Spanish and Portuguese Lit Month 2021


Thank you to Winston’s Dad’s Blog for hosting this event.

My Interest

I’ve enjoyed reading literature in translation all of my adult life, starting with Russian literature and philosophers in my long-ago B.A. Today I enjoy these themed reading moths or challenges just to shake up my reading choices a little and to expand my mind. I had a good bit of study on Latin America long ago in college, too, but Spain and Portugal are not well known to me. Brazilian Portuguese literature interests me because my mother spent part of her childhood in Brazil.

This year, print reading is not going very well. I have hit dud after dud (at least to me–none are necessarily bad books, they just weren’t right for me at that moment). Audio books, now that I’m back commuting, are how much of my “reading” is enjoyably accomplished. Sadly, this is not a challenge that lends itself to audio books. Supply/demand interferes. Last year I found a good “beach read” from Spain in translation and I was hoping for something similar this year, but no luck–at least not in the time I had to give to the research.

Instead I’ve identified one Latin American author’s book of essays in translation (reading more essays is a goal for this year) a Spanish travel book (by the author of the introduction to the book of essays–a coincidence),  and a Brazilian Portuguese diary in translation that both sound interesting and short enough to be possible. There were a few in audio but all were 14 or so hours. I did not want that long of a “listen” right now. All of the fiction seemed too depressing or terrifying. That may change as the month goes on.

My Possibilities

As of right now, here are the three I’ve decided to try. I may end up DNF or loving them or finding something else entirely!

Roads to Santiago by Cees Nooteboom

Roads to Santiago is an evocative travelogue through the sights, sounds, and smells of a little known Spain-its architecture, art, history, landscapes, villages, and people. And as much as it is the story of his travels, it is an elegant and detailed chronicle of Cees Nooteboom’s thirty-five-year love affair with his adopted second country.”

The Diary of  Helena Morely

Originally published in 1942 under the title Minha Vida de Menina—Portuguese meaning “My Life as a Little Girl or “Young Girl”—this book is a diary that was kept by the author, Helena Morley (pseudonym of Alice Dayrell Caldeira Brant), when she was between the ages of twelve and fifteen (1893-1895), and living in Diamantina, a small diamond mining town in southeastern Brazil.

Sidewalks by Valeria Luiselli

““A beautiful, meandering collection of essays full of filaments of brilliance on everything from literature, philosophy, traveling in graveyards, to untranslatable words. The book is full of deep insights yet remains unpretentious throughout.”—Publishers Weekly

Last Year’s Spanish Lit Month Posts

Spanish Lit Month 2020

Spanish Lit Month Review: This Too Shall Pass by Milena Busquets

Are you participating in Spanish & Portuguese Lit Month this year? Have you in the past? Leave me a comment or a link(s) to your own post(s).

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