British women who live in different regions of the country.
Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
I have never read a book by Hilary Mantel, so her writing style is a mystery to me. But I’ve heard that it can be challenging. So, I’m not certain whether I want to read Wolf Hall, though the premise is interesting. Set between 1500 and 1535, it’s a historical novel and the first book in a trilogy about the rise to power of Thomas Cromwell in the court of Henry VIII.
Have you read any of these books? Which do you recommend? Tell me in the comments!