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A Year of Reading

Well: the theme this year has been the Spanish language, the literature of Iberia and of Latin America. I started out the year reading Borges oral and (the beginning of) Cien años de soledad, and translating the Spanish translation of Saramago's blog, and thinking it's kind of funny that my interest in Spanish should have ultimately been piqued by a Portuguese author. Over the year I've gotten much more comfortable with the language and am just finding it a whole lot of fun to be reading and understanding a language which is not English.

Maybe it's connected that I've gotten a whole lot more interested in poetry this year than I ever have been in the past, principally in Spanish-language poetry; at the beginning of the year I was reading Pablo Neruda and García Lorca, then I picked up Romantic Dogs, also I spent some time on Ferlinghetti; and just recently I've been spending time with some Spanish and South American poets whom I have not been writing about yet. Not quite sure what it is, but somehow the distance between me and the text imposed by the foreign language seems to make it easier to appreciate the sound of the poetry and to look for the imagery being communicated.

This is also the year Sylvia lost interest in having me read her bedtime stories -- early in the year we read The Subtle Knife and The Hobbit (which led to me reading Lord of the Rings on my own and reliving my juvenile frustration with it); after that she was done with the bedtime story ritual. Growing up!

My favorite books this year: Elizabeth Costello, Balthazar and Blimunda and The History of the Siege of Lisbon (which together gave me an entirely new picture of Saramago and which have me waiting on pins and needles for The Elephant's Journey), Museum of Innocence, and late entrant The Savage Detectives, which is making me want to read more Bolaño soon.

posted evening of Thursday, December 31st, 2009
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