Known for its diverse fauna and flora, jaw dropping scenery, and warm people Colombia is also recognized its literature and arts. From famous authors and poets to sculptors and singers, Colombia has made its mark in history. And although Colombia has gone through numerous social and political challenges, the country has gone through incredible transformation over the past few decades. We compiled a list of some of the best reads that will open your mind to the culture, history and beauty of this vibrant country. Here are 10 books to read on Colombia:
Gabriel García Márquez
Gabriel Garcia Marquez, is a Nobel Prize winner for Literature and father of realism magico - magical realism - which blends facts and fantasy to paint an alternative reality reflecting real-world stories. It has been revolutionary in Latin American literature because it has given authors the liberty to address political and social topics even under censorship during numerous authoritative regimes. One of García Marquez’s most known works, 100 Years of Solitude revolves around the multiple generations of the Buendía family and their journey through civil wars, romance and adventures.
Pro tip: As generations go by, old and new characters are named with the same first name (and naturally last name). To keep the hang of it and enjoy it to the fullest, draw a family tree. You will probably need it!
Set in Bogota during the 1980’s, a time where drug cartels and trade strongly affected the Colombian society and culture, this book touches three different stories and scenarios that show the real life of most individuals during these dark and scary times in the country’s history. Learning about a country’s history is a great way to better understand the background of locals in your travels to Colombia.
Victoria Kellaway and Sergio J Lievano
A clever, funny and colorful book that exposes the secrets and drama of Colombian’s history. All through a comedic lens, the both authors collaborate to show the beauty of the culture and its people. With more than 160 illustrations of famous Colombian faces like Shakira, Simon Bolivar or Fernando Botero this book is sure to entertain.
The honest and beautiful personal journey of Bryanna, an English teacher traveling to Colombia who slowly sets aside the fear many people have of the country due to the misrepresentation of the culture from movies and series. Traveling from Bogota, to La Guajira, to Baru, the Caribbean coast and the Amazon rainforest she slowly falls in love of the culture and sees the country as paradise.
An in-depth view of the history of Colombia, from it being the “narco-state” of the world to becoming one of the strongest economies in Latin American. Feiling has explored most of the country and describes throughout the book his interaction with locals and understanding its roots to what it has become so far.
Juan Gabriel Vasquez
Set in Bogota in 1980’s, the love story of an American woman and a Colombian man and her experience and cultural clash when moving to a completely new country that on that time in history is going through some harsh and dark times.
La Oculta, the hidden farm in the outskirts of Medellin that was constantly threaten by the guerilla or the paramilitaries two violent groups that had the country under terror. The story revolves on the journey of three siblings dealing with hazards, violence and loss.
Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Another of Marquez masterpieces, this non-fiction crime thriller book is about the story of 10 Colombians kidnapped by the infamous drug lord Pablo Escobar who was in fear of being extradited to the U.S. This keeps you entertained just as well as any other movie or series, due to the flow and writing style Marquez is known for.
Interested in visiting Colombia? Check out our two fantastic Colombia small group trips!