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The Art of Fiction: A Guide for Writers and Readers
Ayn Rand, Tore Boeckmann, Leonard Peikoff
The Name of the Rose
Umberto Eco
David Mitchell
To the Lighthouse
Virginia Woolf
The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
Edward Gibbon, Daniel J. Boorstin, Gian Battista Piranesi, Hans-Friedrich Mueller
Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid
Douglas R. Hofstadter
Perfect Wrong Note - Learning to Trust Your Musical Self
William Westney
The Prince
Niccolò Machiavelli
The Varieties of Religious Experience
William James
Twenty Questions: An Introduction to Philosophy
G. Lee Bowie, Robert C. Solomon


Aura - Carlos Fuentes I like this book because it's about a big, old, dark house in downtown Mexico City. I've never been to Mexico City, but I've been in big old houses in other Mexican towns, and this is the perfect story for bringing back their peeling paint, hard tile floors, high ceilings, scarce light and lost in time aura. The three main characters are a mysterious and beautiful young girl, the Mexican version of Mrs. Havisham and a young male student. Mix them all up with some magical realism, time distortion and seriously whack relationships and you're left with Aura.Here are a couple passages from the book, in Spanish.This is the basically the same conversation that Robert Jordan has with María at the end of For Whom The Bell Tolls. Let's just say it works out a lot better for Jordan than it does for Felipe Montero in Aura:—¿Me querrás siempre?—Siempre, Aura, te amare para siempre.—¿ Siempre? ¿Me lo juras?—Te lo juro.—¿Aunque envejezca? ¿Aunque pierda mi belleza? ¿Aunque tenga el pelo blanco?—Siempre, mi amor, siempre.—¿Aunque muera, Felipe? ¿Me amaras siempre, aunque muera?—Siempre, siempre. Te lo juro. Nadie puede separarme de ti.You have to be careful what you promise when you find yourself in a Fuentes story.And I love this buildup: Tocas en vano con esa manija, esa cabeza de perro en cobre, gastada, sin relieves: semejante a la cabeza de un feto canino en los museos de ciencias naturales. Imaginas que el perro te sonríe y sueltas su contacto helado. La puerta cede al empuje levísimo, de tus dedos, y antes de entrar miras por ultima vez sobre tu hombro, frunces el ceño porque la larga fila detenida de camiones y autos gruñe, pita, suelta el humo insano de su prisa. Tratas, inútilmente de retener una sola imagen de ese mundo exterior indiferenciado.