Monday, August 25, 2008

Libros en Español

The beginning of my recent trip to Mexico was marred by flight delays and cancellations. I ended up stuck in the Indianapolis airport for nearly eight hours, and by the time I reached Dallas I had already finished the several magazines I brought along as reading material. At the Dallas airport I picked up a copy of Carl Hiaasen's latest novel, Nature Girl. Adventure, revenge and humor in the Florida Everglades; I recommend his work for light, fun reading.

That book lasted for a few days in Cuernavaca, but by the time we reached Mexico City, I had to go looking for bookstores. Generally, I cannot visit another city or country without checking out the bookstores anyway... but now I needed something to read, and in English! Most of the new book stores I found had very little in English, but then I found a street full of used book stores, only a few blocks away from the hotel. I was now in librarian/book lover heaven. Eventually I settled on a big fat hardback book, Mexico, by James Michener. The author started this book in 1961, and picked it up and finished it thirty years later. Perhaps he should have left it on the shelf. While, as with most of Michener's work, it is steeped with history, I found the characters thin and clichéd. But worst of all TOO MUCH BULLFIGHTING! More than anything else, the book was about the culture of bullfighting in 1961. It might have made a good chapter. But at least it was something to read, to keep my eyes and hands busy in the evening, or on long bus rides.

Enough about books I'm reading, what does this have to do with maps? While in the several Mexico City new book stores, my eyes were drawn to several book covers that used maps in their design. Two of them are illustrating this post. El Espejo Enterrado (The Buried Mirror) by Carlos Fuentes and Breve Historia del Mundo (Brief History of the World) by Ernest H. Gombrich.

Map lovers can be found around the world. It is a universal language.

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