This post is part of the #ReadMoreLatam2021 Challenge. Click here for more info.
The challenge for this month is to read a book in its original language.
OK, I admit, this month’s challenge might not seem, at first glance, to be for everyone. Not everyone engaging with Latin American literature—and definitely not everyone interested in Latin American literature—is also bilingual and/or learning a Latin American language. Although I’m sure a lot are.
Even so, there are ways around the whole “but I don’t speak the language” issue. Namely—bilingual (or trilingual) editions. Poetry is also excellent for this, offering bitesized non-English immersion for people interested in reading Latin American literature in its OG language.
What if you don’t want to read a bilingual edition? Well, if you’re only just learning the language, here’s my advice:
- Look to writers who aren’t so densely literary that they’d leave your head spinning even in English. No Clarice Lispector; no Fernanda García Lao.
- Choose a book that also exists in translation so you can compare and contrast.
- Choose a book you know well, and can therefore vaguely follow the plot of, even in a less-familiar-to-you language.
- Read online! This post has lots of websites where you can read bilingual Latin American literature.
With that in mind, this month I’ll be recommending a few Latin American titles that are available in bilingual or trilingual editions for your reading pleasure, as well as a selection of books I have or simply want to read in Spanish, French, and Portuguese.