"...to delve into not just the books but the context, the history, literary movements..." That sounds ambitious, Suze ;D My first thought was to just start with a list of authors to choose from, maybe with a bit of background info for each of them, their genre, style, major works etc. I could do that for Portugal, but I don't know enough of Spanish literature. I suppose we should stay away from Senhor Saramago as we are already reading him for the October group read. How far back? Not as far as Camões (1524 – 1580) I hope?
Ambitious, maybe ^_^ I intended from the beginning for it to be a little more than what we usually do--not just to read the books but to be able to put them in context, that sort of thing.
Since this is what my undergraduate degree is in, one would think I might instantly list a panoply of Iberian novelists we should encounter. Such as it is... what I seem to recall with the greatest fondness is the philosophical stuff (Unamuno and Ortega y Gasset), poetry (Machado), and the classical (Cervantes, La Celestina, and the epic poems about conquest). I'd be more interested in seeing what's on in Spain right now, rather than looking back.
I'm sure that we'll do plenty of contemporary stuff.. ^_^ I'm just hoping that we can get a good understanding of Spanish/Portuguese literature, instead of taking a couple of works out of context.
I'm assuming that since we're covering Spain & Portugal as countries (and not for their respective national languages) that we'll include authors writing in regional languages like Catalan? There's a fair number of those and a few other that have been translated into English from other Spanish regional languages.
Looking forward to this! I'm traveling for work now, but hope to discuss history and potential titles/movements soon!
Oh, no doubt--regional languages welcome ^_^
Just FYI, I'll eventually try to get some direction going here--but recently, it's been too hot here to do anything beyond zoning out with Star Trek reruns playing on Netflix. So, that's basically about 95% of what I've been doing.
No worries, even my cats don't want to go out because it's too hot
lol. Suze, that's exactly how my husband has been dealing with the heat.
Star Trek on Netflix?!?! I'm watching The Next Generation. :D
(I bet the Enterprise had great A/C...)
It's not hot here (it's actually cold and we're all wearing jackets in the middle of July!), but I could go for the Star Trek watching! :)
You have no idea how jealous I am right now that it's not hot where you are. Sigh.
Me too, Suze! It was 106 in NY!
It’s even stinkin’ hot in Canada! It does normally get quite hot where I am in the summer... but not 114, which it was yesterday. I have family coming from Italy, who’ve reportedly had cool, rainy weather all summer- they’re very excited for some sun & heat. Well, they’re gonna get it!
He's been watching Voyager on Netflix. I wish he would watch Enterprise; I love Picard. 7 of 9 is growing on me, though. Resistance is futile, after all.
7 of 9 was like, the best thing to happen to Voyager. They really needed some new blood.
Here's a few links on new Spanish writers that may help with reading planshttp://www.rochester.edu/College/translation/threepercent/?s=tag&t=young-spanish-novelistshttp://www.granta.com/Online-Only/The-Granta-blog-5
So, let's try to define some parameters on this. What dates do we want to look at for this? Add the date range you'd be comfortable with in reply to this post; we can always break into smaller subgroups if some of us want to do earlier literature, even if it's just two or three of us.
I also want to add that anybody who isn't particularly interested in Iberian literature--if you voted for something way different and Spain/Portugal just don't tickle your fancy--you don't have to participate.. and perhaps if this is successful (not in number of participants but in actually getting the books read), we can do another country :) I think Southeast Asia or the Middle East was second on the list.
Let's also think about how many books we'd like to read for this project. We can always change it later, but it helps get an idea of the scope of what we're doing. There's no time limits or anything on it, so we can just figure--how many Iberian lit books will we want to read before we get tired of it? :D That will also help guide us. So give your personal rough estimate in the comments below. Estimate on the low side, because we can always keep going later.
Also, post writers that you particularly would want to read, and ones you think that we have already covered and don't need to be re-covered in this project.
P.S. Even if you have already replied above, I'd still like another reply here--something a little more specific, it will help me a lot try to formulate some ideas ^_^
I'd like to start with maybe two nineteenth century, four twentieth century and two 21st century and see how it progresses from there. Maybe split equally between countries.
Thank you for your detailed response! :)
I voted for Spain! I prefer to read contemporary novels. Here's my reading list.
1. Tomorrow in the Battle Think on Me by Javier Marías - the last unread Marías in my shelf, I've scheduled it for next month, reading buddies are welcome.2. The Tenant and The Motive by Javier Cercas3. Bartleby & Co. by Enrique Vila-Matas
I have 2 other writers from Spain I want to try out (Juan Goytisolo & Antonio Muñoz Molina), but they can wait for 2012.
In the event that those books don't get chosen for any group reads or discussion... how many other Spanish lit books would you want to read for this (assuming we pick books you haven't read yet ;)? I need to get an idea of the scope.
I'd love to read something by Javier Marías. But not the translations, and I haven't found any Spanish copies yet. Which of his novels is a good one to start with, Rise?As for Portugal, I plan to read All the Names by Saramago after I finish with The Cave. Also in the TBR list:-The City and the Mountains by Eça de Queirós-Inês de Portugal by João Aguiar-O Signo do Fogo by Boaventura Cardosoand a few other luso-african novels.
One easy way to do this, if we don't want to go into voting for authors and titles, would be to just open a Spain/Portugal thread and have everyone post their reviews, discussions and recommendations there. What do you think, Suze?
That's a good idea regardless of whether we do any group reads, G ^_^ Since a lot of people seem already to have a list. I was hoping to go into fresh territory with this exercise; I wasn't expecting books already in queue ;) But I'd still like to do a few group reads if we can get it together.
Suze, I'm open to one or two group reads of a contemporary author/book. Though my participation will depend on the availability of the selected books as decent libraries and stores are close to nil from where I am.
Gertrude, I think the best places to start Marías are plenty:
Bad Nature (Mala indole)All Souls (Todas las almas) -- it's the start of a cycle of novelsA Heart So White (Corazon tan blanco)Fever and spear (Fiebre y lanza) -- the first of 3 volumes of a long novelWritten Lives (Vidas escritas) -- not a novel, but entertaining mini-sketches of writers
Thanks, Rise! Corazón tan Blanco me suena bien, I think I'll start with that one.Suze, I am open to group reads as well, two or three contemporary reads would be great :D
I also voted for Spain and prefer contemporary novels. I don't have a list yet.
How many books overall do you think you'd want to read for this? It doesn't have to be specific writers or anything.. just a rough estimate of a number.
I was hoping to find three, maybe four novels that i would want to read- different authors. I know many people do not like ereaders but i like mine so much that i have found that if a book is not available electronically i don't participate. :) So if the group reads DTB, thats fine and maybe one of the contemporary novels is available in multiple formats were good. I don't want to keep the rest of the group from doing whatever it is that they usually do.
I voted for this, but I don't have an idea of where to start & am quite happy to follow the lead. My joining in will depend on if I can find the book(s) in my (pitiful) library & how I feel after surgery & the treatments. I plan/want to join in when I can. :-)
Do not worry about anything ^_^ just pop in when you can.
I don't have a list yet because I was planning on doing some research and gleaning titles from the rest of you ^-^, but if this project lasts awhile, I'd go in for at least 5-10 books. I'm interested in contemporary authors too, but I also want to take this opportunity to read Don Quixote for the first time. That's all I have planned for now. I'm especially excited about looking into contemporary authors from Portugal--I have the feeling I haven't read a single contemporary book from Portugal whereas that's not the case (fortunately) for Spain...must rectify the Portugal situation!
I think a read of Don Quixote is in order--I haven't read it, myself, but the hubs and his brother really liked it. We can do a mini-group-read for those who are interested. I would also like to read The Poem of the Cid--or, at the very least, have a look at it ^_^
The Tobias Smollett translation of Don Quixote is the best of the two I read and was very beloved of my college Professor who considered it one of the great translations. Smollett was no slouch in the comic novel stakes himself. It's about the only Spanish novel I've read but I did read it twice.
Thanks Riddley, I love to get feedback about various translations and editions. I think I learned my lesson earlier this year with War and Peace that it's a very important topic to explore before diving in!
I read the Quixote translation by John Rutherford earlier this year. It also reads very well, I think.
I would love to participate in a group read of Don Quixote. I've been meaning to read it for years - peer pressure is a great cure for procrastination.
When do you all feel like starting a group read? Do you think it's possible to start Don Q in September?
September's cool for me if it's cool for everyone else? Since we have Saramago coming up in October, it'll be a nice back-to-back to kick off our project ^_^
We can also have Don Quixote be an autumn on-going if people aren't quite ready to start for September.
September would be great for me. I am trying to find an electronic copy of the Tobias Smollett translation. No luck so far.
The translations that are available on kindle are the Rutherford, John Ormsby, and Edith Grossman. John Ormsby is the free version. Is he any good? Suze, I am terrible at reading classics, if not for Cliff Notes in high school- well.. Am willing to try but may wait for something newer or if it is autumn on-going may give me a chance to actually read a classic.
Here's an interesting little piece on translations and Don Q: http://www3.sympatico.ca/ian.g.mason/Don_Quixote.htm
Thanks, Marisa ^_^ I need to check that out so I can plan to get a good translation.
Darilyn, I have the same problem sometimes reading classics. One thing that helped me in high school was to write down all of the characters and a little bit about them on a big index card and use it for a bookmark--that way when people popped back up out of nowhere twelve chapters after they were briefly introduced, I wasn't lost :D I decided last night that we'll start in September but make it on-going through autumn, since it's a large book and we're reading the Saramago in October, too.
Edit: I think I'm going to get the Grossman translation--she translated Love in the Time of Cholera and I really enjoyed that.
I'm interested in the Grossman translation too. I appreciated her comments on translation and I love her work with Marquez & Vargas Llosa! On the other hand, I guess I'll do a little research on the free e-version (Ormsby), just in case it's any good (being a penny pincher - lol ^-^ ).
Thanks Suze, that is a good idea. And I can't wait to hear what people have to say about both Ormsby and Grossman. I like also for her work with Marquez and Llosa.
Rob suggested that we stick to Book One of Don Quixote for our group read, instead of reading the full book . . . apparently book one is far superior to book two . . . so I think that we'll formally do the read of book one, and if you guys want to read on, we can obviously do so ^_^ but I don't want everyone to get past book one, get discouraged and quit if they don't like book two (which, if it's not as good, would be totally understandable), and our discussion fizzle completely out because nobody feels like they finished the book. So, we'll discuss book one for sure, and if people go on to book two, you can talk about that if you want.
Thanks Rise. I'm going to look at which translations are available for my e-reader and do some research from there. Good to have recommendations!
I just wanted to throw out a Spanish title that I really enjoyed last year, Carlos Ruiz Zafon's The Shadow of the Wind. I haven't read its prequel yet (The Angel's Game), but will soon.
I have this in my TBR pile (forgotten) - must move it to the top.
I read The Shadow of The Wind a few months back- I enjoyed it very much. I’ve heard mixed reviews on it, though. I liked it.
I enjoyed Shadow of the Wind, too:)
I don't know squat about spanish literature, sadly. I speak a bit of spanish, but my knowledge of the culture doesn't extend too far beyond the basics. I'd be happy to be a part of this project! I'm more of a fan of contemporary literature, especially when it comes to foreign literature. I think reading a lot of historical foreign literature could get us a little lost in translation (less likely to happen if we research the context of when the literary piece was written, ie: who, what, where, when, why it was written). I'd like to learn a little about some of the historical age-defining authors or poets, but I would really like to get some contemporary authors in there, too.
Most of our reads will probably be contemporary authors, I think ^_^ also, it's a long term project--jump in where you want. We're doing both Spanish and Portuguese, so I think the first more contemporary read is going to be the Saramago in October.
I'm looking forward to learning more about contemporary Spanish & Portugese authors as well, but I don't necessarily agree with being "lost in translation" regarding the classics. Finding good translations can involve a bit of research for sure, but there are amazing translators out there working in a variety of languages and historic literary periods who really bring the text to life (and in context--in part thanks to good notes) for foreign readers. I think sometimes society at large discourages us from reading translated historic texts, but that they're far more timely and accessible than most would imagine. I say this having just finished an 18th century book this week and being surprised (even for me) at how flowing and engrossing the language/story was! :) For anyone concerned about Don Quixote's readability, it seems the Grossman translation is a win in terms of language and notes (there are a lot of great reviews out there), though for more antiquated Shakespearian language (if you prefer the mood), the Ormsby translation is pretty faithful (but lacking in notes). I just read a 20 page critique of Grossman's translation by an IU professor, can you guys tell I'm excited? :) Oh, and for those who don't know me well, translation is one of my f-a-v-o-r-i-t-e topics (I've done a bit of freelance French to English translating in the past and can get a wee bit obsessive about it.) :-)
I'm also going to set another contemporary read for November/December: Bad Nature by Javier Marías. (grins) I know it's a lot of reads in a row, but this is a tiny, tiny book. It's one that Rob and I (and sweet and Rise) have already read, and it's a good starter Marías--like a literary amuse-bouche, if you will. It will be highly manageable during the holidays but get the mood going to delve into this more after the new year. If your library doesn't have it, get yourself an early Christmas present :D
That sounds great! I’m excited for the Saramago, I’ve had Saramago on my ‘curious about shelf’ for a while now and I always like me a new author. Great choices.
I started sweating a bit there, I thought I had to read the books in Spanish!! I can read French, some Italian...pero nada de español. :D
Nooooo, no need to read in Spanish unless you can and want to :D
Elvis in Mexico, hmm? Do you know what the Spanish title is?
Found it: Mala índole. And it is available online. I'm in, Suze!
I could not find an English kindle version
"Mala índole." I like it.
Darilyn--yeah, I don't think there's a Kindle version in translation. Sorry :\ I don't want to disappoint you while trying to participate for our group activities, but although I appreciate that people like to use their Kindles, it's not something we majorly take into consideration when choosing group reads. I would if it were a matter of affordability, but beyond that, I'd rather pick the right book or the best book than one that's got the most formats available.
This particular title is probably smaller than a Kindle, though ;) just might have to wait a few days to receive it!
I'm excited! I'm going to see if there's a copy for my Nook, if not, I'm sure I can find it somewhere. There's loads of bookstores in the area.
If nothing else, Amazon has it--if you're ordering Christmas presents, maybe you can tack it on and get the free shipping :D
Great choice, Suze. It's too short to withstand a quick re-read.
'Bad Nature' can also be found in Granta magazine (Issue 66, Summer 1999).
Thanks Rise - found the Granta for one cent (plus postage of course)
There are no electronic versions that I could find, but I think I will be taking Suze's suggestion on lumping it in with some Christmas shopping on Amazon. It's only $10 and then I can lend it around at work. They are all annoyed with my switch to the ereader because I have fewer books to lend out.
Excellent tip, Rise! Thanks ^_^
CR, you're quite brave to lend out your books! (grins) I never seem to get mine back when I do--even if it's to my husband, and I live with him!
That's hilarious. Where does he hide them?
My coworkers are pretty good about it. I never lend a book out unless I've already read it, though. Just in case. And I don't lend it out if I intend to read it again. I did that once and had to harass the person for a year to get it back (this was after 6 months of gracious, silent waiting).
The only book in recent memory that was not returned was Twilight - whatever the first one is called. And I really, really didn't want it back. It was a very misguided attempt at a gift. Or maybe the giver was attempting to be funny. I'm not really sure.
He had my copy of Perdido Street Station in his locker at work for ages. And he didn't even read it. *sniff* And I'm quite certain it came back abused--I'm pretty sure the cover has a crease in it.
If anyone wants to read this in Spanish, here is the link: http://www.scribd.com/doc/8962705/Javier-Marias-Mala-Indole
Oh Suze, I find that really annoying too, when people borrow my books and don't even read them. Instead of lending out my books, I prefer buying them a copy that they can keep! Some people have no idea how hard it is for us to part with our books.
(first post - eek)
i've been living in barcelona for the past five years and have traveled (and read) my way through the peninsula (not completely - impossible in five years).
i love saramago and zafón (except i have to say shadow of the wind was better than the angel's game), but my favorite contemporary spanish novel was the cathedral of the sea (la catedral del mar), by ildefonso falcones.
i'm sure i can think of other books that i've read/wanted to read, too... but i'm not entirely sure how this thing works, or what the goal is. are we just looking for books to read at this point? :-/
Welcome. Group reads have been selected but some (like myself) are looking to read a few more as well. The Falcones sounds interesting.
This group activity is a little more.. mm.. boundless than some others that we've done in the past, so you're not alone in not quite knowing how it works or what the goal is :D There is another thread where we talk about it some: http://www.shelfari.com/groups/10431/discussions/372683/An-in-depth-look-at-_____________-
So anything you want to contribute is cool, we're letting it take shape organically.
Welcome to the group, L. The Falcones sounds good. Have you read Saramago's Memorial do Convento (the English title is Baltasar and Blimunda) about the construction of the Mafra convent in the 18th century?
Suze, should we put up a thread where we can post our Iberian book reviews, or would you like to have them right here in this thread?
Let's keep 'em localized here, I guess, except for the ones that we peg for a group read. ^_^ That'll save us having too many threads going.
thanks for the welcome!
no, i haven't read that one yet. partially because i have lately been really focused on only reading spanish books, as i was going to take my proficiency exam (and i only discovered him a few years ago, sadly)
beyond that, my biggest challenge is availability - gone are the days when i can go into a lovely bookshop and browse all the shelves/tables - now i've got a teeny, tiny english bookshop and amazon and i've never ordered anything online before - not my style, so i'm just getting used to it.
so, yeah, i haven't read that one yet but it sounds great. out of all the traveling i've done while living on this side of the pond, portugal has been my favorite and you can really feel the energy of it in his writing.
Oh, wow--you've never ordered anything online? I'm almost jealous, I'm kind of addicted to shopping online . . . but that, of course, takes money, which is where my husband and I turn into a bit of an Al and Peg Bundy situation ;)
well, i suppose that was misleading (or an outright lie). a month ago, i ordered three books from amazon.de for the first time. they came the next day. i was v impressed.
i can see how it would be addicting. and my husband would not be pleased either. though, i've got a lot of leverage now because he feels bad for "making" me move to germany... i can almost get away with anything... almost... :)