Books, series, comics and records to enjoy this Christmas | The weekly country


Jaume Ripoll, co-founder and editorial director of Filmin

Wagnerism, by Alex Ross (Seix Barral)

The latest volume by music critic Alex Ross is, according to Jaume Ripoll, “an extraordinary book” about Wagner’s influence, the political reading that has been made of his work in the 20th and 21st centuries, its impact on film and how it is watch their operas today. “It is a historical journey but also very educational, not only about what Wagner did, but about the echoes of his opera in our present. His reading invites us to think about the bridges that can be built between Wagner and Buñuel or Wagner and Proust ”.

Purity, de Garth Greenwell (Random House)

“The best novel I have read this year.” This is how Jaume Ripoll sums up this work by the American writer Garth Greenwell, whose action is set in Sofia (Bulgaria) and which recovers the protagonist of the novel with which he debuted and with which Ripoll discovered him, What belongs to you. “It is one of those books that, when I read it, I already thought about how good the movie or series that was filmed about it would be,” he adds about this story starring homosexual characters, “with a point of cloudiness and a political relationship, which is a reading of Eastern Europe from Western eyes that is very relevant today ”.

The empire of pain, de Patrick Radden Keefe (Reservoir Books)

After his novel about the IRA, Say Nothing, the American writer and journalist Patrick Radden Keefe now delves into the Sackler saga, who made their fortune on Valium and saw their reputation destroyed by the opioid crisis in U.S. Using television references, Ripoll describes this novel as a mix between Mad Men, Succession Y The Good Fight. “This is a complex plot, written with high literary content.”

From inside, by Martin Amis (Anagrama)

In this combination of fiction, essays, newspapers and other literary genres, the British author offers a rereading of three fundamental characters for him: his mentor, Saul Bellow; his friend and essayist Christopher Hitchens, and the poet Philip Larkin. “Even for those unfamiliar with Amis’s work, this can be a great entry point. From here you can go to the work of Kingsley Amis, father of Martin Amis, to that of Hitchens and to the poetry of Larkin ”, says Ripoll about the new book by his favorite author. “It has a prose that mixes cynicism with nostalgia with a lucidity that takes your breath away,” he adds.

They happen afternoons, de Marcos Augusto (Demolition)

After his first collection of poems, Stomach, Marcos Augusto reflects again on the man who discovers that he is no longer young. Jaume Ripoll highlights how in his texts “one can find from echoes of Gil de Biedma to resonances of Patty Pravo, a fascinating thing”. According to Ripoll, this collection of poems published at the end of November may be especially suitable for new readers thanks to the “echoes of the present” that can be found in his writing and its ability to challenge the reader.

Jan Martí, director of Blackie Books

Man Woman, Andrea Laszlo De Simone (42 Records). “I have been following this unique and very original Italian artist for a long time, a mixture of symphonic pop and Italian sixties music,” says Jan Martí. Andrea Laszlo De Simone has two albums released. “He did a concert with an orchestra for the Milan triennial, which is one of the most beautiful live shows I have ever seen,” recalls the editor. In the same Italian melodic wave, he also recommends Giorgio Poi.

Chrome heart, Sen Senra (Universal). The Galician Sen Senra likes Martí because “he goes on his own, a mixture of trappist cadences, a legacy of 90s rhythm and blues, angelic voice, beautiful melodies and lyrics, everything clean, spacious.” Among the themes of his latest album, Lie in the garden watching sunset stands out, “a small work in itself, a creative explosion.”

Sometimes I Might Be Introvert, Little Simz (Popstock). “This girl is a genius, it is incredible how she raps, the lyrics that she composes,” says the Catalan publisher, who recommends looking for them and following the writing of the London rapper while listening to this, her latest album. “I already loved your previous job, Grey Area, published in 2019, but this new one for 2021 is even more complete ”.

Swinging, Cala Vento (Montgrí). Swinging It is a very special album for Martí because he shares it with his partner, Alice, co-founder of Blackie Books, and especially with his children, who are seven and four years old. “Cala Vento is just two, guitar and drums, and they make short, round indie rock songs with lyrics full of love and energy that the four of us usually sing in the car,” says Martí. “We recently went to his concert with our seven-year-old son and it was an incredible experience.”

Tripi Error, Bejo (Self-published). “Bejo is one of the rap singers that I like the most in recent years,” reports the editor. Originally from the island of El Hierro, his is a very free rap, with very original videos and a lot of charisma. “This year I have also enjoyed the rhymes of Nico Miseria, Las Ninyas del Corro, Ptazeta and Hoke”, he points out.

Carlos Galán, founder and director of Subterfuge Radio

Jimmy Olsen, Superman’s friend: Who Killed Jimmy Olsen? by Matt Fraction and Steve Lieber (DC Comics). “I’ve always had a weakness for DC Comics,” confesses Carlos Galán, who recommends this work in which the roles are turned, and the red-haired Jimmy Olsen is the absolute protagonist and not Superman. The result is a fast-paced adventure comic. “It has been one of my recurring ones in 2021, the kind that you reread and reread and you always discover new nuances. A comic for all audiences, with the universe and justice as the setting ”.

The mountains of madness by Gou Tanabe (Manga Seinen). Gou Tanabe is Galán’s current favorite manga author. “He handles the narrative like nobody else”, points out the director of Subterfuge Radio, “and some of his cartoons should decorate the modern art museums of the world”. Although HP Lovecraft has been transferred to ink on countless occasions, “this is proof that it can still be done better,” Galán insists. “A delicacy that oozes class in abundance and conveys an almost cinematic tension.”

Spring for Madridby Magius (Autsaider). This work, winner of the 2021 National Comic Award, is, according to the director of Subterfuge Radio, “a true masterpiece”. In it fictional and real characters are mixed to build a crazy script. “It makes you laugh and think at the same time. Already a classic, it deserves its presence in any anthology of the comic published here, “says Galán.

Ultra Brutal, by Miguel Á. Martín (Kingdom of Cordelia). Martín is a weakness of Carlos Galán. He considers this installment of his great work to be his toughest and most transgressive product, only suitable for an audience without prejudice, willing to transport his mind to a world of violence, sex and explicit images. “Like medicines, keep out of the reach of children”, warns Galán.

Justin, by Nadar and Julien Frey (Orejero Armchair). “Julien Frey’s script is once again an incredible display of talent and field knowledge,” says Galán, for whom this is perhaps the greatest comic published in 2021. “For fans of 20th century history, a graphic novel exceptional that enchants. An absolute gem ”.

Fernando Tarancón, from the Astiberri comics publishing house

Lost fagot, created by Bob Pop. The comedy-drama that TNT aired, winner of an Ondas Award, is one of the fictions that has received the most applause this last year. The actors Gabriel Sánchez and Carlos González play Bob Pop in a fictionalized version of his adolescence and youth. “It is a very complicated series that works at all levels,” says the editor, who also highlights the game with the different narrative times and metalanguage. “He does things that could be very pedantic and very personal, but that work here.”

In video, images of ‘Fagot lost’.

Brassic, created by Joseph Gilgun and Danny Brocklehurs. In 2019 this British series started, which already has three seasons and which in Spain has been seen in Filmin, about the lives of two friends from the English region of Lancashire. Tarancón chooses this rogue comedy with a certain air to the film Trainspotting for his reflection of the underworld. “The characters are very well constructed, acting as a work, and has a hooligan humor to which they put a bit of chicha. Besides, I really like listening to these accents ”, he says.

All creatures great and small, adapted for television by Ben Vanstone. “Sometimes we need that balm. To think that people are good, that it does not matter to be who we are, but to accept ourselves. Live calmly, that lightness. It’s a series that warms your little heart ”, Fernando Tarancón sums up about this British production, of which you can see its two seasons on Filmin, and the first on Movistar + since December 25th. In the line of Los Durrell, which Tarancón also recommends for the same reasons, is a “very classic series, so that the whole family can see it.”

Another round, directed by Thomas Vinterberg. Mads Mikkelsen is the protagonist of this Danish drama winner of the Oscar for best foreign language film. Tarancón highlights the director’s ability to portray a subject like alcohol without taking a clear position and without being hurtful. “It’s a very enjoyable movie and it also has something that sticks with you, and days later you keep thinking about it, it’s not so easy to find that kind of film.”

Images of ‘Another round’.

Bo Burnham: Inside, by Bo Burnham. The American comedian, musician, actor and director signs, stars, plays music and, ultimately, does everything in this special that he recorded during the pandemic and that is available on Netflix. For Tarancón, this piece has the great virtue that, despite being something about the pandemic and recorded during it, it will be able to withstand the passage of time and not remain as something temporary. “He plays very well with the whole agenda of topics to be touched, and he does it with irony and self-awareness. He talks about mental health, privilege, being a cis white male … Technically I found it fascinating. “


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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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