Review agenda

I just got my 1st Kindle — a gift from my beloved accomplice, an anticipatory reward for getting my novel published. And for starters (I'm still learning to use the thing) I've loaded it with Jonathan Franzen, Freedom and Marcy Dermansky, Bad Marie, which I intend to read and remark upon here. But first I have to get through the pile of other, old-fashioned printed books I'm committed to review. So here then is the rough schedule of what to expect in coming weeks, in order of schedule (I'm not a speed reader, and I like to take time to write these things, so I'm not promising any deadlines):
  1. Euclides Da Cunha, Backlands : the Canudos Campaign, trad. Elizabeth Lowe (New York: Penguin Books, 2010).  I've finished reading this big (476 pp.), complex and immensely famous work of Brazilian history, anthropology and geography (not to mention phrenology, a theme for da Cunha), but I'm not yet ready to give you my thoughts on it because I first want to finish another immensely famous and important book, 
  2. Mario Vargas Llosa, La guerra del fin del mundo (Madrid Spain: Punto de Lectura, 2008). English translation by Helen R. Lane, The War of the End of the World. This is a big (921 pp.), ambitious novel based on these same events, the resistance to the death of thousands of extremely poor, backlands fanatics to the then-new Brazilian republic and its army, 1895-97. I plan to post the review of this book on the Spanish-language blog, but for Literature & Society I want to reflect on these two books together, what they tell us about Brazil and what they can teach us from these two very different approachs (da Cunha's and Vargas Llosa's) to telling a similar story. Maybe next week I'll have this thought through to share with you.
  3. Karen Kerschen, Violeta Parra: By the Whim of the Wind (Albuquerque: ABQ Press, 2010).  For a  change of pace, though not of continent. I'm eager to read this bio of Chile's famous composer, performer and artist (and part of a family of famous artists) whose most famous song, "Gracias a la vida",  became a kind of theme for those of us defending Chile in its long, dark night of Pinochetism. Probably in about 2 weeks (no promises, though — things happen, and I'm going to be very busy promoting my own new novel, so it could take longer).
Then I can turn to other works, like the two books I just downloaded onto the Kindle and Tony Judt's big Post-War. I may learn to love the Kindle, but even if I don't — real printed books are still more comfortable — it's awfully handy for somebody like me living in Spain who wants to acquire books from the States quickly and cheaply.

My one complaint so far: The Amazon library I log onto is very weak on books in languages other than English. I'll go back to the instruction book (loaded onto the Kindle) to find out how I can download books from other suppliers, such as Spanish publishers.

    1 comment:

    Dirk van Nouhuys said...

    I'll look forward to your thoughts on La guerra del fin del mundo. I've been thinking about reading it for years.