Friday, April 01, 2016

Euro 2016 Spotlight

When the Euro 2016 Book + Film Spotlight kicked off in Dec 2015, the goal was to finish watching all the 11 films and finish reading all 15 books by June 1, 2016. As things stand, there are still 2 films left to view but all 15 books have been read, 2 months ahead of schedule.

This is a rare thing where all the books for a spotlight have been read this far ahead of the end date. But unlike the past, this time around I planned a schedule for the book reading and tried to follow it strictly. Since there were some heavyweight book titles, my goal was to leave these 4 books last as I felt these were the ones that required ample time to finish:

Hungary: Sátántangó (László Krasznahorkai, 272 pages)
France: Life A User’s Manual (Georges Perec, 500 pages)
Austria: The Man Without Qualities (Robert Musil, 1130 pages)
Ireland: Ulysses (James Joyce, 704 pages)

It proved to the right call as reading these 4 books took up the most collective time.

To recap, all the 15 books as per country:

Albania: The General of the Dead Army (Ismail Kadare)
Austria: The Man Without Qualities (Robert Musil)
Czech Republic: The Other City (Michal Ajvaz)
France: Life A User’s Manual (Georges Perec), The Prone Gunman (Jean-Patrick Manchette)
Hungary: Sátántangó (László Krasznahorkai)
Iceland: The Blue Fox (Sjón)
Ireland: Ulysses (James Joyce)
Northern Ireland: The International (Glenn Patterson)
Poland: The Elephant (Slawomir Mrozek)
Portugal: The Book of Disquiet (Fernando Pessoa)
Spain: Mazurka for Two Dead Men (Camilo José Cela)
Switzerland: The End of All Men (C.F. Ramuz)
Turkey: The Black Book (Orhan Pamuk)
Wales: A Book of Wales, an Anthology (selected by Meic Stephens)

Top 5 books

It proved to be a rewarding experience to read all 15 books and I truly cherished these titles. The only disappointment ended up being Pamuk's The Black Book and that is likely because I read this book after having read a few of his other titles.

For now, here are my top 5 books, without any comments. Notes and thoughts on the books will be included once the film viewing is complete.

1. Sátántangó (Hungary, László Krasznahorkai)
2. The General of the Dead Army (Albania, Ismail Kadare)
3. The Book of Disquiet (Portugal, Fernando Pessoa)
4. The Man Without Qualities (Austria, Robert Musil)
5. Life A User’s Manual (France, Georges Perec)

Honorable mention: The Other City (Czech Republic, Michal Ajvaz)

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