Books are my love; they have been my whole life. Some people ask new acquaintances about their favorite music to find a common connection, some talk about football teams or college or summer camp. I get most excited when I share a book-connection with someone, meaning that we’ve loved the same authors and genres and can reminisce about past loves and suggest new ones to try.
I thought I’d share what I’ve been reading here in a recurring feature called An Illustrated Book Club. Because sometimes the imagery is so strong my fingers itch to sketch it out- a way of living in the story a little longer, I think, and feeling like I own a part of it.
One of my favorite things to do is sit down and power through an engrossing book in a short period of time. I think the modern-day equivalent is watching an entire TV series on Netflix in one weekend. The characters stay with you, you dream about them. You live in the book’s world.
You really have to do that with 100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez; I’d actually been trying to read it for years. I’d get a few chapters in, put it down for awhile, and try to come back to it only to realize I had no idea what was going on. You see, the 11 main male characters are all named some variant of Aureliano, Jose and Arcadio, and the book follows 7 generations, so you’ll soon be lost if you’re not paying the strictest attention. So this summer, I decided one week that I would make it my job to read this book. It’s now one of my absolute favorites. The language and imagery are some of the most inspiring I’ve ever read. It’s a challenging, but absurdly rewarding text.
Here are some doodles I made in between chapters.
Rebeca only liked to eat the damp earth of the courtyard and the cake of whitewash that she picked of the walls with her nails. It was obvious that her parents, or whoever had raised her, had scolded her for that habit because she did it secretively and with a feeling of guilt, trying to put away supplies so that she could eat when no one was looking.
One night they daubed themselves from head to toe with peach jam and licked each other like dogs and made mad love on the floor of the porch, and they were awakened by a torrent of carnivorous ants who were ready to eat them alive.
A huge man had arrived. His square shoulders barely fitted through the doorways. He was wearing a medal of Our Lady of Help around his bison neck, his arms and chest were completely covered with cryptic tattooing, and on his right wrist was the tight copper bracelet of the niños-en-cruz amulet. His skin was tanned by the salt of the open air, his hair was short and straight like the mane of a mule, his jaws were of iron, and he wore a sad smile. He had a belt on that was twice as thick as the cinch of a horse, boots with leggings and spurs and iron on the heels, and his presence gave the quaking impression of a seismic tremor.
Pietro Crespi wore special pants on those days, very elastic and tight, and dancing slippers.
Those visits were filling the house with remarkable toys. Mechanical ballerinas, music boxes, acrobatic monkeys, trotting horses, clowns who played the tambourine: the rich and startling mechanical fauna that Pietro Crespi brought dissipated José Arcadio Buendía’s affliction over the death of Melquíades and carried him back to his old days as an alchemist.
They were six lawyers in frock coats and top hats who endured the violent November sun with stiff stoicism
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Tags: 100 years of solitude, book club, gabriel garcia marquez, illustrations