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Of Women and Salt


A kaleidoscopic portrait of generations of women from a 19th-century Cuban cigar...
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Were you surprised by the reader for the cigar factory in the first chronological section?

Created: 04/26/21

Replies: 20

Posted Apr. 26, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Wisconsin reader

Join Date: 03/29/21

Posts: 1

Were you surprised by the reader for the cigar factory in the first chronological section?

Were you surprised by the reader for the cigar factory in the first chronological section? Some of the historical details were new to me. I appreciated their inclusion.


Posted Apr. 26, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
janeb

Join Date: 10/09/18

Posts: 39

RE: Historical information

No. I thought a single woman working in the factory at that time was surprising.


Posted Apr. 26, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Jessica F

Join Date: 05/23/20

Posts: 109

RE: Historical information

I enjoyed learning about the history of the cigar making and the role that lectors played. Is it true that some cigars are named after famous books because of this???


Posted Apr. 26, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
scgirl

Join Date: 06/05/18

Posts: 152

RE: Historical information

I liked learning why some cigars were called Montecristo and Romeo & Julieta!


Posted Apr. 27, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Marcia S

Join Date: 02/08/16

Posts: 364

RE: Were you surprised by the reader for...

I liked the fact that there were books read at the cigar factory. I'm sure most of the workers were illiterate, so this was a wonderful experience for them. It provided an escape and another world of possibilities to focus on. I've visited a cigar factory in Central America so I identified with this part of the book.


Posted Apr. 27, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Elizabetta

Join Date: 04/24/21

Posts: 12

RE: Were you surprised by the reader for...

I was surprised to learn about Readers in cigar factories, but it is historically accurate. They were hired by the workers and usually had a socialist leaning.


Posted Apr. 27, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
cathyoc

Join Date: 04/26/17

Posts: 132

RE: Were you surprised by the reader for...

I would have loved a novel all about the cigar factory, I thought it was fascinating. I was surprised that the workers were read to, I guess that practice could not be done in factories with machines, but in the quiet of the cigar factory it was perfect.


Posted Apr. 27, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
cece

Join Date: 09/07/20

Posts: 8

RE: Were you surprised by the reader for...

I loved the chapter about Maria Isabel. I had no idea there were readers in the factories, but what a wonderful idea -- that someone destined to do such a boring repetitive job as rolling cigars all day could hear a good book at the same time. I wish she had her own book and we would find out more about her life and the cigar factories, etc of her time.


Posted Apr. 27, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
sjd

Join Date: 10/31/16

Posts: 6

RE: Were you surprised by the reader for...

I was pleasantly surprised to learn of the Reader. I suppose it was like listening to music while doing repetitive work. I would love to know if these books were discussed by the workers after leaving the factory.


Posted Apr. 27, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
marilynf

Join Date: 04/27/21

Posts: 4

RE: Were you surprised by the reader for...

I didn't know that the cigar factories had readers. I liken it to listening to audio books on long road trips so it showed ingenuity on their part.


Posted Apr. 27, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 2732

RE: Were you surprised by the reader for...

Newspapers were generally part of the reading repertoire along with books. This article has some good pictures: https://mashable.com/2016/11/19/cigar-factory-lectors/


Posted Apr. 28, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
mtnluvr

Join Date: 10/03/20

Posts: 11

RE: Were you surprised by the reader for...

This was actually one of the highlights of the book for me. I was very surprised that they would have a reader in the factory.


Posted Apr. 28, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
jenbrinkley

Join Date: 04/05/16

Posts: 11

RE: Were you surprised by the reader for...

Yes, I was surprised by the reader. It was an interesting bit of historical trivia. It makes me think the practice was a precursor to audiobooks (which I personally love).


Posted Apr. 29, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
juliaa

Join Date: 12/03/11

Posts: 238

RE: Were you surprised by the reader for...

I wasn't surprised at all. I knew about this cusm of having a reader in factories from "Ana in the Tropics." I saw productions of that in both English and Spanish, and enjoyed it. I remember thing what a civilized custom it was to have a reader in a factory.


Posted Apr. 30, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
cm28015

Join Date: 11/01/15

Posts: 37

RE: Were you surprised by the reader for...

Yes, it was interesting to learn about how cigar factories worked. It showed the plight of women and the difficulties of the industry and times.


Posted Apr. 30, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
joang

Join Date: 05/17/12

Posts: 81

RE: Were you surprised by the reader for...

I was totally surprised to learn about the reader in the cigar factory...That's what I love about historical fiction. There is always something to take away!!


Posted May. 01, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
swchis39

Join Date: 09/26/12

Posts: 113

RE: Were you surprised by the reader for...

When I visited a cigar factory in Cuba there were no readers. It was interesting to read others reply that it was historically correct.


Posted May. 06, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
gloriak

Join Date: 02/25/21

Posts: 1

RE: Were you surprised by the reader for...

I was pleasantly surprised by the reader in the Cigar factory. I thought it was a great perk for the workers because it challenged them to think and engage in the story as they rolled cigars. I think rolling cigars all day would boring. The reader gave the workers something to think about and lift them from the mundane to the plane of imagination.


Posted May. 17, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
gvieth

Join Date: 02/26/21

Posts: 25

RE: Were you surprised by the reader for...

I’m not sure about surprised, but I did find it interesting.


Posted May. 25, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
shirleyf

Join Date: 04/25/11

Posts: 59

RE: Were you surprised by the reader for...

Yes, I was surprised that they would hire readers for the workers. That was certainly a perk of the repetitive job! I liked Maria Isabel's section and wish that the story had progressed from that beginning.


Posted Jun. 04, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
taking.mytime's Gravatar
taking.mytime

Join Date: 03/29/16

Posts: 282

RE: Were you surprised by the reader for...

A lector is definitely not something that is used today - however - it might offer some unused advantages. The reading of the newspapers I understand. Many people working in those cigar factories were illiterate and this was probably the only method of learning the current news. I am not really sure why the lector read books to the workers - to keep them calm, to keep them distracted from their work, to make the work seem rote and habitual and make the day move quicker. I'm not sure.


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