Friday, November 13, 2015

#FridayReads:A House of My Own: Stories from My Life by Sandra Cisneros

The making of a Latina writer. Award-winning novelist, poet, and MacArthur Fellow Sandra Cisneros shares the stories of her life.

From the author of The House on Mango Street, a richly illustrated compilation of true stories and nonfiction pieces that, taken together, form a jigsaw autobiography—an intimate album of a beloved literary legend. 
From the Chicago neighborhoods where she grew up and set her groundbreaking The House on Mango Street to her abode in Mexico in a region where “my ancestors lived for centuries,” the places Sandra Cisneros has lived have provided inspiration for her now-classic works of fiction and poetry. But a house of her own, where she could truly take root, has eluded her. With this collection—spanning three decades, and including never-before-published work—Cisneros has come home at last.  
Ranging from the private (her parents’ loving and tempestuous marriage) to the political (a rallying cry for one woman’s liberty in Sarajevo) to the literary (a tribute to Marguerite Duras), and written with her trademark lyricism, these signature pieces recall transformative memories as well as reveal her defining artistic and intellectual influences. Poignant, honest, deeply moving, this is an exuberant celebration of a life in writing lived to the fullest.

Friday, November 06, 2015

#FridayReads: Twain & Stanley Enter Paradise by Oscar Hijuelos

TWAIN & STANLEY ENTER PARADISE, by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Oscar Hijuelos, is a luminous work of fiction inspired by the real-life, 37-year friendship between two towering figures of the late nineteenth century, famed writer and humorist Mark Twain and legendary explorer Sir Henry Morton Stanley. 
Hijuelos was fascinated by the Twain-Stanley connection and eventually began researching and writing a novel that used the scant historical record of their relationship as a starting point for a more detailed fictional account. It was a labor of love for Hijuelos, who worked on the project for more than ten years, publishing other novels along the way but always returning to Twain and Stanley; indeed, he was still revising the manuscript the day before his sudden passing in 2013. 
The resulting novel is a richly woven tapestry of people and events that is unique among the author's works, both in theme and structure. Hijuelos ingeniously blends correspondence, memoir, and third-person omniscience to explore the intersection of these Victorian giants in a long vanished world. 
From their early days as journalists in the American West, to their admiration and support of each other's writing, their mutual hatred of slavery, their social life together in the dazzling literary circles of the period, and even a mysterious journey to Cuba to search for Stanley's adoptive father, TWAIN & STANLEY ENTER PARADISE superbly channels two vibrant but very different figures. It is also a study of Twain's complex bond with Mrs. Stanley, the bohemian portrait artist Dorothy Tennant, who introduces Twain and his wife to the world of séances and mediums after the tragic death of their daughter.  
A compelling and deeply felt historical fantasia that utilizes the full range of Hijuelos' gifts, TWAIN & STANLEY ENTER PARADISE stands as an unforgettable coda to a brilliant writing career.

Friday, October 30, 2015

#FridayReads: The Japanese Lover by Isabel Allende

Isabel Allende has a new book out on November 3, 2015, The Japanese Lover, and it's already on listed on "Best Fall Books" everywhere.


From New York Times and internationally bestselling author Isabel Allende, an exquisitely crafted love story and multigenerational epic that sweeps from San Francisco in the present-day to Poland and the United States during the Second World War. 
In 1939, as Poland falls under the shadow of the Nazis, young Alma Belasco’s parents send her away to live in safety with an aunt and uncle in their opulent mansion in San Francisco. There, as the rest of the world goes to war, she encounters Ichimei Fukuda, the quiet and gentle son of the family’s Japanese gardener. 
Unnoticed by those around them, a tender love affair begins to blossom. Following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the two are cruelly pulled apart as Ichimei and his family—like thousands of other Japanese Americans—are declared enemies and forcibly relocated to internment camps run by the United States government. Throughout their lifetimes, Alma and Ichimei reunite again and again, but theirs is a love that they are forever forced to hide from the world. Decades later, Alma is nearing the end of her long and eventful life. Irina Bazili, a care worker struggling to come to terms with her own troubled past, meets the elderly woman and her grandson, Seth, at San Francisco’s charmingly eccentric Lark House nursing home. 
As Irina and Seth forge a friendship, they become intrigued by a series of mysterious gifts and letters sent to Alma, eventually learning about Ichimei and this extraordinary secret passion that has endured for nearly seventy years. Sweeping through time and spanning generations and continents, The Japanese Lover explores questions of identity, abandonment, redemption, and the unknowable impact of fate on our lives. 
Written with the same attention to historical detail and keen understanding of her characters that Isabel Allende has been known for since her landmark first novel The House of the Spirits, The Japanese Lover is a profoundly moving tribute to the constancy of the human heart in a world of unceasing change.
Born in Peru and raised in Chile, Isabel Allende is the author of eight novels, including, most recently, Zorro, Portrait in Sepia, and Daughter of Fortune. She has also written a collection of stories; three memoirs, including My Invented Country and Paula; and a trilogy of children's novels. Her books have been translated into more than twenty-seven languages and have become bestsellers across four continents. In 2004 she was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Isabel Allende lives in California.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Crimson Peak: Would you be mine?

Crimson Peak is a 2015 gothic romance-horror film directed by Guillermo del Toro and written by del Toro and Matthew Robbins, out now in theaters. I am very excited to see it.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Netflix and Chill: Beast of No Nation

Beasts of No Nation is a 2005 novel by the Nigerian-American, Harvard-educated author, Uzodinma Iweala, that takes its title from Fela Kuti's 1989 album with the same name. This year Netflix adapted it for film. A film which is so devastatingly engrossing and haunting that it will shake you to your core. It's a masterpiece of  the craft and not to be missed. 



Friday, August 21, 2015

#FridayReads: My Fight / Your Fight by Ronda Rousey

According to EarlyWord,  Paramount Pictures has bought the rights to the book and will cast Rousey in the starring role – playing herself.

“The fight is yours to win.”

In this inspiring and moving book, Ronda Rousey, the Olympic medalist in judo, reigning UFC women's bantamweight champion, and Hollywood star charts her difficult path to glory. 

Marked by her signature charm, barbed wit, and undeniable power, Rousey’s account of the toughest fights of her life—in and outside the Octagon—reveals the painful loss of her father when she was eight years old, the intensity of her judo training, her battles with love, her meteoric rise to fame, the secret behind her undefeated UFC record, and what it takes to become the toughest woman on Earth. 

Rousey shares hard-won lessons on how to be the best at what you do, including how to find fulfillment in the sacrifices, how to turn limitations into opportunities, and how to be the best on your worst day.

Packed with raw emotion, drama, and wisdom this is an unforgettable book by one of the most remarkable women in the world.

Ronda Rousey said she’s proud of her cultural heritage and is especially glad that she now has a platform to showcase her roots.
Ronda Rousey is the UFC’s undefeated women's bantamweight champion and an Olympic medalist in judo. Arguably the most dominant athlete in UFC history, Rousey is responsible for the inclusion of women in the Octagon. She has taken Hollywood with her signature force, landing roles in major films and exploding onto the scene with the drive, commitment, and command that has made her a champion.

Maria Burns Ortiz is a journalist who has written for numerous publications including ESPN.com, Fox News Latino, and the Associated Press and was named the National Association of Hispanic Journalists’ Emerging Journalist of the Year. She is also Ronda Rousey's sister. She lives with her husband and their three amazing kids.


Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Q&A with Ami Vega, Author of Designer Nails: Create Art at Your Fingertips

According to Univision, "Ami Vega is a force of nail art in NYC." Ami Vega is the creator of El Salonsito, the innovative nail art business and blog (elsalonsito.com) that brings art to people's fingertips. She has worked with such major beauty companies as Revlon, Essie, and Maybelline and her work has been featured in national and international publications. She also has a monthly showcase column in Scratch magazine in the UK. Since the launch of El Salonsito, Ami is often called on to provide her signature nail art on high-end fashion shoots and runway shows. She created a set of tutorial videos with Maybelline NY for Mercedes Benz Fashion Week and has created nail art for super models, celebrities such as Demi Lovato, Vh1’s Mob Wives, and even art royalty like Diana Picasso, granddaughter of Pablo Picasso. Other clients include Monika Chiang, Donna Karan, and Chado Ralph Rucci. 

With over 13,000 followers on Instagram, it's easy to see why she's a hit amongst beauty bloggers and fashionistas in the trip-state area. 

I recently had a chance to ask her a few questions and here is what she shared:


What have you been up to, Ami? 

Professionally, I've been working on quality nail care and educating my clients on the importance of nail care and how vital it is to showcasing perfect Designer Nails. I'm also working on opening my first full nail studio in Manhattan for 2016. As far as personally, I've been working on getting back into illustration, a passion I've had all my life and the foundation for what I do today with nails. I'll be launching a website for my illustration and prints, which will be for sale.


Why did you decide to publish a book?

My desire to create a book came from my desire to answer many of the questions I get asked via social media. A huge part of my following are girls who are heavily into nails and are eager to learn all the techniques to get perfect nails and nail art. At times I can't reply to every questions, so I felt this book was a great way to address all questions and provide all I know when it comes to great nails and nail care.

Where do you draw inspiration from?
I'm inspired from life. I literally look around for things around me, from the pattern of a leaf to a pattern on a woman's dress. I love art as well, one of the key inspirations in my life has been Keith Haring. I'm obsessed with lines and patterns. I'm also in love with the art of architecture, great masters like Frank Gehry truly fueled my love for geometric shapes, lines and forms.
Any advice for young Latinas?

Never lose sight of your goals, and know that the road to success is not a straight forward ride. You're going to hit bumps in the road, so sigue pa'lante and don't let them slow you down! Also, embrace the greatness that is you - as an Afro-Latina woman, I know certain odds are against me - but I work through them and love who I am and you should too!

Follow @Amivnails on instagram and be sure to get a copy of her book!




Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Q&A Michael Nava, Author of The City of Palaces

The City of Palaces published earlier this year won Best Latino Novel at the 2015 International Latino Book Awards. I had a chance to ask its author Michael Nava a few questions myself and here's what he shared:

Lit: What inspired you to write this book? 

MN: Of course, any book has many sources of inspiration. In this case, my immediate inspiration was my own family history. Like millions of other Mexican-Americans, I am descended from refugees from the Mexican revolution; my great-grandparents who fled in 1920 for California.

The Mexican Revolution is, along with the Russian Revolution, one of the two greatest 20th century revolutions and yet it is almost unknown in this country where it had a direct impact that continues through to this day; the first great wave of Mexican migration to the US. It's as if Irish-Americans knew nothing of the potato famine that drove their ancestors to this country. I wanted to tell that story because it is one that Americans, Latino and non-Latino, need to know.

Lit:Where do you draw inspiration from? 

MN: I draw my inspiration largely from my desire to tell the story of the disenfranchised, the outsiders and all those people -- whether, for example, LGBT or Latino/a -- whose histories have been suppressed or ignored. I am in the broadest sense a political writer. My politics don't get in the way of the story, but the stories I tell reflect my politics.

Lit: What's your writing routine like? 

MN: I write in the morning before going to my day job as a staff attorney at the California Supreme Court.

Lit: Which books have had a great effect on you? 

MN: As a young writer I read almost no fiction because I intended to be poet so until I was in my early 20s I really only read and studied and wrote poetry, everyone from Shakespeare (the sonnets) to modernists like Wallace Stevens, Eliot and Auden as well as a healthy dose of poets in translation from Pablo Neruda to CP Cavafy. From the poets I learned compression and the love of language which, as it turns out, are valuable tools for a novelist.

Lit: What advice do you have for young Latinos/as based on your own experiences? 

MN: Except for token figures, the mainstream literary establishment continues to ignore us. The City of Palaces was turned down by 13 New York publishers who said the same thing -- good book, but whose going to buy it. Since there are 33 million Mexican-Americans in this country what statement reveals is provincialism and ignorance. So, you must persevere, find ways to get your stories out the rest.


Friday, August 07, 2015

#FridayReads: Signs Preceding the End of the World by Yuri Herrera

I came across Signs Preceding the End of the World by Yuri Herrera in Flavorwire's 15 Best Fiction Books of 2015 So Far
Signs Preceding the End of the World is one of the most arresting novels to be published in Spanish in the last ten years. Yuri Herrera does not simply write about the border between Mexico and the United States and those who cross it. He explores the crossings and translations people make in their minds and language as they move from one country to another, especially when there’s no going back. 
Traversing this lonely territory is Makina, a young woman who knows only too well how to survive in a violent, macho world. Leaving behind her life in Mexico to search for her brother, she is smuggled into the USA carrying a pair of secret messages – one from her mother and one from the Mexican underworld. 
In this grippingly original novel Yuri Herrera explores the actual and psychological crossings and translations people make—with their feet, in their minds, and in their language as they move from one country to another, especially when there's no going back. 
Born in Actopan, Mexico, in 1970, Yuri Herrera studied in Mexico and El Paso and took his PhD at Berkeley. Signs Preceding the End of the World (Señales que precederán al fin del mundo) was shortlisted for the Rómulo Gallegos Prize and is being published in several languages. After publishing Signs Preceding the End of the World, And Other Stories will publish his two other novels in English, starting with The Transmigration of Bodies (La transmigración de los cuerpos) in 2016. He is currently teaching at the University of Tulane, in New Orleans. 
 

Friday, July 31, 2015

#FridayReads: Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

The book everyone is talking about right now: Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates. Go get it!
“This is your country, this is your world, this is your body, and you must find some way to live within the all of it.”

In a profound work that pivots from the biggest questions about American history and ideals to the most intimate concerns of a father for his son, Ta-Nehisi Coates offers a powerful new framework for understanding our nation’s history and current crisis. Americans have built an empire on the idea of “race,” a falsehood that damages us all but falls most heavily on the bodies of black women and men—bodies exploited through slavery and segregation, and, today, threatened, locked up, and murdered out of all proportion. 
What is it like to inhabit a black body and find a way to live within it? And how can we all honestly reckon with this fraught history and free ourselves from its burden?

Between the World and Me is Ta-Nehisi Coates’s attempt to answer these questions in a letter to his adolescent son. Coates shares with his son—and readers—the story of his awakening to the truth about his place in the world through a series of revelatory experiences, from Howard University to Civil War battlefields, from the South Side of Chicago to Paris, from his childhood home to the living rooms of mothers whose children’s lives were taken as American plunder. Beautifully woven from personal narrative, reimagined history, and fresh, emotionally charged reportage, Between the World and Me clearly illuminates the past, bracingly confronts our present, and offers a transcendent vision for a way forward.

Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle. Coates has received the National Magazine Award, the Hillman Prize for Opinion and Analysis Journalism, and the George Polk Award for his Atlantic cover story “The Case for Reparations.” He lives in New York with his wife and son.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Free Mp3 Download: Concha Buika's Latest "Vivir sin miedo"

Here's your chance to listen to a little Concha Buika,a Spanish singer who goes by the stage name Buika, you may not be familiar with but should be.

Her music will haunt you.

Her album Niña de Fuego was nominated for the 2008 Latin Grammy Award for Album of the Year and La Noche Mas Larga was nominated for Best Latin Jazz Album at the 56th Annual Grammy Awards in 2014.

Through Thursday, July 30, 2015, you can download and preview a single off her upcoming album here: Buika

Friday, July 10, 2015

Undocumented: A Dominican Boy’s Odyssey from a Homeless Shelter to the Ivy League by Dan-el Padilla Peralta

Undocumented: A Dominican Boy’s Odyssey from a Homeless Shelter to the Ivy League by Dan-el Padilla Peralta

An undocumented immigrant’s journey from a New York City homeless shelter to the top of his Princeton class


Dan-el Padilla Peralta has lived the American dream. As a boy, he came here legally with his family. Together they left Santo Domingo behind, but life in New York City was harder than they imagined. Their visas lapsed, and Dan-el’s father returned home. But Dan-el’s courageous mother was determined to make a better life for her bright sons.

Without papers, she faced tremendous obstacles. While Dan-el was only in grade school, the family joined the ranks of the city’s homeless. Dan-el, his mother, and brother lived in a downtown shelter where Dan-el’s only refuge was the meager library. There he met Jeff, a young volunteer from a wealthy family. Jeff was immediately struck by Dan-el’s passion for books and learning. With Jeff’s help, Dan-el was accepted on scholarship to Collegiate, the oldest private school in the country.

There, Dan-el thrived. Throughout his youth, Dan-el navigated these two worlds: the rough streets of East Harlem, where he lived with his brother and his mother and tried to make friends, and the ultra-elite halls of a Manhattan private school, where he could immerse himself in a world of books and where he soon rose to the top of his class.

From Collegiate, Dan-el went to Princeton, where he thrived, and where he made the momentous decision to come out as an undocumented student in a Wall Street Journal profile a few months before he gave the salutatorian’s traditional address in Latin at his commencement.

Undocumented is a classic story of the triumph of the human spirit. It also is the perfect cri de coeur for the debate on comprehensive immigration reform.


Born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Dan-el Padilla Peralta came to the United States with his family at the age of four. He received his BA summa cum laude from Princeton University, where he was chosen salutatorian of the class of 2006. He received his MPhil from the University of Oxford and his PhD in classics from Stanford University. He is currently a Mellon Research Fellow at Columbia University.

Friday, July 03, 2015

#FridayReads: The Gods of Tango by Carolina De Robertis

From one of the leading lights of contemporary Latin American literature—a lush, lyrical, deeply moving story of a young woman whose passion for the early sounds of tango becomes a force of profound and unexpected change.

February 1913: seventeen-year-old Leda, carrying only a small trunk and her father’s cherished violin, leaves her Italian village for a new home, and a new husband, in Argentina. Arriving in Buenos Aires, she discovers that he has been killed, but she remains: living in a tenement, without friends or family, on the brink of destitution. Still, she is seduced by the music that underscores life in the city: tango, born from lower-class immigrant voices, now the illicit, scandalous dance of brothels and cabarets. 

Leda eventually acts on a long-held desire to master the violin, knowing that she can never play in public as a woman. She cuts off her hair, binds her breasts, and becomes “Dante,” a young man who joins a troupe of tango musicians bent on conquering the salons of high society. Now, gradually, the lines between Leda and Dante begin to blur, and feelings that she has long kept suppressed reveal themselves, jeopardizing not only her musical career, but her life. 

Richly evocative of place and time, its prose suffused with the rhythms of the tango, its narrative at once resonant and gripping, this is De Robertis’s most accomplished novel yet.


CAROLINA DE ROBERTIS was raised in England, Switzerland, and California by Uruguayan parents. She is the author of two previous novels, Perla and The Invisible Mountain (a Best Book of 2009 according to theSan Francisco Chronicle, O, The Oprah Magazine, and Booklist), the recipient of Italy’s Rhegium Julii Prize, and a 2012 fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. She has spent the past year living in Uruguay, but her permanent home is in Oakland, CA.

Friday, May 29, 2015

#FridayReads: The Domino Diaries: My Decade Boxing with Olympic Champions and Chasing Hemingway's Ghost in the Last Days of Castro's Cuba by Brin-Jonathan Butler

The Domino Diaries: My Decade Boxing with Olympic Champions and Chasing Hemingway's Ghost in the Last Days of Castro's Cuba by Brin-Jonathan Butler:

A powerful and lively work of immersive journalism, Brin-Jonathan Butler's story of his time chasing the American dream through Cuba

Whether he’s hustling his way into Mike Tyson’s mansion for an interview, betting his life savings on a boxing match (against the favorite), becoming romantically entangled with one of Fidel Castro’s granddaughters, or simply manufacturing press credentials to go where he wants—Brin-Jonathan Butler has always been the "act first, ask permission later" kind of journalist.

This book is the culmination of Butler’s decade spent in the trenches of Havana, trying to understand a culture perplexing to westerners: one whose elite athletes regularly forgo multimillion-dollar opportunities to stay in Cuba and box for their country, while living in penury. Butler’s fascination with this distinctly Cuban idealism sets him off on a remarkable journey, training with, befriending, and the champion boxers that Cuba seems to produce more than any other country.

In the process, though, Butler gets to know the landscape of the exhilaratingly warm Cuban culture—and starts to question where he feels most at home. In the tradition of Michael Lewis and John Jeremiah Sullivan, Butler is a keen and humane storyteller, and the perfect guide for this riotous tour through the streets of Havana.

BRIN-JONATHAN BUTLER is a writer and filmmaker. His work has appeared in ESPN Magazine, Vice, Deadspin, The Wall Street Journal, Salon, and The New York Times. Butler’s documentary, Split Decision, is Butler’s examination of Cuban American relations and the economic and cultural paradoxes that have shaped them since Castro’s revolution, through the lens of elite Cuban boxers forced to choose between remaining in Cuba or defecting to America.

Friday, May 08, 2015

#FridayReads: Sofrito by Phillippe Diederich

Sofrito by Phillippe Diederich:

A Cuban-American travels to Havana searching for a secret recipe where he finds love and the truth about his father.


"In this entertaining debut novel, Frank Delgado tries to save his failing restaurant by returning to Cuba, his dead father's homeland, to get ahold of a top-secret chicken recipe. But there is more than delicious chicken at stake here. Food is the road home-geographically, emotionally, metaphorically. Peppered with cooking advice from chefs, ordinary folks, and celebrities including Fidel Castro himself (an advocate of pork), Phillipe Diederich's Sofrito is a love letter to the deepest recesses of nostalgia's heart."-Cristina Garcia, author of Dreaming in Cuban and King of Cuba

Frank Delgado is no thief. He co-owns a failing Cuban restaurant in Manhattan's Upper East Side. The restaurant, like Frank, is rudderless. Lost. He decides he'll save the restaurant by traveling to Cuba to steal the legendary chicken recipe from the famed El Ajillo restaurant in Havana. The recipe is a state secret, so prized that no cook knows the whole recipe. But Frank's rationale is ironclad-Fidel stole the secret from his family, so he will steal it back. He will triumphantly bring that recipe back to Manhattan and turn his fortunes around.

Frank has no interest in Cuba. His parents fled after the Revolution. His dead father spent his life erasing all traces of Cuba from his heart with barbeques, television, lawn mowing and alcohol. So Frank is not prepared for the real Cuba. Sure, he gets beat up and almost killed, the secret service threatens him, but in the midst of the chaos, he falls in love with a prostitute and the city, and he unwraps the heroic story of his parents' life. Cuba begins to bind Frank together, the way a good sofrito binds the flavors of a Cuban dish.

Phillippe Diederich is a Haitian-American writer. Born in the Dominican Republic, he was raised in Mexico City and Miami. His parents were kicked out of Haiti by the dictatorship of Papa Doc Duvalier in 1963. He spent his youth listening to his parents and friends talking politics and nostalgically dreaming of the day they would return to Haiti. In 1980, the family moved to Miami, where they joined a community of exiles from all parts of Latin America-Cuba, Chile, Argentina, Nicaragua, El Salvador. Like other children of exiles, Diederich grew up without his relatives-grandparents, cousins, uncles, aunts.

Diederich traveled repeatedly to Cuba as a photojournalist throughout the 1990s. He has an MFA in creative writing from the University of South Florida and lives in Florida. This is his first novel.

Friday, April 10, 2015

#FridayReads: Mi Comida Latina: Vibrant, Fresh, Simple, Authentic by Marcella Kriebel

Mi Comida Latina: Vibrant, Fresh, Simple, Authentic by Marcella Kriebel

A stunning, hand-lettered and fully cookbook featuring more than 100 authentic recipes collected from home kitchens across Latin America.

Discovered as a successful self-published Kickstarter project, Mi Comida Latina captures the warmth and depth of culinary traditions in Mexico, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia and Puerto Rico. Artist/author Marcella Kriebel’s vivid, charming watercolors accompany more than 100 recipes including arepas, tamales, ceviches, fish tacos, salsas, flan, spicy micheladas and icy watermelon paletas, plus traditional kitchen tools, techniques and practical tips for choosing and preparing mango, cactus, yucca, coconut and other produce. Every page is a joyous work of art.


Marcella Kriebel is an artist, food enthusiast, and cookbook author. She lives in Washington, D.C.





Friday, April 03, 2015

#FridayReads: Empanadas: The Hand-Held Pies of Latin America by Sandra Gutierrez

Empanadas: The Hand-Held Pies of Latin America by Sandra Gutierrez

In Empanadas, cookbook author, recipe developer, and Latin America native Sandra Gutierrez delves deep into the world of empanadas, teaching home and professional cooks everything they need to know about these delicious hand-held pies. 

Found from New York to Los Angeles, from Mexico to Brazil and into the Latin Caribbean, empanadas are the most widely eaten hand-held pies in the world. They can be filled with a marvelous array of ingredients featuring simple, vibrant flavors and can make a perfect snack, everyday meal, decadent dessert, or great party fare. 

Empanadas offers a collection of the most delicious recipes and essential tips on creating the perfect mini pie for any occasion, from Argentinian cheesy spinach empanadas, crispy Mexican chorizo and potato pies with tomatillo salsa, and flaky Brazilian shrimp and tomato empanadas to Costa Rican empanaditas stuffed with gooey pineapple jam. 

With an introduction on the history of empanadas, a lesson on dough types and folding techniques, 60 succulent recipes, and mouthwatering color photographs throughout, Empanadas is a beautiful, practical, and definitive guide to making, serving, and enjoying everyone’s favorite hand-held pie.





Sandra A. Gutierrez grew up in Guatemala, is an expert on Latin American cuisine, and is the author of The New Southern-Latino Table and Latin American Street Food. She teaches cooking classes and blogs at sandraskitchen.typepad.com.

Friday, March 27, 2015

#FridayReads: Where the Bird Sings Best by Alejandro Jodorowsky

Where the Bird Sings Best by Alejandro Jodorowsky:

The magnum opus from Alejandro Jodorowsky—director of The Holy Mountain, star of Jodorowsky’s Dune, spiritual guru behind Psychomagic and The Way of Tarot, innovator behind classic comics The Incal and Metabarons, and legend of Latin American literature.


There has never been an artist like the polymathic Chilean director, author, and mystic Alejandro Jodorowsky. For eight decades, he has blazed new trails across a dazzling variety of creative fields. While his psychedelic, visionary films have been celebrated by the likes of John Lennon, Marina Abramovic, and Kanye West, his novels—praised throughout Latin America in the same breath as those of Gabriel García Márquez—have remained largely unknown in the English-speaking world. Until now. 

Where the Bird Sings Best tells the fantastic story of the Jodorowskys’ emigration from Ukraine to Chile amidst the political and cultural upheavals of the 19th and 20th centuries. Like One Hundred Years of Solitude, Jodorowsky’s book transforms family history into heroic legend: incestuous beekeepers hide their crime with a living cloak of bees, a czar fakes his own death to live as a hermit amongst the animals, a devout grandfather confides only in the ghost of a wise rabbi, a transgender ballerina with a voracious sexual appetite holds a would-be saint in thrall. Kaleidoscopic, exhilarating, and erotic, Where the Bird Sings Best expands the classic immigration story to mythic proportions.

Alejandro Jodorowsky was born to Ukrainian Jewish immigrants in Tocopilla, Chile. At twenty-three, he left for Paris to pursue theater and the arts, and has lived there ever since. His classic films include The Holy Mountain, El Topo, Santa Sangre, and, most recently, The Dance of Reality. A prolific author, he has written novels, poetry, short stories, essays, and more than thirty successful comic books. 

Friday, March 20, 2015

#FridayReads: The End of the Rainy Season: Discovering My Family's Hidden Past in Brazil by Marian Lindberg

The End of the Rainy Season: Discovering My Family's Hidden Past in Brazil by Marian Lindberg:

Marian Lindberg grew up being told that Walter Lindberg, the man who raised her father, was a brave explorer who had been murdered in the Amazon. She took her father's claims at face value, basking in her exotic roots, until she started to notice things. The unverified legend became a riddle she couldn't solve.

As Lindberg moved from journalism to law, fell in love, and sought a family of her own, her father repeatedly interfered. He had a closed vision of his family, and she-unlike the silent Walter-was breaking out.

Yet her father's story of the past haunted Lindberg. Long after her father's death, Lindberg set off for the Amazon, determined to find out the truth about Walter. Aided by generous Brazilians who adopted her search as if it were their own, she discovered as much about herself and her family as about Walter, whose true role in Brazil's history turned out to be unexpected and deeply troubling.

Sharply observant, wrought with honesty, and sweeping in its ambitions, The End of the Rainy Season is a powerful examination of identity and human relationships with nature, and between one another.



A lawyer and photographer as well as a writer, Marian E. Lindberg works in New York as Senior Staff Writer for The Nature Conservancy, an international environmental organization with programs throughout the United States and in over thirty countries, including Brazil, where much of The End of the Rainy Season takes place. Lindberg has lived in eastern Long Island with her son since 2005. She enjoys music and outdoor activities and has traveled extensively.

Friday, March 13, 2015

#FridayReads: The Wisdom of Perversity by Rafael Yglesias

The Wisdom of Perversity by Rafael Yglesias

I should have told. Julie’s right: I would have saved dozens of others. Jeff, Julie, Sam, the academy kids, the Huck Finn boys, everyone else was ignorant or greedy or scared or confused or overwhelmed by bullies, but I was strong enough—I could’ve pushed him away. I did push him away. I saved myself and let everyone else suffer. Me and the god of creation—we’re the villains of this story.

Brian and Jeff were best friends, growing up together in New York City in the late 1960s. Then something happened that drove a wedge between them, ending both their friendship and their childhood, something that neither ever spoke about . . . at least until their shared secret resurfaced some forty years later, forcing them to reunite and, along with Jeff’s cousin Julie, to face the consequences of their years of silence.

In The Wisdom of Perversity, Rafael Yglesias, the critically acclaimed, bestselling novelist and screenwriter and the author of A Happy Marriage, winner of the Los Angeles Times Fiction Prize, and Fearless, the basis for the cult film by the same name, has crafted a novel that tells the stories of three childhood friends who join together as adults to acknowledge the ways in which their lives were altered by the actions of a predator, a predator who now, many years later, has been exposed by more recent victims yet is on the verge of escaping punishment--thanks to his wealth and influence.

Damaged in different ways by the events of the past but all sharing the same feelings of guilt and anger for allowing this man to go unpunished, leaving him free to abuse others, Julie, Jeff, and Brian band together to force a public outcry that will assure that he will finally face justice. With a tone that cleverly mixes humor with stark reality, The Wisdom of Perversity is a groundbreaking novel that by giving a voice to the youthful victims of sexual abuse will inspire both praise and debate.


Rafael Yglesias is a novelist and screenwriter, the son of writers Jose Yglesias and Helen Yglesias, who instilled in him the need to aim for psychological realism in his writing. Raised in Manhattan, he dropped out of high school to finish his first novel, Hide Fox, and All After, which was published in 1972. After writing three novels by the age of twenty-one, he stopped writing books between 1976 and 1984 and concentrated on starting a family, making a living by writing screenplays, none of which was produced. 

He returned to novels in 1986 with Hot Properties, followed by Only Children in 1988, The Murderer Next Door in 1990, Fearless in 1993, and Dr. Neruda's Cure for Evil in 1996. He also resumed writing screenplays, with the first to be produced, Fearless, based on his own novel. In all he has had five films produced. After the publication of Dr. Neruda's Cure for Evil, Yglesias took another break from writing novels, mostly because of the illness and death of his wife. He returned to novels with the publication of A Happy Marriage, an autobiographical story of his first marriage. It was awarded the 2009 Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Fiction and became a bestseller. His website is www.rafaelyglesias.com.

#FridayReads: Mexico by James A. Michener

Mexico James A. Michener

The classic novel from Michener, in trade paperback for the first time, featuring a new introduction by Steve Berry.



Pulitzer Prize-winning author James A. Michener, whose novels hurtle from the far reaches of history to the dark corners of the world, paints an intoxicating portrait of a land whose past and present are as turbulent, fascinating, and colorful as any on Earth. 

When an American journalist travels to report on the upcoming duel between two great matadors, he is ultimately swept up in the dramatic story of his own Mexican ancestry—from the brilliance and brutality of the ancients, to the iron fist of the invading Spaniards, to the modern Mexico fighting through dust and bloodshed to build a nation upon the ashes of revolution. Architectural splendors, frenzied bullfights, horrific human sacrifice: 

Michener weaves them all into an epic human story that ranks with the best of his beloved bestselling novels.


JAMES A. MICHENER, one of the world’s most popular writers, was the author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Tales of the South Pacific, the bestselling novels The Source, Texas, Chesapeake, The Covenant, and Hawaii, and the memoir The World Is My Home. Michener served on the advisory council to NASA and the International Broadcast Board, which oversees the Voice of America. Among dozens of awards and honors, he received America’s highest civilian award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, in 1977, and an award from the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities in 1983 for his commitment to art in America. Michener died in 1997 at the age of ninety.

Friday, March 06, 2015

#FridayReads: The Dream of My Return by Horacio Castellanos Moya

The Dream of My Return by Horacio Castellanos Moya:

A high-octane paranoia deranges a writer and fuels a dangerous plan to return home to El Salvador.


Drinking way too much and breaking up with his wife, an exiled journalist in Mexico City dreams of returning home to El Salvador. But is it really a dream or a nightmare? When he decides to treat his liver pain with hypnosis, his few impulse-control mechanisms rapidly dissolve. Hair-brained schemes, half-mad arguments, unraveling murder plots, hysterical rants: everything escalates at a maniacal pace, especially the crazy humor.

Horacio Castellanos Moya was born 1957 in Honduras. He has lived in San Salvador, Canada, Costa Rica, Mexico (where he spent ten years as a journalist, editor, and political analyst), Spain, and Germany. In 1988 he won the National Novel Prize from Central American University for his first novel. His work has been published and translated in England, Germany, El Salvador and Costa Rica. He has published ten novels and is now living in exile as part of the City of Asylum project in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

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.
 
Web Analytics