Like blog buddies Rise of in lieu of a field guide (who kindly made me aware of this challenge in the first place) and Stu of Winstonsdad's Blog, I've decided to sign up for Ficciones, a 2011 Argentina Reading Challenge hosted by Jen of Jen and the Pen. Even though I still think most reading challenges (and most reading challenge participants!) are rather dopey, I'm going to try to be less hypocritically strident about that opinion in the future because this is just one of several challenges I've found this year that I'm actually quite fond of and still owe reviews to: Amateur Reader and Nicole's Anything Ubu Readalong Opportunity (click here and there for their final posts), Carl V.'s R.I.P. VI, Rise's 2011 Roberto Bolaño Reading Challenge, etc. For me, though, Ficciones is a particularly interesting addition to the mix because it's dedicated to one of my top three countries in the world for foreign literature (France and Spain, eat your hearts out) and my my fave country anywhere for choripan, empanadas, and many other culinary goodies of that nature (unfortunately not a part of the challenge festivities). So what will be my food for thought for this challenge? Too many options for this glutton to choose from! Since the challenge runs from February 15th, 2011 to February 14, 2012, I'll begin by backdating my participation to include Juan José Saer's Glosa and Julio Cortázar's Rayuela--two of my favorite reads from earlier in the year. I might also turn to some of the titles mentioned in this post here and various titles on my sidebar for other possibilities. But among all the great, non-mainstream choices, some of the main candidates at present include César Aira's Un episodio en la vida del pintor viajero [An Episode in the Life of a Landscape Painter], Macedonio Fernández's wacky Museo de la novela de la Eterna [The Museum of Eterna's Novel], Beatriz Sarlo's Escritos sobre literatura argentina (literary criticism on Caravana favorites Arlt, Borges, Ricardo Piglia, and Saer), and, what the hell, the nonfiction War and Peace of recent Argentine letters: Adolfo Bioy Casares' 1600-plus page Borges diary (the undertaking of which will equal my version of an old school no supplementary oxygen ascent of Everest). Plus, a whole mess of short stories even though short stories aren't really part of the challenge format aside from short story collections read as a whole. If you'd like more info on signing up for Ficciones, click here, and if you'd just like a surefire way to get pumped up about the nature of the literature in question, check out Amateur Reader's "Bolaño, Aira, and the Argentinean Literature of Doom" here (you could also just read Aira's bitchin' "Cecil Taylor," as I finally did last night, if you want to know what all the fuss is about). By the way, I'm aiming for porteño status (6 reads, at least one of which must be in Spanish); however, there are saner options available for the rest of you lot. Chau chau.
Works Read for Ficciones
1. Juan José Saer's Glosa [title unwisely translated as The Sixty-Five Years of Washington]
2. Julio Cortázar's Rayuela [Hopscotch]