Jorge Luis Borges: 5 Essential Reads

We woke up this morning to find famed Argentinian author Jorge Luis Borges trending on Twitter and were sort of confused. We love magic realism as much as the next literary chica, but we had to get to the bottom of the trend.

Before long, we found out that Google Doodle decided to honor the late, great author on what would have been his 112th birthday. Still confused? Well, Borges (most known for his collection of shorts, The Aleph and his story The Garden of Forking Paths) may have died on June 14, 1986, but his stories have lived on and have a lot of importance for the techy set, who view his mind-bending, scientifically inclined writing as a early testament to what was to come.

In the Google Doodle (see below), The Garden of Forking Paths—in which Borges describes the future in multiple ways—is heavily referenced.

Don't know enough about Borges? Take a little time to find out with this quick guide to 5 must-reads:

1. Borges: The Garden of Forking Paths

The Garden of Forking Paths (1941)

Borges' specialty was the short story and in his most famous piece—which was translated into English in 1948, garnering the writer international fame—he describes what is essentially the first conception of a hypertext novel, or a piece of writing that can be read in mutliple directions, long before the advent of the computer or the internet. This Google Doodle (shown below) celebrates The Garden of Forking Paths with a scene of an old man looking out from behind glass at scenes from the story in which he imagines the future.

2. Borges: The Aleph

The Aleph (1949)

This magical realistic collection of short stories takes it's title from the fantastical vignette about a secret artifact that has the power to reveal the entire universe at once. He also postulates the theory of infinite time in this story.

3. Borges: Ficciones

Ficciones (1948)

Considered by most to be the best introduction of Borges' work, this collection includes the writers most popular stories and was translated in the 1960s, helping to cement him as an international literary figure.


4. Borges: Cronicas de Bustos Deomecq

Cronicas de Bustos Deomecq (1967)

Borges took on some lighter fair later on in his life, taking on the pseudonym Bustos Domecq for work he wrote alongside Adolfo Bioy Casares, most notably a series of parodic detective stories.

5. Borges: Elegy

Borges' most famous poem: Elegy

Oh destiny of Borges
to have sailed across the diverse seas of the world
or across that single and solitary sea of diverse
to have been a part of Edinburgh, of Zurich, of the
two Cordobas,
of Colombia and of Texas,
to have returned at the end of changing generations
to the ancient lands of his forebears,
to Andalucia, to Portugal and to those counties
where the Saxon warred with the Dane and they
mixed their blood,
to have wandered through the red and tranquil
labyrinth of London,
to have grown old in so many mirrors,
to have sought in vain the marble gaze of the statues,
to have questioned lithographs, encyclopedias,
to have seen the things that men see,
death, the sluggish dawn, the plains,
and the delicate stars,
and to have seen nothing, or almost nothing
except the face of a girl from Buenos Aires
a face that does not want you to remember it.
Oh destiny of Borges,
perhaps no stranger than your own.

6. Borges: Related Links