Friday, July 31, 2009

Winners - Latino Book Giveaway

Congratulations to the following buena gente, who have won copies of America Libre by Raul Ramos y Sanchez and Damas, Dramas, and Ana Ruiz by Belinda Acosta.

1. x l
2. Carolyn G
3. cumba
4. KD
5. Sarah Alaoui

Winners have been contacted by email. Thanks for participating! Enjoy your books!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Looking at old pictures...

When I was a child, my father would scrimp and save all year long so that he could take our family to Bolivia for the summer. After several days of packing, more than six hours on a plane, and after suffering a few days of altitude sickness, my siblings and I were ready to enjoy several weeks with our grandparents, aunts, uncles, and many, many cousins.

Every day held a new adventure, a new food, a new game, a trip to the park, the movies, a picnic, a party. One very special memory of mine is captured in a photo of a wooded place, a campfire burning in the background, and several cousins and myself gathered around an uncle with a guitar. I remember the place was called "Mallasa", an hour or so drive from the city of La Paz. We would go there for Dia de campo (a day in the country). Our parents would load up an uncle's truck with baskets of meat, bread, corn, salad, fruit, and sodas, as well as a radio and a guitar. Another truck would carry all the kids in the back (ahhh, those were the days when folks weren't so afraid) and another vehicle would transport the rest of the adults.

It was a glorious time. I love to look at that picture, and all of the others we've saved from our summers in Bolivia. These pictures take me back to a childhood that was, for the most part, wonderful.

Photos are valuable treasures we can share with our children. They are also useful as prompts or inspiration in the classroom. A book that I love to share with my students is Family Pictures/Cuadros de familia, by Carmen Lomas Garza. Please read my review of this great selection over at the LBBC blog.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Latino Book Giveaway!

I've been given another great opportunity to offer new Latino-authored books here at my blog.

There are five copies each of:

America Libre by Raul Ramos y Sanchez

Damas, Dramas, and Ana Ruiz by Belinda Acosta

Contest rules:
  1. Respond to this post, indicating the book you'd like to win. You may submit two separate entries, one for each book. In your comment(s), please tell me a bit about yourself, about what you like to read, if you've previously read any Latino authors, etc. I love to know more about my readers!
  2. Please include an email address or site where I can reach you.
  3. US and Canada participants only. No PO boxes, please.
Entries will be seleccionados al azar (chosen at random) on July 30. Winners will be announced on my July 31st post. Ten lucky folks will win!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Blindness - Book Review

Blindness by José Saramago is an intense story about society’s downward spiral. An unexplained medical mystery propels a city into unimaginable horror. The emergency itself appears manageable, at least for a while. However, it is the characters’ reactions to this circumstance, understandable and shocking at times, that give insight into what could happen to us in the most horrible of circumstances.

On an average day, a man goes blind as he drives his car down a city street. A Good Samaritan comes to his rescue and helps him to his home. Later, the driver and his wife go to a doctor for help. The doctor, unable to provide any answers, sends the patient home, contacts another eye specialist to discuss the matter, and proceeds to see other patients who remain in the waiting room. Sometime later, the Good Samaritan, the doctor, and the patients in the waiting room, all go blind. Soon, people across the city, who appear to have no connection to one another, fall blind. This blindness comes on without warning, suddenly and swiftly.

City officials begin to round up victims and confine them to an abandoned mental hospital. One person, who does not go blind, becomes a silent witness to the behaviors and tragedies that emerge from this epidemic.

This book was mesmerizing, in that peculiar way that roadway accidents and neighborhood fires grip our attention. I was also fascinated by the way Saramago wrote this story; he stressed descriptions that relied on sound, smell, touch – senses that become heightened when one goes blind.

I recommend this book. Here is the movie trailer that was released based on it, though I don't recall the movie being promoted around here. Perhaps I missed it, and it's already out on DVD. At any rate, a movie will only show you the story events. The book, as it was written, allows you to see.