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Addendum: My 8 Should Read Books' List

A huge fan of Fantasy, I own and have read many of the great ones: Tolkien, George RR Martin, Robert Jordan, Goodkind, Lewis, LeGuin, Hobbs, Pratchett, Brooks, Sprunk, Gaiman, Gabaldon, Sullivan, Barclay …. Need I name more …. The following must read ones may not be as well known but they are surely worth a few hours of your time. I wish you a great journey!

1/ Roberto Bolaño (Chile)


The last novel by Roberto Bolaño, released in 2004, a year after Bolaño's death. Its themes are manifold, circulating around the unsolved and ongoing murders of women in Santa Teresa, a violent city inspired by Ciudad Juárez and its epidemic of female homicides and a strange and elusive German author. The story is written in five parts, each of them loosely connected sections, each of which could stand as a novel in their own right. Santa Teresa is the main theme throughout the book. Other settings and themes include the Eastern Front in World War II, mental illness, journalism, breakdown of relationships and careers. A strange book indeed. I found out, later, that Bolaño wanted the novels to be published separately, a wish ignored by the executors of his estate. 2666 explores degeneration in the 20th century through his characters, different time periods and more importantly, stories within stories. (Note: I read this book in Spanish, and have not read the English copy)

2/ Charles Simmons (U.S.A.)

Salt Water

A simple, spellbinding novel, enchanting … Grim … A tragedy of an American family. Charles Simmons won the William Faulkner award and, in this book, explores the complexity of the bond between a son and a father, adolescence, confusion, and heartbreak. Some of his other works include “Powdered Eggs” and “Wrinkles”. Powerful.

3/ Murakami (Japan)


Murakami is a popular contemporary Japanese writer and translator. The year is 1984 and the city is Tokyo. Though creative and imaginative, a strange and difficult to read book. It is one of those books you need to read with an open mind … and keeping an open mind until the end. Just accept. Imagine. Nothing else. The Times calls it "A work of maddening brilliance and gripping originality". It is an extraordinary story set in the real world. The real world with two moons in the sky. The fates of two people, closely intertwined, each in their own way doing something very dangerous. (taken from the back cover of the book) I do not want to give it away, but something extraordinary is about to start.

3/ Jaume Cabre (Catalonia)


Philologist and Catalan writer, born in Barcelona, a graduate of Catalan Philology by the University of Barcelona, high school teacher and professor. A narration of friendship between two men, one who is on the verge of forgetting it all. Shocking, compelling, mysterious, tragic, mildly humorous, readable. (See back cover of book for more detail). A really engrossing story that in the end will make you cry. Brilliant.

5/ Greg Mosse (United Kingdom)

Secrets of the Labyrinth

I have always had a fascination with the Templars and Free Masons. I really can’t explain why … except maybe because of the mystery and secrecy they are wrapped in. Secrets of the Labyrinth tries to uncover some of the mysteries of the Cathar people of the City of Carcassonne. He mixes history, travel, myth, and revelation, explaining how the Cathars clung to the stone fortresses of the dramatic mountain landscape and battled against sieges, inquisition, massacre, to keep their faith and secrets from being revealed. Carcassonne and Montségur, Chartres and St. Nazaire, are some of the sites explored. Great read. Funny little snippet about the writer: When he married his wife (who is also a writer) he changed his name to hers. Yeah!!!

6/ Nicolas D. Satan (M.J. Weeks)

The Devil’s Diaries (as transcribed by Professor Weeks)

The Devil himself is musing on key dates in History acquiescing his participation in things such as the invention of the tetrapack, lawyers, getting all the best tunes, all the while dealing with upcoming depression because of misuse and the hijacking of some of his finest ideas. Tremendously funny little book. Wonderful layout and print. Great pictures. All in all a very funny little piece of fantasy. Great addition to any library.

7/ Patrick Rothfuss (U.S.A)

The Slow Regard of Silent Things

Short little story, detailing Auri’s life after meeting her in the Kingkiller Chronicles, book One and book Two. The Slow Regard of Silent Things is considered to be a Kingkiller Chronicle … Number 2.5. Mr Rothfuss is, to this day, still making us wait for the last installment of his series. If I recall, I read the second book years ago. I mean, it's been awhile! This said, Mr. Rothfuss has an incredible talent for storytelling. He is original and this particular story is [sic] as seamless and lyrical as a song. Can be read in a few hours, separate from his other two books. A more than recommended read.

8/Jean-Christophe Grangé (France)

Blood Red Rivers (a/k/a The Crimson Rivers …. The movie ….)

As last one I chose an original detective story/mystery/thriller and is about two detectives who investigate a series of grisly murders in and around an isolated university campus in the French Alps. Murder, Mayhem, Suspense, Romance all are part of this well written mystery. It is worth to further look up other works of Grangé. Detective novels are quite successful in Europe but usually do not make it all the way to the U.S. This one, and a couple of his other books did. The fact that they were made into movies did help. Still. I am pretty sure you will enjoy it as much as I did.

The mere fact I wanted to present a list of 8 books instead of the usual 10+ made it very hard to choose #7 and #8. I would have loved to add Promise at Dawn by Romain Gary, because of the strangeness of the tale, as well as Walter Isaacson’s Leonardo Da Vinci’s biography and the Original screenplay of Hamilton by Lin Manuel Miranda, which are both absolute marvels (to read and to look at). It will be for another time.

#Books #Reading

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