Literature in English translation constitutes only about three percent of all books published in the United States in any given year. (Actually, this figure somewhat overstates the case, since it includes all books published in translation--the amount of literary fiction and poetry published in English translation actually is less than one percent.) Since most Americans are monolingual, this means that great swaths of world literature are virtually unknown to U.S. citizens, perhaps the most egregious case in point being the literature penned by our neighbors to the south: Mexico, Central America and South America.
While some of the major figures of Latin American Literature have been translated into English (think Borges, Márquez, Neruda and the like), the great majority have never been translated into English, and even those that have been translated into English remain virtually unknown to their northern neighbors:
We hope to do our small part to correct this shameful oversight by examining, over the next few days, several important but lesser known giants of Latin American literature. Any of these would make an excellent foundation upon which to build a private library, especially if one is willing to collect books published in the original language (Spanish or Portuguese).
Even if one only is interested in collecting such works in English translation, most of these authors and poets will have had at least one or two works translated into English, so one can at least make a start with this great literature....