2014 – the year in books

I didn’t read much in 2014, partly due to my excessive biking, but here is the annual summary.

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Fiction

Alberto Moravia: Agostino (1942)

The Number One of the last years! The ultimate novella (only 150 pages) about not being a child anymore while still not having become a man – in other words: about being a boy. A 13-year-old boy. Moravia hereby receives a place in my All Time Top Ten Pantheon, along with novelists such as Gombrowicz, Mann, Mishima. I recommend it to you, Niclas.

Thomas Engström: Väster om friheten (2013)

Brilliant and well written thriller set in Berlin, in fact, right in my kiez. Cold war relics meet current events such as a barely camouflaged leaks organization, “Hydraleaks”, and its barely camouflaged front man “Lucien”. Every Swede who wants some quality crime should read. This is the first part of a trilogy. It is apparently being translated to other languages right now.

Haruki Murakami: The Elephant Vanishes (1993)

A collection of short stories. Entertaining, sort of. Not much more.

A.M. Homes: The End of Alice (1996)

A classic biographical fiction about a murderer who is in prison since 23 years, and starts corresponding with a girl who reminds him of his victim (and himself) and thus makes him remember things. Took five years for the author to write, I think she met the narrator. A very dark book, at times convincing and fascinating, but it failed to convince me all the way.

Ronald Firbank: Concerning the Eccentricities of Cardinal Pirelli (1926)

Terrible from beginning to end. How come you liked it, Erik? Of course, reading the synopsis afterwards, I realize I didn’t get either the beginning or the end.

Non-fiction

Petter Wallenberg: Historien om Leila K (2013)

My friend Petter’s biography about Swedish 1990s pop star Leila K. Extremely fascinating and very touching. I’ve been a part of Petter’s work with this book since 2007, so it’s great to finally see it in print. Who should read? Every Swedish person born in the 1970s.

Hans Blüher: Die deutsche Wandervogelbewegung als erotisches Phänomen (1912)

In the beginning of the 20th century, the new German boy scout movement (“Wandervögel”) was criticized of inhabiting homosexuals (or pederasts), who could prey on the boys. In his classic pamphlet from 1912 (I read the sixth edition from 1922), Blüher shows that it was homosexuals (or pederasts) who founded the scout movement and that they are the best scout leaders. He also shows that those scout leaders who condemned the homosexuals among them the most, and harder than the public did, were themselves homosexual. Touché! The book is relevant for our current society and is a must read for people who want to understand the mechanisms of overcompensation.

Charles Duhigg: The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business (2012)

Very needed selfhelp, part 1. Extremely interesting about how our brains work and can be easily fooled by that thing called habit. I lost my annotations when my reading device was stolen – a good reason to reread it.

Jocelyn K. Gley (ed.): Manage Your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind (2013)

Very needed selfhelp, part 2. Short texts, almost all of them relevant. Freelancers struggling with self-discipline should read.

Michael Holzwarth: Logik und Ideologie des Smartphones (2014)

A wonderfully fresh and academic look at our “Übertritt in den digitalen Funkraum”. Self-published social criticism at its best!

James J. O’Meara: The Homo and the Negro. Masculinist Meditations on Politics and Popular Culture (2012)

The result of a book swap between authors. Unfortunately I didn’t like it at all.

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Manga

Akira Yomoyama: 自転車男子に恋をした③ (2014)

The fourth installment of my favorite road bike doujinshi (self-published manga).

Akira Yomoyama: 自転車男子に恋をした④ (2014)

And the fifth, always a pleasure to read when I get them delivered from Japan!

Katsuhiro Otomo: Akira, Volume 1 (1982)

The most classic of all manga. I read it in English.

Maki Usami: ココロボタン (2009)

A mainstream romance manga for girls. Quite entertaining.

Shigenobu Matsumoto: デュエルマスターズ・FIGHTING EDGE, vol 5 (2006)

A mainstream action manga for boys. Quite entertaining.

Makoto Yoshimoto: ウソツキゴクオー 1 (2011)

Another mainstream manga for elementary school boys, where the main character Gokuoh-kun solves petty crimes that his classmates commit. Also quite entertaining.

Web design

David Sawyer McFarland: CSS3 – The Missing Manual, 3rd edition (2013)

So I finally decided to learn CSS3 from the ground. Wonderfully pedagogical. Love this book.

Matthew MacDonald: HTML5 – The Missing Manual, 2nd edition (2014)

This one started with a good overview of HTML5, but quickly diverged into murky Javascript territory.

I’ve listed all books I’ve read since 1997 on this page – it does not include study books such as the programming titles above though.

Gallery

My book chart 2013

Books I read 2002 - 2013

It’s the end of a year and I’ve summed up my reading. Since I forgot about doing this last year, the books I read 2012 are also added to the list. I publish it in full here including books from 2002 through 2013. (For once, the old GIF file format was the best choice!) Click to enlarge.

It’s quite evident how my reading has declined since 2011. That’s because of my Japanese studies. In 2014 I hope to find a better balance between these two interests, but it was necessary to study intensively for the first three years.

Happy New Year, everyone!

Books I read in 2011

2011 was a great year. I published two books and one magazine. I learned Japanese quite fiercely, and went to Japan twice. And I probably had my most social year ever, meeting friends more or less every day, and partying quite hard!

However, I hardly read at all in 2011.

In fact, I haven’t read so few books since I was a teenager. It was a semi-conscious choice – I needed a break from the world of letters. But enough is enough!

I’ve included 2010’s graph above for comparison. (Read the 2010 post here.)

Books I read in 2010

Amigos! It’s time for my annual summing up of books I read during the year. As you can see on the chart above (click for larger size), my new interest for Japan is reflected in my choice of books – 7 out of 17 novels have Japanese authors. I’ve also continued my research of sexualities, as can be seen in the non-fiction department, as well as read some autobiographies by interesting people – Michael Davidson’s The World, the Flesh and Myself being the most inspiring one.

I usually have one “discovery” every year, meaning one author whom I become so obsessed with that I want to read everything by him or her, someone who stays with you for a very long time. They have been Camille Paglia, Joe Keenan, Witold Gombrowicz, Tennessee Williams, Joe Orton, Plato.

This year’s discovery was Yukio Mishima, without doubt. He’s up there with Gombrowicz. I’m currently reading The Temple of the Golden Pavilion, but that one will feature on next year’s chart since I haven’t finished it yet.

Thanks dear friends for this year. I’m going out shopping for our improvised Neukölln “Silvester” dinner now. HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!