Book Exchange

Normally at home I read about one book per year. While travelling I realized I can catch up on some reading. The book exchange with other travelers, in many hostels and even in pubs is actually much better than going to the library as it makes you read things you would otherwise not know even exist. Here is a list of what I have read this last 12 months of travel with a short comment for each in the language in which I read it.

Douglas Adams: one of The Hitchhiker´s Guide to The Galaxy trilogy books I don´t know which part was this, but it was brilliant as always. Special thanks to Captain Jack for giving me this book.

Sam Lipsyte: The Ask A bit above my slang knowledge, but still entertaining

Aravind Adiga: The White Tiger Excellent book about Indian servant/murderer/entrepreneur written as personal letters from him to Chinese prime minister. Most funny.

Emil Zola: Clovek Bestie Tvrdili mi, ze jsem prvni Cech v hostelu, ale po tom, co jsem tam nasel tuhle knizku, tomu tezko muzu verit. Jak jsem tohle mohl minout, kdyz jsme to meli v povinne cetbe?

Malcolm Gladwell: The Tipping Point Interesting “non-fiction” book. The main theory has probably some truth to it. But the book could have been so much shorter that it is. It gets boring towards the end.

Stieg Larsson: Millennium Trilogy: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest Just in time before the movie hype. The story and style are truly excellent. I should soon read some other book by Larsson. The only part I did not like was the first 200 pages of second book which seem to repeat the first book too much.

Dan Brown: The Da Vinci Code I missed on this one in it’s hype time. It is excellent and I basically could not stop reading for long. At the very moment I was reading the part about The Bible being censored by the church, a tico missionary came to the hostel and handed me a flyer with title “Come to discuss the bible with us”. I almost died laughing.

Dan Brown: Digital Fortress This was a big disappointment, especially after having read The Da Vinci Code. There is not much new in the book, just like Da Vinci recycled in different setup with a bit of mostly out of place computer science thrown in.

Michael Connelly:Angels Flight Not too intellectual, but a detective story as it should be. Full of plot twists and I had hard time guessing who the murderer was.

Markus Zusak: The Book Thief Excellent book, although the story is really said. But that is to be expected from a book being told by The Death himself (no, this is not another Terry Pratchett book).

John Gowdy (editor, essays by others): Limited Wants, Unlimited Means Some essays a bit boring, but most are really surprising point of view on hunters and gatherers societies.

Paolo Coelho: Manual del Guerrero de la Luz Bueno para aprender Español. Tambien bueno para pensar.

Un auteur français: Un livre Très bon livre, c’est domage que je pouvais lire que la moitié. Le lendemain, les chiens l’ont mangé.

Goerge Orwell: Coming Up for Air Most melancholic story set just at the beginning of war. Makes you want to go fishing.

Malcoml Gladwell: What the Dog Saw: and other adventures Similarly to The Tipping Point some stories have interesting basic idea in them, but the whole book gets very boring at some places.

Paul Maar: La Puerta Olvidada Libro para ninos de 7 años. Pero tiene todos los tiempos gramaticos que tengo que practicar.

Ronald Heyman: K: Biography of Kafka A very difficult reading, it took me more than a month to get through. Partly that was because of the language barrier, but partly also because Kafka was truly mad. Now I need to read more of his books.

George Soros On Globalization A bit outdated as the author himself writes in the introduction. However the key point was clear: the biggest problem of third world is the lack of capital caused by inequality between free movement of capital and much less free movement of labour.

Frederick Forsyth: The Afghan This was a bit of disappointment. I have read better pieces by Forsyth. Yes, it has his good style, but the story was not that stunning and seemed I got the feeling, that this book came to exist because he desperately wanted to write something about Al Kaida, rather that he had a strong plot in the first place.

Fyodor Dostoevsky: The Idiot How could I miss Russian literature during school years? It is very entertain and also education about that age in Russia that I had known nothing about. The hard part is to know who is who in the book, as all characters have several names in several variants. And it also feels a bit strange to read Dostoevsky in English, but one cannot choose too much in book exchange. Who wants to more about the Idiot, write me a mail.

Michael Connelly: The Fifth Witness Another thrilling detective book from Connelly. This time even more attractive because the story is set in the recent real estate bubble explosion. And no, I did not expect the ending.

David Foenkinos: La délicatesse En fin un livre français que je pouvais lire entier. Un nouvau film avec Audrey Tautou a été fait de ce livre et c’est exactement le même genre.

Wendy Northcutt: The Darwin Awards Next Evolution (4th book, Clorinating the Gene Pool) As funny as all the Darwin Awards. Gets a bit monotonous, so do not read it in one go. Rather read a story every time you feel stupid.

Paolo Coelho: El Alquimista Buena historia, excepto las connotaciones religiosas que no son de mi gusto

Paolo Coelho: Las Valquirias Interesante por los aspectos autobiográficos.

Gunter Grass: Very difficult to read in the begging, but once you get used to the crabwalk, it gets easier. No wonder Grass is not really loved in many countries.

Jack Kerouac: On The Road Entertaining classic. Sometimes it feels like my friends’ travel blogs of today, including the typos/slang and unstructured narrative.

Dave Eggers: What is the What Definitely not the most optimistic book of this collection. It is real story of Sudanese refugee whose life did not get any easier even after emigration to US.

E.F. Schumacher: Lo pequeño es hermoso Una lectura muy pesada de economía y los problemas del mundo. Parece nuevo, pero fue escrito hace 30 años.