Adventures in Reading


Nonfiction: Writing Women in Central America by Laura Barbas-Rhoden, 2003

“Weapons, plots, violence. Lush landscapes and guerrillas. Central America is a site of danger (again), but not because of its revolutions. The danger is in words–the words of women.”

If you’re interested in feminism, literary criticism, women writers, historical perspective, and/or Central America, Laura Barbas-Rhoden’s Writing Women in Central America: Gender and the Fictionalization of History is a feast of information on the Central American authors Claribel Alegría, Rosario Aguilar, Gioconda Belli, and Tatiana Lobo and how these women reinterpret history through their fictional works.

Reading Barbas-Rhoden’s book was peculiar as I’ve never read any of the authors she critiques, but I was very attracted to the subject matter and I enjoy reading literary criticism. Though people frequently ascribe a stark contrast between nonfiction and fiction, Barbas-Rhoden’s book explores how the novel disrupts and adds to historical narrative, and frequently expresses the the silent Other: often women and indigenous populations. (This idea actually played a large part in a paper I wrote about Jane Austen.)

Not being familiar with the authors that are discussed was a definite draw back in that I had no point of reference. On the other hand, Barbas-Rhoden introduced me to some great and thoughtful women writers from Central America.

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The stack

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The Light Fantastic by Terry Pratchett
Writing Women in Central America by Barbas-Rhoden
13 Ranchwater by Steven Maus
Things That Make Us [Sic] by Martha Brockenbrough
Days of Awe by Achy Obejas
Arsenic Soup For Lovers by George Z. Post
Pretty Monsters by Kelly Link
The Giants by J.M.G. Le Clezio
The Flood by J.M.G. Le Clezio
The Lullaby of Divine Music by John Addiego
Being Written by William Conesco
Jane Austen Ruined My Life by Beth Pattillo
Nation by Terry Pratchett