First I was afraid, I was petrified
I thought how could I ever read this much and I stay alive
But I spent so many nights looking up so many words
and I survived hey hey...
...I just finished analyzing that song for my ear training class so it is infiltrating everything I do at the moment.
What I liked most about 365 is that we covered the whole curve of the boom from Asturias to McOndo. I got to see how magical realism evolved form a seed to a flower to a ball and chain. It put L.A. literature on the map and then it became a tourist trap, a kind of theme park. I can see the frustration that writers outside of the genre must have felt and are still feeling today.
The book I enjoyed most was Leyendas de Guatemala. Asturias' language was unlike anything I had previously encounterd. It drips with the sweet nectar of life. His descriptons of nature come close to what I've experience hiking and trail walking here on the west coast. Watching Avatar while reading the book made me think of how James Cameron could have very well read Leyendas and been influenced by its images and myths. In the same way that Cameron lacks authenticity when he tries to represent the experience of an indigenous people, Asturias too sacrifices accuracy for sensationalism, but the effects of both of their art is mesmerizing.
I struggled with Cien an~os de soledad. After a valient effort to read it in Spanish, I gave up and finished it in English. In my Spanish attempt, I got lost in the details and had a hard time extracting the themes and point of all the Buendia and Macondo drama. I look forward to reading it again in Spanish because the enchanted aura of the book is lost in the translation. What I liked especially about the book is how the theme of solitude manifests in different ways in each character (Aureliano Buendia especially, -It reminded me of the Vietnam war book "Johnny got his gun" in how the effects of PTSD numbed both protagonists). I appreciate the book for its scale and complexity, but as a book to read while balancing too many credits, it became a frustrating chore more than an enlightening glimpse at the hottest flash of the boom.
I like how we spent so much of class time doing group work. As well as getting to know the class more so than in other lecture-based classes, I felt like we were a large book club that met three times a week to figure out what the bleep was happening in these books. I enjoyed hearing how many different takes people had on the material. We can never know for sure what the author means in his/her work and I got a lot out of hearing the range of interpretations we all had.
I'm inspired to read more by the authors we covered. A little Marquez or Asturias on Spanish Banks will be happening this summer for sure.