Beginning Don Quixote. “…A Manual for Life.”

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After a day of distributing treats to the children in my class, it seemed a fitting end to come home and find a few treats for myself.  Particularly this novel which I have been meaning to read for ages:

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It is the 400th anniversary edition of Don Quixote with an introduction by Amherst College professor, Ilan Stavans. But the best part to me is that the publisher, Restless Books, has put forth a series of videos and book group discussions  “which serve as a map to this restless classic, which speaks more eloquently than ever to our perennial willingness to sacrifice in order to fully realize our dreams.” Videos 1 and 2 were released on October 6; the first book group discussion (online) begins November 6. It carries on until February 6 when the final group book discussion takes place.

Therefore, you, too, have time to read and discuss Don Quixote with Ilan Stavans, who describes this book as, “…not only a novel but a manual for life. You’ll find in it anything you need, from lessons on how to speak and eat and love to an exhortation of a disciplined, focused life, an argument against censorship, and a call to make lasting friends, which, as Cervantes puts it, ‘is what makes bearable our long journey from birth to death.'”

All the reader has to do is look for this symbol as he reads:

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I’ve earmarked each page, eight in all, which indicate a video session is available. I’m so eager to begin and hope that you, too, may feel inspired.

My January Reading Plans: Part 1

Don Quixote

I began my reading year 2014 with Roberto Bolano’s 2666It didn’t bode well for me. I read only the first three parts, about halfway, before laying it down. (As I did with The Savage Detectives in 2012.) It’s therefore ironic that I am beginning my reading for 2015 with another book of Spanish translation: Miguel de Cervantes’ Don Quixote. I am relying on Richard to accompany me on this path, for it is his invitation which I have accepted, and I wonder how well I’d fare alone.

don-quixote by Dali

But, Don Quixote has been on my Classics Club list since I first formed it three years ago. The art alone which this novel has inspired is quite thrilling. Above is a painting by Salvador Dali; below is a painting by Honore Daumier.

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Harold Bloom calls Don Quixote the Spanish Bible, and says “it stands for ever as the birth of the novel out of the prose romance, and is still the best of all novels.” The best? Ever?

Don Quixote is a man I’ve heard about my whole life, how could I not discover him through the novel first hand? And so, I’m venturing forth into his world and hope to experience this masterpiece with great appreciation in January. I know Richard would welcome you to join us as well.