The 2006 Holiday Book List
Solstice, 2003, England
I know, I know. Absolutely the last thing you want to hear are more commercials, especially ones with "seasonal" music behind them. I know you don't want to hear yet another, seasonal rant from me about how what was once a simple solstice celebration has become, to my horror, a celebration of Capitalism in all its wasteful excesses. And I'm not going yield to the temptation for yet another polemic on the evils of big box stores, Internet booksellers, and the corporatization of football bowl games. Instead, without further fanfare and Bronx Cheers, I offer you five books I recommend for the season. The choice is entirely yours, believe it or not, whether you give these to others or keep them for yourself:
*Juan Rulfo, Pedro Paramo. A very brief but magical Mexican novel that deeply touched Garcia Marquez (he memorized most of it) and which I finally read this year. Not to be missed. With an extra attraction: a brief Foreward by Susan Sontag in the Grove Press edition.
*Mario Vargas Llosa, Death In the Andes. A beautifully constructed novel from Peru, complete with references to Shamanic stories and Sendero Luminoso. Those of us who don't particularly care for Llosa's politics will love this book anyway.
*Juan Donoso, The Obscene Bird of Night. A haunting jungle of a novel by a Chilean writer. It's like a jigsaw puzzle, masterfully put together.
*David Seth Michaels, The Dream Antilles. Modesty prevents my telling you how much fun this short novel is.
*Alejo Carpentier, Reasons of State. A brilliant novel by the Cuban master, which I think is among his best.
As with any list, there are, of course, runners up. And books that almost made the list. For a more extensive list, you might want just to browse this Blog for suggestions or look here.