Happy Birthday, Mr. Borges

August 24, 2011 

“I’ve always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.”

The Great Poet, Jorge Luis Borges, would have been 112 years old today. In his honor, Google’s newest doodle portrays the artist surrounded by some of the symbols in his work, including a library and a maze.

I’ve always been a fan of Borges’s surreal, fantastical stories so when I was living in Buenos Aires earlier this year I started a reading challenge in his honor: Ficciones, the 2011 Argentina Reading Challenge. Unfortunately, I was not such a big fan of some of the other Argentinian literature I was reading and the challenge got neglected. But there have been a few new participants in the last week and that’s all the reason I need to revive the challenge.

I hope you’ll consider joining. You only need to read one book by an Argentina writer, either in Spanish or in translation, to participate. I’m scrapping my previous reading list. I’m going to start off with Kamchatka by Marcelo Figueras, and see how it goes from there.

And check out this wide-ranging interview Borges gave to The Paris Review back in 1966.

2 Responses to “Happy Birthday, Mr. Borges”

  1. Cassandra Says:
    August 24th, 2011 at 5:45 pm

    On my last trip to New York, I actually picked up 2 books for the challenge and I had hoped to get to them before now. I will put them on the schedule for the next couple of weeks.

    The first, I snagged at the Strand. It’s by Borges, called The Book of Imaginary Beings. I’m very intrigued.

    The second one I found at McNally Jackson. It’s by Cesar Aira, called The Seamstress and The Wind. I’m not familiar with him, but I’ve been wanting to give some of the New Directions stuff a try. I’ll let you know how they go.

  2. JenandthePen Says:
    August 24th, 2011 at 5:47 pm

    Sounds good. I read another Aira book and did not like it, but I’ve been encouraged to try again. So I’ll be interested to hear what you think!