Showing posts with label Miami. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Miami. Show all posts

Friday, September 26, 2014

#FridayReads: The Prince of los Cocuyos: A Miami Childhood by Richard Blanco

A poignant, hilarious, and inspiring memoir from the first Latino and openly gay inaugural poet, which explores his coming-of-age as the child of Cuban immigrants and his attempts to understand his place in America while grappling with his burgeoning artistic and sexual identities.

Richard Blanco’s childhood and adolescence were experienced between two imaginary worlds: his parents’ nostalgic world of 1950s Cuba and his imagined America, the country he saw on reruns of The Brady Bunch and Leave it to Beaver—an “exotic” life he yearned for as much as he yearned to see “la patria.”

Navigating these worlds eventually led Blanco to question his cultural identity through words; in turn, his vision as a writer—as an artist—prompted the courage to accept himself as a gay man. In this moving, contemplative memoir, the 2013 inaugural poet traces his poignant, often hilarious, and quintessentially American coming-of-age and the people who influenced him.

A prismatic and lyrical narrative rich with the colors, sounds, smells, and textures of Miami, Richard Blanco’s personal narrative is a resonant account of how he discovered his authentic self and ultimately, a deeper understanding of what it means to be American. His is a singular yet universal story that beautifully illuminates the experience of “becoming;” how we are shaped by experiences, memories, and our complex stories: the humor, love, yearning, and tenderness that define a life. 

Richard Blanco was born in Madrid in 1968 and immigrated as an infant with his Cuban-exile family to New York, then Miami, where he was raised and educated, earning a BS in civil engineering and an MFA in creative writing. An accomplished author, engineer, and educator, Blanco is a Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow and has received honorary doctorates from Macalester College, Colby College, and the University of Rhode Island. Following in the footsteps of such great writers as Robert Frost and Maya Angelou, in 2013 Blanco was chosen as the fifth inaugural poet of the United States, becoming the youngest, first Latino, first immigrant, and first gay writer to hold the honor. 

His prizewinning books include City of a Hundred Fires, Directions to the Beach of the Dead, Looking for The Gulf Motel, and For All of Us, One Today: An Inaugural Poet's Journey. His awards include the Agnes Starrett Poetry Prize from the University of Pittsburgh Press, the Beyond Margins Award from the PEN American Center, the Patterson Poetry Prize, and the Thom Gunn Award.

Friday, September 12, 2014

#FridayReads: A Cup of Water Under My Bed by Daisy Hernandez

A coming-of-age memoir by a Colombian-Cuban woman about shaping lessons from home into a new, queer life

In this lyrical, coming-of-age memoir, Daisy Hernández chronicles what the women in her Cuban-Colombian family taught her about love, money, and race. Her mother warns her about envidia and men who seduce you with pastries, while one tía bemoans that her niece is turning out to be “una india” instead of an American. Another auntie instructs that when two people are close, they are bound to become like uña y mugre, fingernails and dirt, and that no, Daisy’s father is not godless. He’s simply praying to a candy dish that can be traced back to Africa. 

These lessons—rooted in women’s experiences of migration, colonization, y cariño—define in evocative detail what it means to grow up female in an immigrant home. In one story, Daisy sets out to defy the dictates of race and class that preoccupy her mother and tías, but dating women and transmen, and coming to identify as bisexual, leads her to unexpected questions. In another piece, NAFTA shuts local factories in her hometown on the outskirts of New York City, and she begins translating unemployment forms for her parents, moving between English and Spanish, as well as private and collective fears. In prose that is both memoir and commentary, Daisy reflects on reporting for the New York Times as the paper is rocked by the biggest plagiarism scandal in its history and plunged into debates about the role of race in the newsroom.

A heartfelt exploration of family, identity, and language, A Cup of Water Under My Bed is ultimately a daughter’s story of finding herself and her community, and of creating a new, queer life.

Daisy Hernández grew up in Fairview, New Jersey in a Cuban-Colombian family. She's worked at the New York Times, Jenny Craigs, McDonald's, and ColorLines magazine (though not in that order) and has made home in Virginia, Florida, California, England, and the Upper East Side (though again not in that order). She is the author of "A Cup of Water Under My Bed: A Memoir" (Beacon Press, 2014) and coeditor of the anthology "Colonize This! Young Women of Color on Today's Feminism" (Seal Press, 2002). 

Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, the National Catholic Reporter, bitch magazine, Ms. magazine, the Christian Science Monitor, Fourth Genre, and Bellingham Review. A former editor of ColorLines magazine, she has an MFA in fiction from the University of Miami and an MA in Latin American Studies and Journalism from New York University.

Monday, May 27, 2013

2013 Book List: What you should read this summer

No matter your preference, here is a summer reading list to whet every bookish apetite:

The House of Impossible Loves By Cristina Lopez Barrio
An “exuberant” debut novel of a family bound by searing passions, an earthy magic, and a very unusual curse

Crossing Over: A Mexican Family on the Migrant Trail by Rubén Martínez 
Hailed as "valuable," "passionate," and "terrific," Crossing Over puts a human face on the phenomenon of Mexican immigration and the vibrant Latino culture it introduces to the U.S., and remains a beautifully written classic of our time.

The Honest Life: Living Naturally and True to You by Jessica Alba 
The Honest Life recounts Alba’s personal journey of discovery and reveals her tips for making healthy living fun, real, and stylish, while offering a candid look inside her home and daily life.

King of Cuba: A Novel by Cristina Garcia
Vivid and alive, Cristina García’s new novel transports readers to Cuba, to Miami, and into the heads of two larger-than-life men—a fictionalized Fidel Castro and an octogenarian Cuban exile obsessed with seeking revenge against the dictator.

A Crack in the Wall By Claudia Pineiro
Claudia Piñeiro once again demonstrates her capacity to reveal the things hidden behind the facades of our existence; human relationships based on habit and cowardice, rather than love; on excessive ambition and personal gain, rather than morality.

Soccer in Sun and Shadow By Eduardo Galeano 
Soccer is a game that bureaucrats try to dull and the powerful try to manipulate, but it retains its magic because it remains a bewitching game—“a feast for the eyes ... and a joy for the body that plays it”—exquisitely rendered in the magical stories of Soccer in Sun and Shadow.

Barbecued Husbands: And Other Stories From The Amazon By Betty Mindlin 
Reading like a novel, this is an oral history suffused with magic realism.The stories recounted in Barbecued Husbands are as old as humanity: love and hate, jealousy and revenge, life after death, totems and taboos, erotic solitude, romantic love, mothers and daughters, masculinity.

Tattoo By Manuel Vazquez Montalban 
In a Spain still stifled under the rule of Franco, former CIA operative--and former Commnist--Pepe Carvalho has become so cynical he seems to care about nothing except food and sex. He's even taken to burning the occasional book in his Barcelona apartment, just so he can have a fire going in the fireplace when he eats some bacalhao. But when he sees the cops bungling a case he's hired to investigate--that of a body pulled out of the sea--he's roused by a sense of injustice.

The Telling Room: A Tale of Love, Betrayal, Revenge, and the World's Greatest Piece of Cheese By Michael Paterniti
A moving exploration of happiness, friendship, and betrayal, The Telling Room introduces us to Ambrosio Molinos de las Heras, an unforgettable real-life literary hero, while also holding a mirror up to the world, fully alive to the power of stories that define and sustain us.

Race, Monogamy, and Other Lies They Told You: Busting Myths about Human Nature By Agustín Fuentes
Presenting scientific evidence from diverse fields, including anthropology, biology, and psychology, Fuentes devises a myth-busting toolkit to dismantle persistent fallacies about the validity of biological races, the innateness of aggression and violence, and the nature of monogamy and differences between the sexes.

Shut Up, You're Welcome: Thoughts on Life, Death, and Other Inconveniences By Annie Choi 
Each of Choi’s personal essays begins with an open letter to someone (babies) or something (the San Fernando Valley) she has a beef with.
 
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