Snippet: Most beautiful books 2015 (Portugal)

This blogger hasn’t managed to come upon a list of best books for Portugal but stumbled on an op-ed article by Carlos Fiolhais that listed the most beautiful books of 2015; beautiful as to its contents and the careful preparation of the books themselves. The titles, obviously a selection based on the personal taste of the author, are listed in alphabetical order of their authors’ names, and some are bilingual.

Pepe Brix, Os Últimos Heróis. The Last Heroes. A photography book on the work of Portugal’s last cod fishing boats.

Hélder Carita and António Homem Cardoso, A Casa Senhorial em Portugal. Modelos, Tipologias, Programas Interiores e Equipamento [The manor-house in Portugal. Models, typologies, interiors and equipment]. A photography book on Portuguese manor-houses for the coffee table.

Miguel Claro, Dark Sky. Alqueva. O Destino das Estrelas. A Star Destination. An astrophotography book on the first world-wide certified starlight tourist destination.

Umberto Eco, História das Terras e dos Lugares Lendários. [The book of legendary lands, 2013]. “A fascinating illustrated tour of the fabled places in literature and folklore that have awed, troubled, and eluded us through the ages.” (

Mário Ruivo (coordinator), Do Mar Oceano ao Mar Português. From the Mar Oceano to the Portuguese Sea.  Richly illustrated texts on the Portuguese relation to their sea, from history to gastronomy. Published by the Portuguese postal service, includes a series of stamps.

Peter Sís, O Piloto e o Principezinho. A vida de Antoine de Saint-Exupéry [The Pilot and the Little Prince: The Life of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, 2014]. “Peter Sís’s remarkable biography celebrates the author of The Little Prince, …” (

Various authors, O Círculo Delaunay. The Delaunay Circle. Catalogue of a current exhibition at the Fundação Gulbenkian, Lisbon.

SOURCE: Público, Dec. 23, 2015


Snippet: Best Fiction 2015 (Spain)

According to La Vanguardia newspaper, these are the best novels of 2015


  1. También esto pasará [This too shall pass], by Milena Busquets, cf. post
  2. La habitación de Nona [Nona’s room], by Cristina Fernández

  3. Blitz, by David Trueba

  4. Signor Hoffman [Mr. Hoffman], by Eduardo Halfon

  5. Siete casas vacías [Seven empty houses], by Samanta Schweblin


  1. Puja a casa [Come home], by Jordi Nopca, cf. post
  2. Gegants del gel [Ice giants], by Joan Benesiu
  3. Sicília sense morts [Sicily without the dead], by Guillem Frontera, cf. post

  4. La filla estrangera [The foreign daughter], by Najat El Hachmi

  5. Principio de incertidumbre [title in Spanish; Beginning of uncertainty], by Martí Sales


The daily El País asked its critics for the best books in general, i.e. their list is a mix of genres and original languages; the first ten are these:

  1. Los diarios de Emilio Renzi. Años de formación [The Emilio Renzi diaries. The formative years]. Ricardo Piglia
  2. Farándula [Show biz]. Marta Sanz
  3. Diarios (1956-1985) [Diaries]. Jaime Gil de Biedma
  4. La guerra no tiene rostro de mujer [The war doesn’t have a woman’s face]. Svetlana Alexiévich. Translated by Yulia Doblovolskaia and Zahara García González
  5. Sumisión [Submission]. Michel Houellebecq. Translated by Joan Riambau
  6. Eso [It]. Inger Christensen. Translated by Francisco J. Uriz
  7. La ley del menor [The children act]. Ian McEwan. Translated by Jaime Zulaika
  8. Freud. En su tiempo y en el nuestro [Freud. In his time and in ours]. Élisabeth Roudinesco. Translated by Horacio Pons
  9. Cicatriz [Scar]. Sara Mesa
  10. La mujer de pie [Standing woman]. Chantal Maillard.


SOURCE: La Vanguardia, Dec. 24, 2015; El País, Dec. 17, 2015

Snippet: “Yes, we read Catalan writers”

Josep Massot published an article with the title reproduced above on recent translations of Catalan authors into English – quite a feat as there are a lot of English books translated into Catalan, Spanish or whatever language but relatively few from another language into English…

We list just the books mentioned in the article:

Jacint Verdaguer, Mount Canigó, Tamesis Books, transl. by Ronald Puppo

Josep Pla, The gray notebook (cf. this post)

Joaquim Amat-Piniella, K.L. Reich

Joan Sales, Uncertain glory

Josep Maria de Segarra, Private life (cf. this post)

Mercè Rodoreda, Much, so much war, Open Letters; short comment by Oliver Preston, The Paris Review

other translated Rodoreda titles: The pigeon girl (transl. Eda O’Shiel) or The time of the doves (transl. David H. Rosenthal) [both of La Plaça del Diamant], My Christina and other stories, Camellia Street, A broken mirror, Death in Spring

Toni Sala, The boys (cf. this post)

Other already translated authors:

Quim Monzó, Maria Barbal, Francesc Serés, Baltasar Porcel, Jesús Moncada, Vicenç Pagès Jordà – though some of the living ones only with single stories or fragments if this blogger remembers correctly…

SOURCE: Josep Massot, La Vanguardia, Dec. 19, 2015, p. 52 [printed edition]

Snippet: Sant Jordi and other prizes 2015

December 11, 2015 was the evening when the Catalan culture organization Òmnium celebrated its annual awards’ gala (“Santa Lucia’s”).

The most important one, the Sant Jordi novel prize, endowed with 60,000 EUR, went to Pep Puig (Terrassa, 1966) for La vida sense la Sara Amat [Life without Sara Amat].

“The winning novel has got a plot similar to that of Paper Towns by the biggest selling author in Spain, John Green. ‘I wanted to write a popular novel that goes well with young people age 16 up to those age 50.’ (Pep Puig). He took inspiration from a real person from the summers he spent in Ullastret: ‘A girl – he says – full of character, intelligent, rebellish and contradictory who decides to disappear, while we played hide and seek, and who hides inside a boy’s room. It’s something of the story of the end of childhood and the beginning of adolescence, even though she had already stopped being a child.’ And in the tale of these ten days, there is beating this unresolved sexual tension that is so en vogue in books about adolescents.” (Josep Massot, La Vanguardia)

The other prizes:

Carles Riba poetry prize to Víctor Obiols for Dret al miracle [Right to the miracle]

Mercè Rodereda short-story prize to Empar Moliner for Tot això ho faig perquè tinc molta por [I do all this because I am very frightened]

Josep Maria Folch i Torres children’s novel prize to Francesc Puigpelat for La nena que es va convertir en mòbil [The girl that transformed into a mobile]

Joaquim Ruyra juvenile novel prize to Santi Baró for L’Efecte Calders [The Calders effect]

Frederic Roda theatre prize to David Plana for Els encantats [The enchanted] and Josep Maria Miró for La travessia [The crossing]

International Jean Baptiste Cendrós press prize for Alex Rühle (Süddeutsche Zeitung) for an article on Sant Jordi and Catalan nationalism

Òmnium communication prize for the TV program Quèquicom [What-who-how], a science TV show.

SOURCE: elMó (Dec. 12, 2015); Josep Massot, La Vanguardia, Dec. 12, 2015, p. 49 [printed edition]



Snippet: De Pereda, a rediscovered author

Prudencio de Pereda (1912-1973) was an American author of Spanish origins. In 1960 he wrote the novel Windmills in Brooklyn which was favourably reviewed in the States but received little notice in Spain. In 2015, 55 years later, the book has been translated into Spanish and can be read by readers here. It is largely autobiographic and describes the daily life of the small Spanish community in the Brooklyn of the late 1920s and early 1930s.

“Windmills in Brooklyn was the first title of the publishing house Atheneum, the cover picture was by Richard Avedon, and the design by Milton Glaser, the creator of the “I love NY” logo…” (Gregorio Morán, La Vanguardia)

More information on the author by the U of Texas where his papers are archived. More on the book by Kirkus Reviews (1960).

SOURCE: Hoja de Lata (publisher); Llucia Ramis, La Vanguardia, Dec. 5, 2015, p. 52 [printed edition]