“A book for someone who likes …”: 33 book recommendations that readers asked ‘Babelia’ | Babelia

What book to give to someone who does not usually read books? And someone to think about the sea? One for those looking for dazzling finishes? And to read to someone with Alzheimer’s? Of feminism but not an essay? A biography? Questions like the ones we ask when we visit bookstores – few things as enriching for a voracious reader as having a trusted bookseller or librarian – and to which this case is answered by the journalist and critic of Babelia Javier Rodríguez Marcos.

On the occasion of the publication of the traditional lists of the best of the year of Babelia (the 50 best books ―with a special section for comics―, films, records, series, theater, architecture, video games and exhibitions), EL PAÍS readers on Instagram sent nearly a thousand requests for book recommendations to give away this Christmas. These are some of the responses based on the tastes of those people who, hopefully, will develop a book that they like and surprise in the coming weeks:

  • “He loves to write”. the art of fictionby David Lodge. A pocket writing workshop by a master of humor.
  • “His favorite is Homeland and he loves history “. Sacred Nemesisby Jon Juaristi. Real (and family) stories of Basque nationalism written in a state of grace.
  • “Of current modern philosophy”. I am the monster that speaks to you. The (short) essay that should be given to a Martian to understand what is being discussed these days on Earth: gender self-determination.
  • “Some book that I can read to my dad with Alzheimer’s”. What can I tell you? Any that you already liked? Anyone about something you would like? I recommend you Gratitudesby Delphine de Vigan. Cheer up.
  • “The stories with a dazzling ending.” Pandora in the Congoby Albert Sánchez Piñol. A colonial expedition told wonderfully and with a breathtaking ending. All the best sellers They should be, at the very least, like this.
  • “It is for someone who does not read any book, what do I give him?”. Option A: Hereby Richard McGuire. A great graphic novel without text. Option B: Write your biography yourself. He sure reads it.
  • “On the history of the Jews in Europe”. Eichmann in Jerusalemby Hannah Arendt. History, journalism and controversy in an absolute classic on the subject. Too: No destination, the fictionalized memoirs of Nobel Prize Imre Kértész.
  • “His favorite books are all of María Dueñas”. Agnes and joy, scored by Almudena Grandes. The first of his ‘national episodes’. History, intrahistory and love in a single volume.
  • “He is 8 years old, he loves paddle tennis, football, nature and the book Agus and the monsters. The ballby Belén Gopegui. A neighborhood soccer story that treats kids as intelligent beings.
  • “Journalistic books, his favorite book is Diary of a skin. The empire of painby Patrick Radden Keefe. In the sewers of the pharmaceutical industry. Maybe it’s the newspaper book of the year. A safe value is Hitch-22, de Christopher Hitchens.
  • “His favorite is The bodies and the red room and he likes the LGTB novel”. Madrid will be the graveby Elizabeth Duval. An “LGTB novel” in which the personal and the political, skin and ideas intersect.
  • “She wants to learn more about feminism and she likes humor”. Change of ideaby Aixa de la Cruz. One of the great books written in Spanish so far this century. How it sounds. Sometimes it gives you the silly laugh, like the protagonist. Sometimes the opposite.
  • “Something similar to Borges’ stories”. Optic nerveby María Gainza. If Borges had written a novel it would be something like this (which is sometimes better than Borges). Life, culture, wit, wit …
  • “He loved the graphic novel What I like the most are monsters. Fun Homeby Alison Bechdel. A graphic novel in the first person drawn and starring a girl smarter than hunger. They even made a musical comedic with the story it tells.
  • Capital. He loves rehearsals “. Rawby César Rendueles. A brief vindication of historical materialism by the author of the essential Sociofobia, the most brilliant young Spanish Marxist of today. Too, The goalkeeper, Terry Eagleton’s memoirs, which shows that humor and rigor are not mutually exclusive.
  • “Magical realism”. Our part at nightby Mariana Enriquez. Long but addictive. The wonderful real of the 21st century with a gothic touch. Or vice versa.
  • “He likes social poetry and I want him to be a Spanish author”. Love letters from a communistby Isabel Pérez Montalbán. Or his anthology The proletarian cold. With those titles you don’t have to explain much, right?
  • “Tokyo blues + he loves books that make him change his way of seeing the world “. If one winter night a travelerby Italo Calvino. Throughout the book he will change his way of seeing the world many times.
  • “His favorite is Deadly and pink. He likes drama ”. The violet hourby Sergio del Molino. Is he Deadly and pink of these years. OR What has no nameby Piedad Bonnett. Too, Of other people’s livesby Emmanuel Carrère. Pure royal drama.
  • “His favorite is Rayuelhe loves novels with a certain humor ”. Suitcaseby Sergei Dovlátov. Irreverent and incorrect narrative to tell the departure from the USSR of a dissident who speaks without filters.
  • “The youth novel. His favorite is Biography of a body. Poisoned wordsby Maite Carranza. I know readers of that book of all ages and they all liked it very much. Me too.
  • “He loves it I sing and the mountain danceOh The heartbeat of the earth. Once in europeby John Berger. A round storybook. The rural world told with masterful prose. And, between fantasy and reality, In wild company by Manuel Rivas.
  • “For my mother, to remind her of the city where she grew up, the Bilbao of the 80s″. Bilbaoby Patxo Unzueta. A wonder about the capital of the world. They will tell you that it is out of print and it is true, but in AbeBooks it is worth 6 euros. If your mother doesn’t like it – I allow myself the tuteto – I’ll buy you the copy.
  • “The biographies”. Hannah Arendtby Elizabeth Young-Bruehl. Masterfully tells the twentieth century through the fast-paced life of a Jewish thinker who fled from the Nazis to the United States.
  • “The books that talk about books”. 84 Charing Cross Roadby Helene Hanff. Books, world war, two continents. A whole world and two complete lives through a bookstore. And it is barely 100 pages long.
  • “He loves science fiction and his favorite book is Dune. The left hand of the darknessby Ursula K. Le Guin. A planet inhabited by hermaphrodites seen by a foreigner who ends up understanding the power of a society without sexual difference.
  • “For someone interested in feminism but not an essay, novel please.” The wondersby Elena Medel. Two generations of working women in a suburban Madrid. Too, No mom noby Verity Bargate, a modern English classic that deserves all the attention. Read the first line and we talk.
  • “For a 25-year-old, he likes electronic music, finances and current affairs but he finds it hard to read”. Vernon Subutexby Virginie Despentes. Music and current affairs in prose at 100 kilometers per hour. A comic version has just come out.
  • “Historical novel about the Spanish Civil War and reading to Hispanic American women”. The Spanish civil grandmotherby Andrea Stefanoni. She is an Argentine narrator (and now a bookseller in Madrid, in La Mistral). The title says it all, right?
  • “He likes stories that catch but are not just fiction but a mixture of fiction and reality”. The recorde by Timothy Garton Ash. What would you do if you found out that the police had been secretly following you for years and one day you could read your file? That’s what the Stasi did with Garton Ash. A spy book that is a history of Europe.
  • “History of the Balkans or historical novel of the area. A bridge over the Drina ”. Prayer in the siegeby Damir Ovčina. About Sarajevo in 1992 seen by a young Bosnian trapped in a Serbian neighborhood.
  • “He loves the sea and history and his favorite book is The Old Man and the Sea, by Hemingway”. The great seaby David Abulafia. A cultural history of the Mediterranean that reads like a novel. In this case, like a soap opera. From Troya to Benidorm, nothing is missing. Nor nobody.
  • “My 14-year-old son has been hooked on nothing since the Harry Potter saga”. Ink heartby Cornelia Funke. My son recommended it to me. OR The name of the windby Patrick Rothfuss. It was recommended to me by a friend of my son. Let’s try. Luck.
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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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