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What I'm Listening to on Hoopla: Don Quixote

I'm only two hours into Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes and am finding it an enjoyable listen. Having read it roughly five years ago, I'm finding it just as charming and engaging as it was when I first read it. This has a lot to do with the genius of Cervantes, but it also has a lot to do with George Guidall's reading of the classic novel. Guidall's narration perfectly captures the character of the novel, catching all the right emotions and drawing the listener in. It's almost as if he is painting picture with words.

But he has to share the credit with Cervantes himself who wrote this masterpiece--and also the award winning translator Edith Grossman. Novelist Carlos Fuentes considers Grossman's translation the best in English, while Nobel Prize winner Gabriel Garcia Marquez once said that he prefers to read Grossman's translations of his own works to his own originals.

However, there are a few things about Don Quixote that tripped me up when I first read it, which might also confuse new readers. The first thing that surprised me about Don Quixote is that it is not one novel, but two novels. Don Quixote was a big success for Cervantes, and the public was clamoring for a sequel. There was so much demand, other authors began writing adventures for Don Quixote much in the same way fans today write fan fiction. Second, the first novel follows Don Quixote's adventures, but it also has many, many subplots. It's almost as if Cervantes weaved some of his short stories into the novel. And third, Cervantes made some mistakes. Some translators correct the mistakes, and some don't. So if you do find inconsistencies, it may be Grossman being faithful to the original text. All in all, Don Quixote should be required reading for all. But even if it were required reading, it wouldn't feel forced or irrelevant to our everyday life as some other classics do. In this sometimes humorous, sometimes tragic novel--Cervantes gives us a picture of the human condition and of all its resilience and frailty. And he's pretty straight forward about it. Which is refreshing, especially when you consider it was written way back in 17th century Spain.

Don Quixote is available as both an audiobook and an e-book on our digital platform, Hoopla. If you don't have a Hoopla account, it's really easy to get one. All you need is a Pocono Mountain Public Library card, an e-mail address, and a device. You'll find the app in your app store. You can listen to Hoopla audiobooks on your iPhone, Android, tablet, or PC. If you have any questions, you can e-mail or call 570-894-8860.

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