The ten best books you can give away this ‘black friday’

Memoirs, biographies, music and picture books to give away this Friday or already for next Christmas. Two shots are published with the Biographies that Stefan Zweig wrote; The Nobel Prize in Spanish finally arrives; the former presenter Ángel Martín, who has become a bestseller with the story of his time at the psychiatric hospital; the whole story (real and unsweetened) of Los Secretos; the pre-pandemic escape of the painter David Hockney to a country house; the conversation between two totems of the American Democrats, Obama and Springsteen; a trip around the world through different recipes; Elena Odriozola’s beautiful illustrations in a book about emotions; the feminist and anti-fairy tale poetry of Anne Sexton; and the latest from Martin Amis.

They have to choose from.

1. ‘Biographies’ – Stefan Zweig (Cliff)


In this new golden stage of the German writer – fallen into oblivion and rescued by mainstream modernity – two shots like these that Acantilado publishes for this Christmas were missing and in which all his biographies are gathered, a genre that Zweig dominated like few others. . From those of Erasmus of Rotterdam, Ferdinand of Magellan, María Estuardo, María Antonieta, Joseph Fouché and Honoré de Balzac to those of more unknown characters but who were his friends or had some point of interest in their time. In total five centuries of western history told by the light and enveloping pen of the German. A gift.

2. ‘Mixed feelings’ – Elena Odriozola (Modern Editions El Embudo)

‘Mixed feelings’

Elena Odriozola is one of our best illustrators and is in charge of adding images to this beautiful book that teaches us what our emotions are like. How is jealousy different from envy? Why in nostalgia do we feel pain along with a slight sensation of pleasure? What does it take for us to empathize with someone? From the story of seven characters who inhabit this house, we can identify what they and we feel or understand why we sometimes interpret what happens to us in the wrong way. Book to read and look at calmly, to share both its reading and the conversations it prompts and, ultimately, to make philosophy an everyday experience.

3. ‘Transformations’ – Anne Sexton (Nordic)’Transformaciones’

In these poems, Anne Sexton gives a twist to the fairy tales of a lifetime. To begin with, he usually takes away the happy ending. And he advocates a more feminist and more humorous look. Not everything so intense or so dramatic. Visceral poems that reflect the themes that always interested the poet the most: the claustrophobic anxiety of domestic life and the limited role of women in society.

4. ‘Paradise’ – Abdulrazak Gurnah (Salamander)


Almost two months after the Tanzanian writer was awarded the Nobel Prize, one of his novels can already be read in Spanish. The Salamandra publishing house bought the rights to several of its titles and the first to arrive is this one that enters pre-colonial Africa through the eyes of a twelve-year-old boy who travels the continent with a wealthy merchant shortly before the first World War. British critics speak of Gurnah’s poetic prose and an evocative tale. Now readers in Spanish will be able to tell how the last Nobel actually wrote.

5. ‘In case the voices return’ – Ángel Martín (Planet)

‘In case the voices return’

The last surprise of the year. It was published only a few days ago and it is already among the best sellers. Several things weigh: Ángel Martín was one of the best known television presenters just over a decade ago. And the story is terribly attractive: it tells of his admission to a psychiatric hospital after an outbreak of insanity and how he came out of it and rebuilt himself from scratch. He does it with a first-person story and without drama – like all the interviews given in recent days – with one more reason to help someone who is going through their situation than to create a yellow story about mental illness. The last bestseller of 2021.

6. ‘There is always a price’ – Álvaro Urquijo (Espasa)

‘There is always a price’

A few days ago the 21st anniversary of the death of Enrique Urquijo was celebrated and his brother Álvaro has published this autobiographical account about the Los Secretos band in which no controversial moment is shunned. The very early success appears (in the early eighties) and the tragedies and misfortunes that began to hit the group also from the first moments. The death of his two batteries, Enrique’s drug addiction and his own death, when he appeared on a portal in the Malasaña neighborhood (Madrid). But there are also the good times and the great songs that are still being heard. It can be said that it is the great book for fans (but also for those who have ever been excited by its lyrics).

7. ‘You can’t stop spring’ – David Hockney (Siruela)

‘Can’t stop spring’

The painter David Hockney retired to live in the country a year before the pandemic began. He had just turned eighty years old and decided it was time to move to a house in Normandy to paint the spring. Then came confinement and this book appeared that talks about the ability of art to distract and inspire us. Based on a great deal of recent correspondence and conversations between Hockney and art critic Martin Gayford, it also includes an unpublished selection of the new iPad drawings that Hockney created in Normandy, as well as works by Van Gogh, Monet and Bruegel, among other artists. A book that is at the same time a work of art.

8. ‘Forsaken. Born in the USA ‘- Obama and Springsteen (Debate)


Two American icons united in a conversation that came after a podcast and that is the no-go-over of current Democratic thinking. The two of them talk about a lot of things, like marriage, fatherhood, race, masculinity, freedom of the road, or the need to go home. But they stop at the big problem: political polarization in the US (at stratospheric levels compared to Europe). A fan box-book that also includes Obama’s speeches (some unspoken), Springsteen’s song lyrics, and exclusive photos and documents from both.

9. ‘Give me a bite’ – Aleksandra Mizielinska and Daniel Mizielinski (Maeva)

‘Give me a bite’

These Polish illustrators have spent a few months walking their success throughout Europe with this original cookbook that covers 26 countries on five continents. Thus, there appears a Moroccan banquet or a floating market from Vietnam. It explains how the kuku sabzi from Iran or the Creole sauce from Peru is prepared. And while the dishes are being shelled, the different customs that accompany the gastronomic tradition in each country are counted. An illustrated book for lovers of gastronomy, but also of history, culture and nature.

10. ‘From within’ – Martin Amis (Anagram)

‘From inside’

A new Amis to close the year. An Amis who leaves the novel and enters memory. An Amis who talks, especially about friendship, and what happens when that friend is lost. Through these pages appears his mentor Saul Bellow in his last years of life, the friend and companion of so many adventures Christopher Hitchens faced with his early death, and the lonely, sullen and brilliant Philip Larkin. But Amis also remembers his father and sister, who died very young from alcohol problems, their youthful loves, his wife and daughter. For fans of Amis and literature.

We would like to say thanks to the author of this short article for this remarkable material

The ten best books you can give away this ‘black friday’