Saturday, November 6, 2010

World Cup Reading--Spain


Here is the fourth and final installment of World Cup reading.  This time I am featuring Spanish authors.  When I was a junior in high school I visited Spain for 17 wonderful days!  During our stay in Madrid, the national football (soccer) team made it into the World Cup.  The streets were full of flag waving, horn honking, extremely happy fans.  It was a sight to behold and it made me aware that Spaniards really love their soccer!  Sport in Spain has been dominated by soccer since the early 20th century.  The national team won the European Championship in 1964 and 2008 and they won the FIFA World Cup championship earlier this year.  Not only is Spain a major world sports power but it is known for its culturally diverse heritage.  It has been influenced by many nations and peoples throughout history.  You can see this influence in architecture, food, art, history, and literature.  Let me introduce you to some champions of Spanish poetry and writing.


"In Spain, the dead are more alive than the dead of any other country in the world." 
Federico Garcia Lorca

Federico Garcia Lorca (1898-1936) is possibly the most important Spanish poet and playwright of the 20th century.  He achieved international recognition as a member of the "Generation of '27", an influential group of poets between 1923 and 1927.  They created experimental art and poetry particularly with respect to culture and politics.  In 1936, Garcia Lorca was staying at his country home, at the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War.  He was arrested and, on the 17th or 18th of August, after a few days in jail, Nationalist soldiers took him to a cemetery and forced him from the car.  They beat him and shot him to death.  He was 38 years old.  His books were burned in the Granada square, then banned from Franco's Spain.  To this day, no one knows where the body of Federico Garcia Lorca rests.

"As I have not worried to be born, I do not worry to die." Federico Garcia Lorca

Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (1547-1616) was a Spanish novelist, poet, and playwright.  His greatest work, Don Quixote, is a classic of Western literature. After being wounded in war, captured by pirates, and working odd jobs, he married Catalina de Salazar y Palacios in 1584.  Her uncle Alonso is said to have inspired the character of Don Quixote.  The author stayed poor until the first part of Don Quixote was published and, although it did not make Cervantes rich, it brought him international fame and recognition. He died in Madrid in 1616 at the age of 69.

Rosa Chacel (1898-1994) was a sometimes controversial writer from Spain, championing feminism for modern women.  She won various prestigious awards and in 1987, she received the "National Award of Letters", an award reserved for the very best writers of Spain.  The national airline Iberia honored Chacel by naming a jetliner after her--"Rosa Chacel Airbus A340".  She died in 1994. 

Now here are a few more recent Spanish authors to try:

Javier Cercas (1962- ) is a writer and professor of Spanish literature at the University of Girona, Spain. Read his 2007 novel The Speed of Light.

Alicia Gimenez Bartlett (1951- ) is one of Spain's most popular and best-loved crime writers.  Her "Petra Delicado" series was made into a TV series in 1999. Try her mysteries Dog Day and Death Rites.

Juan Gomez-Jurado (1977- ) is an award-winning journalist and bestselling author.  Published in 42 countries, Gomez-Jurado is one of the most successful young Spanish writers of all time.  Try his newest book The Moses Expedition.

Luis Leante (1963- ) is a writer of short stories, novels, poetry, plays, and screenplays.  His works have been translated into 21 languages. His 2009 novel is See How Much I Love You.

Javier Marias (1951- ) is a novelist, translator, and columnist. Read his three part "Your Face Tomorrow" series: 1--Fever and Fear, 2--Dance and Dream, and 3--Poison, Shadow and Farewell.

Quim Monzo (1952- ) is a Catalan writer of novels, short stories, and prose.  In the early 1970s, Monzo was a newspaper reporter.  His fiction is characterized by an awareness of pop culture and irony. Try his 2010 title Gasoline.

Now for all of you lovers of historical fiction, thrillers, ancient mysteries and Dan Brown read-alikes--try one of the following exciting Spanish authors:

Ildefonso Falcones writes Medieval historic thrillers set in Barcelona. Cathedral of the Sea and The Hand of Fatima

Martin Estaban wrote The Gaudi Key which is a historic thriller also set in Barcelona.

Arturo Perez-Reverte writes the "Captain Alstriste" historic adventure series and many other stand-alone thrillers such as The Dumas Club.

Carlos Ruiz Zafon wrote the literary thrillers The Shadow of the Wind and The Angel's Game which have sold millions of copies and won many international awards.

Javier Sierra wrote the best-selling novels of intrigue The Secret Supper and The Lady in Blue. He has been published in 42 countries.

For more great international books try our Ethnic Authors list on the library's website.

If you want us to feature books written by authors from your favorite World Cup country in a future blog--just send us a comment!

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