Does anyone even read my blog anymore?? In the blogosphere you lose if you snooze and that is exactly what my brief hiatus has cost me – readers! Why did I take a break (I am sure you are dying to know, WordPress!). It’s simple. I fell pregnant, suffered with the world’s worst nausea known to womenkind (it struck me day and night), got married to Luis and went on holiday with my visiting family. If you have been following my blogs, you may know that last November I went through an awful Menieres Disease attack that forced me to stop working and basically live like a hermit, but I am pleased to report that come April I am feeling much better and have work lined up again for May!
If you are living in Santiago then you will know it has FINALLY started raining! This is a cause for both celebration and despair because, while we desperately need rain to clear the smog and dirty roads, the said roads and other public infrastructure in the city cannot handle the inundation (it’s not really an “inundation” either, more like a regular day in New Zealand!). If you ever read my article about Huechuraba for @thechileexperience then you might remember that much of the city was built by the residents themselves without guidance or support from knowledgeable officials. Consequently the tiniest touch of rain causes drains to overflow and roads to become rivers, while the Rio Mapocho literally became an inland sea around the Bellavista/Centro area. The rain also caused contamination in Santiago’s main water supply so emergency measures were enforced, resulting in much of the city going without water for a weekend. Bizaarely, Recoleta was not affected but more upmarket suburbs such as Providencia sold out of bottled water very quickly. Friends that were living in the downtown area reported that they were stuck inside for days due to all the crazy flooding! Facebook was working overtime as people posted photos of flooding outside their windows – interesting for an hour but after a day I was bored of so many blurry images in my newsfeed, particularly as we were barely affected at all. And all this happened at the same time Ecuador suffered a monster earthquake – my thoughts to those in Ecuador.
The sun peeped its head out last week but last night (on our first date in an age) it began to pour again. So as I’m sitting wrapped up in blankets and still wearing pyjamas, I was wondering what to blog about and I thought – books! Why not? It’s the perfect solution to a rainy day stuck inside (besides baking brownies) and, as all residents of Chile know, buying a book here is not an easy task because of the extortionate tax levied (sign the online petition!). What follows, then, is my list of all time favourite reads – non-fiction and fiction – to either inspire you to read (it’s a dying art) or to help you make a decision on what to start next.
I’d love to know your favourites too as I always on the hunt for new material! I also have many of these books so if you are local and want to do a book swap please get in touch – I know what it’s like to not be able to afford the crazy prices here!
I also highly recommend The Book Depository which has free shipping to Chile. Books are usually sent separately if you buy more than one, and take around two months to arrive (don’t forget to pay your postman if you want to receive your mail, this is not a scam – it’s the law!).
Books about the Americas
- 1491 by Charles C. Mann
- The Open Veins of Latin America by Eduardo Galeano
- My Invented Country/House of Spirits by Isabel Allende
- Collapse by Jared Diamond
- One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
- The Motorcycle Diaries by Che Guevara
- How To Survive in the Chilean Jungle
- The Voyage of the Beagle by Charles Darwin
- In Patagonia by Bruce Chatwin
If you ask me every 20 year old should make a new years resolution to read the classics. At 20 you are more mature to stick with a resolution and also (I hope) to continue with a daunting task until you reach the reward at the end. The classics are hard because it takes a while to wrap your head around the strange language and themes but its a bit like taking up running: once you hit the wall and smash through you are away. Today the classics are my favourite genre of books to read.
- Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen
- Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
- Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
- The Death of Grass by John Christopher
- Dracula by Bram Stoker
The scenes set in Transylvania are a masterpiece of suspense and gothic writing. I can picture each incredibly visually and still get chills every time.
- A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
This book is a MUST READ although I am not going to lie – the first one hundred pages or so are a bit hard until all the characters and plot points come together
There are various stories in this section that could be included, but these are books I go back to time and time again.
- His Dark Materials Trilogy by Philip Pullman
- Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien
- Game of Thrones series by George R. Martin
- Harry Potter by JK Rowling
- Gone Girl byGillian Fynn
- The Kite Runner by Khaled Housseini
- The Chocolate Run by Dorothy Koomson
- The Sword and the Scimitar by David Ball
My all time favourite book! My copy is dog-eared and battered from being read THAT many times! If you like history, drama, romance, suspense and exotic locations you will love this story.
- The Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling
A mind-boggling analysis of small town life – anyone interested in people and the interconnected webs that are woven will be impressed by this book.
- Collapse by Jared Diamond
- Tao Te Ching
- No More Dirty Looks by Siobhan O’Connor and Alexandra Spunt
- Ministry of Food by Jamie Oliver
- A Short History of Nearly Everything/In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson
- Thrive by Ariana Huffington
- Princess by Jean P. Sassoon
- Primal Body, Primal Mind By Nora Gedgaudas
- The Honest Life by Jessica Alba
- The Gift of Good Land by Wendell Berry
Authors & Series
My all time favourite has to be Agatha Christie – the mind on that woman! No-one can write a mystery thriller like Ms. Christie could and luckily she was so good that she was prolific – there are dozens and dozens of titles to choose from including a world-famous play called The Mouse Trap. Anything with Hercule Poirot I adore (and the tv series starring David Suchet is one of the best shows of all time).
For modern crime writing I prefer Lisa Gardner. In other genres I admire the skills of JK Rowling, Bill Bryson and Dorothy Koomson. Also Michael Palin and cookbooks by Rick Stein and Gordon Ramsay all attract me to their corner in the bookstore.
As a child I could not get enough of Enid Blyton, Roald Dahl, Dick King Smith, and the various books in the Sweet Valley/Nancy Drew/Babysitters Club/Saddle Club series’.
Going even further back, the Brambly Hedge and Flower Fairies books are all treasures, while Beatrix Potter I love even to this day.
Please add to the list!