Magical Realism, Writing, Fiction, Politics, Haiku, Books

domingo, octubre 22, 2006

Building A Library: A Request For Titles

There are libraries (above, New York City Public Library), and there are libraries. Some are more finite than others. But leaving all of the metaphysical aside, the library I have in mind today is my own and what it might need to be better, more complete.

In a small house on the Caribbean Sea in Mexico for the past year I have been building a small library of wonderful Latin American novels that have been translated into English. I started with a large, rolling suitcase full of my favorite books: Garcia Marquez, Carlos Fuentes, Borges, Amado, Cortazar, Llosa. The list goes on. I put the books on the shelf so that the renters and I, when I am there, might enjoy them. I wrote in each book my request that it not be traded or removed. This request seems to have been mostly honored (I think Isabel Allende may have wandered off) . The library has not yet reached 100 books.

Today I ordered more books. Laura Esquivel, Juan Donoso, Juan Rulfo, Alejo Carpentier (a favorite, but the copies I had before belonged to someone else and had to be returned). And several others. I bought used books from Amazon and Abebooks, my favorite for old, out of print, used, wonderful books. It's really amazing how far $100 will go. And in light of possible hurricane ramifications, used books are just perfect for this project. Impermanence and all that.

What kinds of books do I want? Excellent Latin American novels and stories. Important books. Books that can be read in comfort and fit perfectly here: and here:
Books that fit in the humidity, in the heat, at the sea. Books that benefit from the clacking of the palms and the songs of birds. Books to take into the hammock. Books to read through sunglasses. Books to read under mosquito netting. Books that fit.

And so, dear reader, a request from me to you. If you know of a book that belongs in this very small library, please place its title in the comments. Your assistance is greatly appreciated. Muchas Gracias!


Anonymous Anónimo said...

I love a few by Brazilian novelist Jorge Amado, that you don't hear too much about anymore:

Tereza Batista, Home from the Wars

Gabriella, Cinammon and Cloves

Home is the Sailor.

Doña Flor and Her Two Husbands

But my all time favorite is Hudson's "Green Mansions" set in Venezuala.

8:30 p.m.  
Anonymous Anónimo said...

David: Lynn said try books by Ruben Dario, Guillermo Cabrera Infante, Servero Sarduy, Reinaldo Arenas, Nicolas Guillen, Octavio Paz, Cesar Vallejo, Miguel Angel Asturias, Jose Lezama Lima, Jose Donoso, Julio Cortazar, Carlos Fuentes, Carlos Drummond de Andrande, and David Seth Michaels. I am currently reading (for the first time) Steal This Book by your homie Abbie Hoffman;[edited by dsm]

9:23 p.m.  
Anonymous Anónimo said...

Mario Vargas Llosa:

ELEGIO DE LA MADRASTRA (In Praise of the Stepmother)

Julio Cortazar:

RAYUELA (Hopscotch)

Carlos Fuentes:

LA MUERTE DE ARTEMIO CRUZ (The Death of Artemio Cruz)


CRISTOBAL NONATO (Christopher Unborn)

Laura Esquivel:

COMO AGUA PARA CHOCOLATE (Like Water For Chocolate)

Are you only amassing novels? No criticism, poetry, or short works?

5:08 p.m.  
Anonymous Anónimo said...

And by Latin American do you mean to include Americans of Latino descent? There are many prized novels about the Latin American experience written by Americans with deep roots in nations south of the Rio Grande.

(I can see you're already apprized of the writers I've recommended, so that renders my prior post void...)

5:09 p.m.  
Anonymous Jessie said...

Isabel Allende has a bunch that are good. Eva Luna, and The Stories of Eva Luna, (which are different books), go down like chocolate bon bons. Of Love and Shadows is also a good novel by Isabel Allende.

If you want some hard core painful stuff, One Day of Life, by Manlio Argueta is a bitter pill.

I pretty sure that I'm not giving you any news, though. I have a feeling I ain't telling you something you don't already know.

8:49 p.m.  

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