Friday, February 27, 2015

#FridayReads: The Discreet Hero: A Novel by Mario Vargas Llosa

The Discreet Hero: A Novel by Mario Vargas Llosa:

The latest masterpiece—perceptive, funny, insightful, affecting—from the Nobel Prize–winning author

English: Mario Vargas Llosa at Göteborg Book F...
Mario Vargas Llosa, Göteborg Book Fair 2011. (Photo Wikipedia)
Nobel laureate Mario Vargas Llosa’s newest novel, The Discreet Hero, follows two fascinating characters whose lives are destined to intersect: neat, endearing Felícito Yanaqué, a small businessman in Piura, Peru, who finds himself the victim of blackmail; and Ismael Carrera, a successful owner of an insurance company in Lima, who cooks up a plan to avenge himself against the two lazy sons who want him dead.

     Felícito and Ismael are, each in his own way, quiet, discreet rebels: honorable men trying to seize control of their destinies in a social and political climate where all can seem set in stone, predetermined. They are hardly vigilantes, but each is determined to live according to his own personal ideals and desires—which means forcibly rising above the pettiness of their surroundings. The Discreet Hero is also a chance to revisit some of our favorite players from previous Vargas Llosa novels: Sergeant Lituma, Don Rigoberto, Doña Lucrecia, and Fonchito are all here in a prosperous Peru. Vargas Llosa sketches Piura and Lima vividly—and the cities become not merely physical spaces but realms of the imagination populated by his vivid characters.

     A novel whose humor and pathos shine through in Edith Grossman’s masterly translation, The Discreet Hero is another remarkable achievement from the finest Latin American novelist at work today.


Mario Vargas Llosa was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2010 “for his cartography of structures of power and his trenchant images of the individual’s resistance, revolt, and defeat.” He has been awarded the Cervantes Prize, the Spanish-speaking world’s most distinguished literary honor. His many works include The Feast of the Goat, The Bad Girl, and Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter

     One of our most celebrated translators of literature in Spanish, Edith Grossman has translated the works of the Nobel laureates Mario Vargas Llosa and Gabriel García Márquez, among others. Her version of Miguel de Cervantes’s Don Quixote is considered the finest translation of the Spanish masterpiece in the English language.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

A place to create

Well done, GE!


Friday, February 13, 2015

#FridayReads: Latin Hitchcock: How Almodóvar, Amenábar, De la Iglesia, Del Toro and Campanella Became Notorious by Dona Kercher

Latin Hitchcock: How Almodóvar, Amenábar, De la Iglesia, Del Toro and Campanella Became Notorious by Dona Kercher:

This study explores how five major directors -- Pedro Almodóvar, Alejandro Amenábar, Alex de la Iglesia, Guillermo del Toro, and Juan José Campanella -- modeled their early careers on Hitchcock and his film aesthetics. In shadowing Hitchcock, their works embraced the global aspirations his movies epitomize. 

Each section of the book begins with an extensive study, based on newspaper accounts, of the original reception of Hitchcock's movies in either Spain or Latin America and how local preferences for genre, glamour, moral issues, and humor affected their success. The text brings a new approach to world film history, showcasing both the commercial and artistic importance of Hitchcock in Spain and Latin America.



Dona Kercher is professor of Spanish and film and director of the women's studies program at Assumption College in Worcester, Massachusetts.

Friday, February 06, 2015

#FridayReads: God Loves Haiti by Dimitry Elias Léger

A luminous debut . . . Léger writes beautifully and with an immense humanity. Perhaps one of the finest Caribbean novels I’ve read in years and it is a testament to Léger’s extraordinary talents that in this incisive chronicle of failing lovers he never loses sight of his true subject—Haiti—which he renders in all of its stupendous beautiful tortured complexity. A stand-out novel.”—Junot Diaz

A native of Haiti, Dimitry Elias Léger makes his remarkable debut with this story of romance, politics, and religion that traces the fates of three lovers in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and the challenges they face readjusting to life after an earthquake devastates their city. 

Reflecting the chaos of disaster and its aftermath, God Loves Haiti switches between time periods and locations, yet always moves closer to solving the driving mystery at its center: Will the artist Natasha Robert reunite with her one true love, the injured Alain Destiné, and live happily ever after? Warm and constantly surprising, told in the incandescent style of José Saramago and Roberto Bolaño, and reminiscent of Gabriel García Márquez’s hauntingly beautiful Love In The Time of Cholera, God Loves Haiti is an homage to a lost time and city, and the people who embody it.



Dimitry Elias Léger was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti and raised there and in Brooklyn. Educated at St. John’s University and Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, he has worked as an advisor to United Nations agencies. He has also been a staff writer at Fortune, the Miami Herald, and The Source Magazine, and his work has appeared in the New York Times, Rolling Stone, and Newsweek, and other publications. He lives in Brooklyn and near Evian, France.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

How to conquer Latina (frizzy) hair

I don't usually offer beauty advice or even stray (see what I did there? Ha) in that direction but here are a few tips and practices that have helped me.

I have been blessed with thick, unruly hair which for most of my life I've kept long. My hair wants to be big. Very very BIG. It's also wants to be curly but falls short. Instead it's usually a lame inbetweener of wavy and frizz that seems to defy even flat ironing and only behaves about one day a year.


Write till the ink is dry

The closest I've come to achieving salon-like shine, sleek and smoothness has been when I spend hours (seriously, like 1-2 hours) blow drying my hair and weighing it down with lots of leave-in conditioning products, and then sleeping in a doobie, through the migraine. And, as much as I was down with that in high school, today that isn't an option any more. I just love myself more.

But what I learned from enduring those ritual of self-induced agony is that even the slightest moisture will undo any chance of combating the frizzies. So dry, for as long as it takes, or don't bother.

There is a cure

Secondly, there is a method to stop the madness, and it's not about any certain product be it high end, dollar store or homemade.

It's about the process of how you treat your wet hair. When you wash your hair, only massage and lather your roots and scalp then and this is the important part, treat your hair to a strong conditioning treatment.

I like to use a bit of Moroccanoil® conditioner with a leave-in keratin for this - I start at the back of my neck and then go down to the ends and with the last bits of products go over the roots and top of my head, comb out the knots and tangles then put up in a soft bun and cover with a plastic shower cap for at least an hour. I go about my day, clearing up my inbox, writing emails and what have you then go back and rinse all the conditioner out.

The heat rising up from your own head warms up the water residue in your hair and soothes and coats it with the conditioning treatment as it locks it in.


You can air dry, twist, or blow dry and style as you prefer but this is the trick to banning the frizz and securing shiny, soft, glossy hair each and every time.

If you over do the oil and your hair starts to limp and lose it volume, just use a clearing shampoo or shampoo a bit heavier and frequently.

I tell you that this transforms my hair like nothing else. It looks and feels like someone else's smooth, soft, glossy hair. I wish some one had told me or taught me this decades ago. I hope it works for you.

Saturday, January 03, 2015

How to land a job where you can travel and write

I'm often asked about my travels and work. For the past four years, I've been incredibly blessed to work as a strategist and writer for one of the largest academic publishing, business intelligence, and global events organizations in the world.

My work has allowed me to trip the world fantastic and go abroad to places such as Prague in Czech Republic, Zurich in Switzerland, Copenhagen in Denmark, Amsterdam in the Netherlands and Munich in Germany, usually for 5-8 consecutive, immersive days. From my very early days of wanderlust-driven, barefoot swinging, over our East Harlem fire escape, sunset-watching, I knew I wanted to be a globetrotter, an explorer. As I got older, this passion overtook me, especially in the spring and I pledged I would try to visit at least one new place or country every year.

I also visited Bahamas, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Mexico, and at least half of the United States, including Hawaii, Missouri, Nashville. So far...

So how did I do it? How can you?

I'm a writer. My company was looking for a clever, communications expert with sharp editorial skills who could independently and quickly adapt coverage of live events into digital content; narratives, blog posts, tweets, interviews, podcast and video as well as someone who could align and oversee that this messaging matched the branding, mission, values and customer's needs. It was and is a great fit.

In a way, it is very much like being a journalist.

There is always something going on, something to write about, to bear witness to, every couple of months it's an actual event, and I go on location to cover the "story." For much of the year and pretty much every day, I am first brainstorming ideas and campaigns to story map content and fuel marketing at a top level and then implementing that messaging in smaller nuggets and variants across different channels and formats. It's not always easy. You have to ready at any given moment to anticipate what people/clients would be interested in reading and knowing more about and crafting the right recipe for delivery. There are many moving parts.

There were once few positions outside of traditional publishing and journalism where you got paid to write. But that's all changed. As a blogger, reviewer or analyst, today it's a very level playing field for anyone who's skilled and creative as a communicator.

Make it well known that you write well, effectively, clearly and quickly. At one of my previous jobs, the CEO gave me a special project, which involved going to many technology conferences and writing up trends and research forecasts for higher ups.

If you want to explore the world and travel, don't be afraid to match up your skill sets against market needs in hospitality and travel (think large hotel or restaurant chains, airlines), events (yes, you really can run away and join the circus, festival, conference) and event planning, or teaching/training/consultancies (running workshops or speaking), media production - event photography, video and summaries.

Oh yea and keep your passport valid and go-bag at arm's length so you're always ready to roll out.
 
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