Friday, December 21, 2007

What would life be like if no one read?

New Yorker: What will life be like if people stop reading?

If that perchance, spurs some to read feel free to check out The Best Adult Books and Videos of 2007 from Criticas

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Hibernation is for Bears

What's left of them that is... I need to remind myself of that constantly. I have a tendency to isolate and hibernate, I've come to realize.

There's very little that's more comforting to me than my bed and a pile of books, or a cozy spot and any reading material be it Digg or print.

And, so, another birthday has gone by and I wish I were elsewhere - a sunny beach where no frigid air blows, running on the sand with crystal tepid water licking at my toes that's what I wish for...

Instead as a Xmas baby, I get rude, frustrated shoppers knocking me this way and that way with their bags, long lines in stores, apologies instead of thoughtful tokens ("I'll get you something for Xmas, I promise") uh huh... (well, I won't lie - a certain someone did get me a pair of diamond earrings), a Noreasterner on my birthday weekend making the only movie I wanted to see (I am Legend) sold out everywhere...

Bah humbug! The pressure and consumerism of Christmas has really got me down this year. I've made a real effort to downsize on the shopping especially in regards to just being more green. Inherently, I just feel guilty that I won't be able to deliver and then on the other hand, that I keep upping the ante and that my family just can't keep up and then I'm just wiping myself out and end up dissapointed anyway. Uhhh! Do you feel me?

Friday, December 07, 2007

Culture in El Bronx

It always amazes me how some people, especially those who've migrated to NYC, have never ever set foot in the Bronx, well, except for a Yankees game.

One hand, I understand it the Bronx has gotten a bad historical rap, the South Bronx, most of all.

But for those who are sleeping on the Bronx, wake up and smell the fresh Bustelo brewing. The Boogie Down is on the up and up!

This northern borough's African American & Puerto Ricans residents birthed hip hop and rap, grafitti and breakdancing. All cultural rich art forms that revolutionized urban culture and influenced almost everthing that came afterwards, from music, to clothes, to visual arts, to language, to MTV, poetry and more but enough of the history lesson.

Those who venture northwards will find that the South Bronx has been revitalized, just over the bridge is a span of antiques shops and artists lofts, known as SoBro (or South Bronx). There are poetry reading such as at the Bruckner Bar & Grill and a large poetry/writing comunity.

There are First Nights events:

First Friday at The Bronx Museum of the Arts

"Join The Bronx Museum of the Arts for its free First Friday program, From Salsa & Bachata to Merengue & Son: The Popular Music of Two Islands, featuring live band performances and DJs covering popular musical genres from Cuba and Dominican Republic. A new series launched in September, First Fridays offers film screenings, art performances, music and other special events the first Friday of every month. In conjunction with the festivity, the Museum will offer tours guided by student docents from the Bronx High School of the Visual Arts of Quisqueya Henriquez: The World Outside, a collection of works by the Cuban-Dominican artist currently on display." More info on the site.

And, forget the windows on Fifth, in the Bronx, the Bronx Zoo's Holiday Light show will take your breath away. For those who miss the suburbs and the pretty decorated homes, just drive up Pelham Parkway....

"For three decades, the Garabedian family has decorated their home and yard at 1605 Pelham Parkway North with a handcrafted holiday extravaganza that includes more than 50,000 small lights, religious figures, ballroom dancers, Victorian-era characters, and pop-culture icons. The family, which runs a dressmaking business, crafts the dolls, their costumes, and the stages and props all by hand, only the lights and Christmas tree are bought in a store.

Powered by 37,000 volts, the Christmas House can be seen from blocks away and is a yearly attraction for Bronx residents and others who come to enjoy home-spun Holiday cheer."

Via The Municipal Art Society of New York.

The Bronx has experienced a rebirth and been a home to likes of Don DeLillo, E. L. Doctorow, Edgar Allan Poe, Chaim Potok, Mark Twain, Danny Aiello, Woody Allen, Anne Bancroft, Joey Bishop, Red Buttons, James Caan, George Carlin, Tony Curtis, Stacey Dash, Chazz Palminteri, Cuba Gooding, Jr., Stanley Kubrick, Linda Lovelace, Sonia Manzano, Garry Marshall, Carroll O'Connor, Jerry Orbach, Al Pacino Regis Philbin, Rob Reiner, Neil Simon Mary J. Blige,Diahann Carroll, Grandmaster Caz, Willie Colón Grandmaster Flash, Kool DJ Herc, Fat Joe, Billy Joel, Héctor Lavoe, Jennifer Lopez, KRS-One, Tito Puente, Big Pun, Carly Simon, Regina Spektor, Luther Vandross, Mario Vazquez, Veronica Vazquez, Howard Dean, Ed Koch, Fiorello H. LaGuardia, Colin Powell, Theodore Roosevelt, Eliot Spitzer, Lou Gehrig, Jake LaMotta, and Ralph Lauren just to mention a few.

The apartments buildings on Grand Concourse once again are luxury co-op homes to those smart enough to snatch them up just as did families did once the art deco apts were built.

Those who think the Bronx has nothing to offer them, out to think again, this brimming with culture borough has got it all, class, wit and soul.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Lit Gift Guide

Oh the weather outside is frightful, But the fire is so delightful, And since we've no place to go, Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!

Gifts for the young or kids 8-92:

Do Not Open
by John Farndon

Any of the "ologies Books:

Egyptology by Emily Sands, Nick Harris, Helen Ward, and Ian Andrew
Mythology (Ologies) by Lady Hestia Evans, Dugald A. Steer, and Various
Wizardology: The Book of the Secrets of Merlin (Ologies) by Master Merlin, Dugald A. Steer, and Dugald Steer
Dragonology: The Complete Book of Dragons (Ologies) by Ernest Drake and Dugald Steer


The Daring Book for Girls by Andrea J. Buchanan and Miriam Peskowitz
The Dangerous Book for Boys by Conn Iggulden and Hal Iggulden

Plain-old, New Good Books: Brother, I'm Dying by Edwidge Danticat, Flight: A Novel by Sherman Alexie

Reference and Non Fiction (Booklover's delight):

The Little Guide To Your Well-Read Life ,
Literary Genius: 25 Classic Writers Who Define English and American Literature,
1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die & 1001 Paintings You Must See Before You Die, Incomplete Education: 3,684 Things You Should Have Learned But Probably Didn't,
Thirteen Ways of Looking at the Novel

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Gray Lady's Notable Books of '07

100 notable books of 2007

and check this new movie out:
The year my parents went on vacation

Isn't this amazing: Digital library project boasts more than 1.5 million books

From Pubs' Lunch:

NBCC: Books Critics Recommend and Love

The National Book Critics Circle has started a monthly Best Recommended list, polling their nearly 800 members plus their prize winners and finalists to find out what recently read books they "have truly loved." With votes from about 300 critics and 200 writers, they are starting with a list covering all of 2007. The picks include:


1. Junot Diaz, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

2. Denis Johnson, Tree of Smoke

3. Michael Chabon, The Yiddish Policeman's Union

4. Philip Roth, Exit Ghost

5. Per Petterson, Out Stealing Horses


1. Edwidge Danticat, Brother, I'm Dying

2. Alan Weisman, The World Without Us

3. Naomi Klein, The Shock Doctrine

4. David Michaelis, Schulz and Peanuts

5. Tim Weiner, Legacy of Ashes

Click through for poetry picks and more on their methodology.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


Sometimes it's really as easy as that except that is when you do everything else but get around to putting your thoughts down on 'paper.'

I've been writing this post in my head now for several days and, well, shame on me for not doing anything about it.

My holidays were nice and sort of anticlimatic, maybe I was just expecting too much or maybe my standards are just too damn high?

I recently read at Guanabee that some Hispanics don't celebrate Thanksgiving, really? No, really? Because all the Puerto Ricans, I know sure do, I mean we do it Spanish style - no yucky cranberry sauce and our stuffing has Sazon and Chayote in it but still, a turkey by any other name, no?

And, how once again Ms. Puerto Rico has taken the Ms. Universe title even as haters maced her dress and tried to take her down? Damn, ladies, really - is it that serious? Reuters

Also, now you can really hear what your favorite authors have to say as debuts.

Lastly, Black Friday and Cyber Monday may be over, but there are news reports of Green Monday, supposedly next week and there are plenty of book deals out there to grab!

Barnes & Noble:

25% off highest priced item: T4N3B6W

Expires December 10, 2007

$5 off $50+ when you pay with paypal L9H7N4X
10% on entire purchase B9R3D4A

expires 12/9/07

Combine these coupons with 20% Paypal cash back

Borders: 40% off any book, minimum $20 good at Borders on 11/26 and 11/27.

You have to be a member, but it's free.

Dover Classics:

The Dover Holiday Discount: $10 Off

Dear Reader, I'm happy to say that the Dover Holiday Discount is here—and I'm only sharing this holly jolly news with friends like you.

From now until December 2, 2007, you can save $10 on orders of $40 or more. Your Holiday Discount is good on our entire collection of over 9,000 titles so it won't take you long to find something special for everyone on your shopping list.

Just use Coupon Code CM88 during checkout to take advantage of this outstanding offer. Scroll down for more information or use this link to start saving $10 now

—Save $10 on Thousands of Great Gifts for Children & Adults!

Dover books and gift sets already boast the lowest possible prices, so any extra savings are a cause for celebration. Since your Dover Holiday Discount can be applied to our complete collection of titles, you can even save $10 on our most recent releases, including Fun Kits, Pocket Puzzles, Stained Glass Coloring Kits, and more.

Of course, you can also choose brilliant books from all of the categories that have made Dover famous: Children's Books, Clip Art on CD-ROM, our Thrift Editions of the world's most famous literature, Mathematics, Crafts, History, and much more.

Coupon Code CM88 expires on Sunday, December 2, 2007. Use this link to start browsing our books now—

It's Easy to Save $10 with Your Dover Holiday Discount!

1. Fill your Shopping Cart with at least $40 in merchandise and click Check Out

2. Enter Coupon Code CM88 and your shipping information

3. Complete check out—your $10 discount will be automatically deducted from your total


The Scholastic Store takes up to 60% off toys and books during its latest sal e with free shipping via coupon code SSBF07. Over 240 items are available, with prices starting at $3.57

Strand Bookstore: Click here to redeem your earth friendly gift from the Strand.

Limit one per customer. Offer expires January 15, 2008.

Hearst Magazines - $5 subscriptions

Check this out too: SavvySource, an online parenting site that reviews toys, preschools, camps, and books, and lets parents share activity ideas, will launch a creative way to capitalize on the holiday shopping season. In partnership with a non-profit organization that deals with early childhood education, the web site has put together a quiz that helps parents assess and track the development of their child (aged 2 to 6), and receive a personalized list of recommendations for age appropriate educational toys, books, and activities -- all cleverly linked to Amazon via an affiliate code. Via readwriteweb
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