One Hundred Years of Solitude

By Gabriel García Márquez,

Book cover of One Hundred Years of Solitude

Book description

One Hundred Years of Solitude tells the story of the rise and fall, birth and death of the mythical town of Macondo through the history of the Buendía family. Inventive, amusing, magnetic, sad, and alive with unforgettable men and women -- brimming with truth, compassion, and a lyrical magic that…

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Why read it?

13 authors picked One Hundred Years of Solitude as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

I was in the Peace Corps in Colombia when I read One Hundred Years of Solitude, and fell in love with this kind of fiction (which we now call magical realism).

It is set in a poor village where magical things happen, and no one gives it a second thought. There is also a political story that reflects historical events in Colombia and in other parts of Latin America.

The author won the Nobel Prize in 1982, and no writer can be more highly acclaimed than that. Oprah chose it for her book club (well, that’s pretty high acclaim, too),…

The fantastical world of Macondo in a fictionalized Colombia enthralled me when I first read the book back in high school; it was my first encounter with magical realism.

The Buendía family saga is filled with eccentric characters and unpredictable story arcs—from the respected patriarch who ends up tied to a tree in the backyard shouting in Latin during the last years of his life to the baby Aureliano who, seven generations later, is born with the tail of a pig—no one can tell what will happen next.

The effortless worldbuilding and the way García Márquez’s characters are willing to…

From Bekkah's list on families from around the world.

The literary equivalent of smoking peyote: intuitive, enchanting, dreamlike, revelatory, with everything larger than life. An exploration of people’s hearts, souls, and sins. That is, their solitudes.

The family tree at the front was a lifesaver for me because of the recurrent names used across the generations. But the patterns across time are important thematically, just as patterns of color are required for explosive kaleidoscopic visions.

From John's list on multigenerational family sagas.

Radio Free Olympia

By Jeffrey Dunn,

Book cover of Radio Free Olympia

Jeffrey Dunn Author Of Radio Free Olympia

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Who am I?

I’ve always been a child of the woods. I preferred to leave my home and wade a creek or explore a hillside. Nothing compared to the sight of a black snake or the feel of a mud puppy. School was a torture until an English teacher introduced me to Richard Brautigan and then read my first serious story to the class. Since then, this dyslexic nature lover has become a dream fisher and history miner with a Ph.D. in English Literature and Cultural Studies. Retired from forty-one years of teaching, I now write and publish cultural fiction.

Jeffrey's book list on where imagination and nature run free

What is my book about?

Embark on a riveting journey into Washington State’s untamed Olympic Peninsula, where the threads of folklore legends and historical icons are woven into a complex ecological tapestry.

Follow the enigmatic Petr as he fearlessly employs his pirate radio transmitter to broadcast the forgotten and untamed voices that echo through the wilderness. Venture deeper and encounter Baie, the founder of Wildsisters, a cranberry-infused roadhouse that offers solace to lost and wayward women. When a newborn is kidnapped, Baie and her community must unite to recover what has been stolen. Yet, their quest for justice extends beyond the realm of human characters—it must also be served for the fragile flora, the diverse fauna, and the very essence of the natural world.

Radio Free Olympia

By Jeffrey Dunn,

What is this book about?

Unleash the Power of the Wilderness in Radio Free Olympia

Discover the captivating allure of Washington's untamed Olympic Peninsula in Radio Free Olympia, an extraordinary literary masterpiece that immerses readers in a mesmerizing realm of visionaries, folklore legends, and historical icons. With an enchanting blend of magical realism and cultural fiction, the brilliant wordsmith Jeffrey Dunn artfully intertwines multiple narratives, crafting an intricate ecological tapestry that resonates deeply within the soul.

Embark on a riveting journey alongside the enigmatic Petr, a foundling whose path leads him deep into the heart of the majestic mountain rainforest. Armed with nothing but a…

His masterpiece and, in my opinion, the best novel of the 20th century. Yes, keeping track of all the names is a chore, but the magical realism will whisk you away and envelop you. How can you go wrong with a novel whose opening line is: Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice."

A family founds Macondo, a city initially isolated from the outside world. Six generations of their descendants succeed in their misfortunes, slowly reintegrating into a country of rigged politics and civil war until a gigantic windstorm wipes the city from the map. Generation after generation, the people of Macondo share the same names. Their identities melt in our minds while the story evolves on multiple layers. The intermix of reality and myth, the unsettling narrative, and the dissolution of the self are all elements of dreams. I doubt any storyteller could ever send their readers into a lucid dream as…

Gabriel Garcia Marquez is a fantastic story writer whose roots make his books even more poetic. One Hundred Years of Solitude is indeed a timeless classic to me as is Breakfast of Champions. Mr. Marquez brought us in length through a magical story through the generations, with each generation also showcasing the changes in the community. It was seamless, theatric, dramatic, and largely humorous. It is a book I always do cherish

From Haresh's list on off tangent stories.

Colombian novelist Gabriel Garcia Márquez plunges his readers into a surreal tale of magical realism where the extraordinary sits alongside the ordinary. The mythical town of Macondo creates a backdrop for seven generations of the Buendia family. This is a challenging read that is dense with Latin American history. But it is well worth it. Take it in small doses, if necessary. I found I had to reread passages to absorb it, but the richness of the characters and setting made it a mystical literary feast. 

Set against a backdrop of civil war, this fantastical novel tells the story of seven generations of the Buendia family, who effectively live in a remote Colombian swamp. 

I first read this unrestrained epic more than thirty years ago and was blown away by its beautiful absurdity. Gabriel García Márquez, the architect of el realismo mágico, turns reality upside down and shows his readers the magic and depravity that lurks underneath. Its poetic secrets have remained in my authorial psyche ever since and influenced the way in which I write.

It’s the most translated Spanish-language book after Don Quixote…

From Kevin's list on magical realism for escapists.

Another landmark in my life as a reader-writer, I often describe this book as the one that set me free. It freed my understanding of what a novel could be, showing me how a story could be both whimsical and serious at the same time. It’s also expansive in its idea of family, weaving a tapestry of complex, colorful individuals bound variously to each other by blood or love but uniformly to one location – the House – across the great span of time.

From Umar's list on the meaning of family.

This book inspired me to write novels. It was thrilling to discover an author who weaves magical elements and events into otherwise ordinary and realistic situations, treating both as equally natural. Few other authors have done this so masterfully and in such an urgent and amusing way. I often re-read parts of this book to remind myself that it’s not only acceptable but crucial for me to form stories out of playfulness, in order to depict a multi-dimensional view of reality.

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