Tuesday, April 30, 2013

New Book: Mama's Child

I read Mama's Child by Joan Steinau Lester in one day. It was that gripping and enticing, a tale about identity, race, denial and fealty. I almost stopped reading the book immediately at the begin when I realized their dog was named "Che" but honestly this book blurb does not do this book justice. It definitely resonated with me.


A stunning tale about the deeply entrenched conflicts between a white mother and her biracial daughter.

Mama’s Child is story of an idealistic young white woman who traveled to the American South as a civil rights worker, fell in love with an African American man, and started a family in San Francisco, where the more liberal city embraced them—except when it didn’t. They raise a son and daughter, but the tensions surrounding them have a negative impact on their marriage, and they divorce when their children are still young. For their biracial daughter, this split further destabilizes her already challenged sense of self—“Am I black or white?” she must ask herself, “Where do I belong?” Is she her father’s daughter alone?

As the years pass, the chasm between them widens, even as the mother attempts to hold on to the emotional chord that binds them. It isn’t until the daughter, Ruby, herself becomes a wife and mother that she begins to develop compassion and understanding for the many ways that her own mother’s love transcended race and questions of identity.''

Joan Steinau Lester, Ed.D., is an award-winning journalist and author of four critically acclaimed books. Her writing has appeared in many newspapers and magazines, including Essence, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, and Cosmopolitan. She lives in Northern California.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Possible Future? The End of the Bookshop

Someone needs to tell those tales. When the battles are fought and won and lost, when the pirates find their treasures and the dragons eat their foes for breakfast with a nice cup of Lapsang souchong, someone needs to tell their bits of overlapping narrative. There's magic in that. 

It's in the listener, and for each and every ear it will be different, and it will affect them in ways they can never predict. From the mundane to the profound. 

You may tell a tale that takes up residence in someone's soul, becomes their blood and self and purpose. That tale will move them and drive them and who knows what they might do because of it, because of your words. 

That is your role, your gift. Your sister may be able to see the future, but you yourself can shape it, boy. Do not forget that... there are many kinds of magic, after all.” ― Erin Morgenstern, The Night Circus



The Last Bookshop imagines a future where physical books have died out. thelastbookshop.co.uk


Saturday, April 27, 2013

Lit Links & Scoops


- Isabel Allende: By the Book: The author of the forthcoming novel “Maya’s Notebook” says reading Gabriel García Márquez made her want to become a writer: “I thought, ‘If this guy can do it, so can I.’ ”

Emilio Gil on Modern Spanish Book Design

- Lulu Delacre, Bilingual Children’s Book Author & Illustrator Says, “The Power is in Numbers

Top 20 Spanish-Language Novels Written Since 1982, (written in 2007)

- What librarians consider when putting together a Spanish-language children’s book collection

- If you have not see the documentary, The Central Park Five, you must watch it. It's online and in Spanish.


Thursday, April 25, 2013

Mother Atabey & the Web of Life: The Green Latina

We travel in so many circles. 
Renewed, reborn, reconnected, 
over and over again.

Earlier this year in an attempt to eat healthier and greener, I joined Urban Organics, a service that delivers a box of fresh, organic produce from local farms every week to your home, after reading about it on Treehugger. In honor of Earth Day, I wanted to share a little bit of the experience here.

My first box endowed me with beautiful greens and fruits so pretty I was forced to Instagram.


I was mystified by all the lovely greens but luckily some were labeled and I quickly learned to distinguish Chard from Kale and so on. Using Pinterest and the web, I learned the best way to get grit and sand off the greens is by soaking them in a bowl, letting the soil and fine sand float to the top and then changing the water until it is all clear. Unfortunately, I learned this the hard way and can tell you that nothing sucks as much as chewing on gritty leaves.

Inspired by fellow bloggers like Chris Brogan, I bought a juicer and now about once a week, I make fresh carrot juice and a separate batch of orange or fruit juice. It's great to consume but it's quite a lot of work to rinse, chop, and then clean up the mess.

Part of the fun too was the "mystery box" angle to the delivery each week, sometimes I was at a complete loss with what to do, with say an eggplant, for example, which I don't like and have never cooked. I ended up using a recipe I found online for Baba Ganoush and found it to be quite yummy. Part of the difficulty too was in the abundance of produce for only two people and not having the time to prep it and/or eat it.

I tried pickling beets, and freezing broccoli, green beans, and a random eggplant but soon my freezer was full. Twice, my produce drawer hit its limit and was overflowing with spuds and I then took a stab at making potato kugel for Passover and Shepherd's Pie, Verdict: Delicious, very high in carbs and doesn't keep very well. I even prepared filling nutritious breakfast treats in advance.



Every once in a while I was forced to chuck greens that wilted or completely yellowed and fruit that just went bad, all the while feeling guilty and wasteful. Even throwing out the pulp from my juicer, I wished I could donate it to someone's compost pile if not longing for my own where chubby little worms could get their fill and give me rich soil for pretty flowers. Yet this is a start. I will lead a better more enriched life. I will eat less processed food. I will eat more food that was tenderly grown and made with love and compassion. I will not burden my descendants with the ills of obesity, diabetes or malnutrition. I will treat my body as the temple it has always been. Barriga llena, corazon contento.



All in all, it's been a low cost, fun experience toward a healthier future. I think I will continue the service through the summer just to feast on summer's sweet harvest.


* Atabey (Taino, Puerto Rico) - Primary Supreme being representing the four cardinal points. Unique Turtle women of fertility, beauty, rituals, music, and ceremonies; mother of twins Yúcahu (God of Yuca/ the sea and the mountains) and Juracán ( God of Hurricanes). She who gave birth to herself from all the elements , celestial Earth Mother Goddess of five names.

Taino Prayer to the Mother Goddess by tainoray

Bibi Atabey - Mother Atabey
Atte itabo era - Mother of Waters
Coaiba Mamona - Heavenly Mother of the Moon
Aturo aya wakia Itiba Cahubaba - Sister of our Ancient Bleeding Mother
Acona wakia Arawaka - Hear our Sacred People
Yemao waka waili - Protect our Children
Wakia Yari - Our Precious Jewels
Busica Waka Ketauri - Give us Life
Inaru-Matum - Generous Woman
Busica wakia Ahia Hu De - Give us your Blessing
Tai Ku Buya Han Han - Good Spirit Yes
Nabori Daca - I am your servant
Han Han Katu - So Be It

Sunday, March 24, 2013

New Book: Chasing the Sun by Juanes

Another memoir to savor this month offers us Juanes' story:


“I’m doing what I believe I was brought to this world to do: to create music that raises awareness, renews hearts, and generates change. I’ll continue looking to the stars and traveling the globe as God permits me. And I hope I have many years left to connect through art, to play my guitar, and to continue chasing the sun.”—Juanes

In Chasing the Sun, the international music icon and humanitarian shares the incredible story of his life and how music and faith guided his path. In his own un-adulterated words, and with visually arresting images throughout—some of them never before seen—Juanes imparts his defining moments from childhood to present day, reflecting on his spiritual and musical journey and the personal and professional experiences that shaped the man he is today.

Born and raised in Colombia, Juanes developed his deep love of music from his family and learned to play guitar at an early age. By age sixteen, he became a founding member, lead guitarist, vocalist, and song-writer for Ekhymosis, which went on to become Colombia’s leading hard-rock band. However, it was his career as a solo artist that propelled him toward international superstardom. With great honesty, Juanes reveals how his times of glory were often intersected by times of doubt and soul-searching and how remaining true to his beliefs and passionate about his art gave him the strength and foresight to reinvent himself and his career. While his role as a recording artist is well documented, the very private Juanes has never opened up in his own words—until now.

Juanes is a Colombian musician who has sold more than fifteen million albums worldwide. He has won multiple Latin Grammy Awards and one Grammy Award. Juanes received the BMI President’s Award at the 2010 BMI Latin Awards. He is also known for his humanitarian work, especially with aid for Colombian victims of antipersonnel mines.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Book Giveaway: The Death of Fidel Perez

Here's your exclusive chance to win a copy of The Death of Fidel Perez by Elizabeth Huergo, courtesy of Unbridled Books. Enter below! May the odds be ever in your favor.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Publication Date: April 2, 2013

On July 26, 2003, the 50th anniversary of the Moncada Army Barracks raid that sparked the Cuban revolution, something unexpected happens. When Fidel Pérez and his brother accidentally tumble to their deaths from their Havana balcony, the neighbors' outcry, "Fidel has fallen!" is misinterpreted by those who hear it. That wishful mistake quickly ripples outward on the running cries of the people, and it gloriously reawakens a suppressed city.

Three Habaneros in particular are affected by the news: an elderly street visionary named Saturnina, the remorseful Professor Pedro Valle, and his impressionable firebrand of a student, Camilo. All three are haunted by the past and now, once again, are made to confront a new future, perhaps another revolution.

Their stories--so real, distressing and insuppressible--are beautifully braided into new hope as they converge in the frantic crowd that gathers in La Plaza de la Revolución.

Elizabeth Huergo was born in Havana and immigrated to the United States at an early age as a political refugee. A published poet and story writer, she lives in Virginia. The Death of Fidel Perez is her first novel.
 
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