Goodreads Monday is a weekly meme that was started by @Lauren’s Page Turners. This meme is quite easy to follow – just randomly pick a book from your to-be-read list and give the reasons why you want to read it. It is that simple.

This week’s book:

Hopscotch by Julio Cortázar

Blurb from Goodreads

Horacio Oliveira is an Argentinian writer who lives in Paris with his mistress, La Maga, surrounded by a loose-knit circle of bohemian friends who call themselves “the Club.” A child’s death and La Maga’s disappearance put an end to his life of empty pleasures and intellectual acrobatics, and prompt Oliveira to return to Buenos Aires, where he works by turns as a salesman, a keeper of a circus cat which can truly count, and an attendant in an insane asylum. Hopscotch is the dazzling, freewheeling account of Oliveira’s astonishing adventures.

The book is highly influenced by Henry Miller’s reckless and relentless search for truth in post-decadent Paris and Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki’s modal teachings on Zen Buddhism.

Cortázar’s employment of interior monologue, punning, slang, and his use of different languages is reminiscent of Modernist writers like Joyce, although his main influences were Surrealism and the French New Novel, as well as the “riffing” aesthetic of jazz and New Wave Cinema.

In 1966, Gregory Rabassa won the first National Book Award to recognize the work of a translator, for his English-language edition of Hopscotch. Julio Cortázar was so pleased with Rabassa’s translation of Hopscotch that he recommended the translator to Gabriel García Márquez when García Márquez was looking for someone to translate his novel One Hundred Years of Solitude into English. “Rabassa’s One Hundred Years of Solitude improved the original,” according to García Márque

Why I Want To Read It

A new week has commenced and with it is a new opportunity to start afresh, to build a better self, and to gain a better appreciation of things and the blessings around us. The heat here in Manila has been stifling. Nevertheless, I am hoping everyone had or will have a great start to the week even though Monday is not their favorite day of the week. Otherwise, I hope things will look up for you in the coming days. I hope you are also all doing great during this uncertain time. I hope you are all doing well every aspect, both physically and mentally. I am fervently praying and hoping that the pandemic will end soon.

The first day of the week is also synonymous to a Goodreads Monday update. Aligning with my reading theme for May, I have been featuring works of Latin American and Caribbean literature in my Goodreads Monday updates. This is the first time I am dedicating a reading month to this particular part of world literature for I have realized that my immersion into this particular part of the literary world is lacking. Yes, I have read the works of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Mario Vargas Llosa and Isabel Allende but this is just a speck in the vast spectrum of Latin American and Caribbean literature. With this, I am also hoping to uncover new names I have never encountered before.

One of these writers whose works I have never read before is Argentinian Julio Cortázar. I kept encountering his works in online book sales but I was never successful in adding the books to my own cart. The proliferation of his works (and its apparent popularity) have piqued my interest. One of these works that I kept encountering is Hopscotch. It is the promise of embarking on a new literary journey that made me add his work to my growing reading list. Reading the blurb, my interest is further stirred. I have previously read one of Henry Miller’s works before and it would be really interesting to read Cortázar’s own take.

The more I read the blurb, the more curious I have become of the novel. However, I must first procure a copy of the book and hopefully I get to have it soon. How about you fellow reader? What work by a Latin American or a Caribbean writer do you have in your reading list? What made you add it to your list? I hope you could share your answers in the comment box.