Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Booknook Eye Candy

When I was little, I often found refuge from the real world amongst the public library shelves and later on in high school too. My high school was priviledged enough to have a ginormous, beautiful library with columns and vaulted, cathedral ceilings and windows. I often asked for a pass to go there and sat in lithurgy with my dusty tomes and the basking in sun's warm glow, content and safe in the empty shrine of words and ideas.

I first saw this when it was originally published but just got a reminder from my email:

Top-shelf bookstores (The Guardian)
A top-ten list of the world's most eye-poppingly beautiful book shops (with photos), including ones in converted theatres, bank buildings, and even a church.

Mambo Kings Redux

Hijuelos Plans New `Mambo Kings' Novel

My sister who has a huge crush on Ruben Blades will look forward to getting her hands on this one!

Multi-cultural Lit Gains a Presence

6 Authors on Arabic Fiction Shortlist

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Send an E-Card & Give a Free Book

To celebrate the New Year, The Literacy Site is proud to announce that one new book will be donated to a child in need for every "Give a Free Book" e-card viewed, for a limited time.

Here's how it works:

You send the "Give a Free book" e-card to family and friends. When your e-card is opened, First Book and our premier sponsor, Pi Beta Phi, will provide a new book for a child in need.

So, when you send this e-card greeting, you're doing more than just saying hello--you're giving the gift of literacy. Spread the word and be sure to forward it on!

The Literacy Site

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Food for Thought

Image via Su Blackwell and designers block

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

From Baby Gangsta to Author and Actor

The other day, I finally read my Essence issue from Nov. '07 (I've got so much to read that magazines and books just pile up at my house and yes, I read Essence) and was intrigued by a feature on a recently published memoir, Grace After Midnight: A Memoir by Felicia Pearson.

I've always found memoirs inspirational and enjoy the opportunity to glimpse into other people's lives and tribulations, in a way, that's exactly why blogs have taken off - people enjoy playing voyeur.

The book and the back story caught my eye and mentally I added it to my 'to buy' list. I was also considering passing it off to my friend's young son, who is very impressed by streets and needs books that both encourage him to read and that will also inspire him to look beyond the world of thugging and deter him from ending up in prison.

Those of you who watch The Wire will recognize the baby faced actress, her story is incredible:

While Felicia is a brilliant actor in a truly chilling role, what's most remarkable about "Snoop" is what she has overcome in her life. Snoop was born a three-pound cross-eyed crack baby in East Baltimore. Those streets are among the toughest in the world, but Snoop was tougher. The runt of the ghetto showed an early aptitude for drug slinging and violence and thrived as a baby gangsta until she landed in Jessup state penitentiary after killing a woman in self-defense. There she rebelled violently against the system, and it was only through the cosmic intervention of her mentor, Uncle Loney, that she turned her life around. A couple of years ago, Snoop was discovered in a nightclub by one of The Wire's cast members and quickly recruited to be one of television's most frightening and intriguing villains.

I was quite delighted and happy to be reminded when while in the Hachette Book Group USA offices earlier this week I spotted the book on display by their snazzy windows. This one is definitely joining my book pile.

You know, I do a lot of research on Web2.0 and I've found that most people outside of tech field really don't understand what the term refers to albeit I'm sure they come across Web2.0 online everyday. I found this reference at once my favorite sites, clicked, and want to share it with my readers.

"Not only is Web 3.0 described here but Web 4.0 too. All in a handy chart. (Note the piece's recommendation of Semantic Web: What Is The Killer App? It's always easier to understand with examples.) Web 4.0 is what they're calling "The Ubiquitous Web."

The web is a'changing and believe me, the world is and will be following along.

I've also received two new books to review: The Kept Man by Jami Attenberg and
Cibolero by Kermit Lopez.

I'm very interested in reading Cibolero, which is set in New Mexico before it was a state and I'm certain that with amidst all the immigration controversy the book will add some dramatic fuel to fire for readers. Check out the book's site, it's pretty cool!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

A bit of Saturday Satire

Area Eccentric Reads Entire Book

The Onion

Area Eccentric Reads Entire Book

GREENWOOD,IN—"Instead of spending hours on YouTube every night, Mr. Meyer, unlike most healthy males, looks to books for gratification," said one psychologist.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Teachers Have a Special Place in my Heart

I've always admired teachers, my sister is one and for the first year out of school, I also worked for the NYC department of education as a sub. and then permanantly in Special Ed. classroom.

Recently, I discovered that Dan Brown (UPDATED, he is not author of The Da Vinci Code, he's a different Dan Brown) penned a memoir called The Great Expectations School: A Rookie Year in the New Blackboard Jungle. It takes a fine human being to teach, not just anyone would teach public school in the Bronx. Kudos to him on his new book, which he says has gotten great reviews.

This one's going on my reading list too!

The other night, I had trouble falling asleep and watched Independent Lens . REVOLUCION: Five Visions on PBS - a look at five talented photographers in Cuba who documented the struggles of Cuba.

The vivid imagery and a poem featured in the film captured my soul. I'd like to share it with you all:

Como un nadador que se ha perdido
Debajo de la capa de hielo,
Buscó un lugar para emerger.

… pero no hay ningún lugar.
Toda la vida nado con la respiración.
No sé cómo podéis vosotros hacerlo.

Estamos ciegos.
Cegados por el futuro.
No vemos nunca lo que está ante nosotros,
Nunca el próximo segundo.
Vemos solo lo que hemos visto ya.
Es decir, nada.

Al fin y al cabo no puedo ser el único
Que se ha dado cuenta.
Tan listo no soy.
Sólo se han puesto de acuerdo
En no hablar de ello.

Como caminan todos toda su vida sin
Conocer el momento siguiente,
Sin saber si con el próximo paso pisarán aún
Suelo firme o caerán en la nada.

Pensé que era el sueno equivocado o el mundo
Equivocado al que había ido a parar.
O quizás era yo el equivocado para este mundo,
Para este sueno.

…pero si resulta que solo soy vuestro
seuno común, que todos vosotros me habéis
sonado desde el principio, que nunca fui
otra cosa que el sueno de otros,
entonces os ruego mis queridos sonadores:
¡sonad a partir de ahora con otra cosa!

No puedo más.
No pretendo que os despertéis.
Por mi seguid durmiendo mientras queráis y
Dormid bien pero dejád de sonarme.

Y explicadme una cosa,
Damas y caballeros,
¿qué sucede con un sueno cuando
despierta el sonador? ¿Nada?
¿No sucede ya nada?

Like a swimmer who has gotten lost
Under a layer of ice,
I look for a place to emerge.

… but there is no place.
All life long I swim holding my breath.
I don’t know how you all can do it.

We are blind. Blinded by the future.
We never see what’s in front of us,
Never the coming second.
We see only what we have already seen.
That is, nothing.

After all I can’t be the only one to realize it.
I’m not so clever.
They’ve only agreed not to mention it.

How all walk all their lives without knowing
That following moment,
Without knowing if with the next step
They’ll still tread solid ground or will fall into nothingness.

I thought I had wound up in the wrong dream
Or the wrong world.
Or maybe it was I who was wrong
For this world, or this dream.

… but if it turns out that I’m only
your common dream, that all of you have
dreamed me from the beginning,
that I never was other than the dream of others,
then, my dreamers, I beg you:
from now on dream of something else.

I can’t go on,
I don’t expect you to wake up.
For all I care you can keep sleeping
as long and well as you want,
but stop dreaming me.

And explain to me something,
Ladies and gentlemen,
What happens with a dream
When the dreamer wakes up? Nothing?
Nothing happens anymore?

-from The Mirror in the Mirror, by Michael Ende. Translated by Juana Rosa Pita.

A quick futile search for this book by the German author of the Neverending Story lead me to find that the book is rare and out of print. The best price I found for it was on Abebooks for $121.00.

I hope it gets reprinted!

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

The Second Sex

Simone de Beauvoir, one the founding women of the feminist movement would have been 100 today. As France starts a celebration this week of the centennial of Simone de Beauvoir’s birth, The Guardian reports that scholars are worried that too much attention will be paid to the philosopher’s sex life and not enough to her ideas. Gee, it doesn't seem like things change do they, as our media concentrates on Hillary's emotional assertions.

Here's your chance to take a look inside the head of woman far ahead of her time, I think we refer to that as genius or visionary, who would've thought those ideas lay inside that delicate, sensitive head.

She Came to Stay, (1943)
Pyrrhus et Cinéas, (1944)
The Blood of Others, (1945)
Who Shall Die?, (1945)
All Men are Mortal, (1946)
The Ethics of Ambiguity, (1947)
The Second Sex, (1949)
America Day by Day, (1954)
The Mandarins, (1954)
Must We Burn Sade?, (1955)
The Long March, (1957)
Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter, (1958)
The Prime of Life, (1960)
Force of Circumstance, (1963)
A Very Easy Death, (1964)
Les Belles Images, (1966)
The Woman Destroyed, (1967)
The Coming of Age, (1970)
All Said and Done, (1972)
When Things of the Spirit Come First, (1979)
Adieux: A Farewell to Sartre, (1981)
Letters to Sartre, (1990)
A Transatlantic Love Affair: Letters to Nelson Algren, (1998)

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Spring in January

Crazy weather seems to becoming more and more common, which reminds of the Prince song, Sometimes it Snows in April so beautiful...

So, it's about 67 degrees here in NYC, yes, crazy!! I saw a woman in a skirt suit wearing thong sandals, crazy I tell you!

Anyhow, if you have a bit of Spring fever, like me, here's a little head's up for you - Belong to Me: A Novel by Marisa De Los Santos will be debuting this April. Some of you may remember Love Walked In from previous posts.

from the Harpercollins' site:

Belong To Me

Marisa de los Santos' first novel was hailed as a book to "be passed from friend to friend with the words 'you have to read this.'" In her second novel, she illuminates the leaps of faith and twists of fate from which our human connections are made.

In Belong to Me, we meet charming, insightful Cornelia Brown, as she struggles to forge friendships with the woman in her new town and as she discovers that even the most joyful marriage can encounter unexpected, and sometimes frightening, hurdles. Across the street we find Piper Truitt, a blond, imperious queen bee whose complex inner self comes crashing to the surface of her picture-perfect life as she cares for her best friend, recently diagnosed with cancer. And then there is Lake, the feisty mother of sensitive, whip-smart Dev, who has seemingly moved to Cornelia's town so her son can attend a school for gifted students, but who actually harbors a deeper motive. As their stories unfold, these characters become entangled in a web of trust, betrayal, love and loss that challenges them in ways they never imagined and that ultimately teaches them what it means for one human being to belong to another.

Soon to join my Bookpile

Barnes & Noble is having a great after holiday sale on books and calendars!

This was my order:
Aloft, Chang-rae Lee
ISBN: 0641679238
Online Price: $3.99

Magic Seeds, V. S. Naipaul
ISBN: 0641841809
Online Price: $3.99

Memories of My Melancholy Whores
Gabriel García Márquez
ISBN: 0641871686
Online Price: $3.99

Elfriede Jelinek, Martin Chalmers (Translator)
ISBN: 1583227571
Online Price: $24.95

Not too Shabby, if I must say so myself.

Visa CC holders, can use the same coupon for max. discounts:

Shipping is free w/$25 purchase and delivered in 24Hrs in Manhattan.

The Orphanage is officially in theaters, has anyone seen it yet? I'm dying to go myself.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Leaving the Old Behind

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