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Fidel Castro on books that he likes

photo: Wikimedia
Cuban revolutionary leader about the classics that are dear to him
Buy on amazon "For Whom the Bell Tolls" by Ernest Hemingway
- Sean Hemingway in the Introduction to the book “Hemingway on War”
One of Hemingway's most celebrated novels, “For Whom the Bell Tolls” is an adventure story of almost mythic proportions. It has made more than a few book lists, from the American Library Association's 'most banned classics' to the Modern Library's top 100 novels of the 20th Century in English. The protagonist, a teacher named Robert Jordan, finds love and battle in the Spanish Civil War. Pilar, one of the most influential and passionate characters (though not the love interest), displayed the 'Everyman' fierce peasant spirit and embodied the name of the author's fishing vessel. Hemingway wrote what he knew from his first-hand experience in that war, as well as World War I, in which he was injured while driving an ambulance.
Buy on amazon “The Old Man and The Sea” by Ernest Hemingway
Castro named this book among his favorites during one of the official dinners
- from an article on counterpunch.org
Hemingway’s reporter roots are evidence in this five-day journey of an old man whose greatest battle at sea leads to his greatest loss. Poignant and searing, this tale of the giant marlin and the man underlines the double blade of success stories: you might lose even as you win. For those who appreciate seafaring tales but don’t want to wade through all of the endless antics of Moby Dick, this simple story took Hemingway 16 years to write, and was dedicated both to friends and in honor of critics who thought his writing days were done.
Buy on amazon “Don Quijote” by Cervantes Saavedra
Castro named this book among his favorites during one of the official dinners
- from an article on counterpunch.org
Much reading and book-learning can drive you to try and become one of the characters in your favorite novels. This is what happens to Don Quixote, who attempts many chivalrous knightly acts while hampered by a world that has rejected knightly virtues. The Guardian rightly placed this 400-year-old classic novel among the its all-time Top 100 books, and quite rightly between these three selections: Diary of a Madman, The Divine Comedy, and Anderson's Fairy Tales. Cervantes weaves all three elements – madness, comedy, and fantasy – in between conversations and adventures shared between Quixote and Sancho Panza, his seemingly simple-minded but loyal and outspoken aide de camp.
Buy on amazon “The Castle” by Franz Kafka
Castro named this book among his favorites during one of the official dinners
- from an article on counterpunch.org
Hailed as one of the best books of Kafka by the Guardian, this novel details the unquenchable human spirit of the unnamed protagonist (K) in his monumental struggle against the mist-enveloped Castle. The overwhelming beauty and reality of snow and darkness are almost tangible things, along with the isolation and need for companionship experienced by K. The superstitious awe and suspicion of the villagers is reminiscent of Silas Marner, while the constant struggle with snow and darkness seem in keeping with Solzhenitsyn's One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich.
Buy on amazon "One Hundred Years of Solitude" by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Castro named this book among his favorites during one of the official dinners
- from an article on counterpunch.org
This winner of a spot on the Oprah reading list is focused on time and family. The small town of Macondo, begun by Jose and Ursula Buendia, is affected if insulated from the rest of Colombia and the world. Marquez explores human issues, from solitude to politics and poverty, from the perspective of five generations of the founding family – while the dangers from without become the dangers from within. Written in a vivid poetic style, English professor Kiely of the New York Times called this book an overwhelming mix between idealism and practicality. This may also be an accurate description of the author's childhood in a small Colombian coastal town, fed fantastical stories of ghosts and soldiers by his grandparents.
Buy on amazon “Romeo and Juliet” by William Shakespeare
Castro named this book among his favorites during one of the official dinners
- from an article on counterpunch.org
Take heart, those who tuned out impassioned high school speeches on the nature of Romeo and roses. While this tale of self-centered star-crossed teens has inspired every knock-off story from the Twilight series to Bollywood films, there is real value in the comments of side characters such as the Priest and Juliet’s incomparable Nurse. No modern drama can truly recreate a family feud or city-wide manhunt without evoking concepts from this classic novel of love and war, in which fairness doesn’t stand a chance.
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