Plain Spanish for Spanish lovers

Do you enjoy reading Spanish Literature or brushing up on your Spanish?
Have a taste of the latest additions to our Community Languages section featuring a broad range of literary fiction, including biographies, romances, intriguing mysteries and more. Have fun!

Syndetics book coverEl origen perdido / Matilde Asensi.
“No entiendo cómo puede haber personas que, leyendo los libros, no comprendan su contenido. Para empezar, “El origen perdido” es muy original en cuanto a la temática. En Europa y, en general, en el mundo, abundan novelas sobre los templarios y la vida y milagros de Cristo… Al menos, este libro centra su atención en otra cultura milenaria y muy desconocida para la mayoría: la América precolombina. Decir que este libro es un compendio enciclopédico es no haber leído correctamente. Esta novela es capaz de llevarte desde Barcelona hasta la capital del imperio Inca para, posteriormente, introducirse en el Amazonas. La descripción de los lugares, las fuentes históricas consultadas y verídicas, el ritmo trepidante… todo esto hacen de la novela una obra entretenida que, sin ser la octava maravilla del mundo, responde bien a lo que se espera de una novela histórica tan original como es. Nada que envidiar, por ejemplo, al “Código Da Vinci”. Recomiendo, de esta misma autora, “El último catón”, que para los amantes de la cultura europea, es más ilustrativo y seguro que del gusto de más público.” (By Daniel Fernandez Guerrero – Adapted from Amazon.com summary)

El abuelo que saltó por la ventana y se largó / Jonas Jonasson ; traducción del sueco de Sofía Pascual Pape.
“Es una novela con una historia original, muy entretenida y muy bien escrita. Además está escrita en clave de humor lo que hace que se lea en menos de una semana. Estoy segura que sorprenderá a más de un lector.” (Adapted from Amazon.com summary)

Syndetics book coverLas hortensias y otros cuentos / Felisberto Hernández.
“Felisberto Hernandez has long been considered «a writer’s writer, more admired by his colleagues than known by the public at large» (Roberto Gonzalez Echevarria, Yale University). His stories create a coherent system of allusions and correspondences, a system that reaches its summit in masterpieces such as «Las Hortensias» and «La casa inundada». As Hoffmann, who preceded him, and Cortazar, who followed, Felisberto turned away from the literary trends of his times and departed on his own journey, undertaking the task of redefining the human being and replacing the accepted notion of material reality with what he called «the mystery»: small and deep daily realities that fall outside an ever narrowing focus on the homogenous and utilitarian. A trained musician and composer, Felisberto elaborated his literary compositions as musical structures, based on the relations among notes and phrases. In this edition Ana Maria Hernandez -who bears the same name as Felisbertos’ second daughter and teaches Advanced Spanish Composition at CUNY- analyzes the gradual development of Felisberto’s theory and praxis of composition by commenting on his most representative short stories, emphasizing the intertextuality of the recurring symbols and themes throughout his literary production. This approach transforms this edition in an exceptional basis for Creative Writing and Advanced Spanish Composition courses, exposing students to texts that exert a noticeable influence upon acclaimed writers such as Julio Cortazar -his biggest fan- Juan Carlos Onetti, and Italo Calvino.” (Adapted from Amazon.com summary)

Syndetics book coverLa aventura de un fotógrafo en La Plata / Adolfo Bioy Casares.
“Though warned to expect surprises in the city, young provincial photographer Almanza is hardly prepared for what transpires in La Plata. Just off the bus, he becomes entangled with the family of Don Juan Lombardo. Don Juan adopts Almanza as a look-alike for his estranged son, while his daughters, Julia and Griselda, find their way to his bed. Their attachment is a mystery. Is Don Juan an old-fashioned country gentleman–or a swindler out to collect on his son’s insurance policy? Are his daughters sincere–or simply accomplices? Divergent elements fall into place somewhat after an attempt on Almanza’s life. But even as he leaves La Plata with the beautiful Julia, things are not entirely clear. Realism and fantasy blend seamlessly in this dreamlike coming-of-age novel in which the ultimate mystery is life itself.” – Library Journal – Lawrence Rungren, Bedford Free P.L., Mass-Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc

Syndetics book coverEl último Catón / Matilde Asensi.
“Like her previous efforts, El sal”n de mbar (The Amber Room, Debolsillo, 2000) and the best-selling Iacobus (Debolsillo, 2001), Asensi’s third novel is a tightly plotted historical thriller. Sister Ottavia Salina, a paleographer and art historian from the Vatican’s Secret Archive, must decipher the meaning of the strange tattoos found on the corpse of an Ethiopian man, as well as the three pieces of wood next to him that authorities suspect may be relics of Christ’s true cross. Aided by a Coptic archaeologist from Alexandria and a captain from the Swiss Guard, Ottavia becomes enmeshed in a quest for the Staurophylaches, a secret sect that has been systematically stealing relics from Catholic and Orthodox churches around the world. The sect’s initiation ritual consists of the expiation of the seven deadly sins, following clues provided in Dante’s Divine Comedy. This quest removes Ottavia from her previously sheltered existence, testing not only her intelligence and courage but also her vocation. Asensi admirably blends scholarship with fiction to create believable characters and suspenseful twists. She also conveys a strong sense of place, bringing Byzantium and its past to life. In an interview with the Spanish newspaper The Ecotimes, Asensi stresses how much research went into her writing and praises the recent boom in historical novels. It is a “necessary phenomenon,” she claims, “because we lack a great deal of knowledge about our past.” Recommended for public and academic libraries as well as bookstores. David Pardue, Univ. of Kansas Libs., Lawrence (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved” (Publisher Weekly)

Syndetics book coverDiario de la guerra del cerdo / Adolfo Bioy Casares.
“Adolfo Bioy Casares has collaborated with Jorge Luis Borges on a number of works. They compiled Anthology of Fantastic Literature (1940), a documentation of the development of Spanish American suprarealism, and Six Problems for Don Isidro Parodi (1981), a playful and inventive variation on the theme of the detective who cannot visit the scene of the crime. Bioy Casares’s numerous works are characterized by intelligence and a sense of playful fantasy. The Invention of Morel (1953), concerns a scientist’s illusions about immortality. Asleep in the Sun is a bizarre tale written in an epistolary form. Ultimately the recipient of the letter is left to wonder whether, in fact, the puzzle has any solution or whether, like much of Bioy Casares’s and Borges’s work, it is an inside joke between author and reader.” (Book Cover)

Syndetics book coverJulio Cortázar : una biografía revisada / Miguel Herráez.
“An investigative exploration of one of the most influential Spanish-language writers of the 20th century, this biography collects a plethora of facts from Julio Cortazar’s personal and professional life, from Buenos Aires to Paris, and is based on an exhaustive knowledge of his work. Accessible and supplemented by black-and-white photographs, a chronology, a complete authorial bibliography, a reference bibliography, and a prologue written by Nicaraguan writer Sergio Ramírez, a personal friend of Cortazar’s, readers will discover both the man and the literary heavyweight.
Una exploración investigativa de uno de los escritores más influyentes en lengua castellana del siglo XX, esta biografía recoge una plétora de datos de la vida personal y profesional de Julio Cortázar, desde Buenos Aires a París, a partir de un conocimiento completo de su obra. Asequible y complementado por fotografías en blanco y negro, una cronología, una bibliografía completa del autor, una bibliografía referencial y un prólogo escrito por el escritor nicaragüense Sergio Ramírez, un amigo personal de Cortázar, el lector descubrirá a la vez al hombre y al peso pesado literario.” (Adapted from Amazon.com summary)

Martín Ojo de Plata / Matilde Asensi.
“Esta gran saga del Siglo de Oro se inicia con Tierra Firme y continúa con Venganza en Sevilla, ambas incluidas en este volumen y publicadas con anterioridad por separado, y concluirá pronto con una nueva entrega, el esperado final que millones de lectores aguardan. La obra cuenta con un prólogo de la autora explicando las razones por las que esta época de la historia de nuestro país la enganchó y sus inquietudes personales al respecto. Este nuevo volumen incluye también el perfil de los personajes más destacados de la historia, así como un cuiadro cronológico de la situación social y política de la época. Para salvar su vida, la joven Catalina Solís tuiene que adoptar la personalidad de su hermano Martín Nevares, muerto en el Caribe en el abordaje de los piratas ingleses a su galera. Después de dos años en una isla desierta y haciéndose pasar por Martín, muy pronto se convertirá en el contrabandista Martín Ojo de Plata. Así se inicia una aventura que le llevará hasta la Sevilla Imperial para, entre otras cosas, poder cumplir el juramento hecho a su padre adoptivo de acabar con una importante familia de comerciantes a Indias. los Curvo. El contrabandista Martín Ojo de Plata y la elegante y resuelta Catalina nos pasean por los finales del siglo XVI y principios del XVII (pleno Siglo de Oro) para mostrarnos toda la riqueza, miseria y complejidad que esa época conlleva. Asensi, con su maestría habitual, transforma el aburrido descubrimiento de América, las colonias y el comercio entre los dos mundos, con piratería incluida, en un relato de acción que, con un marco histórico riguroso, desmonta muchos de los tópicos de la época.” (Adapted from Amazon.com summary)

Syndetics book coverAntología de la literatura fantástica / [selección], Jorge Luis Borges, Adolfo Bioy Casares, Silvina Ocampo.
“Antologia de la literatura fantastica reune textos exquisitos seleccionados por los tres escritores argentinos mas renombrados en el mundo. Entre los textos seleccionados figuran: John Aubrey, Max Beerbohm, Jose Bianco, Adolfo Bioy Casares, Leon Bloy, Jorge Luis Borges, Delia Ingenieros, Martin Buber, Richard Burton, Arturo Cancela, Pilar de Lusarreta, Thomas Carlyle, Lewis Carrol, Jean Cocteau, Julio Cortazar, G.K Chesterton, Chuang Tzu/, Santiago Davobe, Alexandra David- Neel, Lord Dunsany, Macedonio Fernandez, James George Frazer, George Frost, Elena Garro, Giles Holloway Horn.” (Adapted from Amazon.com summary)

Syndetics book coverSinsajo / Suzanne Collins ; traducción de Pilar Ramírez Tello.
Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has survived the Hunger Games twice. But now that she’s made it out of the bloody arena alive, she’s still not safe. A revolution is unfolding, and it is up to Katniss to accept responsibility for countless lives and to change the course of the future of Panem (Syndetics summary).

Syndetics book coverCartas a un joven novelista / Mario Vargas Llosa.
The writer, politician, and journalist Mario Vargas Llosa was born in Arequipa, Peru on March 28, 1936. From 1950 to 1952 he attended Lima’s Leoncio Prado Military Academy. He was also enrolled at the Colegio Nacional San Miguel de Piura. He studied literature and law at the National University of San Marcos and received his Ph.D from the University of Madrid in 1959. Considered to be one of Latin America’s most significant novelists and essayists, he rose to fame in the 1960s with such controversial novels as The Time of the Hero, The Green House, and Conversation in the Cathedral. His works vary in genre from literary criticism and journalism to comedies, murder mysteries, historical novels, and political thrillers. His other works include Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter, The Feast of the Goat, and The War of the End of the World. He has won many awards for his writing, including the Rómulo Gallegos International Novel Prize, the Premio Leopoldo Alas in 1959, the Premio Biblioteca Breve in 1962, the Premio Planeta in1993, the Miguel de Cervantes Prize in 1994, the Jerusalem Prize in 1995, and the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2010. (Bowker Author Biography)