Sunday, March 20, 2011

The 100 Greatest Books in the History of Literature

I'm afraid I'm not yet done with Brazil. I had a change of heart, you see: Augusto Boal's Theatre of the Oppressed was returning to the roots of Western philosophy for its essay and telling me very little about the nation itself.

After a few pages, I began to think, yeah, maybe an epic novel would be better. And what better epic novel could I pick than João Guimarães Rosa's Grande sertão: Veredas, aka The Devil to Pay in the Backlands?

Don't worry if you've never heard of this before. I hadn't either, till I started snooping around. However, you should know that the book appears on this amazing list of the 100 Greatest Books in World Literature, compiled by the Norwegian Book Clubs through a poll of 100 great world authors, many of them Nobel Laureates:

There's loads of other lists like this, but they're extremely Anglo-Americentric: Time Magazine has one, and so do Guardian and Modern Library. Goodreads has one that's topped by Stephenie Meyer, for gods' sake. (See what I did with that apostrophe there? Heheh. Animist pride.)

Anyhoo, I'm trying to read Boal while I'm indoors and Guimarães Rosa while I'm outdoors, plus I've a bunch of deadlines coming up, so things are going a little slowly.

And what the hell; while I'm here I'll advertise an event I have coming up. I'll be speaking on a panel at the Singapore launch of Man/Born/Free: Writings on the Human Spirit From Singapore.

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It was put together for Spotlight Singapore, an event that's currently going on in Cape Town, South Africa. Haven't seen it yet, but the tone seems to be human rights-based (at a government-sponsored event, no less!). Both editor Gwee Li Sui and publisher Ethos Books have been involved in activism and commentary, btw. I'm stoked.

Launch of "Man/Born/Free: Writings on the Human Spirit From Singapore"
Friday 26 March, 11am-12pm
Living Room, Level Two, Arts House

For my other gigs, click here. For more book commentaries, wait a week and I'll see what I can do. :)

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