I have fewer than 200 literary books on my bookshelf, some of which are parts of series. I have J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. There was a time when I bought Penguin Classics because they were cheap at P100 ($ 2.15) each. Books by Russians, Japanese and contemporary authors cost 6 to 10 times as much, but they are also thicker by that much. My Filipino books are limited to at most 10 authors, with multiple works by F. Sionil Jose and Jessica Zafra.
In recent years, I have slowly added Spanish books to my meager collection. Some I bought from Día del Libro vendors while others I got for free for participating in various events of Instituto Cervantes Manila – from poetry reading to playing Scrabble. I had Gabriel García Marquez’s books (in English) and some classic Spanish books (which included Don Quijote de la Mancha in Spanish) which I lost to the great flood of 2012 and a handful of titles that fell victim to the great purge of 2015. Now, I have 28 Spanish books left, 21 of which are photogenic enough to make the cut.
Cine Español: Una Crónica Visual by Jesús García de Dueñas. This coffee table book is so heavy that I regretted buying it. It is one of the first Spanish books I bought and has been with me for over six years now, but I have not read it from cover to cover. The photos are nice though.
El Cine de Aventuras by Ramón Freixas and Joan Bassa. I carried this, along with three other books, from Instituto Cervantes Manila to Quirino Grandstand, watched Aliwan Festival, lugged it from Quirino Grandstand to a fastfood chain along Kalaw. My shoulder cried with pain that day.
Olimpia Huesca organized by Diputación Provincial de Huesca. Another thick and heavy book. I bought it together with Cine Español: Una Crónica Visual. It has great black and white and contrast of before and after of buildings in Huesca.
Voces y Miradas en el Ateneo Riojano (1977 – 2007) Prólogo de Lorenzo Silva. It has poems and artworks interspersed with essays. It has been with me for two years, and I scanned it just now.
Rimas y Leyendas by Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer. This is one of the newer books, and I will not even pretend to have opened it.
Malinche by Laura Esquivel. So technically, it is a Spanish book. 🙂 This is the last book I finished in 2015. It was not worth it.
Like Water for Chocolates by Laura Esquivel. Like Malinche, this one is in English, but it has sentimental value. It was given to me by Lucy when I was in Level 2 at Instituto Cervantes Manila. It helped me not quit learning Spanish.
La Maleta de Cervantes by Instituto Cervantes. A children story, with lots of photos and games. Not really an achievement, but this one – I finished it. ☺
La Cuarta Verdad by Iain Pears. Very thick book, very small words and no photos.
La Guerra del Fin del Mundo by Mario Vargas Llosa. After I finish George R.R. Martin’s A Dance with Dragons (I am ¼ through A Storm of Swords), I will start reading this. It might take me two years to finish it, or I might not finish it at all. But I will try.
El Guarda Saca su Peine / En el Moño Mora Una Señora by Herta Müller. It is a compilation of poems. In the four years that it has been with me, I have read 230 out of 399 pages before I forgot about it. The bookmark is still there.
Endangered: Fil-Hispanic Architecture Papers from the First International Congress on Fil-Hispanic Architecture. I read this last year, and it has photos of my town’s cemetery. ☺
El Ojo del Faraón by Valentí Gómez I Oliver and Boris de Rachewiltz.
Cuadernos Hispanoamericanos. I do not know why I even have this.
Bagdad en llamas: El blog de una joven de Irak.
The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende. It is in English, but it has sentimental value. I read this when I was 20, and I fell in love with magic realism. The book is as old as it looks.
Hija de la Fortuna by Isabel Allende. One-year old book that I have not opened yet.
La Ciudad de las Bestias by Isabel Allende. It is as old and as untouched as Hija de la Fortuna.
Bienvenidos a la Cocina by Inés Ortega. This one is very good. It has wonderfully appetizing photos and some recipes are not complicated. It has recipes for macarrones a la Popeye, carlota de chocolate, yemas, crepes and tostadas de jamón y piña.
La Piel del Oso by Zidrou (writer) and Oriol, a graphic novel. I am translating some of the words on the back cover, “a story of love and mafia full of betrayal, violence and broken dreams”. I tried to read it the night I had it, I stopped midway. Some scenes are very, well, graphic, and for adults only.
Fidel y el Deporte: Selección de Pensamientos (1959 – 2006)