I’m considering adding books in Spanish (and maybe even French) to my lists. It’s not so much that I’m reading a lot more Spanish fiction but rather that my slow, fumbling march through fiction in a language other than English is absorbing more and more of my time. If it takes me ten times as long to read Bolaño or Cervantes might suggest that I will be reading far fewer books each month. Then again, is that a problem?
Way way back in the past history of this world (often referred to as The Sixties) I read Tarzan en la Selva. As a Senior in High School my family hosted a student from Peru and I spent much of the day immersed in Spanish. But when I matriculated on to the university I was coerced into thinking that a knowledge of Spanish was insufficient for advanced study in literature so I switched to French. This had three results: first, I learned enough French to pass my language exams for graduate school; second, my mind replaced engrammatic knowledge of Spanish words and phrases with the French equivalents, and finally, I twisted my little gray cells around the two languages such that I was never confident speaking either.
Right now I’m reading a wonderful collection of Mexican contemporary Fiction as well as making slow progress in yet-another reading of Don Quijote, this time in Spanish. And to add to this, I have a challenging end-of-year reading list that goes a long way towards filling in some glaring holes in my reading.
But add to that the reading suggestions I get to make and the fact that I seldom get to take my own advice. I often find myself in a whirl of tasty new titles I know I may never get to read but I have been pressing a few of the newer novels to the front of my lists, and that is good.
My granddaughter insists on leaving the food on her plate that she most enjoys until the last. I understand that this allows one to savor the dish, but it tends to get cold and often loses its initial appear. I’m seeing the folly in my reading patterns as compared to my granddaughter’s dinner plate. Sure, I want to read Dickens or Zola, but I might be allowing a Rushdie or an Atwood to moulder on the side.
But enough of that. You might have missed some of the reading suggestions I made in November so here is a recap:
11-01-19 – 100 Documents That Changed the World — Scott Christianson
11-02-19 – The Un-Discovered Islands — Malachy Tallack
11-03-19 – Terrorist: A Novel — John Updike
11-04-19 – Road To Bountiful — Donald S. Smurthwaite
11-05-19 – The Virginity of Famous Men — Christine Sneed
11-06-19 – The Family Reunion — T. S. Eliot
11-07-19 – The Assault on American Excellence — Anthony Kronman
11-08-19 – I Stooged to Conquer — Moe Howard
11-09-19 – Machine — Susan Steinberg
11-10-19 – Literary Miscellany — Alex Palmer
11-11-19 – Fascism: A Warning — Madeleine Albright
11-12-19 – Cockroaches — Jo Nesbo
11-13-19 – Battle Grove — Daniel Handler
11-14-19 – Mohawk — Richard Russo
11-15-19 – Bobby In Naziland: A Tale of Flatbush — Robert Rosen
11-16-19 – The Idiot — Elif Batuman
11-17-19 – Quichotte — Salman Rushdie
11-18-19 – The Grammarians — Cathleen Schine
11-19-19 – The Testaments — Margaret Atwood
11-20-19 – Dishwasher — Stéphane Larue
11-21-19 – A Love Story — Emile Zola
11-22-19 – Ducks, Newburyport — Lucy Ellimann
11-23-19 – Animalia: A Novel — Jean-Baptiste Del Amo
11-24-19 – New York: The Novel — Edward Rutherfurd
11-25-19 – A Renegade History of the United States — Thaddeus Russell
11-26-19 – What We Talk About When We Talk About Books — Leah Price
11-27-19 – Possessed: Why We Want More Than We Need — Michael Shermer with Bruce Hood
11-28-19 – Catch and Kill — Ronan Farrow
11-29-19 – Best of Contemporary Mexican Fiction — Alvaro Uribe & Olivia Sears
11-30-19 – The Life of Guy: Guy Fawkes, the Gunpowder Plot, and the Unlikely History of an Indispensable Word — Allan Metcalf