Happy Sant Jordi: Books on my Lit List

rose and bookThree years ago, I learned about the glories of La Diada de Sant Jordi—This Catalonian (and spreading!) holiday takes its name from St. George, the patron saint of Catalonia, and it falls on the anniversary of his death (also his Catholic Feast Day). Think of Sant Jordi as a nerdy Spanish Valentine’s Day. Every year on April 23rd, lovers in Catalonia, Spain, exchange gifts—boys give girls roses and girls give boys books.

Roses have been associated with the holiday since Medieval times, but the incorporation of books is more recent. In 1923, a bookseller began to advertise the holiday as a way to commemorate the deaths of two renowned authors: Spain’s Miguel de Cervantes and a little-known author who goes by the name William Shakespeare. Both men died April 23, 1616 (cue creepy sci-fi music).

Catalonians took to the trend and some celebrate by doing 24-hour marathon readings of Cervantes’ Don Quixote (Woof). Others flock to Las Ramblas, Barcelona’s main thoroughfare, to take advantage of the numerous makeshift stands selling flowers and books. Throughout the day, some four million roses and 400,000 books are purchased in celebration of love.

Well I love love. And books. And can’t think of a better reason to compile a spring book wish list—with the weather finally warming up, I’m dreaming of beaches, so forgive me for the chick lit.

BernadetteWhere’d You Go, Bernadette
I’ve been meaning to purchase this book for a while now—after all, it was on my graduation-gift-to-self post!—but still haven’t managed. To Bernadette’s Microsoft-guru husband, she’s a fearlessly opinionated partner; to fellow private-school mothers in Seattle, she’s a disgrace; to design mavens, she’s a revolutionary architect, and to 15-year-old Bee, she is a best friend and, simply, Mom. Then Bernadette disappears. This book is the literary equivalent of multi-media art: email messages, official documents, and secret correspondence come together to create what’s a reportedly “compulsively readable and touching novel” about a mother and daughter’s role in an absurd world.
$9.99 on Kindle.

WanderlustThe World of Wanderlust Story
I recently started following Brooke Saward’s World of Wanderlust blog (for obvious reasons). This book is an insight into her endeavors since the first time she traveled through to the creation of World of Wanderlust, as well as an insight into what the future holds. Most importantly, this book is an insight into her travels to date and provides the backstory of her life. It sounds to me like memoir meets inspirational mommy blogger? But the reviews seem relatively positive, so I’m intrigued. Plus, $2 from every book download (given her global audience, Saward only sells digital copies) is donated directly to the Destiny Rescue project, fighting child prostitution.
$17.99, available for download here.

I’m a huge Colum McCann fan, and loved—lovedHow the Great World Spins. His more recent TransAtlantic came independently recommended by my mentor, and I’m very much looking forward to reading it. McCann brings to live different story- and time-lines, eventually weaving them together in a 6-degrees-of-separation spin. In TransAtlantic, he does the same with his female characters from the mid-1800s through to the 1990s. From Ireland to Missouri and Newfoundland, their journeys mirror the progress and shape of history.
$10.99 on Kindle.

Dear Google, what should I read next?

Voila. I did it. After all that talk, I finally put my money where my mouth is and bought myself a kindle. And though it was a rough ride (delivered it to the wrong address; mother almost claimed it for her prize), it’s finally in my possession, shiny and new and smelling like plastic rather than ink and paper.

I’m excited and have absolutely no clue what I plan to read first. I’m currently enthralled by Adam Gopnik’s rolling prose and insightful observations of the ever frivolous French in “Paris to the Moon.” But it’s a physical book, so there’s no rush to just immediately use the kindle.

Instead, I’ve been thinking about what’s next. What will be the first thing I read on my beloved device? What book could possibly deserve the honors?

I’ll warn you that I still haven’t decided. I’m thinking either a fluffy beach read (if the weather ever bothers to warm up) or something Hemingway or France-related. We’ll see. But in my thinking and research, I came across the following sites that offer insightful suggestions for confused readers.

WhichBook.net is by far my favorite resource because its so interactive and suggests books that I’ve never heard of. In short, the site offers various filter “sliders.” Readers can adjust to four factors (samples include length, sexuality, happy or sad, etc.) to specify their tastes, and generate recommendations. The titles–as far as I’ve seen–are small-name books that I oftentimes have never heard of, but who’s to say they aren’t small-name gems? This site is best if you literally don’t have any jumping off point, or if you want to delve into a new style, genre, amount of sex, etc. If the generator doesn’t peak your interest, there are also numerous lists (by both administrators and users) from which to draw inspiration.

WhatShouldIReadNext.com is also promising. And, yes, I found this by Googling literally “What should I read next?” (Google can be so inspiring!). This site takes a book you know you like and then offers suggestions. It’s nice because you can enter numerous personal favorites and get a wide selection of recommended reads. The downside, of course, is that you get a wide selection of recommended reads, and they’re based largely on similar subjects, rather than similar styles and quality. It’s a simple site, as well, not particularly interactive, and if you want to actually purchase a book, you’ll have to go to amazon or some other site all by yourself. Continue reading

Poem: Ode to my morning paper

Here’s to you, old friend.
Here’s to our mornings together
	Latte in hand, feet propped, reading.
Here’s to my black-stained hands, my saliva fingers,
	Evidence of our daily love affair.
Here’s to the quick, finite snip of scissors,
	My sad, hopeless attempt to keep you with me a little while longer,
	Or to shyly share you with others.
	You don’t mind, do you?
Here’s to your limp, lifeless form.
	Your words, so timely when I read them, are never timeless
	And they yellow and fade with age.
	Only archives can save you now.
Oh, you.
	You bring life to the dead and left-wing truth to the people.
Biased you!
	I read between your lines.
	I made you.
	I know.
But I don't mind,
	Like it even.
        We look at each other and share knowing smirks.
Here’s to us, good friend,
And our happy future together.