Book 359: Don Quixote – Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (Part 2)

Cervantes, Miguel - Don QuixoteI did it! I finally finished! After almost exactly a month to the day that I started the infamous Don Quixote I finished it. I recapped Part 1 last week because I knew I would struggle to remember everything in it due to how long it took to just read that part but now I’m ready to recap Part 2!

I thoroughly enjoyed Part 2 of Don Quixote. I didn’t enjoy it for the same reasons as I enjoyed Part 1, but it was as great. I think the biggest difference is Cervantes, if possible, was even MORE aware of his works impact on culture and literature. He took the jibes and teasing in Part 1 and turned them into full-blown sarcasm and satire in Part 2. I think a lot of this is in direct response to the “fake Don Quixote,” published before he could release Part 2 and I talk about that in my Reading Spain, AKA an Homage to Miguel de Cervantes post (about half way through under the Biblioteca Nacional Museo section).

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Spain Photos!!

Hey Everyone!

2015 06-09 Tiny Elevator Footie

The tiny little elevator in our Madrid Hotel!

I planned to upload more photos but when I saw how many photos I took (roughly 1,100) I realized that was never going to happen. I did finally upload them to Picasa. I’ve always uploaded them to Picasa ever since my first trip to Europe. So why change now? I have realized I need to get a new external hard drive to put all my photos on, but until then they’re “safe” (or as safe as they can be) in the cloud. So that this post isn’t empty of photos here’s our vacation in selfies, one a day every day! I’ve included where we were so you get an idea of what you’re looking at (or not in the bad ones :-D):

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Reading Spain, AKA an Homage to Miguel de Cervantes

2015 06-15 Barcelona Reading Statue 1In case you missed it, I went to Spain last month (scroll to the end for some GREAT panoramas). I was there for two weeks and it was wonderful. I’m still working on a “recap” post which will probably just be a link to my photos and a list of everything we did. The plus side is that you, my lovely book lover friends, get to have a special post made just for you!

To kick off, here’s a photo of the Monument al llibre statue by Joan Brossa (Wikipedia link) we stumbled across in Barcelona. Here’s a different angle. Overwhelmingly our bookish adventures were in Madrid. I’m sure this is because I planned Madrid and Tim planned Barcelona, but that’s just how it fell.

2015 06-16 Llibreria RodésIf you’ve followed this blog for a while you might be aware I can read Spanish, or at least eek my way through it. I’ve wanted to improve on my speaking and reading of Spanish ever since I realized I was starting to lose it, but haven’t had much opportunity (aka I’m lazy). What I didn’t know was how all-pervading Cervantes’ was to the city of Madrid and the country of Spain. Seriously, I mean sure I knew going to Madrid I wanted to visit the statue of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza in the Plaza de España, but I didn’t know I would see Cervantes or Don Quixote (Part 1 & Part 2) EVERYWHERE.

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Book 360: #First Impressions #Second Chances – Heidi Belleau

Belleau, Heidi - First Impressions, Second ChancesI grabbed a copy of this book for free from the Riptide Publishing website. I did this before I had an interaction with Riptide that left an incredibly sour taste in my mouth and has pretty much guaranteed I won’t read any of their books again, but I’ll save that for the end of this post (after the recommendation).

This novella’s synopsis (Amazon link) was just too cute to pass up. You get a second chance with your first crush and they happen to be gay too? Add in the techno-crazy insta-celebrity age and of course it’s going to be adorable. This rings especially true if you’re main character is a somewhat neurotic shy guy who has gone out of his way to avoid social-interactions in person, but has a large online following. I mean come on librarians and bookstores, let’s just go ahead and create the sub-sub-genre “Socially Awkward Romances.” I’d be all over that.

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Book 359: Don Quixote – Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (Part 1)

Cervantes, Miguel - Don QuixoteAfter slogging my way through the first half of this infamous book (Amazon link) I decided to break my response into two parts. (Click here for Part 2.) This wasn’t planned, obviously, but coming in at 982 pages it may as well be two books, so I figured why not. (I’m still only going to count it as one book though.) I’ve split this for two reasons: I doubt I’ll remember the first half by time I finish the second and I have so much to talk about related to Miguel Cervantes and Spain, Madrid in particular, it just makes sense.

I first read portions of Don Quixote in my high school Spanish class. It was one of the only works that we read in English and in Spanish. I don’t remember the overwhelming majority of it. The only part I do remember is what has become so much a part of the modern psyche, “tilting at windmills” (Wikipedia link) that I can’t even say for sure it’s from reading the book or just from hearing it so often. It’s sad, but that’s all I remember. What’s interesting is how much more of an analytical reader I’ve become and how I took so much more appreciation from the novel’s absurdity and Cervantes’ critiques on novels and literature in general.

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June Recap 2015

2015 06-26 First DanceI. Am. Exhausted.

In case you didn’t know, June was an incredibly busy month from being an international jet setter to participating in the marriage of two of my good friends, to one of the busiest times of the year at work, I have good reason to be.

First, I’ll start you off with a photo of Caroline and Nick’s first dance. It’s probably what they were most worried about, but it was excellent! We all had an amazing time and it’s hard to believe they’re FINALLY married. YAY! Here is a shot of the water as the sun went down. This was the view of all the guests during the ceremony:

2015 06-26 Gloucester PanoramaNow on to the bookish. Don’t worry, I will talk about Spain, but you’re only going to get a VERY brief preview (AKA a lot of panoramas at the VERY end of this very long post).

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CRWM #06: I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

CRWM06My friend Emily joined me to talk about Maya Angelou’s most famous work I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. And I’m not sure how I did it, but even with my two weeks in Spain and being part of a wedding this past weekend, I managed to get this edited and online for June! I’m mostly glad that I was able to incorporate my “real” transitions and sound effects this time!

This was a very interesting book to talk about, especially with the current climate surrounding race relations, police brutality and institutionalized racism. We were very upfront about the fact that we were two white kids hanging out in a nicer “suburb” of Boston and that we’d each grown up in specific neighborhoods.

Download it here: CRWM #06 (Right click and “save as.”) Or, better yet, subscribe on iTunes or Stitcher!

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