As frugal as I am, I have impulsive tendencies when it comes to shopping (especially in the Target Dollar Spot). A couple of months ago, at my nearest Mexican grocery store, I bought the lotería game on a whim as I was checking out. I had a DIY project in mind when I first saw the package but, as usual, my project never came to fruition. Instead, I’ve been playing a little with the game cards, a game that’s not really a game and probably only makes sense to me.
Lotería is similar to bingo, only instead of numbers, the game uses images and riddles. Each player gets a board with 8 out of the 54 images, which can include a bird, the moon, a deer and other images. One person picks from the deck of 54 cards, reciting a riddle or a clue as to which image the players should mark. I’m not sure why, maybe because they are always in almost any Mexican household, but pinto beans are the choice markers in this game.
Before I start a book, I read the back and study the cover, trying to figure out which of the 54 images on the cards will correspond with the themes or symbols of the book. For instance, the last book I read was Sandra Cisneros’ “Woman Hollering Creek.” Having read her before, I had a feeling that there were going to be stories about love. Not just ordinary love, but the kind of love that can taint you for life. And so I chose the card with the heart on it, hoping it would go along with the book. It totally did. I had the same success with Edwidge Danticat’s “Breath, Eyes, Memory” (my next book review) and the card with the bird on it; the narrator’s last name is also the name of a bird.
I usually match the card to the book pretty well. This game/ritual may go on for a while longer, at least until I run out of cards to use. Fifty four is a big number, but there are more themes and symbols than there are cards. I’m not sure why I do this little game, but, at the very least, it intensifies the excitement that comes with starting a new book.