literature

The Book Blogger Confession Tag

Blu Chicken Ninja published a blog post answering this tag and I thought that doing one of these every once in a while looked like fun. I wouldn’t call myself a book blogger per se, but I do write about books once a week so even though nobody would ever tag me I decided to tag myself.

1. Which book, most recently, did you not finish?

The Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Groff. I didn’t get very far into the book but I found myself putt off by the writing. The writing wasn’t bad but the voice behind it rubbed me wrong. I can’t explain it. When the narrator described a girl as too plump to be wearing a dress I put it down and didn’t pick it up again.

2. Which book is your guilty pleasure?

I have mixed feelings about this question because when we talk about guilty pleasures we often refer to things that we consider to be intellectually lacking and they are usually in the YA or Romance genre. We shouldn’t feel guilty about what we read and nobody should be judging people’s preferences. On the other hand I totally understand the tongue in cheek jabs we take on ourselves about arguably shitty books that we love. I would reread Twilight so I guess that would be my guilty pleasure, although I would read it publicly just to dare somebody to question me.

3. Which book do you love to hate?

If I Stay was really meh for me and even annoying. I don’t really bash the book but I didn’t connect with that story and as a result I never understood the hype. I also genuinely hate the book I mention below.

4. Which book would you throw into the sea?

La Ultima Noche Que Pase Contigo by Mayra Montero. It was disgustingly racist and the book was more rape-y than erotica. Absolute waste of paper.

5. Which book have you read the most?

I don’t reread books very often, in fact not since The Enchanted Wood by Enid Blyton have I read a book over and over again. I remember starting that book over as soon as I had finished it because I loved it so much.

6. Which book would you hate to receive as a present?

Anything by a celebrity. I am not interested in reading ghostwritten drivel.

7. Which book could you not live without?

I would rather not choose one book. I love books, even the books I don’t care for/wouldn’t read are important to me. Freedom from Fear by Dr. Howard Liebgold has changed my life. I struggle with anxiety and panic attacks and I refer to this book often when I need a refresher. I would hate to ever be without it.

8. Which book made you the angriest?

See number 4.

9. Which book made you cry the most?

Burial Rites by Hannah Kent and Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel recently got to me.

10. Which book cover do you hate the most?

I don’t like book covers that are a still image from a movie adaptation. I don’t know why. I just don’t like them! Whenever I see a book released with a new cover because the movie is coming out I cringe.

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Book Fridays: Puerto Rican Literature

Las Más Bellas Poesias de Puerto Rico, an anthology compiled by Edwin Miner Solá and divided into eighteen topics was given to me as a gift by my mom and has resulted in the equivalent of a crash course in Puerto Rican literature which I now want to share with you. It includes works from the following literary movements: Pasnassianism, Modernism and Romanticism.  The book was printed in San Juan, Puerto Rico in February 2011. I don’t know why but this makes me really happy to have a book of poems by Puerto Rican authors compiled and printed on the island.

The book’s introduction provides some great information that felt new to me. Maybe I wasn’t paying attention in my Spanish Literature class or maybe it was just not presented as it is in this introduction. The cultural literary movement in Puerto Rico developed much later than it did in most of the colonies and Latin-American republics. This was partly due to the following: lack of university, isolation, illiteracy, literary censorship, and the restricted freedom of thought imposed by the regime.

Even though printing began in 1806 there was still no book commerce in 1840 and as a result obtaining books relied on young students that returned from universities in Spain. Despite all these obstacles the first publication, titled Aguinaldo Puertorriqueño was published in 1843. This first publication was a sort of anthology and inspired future publications. Aguinaldo  Puertorriqueño, by its title can lend one to assume it’s a collection of Christmas themed poems and the like but in reality it has nothing to do with Christmas. The publication itself was meant as a gift, hence the title, and is a collection of essays in prose and verse. The following year Album Puertorriqueño was published.

These publications gave way to the first important book of our literature:  El Gíbaro by Manuel A. Alonso. This was published in 1849 and is a collection of photographs documenting (and critiquing) the customs and traditions of Puerto Rico. At the time of publication the majority of people on the island were illiterate. The Antilles were not known for literature, they were simply places to exploit for riches, this book began a movement to build a literate citizenry as well as the preservation of Puerto Rican culture.

It’s funny how a collection of poems has awoken my interest in Puerto Rican literature. I have fallen down a rabbit-hole of literature and I’m enjoying the journey. I read through most of the poems in this book last night and there is so much in here to think about and digest. Some poems stuck out to me, like Nostalgia by Virgilio Dávila. I grew up listening to Andrés Jiménez sing the words of the first stanza without knowing their origin and inspiration. Now I know.

Gracias Mami por este regalo tan perfecto.

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References:

Literatura de Puerto Rico. In Wikipedia. Retrieved January 16, 2015  http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Literatura_de_Puerto_Rico

Lengua de Puerto Rico: historia y presente Retrieved January 16, 2015