miércoles, 4 de agosto de 2010

August Reading

Since blogging has made me obsessive about my reading out of all proportion to the limited number of comments I actually receive here, I hope you'll forgive me this rare non-review/obvious filler post about my reading plans for August.  To cut right to the self-indulgent chase, I basically have a three-pronged plan of attack mapped out this month.  Here it is.

#1: CERVANTES.  Stu at Winstonsdad's Blog is hosting a 10-week readalong of Don Quixote.  I tried to resist this on account of time concerns and whatnot, but I finally caved in when I realized that it wouldn't be any fun to sit this one out on the sidelines while blog pals Claire, Frances, and Rise among others started bombarding me with posts about DQ and Sancho Panza.  While I'm already two weeks behind, this'll be a reread for me and I hope to be caught up with the rest of the gang soon.  See Stu's Don Quixote--Windmills for the Mind page here or his Week Two commentary over here for more info.

#2: FRANCES: WILLIAMS & PROUST.  "Book Temptress" Frances of Nonsuch Book has selected William Carlos Williams' In the American Grain for our monthly shared read with Claire, E.L. Fay, Emily, Sarah, and others to discuss on the last Friday of the month (details here).  A few days later on 8/31, most of the group will be back to discuss Marcel Proust's The Captive (details here), in a Tuesday salon also hosted by the lovely Frances.  Naturally, all are welcome to join us for a laid back discussion of either or both of these titles.

#3: LAT AM & IBERIAN FICTION: While I want to leave plenty of time for the Cervantes and Proust titles in particular, as usual I have a number of Latin American novels and novellas calling my name (Latin American literature is my Twilight, baby!).  I just started Colombian Fernando Vallejo's 2001 El desbarrancadero, voted the tenth best Spanish-language book in the last 25 years in a recent survey.  Other possible candidates, particularly since I'll be looking for some shorter fiction to read in between the chunksters, are Argentinean César Aira's Un episodio en la vida del pintor viajero [An Episode in the Life of a Landscape Painter], Guatemalan Rodrigo Rey Rosa's El cojo bueno [The Good Cripple], and Colombian Evelio Rosero's Los ejércitos [The Armies]--though Argentinean Macedonio Fernández and Peruvian Mario Vargas Llosa have an anti-novel and a novel I'd like to get to this month if at all possible.  So who knows?  From Spain, I'd like to read either Carmen Laforet's Nada or Carme Riera's La meitat de l'ànima, keeping with the Carmen/Carme(n) author theme, natch.  All right, enough already.

P.S. I have a post about another Rodrigo Rey Rosa novel, El material humano (Anagrama, 2009), pending (i.e. unwritten, ha!).  Great fucking book.  Only problem is that it will be the fourth Spanish language novel in a row I've read that isn't yet available in an English translation--and the Vallejo will make that five.  Quick, how many major prizes does a foreign novel have to win before it gets translated into English?  A depressing state of affairs.

13 comentarios:

  1. I hope you read the Laforet because I have a funny story about that book (or, NOT about the book as the case may be), which I should probably not admit to on the internet but which I'll email you for laughs.

    Re: the Proust, have you read any of the interim books since diving into the middle of the series? Numbers 1-3 are the most technically "perfect" since he had the most time to revise & hone them before he died, so you're missing a treat if you skip them.

  2. Don Quixote is quite demanding of my time - I didn't realise that there were novellas within the novels! I shall await your thoughts on this wonderful book with interest.

  3. Oh wait! Is this a MEME I see? Or at least, a meme in disguise? A morphed meme? Hah!

    It's okay: Homer nodded too. He may have even blogged. ...

    See you on Mailbox Monday?

  4. To me a filler post is where you just post a video (you actually wrote stuff). I do that a lot. I actually have another one coming up.

    After reading what everyone has written, I really wish I could have done the Proust read-along. And I do enjoy reading about Spanish books even if they aren't yet available in English. But why oh why did you have to evoke Twilight to describe your love of Latin American literature? Blasphemy! That drivel should be banished to the margins of literary existence.

  5. *Emily: That sounds like a powerful incentive for me to read Nada then! Do I have to wait for your e-mail till after I'm done? :D I'm afraid that I still haven't gotten around to those earlier Prousts, but I will someday, no worries. It's just that I'm nothing if not disorganized!

    *Tom: All the Don Quixote posts so far are making me more and more eager to catch up with the rest of you. Such a satisfying tome! Glad you're enjoying your experience so far and thanks very much for the visit. Cheers!

    *Jill: A meme? Mailbox Monday? Or as one of my favorite Hollywood bloggers once put it, what you talkin' about, Willis? P.S. No offense, but I think you need to stay out of the sun the rest of the day, lady!

    *E.L. Fay: Thanks, I stand corrected. But don't get mad about the Twilight gag because that was sort of my olive branch to those sensitive souls in the adult YA reading community, ha ha! In any event, more non-Twilight-y Latin American fiction is in the pipeline, no worries. And you still have time to join us for Proust, don't be shy!

  6. I was sad to see that Winston'sdad suggested the end of August to begin in his initial post, and now find out I'm two weeks behind. I wouldn't have known about it had I not read your post and visited, but now it's certainly too late for me to join in Don Quixote. Not with school starting in two weeks. Oh well, perhaps I can join in something else with you.

  7. Oh Richard, Richard, one must keep up with sociological trends! Memes are posting conventions that bloggers can use for filler posts. Some bloggers use many memes, and not much content. Some only call upon them from time to time. Popular examples include Mailbox Monday (in which you delineate the books you managed to acquire that week), Wordless Wednesday (posting a picture), Faith and Fiction Saturday (rather redundant, eh? but you get the idea, I presume), Sunday Salon (in which you try to generate a discussion) and so on. Alliteration is not mandatory, but helps mnemonically, and moreover is cutesy.

    Here's the best part (or worst, depending on how you take this). If you participate in a meme, part of the process is that you are expected to go to the "hosting" blog and indicate your participation and a link thereto by signing up with "Mr. Linky." I refuse to tell you more about Mr. Linky; I assume you learned about this at puberty. Ha ha. No, actually, it's just some little application that turns the address you leave into a short link. Why would one care? Well, let's say you like photography, so you want to see all the Wordless Wednesday posts. You can find them easily via the "host" blogger's site. Or you like recipes: there is a Weekend Cooking meme that serves as a non-alliterative alternative to Faith and Fiction Saturday. If you find someone participating in the meme, they are morally obliged to name the host, so you can then go to the host and find the other participants. The incentive for hosting is to boost your visitor stats. As far as I can tell it involves no effort whatsoever, and you can say that 20 gazillion people visit your blog when you are trying to convince a publisher to send you free books.

    I realize all this is probably more than you wanted to know, but I'm one of those obsessive information pushers. And I am out in the sun a lot...

  8. Love Jill's attempts to educate you in the ways of more mainstream bloggish practices. Perhaps you can devise your own meme? Now that is one would love to read. It should be hate focused of course. Suggestions coming to mind are wildly inappropriate so I will skip and pause for your own wildly inappropriate musings.

    Thank you for my own category. This so rarely happens for me. Can't wait for Proust and must read faster for Don Quixote. Completion of intro material just not cutting it. Thank you for a well-executed filler post! :)

  9. Shoot, if I had known about the Don Quixote readalong a little earlier, I might have rearranged my reading schedule to join in. It's one of those books that I keep meaning to read--or rather, finish. I read most of it for a high school Spanish class (summer reading) but ran out of time, and had to skim most of Part 2, and I never got around to finishing it later. It'll be fun to read the posts on it, though. (And now I have a couple more blogs to read, which I don't have time to follow!)

    Reading your blog, especially your posts on Spanish-language novels, keeps tempting me to revisit Spanish, so that I could perhaps read it well enough to try some of those untranslated books you keep talking about. Oh for more time...

  10. some great choices for your short reads and many thanks for the mention ,feel humbled to be mention on your blog richard ,all the best stu

  11. *Bellezza: Sorry to hear that the Don Quixote readalong ended up starting at a bad time for you, but I promise to follow all your posts about it if you decide to start it late (you wouldn't/won't be the only one to do that, by the way)! In any event, I look forward to future shared reads with you for other books myself. :D

    *Jill: I don't know if I should thank you for this or not, but you've reminded me why I hate most memes. Unfortunately, you've also added a couple of new reasons for me to dislike them! Ironically, I had never really thought about the traffic-driving potential of some memes--I just thought they were an exercise in group apathy or something like that! P.S. Alliteration overkill is another problem in the blog world, you're right. However, "Faith and Fiction Fridays" would have made a superior example of the paradigm, don't you think?

    *Frances: Please don't encourage Jill, a/k/a my own personal gadfly! (Just kidding, Gadfly!) And please be careful about encouraging me lest you really want me to unleash that "Top 10 Things I Hate about Blogging" post that's been gestating in my head for a year or two now! In all seriousness, though, you totally deserve your own category. I need to step it up on DQ myself. In the meantime, I'll await the e-mail with the "wildly inappropriate" meme suggestions you have cooked up for me, ha ha!

    *Amanda: Jeez, I guess the Don Quixote readalong snuck up on everybody! Anyway, I'll make you the same deal as I made Bellezza--let me know that you're going to finish it up sometime, and I'll avidly follow all your posts on it. Great stuff! Thanks, by the way, for the kind words about those Spanish language posts. There's so much great stuff out there (in and out of translation) in terms of Spanish and latin American literature that spending some time refreshing your Spanish would bring you a lot of bang for your buck timewise, I'm sure. Cheers!

    *Stu: You're too kind, but thanks for the kind words anyway. Very excited about the readalong and the other blogs I've discovered as a result of having discovered your blog!

  12. Thanks for the encouragement! Maybe once I'm through La Divina Commedia, I'll take a stab at some Spanish refreshing and/or Don Quixote. I even have an abridged Spanish-language copy of Don Quixote I could try. Since it comes with a vocabulary, maybe that would be a good way to test the waters...

  13. *Amanda: No problem--sounds like you have a good plan in mind. ¡Buena suerte! :D