Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Library of Congress Launches New Site for Younger Readers

I've been seeing a lot of new iniatiaves to encourage children to read and some specifically geared toward males. I think this is absolutely fantastic!

They currently have 29 “classic”books for teens and kids that can be read in their entirety online. Plus they have suggested reading lists and resources for educators and parents.

NYC: Caribbean Literature Book Club

I came across the Caribbean Literature Book Club online and enjoyed browsing their 2009 – 2010 Reading List. I love lists like this because I miss the joy of discovering new books that I felt back when I was assigned lists of books in school and we really dug into them and scrutinized them from all of our perspectives. I also love the mix of nonfiction, social science and Carribean titles.

Dear Booklover,

So many books, so little time!
This year, we continue to examine and celebrate the Caribbean experience at home and abroad. And we begin with Frantz Fanon's classic work, Black Skin, White Masks, which, though published more than 50 years ago, still resonates today.

In Anna In-Between, Elizabeth Nunez delves into the perennial issue of integration/alienation, separation/belonging that is the immigrant experience. Ekwueme Michael Thelwell brings Stokely Carmichael back to life in Ready for Revolution: The Life and Struggles of Stokely Carmichael (Kwame Ture), a sweeping homage to the Trinidadian civil rights leader, activist and revolutionary.

Althea Prince disects love relationships in Ladies of the Night. Alejo Carpentier shows us that those in positions of power can be brought down when they disregard the people who choose them to lead in The Kingdom of This World: A Novel. Jan Carew strikes a similar note in his cautionary tale of greed and class conflict in postcolonial Guyana, Black Midas.

Caryl Phillips, In the Falling Snow, and Austin Clarke in More: A Novel, echo the theme of separation/belonging, and Malcolm Gladwell shows us, in Outliers, how successful people can be when opportunities are given to

Hope you will consider lending your voice to this discussion this year

2009 – 2010 Reading List

October 18, 2009
Black Skin, White Masks by Frantz Fanon (Martinique)
A major influence on civil rights, anti-colonial, and black consciousness movements around the world, Black Skin, White Masks is the unsurpassed study of the black psyche in a white world. Hailed for its scientific analysis and poetic grace when it was first published in 1952, the book remains a vital force today. “[Fanon] demonstrates how insidiously the problem of race, of color, connects with a whole range of words and images.” — Robert Coles, The New York Times Book Review

November 8, 2009
Anna In-Between by Elizabeth Nunez (Trinidad & Tobago/USA)
** Elizabeth will be in attendance
Traveling back to her Caribbean island home on vacation from her high-pressure job as a book editor in Manhattan, Anna Sinclair is predisposed to be at odds with the vast dichotomy between her two worlds. Not only does the languid pace of tropical life take some adjustment but Anna is perennially frustrated by the fractious relationship with her mother, taking quick umbrage at the hypercritical woman's subtle faultfinding. So it goes until the day when her normally proper and reserved mother swallows her pride and reveals the hideous lump that has deformed her breast. Shocked by her mother's life-threatening condition, appalled by her father's seeming indifference to his wife's deteriorating health, Anna struggles to convince her parents to return with her to New York, where her mother can receive proper care.

January 17, 2010
Ready for Revolution: The Life and Struggles of Stokely Carmichael (Kwame Ture),
Michael Thelwell (Jamaica)
The firebrand civil rights leader who led the call for Black Power in the 1960s looks back on nearly five decades of protests and freedom fighting in this passionate, posthumous autobiography. In collaboration with his friend Thelwell (a professor of Afro-American studies at the University of Massachusetts), Carmichael, who died in Guinea in 1998, traces his path from immigrant child of Trinidad to charismatic U.S. student activist and unrepentant revolutionary. The story is told largely in Carmichael's own stylish, often thunderous, first-person words and is named for the telephone greeting that the author used for much of his life.

It covers the full sweep of events that shaped Carmichael's life: his years at the elite Bronx High School of Science and Howard University; summers spent registering black voters in Mississippi and Alabama; personal encounters with such leaders as Martin Luther King, James Baldwin and Malcolm X; and his sudden decision in 1969 to relocate to Africa and change his name to Kwame Ture. Carmichael also addresses controversial issues that surrounded him as a young civil rights activist: his splits with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and the Black Panthers, and reports of ideological struggles with the pacifist King all "[u]tter, utter nonsense," he insists.

February 21, 2010
Ladies of the Night, Althea Prince (Antigua/Canada)
Ladies of the Night is set in Toronto and Antigua. With women's loves and lives as their focus, the stories contain dramatic twists and turns: some humorous, others shocking and disturbing, all leaving a haunting melody behind. The Toronto stories capture the issues women face as they walk the ground of intimate and family
relationships in that city. The Antiguan setting of some of the stories are reflective of Prince's insight into relationships, captured in her novel and essays. The characters reveal their different ways of managing a range of struggle, pain, rage, love and pure unadulterated joy. The humour of some stories complement the plaintive sadness and emotionality of the strings some other stories pluck.

March 21, 2010
The Kingdom of This World: A Novel, Alejo Carpentier y Valmont (Cuba)
A few years after its liberation from French colonial rule, Haiti experienced a period of unsurpassed brutality, horror and superstition under the reign of the black King Henri-Christophe. Through the eyes of the ancient slave, Ti Noel, The Kingdom of This World records the destruction of the black regime – built on the same corruption and contempt for human life that brought down the French – in an orgy of voodoo, race hatred, erotomania, and fantastic grandeurs of false elegance.

April 18, 2010
In the Falling Snow, Caryl Phillips (UK/St. Kitts) Keith—born in England in the early 1960s to immigrant West Indian parents but primarily raised by his white stepmother—is a social worker heading a Race Equality unit in London whose life has come undone. He is separated from his wife of twenty years (whose family “let her go” when she married a black man), kept at arm’s length by his seventeen-year-old son, estranged from his father, and accused of harassment by a co-worker. And beneath it all, he has a desperate feeling that his work—even in fact his life—is no longer relevant.

May 16, 2010
Black Midas, Jan Carew (Guyana)
Astonishingly vivid, bawdy, and tempestuous, this novel is a cautionary tale about greed and class conflict in postcolonial Guyana. Comparing ruthless 20th-century
prospectors to the long-ago Spanish explorers who raped a continent in their quest for El Dorado, the novel follows the dreams and delusions of Aron Smart, a youth orphaned early in life and brought up on a farm by his grandparents who impressed upon him the value of an education. When Aron’s schooling is cut short after a reversal of fortune, however, he becomes deeply discouraged by his lack of opportunity and decides to follow in his father’s footsteps as a diamond prospector.

He quickly becomes very rich—his companions in the mines call him “Shark”—and he is determined to use his new wealth to buy his way into the middle class. But Aron is out of his element in the world of property and prestige, and, cheated of his fortune, he returns to the interior, mining with a reckless madness that leaves him terribly maimed in an accident—and causes him to dream of returning to his grandfather’s life, built on the solid rhythms of farming and caring for the land.

June 20, 2010
More: A Novel, Austin Clarke (Barbados/Canada)
At the news of her son BJ’s involvement in gang crime, Idora Morrison, a maid at the local university, collapses in her basement apartment. For four days and nights she retreats into a vortex of memory, pain, and disappointment that becomes a riveting expose of her life as a Caribbean immigrant living abroad. While she struggled to make ends meet, her deadbeat husband, Bertram, abandoned her for a better life in New
York. Left alone to raise her son, Idora has done her best to survive against
immense odds. But now that BJ has disappeared into a life of crime, she recoils from his loss and is unable to get out of bed, burdened by feelings of invisibility.

July 18, 2010
Outliers: The Story of Success, Malcolm Gladwell, US/Can/Jamaica
Now that he's gotten us talking about the viral life of ideas and the power of gut reactions, Malcolm Gladwell poses a more provocative question in Outliers: why do some people succeed, living remarkably productive and impactful lives, while so many
more never reach their potential?

Challenging our cherished belief of the "self-made man," he makes the democratic assertion that superstars don't arise out of nowhere, propelled by genius and talent: "they are invariably the beneficiaries of hidden advantages and extraordinary opportunities and cultural legacies that allow them to learn and work hard and make sense of the world in ways others cannot." Examining the lives of outliers from Mozart to Bill Gates, he builds a convincing case for how successful people rise on a tide of advantages, "some deserved, some not, some earned, some just plain lucky.

Marcia M. Mayne
Founder, Date with a Book®
Caribbean Literature Book Club
P 646.290.9212 : F 646.290.7088 : M 646.541.2543

Banned Books Week: A Conversation with Rudolfo Anaya

Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Three Puerto Rican Brothers On and Off the Streets

I saw this book profiled at another blog: When a Heart Turns Rock Solid: The Lives of Three Puerto Rican Brothers On and Off the Streets by Timothy Black.

This provocative and compelling book examines how jobs, schools, the streets, and prisons have shaped the lives and choices of a generation of Puerto Rican youth at the turn of the twenty-first century.

At the center of this riveting account–based on an unprecedented eighteen-year study–are three engaging, streetwise brothers from Springfield, Massachusetts: Fausto, incarcerated for seven years and in and out of drug treatment, an insightful and sensitive street warrior playing on the edges of self-destruction; Julio, the family patriarch, a former gang member turned truck driver, fiercely loyal to his family and friends; and Sammy, a street maven, recovering drug addict, father of four, straddling two realms–the everyday world of low-wage work and the allure of the drug economy–as he shuttles between recovery and relapse.

Timothy Black spent years with the brothers and their parents, wives and girlfriends, extended family, coworkers, criminal partners, friends, teachers, lawyers, and case workers. He closely observed street life in Springfield, including the drug trade; schools and GED programs; courtrooms, prisons, and drug treatment programs; and the young men’s struggle for employment both on and off the books. The brothers, articulate and determined, speak for themselves, providing powerful testimony to the exigencies of life lived on the social and economic margins. The result is a singularly detailed and empathetic portrait of men who are often regarded with fear or simply rendered invisible by society.

With profound lessons regarding the intersection of social forces and individual choices, Black succeeds in putting a human face on some of the most important public policy issues of our time.

"For 20 years, Timothy Black, a sociology professor at the University of Hartford, has been a mentor to the brothers and a student of their world. In his new book, Black chronicles their triumphs and sorrows against a backdrop of shifts in social policy and the labor market. Black’s work is no sociological treatise. He has produced a narrative as compelling as well-crafted fiction."

I think I might get this for my brother. I'm always looking for male-oriented, gritty books to peak his interest and keep him reading.

The most influential piece of world literature: One Hundred Years of Solitude

"A survey conducted of international writers named One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez as the most influential piece of world literature of the past quarter-century."

Monday, September 28, 2009

Cute Things Kids Say

I was watching The Wizard of Oz the other day with my friend's four year old and at one point she referred to the Tin Man as a "robot." I was taken aback a bit and I laughed a little bittersweetly. She's like so 2009 - of course, she thought he was a robot. What else would a 'man' made of tin be?

Hispanic Heritage Month Outrage

Recently I've seen a couple of features online that seemed to rant on the commercialization of Latinos especially through Hispanic Heritage Month exploitations.

This left me feeling exasperated and upset so I thought I would address here. And, my feelings are the issue are rather complex.

I don't think anyone is exploiting Latinos by marketing to them (in general). I, in particular, dislike promotional campaigns from alcoholic beverages aimed at Latinos. Every time I open a magazine or see a billboard in a poor area it seems to be one of these but at the same time I know some of these companies pour a lot of money into scholarships and community campaigns. I am also a big believer in free will and what people do is their business. When I see a Corona commercial, I want to hit the beach not the bottle - maybe that's just me. And as long as the marketing is not patronizing or demeaning to Hispanics, I don't mind it. In fact, I applaud the company's offer to try to offer me something - it's still up to me to buy it. I have the control and the power as a consumer.

Also it's rather hypocritical to complain about being "targeted." I think we, as Latinos, have successfully risen from being marginalized and rather invisible within American society. Even in saying that however, we still have a long way to go. Yet, I see the "targeting" as a sign that we have been recognized as a social group with immense financial power. We live in a capitalist society, many groups are "targeted." Is this exploitation? It's complicated. Should Latinos be targeted as a group or seen as mainstream... Personally, I feel like there is a sense of cultural loss attached to being mainstream. I like to support Hispanic initiatives when I can and when I agree and like the basis. I don't preferentially choose them over others either. I choose what I like and when it happens to be a Hispanic business or author or project - it brings me an additional sense of happiness and pride. But is Hispanic pride a commodity? Don't we want to support Hispanic ventures and business? Don't we need to nurture this sort of productivity and success within our own community?

As a child, I enjoyed Black History Month lessons and plays and specials on TV because I learned about the rich history and lives of all the brothers and sisters who came before me. It gave me a sense of our world and society outside of my own personal scope, time, and window. Sadly, it was only when I got to college that I started learning of my own Puerto Rican history and still I continue to learn.

Cultural observances and celebrations allow others to learn and embrace the significance, diversity, and experiences of one particular group. "Others" in this sense meaning anyone who might be unfamiliar, even those of that group. I celebrate my heritage every day, it is matter of pride and identity - that doesn't mean the buck stops there. Hispanic Heritage Month amplifies this sentiment, allows me to share it with others, and it allows me to receive a wealth of information. And, don't we have a lot to celebrate?

Meet Violet, Who is Beautifully Different

What a cute book trailer:

Available from

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Moshe Nunez: On Being Mexican American & Hasidic

Latino and Jewish in America: Brooklyn resident Moshe Nunez shares his unique cultural identity as both a Latino and Jewish American.

I thought this was really interesting and I laughed when he showed us the cilantro and jalapeños in his fridge (like some weird episode of Cribs). I also like that he speaks to history of the "Marranos or secret Jews (also known as Anusim)who were Sephardic Jews (Jews resident in the Iberian peninsula) who were forced to adopt Christianity under threat of expulsion but who continued to practice Judaism secretly, thus preserving their Jewish identity. The term in Spanish meant pigs; it stemmed from the ritual prohibition against eating pork, a prohibition practiced by both Jews and Muslims."

A while back I had picked up Incantation by Alice Hoffman, whose writing I love. The book is for younger readers but it was rather lovely and historically informative. It is set in the time of the Spanish Inquisition, and the main character is a Spanish Jew who whose family is leading double lives as Catholics.

VOCES: The Personal is Political

Like I mentioned before I've really been enjoying Season 2 of VOCES, a showcase of documentaries celebrating the diversity of Latino Life.

I watched both the Celia Cruz and Antonia Pantoja, Presente! with my mom. We both cried through the Celia Cruz one. She was so beloved by so many people around the world - it is truly amazing to me. I learned Antonia Pantoja (who I am ashamed to say I had actually never heard of before the show) was the educator who created the ASPIRA program, initiated the push for bilingual education and help open CUNY to the public.

The most recent VOCES I watched was on Braceros, who were Mexican men who came to work in the US as "guest workers" before 1960s. In one of the scenes, one of the men spoke on how they were accepted in some places and not in others and they showed this sign from a local movie theater in the 1950s (not sure about the exact date):

I was taken a back by the blatant racism and also the similarity to recent signs posted in the US.

If you want to catch these great documentaries, they are available to view in full online at You can also hit them up via @VocesMedia

Saturday, September 26, 2009

HBO Rain of Gold Miniseries in the Works

Victor Villaseñor's bestselling book Rain of Gold has been used by thousands of teachers and school systems throughout the United States as required reading. Rain Of Gold tells the story of his family, taking the reader from war-torn Mexico during the Revolution to the present day.

He posted this message asking for our support of the miniseries on his website:

Dear Friends,

Originally, HBO had projected to start shooting a ten-hour Rain of Gold miniseries this year. But due to various industry strikes and delays, it was pushed back. Now, once more we are in the process of getting the script written, so we can start shooting next year. We need your help to congratulate and thank HBO.

HBO is the best!

Please write a letter or an email to HBO telling them how much you appreciate the fact that they are making this series, based on the Rain of Gold trilogy, meaning Wild Steps of Heaven, Rain of Gold, Thirteen Senses.

Tell them how these books have touched your hearts and helped unite generations of your family in an exciting, magical, and yet realistic positive way.


Richard Plepler’s assistant with "Rain of Gold" in the subject line with copies to:

Kary Antholis’ assistant

Michael Lombardo’s assistant

Make sure to tell all your friends and family to do the same so word will spread like hot salsa! Let’s flood them with letters this week!

Thank you, gracias, and a big abrazo,
Victor Villaseñor

Become a friend of Victor’s on MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter or sign up to receive his newsletter at to get updates on upcoming appearances, news about the Rain of Gold series, and much more.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Did You Know 4.0

"This is another official update to the original "Shift Happens" video. This completely new Fall 2009 version includes facts and stats focusing on the changing media landscape, including convergence and technology, and was developed in partnership with The Economist. For more information, or to join the conversation, please visit and"

Oscar Hijeulos Offers Advice to Aspiring Writers

Thursday, September 24, 2009

National Museum of the American Latino Panel

U.S. President Barack Obama appointed several people to a panel studying the feasibility of creating an American Latino museum, the White House said.

Appointed to the Commission to Study the Potential Creation of a National Museum of the American Latino were entertainment mogul Emilio Estefan Jr., lawyer Andres W. Lopez, businesswoman Cindy Pena, lawyer and activist Abigail M. Pollak, and lawyer Cid Wilson, the White House said in a release.

Obama said commission members Gilberto Cardenas and Jose B. Fernandez were reappointed to the panel.

"I am pleased to appoint these outstanding men and women to the Commission to Study the Potential Creation of a National Museum of the American Latino -- a museum that would be dedicated to celebrating the history and achievements of Latinos in America," Obama said.

Legislation creating the commission was signed into law in May 2008. The 23-member group is charged to conduct a two-year study on the feasibility and planning aspects for a new national museum in Washington is dedicated to exhibiting the art, history and culture of the U.S. Latino population.


RIP: The Man Behind Sazón Goya, José Antonio Ortega Bonet

Last Saturday, Jose Antonio Ortega Bonet, founder of Sazon Goya Food Company passed away just one month shy of his 80th birthday. He was battling lung cancer.

"Pepe" Ortega, known to his friends as "El Gallego," uprooted his family in 1960, fleeing Cuba's communist revolution. After a stint in Colombia, settled in Puerto Rico, where he started a successful career in the food business that eventually became Sazón Goya, in partnership with the Unanue family, owners of Goya Foods, the largest Hispanic-owned food business.

"Pepe" was a philanthropist. Among his major beneficiaries are the Centro Mater Foundation, the League Against Cancer, Mercy Hospital and the José Martí scholarships. While Goya's national sponsorships include the National Council of La Raza, the National Puerto Rican Day Parade, the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and the National Hispana Leadership Institute. Goya is also the first Hispanic company to be exhibited at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.

I just wanted to express my sincere gratitude to Mr. Ortega for his immense contribution, hard work, and for paving the way by leading such an exemplar, industrious, creative career for others in his stead. How many of us grew up singing the jingle: "Si Es Goya Tiene Que Ser Bueno?" Sazón and Goya have been intregral parts of our cuisine and culture for many years and the company is to be commended for offering this and sharing it with world, allowing the connections from our homelands to our diasporas to never be lost.

To leave your condolences and thoughts and sign his guestbook, please visit

Don't Miss

A Fantastic collection of resources:

The Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum join in paying tribute to the generations of Hispanic Americans who have positively influenced and enriched our nation and society.

A sampling:

Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez: 2006 National Book Festival

Elsa Cross: 2008 National Book Festival

La Quinceanera: A Coming of Age Ritual in Latino Communities

Latino in America Preview

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

New Book: Evenings at the Argentine Club

Evenings at the Argentine Club by Julia Amante

More information:

Author website
Author blog
Follow @JuliaAmante
Become a Fan on Facebook

Starting Over

Sometimes life sets you on path of no return - but perhaps that's for the better, like Mitch Joel has said sometimes you just have to burn the ships and not look back..

Ironically, recently I posted about people who stop blogging then I stopped blogging, a lot of stuff has happened in my personal life and I've been ill and well just sad - feeling like I have nothing to say and then finally when I was ready - I felt like I didn't know where to start. I just need to keep reminding myself just go forward one small step at a time.

Anyway, here's a round up of stuff I wanted to share;

It's Hispanic Heritage Month and there's tons of stuff going on. I've been especially enjoying the VOCES documentaries on PBS. HBG is hosting a fantastic book giveaway being offered at many sites all over the web, don't miss your chance to grab your own set: has launched a new book community. launches next week while got a face lift and LibraryThing Revamped Under Amazon Pressure

I am loving, loving the Vampire Diaries, but I haven't decided if I want to read the books yet.
Should I?

I got the chance to meet Leila Cobo, author of Tell Me Something True, this week and last week I met Uwem Akpan, whose collection of stories is Oprah's latest book club pick. He asked me where I was from and then told me he loves Puerto Rican food. When he was speaking to us he said something that really stuck with me: He said when you choose someone to accompany you on a long journey, one where they may be quarrels or hard times you choose the person who you know will still be a friend and there for you at the end.

I haven't had a chance to review it yet but here's more on Irene Vilar's IMPOSSIBLE MOTHERHOOD,

NYC - Brooklyn-born Puerto Rican poet Lemon Andersen’s County of Kings is a one man show being presented by Spike Lee and the Culture Project. The show will begin its run at The Public Theater on Monday, October 12th, with previews starting September 29th. All tickets for preview performances (Sept 29th - Oct 11th) are specially priced at $25. (Regular price $50-$60) Tickets are available in person at 425 Lafayette Street, online at or by calling (212) 967-7555. For more information and to see the full schedule, please visit:

Good News: from The Fresh Air Fund - "nearly 8,000 children enjoying their best summers yet. All of the wonderful folks who blogged, posted banners, tweeted, and joined our Facebook Page and Cause have just been amazing. We put together a video montage of images from the summer and some other fun stuff here to thank you:
If you haven't become a fan or our Facebook Page, please do - and our twitter handle is @freshairfund"

I twittered that I was watching Juanes' Concierto para Paz in Cuba, and some folks actually thought I was in Cuba. I wish - I was watching it on TV!

You can now participate in the first public vote in the history of the National Book Awards! Visit and vote. When you register to vote, your email address will be entered for a drawing to win two tickets to the 60th National Book Awards on November 18, 2009 and two nights in the Marriott Hotel Downtown, compliments of Marriott. Voting ends at midnight on October 21st.The winner of the Best of the National Book Awards Fiction will be announced at the 60th National Book Awards Ceremony and Dinner at Cipriani New York on November 18, 2009.

The National Book Festival is this weekend in DC.

Where: The National Mall, Washington, D.C. between 7th and 14th streets

When: Saturday, September 26, 2009 • 10:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. (rain or shine)

For those unable to attend in person, the Library of Congress has made it possible to participate in the festival online. Among its features, the website offers downloadable author podcasts, webcasts of author presentations, and a Young Readers' Toolkit for children, parents and educators to create their own festival at home or in the classroom. For additional information: Follow the Library of Congress on Twitter (#nbf)Become a Fan on Facebook or Text "BOOK" to 61399.

NYC- Also this weekend, The Provenance of Beauty: A South Bronx Travelogue
Saturday Sep 26 (1 & 4pm) More times» at 171 E 121st St (171 E 121st St) map
price: $35

"It's an all-too-rare occasion when we view New York from a new angle. In The Provenance of Beauty, that perspective is gained in the South Bronx, where complications include the new park set beside a fertilizer plant, and the new condominiums poised to spur gentrification. Leave it to the incredibly progressive Foundry Theatre to produce a performance-bus tour of the area, opening our eyes to NYC's overall geography, and how often we ignore these immeasurable surroundings. Board the bus in Spanish Harlem, then pop on your headphones for 90 minutes of exquisite storytelling that should take you far beyond the surface of your surroundings. -Amanda Cooper "

·Help NYC School Libraries, Win a Pair of Manolos Become a fan of the Fund for Public Schools on Facebook.The Fund for Public Schools is about to kick off its sixth Shop for Public Schools program to raise money to improve and revitalize New York City public school libraries. For one week between October 1 and 8, participating New York City merchants—including Borders, J. Crew, and Staples—will pledge a percentage of their sales or a flat donation to the Fund for Public Schools. more here

You can also help on Saturday, October 17, by joining over 8,000 volunteers to revitalize more than 100 New York City public schools. Paint murals and classrooms, add bright new line games to school playgrounds, reorganize libraries and storage closets, and so much more. I hope you can join to provide thousands of school children with cleaner, safer, and more stimulating learning environments.

"This year's Read for the Record campaign expects to register one million readers to read The Very Hungry Caterpillar on October 8. Special events are planned for New York City, Washington D.C., Chicago, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. Presented in partnership with Pearson, Jumpstart's Read for the Record campaign is designed to raise awareness of the importance of early literacy and personal service. Find out how you can participate by visiting the Pearson Foundation website or the Jumpstart Read for the Record website."

You can also celebrate the freedom to read during Banned Books Week, which will be observed this year from September 26 to October 3. For more information, visit the ALA website.

The Harry Ransom Center, part of the University of Texas at Austin, has launched an Edgar Allan Poe digital collection, available at The site has 4,000 images of more than 200 different materials.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

True Love: NYC

This weekend, I travel back in time to shortly after 9/11. There was an episode of Sex and the City where it's Fleet Week and the whole show is basically a love letter to the city.

Being a native New Yorker, one who distinctly remembers that tragic day and will never forget...I really dig what Obama said, "on this day, we are New Yorkers!"

Wednesday, September 09, 2009


Over 220 literary superstars and pop culture trailblazers at hip, smart, diverse festival of ideas



Major free public event featuring: Russell Banks, Jonathan Lethem, Anne Carson, Paul Auster, Edwidge Danticat, Claire Messud, Colson Whitehead, A.M. Homes, David Cross,
Mary Gaitskill, Nicholson Baker, Oliver Sacks, Staceyann Chin, Gary Shteyngart, Amy Sohn, Nelson George, Melvin Van Peebles, Siri Hustvedt, Lupe Fiasco, Heidi Julavits, Sloane Crosley, Tao Lin, Jeffrey Rotter, Esmeralda Santiago, Keith Gessen, Naomi Klein, Thurston Moore, M.T. Anderson, Greg Milner, Francine Prose, Jonathan Ames, Kate DiCamillo, Mo Willems, T. Cooper, Tom Tomorrow, Judi Barrett, Christopher Myers... and many more!

On Sunday, September 13, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, the Brooklyn Literary Council and Brooklyn Tourism will host the fourth annual Brooklyn Book Festival, a huge, free public event presenting over 220 authors participating in panel discussions and readings, young adult and children’s programming and a literary marketplace of more than 150 booksellers, publishers and literary organizations. Readings are held at Brooklyn Borough Hall, in Borough Hall Plaza and Columbus Park, at St. Francis College and the Brooklyn Historical Society.

Brooklyn Book Festival Official Site on Facebook
Follow the Brooklyn Book Festival on Twitter at bkbf

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Time to Think

The mind is everything. What you think you become.

An insincere and evil friend is more to be feared than a wild beast; a wild beast may wound your body, but an evil friend will wound your mind.

We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make the world.

Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.

Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth.

No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path.

You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.

--- Buddha

Picking Up the Pieces


Friday, September 04, 2009

Please Welcome BadCityRadio!

My younger brother launched a music blog, Badcityradio.

Please welcome him into the blogosphere.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Juan Gabriel Vásquez’s The Informers

I can't remember if I mentioned this book earlier this summer but Publishers Weekly calls it "a crushing and beautifully tricky novel" - The Informers by Juan Gabriel Vasquez

"Vásquez tackles Colombia’s reality from a historical perspective. His novel, Los informantes (“The Informants”; Alfaguara, 2004), explores the world of exiled Nazis in Bogotá during the 1940s, recapturing a forgotten page of Colombia’s history" is now available in the States in English.

You can read Jonathan Yardley's recent review here

So Everyone Needs a Break Once in a While

I get it. I was actually referring to people who completely abandon their blogs for months or forever but here's a couple of tips:

How to Take a Break Without Breaking Your Blog

A follow-up to This Happens Just a Little Too Often and I'm annoyed!

Wake Up, Wake Up - Little Sparrow

Wake Up Little Sparrow - Lizz Wright

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Un Poquito de Todo

Portuguese Nobel laureate Saramago, 85, gives up blog to concentrate on novel

Just plain sad: Study Predicts 500 Bookstores Will Close this Year

Cuban writer Guillermo Rosales Rediscovered with New English Translations

Dan Roam, author of Back of the Napkin, posted a napkin explanation of the American Health Care debate on his blog. View the slideshow of the complete series up on

Colombian Library Foundation Wins $1-Million Gates Award looks at global summer reading during "midst of an economic annus horribilis."


Spain Honors Chinese Translator of “Don Quixote”

Opening Reception for Latina Art Exhibit at Taller Boricua, Thursday, September 10th from 6 - 9 PM, 1680 Lexington Avenue @ 106th Street
Please join photographers Clarisel Gonzalez, Mia Hernandez, and others at the upcoming group Latina Art Exhibit of the 100 Hispanic Women Inc. at the Taller Boricua/Puerto Rican Workshop gallery. Admission is free to members and $5 to all non- members. 100 Hispanic Women Inc. will offer a 50% discount on annual memberships for anyone who registers at the event. For more information, call 212-239-1430 or e-mail:

"Direct postal service between Cuba and the U.S. may be restarted after being suspended for nearly five decades." Postal service to resume between Cuba and U.S.?

$20 Off-Broadway tickets in September for 20at20 Shows include Stomp,” “Fuerza Bruta," and more.

Heard About Latinos in Social Media?: A Q&A With Co-Founder Louis Pagan

The Young Lords’ Legacy of Puerto Rican Activism

Check out THE LATINO JASON MRAZ: Pedro Capó, aka Capó, has been off-Broadway in the Celia Cruz musical and on film with John Leguizamo. His upcoming album will surprise and enthrall you. via

Is there really a racial divide on the Internet?

Everyone's talking about Oprah’s next book pick, which will be announced on 9/18. All Oprah is saying is that she has “never made a selection like this.” Stay tuned!

"In the over thirty daytime and nighttime talk shows on cable and broadcast network TV you will be hard pressed to find a Latino, let alone a Latina voice. George Lopez aims to change that when he premieres his show Lopez Tonight on TBS. Meanwhile, four Latinas are already bringing cultural relevance to the talk show landscape on their Internet talk show Let's Talk! Let's Talk is a 15 minute "Anytime" Internet talk show with a unique perspective on culturally relevant topics with universal appeal. Tune in anytime on" Read the full press release

Heal your spirit and your body! September is National Yoga Month. There are events planned across the country and more information can be found at One event that is happening around the country is a free yoga week, offered by participating studios.

Please help get The Wise Latina Digital Club panel into the SXSW 2010 conference. Go vote for it NOW!


No More “Reading Rainbow”? Say It Ain’t So! I loved, loved this show. "NPR reports that "Reading Rainbow" was the third longest-running program in PBS history after "Sesame Street" and "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood."'

Cristina Kirchner, Michelle Bachelet and Sonia Sotomayor are among Forbes magazine’s “100 Most Powerful Women”.

"The Southern Poverty Law Center Wednesday released a report describing Suffolk County as a hotbed of anti-immigrant violence that has plagued Latinos for a decade, ranging from low-level harassment to vicious attacks, and resulting in an atmosphere where Latinos live in constant fear." Report: Suffolk Latinos face assaults, live in fear

Celebrate Mexico Now! Festival

Thoughts for writers: From Margin to Center: Writing Characters of Color

The 10 most pirated ebooks - not what you think!

The most beautiful libraries in the world

This Happens Just a Little Too Often

and I'm annoyed!

I find a blog.

The blog is intriguing.

I read the blogs' recent posts,

the author's profile,

and I decide it has value to offer me.

I bookmark it.

I follow it.

I check it daily or often.


The posts stop.

Some times things happen,

people don't post,

they go away,

or feel sick,

or what have you...

But I am a loyal reader.

I check back


and then again.

And still


Now some might say

I have abandonment issues

and you know what?

That might be true

but that doesn't make it cool.

As a blogger

you have a responsibility

to your readers.

No one asked you to blog,

you had a great idea

and you took it upon yourself

to launch it.

Now keep it going.

I've learned that in life

it isn't always the person who is the brightest

or the most popular

or the most charming

or beautiful

who succeeds,

it is the person who perseveres.

The one who doesn't give up.

The ones who dust themselves off

after each fall,

and keep right on.

If a blog

were a book

would it make sense to read it

knowing that sporadic chapters were missing

or that the author stopped writing after chapter 2, or 5, or 7?

There are blogs I have read for years

and perhaps some of these bloggers

don't write on a daily basis,

some do, some write a lot less,

but I often check back.

The least one can do IMO is post an explanation or note - the blog has moved, is on hiatus, whatever. Don't just vanish into webspace.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Yielding with Grace


by Robert Frost

Out through the fields and the woods
And over the walls I have wended;
I have climbed the hills of view
And looked at the world and descended;
I have come by the highway home,
And lo, it is ended.

The leaves are all dead on the ground,
Save those that the oak is keeping
To ravel them one by one
And let them go scraping and creeping
Out over the crusted snow,
When others are sleeping.

And the dead leaves lie huddled and still,
No longer blown hither and thither;
The last lone aster is gone;
The flowers of the witch-hazel wither;
The heart is still aching to seek,
But the feet question 'Whither?'

Ah, when to the heart of man
Was it ever less than a treason
To go with the drift of things,
To yield with a grace to reason,
And bow and accept the end
Of a love or a season?

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