Monday, August 15, 2011

New Book: Josefina's Sin By Claudia H. Long

A thrilling and passionate debut about a sheltered landowner’s wife whose life is turned upside down when she visits the royal court in seventeenth-century Mexico.
When Josefina accepts an invitation from the Marquessa to come stay and socialize with the intellectual and cultural elite in her royal court, she is overwhelmed by the Court’s complicated world. She finds herself having to fight off aggressive advances from the Marquessa’s husband, but is ultimately unable to stay true to her marriage vows when she becomes involved in a secret affair with the local bishop that leaves her pregnant.

Amidst this drama, Josefina finds herself unexpectedly drawn to the intellectual nuns who study and write poetry at the risk of persecution by the Spanish Inquisition that is overtaking Mexico. One nun in particular, Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz, teaches Josefina about poetry, writing, critical thinking, the nature and consequences of love, and the threats of the Holy Office. She is Josefina’s mentor and lynchpin for her tumultuous passage from grounded wife and mother to woman of this treacherous, confusing, and ultimately physically and intellectually fulfilling world.

About the Author
Claudia H. Long is a practicing attorney in Northern California. She wrote her senior thesis at Harvard University on the feminism of Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz and revived her passion for Sor Juana when she wrote Josefina's Sin. She is the mother of two children, and lives with her husband.

New Book: The Maid’s Daughter

In light of Arnold Schwarzenegger's recent household mire, which catapulted his Latina housekeeper, Mildred Patricia Baena, into a hotbed of crucifiction by the media, comes a new book that sheds lights on what's it's like to be a live-in maid to a wealthy family and all the issues that come into play: The Maid's Daughter: Living Inside and Outside the American Dream by Mary Romero

This is Olivia’s story. Born in Los Angeles, she is taken to Mexico to live with her extended family until the age of three. Olivia then returns to L.A. to live with her mother, Carmen, the live-in maid to a wealthy family. Mother and daughter sleep in the maid’s room, just off the kitchen. Olivia is raised alongside the other children of the family. She goes to school with them, eats meals with them, and is taken shopping for clothes with them. She is like a member of the family. Except she is not.

Based on over twenty years of research, noted scholar Mary Romero brings Olivia’s remarkable story to life. We watch as she grows up among the children of privilege, struggles through adolescence, declares her independence and eventually goes off to college and becomes a successful professional. Much of this extraordinary story is told in Olivia’s voice and we hear of both her triumphs and setbacks.

We come to understand the painful realization of wanting to claim a Mexican heritage that is in many ways not her own and of her constant struggle to come to terms with the great contradictions in her life.

In The Maid’s Daughter, Mary Romero explores this complex story about belonging, identity, and resistance, illustrating Olivia’s challenge to establish her sense of identity, and the patterns of inclusion and exclusion in her life.

Romero points to the hidden costs of paid domestic labor that are transferred to the families of private household workers and nannies, and shows how everyday routines are important in maintaining and assuring that various forms of privilege are passed on from one generation to another.

Through Olivia’s story, Romero shows how mythologies of meritocracy, the land of opportunity, and the American dream remain firmly in place while simultaneously erasing injustices and the struggles of the working poor.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

New Book: TRIPLE CROSSING by Sebastian Rotella

Triple Crossing: A Novel by Sebastian Rotella


Valentine Pescatore, a volatile rookie Border Patrol agent, is trying to survive the trenches of The Line in San Diego. He gets in trouble and finds himself recruited as an informant by Isabel Puente, a beautiful U.S. agent investigating a powerful Mexican crime family.

As he infiltrates the mafia, Pescatore falls in love with Puente. But he clashes with her ally Leo Mendez, chief of a Tijuana anti-corruption unit. Politically charged violence escalates, plunging Pescatore into the lawless "triple border" region of South America and a showdown full of bloodshed and betrayal.

Writing with rapid-fire intensity, Sebastian Rotella captures the despair and intrigue of the borderlands, where enforcing the law has become an act of subversion. TRIPLE CROSSING is an explosive and riveting debut.

About the Author

Sebastian Rotella is an author and award-winning senior reporter for Propublica, an independent organization dedicated to investigative journalism. He covers issues including international terrorism, organized crime, homeland security and immigration. Previously, he worked for 23 years for the Los Angeles Times, serving as bureau chief in Paris and Buenos Aires and covering the Mexican border. He was a Pulitzer finalist in international reporting in 2006. He is the author of Twilight on the Line: Underworlds and Politics at the U.S.-Mexico Border (Norton), which was named a New York Times Notable Book in 1998.

Read more:
The Border Bosses: A Conversation with Sebastian Rotella and Luis Alberto Urrea: Part I and Part II

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Ode to Chicago

Last month, I visited Chicago for the first time and feel like I left a little piece of my heart there. The history, architecture, the new friends I made, the old friends I reunited with - just everything was amazing. I came back a new person, my soul was replenished. This week I spotted this cool, tilt-shift, miniature ode to Chicago and it literally makes my heart ache.

Check it out:




And here are some of my favorite photos from my trip:

The Harold Washington Library Center's roof, decorated with acroteria depicting owls, which are the Greek symbols of knowledge.

Oliver, the sweet, gentle, protective, red-nosed pitbull, who stole my heart

Like a good pilgrim, I went to the Bean (AKA Cloudgate)

Love this mural by the Art Institute of Chicago

Another great mural in an underpass, every city should have art in the underpasses

This dope building was just outside my hotel window

The very first morning I came across this dragonfly, later we went pass the Zoo and saw some there too. 

This photo of the Chicago River was taken from the 42nd floor of  the hotel

The lions at the Art Institute of Chicago, reminded me of home and the NYPL.



Wednesday, August 03, 2011

New Book: If I Bring You Roses by Marisel Vera

I haven't had a chance to read this novel yet but I am looking forward to being swept away by it. Here's a description from Las Comadres:

Vera's passionate debut novel, set in Puerto Rico in the 40's and Chicago in the 50's, follows the fortunes of two young lovers as they wrestle with the marriage they've rushed into.

Felicidad works behind the counter in her aunt's island bakery, serving the town's busybodies, and dreaming of the family she hasn't seen in nearly a decade, especially of the mother who took to the roof of their home in the mountains in a frenzy of grief and madness. The day Anibal enters the bakery in search of a wife is the day Felicidad dares to believe that the new life she's been imagining could become a reality.

Soon the two are married and Felicidad is keeping house in Anibal's Chicago apartment, lavishing care on her husband. But Felicidad's virtue begins to sap Anibal's strength, and chafing at the restraints of marriage and the humiliations of his job in a factory, he takes up with a woman who is everything Felicidad is not: independent, reckless, promiscuous, demanding. As her husband becomes increasingly distant, Felicidad retreats to the dream life that had sustained her back home.

Finally reaching a breaking point, Felicidad decides that the moment has come to be reborn in America. How she finds her voice—and Anibal learns to hear her—is at the heart of this passionate novel.
www.mariselvera.com
@marisel_vera
www.facebook.com/Marisel-Vera

Monday, August 01, 2011

We Will Not Rest

I love this narrative ad for so many reasons:

 
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