Books read in Spanish 2012

Looking back on 2012, I’m pretty satisfied with the amount of reading I did, both in English and Spanish. Even though I’ve always loved to read, after college I fell into a slump and my reading rate was pretty pathetic. “Read more” wasn’t a New Year’s goal of mine or anything, but the desire was there. I just couldn’t disentangle myself from that web of laziness, guilt, denial, and way too much time spent online. Then I got really sick in April, read a 500-page-plus mamotreto that a friend brought me in the hospital, and I was off. I just kept reading. Since I had never really read anything in Spanish that wasn’t assigned to me in a class (outside of a few books in 2011), I’m especially pleased about having greatly increased the number of books I read in Spanish. Here’s the official list. It’s not really all that many books, per se, but I’m happy.

1. El amor en los tiempos del cólera – Gabriel García Márquez (novel, Colombia)

2. Bestiario – Julio Cortázar (short story collection, Argentina)

3. Macanudo 7 – Liniers (comic book, Argentina)

4. Relato de un náufrago – Gabriel García Márquez (non-fiction, Colombia)

5. Aura – Carlos Fuentes (novella, Mexico)

6. Tengo miedo – María Mercedes Carranza (poetry, Colombia)

7. Ojos de perro azul – Gabriel García Márquez (short story collection, Colombia)

8. El colonel no tiene quien le escriba – Gabriel García Márquez (novella, Colombia)

9. La hojarasca – Gabriel García Márquez (novella, Colombia)

10. La cárcel – Jesús Zárate (novel, Colombia)

11. Matilda – Roald Dahl (Spanish translation of children’s novel, England)

Honorable mention: I read almost all of Cortázar’s Final del juego. I had to give up, though, when it got super weird and incomprehensible at the end. I read something like 16 of the 18 stories, but then my brain exploded. I’ll try again this year. I also read Eduardo Galeano’s classic Las venas abiertas de América Latina . . . in English. (For shame!) I’ll read it in Spanish one day, I promise. I also read a good number of other books about Latin America, but I also read them in English.

Best read of the year? El amor en los tiempos del cólera, hands down. No contest. That was far and away the best book I’ve read in a long time. I even liked it better than Cien años de soledad (shhhh, don’t tell anyone!), although the books are very different and not really comparable. I love both for very different reasons. I am definitely rereading it this year. And skipping the movie. Bestiario was also excellent– weird, trippy, paranormal, disturbing. I loved it. I also liked Aura a lot. It’s very short– you can read it in a day. And there were some short stories in Ojos de perro azul that really impressed me. 

To switch things up, Macanudo 7  was a very fun read. I read it while Couchsurfing with a couple in Buenos Aires. The comic from my post on New Year’s Day is from that series. I would love to get my hands on more Macanudo comic books as well as Mafalda books this year. What an enjoyable way to learn more Spanish! Here, I’ll show you a few strips to give you an idea of the humor. 

Jajajajaja. You can also learn so much culture from comics. So, I recognized those first two lines from a song sung by Mercedes Sosa. I had to look up INCUCAI. It's the National Institute for Organ Donation and Transplantation in Argentina.

Jajajajaja. You can also learn so much culture from comics. So, I recognized those first two lines from a song sung by Mercedes Sosa. I had to look up INCUCAI, though you can deduce what it is from context. It’s the National Institute for Organ Donation and Transplantation in Argentina.

Macanudo Lorca

I remember learning the word escafandra from Silvio Rodriguez’ song ¿Quién fuera? Escarbadientes is a new one for me– think I’ll stick with palillo.

Macanudo rosas

This comic reminds me of a short story I translated to English in Medellín.

Macanudo correr
Macanudo precuelasMacanudo patoMacanudo carta

OK, OK; so I got a little carried away! Well, it’s my blog, and I’ll post what I want to. Anyway, isn’t it great? If you can, I highly recommend reading comics in Spanish. You laugh, you enjoy, you marvel, you learn Spanish. If there was a Spanish version of something like The Far Side, I would be all over it.

Matilda in Spanish was also great fun. I once found a copy of Roald Dahl’s The Witches (Las brujas) in Spanish in Medellín, and my ex and I both read it. It was one of my favorites as a kid, as was Matilda (and the movie based on it). Easy, delightful, nostalgic, and I learned lots of vocabulary to boot. Infinitely better than slaving over a dictionary or flashcards, don’t you think?

Least favorite read in Spanish last year? I can’t say I was crazy about La hojarasca. It was OK, though. Not nearly as bad as the worst book I read last year in English.

I’ve built up a pretty sweet little library of Spanish-language books this past year. Sure, there are many authors that are absolutely impossible to find in the US, but I’ve had some luck discovering others. And sometimes I find them for like–no joke–a dime or 35 cents or so. Perfect condition. My local library also has a decently sized Spanish section. A few authors I plan to read this year are Ernesto Sábato, Juan Goytisolo, Miguel de Unamuno and others. More GGM, pues obvio. And more poetry.

All right, time to hit the books. What did you read last year in Spanish (or English, if that’s what you’re learning)? What do you want to read this year? Or do you think reading’s for the birds? Tell us why, and let us know what you’re doing instead.

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17 responses to “Books read in Spanish 2012

  1. El viejo y el mar. I want to reread it again this year. I want to find the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series in Spanish. Yes, I’m an adult but I find the movies hilarious. So the books will be good for my continuing to learn Spanish.

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    • Haha, I saw the first Diary of a Wimpy Kid movie! Don’t ask. Hey, if you enjoy it, then more power to you and your Spanish. Whatever’s fun, works. Whatever’s boring and feels like a chore doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of lasting. Thanks for the comment! Good luck.

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  2. ¡Qué bueno que te gusten autores argentinos! Nunca leí nada de Liniers, pero capaz que alguna vez se me dé por eso. Me parece genial que quieras leer Mafalda. Me encanta. :)

    Che, gracias por mencionar “The Far Side”. Bien ahí. No lo conocía y me encantó. Lo único que leo (algunas veces) es el “New Yorker”. No conocía otros cómicos buenos.

    ¡Saludos!

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    • Sí, los cómics de The New Yorker son excelentes.

      Calvin and Hobbes también es popular. Mm, no sé qué más.

      ¿Qué leíste vos? Me parece que sos ratón de biblioteca, ¿o no?

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      • Gracias por la sugerencia de Calvin and Hobbes. Tampoco lo conocía. :)

        ¿Qué leí yo el año pasado?

        Bueno, creo que te acordás de mis listas de vocabulario “The Best of Me” (Nicholas Sparks), “Tuesdays with Morrie” (Mitch Albom) y “Diana, Princess of Wales. Humanitarian” (Sherry Beck Paprocki). Un poco más reciente. “The Catcher in the Rye” (Salinger J.D.). Otros que leí son:

        “Emma” de Jane Austen (¿te acordás? :))
        “Hamlet” de Shakespeare
        “Beowulf” de (?? no se sabe :P)
        “Shakespeare’s Sonnets” de Shakespeare
        “The Crucible” de Althur Miller
        “Macbeth” de Shakespeare
        “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight” (tampoco se sabe)
        “A Room of One’s Own” de Virginia Woolf
        “Wuthering Heights” de Emily Brontë (me encantó)

        Creo que no me olvidé de ninguno. En español, leí “Respiración artificial” de Piglia. Me parece que ninguna más. =P

        ¡Saludos!

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  3. I just started reading my first Spanish novel:)
    Estoy leyendo la novela “La Dama Azul (por Javier Sierra) en español e inglés jundos para ayudar me a entender español (Is this sentence correct?).
    Right now I can only read 2 or 3 pages each time…. baby steps;-)

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    • That’s great! Good for you. I hope you enjoy it. If it is too difficult for you, you could always read something simpler like a children’s book or a comic book.

      Your sentence is almost perfect– here are the small corrections I would make: Estoy leyendo la novela La dama azul (de Javier Sierra) en español e inglés juntos para ayudarme a entender el español.

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  4. Right now I unexpectedly got stuck reading “The Psalm Killer”, a crime novel set in Belfast in the period when it was torn by Troubles (the conflict between the Unionists and the IRA). What’s weird is that I really like the book, but somehow I haven’t read a page in 3 weeks or so. It has happened to me before.

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    • I haven’t been able to bring myself to touch the book I’m currently reading for about a week and a half now. And I like it! I guess blogging has eaten up all my mental focus again.

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  5. Hey Vocabat! Have you read any good books this year worth mentioning?..

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    • Hi Floyd! The books I’ve read in Spanish are in the fourth tab at the top of the page. I’m sorry to say that I haven’t really loved any of them, though. I read more in English. Do you have any books to recommend? Please share!

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  6. I have such a huge list!
    Some worth sharing and others not so much (blushing).
    But one of my favorites is “The Count of Monte Cristo” by Alexandre Dumas. Also, “Night” by Elie Wiesel was another good read. One of few books where I had to read the whole thing in one sitting. My favorite genres are crime/thrillers, romance, and science-fiction in a nutshell. Am also a fan of David Baldacci, Arthur Conan Doyle, Tom Clancy and Mary Higgins Clark to name a few.
    Do you have any favorite authors or genres worth sharing (even in English)?

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    • Hi Floyd,

      I’m sorry to be getting back to you so late. Both of those books are amazing. I mostly read classics and modern fiction. The last two recommendations I gave were enjoyed heartily, so they can’t be too bad: The Big Necessity (Rose George) and Second Nature (Michael Pollan). Both are non-fiction.

      I remember that in the seventh grade, one day I happened to find an abandoned MHC book under my desk. I borrowed it, devoured it, and was in complete awe. I then read several of her books and then several of Agatha Christie. But then mystery kind of disappeared from my life! (I was also an avid Nancy Drew reader as a kid) I guess one delicious mystery I read a few years ago was The Name of the Rose. I also read the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo trilogy. We should read some mystery in Spanish!

      Happy reading in 2016!

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  7. I will definitely have to head to my local library and check out your recommendations. :) Thanks!!
    And its funny you mentioned “The Name of the Rose” because I actually watched the movie starring Sean Connery. Lol! I probably should have read the book first; books are always better than the film adaptations.
    Just to update, I’m currently reading “Mistborn” by Brandon Sanderson. I can’t stop reading it–the plot and character development are very well-written. My lady-friend recommended it to me and now I’m recommending it to you. “Mistborn” is the 1st novel of a trilogy–check it out if you’re so inclined.
    Happy reading to you too!!
    ¡Chao!

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