Friday, June 27, 2008

On what to read

On my way into work this morning, I went over to my ever-growing stack of free magazines and picked two for the commute. I finally finished Blindness by Jose Saramago last night and I'm trying to not start a new book until I'm on the airplane to Mexico this weekend.

Blindness by the way, was very much my sort of book. It delves into what makes us human in the face of outrageous suffering and conditions imposed upon us by a terror-driven government who in the face of science choose to remain ignorant. It reminded me of
V for Vendetta by Alan Moore and David Lloyd, 1984 by George Orwell and more recently, The Road by Cormac McCarthy.

So while browsing the O, The Oprah Magazine, March 2008 Issue, I spotted these new (to me) interesting reads:

- Lush Life: A Novel by Richard Price: "From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Master of the Bronx and Jersey projects, Price (Clockers) turns his unrelenting eye on Manhattan's Lower East Side in this manic crescendo of a novel that explores the repercussions of a seemingly random shooting. When bartender Ike Marcus is shot to death after barhopping with friends, NYPD Det. Matty Clark and his team first focus on restaurant manager and struggling writer Eric Cash, who claims the group was accosted by would-be muggers, despite eyewitnesses saying otherwise.

As Matty grills Eric on the still-hazy details of the shooting, Price steps back and follows the lives of the alleged shooters—teenagers Tristan Acevedo and Little Dap Williams, who live in a nearby housing project—as well as Ike's grieving father, Billy, who hounds the police even as leads dwindle. As the intersecting narratives hurtle toward a climax that's both expected and shocking, Price peels back the layers of his characters and the neighborhood until all is laid bare. With its perfect dialogue and attention to the smallest detail, Price's latest reminds readers why he's one of the masters of American urban crime fiction."

Ministry of Special Cases by Nathan Englander
"Product Description

From its unforgettable opening scene in the darkness of a forgotten cemetery in Buenos Aires, Nathan Englander's debut novel The Ministry of Special Cases casts a powerful spell. In the heart of Argentina's Dirty War, Kaddish Poznan struggles with a son who won't accept him; strives for a wife who forever saves him; and spends his nights protecting the good name of a community that denies his existence.

When the nightmare of the disappeared children brings the Poznan family to its knees, they are thrust into the unyielding corridors of the Ministry of Special Cases, a terrifying, byzantine refuge of last resort. Through the devastation of a single family, Englander brilliantly captures the grief of a nation."

I've grabbed a stack of books of my own to stuff my suitcase with and I'm letting you all know I won't be online until after the 4th of July.

Hasta luego, amigos! Tulum, here we come!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Paging Paulo Coelho Fans!

HarperCollins is offering a free full preview to Paulo Coelho's Brida!

"Brida is a tale of love, passion, mystery, and spirituality from a master storyteller. Coelho wrote Brida right after The Alchemist, and it launched his career as an international bestselling novelist. It has never been published in English—until now. Brida will be in stores June 24th, but you can read the the entire book online now."

Monday, June 23, 2008

Coldplay's Songs Always Make Sad

Friday, June 20, 2008

Friday Flex

I saw Pulitzer Prize-winning, Dominican author Junot Diaz on the Colbert Report on Wednesday night, and I just felt so thrilled for him and oddly proud. I remember when my friend James De La Vega told me about Drown several years ago and mentioned Junot was a good friend and paisano.

You can view it here:

I read some great news today about one of my favorite authors, Carlos Ruiz Zafón, and on googling him discovered an great article about bookish books. The article mentions a few other books, in addition to The Shadow of the Wind, which are now on my to-read list.

Speaking of lists, I saw a couple of top book lists this week that caught my eye. I love to go over these, see which ones I've read or haven't and ponder the different additions and why they've been added or left off. Like's The New Classics: Books, The 100 best reads from 1983 to 2008 and's 110 best books: The perfect library. Peruse and have fun.

I also came across this: It's a site geared toward New Zealanders that allows you to read books while at work and not look like you're doing any pleasure reading. Funny and perhaps useful to those barred from 'reading' while on duty. God forbid! I will never forget that one time one of my previous coworkers took her lunch time break and read at her desk, the COO happened to walk by and made a really snotty comment about her 'reading.' Those type of comments were par for the course at that place, which led me to leave a copy of The No Asshole Rule by Robert Sutton blatantly out on my desk. I'm not the type to indulge in petty, passive aggressive stuff like that but that place and those comments really dug into my soul like thorns. I've luckily moved on to better and brighter places.

On to other things, I've been hearing a lot about The Story of Edgar Sawtelle and I want to read it for myself.

Marcela Landres, editorial consultant, will be interviewed by They will be doing one interview per week, on Wednesdays at 5 p.m. PST, 8 p.m. EST. The interviews will be about an hour in length and will be FREE for the first 200 callers and those who join us via webcast. You can register for our next call by clicking here:

They also have a great blog!

I spotted this on Marcela's site: "INFIDELITY SURVEY
Dr. Ana Nogales, author of “Latina Power,” is conducting a study to evaluate the effects of parental infidelity on adult children. If either (or both) of your parents was ever unfaithful, you are invited you to participate in this study by clicking on this

The results of this survey will be published in a book about parental infidelity. For more information about Dr. Nogales, please visit"

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Kindles in the Night

I just came across this post at Silicon Alley Insider about spotting an actual Kindle user and found it amusing. Last week, it was a hot, sticky evening and I decided to go to this Sushi, Live Jazz spot that I frequent in midtown.

Usually, I get stuck at the bar but I deal by reading whatever Galley I have on hand. So anyway, last week toward the end of my meal this older man sits next me. He must have been in his sixties at least and he whips out his kindle, which I found interesting.

One, I hadn't seen one before although I'm very familiar with the Reader Digital Book from Sony since they were given out to my entire company, and two, he was up there in age and did not fit into what we stereotypically define as the techie generation and he also seemed like a businessman of some sort.

I struck up a conversation with him about the Kindle and he raved about all its features. It turned out he was reading a business book and I, a Twelve book. He thought it was odd that I paid in cash and perhaps, that I was there alone. While I thought it was odd he owned a kindle.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Reading - 20 years ago

An interesting article on how Reading habits have changed over 20 years.

The Prestige of Getting Galleys

or why galleys are hot: & Gawker

What's a galley, you ask?
Galley - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

On the Web has some new features on their ever-developing site. Check it out and friend me if you join: Literanista, also has new features to zoom into, maps!

My good friend, Orli, wrote to me to tell me about a new children's book community called: Lookybook. She wrote also wrote a review on her tech blog.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Sizzling in the City

Boy is it hot, seriously hot and tomorrow will be no better. I'm chilling at home with the central air on high in every single room. I'm totally missing out on the 116th St. festival and the Puerto Rican Day Parade but I can't say that I'm sorry. I hate crowds and chaos and with this heat, I'm getting on my own Boricuaness at home, thank you very much.

This morning I awoke from allergy medicine stupor and turned on the TV. Daisy Martinez was on and she was making Grilled Red Snapper, breadfruit tostones with ajilimojili sauce and Asparagus in Sour Orange vinaigrette.

My boyfriend who is Jamaican and Chinese loves red snapper, tostones and breadfruit. So I decided to make this today for dinner. I promptly jumped out of bed, had my cafe negro and headed off on my walk to my Pathmark. I figured I could get fresh fish there but took my chances finding the breadfruit for the tostones.

I've never had breadfruit tostones, only reg. ones so I really wanted to try these. I was also surprised to discover that breadfruit was same thing my mom referred to as panapen. I didn't realize we had this also but according to Daisy, it's a staple for most of the Caribbean. I also recently discovered that many people are taken aback by the thought of eating a fish with the head on, for most Caribbean this is par for the course.

Anyhow, suffice it to say - Pathmark had no breadfruit nor sour oranges so I bought plantains and regular oranges for my dish.

I also forgot to mention in my post about Jose Saramago that I also discovered this book: The Five Percenters: Islam, Hip-hop and the Gods of New York by Michael Muhammad Knight.

It looks really interesting, especially since I've always heard proud references to the Fiver Percenters from people my older sister's age and up.

I will definitely have to look into it.

I also wanted to let every one that the International Latino Book Awards, were announced at this years' Book Expo America. View pics at the digital pressroom

You can download the list here or browse it at

America Libre was selected as the Best Novel-Adventure or Drama-English, via Raul Ramos.

Tomorrow, Long Beach beckons!

Thursday, June 05, 2008


I've felt the need to come here and do a personal post for days now and just haven't found the time yet it's a call I can't continue to ignore.

My new job is going really well - I am frantically busy but happy, busy.
I'm also psyched about my upcoming vacation, we're going to Mexico for a week!

Recently, my coworker S. mentioned some brilliant Portuguese writer to me several times, one I had never heard of before. The other day I found myself at Borders browsing the new fiction and spotted a misplaced book on the table. The book was brilliantly and simply white. The name of the author rung a bell - José Saramago, it was the same writer he had mentioned to me.

I don't believe in coincidences - how was it that this book, Blindness (ironic, no?) - the one written by the man mentioned to me several times in a few different conversations came to land right in front of me, right in my path? I am not sure - but I picked it up and bought it with me and even the clerk validated my purchase by telling me how brilliant a book it was and then giving an extra 20 percent off.

It was meant to be and I hope that my mind is open enough to accept whatever message is within it for me to reap. I also hope I finish it before the movie comes out, which I heard is in the works.

Right now, I'm reading The Mistress's Daughter by A. M. Homes, which I've been wanting to read for over a year now. Being a 'lovechild' myself, the title intrigued me, and the book is written so articulately and by someone so self-aware and intelligent that I'm disappointed to already be coming upon the end. I think it's the author herself in the cover image of a blue-eyed, balck haired child, which haunts me. It's the spitting image of my sister as a child and the same features her sons have - the china doll hair and skin, the alarmingly blue eyes and that sad haunting look.

The past couple of days my allergies have been so bad that my head feels I'm trapped under water, my ears are clogged, my nose is stuffed and head aches. What's interesting is that I never had allergies when I was younger (except for dust) and I was very proud of that. Now I feel horrible and it's upsetting to realize that it's something as benign as allergies. The only respite I feel is delving into my books.


Monday, June 02, 2008

Interview with Jaime Martinez Wood, Author of Rogelia's House of Magic


Primera Pagina (An Anthology) by The Latino Writers Collective

From the press release:

This anthology includes poems by such established poets as Gloria Vando, editor of Helicon Nine Editions and winner of the Latino Literary Hal of Fame for her poetry collection Shadows & Supposes (Arte Publíco Press). Also included are former Taco Shop Poets member Tomás Riley of California, who was featured at the collective’s reading series in Kansas City last year, and Andrés Rodríguez, author of Night Song (Tía Chucha Press). Newer voices include Chato Villalobos, a Kansas City, Mo., police officer; Marcelo Xavier Trillo, a former gang leader and past intern to poet Jimmy Santiago Baca; Gabriela N. Lemmons, who has work forthcoming in Just Like a Girl: A Manifesta (Girlchild Press), and Angela Cervantes, a recent runner-up in The Missouri Review’s Audio Competition. Other contributors include José Faus, editor of the Kansas City Hispanic News, and Linda Rodriguez, author of the forthcoming I Don’t Know How to Cook Mexican Cookbook (Adams Media).

“This is a major first anthology of Latinos in a collective who both accept and defy their identities,” writes Rane Arroyo, vice president of the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) and long-time Midwestern Latino author, in his preface to the book.
The Latino Writers Collective, based in the Kansas City metropolitan area, organizes and coordinates projects for the larger community, especially to showcase national and local Latino writers and provide role models and instruction to Latino youth. The collective sponsors an annual reading series in Kansas City and plans release of a performance CD later this year.

Primera Página is $16.95 in trade paperback, 173 pp., ISBN 978-0-9791291-1-7. For more information or to request a media review copy, please contact Ben Furnish at (816) 824-6138 or This book is available to bookstores and libraries through Baker & Taylor.

More info here:

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