Saturday, December 27, 2008

Twitter - Incredible

News items like this: Man Blogs During Plane Crash, Lives To Twitter The Tale continuously amaze me!

Some interesting & free stuff:

If you have a Sony eReader, go to the following link, and they will offer you 9 free ebooks download, it's in the center of home page.

FREE - Robin Cook's 'Foreign Body' Webseries on ITUNES / Web
The 50 episode 'Foreign Body' webseries is FREE on Itunes & the web. This is a prequel to Robin Cook's thriller 'Foreign Body' on medical tourism. On Itunes, the episodes are in the form of podcasts.Itunes: Just search for "Foreign Body" in Itunes and download the podcasts.

The book:
Episodes on Web:

Authors pick 2008 favorite Latino books offers January 2009 calendar

Each month, the Calendar offers quick classroom activities, lesson plans, Web links, and texts pertaining to various reading–related and general interest events. Here is a sampling of the links for January. There also are links relating to other noted authors and events, and more. For further information, visit the website. The is a nonprofit website maintained by the International Reading Association and the National Council of Teachers of English with support from the Verizon Foundation, and in association with the Thinkfinity consortium. Visit the main site.

Miami Herald names Junot Diaz’s novel top literature event of the year

A Bookstore Comes to East Harlem: The book stops here: Neighborhood store determined to survive

Free ebook download: "Thriving on Less" from

The eBook market has yet another new player: the Foxit eSlick $229 USD here [via Tech Digest]

Friday, December 26, 2008

Happy B'day, Mami; Happy Kwanzaa and....

This post has been a long time coming and here I am tardy as usual. I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas. I want to give send a very big happy birthday to my mom, who is both my hero and has that special ability to make crazy. LOL! Love you mami!

I have so much to do today but I wanted to make a quick post before I go buy peas for my paella. I hope everyone takes advantage of all the great books sales after the holidays, they are calling today the second Black Friday of the year.

I also wanted to post my news round-up:

The Trouble with Boys

Is Latino culture putting a low emphasis on education? Ernesto Caravantes, author of the controversial book “Clipping Their Own Wings: The Incompatibility Between Latino Culture and American Education,” stopped by the Rocky editorial board, along with former Gov. Richard Lamm, to argue that Hispanic families were putting other cultural considerations ahead of education from

24-hour live Christmas channel launches

New “Che” Trailer: Benicio del Toro

Book review: ‘Latino Spin’ - Public Image and the Whitewashing of Race By Arlene Davila from

I didn't even realize had it's own book cataloging feature: Amazon YourMediaLibrary

"A nine year old boy writes a hit book about dating and then sold the Film Rights: How to Talk to Girls

Twentieth Century Fox has optioned the rights to 9-year-old Alec Greven's How to Talk to Girls, the first of a four-book series from HarperCollins, which is a sister company to Fox. According to Variety, "The film deal encompasses all four volumes. The studio hasn't set a writer yet or assigned a producer . . . Fox bought the book preemptively, before Greven began logging airtime on TV shows including The Today Show and Ellen.""

"The Argentine

The Argentine, the first part of Steven Soderbergh's two-part movie on the life of Che Guevara (followed by Guerrilla), opens December 12. Benicio Del Toro stars in this biopic based on Che's diaries. The tie-in edition for both films is from Ocean Press, distributed by Consortium is available on January 1."

Review: The Chicano/ Latino Literary Prize. An Anthology of Prize-Winning Fiction, Poetry, and Drama from

Free Gifts from Bleak House by Claire KirchBen LeRoy, publisher of Bleak House Books, a division of Big Earth Publishing, thinks nobody, no matter how dire their economic circumstances, should be deprived of gifts this holiday season so during the month of December, Bleak House Books, and its sister company, Intrigue Press, will give away more than 100 frontlist and backlist titles to readers, who, hopefully, will pass them on to others.“As I listened to a piece on NPR about shopping being down, and people stressing about not being able to give presents, it struck me: we’re ahead of projections, and this is one way we can help out. I can’t stuff [readers] with cash, but I can help them get books,” LeRoy said. Read on »"

Check out: "Daily Routines: How writers, artists, and other interesting people organize their days. They don't mean that generally. This is descriptions of the daily flow of specific people."

Critics Say Newbery-Winning Books Are Too Hard for Young Readers (WaPo) Are you kidding me?

This is awesome; Powells will buy back your old books and even pay for shipping.

WhichBook - Just finished another book and wondering what to read next? Head to - a book suggestion tool that can recommend you what books to read next based on type of books you like. Read more: WhichBook - Online Book Suggestion Tool.

ThePlagiarismChecker - Check papers for plagiarism online. The site has something to offer both to students and educators. Students can use it to check their papers for missing citations before submitting them. Educators on the other hand may use it to check submitted projects and papers. Read more: ThePlagiarismChecker - Check Papers For Plagiarism.

Book-bot - Find and read non-copyrighted books online for free. It has over 14.000 copyright-free items including titles by Aristotle, Émile Zola, Victor Hugo, Mark Twain and many other well-known authors. Read more: Book-bot - Read Non-Copyrighted Books Online.

Dozens of NYC Schools Are Without Libraries

Book News from the UK:

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Book=Gifts Video

Red, Blue, young, old, everyone agrees books make great gifts! Hey, if Elmo, Jon Stewart, Maya Angelou, Frank McCourt, Cesar Milan, and Judy Blume say so - then you know it's true.

Las Comadres & Friends National Latino Book Club

In case you are already stockpiling for 2009, here's some good news:

Las Comadres, the Association of American Publishers and Borders have picked the 2009 reading list for las Comadres and Friends National Latino Book Club, which was launched in June. Every month at Borders stores around the country the book club discusses English-language works by Latino authors. (For more information, visit or

The reading list for next year:


When the Ground Turns in Its Sleep by Sylvia Sellers-Garcia



Notorious by Michele Martinez (Morrow)




Rogelia's House of Magic by Jamie Martinez Wood (Delacorte)


Sweet Mary: A Novel by Liz Balmaseda


Dark Dude by Oscar Hijuelos (Atheneum)


Reclaiming Paris: A Novel by Fabiola Santiago (Washington Square Press)


The Arrangement by Sofia Quintero (Random House)


Tell Me Something True by Leila Cobo (Grand Central)


Lima Nights by Marie Arana (Dial Press)

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

December Bareness

How like a winter hath my absence been. From thee, the pleasure of the fleeting year! What freezings have I felt, what dark days seen, What old December's bareness everywhere!.
-- Shakespeare, WilliamOn Absence from Quotations Book

Winter and the holidays are amongst us once again - and just like last year - I feel like bah, humbug! I really don't care for the cold weather (I am always cold even in the tropics) and the consumerism, gluttony and overindulgence of the season really revulse me.

This year I've made a plan and I am sticking to it. I'm getting fewer gifts and have really snipped the gift budget for almost everyone. I feel slightly anxious that the recipients will be dissapointed since they are accustomed to being showered with stuff but this time I really reigning myself in come what may.

It's not just the recession either. I want meaning and thoughtfulness to come accross - not here's this loofah or candle (because I had to get you something, you're picky and so I just gave up) sometimes I want stuff that money can't buy.
Many are suggesting books this year as the perfect gift and I couldn't agree more. Even there though, I want the insight to come accross - don't get someone a book because they like books so here's a couple to keep you busy - get someone a book that has meaning. Perhaps this is your favorite book or a favorite author's favorite, maybe it changed your life, maybe you read this book when you were that person's age, or maybe you loved it and so will they, maybe it's a biography of their hero or a topic that fascinates them... We could go on forever.

And, while I usually don't condone writing inside books (or god forbid, margins) I've always loved getting books with signed messages on the inside cover/flap. Even as a child, I loved opening a book and seeing the message that reminded me that Titi gave it to me for my birthday and so I always leave a message for the recipient inside the book - a little piece to remind them of the memory and a little bit of my love to treasure.

Anyway, before we get to sappy here - I just wanted to say in a world where people get trampled to death or shot over material items - let's keep things in perspective, that TV or that Wii may only last a dozen years (if that) while a meaningful gift like a book or an experience (like a trip) will last forever and keep on giving.

Lastly, here's a roundup of interesting internet tiding:

- Best Book Covers of 2008 via BoingBoing & My Favorite Book Covers of 2008 (via Kottke)

- A new blog launched that covers babybooks: Readertotz and if you like that, then you'll love

- Hate crimes targeting Latinos increased again in 2007, capping a 40% rise in the four years since 2003, according to FBI statistics released this fall.

- Congrats to author and Congresswoman Linda Sanchez, who is expecting a baby. full story here

- Some variations on the books=gifts trend: An Author's Holiday Wish List by Sofia Quintero via her blog, "Buy a Book by Somebody Black and Give it to Somebody Not Black Month" via

- The Latinidad List via

Literary Fiction – The Gifted Gabaldon Sisters by Lorraine Lopez
Every character is simultaneously original and familiar.Poetry
– Unfinished Portrait by Luivette Resto
Grounded in the reality that is the U.S. Latino experience.
Chick Lit – More Than This by Margo Candela
Though a happy ending is certain, you can't wait to get there.
Thriller – Gunmetal Black by Daniel Serrano
If Elmore Leonard were Nuyorican this is the novel he would write.
History – A Universal History of the Destruction of Books by Fernando Baez
Mind candy for the brainiacs in your life.
Lifestyle – Practically Posh by Robyn Moreno
Thrifty tips on living well, perfect for our tough economic times.
Cookbook – Simply Delicioso by Ingrid Hoffman
Fun and flavorful everyday meals that won't take all day to cook.
Young Adult – Amor and Summer Secrets by Diana Rodriguez Wallach
A Philadelphia princess goes to Puerto Rico and finds her Latinidad.
Middle Grade – The Smell of Old Lady Perfume by Claudia Guadalupe Martinez
The original title gives a glimpse of the poetic lines peppered throughout this poignant debut.
Picture Book - Sergio Makes a Splash by Edel Rodriguez
Finally—a charming tale that doesn't involve abuelitas, tamales or pinatas.

- A new book review site launched: I believe you receive giftcards for each review you post.

- Guanabee Meets The Accidental Santera Author, Irete Lazo & notes California Man Richard Soto Keeps A Library Of Latino History In His Own Basement

- A new English news site launched with a Hispanic focus:

- Long time friend of Literanista, Juan Tornoe has a post on

The Book Review posted its list of 100 Notable Books for 2008

- Here the Hachette Gift Giving Guide: & the one

- Catalan novelist Juan Marsé won the $158,625 Cervantes prize, "the Spanish-language equivalent of the Nobel prize for literature," via the Guardian.

- Books Authors Want (and Plan to Give) for the Holidays via OpenCulture, includes what Julia Alvarez, author of In the Time of the Butterflies, wants to get and plans to give.

- Also, don't make the Pumpkin Coconut pie listed in the previous post unless you put a twist on it. I made two for T-day and they had absolutely no flavor. I'm thinking that the recipe need some ground cloves, cinnamon or something.

- The Triumph of Roberto Bolaño via NY Review of Books

- Shout out to Gwendolyn Zepeda has a new book out in Janaury, Houston, We Have a Problema

- Author Junot Diaz Shares Thanksgiving Memories

- "It’s Toni Morrison. Like Isabel Allende, her writing is so beautiful that you can sing her words (seriously, try it) " from 5 good things (and 5 bad ones) about Toni Morrison’s ‘A Mercy’ via

- books for the boy that does not read Part I & part-2

- New Interview with Editor, Adriana Dominguez by author Jeff Rivera

- I'm participating in Operation Santa and so should you!

Finally, here's a little something to put all of us in a holiday mood:

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A Latina Thanksgiving Dinner

I often like to take dishes and put a latin spin on them.

My mom's turkey stuffing, which is delectable and I try to make it the same way, includes chayote and sazon. This Thanksgiving I found some fantastic recipes to help spread this idea and I'd like to share those with you:

Adobo Turkey with Red-Chile Gravy via Epicurious

Pumpkin-Coconut Pie via Latina

Turkey with Southwest Stuffing (*Not my mom's recipe, I'm keeping that a secret)

Some more ideas:

Caribbean Thanksgiving Menu

Coquito - Rum Eggnog

Pumpkin Flan

Mofongo Stuffing

Adobo Dry Rub & Sofrito with Culantro for the turkey

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Clichés are Like so Cliché

I was always taught that the use of clichés signifies both bad writing and a lazy mind and that's what I always put forward to my students and tutorees.

Lifehacker notes 30 Cliches You Should Basically Avoid (Going Forward) and I would like to point out once again, this nifty cliche finderto help you become aware of clichés.

What are your most hated clichés or which do you use all the time?

Monday, November 17, 2008

GUNMETAL BLACK Reading NYC - 11/20

Daniel Serrano dropped me a note to say he will be reading from his novel, GUNMETAL BLACK this Thursday Nov. 20th after work at 7:00 PM, at Camaradas El Barrio. It's at First Ave and 115th Street in Spanish Harlem, a short walk from the 6 train. You'll love it.

They have great beer, sangria and yummy food. After his reading stick around and get blown away by some Boricua Roots Music by Yerbabuena as they get their bomba/plena swerve on.

What people are saying about GUNMETAL BLACK:

“Absolutely sensational!” -Teri Woods, New York Times bestselling author of True to the Game

“Debut novelist Serrano adds a Latino flavor to the genre with this intricate, Spanish-slang-laced story about a Puerto Rican parolee’s journey from jail cell to Chicago’s rough streets as he encounters betrayal, police corruption, casual sex, and stunning violence. The tense plot will grip readers, who will clamor for Serrano’s next work.” -Library Journal

“This book is the truth…unpredictable, with non-stop of the most satisfying books I’ve ever read. Daniel wrote about the drugs, the sex and senseless violence in an honest and new way.”-Felicia “Snoop” Pearson, author of Grace After Midnight, HBO’s The Wire

“...vivid...expertly set up...a dose of unsentimental romance…puts Serrano in the same class as young noir-meisters Charlie Huston and Jason Starr.” –Publishers Weekly

“Action-and romance-packed.”-Carlos Rodriguez Martorell, NY Daily News

“Danny Serrano, a hot new crime-lit author…[of an] action-packed thriller winning raves and comparisons to Carlitos Way.”- Deborah Fields, NY Post

“Gritty and urgent from the first word until the last. Wow!” -Victor McGlothin, author of Ms. Etta’s Fast House

“A complex yet simple, edgy yet smooth, 3D work of art that reads like a classic movie. Daniel Serrano, the craft master, truly has a way with words!” -Pynk, author of Erotic City

“Violent images of Chicago’s inner city add to the book’s authenticity. Gunmetal Black is a sobering dose of life, friendship, loyalty and betrayal that will leave readers hanging on every word.” -Tony Austin, Upscale Magazine

“[R]eaders are immersed in a world as gritty and intense as it is entertaining and unpredictable.” –Laura Thompson, McNaughton Paperback Newsletter

“Pick up this suspenseful crime novel to find out where Eddie’s destiny leads him!”-Right On!

“I loved it! Great characters. Eddie is involved in all this crime but he makes time for romance. I was rooting for him all the way…and I’m urging all my listeners to run out and buy this book!” –Kimberly Kaye, radio personality (WFKX/KIX 96)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

NYC Great Books, Great Cause (books 50% off)


Come to the 22nd Annual Book Fair November, 21-23

The Goddard Riverside New York Book Fair is an annual event, taking place on
the weekend before Thanksgiving. All the books, CDs, calendars, cards, videos
and other gift items sold at the New York Book Fair are generously donated by
publishing houses, editors, literary agents and other members of the book

2007 was our most successful Book Fair ever--the net total from author
dinners, auction, raffle, ticket and book sales came to over $800,000!

year will be the Goddard Riverside 22nd Annual New York Book Fair.


Saturday, November 22, 2008, from 10am to 6pm

Sunday, November 23, 2008 from 11am to 5pm

Where: 593 Columbus Avenue @ 88th Street

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

It's Hard to Believe Thanksgiving is Almost Here Already

Gee, where does the time go? It really does seem to fly by the older you get or perhaps it's just the busier you are, the more you wish you had more time.

I'm already being asked to bring pumpkin pie to my mom's for our Thanksgiving feast and getting inquiries into what I want Santa to bring me. It's both sweet and anxiety-causing. I long for the days when Christmas started after Thanksgiving and not after Halloween. I do understand how much planning helps especially in terms of getting good deals but I've never been one to stock on the gifts throughout the year. Mostly when I do that I just end forgetting all about the stuff hidden somewhere in the outer reaches of my exploding closet.

This year with economy being what it is I'm hearing a lot of buzz about giving books as gifts. Personally, I've always given books as gifts, especially for the little ones and I've always enjoyed getting too, from the loaded gift cards I've received from my sister and coworkers to the beautiful Jack in the Beanstalk book I got from my aunt in nursery school.

A couple of brilliant book bloggers have joined forces to promote holiday book gift-giving and launched

A couple of youngsters of my list are getting The Twilight Saga Collection By Stephenie Meyer, which I'm currently reading myself. I decided to the vampire series a try after becoming so fixated with True Blood and I can truly say I'm glad I'm reading it and not the Charlaine Harris books, which might interfere with the show's story lines or so I'm told. Twilight has completely sucked me in and just in time too since the movie version is due out on Dec. 12th.

Last Tuesday, I even ran into Robert Pattinson, who plays Edward in the film. It was sort of funny while we were standing in front of the theater waiting to enter to see The Lion King, he emerged from an SUV and the young girls next to us went bizerk. I thought it was Justin Timberlake so I got all excited to and then when I saw him, I had no idea who he was, just goes to show how out of it I am. The next day when I saw pictures of him from the night before I was thoroughly pleased to have seen in the flesh. I can't wait to see the film.

Since, I haven't posted in ages, it seems like I might be posting once a week now, I have tons of tidbits to share:

- Does anyone have the ability to 'taste' anesthesia and other chemicals that have been injected into their bodies? I had a bit of anesthesia recently and then a flu shot last week and both times I was able to taste the chemical residue and even smell when I took a deep breath afterwards. Very weird!

- There was a great article on Latino Literary Venues posted today in the Daily News and the also have a review of Sistah Souljah's follow up to The Coldest Winter Ever, Midnight.

- The Independent Booksellers of NYC have a great new blog to check out:

- The Bronx Museum of the Arts launched a first-Wednesday-of-the-month book signing, and though not focusing on Latino titles, it kicked off last week with Bronx-based authors Américo Casiano Jr. and Marta Moreno-Vega.

- You can now buy skins for your Sony Readers at proporta via

- Sprint launched an ultra shiny, web2.0 site for widgets and apps:, totally dope!

- Woo hoo! Libreria Lectorum Opens Online Store. This will make my mom really happy, she loved this store.

- Search Books on Cellphones via Google blog post

- Who knew you could make pernil in a slow cooker?

- Essay on the deep communion of reading books v. the Web via LAT

- The third annual NYC Latin American Cultural Week is taking place November 5th-21st. For more information: and Pinta 08, the NYC Modern and Contemporary Latin American art fair, takes place November 13-16th. For more Information:

- Amazon picked their top 100 books for the year, PW also picks their best books of the year.

- There's a new educational film kit available from Teaching Tolerance called Viva La Causa.

- Obama campaign parallels Hispanic political novel written in 2006

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Proud to be an American Today

Like Michelle Obama, I've had many moments were I felt ashamed for my country, many of them occurred while in classrooms of all levels from elementary through college. Lessons that taught me of injustice, ignorance, hatred and all sorts of evil that has transpired on our land but today - today is not one of those days.

Last night, I had an amazing night and the extraordinary thing is - that across America from coast to coast, I am just one of many who had an extraordinary experience.

My day started off with a pit stop to vote in East Harlem. Once I was on the right line, I had only three people in front of me. Work consisted of the usual except that I had one earphone plugged into the news as did many of my coworkers and continually checked for projection polls.

After work, it was my boyfriend's son's birthday, so we headed over to The Lion King, and while I detest musicals I must say I was more than pleasantly surprised. The opening scene left me with goose bumps. Almost everything, the sets, the special effects, the costumes, the scenery, the singing and dancing was phenomenal. I was bored by the story having seen the movie with almost every child I ever babysat through college, but at the same time I found it so apropos to be there with my boyfriend (a black father) and his son on this historic special night.

After the show, we went out to eat and it was there at the restaurant that we saw at 11:04pm the words flashing on every plasma screen "Obama elected president of the United States." I kept saying "it doesn't say "projected"" trying to confirm that it was actual and once it hit me - that the unbelievable had happened we all started whooping and clapping. Even the foreigners sitting next to us congratulated us.

Afterwards, we decided to take a detour through 125th street and the scene was incredible. I’ve lived in East Harlem all my life, going to political protests and rallies and what not but last night was so spontaneous and incredible – Everyone took to the streets, with cameras, video recorders, banging on cooking pots, chanting “Obama,” cars were honking horns nonstop, Columbia students came from the West, people all of all colors, all ages, on bikes, on foot, alone or in mobs, dancing & screaming, playing musical instruments…It was truly an incredible scene.

At Adam Clayton Powell Blvd. they shut down the street and the crowd was humongous! That’s where we decided to turn the car around and go back to the West side Hwy. On the way home, we listened as McCain congratulated Obama and his supporters booed. Then we listened to Obama and made it home to watch him finish on TV.

As I sat there feeling tremendously elated and unified with so many others and electrified, stinging with the beauty and eloquence of Obama and his words, his humility and his depth, I felt chills and then consequently burst into tears. Yes, we did. We did it, so many thought it was impossibility but it became reality and I was there to witness it!

Our future has never shined brighter.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

You Can Vote However You Like

This is too cute! Love, love it! Love their passion and enthusiam, their involvement and knowledge and they're on CNN! You know this an election they won't ever forget!

Kudos to their teacher and parents, who must be so proud!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Barnes & Noble Adds Social Features

Via B&N Launches Social Networking Site

Interesting, I've logged on and created a profile under Literanista but honestly don't have the time to search for all the books to add to my catalog. I remember my Shelfari bookshelf took almost one complete Saturday afternoon to build and that was just the books presently on my bookshelf.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Speaking of NPR...

NPR to Run Exclusive Pre-Pub Reading with Toni Morrison - looking forward to listening in on this - I love Toni Morrison.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Vamp on a Hot Tin Roof

I was just over at and read the post on True Blood and saw that line, "vamp on a hot tin roof," in the comments. Oh my lord, it suits the show just perfectly, love it!

Haven't been in the mood to post lately. There's just too much going sometimes. I also hired a personal trainer and so far it's going great. He has me doing all sorts of weird things like running backwards on a treadmill while simultaneously doing curls with some free weights. Weird but fun! Although, I must admit it even hurts to sneeze right now. LOL! The best part is the massage afterwards and the feeling of serenity and just being one with my body and the moment that I feel when I leave the gym.

Recently, I finished reading Candy By Mian Mian, a tough but lyrically tender story of love, self-destruction, drugs and addiction, and coming of age in China. Interestingly, Mian writes that in her language the term for whores is "chicken" and instantly I wondered if the common urban (hip-hop) usage of "chickens" or "chickenheads" for women is linguistacally related to that origin. It's always been a term I despise, quite frankly.

Sometimes while I work and write I prefer to tone out the word with some music. Last year, I discovered and it became a nice change from the Sirius Radio I was listening to all the time. I have a private subscription through W. but it annoys me sometimes that they often play the same songs on a channel several times a day. Meanwhile with Pandora, you get to discover new music and artists. So last week, I googled Lizz Wright who I sort of re-discovered on Pandora and found that has this great feature called "Discover Songs" and they offer new music daily and even have a media player that saves your playlists. Fantastic!!!

It led me to discover I like songs that have a folksy, southern gospel sound. Interesting for a girl from New York!

I spotted this great post on Mashable: 200+ Tools for Surviving the Economic Crisis
Another really cool site: Tip of My Tongue helps you find that word you can't quite remember. I always have this problem.

I saw this "Twitter, Flickr, Facebook Make Blogs Look So 2004" however, and had myself a good laugh. I seriously don't think blogging is dead if anything it more mainstream than ever and for those who don't feel quite comfortable twittering or facebooking the blogging platform seems more welcoming than ever.

Malcolm Gladwell, recently wrote "Late Bloomers" for The New Yorker and it gives me a sense of hope in regards to my own success. Speaking of success, his new book which delves deeeply into what makes people, who are successful, succesful. The book is called Outliers and it's due out next month.

BoingBoing brings us the news of a Librarian fined (read: irony here) for nepotism: Librarian fined $500 Whoa! Poor dad.

Also take a look at this new site for latinos:

Friday, October 10, 2008

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Dental Nightmare

My younger brother calls me today and tells me he had to leave work because his teeth were really hurting him - it turns out he has 11 cavities! 11 cavities! 11 cavities since his last dentist visit last year! I mean was this kid churning sugar all night long with his chompers? Simply outrageous!

Anyway, speaking of upkeep, don't forget people - tomorrow is the last day to register to vote in the election on Nov. 4th. You can register here: Don't let your voice go unheard and don't let this historic once in lifetime chance to get a minority in the White House, whether it's our first Black president or the first woman VP!

Some new books on the radar (noticed these today in my Nov. issue of O mag)

A Mercyby Toni Morrison
2666: A Novelby Roberto Bolano and Natasha Wimmer

Films I'm dying to see:

Miracle at St. Anna

Lately, Latina Magazine has been offering amazing recipes on their site. I usually get them in my inbox from the newsletter (but you can find them here: and I swear I salivate just reading the titles.

That's it for me tonight, hasta manana.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Help Put Diabetes on the Google Logo!

So I'm feeling icky and run-down but I thought I'd deliver a message in honor of both my mom and my six year-old nephew - both suffer from Diabetes!

Diabetes Doodle for Google

Hello JDRF supporters, The founders of and have teamed up with a mission of getting a diabetes doodle on
Google in honor of World Diabetes Day on November 14.

What's a doodle?

It's those funky Google logos that you sometimes see, especially around the
holidays. There is a petition circulating right now and we need 20,000
signatures by November 1.

Sign the petition at .

This Cause has more than 45,000 signatures, so if you support diabetes
awareness, please sign the petition. Millions of people will see the doodle on
November 14 for World Diabetes Day.

The web address again is .

If you have questions, email me at or send me a message on

Allison Blass
Founder of the JDRF Cause on Facebook

Friday, October 03, 2008

Friday Fusion

Banned Books Week is almost over but Shelf Awareness has been posting a great round-up of related news all week long:

Galleycat linked to the Haphazard Gourmet Girls blog ("Braising the Culture, One Recipe--And One Recall--at a Time"), which offers "Civilization Is Cooked Without Books, our haphazard project that pairs censored literature with recipes." Other recipes here and href="">here.

The Daily Californian reported: "In a celebration of controversial books yesterday, community members read portions of their favorite banned books at the main branch of the Berkeley Public Library."

Even virtual book worlds need attention. The American Library Association is once again staging Banned Book Week events in Second Life.

"Would you ban any children's books?" the Guardian's book blog asked readers. One respondent, just a bit off assigned topic, suggested "the bible is a fairytale book that I'd have banned. To [sic] much sex and violence for the target audience."

Also in the Guardian, a banned books quiz to test your censorship awareness skills.

Some folks are celebrating Banned Books Week more literally than others, according to the Associated Press (via the Mercury News): "An Orange County school district has reinstated a series of fantasy vampire novels at its 12 middle schools after banning the books from campuses last week."

You just can't shock some people. The San Francisco Chronicle reported that "a dozen authors and journalists gather[ed] on the steps of the Main Library at Civic Center and read passages from books that have been banned somewhere or other. . . . One by one, as the writers rattled off steamy paragraphs by the likes of D.H. Lawrence, J.D. Salinger and Malcolm X, it became clear that what might be tempestuous in Wasilla is tame stuff in San Francisco."

The Guardian's John Crace "condensed six forbidden fictions. Read them if you dare."

Lisa Navarro, assistant principal and English teacher at McGann-Mercy High School, Riverhead, N.Y., told the Suffolk Times "that although she's quite conservative on many issues of the day, she believes passionately in 'freedom of the press and being able to chose what you read.'"

Words and music. The Hartford Courant reported that the "first-annual first amendment rock off," held last night at Black Eyed Sally's in Hartford, Conn., was a musical tribute to Banned Books Week hosted by the Connecticut chapter of the ACLU and the Connecticut Library Association.

Also via Shelf Awareness:

Blindness, based on the book by José Saramago, opens October 3. Fernando Meirelles directs this story of a doctor's wife (Julianne Moore) who is unaffected by an epidemic of sudden blindness. She tries to protect her husband (Mark Ruffalo) by following him into an inhumane quarantine area. Saramago, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1998, has a new book, Death with Interruptions, coming out next Monday, October 6.

Book Review: American Widow by Alissa Torres, illustrated by Sungyoon Choi

Alissa Torres' compelling new graphic memoir, American Widow, is her story of marrying a Colombian boy whose green card has run out and of their happy year together culminating in her pregnancy as he starts his new job on September 10 at the World Trade Center.

With a frequently lyrical art style designed by Sungyoon Choi, the unfolding story is a non-linear, intensely emotion-driven tour de force, never going where you think it's going, following its own trajectory through grieving and surviving. Instead of capitalizing on its subject matter, Torres' heartbreaking, Kafka-like tale of overnight vulnerability and dependence on bureaucracy is more concerned with the broken promises of the Red Cross, getting lost in labyrinths of red tape and the assault of often callous relief workers.

Choi's boldly graphic, frame-bursting style of artwork gives a comic book punch to a story that's mostly interior. The survival tale of Alissa is less about the tragedy than about the nightmare engulfing September 11 survivors in the aftermath. Frame by frame, page by page, baby in arms, Alissa has to learn how to negotiate strings of regulations and qualifications and unfulfilled government pledges while trying to cope psychologically and emotionally with Eddie's absence.

There's no disguising that the book is a monument to a real relationship. Photos of Eddie Torres are inserted into the text. It's a true cry from the heart, transformed by Choi's interpretive, frequently surreal artwork into something universal about loss, readable in a single emotion-choked sitting. Torres and Choi avoid sentimentality, and it's the silent frames that often carry the wallop. There's a page of loving tributes to her dog, Boris, for instance, with a frame on the page that says it all--the young mother under an umbrella with baby strapped to her chest, walking her dog in the rain.

Or consider the frame showing the sheer, monolithic side of the World Trade Center against a vast, open sky, with a tiny, tiny speck tumbling down. It took Eddie Torres 18 seconds to fall.--Nick DiMartino

Shelf Talker: A compelling graphic novel by a young woman widowed on September 11. The artwork is lyrical, and the story of her loss is heartbreaking and often surreal.

Check out:

Junot Diaz
Book Presentation: La breve y maravillosa vida de Óscar Wao
Friday, October 17, 2008
7:00 p.m.
Americas Society
680 Park Avenue

Very interesting Study Pegs Beginning of AIDS — 100 Years Ago

It's Annual openhousenewyork Weekend:, a Latina-themed site for tween girls, is launching its Beta trial this week.

& a special shout-out to Stella at for the lovely award.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

More on Banned Books

More resources and info:
Banned Books Week in the News (via Shelf Awareness)

"'Dangerous' books are a big reason to keep reading," noted the Winston-Salem, N.C., Journal In the Asbury Park, N.J., Press, librarian Marian R. Bauman wrote, "Books are not evil and do not harm anyone."

A Fort Myers, Fla., News-Press editorial advised, "Read, do not ban, books.""SoCal rediscovers banned books" was the headline in the Los Angeles Times over the weekend, followed Monday by "Banned Books Week--does it matter?" and David Ulin's "Banned Books Week a thorny issue."

BiblioBuffet, the online literary salon, features several pieces about Banned Books Week, including one by SIBA's Nicki Leone, also managing editor and contributor of A Reading Life; a letter from Lauren Roberts, editor-in-chief; a column by author Lev Raphael; and a contribution from literary critic Henry L. Carrigan, Jr.

Inevitably, the Sarah Palin controversy has been invoked in many articles, including this from the Christian Science Monitor: "Given the recent public scuffle over Sarah Palin’s conversations while mayor with a Wasilla librarian about the possibility of banning books, there probably couldn't be a better moment for the American Library Association's Banned Books Week."

"Oh, those evil books," cautioned the Albany, N.Y., Times Union. "Banning books is not a way to run a country," according to the Contra Costa Times. "Transparency and censorship issues are nonpartisan."The American Thinker offered an opposing viewpoint: "Apparently 99% of Books Have Been 'Banned'!"

Explore Banned Books Week further through these resources:
Banned Books Week events
Banned Books Week basics
Frequently challenged books
How to support Banned Books Week
2008 Banned Books Week Press Kit
Dealing with challenges
2009 Banned Books Week will be held on September 26–October 3

Challenged books include:

Always Running by Luis Rodriguez
Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo A. Anaya
The House of Spirits by Isabel Allende
Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel
Paula by Isabel Allende
How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents by Julia Alvarez

Great list here: and lots of info here:

Monday, September 29, 2008

Viva Reading Banned Books

Friday, September 26, 2008

Election coverage

I forgot to add in my earlier post that tonight we officially kick-off election '08 with the first debate.

Check out Catalina Magazine's new red & blue blogs:

Here's another one I'm

Hachette Book Group has put together a cool selection of books just ripe for voters:

and in case you missed the embarrassment of VP choice that is Sarah Palin, here you go:

Que Llueva

Que llueva, que llueva
La Virgen de la Cueva
Los pajaritos cantan,
Las nubes se levantan.
¡Que sí, que no,
que caiga un chaparrón!

Que siga lloviendo,
Los pájaros corriendo
Florezca la pradera
Al sol de la primavera.
¡Que sí, que no,
que llueva a chaparrón,
que no me moje yo!

Remember that one? More Spanish songs can be found here:
Spanish Songs of Musical Spanish - audio samples of 10 Spanish songs of various length in RealAudio. interactive sound puzzle and at - lyrics of English and Spanish songs with guitar chords. via Teaching with Music

I first discovered this cool site that's brimming with knowledge in late 2007 when I was doing research for AOL and it launched. Finding Dulcinea's guides offer readers more than 400 narrated guides to hand-selected, credible Web sites, presented in context, with insights and research strategies and it has guides in Spanish too. Consider it a virtual librarian. Keep the quest alive...This neoteric NY-based aims to end search engine fatigue with its manifest of web guides. Enter a search term and it will give you fine-tuned results distilled by its team of researchers from the net, who tell you where to look. It also divides its content into three subsections; i.e., web guides, beyond the headlines, and netcetara, which features entertaining tidbits and juicier subjects. "Finding Dulcinea" is a reference to the fictional, beautiful peasant queen who fuels Don Quixote's quest in the classic tale. Sweet! Check out too.

Boing Boing showcased Nina Katchadourian's Sorted Books project, which "picks books out of collections whose spines, when placed in sequence, can be made into a sentence or story."

Look at your own bookshelves. Stack a story. Play Magnetic Poetry with books. [I thought this was cute and reminded me of when I passive-aggressively left out books on my desk to send some messages, like the The No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn't by Robert I. Sutton and Working With You is Killing Me: Freeing Yourself from Emotional Traps at Work by Katherine Crowley and Kathi Elster (so glad I'm there anymore]

Bloodsucking booksellers. Plans have been announced for a vampire novel trilogy by film director Guillermo del Toro (co-written with Chuck Hogan). The Guardian observed that del Toro "is set to tap what has become a rich vein of new vampire fiction . . . joining the current vogue for bloodsucking blockbusters."

Del Toro's effort joins "another epic, apocalyptic vampire trilogy published next year, Justin Cronin's The Passage." The publishing industry's vampiric feeding frenzy comes in the profitable wake "of a bloodsucking bookshop invasion which is proving very lucrative to the book industry. From Elizabeth Kostova's novel The Historian to Laurell K. Hamilton's paranormal romance series Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter and teen vampire queen Stephenie Meyer, the genre is flying off the shelves. Bram Stoker would be proud." ooh, can't wait! Love Del Toro (he's pure magic) and vamps]

Mark your calendarios, these authors are coming to NYC!

Junot Diaz and Lin Manuel Miranda
Monday September 29, 7pm
NoMAA Artist Salon, 3940 Broadway at E. 165th Street

Stephanie Elizondo Griest
Tuesday, September 30
Idlewild Bookstore at 7 pm, 12 W.19th St.(near 5th Avenue)
Wednesday, October 8
Book Culture at 7 pm, 536 W. 112th Street - Upper West Side.

Irete Lazo
Tuesday October 21
Nuyorican Poets Cafe, 236 E. 3rd Street
Wednesday October 22
Hueman Cafe & Books 2319 Frederick Douglass Blvd Between 124th/125th St.

Bill Santiago
Wednesday October 22 at 7 p.m.
East Harlem Cafe, 153 East 104th Street (Lexington Ave)

and lastly if you're free on Sunday, check out the Open Air Book Fair:

The Housing Works Annual Open Air Book Fair give you then chance to sort through tens of thousands of old books, records, and CDs. Collect those hidden gems for merely $1 and then hibernate for the winter with your new stack of used books. There is also clothing sold by the bag. [note: date changed due to expected weather]

Click here for more info.


Thursday, September 25, 2008

Bring on the Rain

I love rainy days!

Here is another video book site I forgot to add:

From Latino Loop: and Six Degrees Records have partnered to create the Batanga Hispanic Heritage Sampler, a one-month long promotion featuring 10 free songs available for download on iTunes. CeU, Ojos de Brujo, Pacifika and Beto Villares are among the Six Degrees artists featured on the compilation. Batanga's Hispanic Heritage Sampler

Call for Submissions: What Made You a Feminist? at

I finished reading my copy of Bless Me, Ultima By Rudolfo Anaya last night on the bus ride home. The book is basically older than I am but when I started reading it I felt instantly stirred and inspired to write my own "journey." Last night as I finished it, I fought back the tears of the sad ending and thought to myself what a lovely, deep book. I loved Antonio's touching relationship with La Grande (or Ultima) and I loved how he questions God, evil and places his faith in Nature and the very knowledgeable curandera.

Check out Authors & Musicians on Obama at Why Obama.

Why Obama is a series of guest essays by musicians and authors, where they share their support for Democratic United States presidential nominee Senator Barack Obama and offer arguments why he needs to be elected president of the United States.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Authors Sign On for Books4Barack

More interesting bits from around the net:

Honoring Judy Blume at Blumesday - Los Angeles Times I can remember feeling like "Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret"? was written expressly for me - there was something about that book that just spoke to every prepubescent female child.

Google Books Now Embeddable & On Reading Well

7 Online Resources To Help You Improve Your Writing

and the Big Huge Thesaurus

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

News You Can Use

My youngest brother flew out to Las Vegas yesterday. Minutes after we dropped him off the airport was evacuated and later we learned someone had found grenades in someone's bag. They turned out to be replica grenades but I was shaken for the whole day. What's become of the world we live in?

Some clippings from around the net to get our minds of things like that:

Google Unveils Book Preview Tool

The UpSouth Book Festival Returns to Harlem

Moby Dick Hits the Smallest Screen Do you read on your iPhone? Email Galleycat and let them know.

Meet Your 2008 MacArthur Genius Award Fellows (FishbowlNY)

'State of the Blogosphere' Report (Technorati)

Via Girlie Girl Army:

"Slacker Uprising Michael Moores newest film is available for free online. It is the first time ever that a major featurelength film is debuting as a free download on the internet – legally. Watch it."

"Actor allegedly beatcat to death in jealous rage and calls it an accident. Then Andrea Peyser supports cat abuse; Click here: FELONIOUS BALL OF FUR DESERVED EVERY BLOW New York Post. It is really dangerous that a paper would think it is okay to support and encourage ANY form of animal abuse."

I hate animal cruelty - if you abuse an innocent animal you are a criminal and deserve to go to jail!

Latino Authors on the Web

Mario Acevedo
Marta Acosta
Daniel Alarcon
Malin Alegria
Julia Alvarez
Francisco Aragon
Jimmy Santiago Baca
Sandra Rodriguez Barron
Richard Blanco
Margo Candela
James Cañón
Ana Castillo
Mary Castillo
Joy Castro
Sandra Cisneros
Lorna Dee Cervantes
Judith Ortiz Cofer
Kathleen De Azevedo
Martín Espada
Guy Garcia
Magdalena Gómez
Rigoberto Gonzalez
Christine Granados
Reyna Grande
Cristina Henriquez
Miriam Herrera
Rene Colato Lainez
Josefina Lopez
Demetria Martinez
Cherríe Moraga
Pat Mora
Manuel Munoz
Sonia Nazario
Mirta Ojito
Daniel A. Olivas
Cecile Pineda
Manuel Ramos
John Rechy
Daniel Reveles
Alberto Riós
Luis J. Rodriguez
Elaine Romero
Rene Saldana Jr.
Eduardo Santiago
Gary Soto
Michelle Serros
Sergio Troncoso
Luis Alberto Urrea
Gloria Vando
Alma Luz Villanueva
Victor Villasenor
Edgardo Vega Yunqué

Monday, September 22, 2008

We the People...The Power is Yours! Represent!

Find more videos like this on Voto Latino

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Young Adult Authors for Obama - New Community

Young adult authors for Obama - I love niche sites like this!

Saturday, September 20, 2008


A great article on how to get more free stuff.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Book Trailers

For those of you who don't know a "book trailer is a film or video advertisement for a book which employs techniques similar to those of movie trailers." Via Wikipedia - Book Trailers

They're just as funny and sometimes theatrical as your usual trailer except these get you amped up for a good read.

Check out some neat places to watch for new, upcoming reads:, they also have their own YouTube channel

I love this one too:
Book trailers on
Book Trailers by Tucson-Pima Public Library teens
* Digital Booktalks
Many book trailers are created by students
Google Video
Search by typing in "movie trailer" with quotation mark
Book Review Videos:
Mixed bag of book videos:

Here's a video of a book I have on to-read pile: One Drop

Update: Jena sent me a message w/another good one:

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Ay, bendito! - Not!

John McCain makes Spanish gaffs during interview

Just as bad as Bush, I say. Can someone show him where Spain is located? It's kinda hard to miss especially for someone who's been in Congress as long he has - he should know a lot better. I mean that's fourth grade geography. Shame on you and anyone who votes for you!

An Evening w/Bestselling Author Julia Alvarez - NYC Parks

originally uploaded by Jesus Chairez.

An Evening with Bestselling Author Julia Alvarez
Friday, September 19, 2008
5:00 p.m.–7:00 p.m.

Arts, Culture, and Fun and the Northern Mahattan Arts Alliance presents an evening with best-selling author Julia Alvarez as she discusses her latest book, Once Upon a Quinceanera: Coming of Age in the USA.

This even is free and open to the public; to RSVP please sent an email to or call (212) 408-0243.
Highbridge Park - Zone 3
Highbridge Recreation Center (2301 Amsterdam Avenue at West 173rd Street)Manhattan


More NYC Latino events

Monday, September 15, 2008

Hispanic Heritage Month Kickoff!

I celebrate Hispanic Heritage on the daily but for those of you who need a reminder - everyone else celebrates from September 15th-October 15th.

"Hispanic Heritage Month is the period to recognize the contributions of Hispanic Americans to the United States and to celebrate Hispanic heritage and culture. The observation started in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson and was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period starting on September 15 and ending on October 15. It was enacted into law on August 17, 1988 on the approval of Public Law 100-402." Via Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

There are a ton of festivities to share and enjoy in the orgullo!

The Library of Congress has a great site:
The National Education Association:
Hispanic Heritage Month on

Nordstrom (one of my favorite stores) is also doing its own thing: Check it out here:

In terms of books, take a look '08 Hispanic Heritage Month Reading List from

Hachette Book Group USA is getting in on the action and helping bloggers celebrate with good books too!

Check out these sites for chances to win Hachette Books for the holiday:
Good Luck and siempre pa'lante, mi gente!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Last call for First Book Got You Hooked!

The First Book's "What Book Got You Hooked?" literacy awareness campaignis in its second season.

"Time is running out to visit the First Book website, write about the book that got you hooked on reading, and vote for the state that you'd like to see receive 50,000 new books for low-income youth. The voting ends at midnight on September 15th, after which First Book will tally the results and post on their website the name of the winning state as well as a list of the Top 50 books that got readers hooked."

Via Shelftalker

Saturday, September 13, 2008

It's On - Obama '08

I just bought a cute and geeky Obama t-shirt and I've got my Obama '08 button all ready to rock on election day.

Goodnight Bush!

Friday, September 12, 2008

True Blood - This is going to be Good!

Last weekend, I caught HBO's new series True Blood, based on the Southern Vampire Mysteries by Charlaine Harris. Now as we know from the The Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer, vampires are all the rage now - and I think they have been since Buffy made it cool to fall in love with a creature of the night.

Well, anyhow, the first episode of True Blood, as really engrossing. Sookie, the main character can read other people's thoughts and the town is full of misfits and is racially charged in the same way that Planet of the Apes and Star Trek eluded to racism and cultural stereotypes. The vampire, Bill, who is smitten with Sookie - asks "if he may call on her' in a Southern drawl that reminded me of Patrick Swayze in North and South. She doesn't know what that means - since she's not hundreds of years old - that moment was so sweet, shoo - even I was smitten.

I can see myself becoming addicted to this show just like HBO got on me Carnivàle and then somewhat with Big Love. Did anyone watch it? Thoughts?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Remembering 9/11

Seven years ago, started off as a beautiful, sunny morning with not a cloud in sky - it was a day that would change the lives of New Yorkers and Americans everywhere forever.

We will not forget what we lost that day and today we honor the innocent who lost their lives, the brave who tried to rescue them and our heroes everywhere who came to help.

Photos: Seven Years Later via

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Maxine Hong Kinston Honored for Immigrant Tale

The National Book Foundation will honor Maxine Hong Kingston with the 2008 Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters on Nov. 19th.

"Hong Kingston won an NBA in 1981, in the general nonfiction category, for her interwoved tale of Chinese immigrants in America, China Men. According to the National Book Foundation, Hong Kingston "has employed a range of literary styles and stories in her work to create a startling new approach to immigrant memoir and fiction and influence two generations of American writers.""


I think it's so crucial to have multicultural literature in our lives, especially stories of immigrants that transcend race & time and speak to universal experiences of all displaced people.

Don't know where the candidates stand?

Check out this cool site,, where you can check the candidates' stance on over 130 issues. Don't let anyone pull the wool over your eyes!

I just finished reading Mike's Election Guide By Michael Moore and I'm getting one for everyone I care about...

Touchscreen e-reader Anyone?

OOOh! This looks really cool, move over Kindle, perhaps? Plastic Logic's sleek, slim, touchscreen e-reader via Boing Boing.

Not that I need yet another gadget but this one looks thinner than the Air Mac and it's got a touchscreen!

Although, I'm not too keen about the 8.5x11 size of it, it won't fit in smaller handbags

The Daffodil Project - Free bulbs for NYC to honor 9/11

The Daffodil Project serves as a living memorial to 9/11. They will once again distribute over 300,000 daffodil bulbs to New Yorkers in all five boroughs. Check back for the complete schedule for the daffodil distributions complete with date, time, and locations.
Sign up for 2008 Daffodil bulbs

Crime Lit Welcomes Boricua Author, Daniel Serrano

I mentioned Daniel Serrano before here. He's the hot, new author of Gunmetal Black. He's also a NYC-based attorney, East Harlem pana, and a marathon runner! Not too shabby, my friend.

The has a great feature on him today, "Gunmetal Black," a Spanglish action-packed thriller winning raves and comparisons to "Carlito's Way."

Read an Read an excerpt of Gunmetal Black
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