June 22, 2008

Summer Reads

Puerto Rico is the perfect place to lie out on the beach and do some summer reading. First off, it's a tiny island with a great number of beaches offering sun, sand, water, and perhaps even tranquility (we are talking about Puerto Rico here). Second, there are plenty of books from which to choose; try some of the bookstores in Río Piedras, San Juan, or, if you can't find an independent one, there are Borders in Plaza Las Américas, Carolina, and Mayagüez... I know, I know, you'd think that there wouldn't be too much Puerto Rican literature there, seeing as it's an American chain, but you'd be surprised. The last time I was there I bought a book of essays on Puerto Rico from the 50's for a dollar. Give it a shot if you'd like.

Anyways, here's a list of books from Puerto Rico that I've read, am reading, or wish I were (I have a lot more academic books on Puerto Rico and a few other subjects that I'll be reading as well, so some will have to wait...). Think of it as a starting point, I suppose.

  • La casa de la laguna/The House on the Lagoon - Rosario Ferré... and other books by her (there are quite a few)
  • La guaracha de Macho Camacho/Macho Camacho's Beat - Luis Rafael Sánchez
  • Poetry by Julia de Burgos (there's a bilingual complete anthology of all her works on amazon.com here--the cover is not as ugly as it seems and the translations are great)
  • Felices Días, Tío Sergio/Happy Days, Uncle Sergio - Magali García Ramis
  • La Patografía - Ángel Lozada (Spanish only)
  • When I Was a Puerto Rican/Cuando era una puertorriqueña - Esmeralda Santiago (my thoughts on this book later)
  • The Rum Diary - Hunter S. Thompson (English only... as far as I know)
Of course, if you want to make this an even more enjoyable experience, pick up a couple of old school salsa CDs (or Marc Anthony, if you are so inclined) and make a pitcher of piña colada before you hit the beach.

May the world be blessed with a relaxing beach visit and a good book!


Renee said...

So I mostly only brought academic books down here, but the last guest left "When I was Puerto Rican" in the top drawer of my hotel room. I haven't started it yet, but definitely want to hear your thoughts!

Petra H said...

This is funny, I was just saying to my mother yesterday, while looking at all the Swedish books in a [Swedish] bookshop that there seems to be so much more books written in Sweden than in Puerto Rico (ok, so the population of Sweden is twice the one of PR but there is definitely more than twice the amount of Swedish books!). When I ask Puerto Ricans about book recommendations, they keep telling me to read Laura Esquivel's books in Spanish but I want to find more Puerto Rican literature (and not just Mexican)!

I am also curious to hear what you think of When I was Puerto Rican as I read it last year and quite enjoyed it. I will check for the books you listed when I get back to PR in August!

Speaking Boricua said...

All right, ladies, I'll get to that soon.