New literary recommendations
We haven’t recommended our new fave books for a while so we’ve decided not to wait any longer and write this post with our Top 10 books of the last few months. Here goes!
21 Lessons for the 21st Century, Yuval Noah Harari
Of the 10 books we recommend, this is without doubt my favourite. Everything said and written by Yuval Noah Harari is gold.
If you haven’t read any of his books yet, we recommend his previous books: “Sapiens”, which is a journey through our past and “Homo Deus”, which is a look at our future, and which I chose to read before “Sapiens”. They are both insights are necessary as is the exploration of our present, which is what this new book is about.
“21 Lessons for the 21st Century” invites us to reflect on the most important questions of our present, untangling political, technological, social and existential issues, and exposing them to us in his particular, eloquent prose which is easy to digest in the way that they have an impact on our daily lives.
Todas estamos bien, Ana Penyas
“Todas estamos bien” has been awarded the X Premio de Novela Gráfica Fnac-Salamandra Graphic, one of the most important awards in our country in this genre. The author, Ana Penyas, has tried to give a voice to all our grandmothers, so that they were not affected by historic forgetfulness, as with a whole forgotten generation in our country.
As you will be able to discover for yourselves when you have the book in your hands, “Todas estamos bien”, is as tender as possible, obviously sad, sensitive and above all a struggle and protest for female demands/rights. Throughout its 112 pages, Penyas narrates a depiction of her grandmothers, Maruja and Herminia, telling us the story of their particular experiences and memories, and of the enormous social differences linked to gender issues, which you will unfortunately share.
As a footnote we would like to tell you that this is Ana Penyas debut, although she never dreamt of creating a graphic novel, but which she not only managed to do so but which she has also received excellent reviews of as a fantastic newcomer’s work.
Paris será toujours, Màxim Huerta and Maria Herreros
This gem is worthy of admiration for several motives. Aside from this, it’s also special due to what it reveals through its beautiful illustrations by Maria Herreros.
Through “Paris sera toujours” you will travel throughout the French capital of the 20s when it was the epicentre of culture and entertainment. An extraordinary destination where there are of course scenes, monuments and well-known places like the famous Shakespeare and Company book shop/library of the lost generation, the challenge of the garçonnes, the jazz bands that turned Montmartre into the new Harlem, the surrealists demonstrations, the foul-mouthed Kiki of Montparnasse, the hustle and bustle of the terraces and cafes, etc…
Cosmética del enemigo, Amelie Nothomb
We have read almost everything by Amélie Nothomb. Especially because after reading “Hygiene of the assassin”, her first novel, she had me hooked on her extraordinary ability to expose the darkest and most perturbing sides of our daily life. She is one of the most popular French writers with the greatest international repercussions.
In “Cosmética del enemigo” – whose release became a great event in Autumn of 2001 in France where the first of 150,000 books was sold out in the first week – continues to revel in its eccentricity and provocative nature and shows us how true talent never stop searching for new horizons for their most lasting obsessions.
This time, the main character is businessman Jérôme Angust, who hears an announcement at the airport that his plane is delayed indefinitely. To kill time he submerges himself in a book that he has in his hand luggage, but an unexpected speaker, Textor Texel, talks to him despite his obvious resistance, and…that’s all I can tell you…
The Coen Brothers. This Book Really Ties The Films, Adam Nayman
We can only recommend this book to Coen Brothers fans, like us. If you’re not in this group, ignore the following recommendation.
Since cult successes like “Raising Arizona” (1987) and “The Big Lebowski” (1998) not to ignore the genius of “Fargo”(1996),“No Country for Old Men” (2007) or “Inside Llewyn Davis” (2013), critically acclaimed, Ethan and Joel Coen have managed to create a sombre yet comical voice which is the immediately recognizable. The Coens have an own brand that goes unequalled.
“The Coen Brothers. This Book Really Ties The Films” is great as it combines biography, analysis of all their films as well as clarifying interviews with key collaborators of the Coens, and of course it goes without saying, incredible visual aesthetics. All of this thanks to cinema critic Adam Nayman, who carefully examines their complex cinematographic universe, delving into the details. This is a book that explores like no other, the work of these two great talents.
Impón tu suerte, Enrique Vila-Matas
“Impón tu suerte” is a compendium that is a collection of a multitude of essays, conferences and over one hundred articles, grouped into four parts: writing, reading, vision and ideas. These essays share the conceptual genesis majorly, from the author’s portrayal of a humoristic universe of defined obsessions about writing and creation.
An intelligent reflection about authors, submerged readings, emotional, artistic, cultural states and the mysterious process of writing, which is intertwined with the life of one of these contemporary, bravest, most original and rigorous writers of our day.
Feliz Final, Isaac Rosa
Isaac Rosa addresses the universal subject of love, from different conditioning factors which complicate it: uncertainty, jealousy, an excess of expectations, never-ending searches, fear, doubts etc…
This novel starts by the end. Yes, yes, by the end of a great love, but passing through all the stages to breathe life into it so that it can survive. A story full of truths, discomfort, terrible moments but also very joyful moments, which make this story and many others worth enjoying despite it all. As always, Rosa is a brilliant story teller.
The universe in your hands, Christophe Galfard and Ignasi Font
We’re a bit of a fetishist with editorials and have to admit that we’re big fans of Blackie Books. We have read many of their books and they have all gone down well.
“The universe in your hands”– awarded as Best Science Book in 2015 in France, where it has sold over 100,000 copies – is by Christophe Galfard, Stephen Hawking’s best disciple and one of the most well-known scientific speakers on the planet, who manages to guide us through an understanding of the universe, from a new focus.
Although there are many books that speak of the universe, Galfard does something different. Thanks to his ingenious narrative style which is an easy read, we feel submerged on a journey of understanding, which implicates us in all findings and discoveries shown. Unmissable!
Tarantino, a retrospective
This book, by film critic Tom Shone, makes an in-depth analysis of each and every one of Tarantino’s nine films, from “Reservoir Dogs” to “The Hateful Eight”. Once again it’s a film for fans of this director in particular.
It’s a hard cover book with full colour illustrations and more than two hundred stills, and it does an in-depth analysis of his career and is full of telling comments, references, allusions and tributes. As you can imagine, it’s an entire homage to Tarantino’s incredible artistic vision.
Walk with me: Thich Nhat Hanh and Mindfulness
A few weeks ago we went to see this documentary at Cine Verdi. It’s a film that delves into the Buddist community of Plum Village in France, in which the members give up all their belongings to transform suffering and practice Mindfulness with a great Zen master and World Peace activist called Thich Nhat Hanh, who built this monastery in the French countryside in 1982 for priests, nuns and secular people of all the world.
“Walk with me” is an exploration of the life in this place through the lessons given by Thich Nhat Hanh, and where we can see beautiful images filmed throughout three years, and narrated by actor Benedict Cumberbatch (star of The Imitation Game and Sherlock).
We don’t know if any of you have ever practiced Mindfulness, but since a while ago it has become fashionable, and there is no coach, consultant and/or guru or yoga school that hasn’t ridden the wave. Its benefits for our health are multiple. This is why, it has an increasing amount of followers and why thousands of books and courses to take it on are constantly arising. In fact, companies like Google, the Harvard School or even the World Bank have promoted this philosophy and have counted on live practice of it in the hands of Thich Nhat Hanh, known worldwide as having introduced the art of Mindfulness to millions of westerners.
Aside from being a leader, Thich Nhat Hanh is also a human rights activist as well as a poet and writer nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Through the practice of Mindfulness, we can learn to live a happy life being conscious of living in the present.
Until now, he has published over 100 titles about meditation, Mindfulness and Buddhism, and day by day more people become adept to the daily practice of his universal code of ethics, known popularly as “Five Steps to Mindfulness”.
We really recommend you go and see it. It’s not a film but its images will seduce you likewise. Above all, because in a world that has recently been reigned by fear and repression instead of peace and it’s worth filling your cortex with good intentions and formulas that make us happier and which help us fixate on the present which is all we really have.
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