Everything España: a 2014 Reading Challenge hosted by caffeinatedlife.net
And here we are, at the end of another year, and thus at the end of another one of the three reading challenges I participated in this year. Just a recap about the reading challenge I hosted: this challenge included any books set in Spain or originally written in Spanish by a Spaniard. All of the details about this challenge can be found in this post while the master list of reviews can be found here.
Levels (sorry, not feeling very creative coming up with these levels, lol; I’m pretty laxed about this):
- 1 – 4 books — Tourist
- 5 – 9 books — Frequent Traveller
- 10+ books — Spain Is My Home
So what did I read? 🙂
- Dave Boling’s Guernica (set in Spain) — review
- Idelfonso Falcones’ The Hand of Fatima (set in Spain) — review
- Prosper Merimee’s Carmen (set in Spain) — review
- Javier Cercas’ The Soldiers of Salamis (Spanish author; set in Spain) — review
- Graham Greene’s Monsignor Quixote (set in Spain) — review
- Ben Lerner’s Leaving the Atocha Station (set in Spain) — review
- Antonio Munoz Molina’s In the Night of Time (ARC; Spanish author; set in Spain) — DNF
- Andrew Greeley’s The Archbishop in Andalucia (set in Spain) — review
- Victor del Arbol’s The Sadness of the Samurai (Spanish author; set in Spain) — review
- Washington Irving’s Tales of the Alhambra (set in Spain) — reveiw
- Antonio Hill’s The Good Suicides (Spanish author; set in Spain) — review
- Stories by Foreign Authors: Spanish — review
- Antonio Hill’s The Summer of Dead Toys (Spanish author; set in Spain) — review
- Pedro Calderón de la Barca’s Life is a Dream (Spanish author) — review
- The Life of Lazarillo de Tormes (Spanish author; set in Spain) — review
- Laurie Lee’s A Rose for Winter (travelogue set in Spain) — review
- Julian Sanchez’s The Art Restorer (Spanish author; partly set in Spain) — review
- Carlos Ruiz Zafon’s Marina (Spanish author; set in Spain) — review
- Laila Lalami’s The Moor’s Account (partly set in Spain) — reviwe
- Federico Garcia Lorca’s Selected Poems (Spanish poet) — review
- Arturo Perez-Reverte’s The Fencing Master (Spanish writer; set in Spain) — review
The only books I didn’t get around to reading to in my original list was Almunedas Grande’s The Forzen Heart and re-readng Cervantes’ Don Quixote. Alas, maybe next year 🙂 Oh, and I ended up DNF’ing Antonio Munoz Molina’s In the Night of Time.
As a wrap for this reading challenge:
Favourite read? Difficult question as I loved many of them! – Zafon’s Marina, Greene’s Monsignor Quixote, Antonio Hill’s books, de la Barca’s Life is a Dream
Least favourite read? Falcones’ The Hand of Fatima was disappointing, especialy as I loved The Cathedral of the Sea 🙁
And that’s about it! Have you read any of these books? If so, what did you think of them? If you participated in this reading challenge, what was your favourite read?
Here we are again, another batch of mini-reviews that couldn’t possibly warrant their own review posts. This also is likely the last one of the year seeing as we’re in the last quarter of the year, things are busy on my end, and my to-read pile is still pretty tall 😉 Included in this batch of reviews are:
This book is part of the A Year in Re-Reading: a 2014 Reading Challenge & the Everything España 2014 Reading Challenge that I am participating in. May contain some spoilers ahead!
The Fencing Master
By: Arturo Perez-Reverte
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase
In Madrid in 1868, fencing master and man of honor Don Jaime is approached by a mysterious woman who seeks to learn the unstoppable thrust, an arcane technique known only to him. All too soon he finds himself in the vortex of a plot that includes seduction, secret political documents, and more than one murder.
Rich with historical detail of a decaying world that agonizes – as does the art of fencing itself – over the ideals of honor and chivalry, The Fencing Master is superb literature and a true page-turner.
So some of you may know that I’m a bit of a fan of Arturo Perez-Reverte; The Flanders Panel (review) is one of my favourite books ever. The Fencing Master was actually the second book I’d read by him, having read The Club Dumas (review) first, but strangely enough I never wrote a review on it. So I decided to revisit the book recently 😉
This book is part of the A Year in Re-Reading: a 2014 Reading Challenge and the Everything Espana Reading Challenge 2014 that I am participating in.
The Moor’s Account
By: Laila Lalami
Format/Source: Advanced Reading Copy courtesy of Simon & Schuster CA
In 1527, the conquistador Pánfilo de Narváez left the port of San Lucar de Barrameda in Spain with a crew of more than five hundred men. His goal was to claim what is now the Gulf Coast of the United States for the Spanish crown and, in the process, become as wealthy and as famous as Hernán Cortés. But from the moment the Narváez expedition reached Florida it met with incredibly bad luck – storms, disease, starvation, hostile Indians. Within a year, there were only four survivors: the expedition’s treasurer, Cabeza de Vaca; a Spanish nobleman named Alonso del Castillo Maldonado; a young explorer by the name of Andrés Dorantes; and his Moroccan slave, Mustafa al-Zamori.
The four survivors were forced to live as slaves to the Indians for six years, before fleeing and establishing themselves as faith healers. Together, they traveled on foot through present-day Florida, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona, gathering thousands of disciples and followers along the way. In 1536, they crossed the Rio Grande into Mexican territory, where they stumbled on a group of Spanish slavers, who escorted them to the capital of the Spanish empire, México-Tenochtitlán.
Three of the survivors were asked to provide testimony of their journey—Castillo, Dorantes, and Cabeza de Vaca, who later wrote a book about this adventure, called La Relacíon, or The Account. But because he was a slave, Estebanico was not asked to testify. His experience was considered irrelevant, or superfluous, or unreliable, or unworthy, despite the fact that he had acted as a scout, an interpreter, and a translator. This novel is his story.
I’ve been seeing growing buzz about this book on the internet which piqued my own curiosity about it; Simon & Schuster CA kindly provided me with an ARC of this novel for review. I sort of had to think a bit, but in the end I added this book to the Everything Espana Reading Challenge 2014 that I am participating in as parts of this novel was set in Spain 😉 This book will be available on 23 September 2014.
The Hand of Fatima
By: Ildefonso Falcones
Format/Source: Mass bound paperback; my purchase
1564, Granada. The Moors have unsuccessfully tried to rise up against their Christian oppressors and the town has been painted with the blood of their victims. Hernando, a young Arab with a Christian father, is despised by the townsfolk and by his own step-father for his ‘tainted’ heritage and is banished to live in the stables. Hernando finds comfort in his affinity with the horses and becomes an expert muleteer. News of his special touch reaches the King of the Moors and he is appointed to fight the Christian troops sent by the Spanish King Philip II. There he meets Fatima, a young girl with black eyes who will become the love of his life. But his step-father cruelly marries her instead and forces Hernando into slavery. With the help of his Christian friends, he hatches a grand plan to reconcile the two warring faiths – and the two halves of his identity…
I finally got around to reading this book! It had been sitting on my shelf, waiting to be read, for a few years now. (loved Cathedral of the Sea and waited forever for this novel to be translated and available)..I suppose I kept putting it off in part because it doesn’t look like his third novel is going to be translated any time soon (Edit: Correction), plus this book is massive (over 900+ pages long…in mass bound paperback O_o It’s so big that it actually weighs down my book bag; everything else is seemingly lighter than it). In the end I decided to read it, particularly during my subway rides to and from class as it seemed like the best time to read it.
This book is part of the Everything Espana Reading Challenge 2014 that I am participating in.