Believe it or not this is a reading club: very intellectual guys who love talking about books over a good meal and even better wines. The gatherings are at my apartment, less frequently than we would like because of my constant travelling. The books we talked about on this occasion were: Il Giorno Prima Della Felicità by Erri de Luca, about the initiation into adulthood of a young boy in Naples through his friendship with Don Gaetano, the porter of the condominium where he lives, written with an austere, direct style which is very much to my taste; and Nothing to be Frightened Of by Julian Barnes, author of Flaubert’s Parrot. We also talked about his brother Jonathan Barnes, the philosopher, who is present in this novel about the fear of dying. I read this author for the first time because of my love of Flaubert who is one of my favourite novelists, along with Nabokov and Thomas Mann. But at the top of the list is the king of the psychological novel, Natsume Soseki. I’ll go back to this author in another blog post, he deserves it. We also discussed Tierra desacostumbrada (title in Spanish for Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri). I haven’t read this book yet, but my friends say it’s a very moving, very well written collection of stories about Bengali immigrants in the US. And in spite of this it’s a best seller!
We finished our meeting, as always, by reciting poetry. This time Spanish poems: Elegy by Miguel Hernandez (this year we celebrate 100 years of his birth); Coplas a La Muerte de Mi Padre by Jorge Manrique, one of the most precious jewels of Spanish literature ever; and Federico García Lorca, some poems from Poet in New York.
Of course we talked about many other things during the 5 hours that our tertulia lasted, and as you can see, a good time was had by all.
What are some of your favourite books?