A guest post by Elliott Turner — Follow @Futfanatico
A warning: you have probably already read the books in this list. They are brilliant. However, sometimes the baggage we the reader bring to a work of fiction can be just as fun as the actual written prose. Or, at the very least, our flawed perceptions when devouring a great work of fiction are embarrassing and amusing in equal measure. That’s kinda why book clubs in person and/or subreddits are so much fun.
Inevitably, as the time passes since you’ve read a book, your impressions fade but certain characters and moments still stick with you. This happens for seemingly for no apparent reason. Here are the things I, as a reader, have taken away from my favorite Latinx books over the years, and they are things I still carry with me today.
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz
I remember from middle school my Gen-Xer buddies that played D&D and looked down at my MTG skills. This nuanced detail in Wao was when I realized Junot was both a master wordsmith and legit nerd.
Lituma en los Andes (Death in the Andes) by Mario Vargas Llosa
Still kinda scared by the “pishtaco,” but the name of the mythical beast also kinda makes my ignorant Mexican-American mouth water.
The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros
My hija has just entered middle school and can confirm Sandra’s initial impressions that wearing heels kinda sucks. At least at first.
Ficciones by Jorge Luis Borges
If an infinitely expanding library really existed like in The Library of Babel, would you install elevators or escalators to travel between floors?
Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
F*cking hate how the double entendre of cólera in the title is lost when translated to English. Perhaps a better title would be “Love in the Time of Feverish Anger.”
Cien Años de Soledad (One Hundred Years of Solitude) by Gabriel Garcia Márquez
Did the blood that traveled across the town ever get washed away by a streetsweeper?
The Alchemist by Paolo Coehlo
How did this boy trek across the entire Maghreb and never stop, not even once, to chow down on some couscous?
In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez
I read this when my kids were really little, and I still worry about what happened to very young Minou and Manolito after their activist-lawyer mom got murdered by Trujillo.
Rayuela by Julio Cortazar
I’ve read this book three different ways and still can’t find the Maga. Time to go back to Where’s Waldo.
Soccer in Sun and Shadow by Eduardo Galeano
I dislike poets because poets are better at writing than me. This collection of vignettes is actually better than watching live or in person 95% of actual futbol games.
A Naked Singularity by Sergio de la Pava
Every time I think of the ending, I shout to myself “Take that money and run Casi, you idiot! Correle!”
When you think about a favorite book or short story or poem by a Latinx author, what is the very first or last thing that pops into your head? Please share in the comments below!
About the author:
Elliott’s debut novel, The Night of the Virgin, is due Summer 2017. To learn more about it, click here. To find out about the creative process behind NOTV, subscribe to Elliott’s tiny letter. He also tweets about soccer often.
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