Showing posts with label San Francisco. Show all posts
Showing posts with label San Francisco. Show all posts

Friday, November 07, 2014

#FridayReads: The Heart Has Its Reasons by Maria Duenas

English: San Francisco harbor (Yerba Buena Cov...
 San Francisco harbor (Yerba Buena Cove), 1850 or 1851, with Yerba Buena Island in the background. Daguerrotype. . (Photo: Wikipedia)
Declared “a writer to watch” (Publishers Weekly, starred review), New York Times bestselling author María Dueñas pours heart and soul into this story of a woman who discovers the power of second chances.

With her debut novel The Time in Between, María Dueñas garnered outstanding acclaim and inspired a TV series, dubbed the “Spanish Downton Abbey” by the media. 

USA TODAY said of the book: “From a terrific opening line to the final page, chapters zip by at a pulsing pace.” Now Dueñas returns with a novel about a heartbroken woman’s attempt to pick up the pieces of her shattered world.

Blanca Perea is a college professor in Madrid who seems to have it all. But her perfect career and marriage start to unravel when her husband of twenty years suddenly leaves her for another woman. Devastated, Blanca is forced to question the life she once had and how well she truly knows herself. 

She leaves Madrid for San Francisco, where she becomes entrenched in the history of an enigmatic Spanish writer who died decades earlier. The more Blanca discovers about this man, the more she is enthralled by the ill-fated loves, half truths, and silent ambitions that haunted his life.

With lush, imaginative prose and unforgettable characters, The Heart Has Its Reasons is a journey of the soul that takes readers from Spain to California, between the thorny past and all-too-real present. It is a story about the thrill of creating one’s life anew.

Friday, October 18, 2013

#FridayReads: At Night We Walk in Circles: A Novel by Daniel Alarcon

Out at the end of the month:

At Night We Walk in Circles: A Novel by Daniel Alarcon  is described as a breakout book from a prizewinning young writer: a breathtaking, suspenseful story of one man’s obsessive search to find the truth of another man’s downfall:

Nelson’s life is not turning out the way he hoped. His girlfriend is sleeping with another man, his brother has left their South American country, leaving Nelson to care for their widowed mother, and his acting career can’t seem to get off the ground. That is, until he lands a starring role in a touring revival of The Idiot President, a legendary play by Nelson’s hero, Henry Nunez, leader of the storied guerrilla theater troupe Diciembre. And that’s when the real trouble begins.

The tour takes Nelson out of the shelter of the city and across a landscape he’s never seen, which still bears the scars of the civil war. With each performance, Nelson grows closer to his fellow actors, becoming hopelessly entangled in their complicated lives, until, during one memorable performance, a long-buried betrayal surfaces to force the troupe into chaos.

Nelson’s fate is slowly revealed through the investigation of the narrator, a young man obsessed with Nelson’s story—and perhaps closer to it than he lets on. In sharp, vivid, and beautiful prose, Alarcón delivers a compulsively readable narrative and a provocative meditation on fate, identity, and the large consequences that can result from even our smallest choices.

English: Writer Daniel Alarcón at the Mercanti...
 (Photo: Wikipedia)
Daniel Alarcón is author of the critically-acclaimed story collection War by Candlelight, and the novel Lost City Radio, winner of the 2009 International Literature Prize. His writing has appeared in Granta, n+1, and Harper’s, and he has been named one of The New Yorker’s “20 Under 40.” Alarcón is Executive Producer of Radio Ambulante, a Spanish-language storytelling podcast, and he lives in San Francisco

Friday, October 04, 2013

#FridayReads: Darling: A Spiritual Autobiography by Richard Rodriguez

An award–winning writer delivers a major reckoning with religion, place, and sexuality in the aftermath of 9/11

Hailed in The Washington Post as “one of the most eloquent and probing public intellectuals in America,” Richard Rodriguez now considers religious violence worldwide, growing public atheism in the West, and his own mortality.

Rodriguez’s stylish new memoir—the first book in a decade from the Pulitzer Prize finalist—Darling, moves from Jerusalem to Silicon Valley, from Moses to Liberace, from Lance Armstrong to Mother Teresa. Rodriguez is a homosexual who writes with love of the religions of the desert that exclude him. 

He is a passionate, unorthodox Christian who is always mindful of his relationship to Judaism and Islam because of a shared belief in the God who revealed himself within an ecology of emptiness. And at the center of this book is a consideration of women—their importance to Rodriguez’s spiritual formation and their centrality to the future of the desert religions.

Only a mind as elastic and refined as Rodriguez’s could bind these threads together into this wonderfully complex tapestry. Richard Rodriguez is a journalist, essayist, and author whose books include Days of Obligation, Brown, and Hunger of Memory. He is a contributor to Harper’s Magazine, Mother Jones, the Los Angeles Times, and Time. He lives in San Francisco.

Friday, June 07, 2013

The New Extension of the Quantified Self: Your Quantified Pet

Two stories demonstrate how this trend is progressing:


Startup Whistle has designed an activity tracker that clips on to your dog’s collar, but its core offering is a cloud-based analytics service designed to quantify your pet’s health. via Giga Om

Now we won't need to wonder so much about what our pets are up to when we aren't looking.

Happy Friday!


Tuesday, April 30, 2013

New Book: Mama's Child

I read Mama's Child by Joan Steinau Lester in one day. It was that gripping and enticing, a tale about identity, race, denial and fealty. I almost stopped reading the book immediately at the begin when I realized their dog was named "Che" but honestly this book blurb does not do this book justice. It definitely resonated with me.

A stunning tale about the deeply entrenched conflicts between a white mother and her biracial daughter.

Mama’s Child is story of an idealistic young white woman who traveled to the American South as a civil rights worker, fell in love with an African American man, and started a family in San Francisco, where the more liberal city embraced them—except when it didn’t. They raise a son and daughter, but the tensions surrounding them have a negative impact on their marriage, and they divorce when their children are still young. For their biracial daughter, this split further destabilizes her already challenged sense of self—“Am I black or white?” she must ask herself, “Where do I belong?” Is she her father’s daughter alone?

As the years pass, the chasm between them widens, even as the mother attempts to hold on to the emotional chord that binds them. It isn’t until the daughter, Ruby, herself becomes a wife and mother that she begins to develop compassion and understanding for the many ways that her own mother’s love transcended race and questions of identity.''

Joan Steinau Lester, Ed.D., is an award-winning journalist and author of four critically acclaimed books. Her writing has appeared in many newspapers and magazines, including Essence, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, and Cosmopolitan. She lives in Northern California.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Book Giveaway: Bird of Paradise: How I Became Latina

Here's your chance to win 1 of 3 signed copies of Bird of Paradise: How I Became Latina by Raquel Cepeda. Raquel and her publisher were gracious enough to offer a few copies and will be personally filling us in on the back story of the book in a week or two.

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

In 2009, when Raquel Cepeda almost lost her estranged father to heart disease, she was terrified she’d never know the truth about her ancestry. Every time she looked in the mirror, Cepeda saw a mystery—a tapestry of races and ethnicities that came together in an ambiguous mix. 

With time running out, she decided to embark on an archaeological dig of sorts by using the science of ancestral DNA testing to excavate everything she could about her genetic history. Digging through memories long buried, she embarks upon a journey not only into her ancestry but also into her own history. 

Born in Harlem to Dominican parents, she was sent to live with her maternal grandparents in the Paraíso (Paradise) district in Santo Domingo while still a baby. It proved to be an idyllic reprieve in her otherwise fraught childhood. Paraíso came to mean family, home, belonging. When Cepeda returned to the US, she discovered her family constellation had changed. Her mother had a new, abusive boyfriend, who relocated the family to San Francisco. 

 When that relationship fell apart, Cepeda found herself back in New York City with her father and European stepmother: attending tennis lessons and Catholic schools; fighting vicious battles wih her father, who discouraged her from expressing the Dominican part of her hyphenated identity; and immersed in the ’80s hip-hop culture of uptown Manhattan. It was in these streets, through the prism of hip-hop and the sometimes loving embrace of her community, that Cepeda constructed her own identity. 

 Years later, when Cepeda had become a successful journalist and documentary filmmaker, the strands of her DNA would take her further, across the globe and into history. Who were her ancestors? How did they—and she—become Latina? Her journey, as the most unforgettable ones often do, would lead her to places she hadn’t expected to go. With a vibrant lyrical prose and fierce honesty, Cepeda parses concepts of race, identity, and ancestral DNA among Latinos by using her own Dominican-American story as one example, and in the process arrives at some sort of peace with her father.

Raquel Cepeda is an award-winning journalist, cultural activist, and documentary filmmaker. A former magazine editor, her byline has appeared in The Village Voice,, the Associated Press, and many others. Cepeda directed and produced Bling: A Planet Rock, the critically acclaimed documentary about American hip-hop culture’s obsession with diamonds. She lives with her husband, a writer and TV producer, daughter, and son in her beloved New York City.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A Short List of Literary Maps

Maps: The original infographic.

A Literary Map of Manhattan

A Literary map of St. Petersburg

A Literary Map of Canada (1936)

A Literary Map of San Francisco

Tour the The Book Drum World Map here - an interactive crowd-sourced literary world map.

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