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March 2, 2008 9:15 PM   Subscribe

Seeking quality Spanish language young adult or youth fiction, in its original language, way cool if it has one or more of science fiction/fantasy, coming of age, teen angst, or subjects parents usually have difficulty discussing with their offspring.

I'm trying to learn Spanish. Again. Still. I've had several scattered years of public school classes; tried a few books, tapes, and combinations; make a half-hearted attempt to do word-of-the-day things; y otras cosas. American, in my early 40s, I'm probably about 10% literate--reading--without a dictionary at hand, (wildly!) variably 30%-80% with.

The logistics of immersion preclude that approach indefinitely. Second choice, just as with learning my native tongue: Read like hell.

I'm not ready for untranslated Marquez. I am interested in youth-targeted content. I like quality science fiction and fantasy, but Harry Potter en español would probably be a rerun with blurred subtitles.

Authors, series, sites, or whatever makes sense. I expect amazon.com has everything I'd want, but I've not found it through their search capability.

Anyway, I know all that's hugely specific, but I'd be glad for partial leads. My almost parallel music search--while less fruitful than I'd like--has actually been worth the effort, so I'm up for a poorly marked trail.
posted by phrits to Education (11 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
 
I happened across the "A Series of Unfortunate Events" books one day. Have you considered seeking out translations of originally-English books?
posted by TheNewWazoo at 9:33 PM on March 2, 2008


Como Agua Para Chocolate is relatively easy reading. It's not YA but it's light and story-oriented and has onions and magic realism.
posted by trig at 10:13 PM on March 2, 2008


Best answer: Also Rosaura a las Diez, which is a Wilkie Collins type of mystery.
posted by trig at 10:18 PM on March 2, 2008


Best answer: Last one. I haven't read it but heard it's good.

Also instead of looking for translations of English books, you could look for translations of books in other languages (since you'd have to read them in translation in any case). E.g. The Neverending Story, originally in German.
posted by trig at 10:51 PM on March 2, 2008


Best answer: The first Spanish book I ever read was one from the Narnia series (obviously translated from English). The fact that I had read it as a child and was familiar with the story made reading it easier to follow without having to look up so many words. Perhaps you have some similar books from your childhood which you'd enjoy reading again.

After that I also started looking for youth fiction and enjoyed Isabel Allende's La Ciudad de las Bestias (City of the Beasts) which is part of a trilogy she wrote aimed at youths.

I also found Paulo Coelho's books (translated from Portuguese) to be relatively easy to read and enjoyable. Specifically, I read El Demonio y la SeƱorita Prym and Once Minutos.

I also bought Como Agua para Chocolate after a recommendation from a friend, but personally, I found it more difficult than expected and only read it after my level had improved.
posted by Gomez_in_the_South at 12:05 AM on March 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


You might give a try to Julio Cortázar, who excels in odd short stories. I don't know as I'd say fantasy, per se, but heading that way from the surrealist camp.

Somebody put some of his poems and short stories on the web (warning: 1990s flashback!), but you can get them elsewhere if you prefer paper and stuff.

If you're into his kinds of books, Gomez_in_the_South has a sound recommendation for Paulo Coelho. I can burn through his books in Portuguese because really, they have a pretty clear moral, and a not-unexpected path to it, and big type. They're fun, though! Get a feel by checking out this recent MeFi post about free Coelho books online, which were available in more than just Portuguese and English (I can't say for sure Spanish and can't check at the moment).
posted by whatzit at 2:47 AM on March 3, 2008


Best answer: Oh how did that happen. That second link should go to free Coelho books online.
posted by whatzit at 2:48 AM on March 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


Response by poster: I'll be unable to post here for about the next 24 hours, so I wanted to say thanks for what's come so far and to comment that I'll be back for the rest. Proxied, not ungrateful.

@trig, interesting on the translated <other> as opposed to translated English. Part of what I'm trying to avoid is losing something in the translation, but my skillz are probably such that it wouldn't matter.
posted by phrits at 3:30 AM on March 3, 2008


This amazon list might be helpful. It's not young adult, but it looks like damn good books. These are the translated versions, but you could use the list to track down the originals.
posted by zeek321 at 9:56 AM on March 3, 2008


This is a great collection of classic short stories by renowned authors. Also, this book has great poems and plays.
posted by mynameismandab at 10:13 PM on March 3, 2008


I wonder how hard it would be to get hold of Asterix.
posted by trig at 10:46 PM on March 3, 2008


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