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Book List 2016

Keeping in with tradition, here’s the list of books read the Bookhad admins this year. It was a conscious effort to read books by various countries because there’s so much more to literature than the Western canon. Therefore, this year’s Bookhad book list is arranged by country. We’ve also thrown in a couple of short stories we read.

Country Book Author Rating Genre
Albania Broken April Ismail Kadare ♥ ♥ ♥ Fiction
Algeria The Rabbi’s Cat Joann Sfar ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ Graphic Novel
Canada/Japan A Tale for the Time Being Ruth Ozeki ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ Fiction
Chile Daughter of Fortune Isabel Allende ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ Fiction
Cyprus The Spice Box Letters Eve Makis ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ Fiction
Egypt/India In an Antique Land Amitav Ghosh ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ Non-Fiction/Travel
France Around the World in Eighty Days Jules Verne ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ Fiction
France The Little Prince Antoine Saint De Exupery ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ Fiction
France/Italy The Count of Monte Cristo Alexander Dumas ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ Fiction
Germany Castle Franz Kafka ♥ ♥ ♥ Fiction
Germany Metamorphosis Franz Kafka ♥ ♥ ♥ Fiction
Iceland Stone Tree Gyrdir Eliasson ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ Short Stories
India The Dark Night Krishna Jha & Dhirendra Jha ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ Non-Fiction/History
India Bombay Stories Saadat Hassan Manto ♥ ♥ ♥ Short Stories
India The Post Office Rabindranath Tagore ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ Play
India Twilight in Delhi Ahmed Ali ♥ ♥ ♥ Fiction
Iran Persepolis Marjane Satrapi ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ Graphic Novel
Iran Women Without Men Shahrnush Parsipur ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ Short Stories
Israel Falling Out of Time David Grossman ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ Fiction/Poetry
Japan Dragonball (Manga) Akira Toriyama ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ Graphic Novel
Kashmir Munnu: A Boy from Kashmir Malik Sajad ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ Graphic Novel
Malta Ironfire (The Sword and the Scimitar) David Ball ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ Historical Fiction
Mesopotamia The Epic of Gilgamesh Anonymous ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ Poetry
Middle East From the Holy Mountain William Dalrymple ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ Non-Fiction/Travel
Middle East The Red Tent Anita Diamant ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ Historical Fiction
Morocco The Last Friend Tahar Ben Jelloun ♥ ♥ ♥ Fiction
Nepal/India Slow Startle Rohan Chhetri ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ Poetry
Pakistan Kartography Kamila Shamsie ♥ ♥ ♥ Fiction
Pakistan Trespassing Uzma Aslam Khan ♥ ♥ ♥ Fiction
Romania The Appointment Herta Muller ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ Fiction
Russia Diary of a Madman Nikolai Gogol ♥ ♥ ♥ Short Stories
Russia Fathers and Sons Ivan Turgenev ♥ ♥ Fiction
South Africa Things I Don’t Want to Know Deborah Levy ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ Non-Fiction/Memoir
Spain Cathedral of the Sea Ildefonso Falcones ♥ ♥ Historical Fiction
Sudan The Wedding of Zein Tayeb Salih ♥ ♥ ♥ Fiction
Sweden The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Stieg Larsson ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ Fiction
Sweden The Girl who Played with Fire Stieg Larsson ♥ ♥ ♥ Fiction
Sweden The 100-Year Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared Jonas Jonasson ♥ ♥ ♥ Fiction
Sweden My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She’s Sorry Fredrik Backman ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ Fiction
U.K. The Girl on the Train Paula Hawkins ♥ ♥ ♥ Fiction
U.K. Brave New World Aldous Huxley ♥ ♥ ♥ Dystopian Fiction
U.K. The Lazarus Vault Tom Harper ♥ ♥ Fiction
U.K. Wuthering Heights Emily Brontë ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ Fiction
U.K. Mightier Than the Sword (The Clifton Chronicles #5) Jeffrey Archer ♥ ♥ ♥ Fiction
U.K. Cometh the Hour (The Clifton Chronicles #6) Jeffrey Archer Fiction
U.K. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – Script Edition John Tiffany, Jack Thorne, J.K.Rowling ♥ ♥ ♥ Play
U.K. Me Before You Jojo Moyes ♥ ♥ ♥ Fiction
U.K. Say You’re Sorry Michael Robotham ♥ ♥ ♥ Fiction
U.K. The Remains of the Day Kazuo Ishiguro ♥ ♥ Fiction
U.K. based WI/African Bone Yrsa Daley-Ward ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ Poetry
U.K./U.S.A 84 Charing Cross Helene Hanff ♥ ♥ Non-Fiction/Memoir
U.S. based African Nejma Nayyirah Waheed ♥ ♥ ♥ Poetry
U.S. based African Salt Nayyirah Waheed ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ Poetry
U.S.A The Grapes of Wrath John Steinbeck ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ Fiction
U.S.A Misery Stephen King ♥ ♥ ♥ Fiction
U.S.A Mr. Mercedes Stephen King ♥ ♥ Fiction
U.S.A On Writing Stephen King ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ Non-Fiction
U.S.A Call of Cthulhu H.P Lovecraft ♥ ♥ Fantasy Fiction
U.S.A Gone Girl Gillian Flynn ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ Fiction
U.S.A Desperation Stephen King ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ Fiction
U.S.A Big Magic Elizabeth Gilbert ♥ ♥ ♥ Non-Fiction
U.S.A Chasers of the Light Tyler Knott Gregson ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ Poetry
U.S.A Dept. of Speculation Jenny Offill ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ Fiction
U.S.A Grief is a Thing with Feathers Max Porter ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ Prose Poetry
U.S.A Help, Thanks, Wow Anne Lamott ♥ ♥ ♥ Non-Fiction
U.S.A Now Go Out There Mary Karr ♥ ♥ ♥ Non-Fiction
U.S.A The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry Gabrielle Zevin ♥ ♥ ♥ Fiction
U.S.A What I Know for Sure Oprah Winfrey ♥ ♥ ♥ Non-Fiction
U.S.A Where’d You go, Bernadette Maria Semple ♥ ♥ ♥ Fiction
U.S.A An Abundance of Katherines John Green ♥ ♥ ♥ Fiction
U.S.A Bird by Bird Anne Lamott ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ Non-Fiction
U.S.A Brave Enough Cheryl Strayed ♥ ♥ ♥ Non-Fiction
U.S.A/Israel Acts of Faith Erich Segal ♥ ♥ ♥ Fiction
U.S.A/Middle East Habibi Craig Thompson ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ Graphic Novel
Ukraine Death and the Penguin Andrey Kurkov ♥ ♥ ♥ Fiction
U.S.A/Vietnam The Things They Carried Tim O’Brien ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ Non-Fiction
Short Stories
Country Title Author Rating Genre
Canada Happy Endings Margaret Atwood ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ Short Story
Iran Two Stories Mahsa Mohebali ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ Short Story
Qatar The Jealous Wife Um Khalaf ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ Short Story
U.K. Short Stories from Hogwarts of Heroism, Hardship and Dangerous Hobbies J.K.Rowling ♥ ♥ ♥ Short Story
U.K. Short Stories from Hogwarts of Power, Politics and Pesky Poltergeists J.K.Rowling ♥ ♥ ♥ Short Story
U.K. Hogwarts: An Incomplete and Unreliable Guide J.K.Rowling ♥ ♥ ♥ Short Story
U.K./Nigeria Who Will Greet You At Home? Lesley Nneka Arimah ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ Short Story
U.S.A Hills Like White Elephants Ernest Hemingway ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ Short Story
U.S.A Last Chapter on Hotel Stationery Ursula Villarreal-Moura ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ Short Story
U.S.A The Yellow Wallpaper Charlotte Perkins Gilman ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ Short Story

We hope you had a great year reading, too. (Otherwise, there’s little to 2016’s credit, you know?) Do let us know in the comments if you have read any of these books or have any recommendations for books from countries across the world.

Have a magical 2017!

Bookhad
(28.12.2016)

The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared – Review

Book: The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared
Author: Jonas Jonasson
Year: 2009
Bookhad Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥

There are only two things I can do better than most people. One of them is to make vodka from goats’ milk, and the other is to put together an atom bomb.

The book was suggested, and delivered, by Bookhad’s other half. Apparently, I was reading morose books which blackened my perception towards the future. I couldn’t agree more.

The books that I had been reading the past year weren’t doing me any good and I looked forward to read something light. I turned to the other half and, voila, the book was sent within 2 days. The other half has been reading books from around the world and I wasn’t surprised I was sent a swedish book.

Allan Karlsson was soon turning 100 and he decided that he didn’t want to really celebrate it with Director Alice and the other inmates at the old age home. He and Alice could barely look each other in the eye without arguing and fighting and arguing some more. He’s sick of it all. So he does what anyone would do who wanted to escape.

Jump out the nearest window.

The title of the book is self explanatory that there is really no reason for a plot device. Allan jumps out without a plan and simply starts walking. He walks to the nearest Bus station and decides to take a ticket for the money he’s got. But before that he runs into a young man with a suitcase and long greasy blonde hair. The book takes off and never looks back. It’s not a fast paced thriller or a page turning murder spree, but it has what would make a reader just turn one page after another without hesitation. No doubt, there are a lot of murders, but the narrative of the writer is such that we don’t really feel bad. Even when Allan’s father dies his mother says to herself, “Couldn’t you have chosen to die in a less idiotic manner?”

Allan hadn’t just turned a 100 today, he’d lived a 100. His life opens a little at a time and history spreads its elaborate skirts encompassing Truman and J.R. Oppenheimer and General Mao along with Stalin and Kim-Jong II and Winston Churchill. Allan has a life’s story fresh out of the biography of multiple spies who lived to tell their tale; or one spy who was SO awesome that he was never caught. In short, Allan’s life was rife with political anecdotes and inclusions in many of history’s turning points.

While growing up, and after his father’s death, young Allan worked with Nitroglycerine Ltd. and became an expert in anything that needed to blowing up. Once he learnt everything that he could he open his own business under the moniker Karlsson Dynamite Company. After rather very interesting childhood he finds his way to New York and finds a job serving coffee in the very office where Oppenheimer and other physicist are trying really hard to get their A- bomb to work. 

From helping the Americans getting their bomb to work to helping Mao Tse-tung’s third wife Jiang Qing from being raped, Allan’s life was a never ending circus. He manages to enrage Stalin at his dinner table and escapes the Gulags by impersonating a commissioner.

So, when he jumps out of the window it was more out of boredom than fear. Director Alice  might’ve been a problem, but Allan was never one to fear such an insignificant problem. So, after running into the greasy blonde young man who left his suitcase in his care because he wanted to “take a dump”, Allan did everything the exact same way he did when he was young. On an impulse.

His bus arrived and the blonde didn’t. So he simply took off with the suitcase instead of missing the bus and risk getting caught by the police for having escaped. He meets Julius who has made the old station building his home and the new adventure of Allan begins. 

Oh, the suitcase? It belonged to the mercenary and drug mafia gang called “Never Again” and contained a 100 Million Crowns!

Chief Inspector Aronsson on one hand and Boss Gerdin, the mafia boss, on the other hand hunt Allan along with newer friends that he makes on his way. Allan swirls around problems and roadblocks with ease, trusting his new friends (and sharing the bounty equally). and using the simplest of logic to overcome them.

This is the first book I’ve read by a Swedish writer and have enjoyed it mostly. There is one thing that I want to point out, though. The humour level of the book isn’t what it’s made out to be. It’s NOT a very funny book. It’s got a nonchalance style of delivery and it’s mostly straight faced humour that lies in the language, I suppose. It’s probably lost in translation. At times, the joke falls flat on its face and refuses to be resuscitated. 

That said, it’s a good enough book that kept me company on some real dark days and helped me get out of the hole I had dug for myself. 

Bookhad
(24.10.2016)

Doctors – Review

Book: Doctors
Author: Erich Segal
Year: 1988
Bookhad Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

A real physician almost never seeks another doctor’s help. For they all are painfully aware of just how little anybody understands about curing the sick.

Continue reading “Doctors – Review”

Habibi – In Pictures

Book: Habibi
Author: Craig Thompson
Year: 2011
Bookhad Rating: —

Departing from the usual review format, this post will not delve into the merits and pitfalls of reading a novel and its larger social context. Instead, we’re going to give you a series of reasons to decide for yourself if you want to read this massive graphic novel. Whether you, as a reader, end up tired by the narrative or appreciate the whole as it is greater than the sum of its parts, is up to you. Continue reading “Habibi – In Pictures”

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest – Review

Book: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
Author: Ken Kesey
Year: 1962
Bookhad Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

He knows that you have to laugh at the things that hurt you just to keep yourself in balance, just to keep the world from running you plumb crazy.

Continue reading “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest – Review”

Brave New World – Review

Book: Brave New World
Author: Aldous Huxley
Year: 1931
Bookhad Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥

“All right then,” said the savage defiantly, I’m claiming the right to be unhappy.”
“Not to mention the right to grow old and ugly and impotent; the right to have syphilis and cancer; the right to have too little to eat, the right to be lousy; the right to live in constant apprehension of what may happen tomorrow; the right to catch typhoid; the right to be tortured by unspeakable pains of every kind.”
There was a long silence.
“I claim them all,” said the Savage at last.”

Continue reading “Brave New World – Review”

Dept. of Speculation – Review

Book: Dept. of Speculation
Author: Jenny Offill
Year: 2014
Bookhad Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

That one was so beautiful I used to watch him sleep. If I had to sum up what he did to me, I’d say it was this: he made me sing along to all the bad songs on the radio. Both when he loved me and when he didn’t.

Quite possibly the only book I will ever dog-ear. All of it.

The book I will read four times a year.

The book I will keep on my bookshelf, on my phone, on my Kindle, on my office desk.

The book I will write notes about to my husband, who is yet to come. Continue reading “Dept. of Speculation – Review”

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