‘A General Theory of Oblivion’ by José Eduardo Agualusa
Summary: On the brink of Angolan independence, Ludo bricks herself into her apartment. Here she will live in isolation for the next thirty years with only vegetables and pigeons for substance. Having destroyed her possessions to stay alive she entertains herself by writing her story on the walls. However, the outside world slowly invades Ludo’s life through the radio, her neighbours voices next door, noticing a man on the run and a mysterious note attached to a bird’s foot. Her small universe changes when one day she meets Sabalu, a boy from the street who climbs up to her terrace.
Why? Simply due to the absurdity of the plot. The summary really raises a lot of questions. Why is Ludo cutting herself off from the rest of society? The answer is not clear cut and I am a sucker for a complicated and confusing protagonist. Furthermore the backdrop of Angola, a place I know very little about. As English PEN Awarded this novel as well as the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize I feel as though the recognition alone is enough to wish to read this novel. The colourful cover and surreal story-line should entail a treat for readers.
‘Germany: Memories of a Nation’ by Neil MacGregor
Summary: From the author of ‘A History of the World in 100 Objects’, this is the history of new Germany. For one-hundred-and-forty-years, Germany has been at the heart of power in continental Europe, yet twenty-five years ago a new German state was brought into power. Our understanding of this state is explored to redefine German modern history as it thrives and grows.
Why? As someone who is not only traveling to Germany for the first time this year but also was greatly interested in German history in school, I feel excited to enjoy this. Modern German is so far away from the Nazi WW2 exposure to the country most of us have knowledge of. This memory of the nation should allow insight into the great people this country has produced and why it has made leaps and bounds in Europe, emerging from its dark past. Finally, a celebration of a great nation and its inhabitant which are responsible for conceiving art and philosophies that changed the world.
‘Drive’ by James Sallis
Summary: In Arizona and L.A., Drive surrounds a driving stunt double for movies who himself doubles as a driver for criminals. A combination of resonances of 1940’s pulp fiction and film noir this story is told with a cinematic non-linear narrative, exploring moral conundrums and obscene violence.
Why? As a sucker for stylised novels with dark undertones, this novel is right up my alley. Fast past crime thrillers have become a new love affair for me as this is reminiscent of ‘Kill Your Friends’ with its crude and gritty voice, along with the visuals of ‘Spring Breakers’ and ‘The Guest’, a match made in heaven. Surprisingly, the copy I own revealed that the story is not very long and could probably be read in one sitting, but I got a feeling I will be on the edge of my passenger’s seat the whole time.
‘Selected Writings’ of Anna Freud
Summary: Anna Freud was great creative thinkers in the history of psychoanalysis, and pioneered work for child analysis and revolutionised the treatment of developing youth.This anthology of her writings contains extracts from The Ego and the Mechanisms of Defence, as well as papers on pathological child development, adolescence, trauma, aggression and analytical technique. They offer an overview of her entire career and impact it still has on the world.
Why? As one of those rare people who actually enjoy Sigmund Freud’s work and understand its significance in understanding mental illness and repressed emotions, his daughter follows suit. Anna, I believe does not get as much recognition as she deserves, considering she is both intelligent and compassionate. Child psychology owes a lot to this brilliant mind and to understand not only her findings but its impact, will be a privilege that I can not simply overlook.
Let me know what books you have on your wish list by commenting below!
Side photo credit: Flickr/ ‘Reading’ by Moyan Brenn