Thursday, November 12, 2009

Flavor of the Month! (Long overdue...)

By now you all have been to the library and probably discovered, checked out, and completely fell in love with November’s Flavor of the Month. And I don’t blame you; with a flavor like this, no one should be disappointed. I mean, if the flavor were an ice cream flavor rather than a book genre, it would be swirly and chunked with wholesome exciting goodness (unless you’re the type that doesn’t like chunks, or swirls, or would rather just have all the fat because, well, you’re indulging, might as well indulge). You’ve been to the Reader’s Wall, explored our wide variety of themed bookmarks. You’ve browsed our front display and were completely consumed with happiness and satisfaction—I know. It’s a wonderful flavor. The only thing that’s missing is a blog about it, you determine. Yes. I am late. I’m sorry. But really, with a flavor like this, who needs explanation? I mean, just browse and enjoy, right? So, ok, I don’t feel too bad now about not telling you what the flavor is. And I apologize for not realizing you are such bright, assertive people. So just keep doing what you’re doing and enjoy the flavor. I know I will.

Oh right. For those of you who haven’t been to the library and are just dying to know the flavor, well here it is: Translated Fiction! That’s right, a world of brilliant minds right at your fingertips. Imagine the possibilities. Adventure! Horror! Mystery! All waiting for you at your local public library. Here is a list of books from Spain. Enjoy!

The Cavalier in the Yellow Doublet by Arturo Perez-Reverte
Capt. Diego Alariste is back in Madrid, where even the slightest personal affront can lead to a clash of blades. Accompanied, as usual, by his loyal young servant, Iñigo Balboa Aguirre, and his friend, the poet and playwright Francisco de Quevedo, Diego learns that both he and King Philip IV are rivals for the attentions of the married actress Maria de Costa, who has many other suitors lined up at her dressing room door. Not even a death threat can scare off the ardent captain, who becomes a pawn in an old enemy's dastardly plot to assassinate the king.

For a Sack of Bones by Lluis-Anton Baulenas
After his father, Juan, enlisted to fight Franco, Genís was raised in a religious charity ward. Years later, former POW Juan, near death, extracts a grim, quixotic promise from Genís. He is to recover Juan's friend's remains from the POW camp and give them a decent burial in Barcelona. After eight years in Franco's celebrated Spanish Foreign Legion, Genís travels to the POW camp turned military base to fulfill his promise. Despite his professed loyalty, Genís actually seethes with a hatred for Franco that's fueled by his obsession to avenge his father.

Field of Honour by Max Aub
Aub's powerful coming-of-age novel (originally published in 1943) is set during the years leading up to the Spanish Civil War and follows a young man's bewildering political enlightenment as he moves from the Spanish provinces to Barcelona and is caught up in mutinous antigovernment factions.

Lies: A Novel by Enrique De Heriz
After a boating accident in a Guatemalan backwater, Isabel, a Spanish anthropologist researching indigenous funeral rites, finds that one of the victims has been misidentified as her. She is strangely reluctant to return to her grieving children and husband in Barcelona, and her subterfuge turns out to be only the most recent instance of a family penchant for self-invention. De Hériz’s chapters cut between Isabel’s hallucinatory diary entries and her daughter’s account of how she and her two brothers go about the business of mourning.

The Book of God and Physics by Enrique Joven Father Hector, a science teacher in a Spanish Jesuit community, finds relief from indifferent students in an online group devoted to the real-life Voynich Manuscript. Written in an unknown language, the 500-year-old document has defied the best efforts of cryptographers and scholars to decipher it. Hector's research into an actual recent book, Joshua and Anne-Lee Gilder's Heavenly Intrigue, which accuses Johannes Kepler of poisoning his mentor and fellow astronomer, Tycho Brahe, eventually ties in with the mystery surrounding the Voynich Manuscript. Local politicians' efforts to evict the order from the monastery where Hector works complicate the plot.

Angel’s Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
In an abandoned mansion at the heart of Barcelona, a young man, David Martín, makes his living by writing sensationalist novels under a pseudonym. The survivor of a troubled childhood, he has taken refuge in the world of books and spends his nights spinning baroque tales about the city’s underworld. But perhaps his dark imaginings are not as strange as they seem, for in a locked room deep within the house lie photographs and letters hinting at the mysterious death of the previous owner. Like a slow poison, the history of the place seeps into his bones as he struggles with an impossible love. Close to despair, David receives a letter from a reclusive French editor, Andreas Corelli, who makes him the offer of a lifetime. He is to write a book unlike anything that has ever existed--a book with the power to change hearts and minds. In return, he will receive a fortune, and perhaps more. But as David begins the work, he realizes that there is a connection between his haunting book and the shadows that surround his home.