Showing posts with label Hunter College. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Hunter College. Show all posts

Monday, June 16, 2014

#FridayReads: Bulletproof Vest: The Ballad of an Outlaw and His Daughter by Maria Venegas

Bulletproof Vest: The Ballad of an Outlaw and His Daughter by Maria Venegas:

The haunting story of a daughter’s struggle to confront her father's turbulent—and often violent—legacy

After a fourteen-year estrangement, Maria Venegas returns to Mexico from the United States to visit her father, who is living in the old hacienda where both he and she were born. While spending the following summers and holidays together, herding cattle and fixing barbed-wire fences, he begins sharing stories with her, tales of a dramatic life filled with both intense love and brutal violence—from the final conversations he had with his own father, to his extradition from the United States for murder, to his mother’s pride after he shot a man for the first time at the age of twelve.

     Written in spare, gripping prose, Bulletproof Vest is Venegas’s reckoning with her father’s difficult legacy. Moving between Mexico and New York, between past and present, Venegas traces her own life and her father’s as, over time, a new closeness and understanding develops between them. Bulletproof Vest opens with a harrowing ambush on Venegas’s father while he’s driving near his home in Mexico. He survives the assault—but years later the federales will find him dead near the very same curve, and his daughter will be left with not only the stories she inherited from him but also a better understanding of the violent undercurrent that shaped her father’s life as well as her own.

Maria Venegas was born in the state of Zacatecas, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was four years old. Bulletproof Vest was excerpted in Granta and The Guardian. Venegas’s short stories have appeared in Ploughshares and Huizache. She has taught creative writing at Hunter College and currently works as a mentor at Still Waters in a Storm, a reading and writing sanctuary for children in Brooklyn. She lives in New York City.

Monday, September 09, 2013

Me Before You – A Question for Jojo Moyes

I confess I had Me Before You in my eReader for a while before I finally was in the mental place to read it. I was urged on by a discussion with my coworkers. When I finally did read it, I read it in one fell swoop, over the course of 1-2 days during the weekend.

I remember a time when I read all the time. At night before I went to bed every day and sometimes throughout the day too. I have fond memories of breaking night in High School and reading books like the Witching Hour by Anne Rice in one night or sitting on a rooftop in Hunter College, or the Central Park Conservatory Garden and reading feminist or political nonfiction.

In light of that it's heartbreaking to think how it seems very hard now to dedicate time to reading at leisurely pace or even finishing a book. I read so many aggregated feeds a day, digest so much data from so many places that sometimes it feels like my head was spinning.

Anyhow, I did enjoy Me Before You, which will be made into a movie. I found it to be both unique and and resonated with me because I once was lost and forlorn very much in the same way. It was entertaining and offered a sense of comfort in both the traditional boy-girl save each other but also heartbreaking in a tragic sense. There was something very poetic about the liberation they both receive at the end of the story.


I was very curious the meaning behind the prominent feature of the biology book, The Red Queen: Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature by Matt Ridley, in the story. You see, this is a book I read in college.

Honestly, it was such a good book that I wish Matt Ridley would go back and write an updated version every couple of years. In Me Before You, the main character "Lou" or "Louisa" is encouraged to read it by her adult charge, who has become a quadriplegic.

Cover of "The Red Queen: Sex and the Evol...
Cover via Amazon
If I had the chance to ask Jojo Moyes, I would love to know why the Red Queen has such a noticeble placement in the story and hear the backstory. What did you make of it?

* Full disclore: I received an eGalley for review from the publisher.

 
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