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The Filipino national hero is celebrating his 150th birth anniversary on June 19. In observance of it, the Malacañang Palace declared June 20 a non-working holiday. What better way to celebrate this than by reading one of his two masterpieces? The other one is Noli Me Tangere (Touch Me Not) to which El Filibusterismo is the sequel.
Originally written in Spanish, the two novels are popularly known as the Noli and Fili. As I've written previously: "The novels of Rizal, the Noli Me Tangere and its sequel El Filibusterismo, are the formative documents in the securing of Philippine independence from the Spanish government before the turn of the twentieth century. The tinder that set on fire the hearts and spirits of Filipino freedom fighters, they inspired the revolutionaries to fight for their own independence."
Incidentally, Penguin is coming up with a new translation by Harold Augenbraum (via The Literary Saloon). But I don't have this copy. The one I have is by Ma. Soledad Lacson-Locsin so that's the one I'm going to read and blog about. It was also her version (a superb version, I think) of the Noli which I read in 2009. I've previously read both books in English translation by Leon Ma. Guerrero. The books were required reading in school. I'm excited about this read because I personally prefer the Fili over the Noli, although both are great really.
2. Austerlitz by W G Sebald, translated from the German by Anthea Bell
This is for a group read in the Sebald group in Shelfari. Our discussion starts in July. This will be the fourth selection of the group. Austerlitz won for its author and translator the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize in 2002.
3. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz
This is the June selection by the Wolves. I sort of liked Díaz's short stories in Drown. Oscar Wao should be interesting, footnotes and irreverence and all.
The Japanese Literature Challenge 5, hosted by Dolce Bellezza, just took off today and I'm so hyped up I listed down the books I plan to read in the next 8 months. My short list comes to more than a dozen titles. Wishful thinking, I hope not. Last year I was able to finish 15 Japanese books, and this year I count 6 books already. As to which one to read first for this year's challenge, I'm thinking of finally starting something by Yasunari Kawabata or Shusaku Endo.
5. Your Face Tomorrow by Javier Marías, translated from the Spanish by Margaret Jull Costa
The Your Face Tomorrow Group Read is being hosted by Richard at Caravana de recuerdos. The discussion of the first volume, Fever and Spear, will officially start at the end of the month. I will be joining in August for the finale - Poison, Shadow and Farewell. I heard there's a twist at the end of the book. A twist no one could have seen coming.