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!)