June Book Haul | Contemporary (Hispanic) Literature

Hi everyone, I’m ReadingWithJack and today I’m here with my June 2016 Book Haul. This is the first BookTube video that I’ve filmed for ages because university has taken over my life over the past few months. But finally I’m back again, I have time to read, I have time to BookTube, and do all the things that I love. Today’s Book Haul is actually partly inspired by my degree, which is French and Spanish. I’ve been doing quite a lot of Latin American stuff this year and I’ve found it really interesting. But we’ve studied a lot of historical documents from the 1500s, from the 1800s; we haven’t actually read a lot of contemporary Latin American literature. Because next year I’m planning to do some Latin American modules, I thought that it would be a good idea to read some more contemporary literature from the 20th and 21st centuries. One of the writers that my lecturers talk about a lot is Gabriel García Márquez. He’s meant to be one of the most important writers in the Hispanic world since Miguel de Cervantes, who wrote ‘Don Quixote’. It seems kind of weird that we’re not studying him even though he’s supposedly so important, but I thought I would read some of his books in my free time, so I bought some. The first one I got is his most famous work, everyone has probably heard of it. It is ‘One Hundred Years of Solitude’ This is a multi-generational story about the Buendía family who live in the fictional town of Macondo, but basically this is supposedly meant to be based on Colombia, which is where Gabriel García Márquez was born and where he was writing. Apparently it can get quite confusing because there’s quite a lot of different generations to go through, I think there’s seven in total. And apparently it’s not chronological, so it’s probably going to confuse me a lot. But I’m really excited about it, it’s meant to be a really important work in the Hispanic world so I thought since I’m studying Spanish, it would make sense to read it. The next book I got is actually a novella, again by Márquez, and it is ‘Leaf Storm’. And this is really, really tiny in comparison to ‘One Hundred Years of Solitude’. It’s actually only one hundred pages long, and I’m actually thinking of starting with this book because ‘One Hundred Years of Solitude’ kind of intimidates me because it’s so long, and I really don’t think that I will be able to get into it properly until I’ve got used to Márquez’s writing style. So I thought if I read something else by him first, that would be a good starting point. This is about someone who dies, I think some French person dies, and basically it’s dealing with a child who is coming to terms with death and learning how to cope with death for the first time. I did a module this year called ‘Conflict and Violence in the Spanish-Speaking World’ and as part of that we studied ‘Childhood (and) Death in Contemporary Spanish Cinema’, and I was really fascinated by that. I think a lot of the ideas that we actually learnt about in that will hopefully be relevant and kind of inform my understanding of this book. The third book that I got is ‘The Autumn of the Patriarch’, which is actually a dictator novel so it’s slightly different to the others. I believe that there are a lot of ideas about power in all of his books, but obviously this is going to be really explicitly analysed and explored. The actual book deals with a fictional dictator, it tells the story of his life but it’s actually inspired by real dictators in the Hispanic world, such as Francisco Franco, who was the dictator of Spain between 1939 (the end of the Spanish Civil War) and 1975 when he died. This book deals with the disasters that happen one single person has power over an entire nation. And I think that’s a really intriguing idea, so I really can’t wait to read this. The final Márquez book that I got is a collection of short stories, and I got this because it was really cheap, and I’m a student and I don’t have a lot of money. But I thought that I would get this because it’s quite nice to read shorter works by Márquez. Kind of like ‘Leaf Storm’ which was a novella, I think they will kind of help me get into the world of Márquez, get used to his writing style. I’ve not always had a great relationship with short story collections, sometimes I find them quite disjointed I really don’t always feel that they fit together as a collection, I just think sometimes the different stories don’t work well in the order that they’re put in, and sometimes I just don’t really connect with them that much because there’s not that much development. But I’m really excited to see how Márquez approaches writing short stories. The next book that I got is by one of my favourite writers, Carlos Ruiz Zafón, who I am always talking about. In literally most videos that I do, he gets a mention because he’s one of the best writers ever, the best writer of books about books that I have ever come across. This one I got is not actually a book about books, it is ‘Watcher in the Shadows’. This is one of his Young Adult books, and I just started reading it a few days ago I’ve not really got very far in yet because I’ve kind of been a bit busy. What I’ve read so far is really fascinating, it’s about this toymaker who’s quite old, and he creates toys and lives in an old mansion on his own. One of the characters is a single mother, and basically she is working for the toy man, and she has a daughter who falls in love with a boy in the book. but then the boy’s cousin suddenly gets murdered. So it’s pretty dramatic; Carlos Ruiz Zafón is a very dramatic writer. But he writes in a really magical, captivating way, his stories are so powerful. I’m really intrigued to see how this is going to take off, and how it’s going to develop throughout and how the mystery will unfold. The final book that I got is not actually a Hispanic book, so it’s not technically going to be a completely Hispanic Book Haul. But it’s kind of inspired by what I’ve been studying. We’ve done a lot in my degree about Latin American Independence and colonialism and I’ve always been interested in those kinds of ideas in literature, but never really had the opportunity to read many books about it. I thought I would try and learn a little about Asian Independence, and India, so the book that I have bought is ‘Midnight’s Children’ by Salman Rushdie. It’s a pretty big book, I’m pretty scared about this, it’s going to take me a long time to read. but the ideas sound really interesting. It’s about a group of children who are born at midnight at the strike of Indian Independence, and they kind of have special powers, I believe it’s magical realism so literally most of the books I have today are magic realism. I’ve heard a few BookTubers talk about it before, I’ve seen a few reviews on Goodreads. It actually gets quite mixed reviews, but from the people that I follow, the people that I actually tend to have similar interests to, they really enjoyed it, so I can’t wait to get around to this book. So everyone these are the books that I got in June. I may possibly get more books throughout the month but at the moment these are the ones I have and the ones that I’m going to try and read as soon as possible. I definitely want to try and do some more reviews on my channel over the next few weeks. So thanks for watching everyone, I’m sorry if this has been a really awkward video I haven’t filmed for ages and I feel like I’m not very good any more. But obviously I’ll be filming a lot over the next few weeks and I will get back on track. So thanks for watching and I’ll see you all again in my next video!

13 Replies to “June Book Haul | Contemporary (Hispanic) Literature

  1. I spotted Jonathan strange and mr norrell ♥
    Nothing like to read Gabo in spanish.

    Leaf Storm xD is La hojarasca the fist book gabo published in 1955 I guess.
    El otoño del patriarca is one that I have to read.
    I thought you have bought "Doce cuentos peregrinos" that is a collection that gabo published when he lived in barcelona, roma and other places in europe. On the best short stories is "La santa" or " el rastro de tu sangre sobre la nieve"

  2. Great to see you again Jack! I also recently picked up Midnight's Children, but just haven't got around to reading it. Hopefully the summer holidays will give me a chance to read it. Looking forward to see more of your videos over the next few weeks 😊

  3. Keep us posted on how you get on with Rushdie I find he can be pretty hit and miss.

    Great to have you back 😀

  4. When you read one hundred years of solitude,keep track of people' names(you'll understand why when you start reading it) otherwise it gets confusing.

  5. I'm so happy you're back! Great haul, Zufon, Marquez, and Rushdie are all amazing authors and I'll be interested to see what you think of these books!

  6. Nooooo, Jack. It was a good vid. Hope you enjoy university?
    Thanks for the the Zafon book. I guess I have to read it at some stage. It sounds good. It's "Der dunkle Wächter" in German.

  7. Such an interesting and different haul! Let me know what you think of GGM, I've wanted to read something by him for a while!

  8. Great channel! I invite you to have a look to mine, just born, where I will videocast Spanish poetry and more… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=arsgjhWYUG0

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