Author Study

As some of you know, one of my favorite jobs is teaching a magical realism and writing class. 

One of my professional goals is to delve more deeply into the genre itself, as well as some renowned authors of magical realism.

The first author I plan to study in depth is Borges (The father of magical realism). Others authors I am looking at more closely is Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Isabella Allende, and Haruki Murakami. I’m not sure how long this journey will take me but I am also open to other offers as they present themselves. For example, I found a first edition David Mitchell and a secondhand store for seven dollars.

One of my favorite concepts or motifs in magical realism is the idea of a labyrinth – physical or metaphorical. The General in his Labryinth seems to be the natural beginning to this particular journey. 

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Beach Reads

I’m getting ready to do a little traveling, and to have some necessary beach time. I love to read on the beach, but hate to drag hard covers and library books out onto the sand.

At this point, I usually head to a secondhand store and find some paperbacks that can take a beating. I also like to do this for traveling on airplanes, because I travel very light. When I’m done with the book, I can leave it behind, give it away, or tuck it in a side pocket for later. This is especially useful for cheap flights, as they don’t have any entertainment. I know at this point, some of you are asking why I don’t just use a Kindle or an Ereader. My answer is, I just love the feel of a real book in my hand. That simple action and the weight, relax me before I’ve even begun to read a single sentence.

This summer I’m immersing myself in some of my favorite magical realism authors, in the hopes of improving and enriching my magical realism class. I’m also going to read The Dark Tower series- despite having read 80% of Stephen King’s work,  I never begin the series until now. I’m not sure about the Allende novels – sometimes I absolutely love her storytelling, and sometimes I feel indifferent. I am most excited about Love in the Time of Cholera. Garcia Marquez is a personal favorite, and I have been meaning to re-read 100 Years of Solitude this year-so this feels like a warm-up. 

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What I am reading: The Buried Giant

Some of you will have fine monuments by which the living may remember the evil done to you. Some of you will have only crude wooden crosses or painted rocks, while yet others of you must remain hidden in the shadows of history.

Imaginative, with allusions to King Arthur and fairy tales.

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What I am Reading: The Marriage of Opposites

index.jpgAlice Hoffman is one of my guilty pleasures; I fell in love with her writing when Practical Magic made the book lists. She has an easy story-telling style, and she makes it look effortless. Her stories range from light to heavy, but always seem to visit the theme of “what is a family?”

The Marriage of Opposites is ambitious. She follows a Jewish family in the 1800’s in St. Thomas, and yet the story is so much more: she has multiple doubles and patterns throughout – sister vs. sister, mother vs. daughter, child vs. parent, all set against a backdrop of the Caribbean and later the grays of Paris. At times, the story almost got away from her, but as she always loves to weave in magic and mythology, I found myself compelled. I truly enjoyed the perspectives and, as always, Hoffman’s writing.

Lines I enjoyed:

-Then I understood that when someone begins to tell you her story, you are entwined together. Perhaps even more so if the ending hasn’t been divulged.

-Then let us be among those who hope that the future will be less cruel than the past.

-I KNEW I MUST do all as I was told, yet something burned inside me, a seed of defiance that must have derived from a long-ago ancestor. Perhaps my mind was inflamed from the books I had read and the worlds I had imagined
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Author Study

I have decided to embark on a new project with one of my favorite colleagues, and thought I would share the results with you. I am an avid reader, and I want to study certain authors more closely; I often find the connections you can draw from biography, political climate and expression to be endlessly fascinating. Thus, I will select one author and read his/her works, as well as a biography (if it is available) and then discuss.

My favorite genre is Magical Realism, and I am lucky enough to teach a class at my university using Borges’ Garden of Forking Paths as a foundational text for discussion of the genre. To be clear, although many people believe the genre began in Latin America, this is not the case. Undoubtedly, though, the area has produced some of the greatest writers in the genre, and you cannot fully appreciate this without beginning with Borges. So, with new books in hand, and ready to reread some favorites, as well as discover some new, expect a post on Borges very soon.

 

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Travel: Sights around Montreal

Here are some of the curious sights we saw in beautiful Montreal.

Notre Dame

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Walking Around Old Montreal

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The Snobby British man

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The Snobby Frenchwoman

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Note the pig with the rake

Chinatown

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The Shopping District

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Interesting

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I highly doubt that’s delicious

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It’s a bird – it’s a plane – it’s Supersexe!

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Is this really a thing?

What we ate:

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This was a delicious cola

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Roasted Chicken and Cheese

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Veggie Panini with Brie on olive bread – divine

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Crepes – every.single.day.

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Travel: Quebec City

We took a charter bus from Montreal to Quebec City, and while efficient, I must say the three hour ride was one of the dullest I have ever seen. Nothing but plains and tiny little nondescript towns every hour or so.

That said, Quebec City itself was gorgeous, and our tour guide excellent. The city itself is fairly large, with some beautiful sites – namely the Citadel, Notre Dame des Victoires and Old Town, whose fortified walls still stand. The Petit Champlain district is one of the oldest shopping districts, and the streets were picturesque. If you are ever in the area, it is worth a day trip. We also got to stop off at Montmorency Falls which is taller than Niagra Falls by 100 feet. Everything was easily accessible by foot, and there was much to buy and eat.

What we ate:

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Duck Confit Salad – Delicious

 

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Cola with Maple Syrup – interesting

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We ate at Boreale – This was our view overlooking the oldest commercial street in Quebec

What we Saw:

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This incredible mural details Quebec’s history

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Inside Notre Dame des Victoires

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Inside The Fur Trapper Store

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I have no concept what this is supposed to be

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Say “Hello” to my little friend

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