Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Read Your Way Around the World - Guatemala

Read Your Way Around the World invites you to Guatemala, a Central American country, with a diverse ecology and a history dating back to the Mayan civilization and beyond. Despite being one of Latin America's poorer countries, Guatemala recognizes it's own literary tradition with its annual Guatemala National Prize in Literature. In 1967, Guatemalan writer Miguel Angel Asturias (M) won the Nobel Prize for Literature.

If the books below are to be believed, be sure to tread carefully in the Guatemalan rain forest.

The Divine Husband (M) by Francisco Goldman is a love story set initially in late nineteenth century Central America. Maria de las Nieves Moran is a novice nun until the convents are closed. Moran goes on to become a translator and becomes involved with four men, one of whom is a famous Cuban poet Jose Marti, for whom she may have borne a child.

Temperance Brennan, forensic Anthropologist, travels to Guatemala to assist in the exhumation of a mass grave in Grave Secrets (M) by Kathy Reichs. While there she is drawn into a modern murder that may involve the Canadian ambassador to Guatemala. Temperance has fear for her own life when her team is attacked by a gunman. Medical details abound and there are plenty of plot twists and surprises.

Miguel Angel Asturias is a Guatemalan Nobel prize winning novelist who published Men of Maize (M) in 1949. The indigenous people of Guatemala saw maize as being a sacred food while others simply saw it as a commodity. The Indians rebel as they find themselves driven from their land. This a a story of magic realism which connects Guatemala's history with deeply held spiritual beliefs.

Hunt at the Well of Eternity (M) by Gabriel Hunt as told to James Reasoner is a swashbuckling story featuring Gabriel Hunt and his brother, wealthy adventurers, who are living an Indiana Jones-type life. A damsel in distress is the inspiration of this exciting chase from New York, through Florida, to the jungles of South America where he explores the Mayan ruins and an ancient myth in the Guatemalan rain forest.

When the Ground Turns in its Sleep (M) by Sylvia Sellers-Garcia we meet Guatemalan born Nitido Aman. Raised in the United States, Aman knows little of his heritage. His parents never spoke of his homeland, and he is inspired to learn more of his background when his father dies of Alzheimer's. His plan is to teach in the village he believes he might have come from. Upon his arrival, he is mistaken for a priest and he decides to allow this misunderstanding to continue in order to be in a position to learn more from the locals about their and his parents' troubled past.

Having escaped from her family, Isabel Garcia Luna leads everyone. to believe that she is deep within the Guatemalan jungle doing anthropological research in Lies (M) by Enrique de Heriz. When her family mistakenly believes that she has been killed, she elects to take advantage of this and remains dead. The story alternates between Isabel's personal journal and her daughter's diary as they attempt to make sense of their troubled family history.

The Queen Jade (M) by Yxta Maya Murray. A legendary blue jade, The Queen Jade, has the ability to imbue its possessor with ultimate power. In 1988 Hurricane Mitch uncovers a huge jade mine in Las Sierras de las Minas, a Guatemalan mountain range. Lola Sanchey is determined to find her archaeologist mother who disappears in search of The Queen Jade. Lola and her companions solve riddles and see plenty of action and romance in this adventure tale.

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