December 11, 2008
Rodge Glass - Books of the Year
"This summer I was lucky enough to travel round South America for a month. I was under strict instructions from my partner not to take any books that could be described as ‘work’ with me, so instead I took several by South American authors I’d never heard of or had always wanted to get round to. Augusto Roa Bastos’s I the Supreme is a brilliant, complex satire on the dictatorships that spread across the continent in the 20th Century; Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s Chronicle of a Death Foretold is as taut as The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie and just as incisive about the society it analyses. The Tree of Red Stars by Tessa Bridal explored beautifully and sensitively how Uruguayan citizens coped with the ripple effect of Che Guevara’s nearby revolution.
"But all those are old books. My favourite published this year is, by a long way, Oliver James’s Affluenza, which explores why the richer a country is, the less likely its inhabitants are to feel satisfied. James travelled to seventeen countries and proved again and again how the one thing so many people think will make them happy – money – is actually the thing most likely to make them miserable."
Rodge Glass is a novelist, biographer, journalist and musician.