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15 things not to miss at Costa Rica’s International Book Fair

Every book lover will have her own reasons to go: perusing new novels, learning of older authors or simply walking through a leafy jungle of hundreds of publications. Starting this weekend, San José has transformed the Antigua Aduana into a showcase of literary works. While reading often is an individual process, it’s good to sometimes transform it into a collective effort.

Costa Rica’s International Book Fair 2014, which runs through Aug. 31, is a chance to also pick up that hard-to-find book, kick back with a cup of tea and let the journey begin.

The Antigua Aduana’s Casa del Cuño and other spaces in the city will be booked with inspiring activities and opportunities to meet and greet the authors themselves. But where to start?

We’ve done some of the legwork for you and put together the following list of things you might not want to miss. Here are 15 events that stand out:

1. Poetry reading by Nicaragua’s Gioconda Belli. This distinguished Nicaraguan writer, poet and author of “La mujer habitada,” “Waslala” and “El país de las mujeres” is promoting her latest collection, “El intenso calor de la luna,” which centers on happiness and growing older. Belli, who played a key role in the overthrow of Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio Somoza and the triumph of the Sandinista revolution, today is an outspoken critic of the current Sandinista government of Daniel Ortega. Sat., Aug. 23, 3 p.m., at Casa del Cuño.

2. Crime beat. Discuss crime stories and mysteries in Latin America at this event, titled, “El género policíaco en Latinoamérica,” with Carlos Cortés, Daniel Quirós, Jorge Méndez Limbrick and Guillermo Fernández (Costa Rica). Sat., Aug. 23, 5 p.m. in the Antigua Aduana’s Salón Alberto Cañas.

3. Writing in the Big Apple. Led by Chile’s Mónica Ríos, this discussion has an intriguing title: “Latin American writers in New York: Between politics and cosmopolitan furor” (“Escritoras latinoamericanas en Nueva York: entre políticas y furor cosmopolita”). Ríos, a professor who lives in New Jersey, co-founded the collective Sangría Legibilities. Her stories have been published in several anthologies, including: “Lenguas. Dieciocho jóvenes cuentistas chilenos,” “Disculpe que no me levante. Cuentos latinoamericanos sobre la muerte,” and “Escribir en Nueva York. Antología de narradores hispanoamericanos.” Sun., Aug. 24, 5 p.m. in the Salón Alberto Cañas.

4. Presentation of Gabriel Ruiz Bonilla’s “Crónicas del cangrejo.” This collection of Ruiz’s columns from Costa Rica’s Revista Paquidermo was published this year by Editorial Arlekín. It also includes previously unpublished works. Discussion will be led Sergio Rojas Peralta and Rolando Tellini. Sun., Aug. 24, 7 p.m. at the Casa del Cuño.

5. Featured book: “El puente de Ismael,” by Tatiana Lobo (Costa Rica/Chile). The author of “Asalto al paraíso,” “Calypso” and “El año del laberinto,” among others, presents the story of Providencia, a village that is cut off from the rest of the world when its only access bridge is destroyed. Mon., Aug. 25, 6 p.m., Casa del Cuño.

6. “El espejo roto: La antología del nuevo cuento centroamericano.” Presentation by Sergio Ramírez Mercado (Nicaragua), Ulises Juárez Polanco (Nicaragua), Reinhard Maiworm (Germany) and Isabel Kielian (Germany). Mon., Aug. 25, 6:30 p.m., Salón Alberto Cañas, in la Antigua Aduana.

7. Discussion “Queremos tanto a Lish,” led by Spain’s Antonio Jiménez Morato. Jiménez is a collaborator with Babelia cultural supplements, El País and ABC Cultural in Spain, Ñ, Clarín and Perfil in Argentina and El País in Uruguay. He also is a professor and writing workshop instructor. Mon., Aug. 25, 5 p.m., at Casa del Cuño.

8. Focus on kids. Proyecto Rincón de Cuentos, led by professor Carlos Rubio, helps promote reading, writing and literature among children and teenagers. Mon., Aug. 25, Wed., Aug. 27 and Thurs., Aug. 28 at 9 a.m. at the University of Costa Rica.

9. Poetry lecture, “Lorca: La luz inagotable.” Costa Rica’s Ana Istarú and Gerardo Bolaños will discuss the works of Spanish poet and dramatist Federico García Lorca. Wed., Aug. 27, 5 p.m. at the CNT’s Sala de Ensayos.

10. Laura Fuentes workshop, “Antierótica feroz y otros.” Costa Rican poet Laura Fuentes has a master’s degree in Latin American studies at l’Université Paris-Sorbonne and a doctorate in sociology from l’École des Hautes Études. She has published a collection of poems called “Penumbra de la paloma” and an anthology of sexually themed works called “Antierótica feroz,” which covers issues including pedophilia, rape, sexual abuse, adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and incest. Wed., Aug. 27, 11 a.m., Casa del Cuño.

11. Book feature: “Riviera Paradise,” by Alfredo Trejos. One of the most-recognized among Costa Rica’s new generation of poets, Trejos has published “Carta sin cuerpo,” “Arrullo de la noche tóxica,” “Vehículos pesados” and “Modelo T. Antología personal.” He is the winner of the 2011 Aquileo J. Echeverría National Poetry Prize for his book “Cine en los sótanos.” Fri., Aug. 29, 7 p.m. at Casa del Cuño.

12. Poetry discussion with Luis Chaves, Mauricio Molina, Alexander Obando, Angélica Murillo, Melvin Aguilar and Ricardo Marín. Sat., Aug. 30, 4 p.m. at Casa del Cuño.

13. Book feature: “Mi amigo el Príncipe,” by Marie Stravlo. This presentation, led by Alfonso Chase, highlights Prince Sigismund of Prussia, who lived in Costa Rica, far from his family’s aristocracy. Costa Rican-born U.S. writer Marie Stravlo tells this curious story of a man who chose Barranca, Puntarenas, and Purral de Goicoechea, Costa Rica, as his adopted homeland. Sat., Aug. 30, 4 p.m. in the Antigua Aduana’s Salón Alberto Cañas.

14. Augmented reality with “Demostración de tecnología de realidad aumentada.” Learn about computer generated sensory input with Jessica Clark (Costa Rica/Brasil). Sun., Aug. 31, 3 p.m. at the Editorial Costa Rica stand.

15. Poetry discussion with Costa Ricans César Maurel, Silvia Piranesi, Esteban Chinchilla, Gabriela Arguedas, Emilia Villegas, Osvaldo Sauma, Héctor Burke, Alfredo Trejos, Carla Pravisani, Diana Ávila, Cristina Ramírez and Paula Piedra. Sun., Aug. 31, 4 p.m. at Casa del Cuño.

To see the entire schedule of events and for more information, visit: http://www.feriadellibrocostarica.com. Happy reading!

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Jack Shakely

Question: my friends and I, all of whom have lived in Costa Rica at one time or another and are fLuent in Spanish, are stumped by the phrase/question, “Cual bolsa?” We know how it is used these days, but how did it get started? POR FAVOR.

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