Thursday, September 21, 2017

Reading Macondo

It was with great pleasure that I studied five of Gabriel Garcia Marquez's works last summer.  Reading his books for pleasure was one thing, analyzing them was another.  Interpreting what the author meant was profoundly illuminating and deeply satisfying, it has changed the way that I read now, especially Garcia Marquez's works.
 Doing some research of the the periods indicated helped to develop a better understanding of what was meant (or at least what I think he meant) by the author.  The course Reading Macondo, hosted by Universidad de los Andes in Bogota, Columbia provided lots of information, videos, and a timeline of Garcia Marquez's life.  This information was extremely useful in being able to understand the author's references. The books studied were as follows:
 Leaf Storm (where the term means more than just leaves blowing in the wind!

 No One Writes to the Colonel (where a fighting cock is significantly important but in more ways than one)

 Big Mama's Funeral, a collection of short stories that pack a powerful wallop (this is where Garcia Marquez reminds me strongly of Ray Bradbury).

You can only see the Spanish title above, but an English copy of the collection can be found in this book Collected Stories where you can find four collections of his works.

 In Evil Hour was another story told in the same town as the one that No One Writes to the Colonel is based, and is what I think to be a way for the author to express his feelings about The Violence (a dark time in Colombian history).

 and last but not least, One Hundred Years of Solitude 

Since listening to the book last year, I have read this two and a half times, making copious notes and finding things that were missed my first time through (which is in a way why I think I would like to listen to stories after I have read the book, or in some cases like  Ulysses and Gravity's Rainbow do it simultaneously).  I really enjoyed the experience, laughed a great deal, and had a wonderful time finding connections to his previous works.  These references are scattered throughout (also one or two I have found from books that weren't in the Reading Macondo course which were stories he thought of after publishing this one).
All of these books were worth a second (or third) look.  Garcia Marquez really was a genius.
I had meant to continue on with another course directly after, also on Garcia Marquez, but after such an intensive study of the Macondo books I felt I needed a break.  Also, I have made some changes in my professional life... I have moved from an elementary school library to a high school library!  It means whole new genres I haven't given much attention to and a whole new realm of literary possibilities.  It's very exciting!

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