Saturday, December 08, 2007

Beyond FELIZ NAVIDAD: Holiday Treasures and Much More at La Bloga

Man, I love La Bloga! Every time I visit it’s chock full of fascinating reviews, articles, essays, etc. etc. from an eclectic collection of Chicana/o writers from Colorado and California. I’ll feature La Bloga contributor and prolific author Daniel Olivas again in the New Year (his new anthology, Latinos in Lotusland: An Anthology of Contemporary Southern California Literature, is due out in February from Bilingual Press and will be a welcome, enlightening addition to my TBR collection). For now, I couldn’t resist linking to René Colato Laínez’s post “Picture Books for Navidad,” which highlights holiday treasures that celebrate Christmas stories and traditions from Mexico, Puerto Rico, and other Spanish-speaking lands. I’m not surprised to see two Tomie dePaola titles in the mix; he’s done so much to help teach kiddos about different cultures.

Current La Bloga posts range from a Manuel Ramos review of Martin Limon’s The Wandering Ghost, which sounds like a rough-and-tumble fast-paced plot-driven work that incorporates aspects of “crime fiction, military thrillers, and political suspense.” I suspect it’s a little too graphic for me, but it also sounds well worth a read for this:

“Obviously, Limón has a deep affection and appreciation for the Korean people and their culture. The book is filled with details about music, food, language, Confucian ideals, ancient ceremonies, the interaction between young and old Koreans, and much more. Most importantly, the perspective of Limón's characters, which includes their relationship with the Korean people and culture, invites a discussion about the meaning of the ongoing and presumably perpetual presence of American troops in a country such as Korea, and whether such a presence can truly keep the peace or simply exacerbate the conflicts.”

Talk about chock-full. Another recent La Bloga post, this one by Lisa Alvarado, highlights the plight of Texan landowners who oppose the building of a fence along the U.S.-Mexican border and refuse to allow access to their private land for the building of such a fence. Check out this post and this Houston Chronicle article for more information. The article’s lead pretty much says it all: “Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff is giving Texas landowners opposed to a border fence one last chance to allow access to their land before he takes court action against them….” Crazy.

Scroll down a little more and you’ll see a Daniel Olivas post that references the announcement that Junot Diaz’s The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao has been named the year’s best work of fiction in a poll of authors and critics conducted by the National Book Critics Circle. Edwidge Danticat’s memoir, Brother I’m Dying was named the best work of non-fiction. BOTH these titles are high on my TBR list. Carleen and Lisa, let me know when you plan to read and discuss The Brief Wondrous Life; I’d love to join you!

9 Comments:

Blogger Carleen Brice said...

It's interesting: Danticat and Diaz are often reviewed in the same articles and their new books typically appear on the same lists.

10:14 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

I will definitely keep you both posted as soon as I read it. Great post!

10:57 AM  
Blogger Daniel Olivas said...

Well, mil gracias...it's so nice to get positive reviews for our posts. Happy holidays!

11:02 AM  
Blogger Rene Colato Lainez said...

Muchas gracias for you kind words and keep reading!

saludos,

René

12:12 PM  
Blogger Sherry said...

Oh I'm coming back later tonight to check out all the links Debra...you had me at "Feliz Navidad", my very all time favourite song at Christmas...it's such music to my ears and your post has sparked an eagerness to read more!

4:29 PM  
Blogger Sherry said...

okay...I have eaten one date square tonight and have had half a glass of red wine and I'm calling you Debra?!? I'm so sorry Karen..as soon as I hit submit on that post I'm thinking..wha??? My poor brain when not fed and over tired is not something I'm happy with!!! In any language or any culture!!

4:30 PM  
Blogger Sustenance Scout said...

LOL Dawn! I mean, er, Sherry! j/k!! You cracked me up with your date square and half a glass of wine. Glad you enjoyed the post!

René and Daniel, thanks so much for stopping by! I'm about to check local libraries online to see which carry those children's books....and the Diaz and Danticat titles, if I can keep from buying them, which isn't very likely, lol. I guess buying books is a good bad habit to have!

Lisa, glad you liked the post! I'm looking forward to the mini book club meeting with you and Ms. Brice. Carleen, I didn't realize they've been paired in other instances...maybe just a coincidence since they're both such popular writers right now? It's so great to see their names on the bestselling lists after reading about them for a while. It's also good to know how many years of work go into a serious writing career, even for those who are so immersed in the field via academia, etc. It definitely makes me appreciate and applaud such writers all the more. K.

7:52 PM  
Blogger Mardougrrl said...

Scout: thanks so much for the great blog link--I have never heard of La Bloga and I can't wait to start reading it. :)

And the Junot Diaz book has quickly become one of the books that I press on people I really like, as in "you HAVE to read this." I haven't liked a new novel this much since "Calamity Physics" by Marisha Pessl (which I also loved).

9:52 PM  
Blogger Sustenance Scout said...

M, another title for the TBR list! Thanks for stopping by; so glad I finally checked out your blog, too. K.

11:36 AM  

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