15 books by Nobel Prize winners in Literature you should read

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Since 1901 the Swedish Academy has awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. Nothing more and nothing less than 120 years recognizing -textual words of the institution- “the writers who stand out for their contributions in the field of literature.” That is why anyone who boasts of being a good reader (and I do not mean the one who takes the book on duty to a terrace in the Malaysian sun to be seen), must have at least these in their private bookstore 15 books written by laureates and laureates of a Nobel Prize in Literature.

Yes, it is true that the award-winning is a bit taken with tweezers because in this long centennial of life, the award has been given to only 16 women, most of which are counted in the last ten years of the history of this recognition. Among the few, very few, female names that occupy such an honor are Alice Munro, Doris Lessing or the Chilean author Gabriela Mistral, one of the first writers on the list, back in 1945.

Another of the significant data of this award is that throughout the decades, the awards ceremony has been suspended seven times (1914, 1918, 1935 and from 1940 to 1943). It doesn’t take a lynx to realize that the warfare that raged across the old continent had to do with this break. Since the 43rd and until today, the Nobel Prize in Literature has been awarded every December 10 in a rigorous way. In fact, unlike our social life, the coronavirus could not win the Nobel even in 2020. Let’s see how many can say the same, eh!

Although the Nobel Prizes do not enjoy the appeal and glamor of the Oscars or the Golden Globes, their delivery does not resist polemics, anecdotes and poisoned hashtags on Twitter either. Surely that sounds familiar to you Murakami is the eternal nominee or that to the surprise of all of us (and from the deep love that I profess), Bob Dylan was chosen winner in 2016. Yes, Literature … There is also the case of Jean Paul Sartre who in 1964 said no, that a he was not awarded any prizes in life and rejected the spoils of Swedish crowns associated with this award. But beware, all these goings-ons fall short next to his twin brother, the Nobel Peace Prize winner, who does contain a syndicate of winners that no one understands.

Curiosities aside, we have compiled the best and most necessary for you. Those books that we do consider to be read once in a lifetime. Aim!

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The golden notebook

Pocket-size
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€ 12.30

Doris Lessing is that reference of feminism that you have to read, indeed, at least once in your life. According to the Swedish Academy, she is “an epic narrator of the female experience who, with skepticism, ardor and visionary power, has subjected a divided civilization to scrutiny.” In this ‘The Golden Notebook’ is the story of the writer Anna Wulf who documents her life in this fundamental work.

Beehive

Five Spaniards have received the Nobel Prize for Literature. One of them, Camilo José Cela, who was the last to receive it in 1989 (yes, we are going to be in the pools again, academics). ‘La colmena’ is, surely, the most recognized work of the Galician author, a work that with harshness and detail narrates life in Madrid in 1943.

One hundred years of loneliness

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€ 9.45

Nothing to add. This would be the right text to accompany ‘One Hundred Years of Solitude’ by Gabriel García Márquez. The Colombian writer received this award in 1982 and if you haven’t read this marvel of universal literature, stop reading to me and hit the urgently buy button. The end.

Voices from Chernobyl

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€ 11.35

In 2015 the Belarusian writer Svetlana Alexievich received this recognition. From her, we want to highlight this ‘Voices of Chernobyl’ tells us about the nuclear disaster that we all know but does so from a classical perspective, as if it were Ancient Greece.

Poetry collected

How could she not be on this list: Gabriela Mistral. Lucila Godoy, the first Latin American woman to receive the Nobel Prize in 1945, wrote under this pseudonym. A combative woman ahead of her time (as stale as this expression sounds) who, at a time when nothing favored the independence of women, she became an honorary doctorate at the University of Guatemala.

Essay on Blindness

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€ 9.86

Many saw the pandemic as the perfect moment to rescue this work by José Saramago. The Portuguese writer received his recognition as Nobel Prize for Literature in 1998 and this novel was born only a few years earlier, in 1995. The context in which it places us: what if a pandemic arrived in which we all went blind?

PS: In the opinion of a servant, this book contains the most beautiful description ever made of a sexual encounter. I leave it there!

Women’s lives

Pocket-size
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€ 10.40

In 2013, the Canadian writer Alice Munro was the recipient of the award devised by Alfred Nobel. From the Academy they said that she was the “teacher of the contemporary short story.” In ‘The life of women’, Munro places us in the eyes of little Del Jordan and proposes a journey to her everyday world and her maturity, told in a beautiful way that can only be the product of a pen like hers.

Twenty love poems and a desperate song

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€ 9.45

Pablo Neruda is a safe bet. Not only to give to your ‘crush’ (don’t be so nerdy / nerdy), but because this ‘Twenty love poems and a desperate song’ shows us that making poetry without great fanfare, but from the most everyday and simple is, simply shiny. The writer received the award in 1971.

Klara and the Sun

Anagram
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€ 18.81

In 2017 Kazuo Ishiguro was awarded and our recommendation is that you read this ‘Klara and the sun’, a science fiction story that investigates what makes us human. The protagonist is Klara (you already knew that, right?), An Artificial Friend who spends her days in a store waiting to be bought. Come on, if you like ‘Black Mirror’, Ishiguro is going to be a great discovery.

Blue eyes

Pocket-size
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€ 9.45

Toni Morrison received the Pulitzer in 1988 and the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1993. With a cover letter with this one, who needs more reasons to read his works? From her, we have chosen ‘Blue Eyes’, the story of Pecola, a racialized girl who dreams of having the blue eyes of the white girls around her.

Swords as lips. Destruction or love

Castalia
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€ 10.92

Another Spaniard on this list of stars of literature. It is Vicente Aleixandre, who obtained the recognition of the Swedish Academy in 1977 with these words “for a creative poetic writing that illuminates the condition of man in the cosmos and in today’s society.” From him, a member of the Generation of 27, we recommend this’ Swords as lips. Destruction or love’.

Everything I have I carry with me

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€ 9.45

We again quote a writer who has won “recently”. It is about Herta Müller, a German writer awarded in 2009. Much of her work is characterized by giving a voice to the most forgotten of society. In ‘Everything I Have I Take With Me’, the writer recounts the lives of thousands of Romanians held in Russian concentration camps during World War II.

Light of august

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€ 9.45

Reading Faulkner has become the talk of modern intellectuals. Something like that if you haven’t read Faulkner, you don’t go into the club. Well, the American author was awarded in 1949 “for his powerful and artistically unique contribution to the contemporary American novel.” As an initiatory journey to the center of modernity, this ‘Light of August’ is for you.

Paris was a party

Pocket-size
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€ 9.45

Ernest Hemingway is the typical author who is always on the list of essential books and, of course, he was awarded a Nobel Prize in Literature in 1954. From his extensive bibliography, starting with ‘Paris was a party’ can be a great option. In it, he narrates the adventures and misadventures of a young Hemingway far from his origin and discovering the old continent.

Tarantula

MALPASO EDITIONS
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€ 20.90

Undoubtedly, one of the most controversial awards of the hundreds of Nobel Prizes for Literature that have been awarded. Bob Dylan, a great lyricist where there are, wrote this book, ‘Tarantula’ is poetic prose written by the singer between 1965 and 1966. A kind of inner monologue that will undoubtedly delight lovers of his music.

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15 books by Nobel Prize winners in Literature you should read