Books That Make Home

Spring of 2014 is very likely to bring a huge change in my life… If everything goes as imagined I will be moving away (whether for a shorter period of time or permanently it remains to be seen) to Sweden. With this in mind, I couldn’t help but think about everything I will be leaving here in Sarajevo; including my small library. The thought of not having it within the reach of my hand (and for who knows how long) is making me sad – I am missing it already. Naturally, I don’t feel the same for every book I own. Not every one of them will be missed, and among those who would, there are the ones I feel very strongly for and the ones who are loved less intensively… There are favorites. And there are books that make a house a home.

Those are the ones I would wish to have in every space I inhabit. The ones whose presence I need in order to feel secure. Some of them I read a long time ago and I am not quite sure if I am able to explain to myself why I feel so attached to them. Anyway, here they are:

  • Boris Kalin’s The History of Philosophy – a textbook we used in high-school, for philosophy classes, of course. It opened to me a whole new world and I always go back to it whenever I want to remind myself of a certain philosopher or when I need to re-read Kalin’s own views on humanity, will, freedom and obligations…
  • Homer’s The Iliad – I have read the full text in the first year at University and it brought me deep into the world of literature as no book before. The picture of infuriated Scamander, among some other, will remain as vivid as when I read it for as long as I live.
  • Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose – in my notion, a perfect novel. A detective story, a fantastic time-travel into the Middle ages, a treatise on various medieval philosophical problems, a book about books…
  • Ford Madox Ford’s Parade’s End – although read and acquired very recently, it is inevitably and irreversibly one of the dearests. Amazingly written. With the main character that comes as close to an ideal man (or at least to one of the ways of idealness) as it is possible. I deeply, truly admire the strength of Ford’s imagination and style.
  • Gerald Durrell’s My Family and Other Animals – was an important part of my adolescence. His little discoveries, the bond he had with all those animals he encountered and saw as personalities, whose lives were as important as ours – all of that reflected my own thoughts.
  • Jostein Gaarder’s Sofia’s World – another book used as a textbook. Another one that unveiled a vast world of human thought. The one that made me wonder about what happens to fictional characters when we finish reading about them.

Those were the main ones. The extended list of books that make home is as follows:

  • Virginia Woolf’s Orlando and To the Lighthouse
  • Per Olov Enquist’s The Royal Physician’s Visit
  • Knut Hamsun’s Hunger
  • Albert Camus’s The Stranger
  • Stendhal’s The Red and the Black
  • Paul Auster’s New York Trilogy
  • Oscar Wilde’s Dorian Gray
  • Alasdair Gray’s Lanark
  • Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility
  • Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov
  • Jorge Luis Borges’s Ficciones
  • John Galsworthy’s The Forsyte Saga
  • Peter Høeg’s Smilla’s Sense of Snow
  • Trygve Gulbranssen’s Bjørndal trilogy
  • Branko Ćopić’s Eagles Start Flying Early

But, there’s more. And there will, hopefully, be even more to come…


4 thoughts on “Books That Make Home

  1. A good list there…and a few I have read as well which always pleases me…and reminds me I need to review them. I know your feeling of leaving behind a library for a time in another country. I brought over a few books with me to read…then promptly went out and bought a bunch more to read including Borges’ collected fictional works. Always good to see love for Lanark on a fellow blog as well.

    1. Please do. I always liked better to read about books I’ve read than about those I haven’t read. I enjoy hearing other peoples experiences and thoughts on them..
      The list is made of books I own.. There are some I’ve read, that will be added as soon as I acquire them – One Hundred Years of Solitude, for example.. Possession and Emily Dickinson’s poems..
      Borges is otherworldly, unlike any other writer before him.. Have you read any of his books or the above mentioned collection is to be an ice breaker?
      I think I bore people with Lanark. Some of my friends read mainly SF, like Aasimov and.. hell, I don’t even know which authors are popular.. never mind.. but when I tell them about how magnificent this novel is and about the literary quality it has – they all lose interest. Their lost..

  2. I have read Borges’ Labyrinths which I enjoyed a lot and found a lot of the stories I thought about for hours after finishing them…so the collected fictions should be one epic read! Lanark is pretty sci-fi so they should be into that and well written at that…it’s a treat for all. It does annoy me when people are closed to genres just because.

    I shall be reviewing more books over the coming monhs, getting back to the roots oft he site…including and here’s a sneak preview a cartography themed week coming up in a couple of weeks.

    1. Cartography themed week! That will be delightful – I always enjoyed maps and family trees inside the book covers. Thank you for this preview – it is good to know what to look forward to. The joys of anticipation…

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