Savidge Reads for Brazil

You may have been wondering why I have been getting rather focused on Brazilian literature in some posts of late even leading me off to Daunt Books to do some research (yes winners of those bags and some surprise books are at the bottom of today’s post). Well as I am off there for a while in November I decided to set up a little sort of ‘reading expedition/challenge’ in the lead up to that date that I hope you will all join in with in some form or other into the foreign lands of Brazil (unless you already live there of course).

It was a conversation about Brazil that originally sparked all this off in my head when one of The Converted One’s best friends said to me ‘you know you should immerse yourself in the Brazilian culture and history before you go, and you are a bit of a book geek to why not read yourself silly about it’ and so I thought ‘well why not?’ It was then another conversation where The Converted One said ‘when you get back from Brazil you will be buying and reading books for England’. And I thought ‘well why not twist that phrase and before I go read for Brazil!’ So now I am planning on doing just that. (Thanks to Kim of Reading Matters who has done my lovely logo’s!)

I am aware that I did say back at the beginning of the year that I would avoid all reading challenges; however that hasn’t stopped me from doing the NTTVBG and Persephone Reading Week etc, etc. So I am breaking my own rules again and have been off through the TBR looking for books that fit the criteria and I am most surprised by how many I already had at home…

The War of Don Emmanuel’s Nether Parts – Louis De Bernieres
The Troublesome Offspring of Cardinal Guzman – Louis De Bernieres
Senor Vivo and the Coca Lord – Louis De Bernieres
The War of the End of the World by Mario Vargas Llosa
Don’t Sleep, There Are Snakes – Daniel Everett
Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands by Jorge Amado
The Lost City of Z – David Grann
A Handful of Dust by Evelyn Waugh
Bel Canto – Ann Patchett
The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho
The Seamstress – Frances De Pontes Peebles
Viva South America – Oliver Balch
Equator – Miguel Sousa Tavares
Orphans of Eldorado – Milton Hatoum
Ashes of the Amazon – Milton Hatoum
Barbequed Husbands – Betty Mindlin & Indigenous Storytellers

I am already thinking that ‘The War of Don Emmanuel’s Nether Parts’ by Louis de Bernieres, ‘A Handful of Dust’ by Evelyn Waugh and ‘The Seamstress’ by Frances de Pontes Peebles (which sounds like a Brazilian Sensation novel set in the 1920’s and 30’s and really rather brilliant) would make two great choices for a read-a-thon if anyone is up for it?


I have also been researching what books I don’t have, which of course is most vexing because a) I am on a book buying ban and b) most of the books I would love to read aren’t available in the UK – so if any of my US readers spot anything by Clarice Lispector or a wonderful sounding crime series by Luiz Alfredo Garcia-Roza which starts with ‘The Silence of Rain’ then do let me know as I am most open to Brazilian Relief Parcels hee, hee. There are lots of authors though who I have heard of and don’t own whose titles I will be hunting down in the library such as John Updike, Sylvia Townsend Warner, John Grisham etc. I have in fact added an all new page ‘Reading for Brazil’ which has more details of these authors and more plus more information on the lack of rules around this ‘challenge’. So do have a gander.

So will you be joining in with some of the titles? I would soooooooo love it if you did (and so would The Converted One) if you are let me know, if enough of you like the sound of certain titles maybe we could do some reading along together before November which might be nice? Oh and feel free to let other people know about it too! Hopefully you will all catch the Brazil bug (if only in terms of fiction)!

Oh and the winners of the two Daunt Bags with some surprise books thrown in are… Suejustbooks and Jodie (in true Brazil colours), well done Jodie thats two wins in a few weeks!


Filed under Book Thoughts

37 responses to “Savidge Reads for Brazil

  1. Bel Canto is one of my favourite books and was one in which I had no expectations as I knew nothing of the author then. I haven’t heard of most of the titles on your list so will be checking them out.

  2. ‘A Handful of Dust’ is a great book, I hope you enjoy it. Admittedly, I didn’t like the second part of the book, the part set in Brazil, as much as the first part, but you may of course disagree. I have the PMC edition (albeit in the old, turquoise livery) and it contains an alternative ending!

    And, sorry to lower the tone, but please tell me I’m not the only one who sniggered at ‘The War of Don Emmanuel’s Nether Parts’.

  3. I have to admit that the only one of these titles I’ve read is Bel Canto (which I adored the first time I read it but have had increasingly mixed feelings over each time I re-read it). A wonderful, intriguing list – definitely just the thing to get you even more excited about your coming adventures in Brazil!

    • I am hoping this builds the excitment up as I go, having said that almost a week later I havent started any of them. Seems to be stuck with Vampires at the moment, every which way I turn.

  4. I’ve been looking for an excuse to re-read “Bel Canto”, so I’ll read along with you, provided you don’t read it until the end of June. (Reading schedule is clogged until then.)

    I also have “A Handful of Dust” and the Milton Hatoums in the TBR.

    I hated De Berniere’s trilogy. Netherparts is fine but I abandoned it half-way through the second part when it became far too graphically violent for me.

    And all I can say about “The Alchemist” is pulp it!

    • Lizzy I am planning on possibly reading Bel Canto in July so will keep you in the loop about that one watch out on my bookish bits as thats where will mention it probably.

      Oh dear sounds like the trilogy and Alchemist might be interesting reading then.

  5. Some of those titles sound really great. If I can track one down I’ll definitely read along, anything but The Alchemist (major ugh, not a fan, but many are so ignore me!). So can’t guarantee, but I’ll be watching, if there is a readalong I’ll likely rush out and order it from somewhere 🙂

    • I am intrigued as to why so many people haven’t loved The Alchemist, in fact so intrigued I am of course now going to HAVE read it arent I? Mind you least its shirt if it is rubbish.

  6. novelinsights

    At the risk of oversubscribing myself I would definitely love to read something for this challenge!

    • I think the sensation-esque The Seamstress would be right up your alley. Though it is massive, but hey ho sometimes getting lost in a big book is just what you need!

  7. Jennifer

    Where do we mail a care package? Can I send you Sophie’s Choice? =)

  8. Bel Canto is a wonderful book. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Also hope A Handful of Dust doesn’t put you off from wanting to visit Brazil. You should be OK as long as you stay out of the jungle.

  9. Ahh I won again! I promise not to enter anything else for ages for fear of denting my contest karma (except maybe I should enter the lottery). I got the first prize today btw and am planning to chuck out my way too full work desk tidy in favour of the suprise pencil pot that came with the book 🙂

    • You did and I have yet to send it, am waiting on a book that I want to pop in that I believe I have been sent twice accidentally!

      What pencil pot???? I want one!

      • Oh I got a squishy pencil pot with the hardback cover image on it (at least I think it’s a pencil pot, desk tidy thing). I thought you sent it out?

  10. i have Bel Canto on my shelf waiting to be read, so i’d love to join you on that one!

    i also have The Lost City of Z on my wishlist, but i am also on a book buying ban and would have to see if the library has it available if i were to join you on that title.

    are you planning on having a schedule for the reading?

    • Thats two takers for Bel Canto so that could be a read-a-long indeed then. Plus its an Ornage Prize winner and slowly but surely I want to work my way through them.

      (Oh and I too am on a book buying ban and can empathise completely!)

  11. Deb

    I don’t know if you’re interested in non-fiction, but Greg Grandin’s FORDLANDIA is an interesting book about Henry Ford’s attempt to establish an American-style community (along with a Ford factory and rubber plantation) in the middle of the Brazilian Amazon. A clash of cultures in more ways than one.

    I just finished Garcia-Roza’s ALONE IN A CROWD. It was the first of the series I had read. Reminded me in a way of Simonen’s Maigrat novels: There’s really much more emphasis on the physical surroundings, the essence of the geography, than on the mystery itself. Although I’ve never visited Brazil, Garcia-Roza’s book was very good at sketching life in Ipanema and Copacobana.

    • Oh I have never heard of Fordlandia and that does sound very interesting, that might actually be a good one to read when I am there rather than in the lead upto.

      Garcia Roza I am simply desperate to read so am most jealous!

  12. Lord knows if I sign up for one more thing I should be SHOT! But I will happily and supportively cheer you on. This is such an exciting adventure for you!

  13. I *just* obtained a copy of The War of Don Emmanuel’s Nether Parts two days ago. I’m avoiding most reading commitments at the moment, but if the opportunity arises, and my mood is right, I’ll make an effort to read it between now and November.

    • Oh lovely, keep me updated on if you decide to go for it or not Teresa. I am trying to make this less of a ‘challenge’ and more of a ‘join in if you fancy it’ kind of affair.

  14. Have you read “City of God” by Paulo Lins?

  15. winstonsdad

    er llhosa is from peru simon ,i loved lost city of z and goes well with handful of dust sort both based round fawcett, good luck

    • Llhosa is indeed from Peru but that particular book, I have been reliably informed, is set very much in Brazil as its a large war taht happened in the area. The authors, like Waugh etc, dont have to be Brazilian as long as the book features Brazil its allowed.

  16. I don’t think I own any of these books, but if I manage to track one down I’d be willing to join you. Some of those titles sound really appealing.

  17. I have both “Brazil” by John Updike and “Bel Canto” in my TBR already, so I may just as well try to read them for this!

    • I am hoping that one of my friends/relations might treat me to the Updike as its a difficult one to find, plus I am not allowed to buy books this year.

      Bel Canto might be a group read in July!

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