Exploring American Authors 2010

AMERICAN –əˈmɛrɪkən– adj.
of or pertaining to North or South America;
of the Western hemisphere (dictionary.com)

If you’ve been reading Regular Rumination for a while, you might remember a couple of months ago when I said that I had a new feature in the works called “Spotlight”, in which I would theoretically spotlight Latin American authors.  Well, obviously, that never came to be and I’ll tell you why: because I chickened out.  I really didn’t feel like I had any authority, outside of some class notes, to really do any of these authors justice.  You might also know that I am going to begin writing my thesis in the fall.  I have decided on the novel 2666, which I read with a great group of readers back in the spring.  I don’t feel like my knowledge of the books that have influenced Bolaño and American literature in general is sufficient to really write that thesis yet, so I have a few months to educate myself.

That’s where Exploring American Authors comes in.  Every month for the rest of 2010, I am going to be reading the books of one author from the Americas, with a focus on authors who either speak Spanish or are of Mexican, Central or South American descent.  I have a tentative list through June, but if you have any suggestions, please let me know!  Here are my selections so far:

March: Octavio Paz
April: Roberto Bolaño
May: Julia Alvarez
June: Carlos Fuentes

My goal, right now when I’m bright-eyed and eager, is to read one book a week from the author I have chosen for the month.  Some of the books I will be reading in Spanish, some in English, depending on what is available at my library.  I’m beginning this week with The Labyrinth of Solitude by Ocatvio Paz.  It is a collection of essays about Mexican culture and I have talked in length about one of the essays, The Sons of Malinche, here during my discussion of one of the sections of 2666.  I will be revisiting 2666 and other works by Roberto Bolaño in April for class, so I will chronicle that here as well.

What does this mean for you?  Well, you can sit back and relax and learn along with me, because I will be posting about each book I read.  Or… you can participate!  I would categorize this as a readalong, rather than a challenge, because there’s no set number of books you have to read, just a focus we will have every month.  You don’t need to read 4 books, you could read more or less if you like.  The goal of this is to become acquainted with these authors.  So suggest authors!  I am open to all sorts of suggestions, as long as the author of the book meets two qualifications: 1) They live or were born in the Americas. 2) They either speak/write in Spanish or are of Spanish-speaking descent.  (Though that’s tentative as well. I’m very open to reading Brazilian authors!)

Comments and suggestions and questions about this project are greatly appreciated and I’m looking forward to reading these authors!