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Books in Spanish, from Spanish writers, about hispanohablantes.

the house of paper (la casa de papel)

I've recently promised myself to stop buying books, even though perusing the shelves of my favorite bookstores is a favorite pastime now bordering a guilty pleasure. I couldn't resist purchasing when I ran across Carlos María Domínguez's short book, the house of paper. It's only fitting that the story is about book lovers, and just so happens to have a Latin American twist.

As readers, we spy on our friends' libraries, if only as a pastime. Occasionally we hope to find a book we want to read but do not have, or to find out what the animal opposite us has devoured. And at home, we leave a colleague sitting in the living room, and return to find him standing there, without fail, sniffing at our books.
-from the house of paper


Miracle in the Andes

A plane wreck in the middle of the Andes in the 1970s. Stranded survivors from a Uruguayan rugby team. Resorting to cannibalism to avoid starvation.

Sound familiar? Likely: the story was originally told in the bestselling book Alive, which was later made into a movie.


A Great Book About Spanish Culture - In the Garlic

Next time you're heading to Spain, pack In the Garlic next to your guidebook (or you can pick it up when you get there). I wished I had read the book at the beginning of my trip, as it would have explained so much of my confusion about Spanish culture, for example:

When I walk by people on the street in a small town and I say "hola", why are they saying "adios"?
We say hello, and they say goodbye. We're used to this now, but it remained weird for a long time. When walking down the street it's only natural to greet someone you know with "Hola". The Spanish, however, get right to the point and dispatch you with an "Adios".


A Book About Food and travel?

Much in the way How Soccer Explains the World discusses societies through, well, soccer, Taras Grescoe's travelogue The Devil's Picnic examines societies by way of food, and more specifically what food it forbids. This is my book of the year, and I have told everyone I know that they have to read it. It combines two great loves of mine: food and travel and adds in witty social commentary to boot.


Tortilla Curtain - by T. C. Boyle

The Tortilla Curtain is the story of two couples in Southern California and their contrasting lives. America and Candido have recently crossed the Mexican border in search of a better life for themselves and their soon to be born child. Instead of the panacea they thought they would find, the couple tries to eak out a living working day labor jobs and camping in the bottom of a canyon. An unfortunate event links their lives to those of Delaney, a nature writer, and his wife Kyra, a ambitiously high rolling real estate agent, who live in an exclusive neighborhood.


Isabel Allende's trilogy

Not quite accurate to call Isabel Allende's trilogy the Latin American answer to Harry Potter, it is a series for young adults that deals with themes of adventure, surrealism, and good versus evil. The three-book set, which is available in English and Spanish, includes La Ciudad de las Bestias (City of Beasts), El Reino del Dragon de Oro (Kingdom of the Golden Dragon) and El Bosque de los Pigmeos (Forest of the Pygmies). Alexander Cold, a teenager from California, accompanies his grandmother, an adventurous and not at all grandmotherly writer for National Geographic, on adventures from the Amazon to the Himalayas to the forests of Africa.



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