Nonstop novel: Elon joins in marathon reading of 'One Hundred Years of Solitude'

The 50th anniversary of the classic novel by Gabriel García Márquez was celebrated by a collaborative effort to read the famous novel aloud.

<p>Students and faculty participate in a reading marathon of Marquez's &quot;One Hundred&nbsp;Years of Solitude.&quot;&nbsp;</p>
By Sarah Collins 18

Elon students, faculty and staff, as well as members of the Burlington community, came together to celebrate the 50th anniversary of “One Hundred Years of Solitude” by participating in a marathon reading of the novel on April 18. 

​Elon collaborated with six other institutions, including a university in Spain, to coordinate the series. Each institution hosted three-hour reading sessions that were live-streamed around the world and are taking place throughout the week. 

Participants at Elon read aloud in five-minute intervals from 3 to 6 p.m. in Carlton Commons. Five languages – English, Spanish, French, Italian and Chinese – were represented during this year’s event. 

​Mina Garcia, the associate professor of Spanish who organized Elon’s session, says, “It’s important to do these kinds of things because students and faculty and staff need to feel that we are in an intellectual community. These kinds of things remind us that we are part of a bigger picture.”

Duke University, UNC-Chapel Hill, UNC-Charlotte, Meredith College, El Centro Hispano in Durham and Academia de Castilla in Granada, Spain, also participated in the marathon reading. Elon welcomed a Spanish class from Western Alamance High School to read during the event. 

​The 50th anniversary of “One Hundred Years of Solitude” made the work a natural choice for this year’s text. The novel, which has been translated in 37 languages, won Márquez the 1982 Nobel Prize in Literature. “’One Hundred Years of Solitude’ is an important novel not only because it completely revolutionized the way that people write, but it brought a new style in the 60s and 70s – magical realism,” notes Garcia. “Since then, literature has not been the same.” 

Last year, participants in the first marathon reading event read Miguel de Cervantes’ novel “Don Quixote.” The inaugural event served as the finale to the El Quixote Festival, a tribute to Cervantes during the 400th anniversary of his death.
Through coordinating events like the marathon reading, Garcia advocates for students to value the study of languages. She hopes to continue growing the event and encourages students and faculty to consider signing up next year. “As long as I’m here, we’re going to do something like this,” she says. “It’s part of my mission to bring language out of the classroom.”