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Literary Silver Linings, Announcements, and “Anna Karenina”

22 Jun

Obviously, I have not been as good about posting as I had hoped to be. But never fear! I’m already planning in the fall for a revamp with theme months! In September you can all look forward to a Young Adult month, complete with all of your favorite reads from adolescence (and maybe some new gems!).

If you’re looking to contribute to a YA fiction month, or have ideas for other months, feel free to check out the “Want to Contribute?” page.

In the meantime, I leave you all with the new “Anna Karenina” trailer. I think it looks promising, if not totally over-the-top. What do you all think?


Another Hiatus. Ugh.

5 Jun

Hey all, as you’ve undoubtedly noticed, another hiatus has occurred. My apologies. Finals, graduation, and the real world have taken up FAR more time and energy than anyone could have predicted. But don’t despair! I have been reading! And I should have new posts for you in the upcoming days.

Thanks for your patience! 

A Call for Contributors!

21 Jan

My dear readers, I’m coming up with some lovely ideas for posts for the next month that I think you’ll all really enjoy! So get ready for some good reads to warm up with!

However, there’s an aspect to this blog that I do hope to improve. My dream is to have MANY different voices contributing to profiles. So if you’re a reader, I want YOUR help! Check out the “Want to Contribute?” tab above, write to me, and let’s talk about you collaborating with me. It’s fun and you’ll get your own tagline with each and every post.

Tell the world about your favorite book. Give someone as wonderful a reading experience as you have had!

A Brief Little Hiatus

11 Aug

My dear readers! If you can’t already tell my two summer jobs have eaten up whatever little time I had for this blog (or anything else for that matter. Like eating and sleeping). But fear not–come September I’ll be back, serving up books for you like it’s my job (because it is!).  So there will be few to no posts before the start of September. I’m not thrilled about it, but that’s just how time works.

I am, however, happy to report that should there be submissions by readers during that time, I’d love to post them! It can be a wonderful excuse to get more voices on this blog (see the H.G. Wells post below, it’s phenomenal!). Take a look at the Want to Contribute page for more!

And keep reading! We’ll reconvene in September.

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

29 Jul

If any book could be considered a doozy, it’s this one. One Hundred Years of Solitude (originally Cien Anos de Soledad) by Gabriel Garcia Marquez is one of the most unique books of the latter half of the 21st century, but it is not a book to skim. Here Marquez combines fantasy, reality, human history, and tragedy to trace the course of humanity, both past and present. For the ambitious beach reader, here’s a challenge for you, one that’s worth it in the end.

(Also, my apologies for the lack of proper Spanish accents. I’m having difficulty with them today, but I know where they belong, and it’s driving me crazy too, I swear).

Published: 1967 in Spanish (1970 in English)

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Quick Read?: No, but going slow can be a pleasure with this book.

Difficulty: Quite difficult. Not impossible, but Marquez purposefully makes it confusing and difficult at times.

Synopsis: The books opens on the  mysterious town of Macondo, after the Buendia family (the protagonists of the novel) move there from Colombia. The book moves through seven generations of the Buendia family in Macondo, surviving wars, ill weather, ill health, and other misfortunes, many of which they cause for themselves. The family repeats both names and misfortunes as time moves along, and fantastical elements blend with reality to the point where it is hard to know what really happened and what is the stuff of the characters’ imaginations. Th men in the family try to understand their plight, and the plight of all of humanity, by deciphering a code, with no success. The entire story is told much like a myth or oral history, frequently factual but frequently exaggerated as well. Yet when Macondo is nearly wiped out by a storm, all of the family’s cyclical, repeated misfortunes come to light, and a God-like entity shows them their follies.

What makes this book awesome? One Hundred Years of Solitude is known as one of the definitive books in the magical realism genre, where reality and magic blend in a way that isn’t fantastical, but merely accepted as a part of life. This inspired many other famous Hispanic writers, including Borges and others, to write magical realist texts as well. The beauty of magical realism is the way it can lend power and weight to one’s own imagination, faith, and beliefs and how they effect the world around you.

The novel is also an ambitious reflection of human history, especially Central and South American history–for example, when the Buendias find “fire” and the wheel in the beginning of the book, much like the first man did. The talk of conquistadors, imperialism, and disappearances later on mirror the political issues in South America today, and lend them a kind of inevitability that puts emphasis on our flaws as humans–namely, when we repeat history.

Marquez: Too smart to join "Animal House" since the day he was born.

Some neat-o facts:

  • The New York Times Book Review professed that “One Hundred Years of Solitude is the first piece of literature since the Book of Genesis that should be required reading for the entire human race. Mr. García Márquez has done nothing less than to create in the reader a sense of all that is profound, meaningful, and meaningless in life.” (William Kennedy). I guess they liked it? But really. What a compliment. How do you move on from a compliment like that?
  • He won the Nobel Prize for Fiction in 1982. He also writes screenplays and continues to write as a journalist, his original profession. I’m assuming writing in those mediums is far less cyclical, but who knows?
  • Marquez claims his penchant for writing magical realist texts was by hearing his grandmother tell him stories passed down through generations.
If you like this, try: Love in the Time of Cholera or No One Writes the Colonel by Marquez; poetry by Borges or poetry by Pablo Neruda.

Welcome to Better Know a Book!

24 Jun

Well, hello there, and welcome!

I’m so excited to be starting this blog, and you will (hopefully) soon start to see book profiles up here shortly! To learn more about Better Know a Book for now, check out the About section!