Christmas Book Suggestions from Papeles Perdidos (El Pais)

“El recuerdo que deja un libro es a veces más importante que el libro en sí”, dijo una vez Adolfo Bioy Casares. Y todos hemos tenido esa experiencia. El País Semanal Especial Navidad, del domingo pasado, publicó una serie de sugerencias de todo tipo para regalar en diciembre y ahí estaban los libros, claro. Ese regalo que una vez usado queda en la memoria, en el recuerdo, y muchas veces forma parte de nuestras vidas.

‘The memory a book leaves behind is sometimes more important than the book itself,’ Adolfo Bioy Casares once said. And we have all had that experience. Last Sunday’s El Pais Semanal Christmas Special published a list of all kinds of suggestions for December gifts and books were among them, of course. The gift which, once used, lingers in the memory, and so often comes to form a part of our lives.


Up to this point, I’m entirely with Winston Manrique Sabogal; he then goes on to give his list of 40 suggested gift books for this Christmas, of which I am proud to say that thus far, I have read one (Colm Tóibín’s Brooklyn  [tr. Ana Andrés Lleó, tho’ I read the English version]), am currently immersed in another (Vargas Llosa’s El sueño del celta), have another in my suitcase to read during my current trip (Eduardo Mendoza’s Riña de gatos) and have concrete plans to acquire a fourth before I leave my current residence in Vigo (Manuel Rivas’s Todo é silencio).

A 10% hit rate (assuming I get through all of them as planned!) for a list like this has got to be a record for me. OTOH, I note, just in passing, that of the 40 books on the list, just 6 are by female authors, and of those, only two are by Spanish women – Almudena Grandes (her new 736-page monster Inés y la alegría) and Elvira Lindo (Lo que me queda por vivir). That’s a 15% hit rate for the ladies, and just a 5% hit rate for the Spanish ladies. And don’t even get me started on an international list without Basque or Catalan writers on it! Am very much looking forward to next week’s promised ‘Libros de 2010 / Books of 2010’, when I’m sure I will have many more gripes, moans and whinges with which to enthral you all …

ETA: just on the off chance, if anybody did want to ‘regalar’ me one of these books, it would have to be the Grandes, which I suspect will put me straight over easyJet’s 20kg baggage allowance if I give in and get it at the airport, so Must …. Resist … Bookshop …

via Libros para regalar en Navidad >> Papeles Perdidos >> Blogs EL PAÍS.

One comment

  1. […] on El Pais, is sadly all too familiar. I’ve moaned here several times in the past about the rather limited demographic of Spanish authors covered in that august journal and its peers, and this piece largely reproduces […]

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