Saturday, April 26, 2008
Links to my reviews for this week:
187 Reasons Mexicanos Can't Cross the Border by Juan Felipe Herrera
Voice of Ice by Alta Ifland
Sarajevo Marlboro by Miljenko Jergovic
I really liked them all, but Sarajevo Marlboro is EXCELLENT! A great read.
Kids Book Reviews:
A Spoon For Every Bite/ Una Cuchara Para Cada Bocado by Joe Hayes
These are two bilingual children's books that are really fun even if you don't know Spanish..the pictures are insane, really seriously...beautiful.
Crafting Book Review:
Making Stuff For Kids by Victoria Woodcock
If you are stuck on ideas for fun kids stuff, or just want to have some fun craft books around..this is a keeper. Good for all ages, to breed an atmosphere of creativity and overall fun times.
And after reading and reviewing all those books this week...I am wanting to ask the question..WHAT CONSTITUTES A GOOD REVIEW???? I know there are some that I love reading, and some that are harder for me, subject matter does seem to be important, and if I am interested in the book or not, or is it if you know the blogger/reviewer and have liked their reviews in the past? What makes you want to read reviews? I love reading books, but sometimes reviewing is hard. I feel like all I can do is say that I don't like it or that I do. Any input? advice? what do you like to read? Do you like a more personal approach or a more unbiased account of the basic premise and some thoughts on the writing? What do you look for that really grips you?
(brag time sorry...I have to!!)I am so proud of my Orbis Terrarum Challenge mates! We have visited so many countries already during this world challenge...I love it, here is a map that shows how amazing the progress around the world is that we have all made together: Orbis Terrarum Challenge Map
Oh, if you have no idea what challenge I am talking about, here is the info post. It is very exciting, we have 45 challengers!!!
Friday, April 25, 2008
There were several countries with more than one, and there still are many with none. 13% of the global nations! Great job ya'll this is exciting stuff!
Oh, and it would be really neat if you would visit the links to the books that our fellow challengers are talking about and reviewing, who knows you may even decide to change one of yours and read the one that they have recommended.
Another thing, I am trying to wait for all of you who are actively doing this challenge to post at least what country you are from, and I can do another map with the nations we all come from. Fun stuff!
Blessed travels! YOU ALL ARE AWESOME!!!
Thursday, April 24, 2008
Title: Sarajevo Marlboro
Author: Miljenko Jergovic
Publisher: Archipelago books
Yearly Count: 22
I like books about all different countries, but books about countries during wartime many times either are filled with all the gore and no character development and the rest are obviously written by either someone who is trying to protect the reader from any wartime reality, or he/she has no idea of the devastation of a war-zone.
Sarajevo Marlboro however is one of those that I believe has the perfect amount of character development, and the author allows the characters to analyze the wartime situation with truth and real feelings. To be honest I don't know a lot about the situation in Sarajevo in the mid 90's, and I don't know much about it now, but I felt that I got a glimpse of accurate social history through Sarajevo Marlboro.
Miljenko Jergovic creates 29 short stories during the time of war (Serbs, Croats and Muslims). The humans, real citizens, they were the focus, humanity was centre stage and war was exploding all around them as they lived on, or did not. I was captivated because I admired their strength, determination and perseverance. It is through them Jergovic depicts the scene and the gruesome tale of war. Weather you believe in war, or don't it is happening currently and has been going on all over for generations and generations. This for me was the human side, the side that often lies hidden under death tolls and arguments as to if there really should be a war or not. The portrayal of humanity, from so many different perspectives is demonstrated in Sarajevo Marlboro. Since the author chose to jump from this life to that, and this family to that you feel like you are allowed in, and become part of them for the time when Jergovic is telling their story, they engulf you, you care about them you fear for them, you grieve for them, and you hope for a better future for those who have now become your friends.
For me personally the way Jergovic chose to write these stories made the book, if he would have tried to encapsulate the entire picture of devastation in one shot, or the horror of war in just one image there would have been no way that a person who had not been there would be able to tolerate reading the gruesomeness of the truth. Because he chose to drop the reader in on 29 different families, 29 different situations, and 29 different glimpses of the war it felt broken up enough to allow the terror to enter in bit by bit. All the stories together form a whole, they are a complete and gruesome picture of war, but in the eyes of the people there is also so much hope, and life that it is somehow made more bearable. I saw their determination to live, and dreams of a different future.
Here is a little excerpt from the inside cover about the author Miljenko Jergovic:
"Croatian by birth, Jergovic spent his childhood in Sarajevo and chose to remain there throughout most of the war. A dazzling storyteller, he brings a profoundly human, razor-sharp understanding of the fate of the city's young Muslims, Croats, Serbs with a subterranean humor and profoundly personal vision. Their offbeat lives and daily dramas in the foreground, the killing zone in the background."
I loved this book, and can't wait to get another one of Miljenko Jergovic's titles in my hands. I am captivated by his writing style and the heart that is is obvious that he has for his people.
Title: Voice of Ice/ Voix de Glace
Author: Alta Ifland
Publisher: Les Figues Press
Yearly Count: 21
The Voice of Ice is part of Les Figues Press' ThrenchArt: The Parapet Series. It is a book of prose poetry written and translated by Alta Ifland, traveling through her life drawing out feelings that we all have experienced at one time. The first poem is Birth, Death is the last and her journey is all that is found in-between. The poems take you to a dream state, a place where life drifts away and you are not sure where reality and dreams begin and end. There is also a very nightmarish texture to her writing, it captivates and yet you feel like you are running and you can't get home. Much of her poetry is on the deeper, darker side, however this encourages her style of intense symbolism and allows the reader to follow her travels. To be honest, I did not understand all of it, but really that is not the point of a lot of poetry. The reason you read poetry is to be captured by phrasing , the imagery and beauty of it all. Ifland has done much more than just grab a set of poems, she really takes you with her through her life and allows you to feel the pain right along with her, she also takes you into the joys of her life, the passions, the intensity.
Voice of Ice is a very quick read, I devoured it in one evening and wanted more of it. Each poem was originally written in French (Alta lived in France, and has worked as a French teacher), so on one page is each poem in French and opposite the French is her English translation of them all as well. Because I love languages I enjoyed glancing at the French too, even though I don't know French...but Spanish is sometimes close (sometimes).
If you enjoy modern poetry, poetry composed by life and driven by experiences...Voice of Ice would be exactly what you would enjoy. If you are interested in this author, go to Alta Ifland's
website,you will find some of her prose poems there, her bio and other information about her.
Here is an excerpt of one of my favourite of Ifland's Poems,
From dawn to dark, day after day, we drag and enormous rock tied to our feet, and emptiness eats at our bellies. I look at my neighbors. She, her face stretched by the many plastic surgeries, her skin translucent because of the serum, her mouth stuck in the permanent grin of an aborted smile, her whole head stiff as if desperately trying to stop her features from collapsing into the face's vacancy. He, from one antidepressant to another. He knows them all by heart, their side effects and proper dosages. The children, also medicated. Attention deficit disorder. A glass of wine in my hand, I watch them at night, across the fence, satisfied that I am not the unhappiest being on the earth. The more they are unhappy, the less I feel alone. But are they unhappy? Can they feel their unhappiness, from one screen to another and in-between phone calls, busy as they are not feeling anything?
I open a second bottle of wine. Alone with my unhappiness. It, at least, is mine. But they, do they have anything of their own? Have the been abandoned even by their unhappiness?
- Voice of Ice, Alta Ifland (p. 39).
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Title: Making Stuff For Kids
Author: Victoria Woodcock
Crafts by: Contributors (compiled by black dog publishing)
Publisher: black dog publishing
Yearly Count: 20
The beauty of this craft book lies not just in its recipe for "Sparkle and shine playdough", or its "Pebble Pals", or the " Cute as a button necklace", but it is much deeper. The brilliance of it is where it calls out to parents and children alike: pick me up!!! Be creative!! Get messy! Don't stress! Making Stuff For Kids will bring parents and kids or kids and other kids together in order to create-and with their own hands make something to enjoy.
Making Stuff For Kids, is a complete child's craft book, divided into helpful (age appropriate) sections: teeny talents, cunning crafters, super sills, and tough cookies. This way you will know if your child, or even if you are in way over your creative head. The beginning includes a section of how to's: how to knit, how to do appliqué, papier mache, pompoms and sewing- just in case you, as a parent need to learn or refresh your skillz right along side your child.
The book is composed of craft ideas by contributors, I believe causing Making Stuff For Kids to break away from the traditional nerdy-kid-craft-mold(and parents wondering: what do I do with THIS mold) to a more interesting and involved crafting, where kids are really creating stuff that they are interested in! The creativity level is pretty alarming so beware!!!
So far we have only had a chance to do several of the crafts- as my children are a little young, and things can get crazy while crafting (they are ages 2 and 4 and there are already some really fun projects for them in this book!!) We have done (and loved) the Pebble Pals (p.51), the Peg People (p. 52), The Scratch it and see (p. 53) and the potatoes for T! (p. 64). Next on our list (it has actually been the craft my 4 yr. old has been begging for since he looked through the book) Creepy Crawly Wormery (p. 47)!! Our young family will definitely grow into this book, so if you have older kids- there is a lot of things they could do, even some crafts designed for them to do without you! This is one of those books, that we will keep coming back to on those days of- "mom, I'm bored", or "there's nothing to do, mom!". I know it will be one we constantly have handy as our boys get older, I dread the stains it will suffer, but as any well loved book I am already aware of this unstoppable, impending doom- love stains.
I love it, and obviously recommend it %100!!
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Title: A Spoon For Every Bite/ Una Cuchara Para Cada Bocado
Author: Joe Hayes
Illustrated: Rebecca Leer
Publisher: Cinco Puntos Press
Awards: Land of Enchantment Book Award
Yearly Count: 19
The story of wealth and poverty, and how a little ingenuity will cause fate to turn on all. There is a rich, prideful man- who finally gets what he deserves when his less fortunate neighbors teach him what becomes of a man who is never content, yet always wanting more. The rich man tries to prove that no one is as wealthy as he, because he can use a different spoon for every bite he eats! This is a classic book on being content with what you have, and seeking for beauty in what surrounds you.
A Spoon For Every Bite is a completely bilingual gem of a book. You do not have to be bilingual to enjoy it though because on one page it is in Spanish, on the next English, so if you speak just one, you would have no problem with this book at all...but if you are bilingual this is an added bonus!! The story line would be captivating on its own, but the artwork is so incredible, that you will want to read it again and again. The faces shine with life, the gestures are so real and beautiful. The wink at eachother, or smile with pride and the whole while you can tell exactly what the illustrator has intended. It is astonishing to little and big readers alike! Beautiful, this book is too stunning to pass up!
Title: ABeCedarios: Mexican Folk Art ABC'S in English and Spanish
Author: Cynthia Weill and K.B. Basseches
Art by: Moisés & Armando Jiménez
Publisher: Cinco Puntos Press
Yearly Count: 18
A beautifully bright book, each page displaying an original Oaxacan Woodcarving by the Jimenez family in Mexico. The whole family works through the entire process of completing each individual piece and the outcome are incredible, stylized, creatures that kids will not keep their eyes off! Every page consists of a picture of one of these Oaxacan animals, and a different letter of the alphabet. The craftsmanship would not be better, and the book itself is made with extremely high quality. Turning the pages it is so easy to see that every creature is a complete work of art.
Children love the two languages that the animal's names are written in, my children (ages 2 and 4) repeat the English and Spanish animal ABC's right along with me every time. We have had this book for a week and they consistently have chosen it and want to "say" the animals- and tell me their favourites (over and over) again! You cannot go wrong with this book, I would even use it for babies as the pages are so incredibly coloured and bright I think they would love it, but it would be easiest for my kids probably between the ages of 1-5 to be completely taken by it. It almost feels like it is sunny outside, when here in Oregon all it is doing is rain. Looking at the pages, the colours lift you up and carry you to a much brighter imaginary place.
Title: 187 Reasons Mexicanos Can't Cross the Border
Author: Juan Felipe Herrera
Publisher: City Lights
Yearly Count: 17
187 Reasons Mexicanos Can't Cross the Border contains amazing poetry, anti-poetry, narratives and short stories of Herrera's works for over 35 years. This book gathers the "undocuments" from 1971-2007, and reading it you can watch the history of the Mexicano unfold before you, it is as though Herrera has painted a wall, a wall of graffiti. Art many willingly accept yet others will walk right past never daring to look too hard. This wall is sometimes disjointed, uncomfortable, and awkward, but that is the life of the Mexicano in this world, and that is the beauty of the picture Juan Felipe Herrera lays before his readers. Also like a graffiti wall in that you get little snippets of love and hate, of peace, of war, of pride and self-consciousness. Each story or poem gives glimpses, which alone would be beautiful, but in this compilation they become completed as all together they form a whole. Reading through the undocuments, some really captured me, drove me to a new level of compassion and understanding, while others were most likely targeting someone else. Just as walking through an art exhibit some pieces you cannot tear yourself from, others you barely notice...and understand that each viewer/ reader will take home a completely different experience. Herrera will meet you where you are. He will challenge you at the place you now find yourself.
Herrera goes beyond these borders and also captures the relations between the landinos and the indios of Mexico and the full America Latina. He goes out of his way to show us the differences, the similarities, and the life, that if we are not living are not aware of the difficulty that comes with it. Yet, this is not only a text full of sadness, pain and suffering, it is just as full of pride, loyalty, love, and acceptance. It is a modern day Tarzan call to all those who will hear, it is a cry that rings throughout the nations, a call that when read cannot be ignored, it is a cry mostly for truth, and justice. It is a call to be prideful of your heritage, to not give in to smoothing differences, to not change the way you appear to yourself or to the critics around you. In 187 Reasons Mexicanos Can't Cross the Border, Herrera displayed one thing with the loudest voice: injustice. He gave injustice a voice- a jagged, crunchy, palpable voice.
Here is an excerpt:
Sunday, April 20, 2008
Hello I write for a bookzine called Estella's Revenge (http://www.estellasrevenge.com) and I was hoping you might be able to help me pull together a feature for our 'Travel' issue. I'm popping around various international reading challenges and asking the organisers to tell me what are the best books they have encountered so far in their challenge experience. I would love it if you could let me know what some of your favourite challenge reads have been for the 'Orbis Terrarum' challenge have been and perhaps provide a short sentence about why you have enjoyed them so much.
The goal of this investigation is to get 80 books from around the world into this feature and so go 'Around the World in 80 books' (kind of dorky I know but also kind of fun).
If you'd like to participate please send me your choices by 24th April. If you'd like it would be wonderful if you could ask those taking part in the challenge to help out as well.
Friday, April 18, 2008
For information on the Orbis Terrarum Challenge, and/or to join us:click here for all the juicy info.
Where do I leave the links to my reviews? It is so fun reading about all the books we are traveling with on this OT journey, make sure you give us a link to your reviews and thoughts!
Are you wondering what portion of the world the Orbis Terrarum Challengers have traveled to? Here is a link to the world maps, and you can see our progress!
Do you want to see my travels? b's Orbis Terrarum challenge books
Do you have any other suggestions for links that you would like on this page?? Let me know!!
Thursday, April 17, 2008
Comment here and let us know!!!
Suggested by Nithin:
Q: I’ve always wondered what other people do when they come across a word/phrase that they’ve never heard before. I mean, do they jot it down on paper so they can look it up later, or do they stop reading to look it up on the dictionary/google it or do they just continue reading and forget about the word?
A: Uhm, yes I am the breeze-right-through-it person. I try to figure it out by context, but I am too lazy to look words up in a dictionary! I tend to not really even think twice about it if I don't get it, then I don't get it...no worries.
I actually know someone who does sit there with a dictionary and he literally stops every couple of pages even if he knows what the word means, but it interested in the dictionary definition of it!!! That is my hubby, not me. I am the opposite.
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
I joined The Eponymous Challenge! What is that?
According to Coversgirl this is the way an Eponymous Challenge works:
The challenge will run from 1 March to 31 May, 2008.
During that time your mission should you choose to accept it is to read 4 books whose titles are the name of one or more of the characters (e.g. Evelina, Oscar and Lucinda); or a description of one or more of the characters (e.g. The Merchant of Venice, Sylvia’s Lovers).
Non-fiction books and overlaps with other challenges are welcome, as are books named after four-legged characters.
Franny and Zooey- JD Salinger
Anna Karenina- Leo Tolstoy
Farmworker's Daughter- Rose Castillo Gibault
The Waitress Was New- Dominique Fabre
Confessions of a Shopaholic- Sophie Kinsella
A couple of weeks ago I talked about how our kitty spider had killed 2 rats, since then she has killed 2 more and one bird ( I am sorry mr. bird, I really am). But now an exciting new season has emerged, an even better line of gifts have been given me on our doorstep: flowers! It is really insane. In our last house she did this all the time during the blooming months of this particular flower( we had a kitty door and she would bring them inside), and I honestly can say that I looked on us moving with a tiny degree of sadness just because she would no longer do this, there is not even one of these flower bearing bushes that I can see anywhere in our new location. That is why I was shocked, stunned..and beyond when this new line of pink gifties was left just last night( I shuffled them so they'd all fit in the camera, but besides that I promise this is just from last night!!!):
Can you imagine a cat bringing these one by one throwout the night!?!?! It is so funny! I wonder if she is hyperactive or something! Or maybe she is just nocturnal...as this is what she is doing as I type.
I love this fuzzy cat! I can't believe she found a local provider of my favourite cat flowers!!! Way to go spider!(this is much better than dead things, so I try to encourage her!;)
Monday, April 14, 2008
Title: Moving Parts
Author: Magdalena Tulli
Publisher: archipelago books
Finished Reading: 13th, April, 2008
Moving Parts is an incredible, truly insightful novel in which the narrator looses control of his story. What? Yes! He becomes a character and cannot get out of the view of the reader. This is not a book to breeze though, it is jam packed full of brilliant quotes and stunning writing. The concept of this novel, and the storyline are completely unlike anything that I have read before. The depth in language use and parts of speech was over my head many times, but a lover of grammar would fall in love with the way words such as "predicate" and "parts of speech" are woven into regular everyday language, which the author does with ease.
While reading the word choice and use of certain phrases I could not help but to feel that I was missing out, that it was incredibly vast and I was only drinking from the surface. If you are a person who loves to think, who loves incredible well-thought deep quotes and an intense knowledge of language captivates you, this is your book. Read it and you will love it. It will speak to you and drive you to a deeper understanding about the other books that you love to read. It will guide you through the feelings characters suffer in being written about, and those that narrators must endure in order to tell their story (even if they don't want to), it will help you know more about the concept of a novel, in which all is created...but by whom? Who is in charge of these books that we read, who leads the reader? How would it be if things were not the way they should be in a novel, if the characters did not follow what the narrator asked of them, if past and future were slowly blurred and confusion was the key theme of the story? Read Moving Parts by Magdalena Tulli and you will surely be submersed in this fictional chaos of writing and will be taken to a deeper understanding of our current idea: a fictional novel, in which nothing really exists, except in our minds, our desires and on the paper.
Quotes from Moving Parts:
"All he can do, and that only to a certain degree, is to govern grammatical forms, an essential element, especially as open space, of their own accord taking on the forms of the future tense, without any obligations" (p.26).
"The parts, always the same ones, wait like traps into which new characters will continue to fall, irrespective of their own wishes, promises, and misgivings" (p. 62).
"They even tried to joke about this process, but their jokes were not entirely successful; they were not funny enough for them to convince themselves that they were sagely beyond the reach of grammar. And so in the end, exhausted by the anticipation of leaving and by visions of an uncertain future, they changed the subject, returning to a certain betrayal, because betrayal was at least something they were capable of understanding" (p. 95).
" Hardly anything is possible any longer. And no truth will appear until the secure forms of the past tense impose order" (p. 132).
Sunday, April 13, 2008
Title: Town House
Author: Tish Cohen
Yearly Count: 15
Date completed: 11th, April, 2008
Rated: 4/5 snaps
Town House by Tish Cohen is a light, funny, interesting novel about how our man, Jack Madigan, a famous rockstar's only son, deals with hurt and painful memories he can't leave, can't escape and seems to not want to. He is locked into the town house with them, and this he does completely willingly, except for his problem, he is an agoraphobic (no that does not mean a fear of spiders). He is completely unable to go outside without taking a heavy medication, which lately isn't even doing the trick. Jack's time in the town house is father left him is coming to an end, he needs to sell the house since he is not keeping up with the payments. Will he be able to leave the house and find a job? Will he be able to keep his house?
Two women in his life push and shove him to break through his fears( his naive Realtor, and his precocious neglected 8-year-old next door neighbor girl), but he constantly lets them down. He can't help them if they are standing outside his house, and how can a friendship stand strong when it seems so one-sided at times?His son Harlan, an amazing kid with a true loving heart, is slowly loosing hope for his father. He is a teen, a teen should not be seen with a father who cannot leave the house except to get dizzy, create a scene and embarrass his son (or so Harlan thinks!!!)
Well, read it!! Town House is a perfect book that is not as silly as chick lit, and has much more substance...but it also is very funny. Jack the main character is full of sarcasim, and he will draw you right in, and you will love him, at least I do. So, if you are looking for a book in between reading Tolstoy and Henry James, this is it. The quality is there, the lightness and humor are there as well, and yet it is completely quirky and real. Dive in!
Quotes from the book:
" No, the rood of your problem lies in your lack of a stable childhood home. Lack of parenting. Lack of a solid family life. Your father was and obsessive -compulsive with olfactory issues who left you to sleep in a Coca-Cola crate" (p. 21).
" Harlan would be much better off with his mother, Jack thought. Hell, he'd be better off with this Yale guy, who takes all the vitamins. Only the most selfish of fathers wouldn't see this" (p. 62).
"This house has turned you into a prisoner. It being sold is, like the best thing that could ever happen to you. And me! Let's get the hell out of it!" (p. 81).
"It was all so delicate, so temporary, this thing called life. One minute this was your world; the next minute it was gone" (p. 249).
YAY for Sunday Salon!!! Happy Sunday to all!
This was a good bookie week for me! ( I really hope it was for you as well). I read Town House by Tish Cohen for my book club (well, our meeting is next month...but whatever. It seems I am always done early). I really enjoyed Town House, I am going to write a review today during the eventful Sunday Salon.
Last night I started a book that I have been wanting to read for a while, Moving Parts by Magdalena Tulli which is (so far) unlike anything I have ever read...and I mean that in a good way. However it is one of those books that does require concentration!
I wrote a post: "to underline or not to underline" if you are a strong believer either way, let me know. I am interested to hear your perspective on why you should, or why you shouldn't underline a book that you own. I must be honest and say I am of the underlining crowd, but I have recently upgraded to pencil instead of pen (oh, yes I know some of you thin this is horrible). It is interesting though, because I lend tons of books, I constantly get compliments on how people enjoy reading another person's thoughts...what do you think? Do you?
Oh, and one of my most exciting things is that I FINALLY got a LibraryThing Early Review book, well I still need to wait for it to arrive in the post...but I GOT ONE!! Because of that I finally feel it is okay for me to place the LibraryThing Early Reviewer logo on my sidebar!!!! I am thrilled.
Friday, April 11, 2008
Are you an underliner or an anti-underliner? At my latest book club meeting I was the only underliner, everyone else had their books in pristine condition...I love reading a well read and enjoyed book, that is probably why I do it. I also mark in the back the page numbers for things that I will want to look back on, quotes and interesting themes.
To underline, or not to underline...what do you think?
Thursday, April 10, 2008
- Pick up the nearest book. (I’m sure you must have one nearby.)
- Turn to page 123.
- What is the first sentence on the page?
- The last sentence on the page?
- Now . . . connect them together….
(And no, you may not transcribe the entire page of the book–that’s cheating!)
first: I went to the kitchen and washed my glass.
last: "He's got nothing to do with me. He can become a diet member or an astronaut, for all I care."
So for all of you BTT readers out there....I am going to connect the sentences together by writing my own story, yes , this is not part of the book (only the bold is on the actual p 123 of the book) Check it out!
I went to the Kitchen and washed my glass. While doing this chore I could hear her in the background. I am amazed by her unceasing. I raised my eyebrows to myself, and smiled a sad, sad smile. It isn't that she only did it at times, it was a continuous flow of jabber that I soon would not be able to bear even with my newly installed flesh-tone earplugs. Life has changed, it was not this way when we were married, we used to lust after one another with our eyes fixed, we used to take turns, we used to care. I remember thinking, "how did I know to choose so well? How did she?" Now she is unceasing and I am constantly waiting, just only for one thing: that she would cease. That she would give up and let me say only one word. I know, that may not last me forever, but it would buy me some good time.
I don't think she even believes that I am still here, I am uncertain as to where I would go, but I am sure she has come up with many exciting ideas, ideas much better than our current reality. Maybe she doesn't even think of me anymore. Life should be better. I will just say what I want to, so that she cannot forget that I am here, I will be here, I have chosen to belong to her and her to me until death do us part, right? Well the death has not yet taken place, so I must exist here with her. This is what I am thinking when I burst into my wives unceasing conversation with herself only to say: "He's got nothing to do with me. He can become a diet member or an astronaut, for all I care." And then I wonder why that is what I waited so long to say.
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
haha...silly title.( really just trying to catch your attention!hehe...)
I am finally happy with my blogs design and colours! SinceI am so involved in reading lit. from all around the world (and hosting the Orbis Terrarum Challenge meaning:"the whole world") I wanted to include photos of people from around the world as well! I didn't take them...I hope I don't get in trouble for having them on my blog...I just think they are so pretty!!! I love the thousands of different colours and beauty that comes from diversity. Amazingly perfect.
Sunday, April 6, 2008
Title: Farmworker's Daughter
Author: Rose Castillo Guilbault
Publisher: Heyday Books
Yearly Count: 14
Completed: 5, April, 2008
Snaps (rated): 4/5
The story of Rosela begins in Mexico, in a dry land where people need much and many times do not have enough. She and her mother take the journey up, to unknown lands with so much uncertainty...but with an incredible desire to see their lives amount to something other than a shunned, divorced mother and her fatherless daughter. Mexico will remain Rosela's identity throughout her memoir, sometimes she loves this fact, others ( like when she was a teen in the 60's she wishes it were not so) she wishes she could be, and especially look more like her blond American friends. She lives in time when immigrants lives were even more uncertain than they are today, a time when the Vietnam war was full force, and the excitable 60's and 70's were rolling through. I enjoyed reading about how this impacted her as a foreigner, and what the feelings were towards her during this time.
Rosela does not set the goals that would be acceptable for her to reach (as an immigrant in a small town), but she longs for dreams that will satisfy her, and fulfill her purpose. She grew up an outsider, but not only an outsider when she was in California, but also when she went on trips back to Mexico. Life is not easy, and mistakes are made, but Rosela's story is one of hope, dreams and much courage. I was honored to read Rose Castillo Gibault's memoir, the lessons she learned are not only for her situation, but I found them completely relatable. Because I could easily relate to this feeling of not fitting in very well, or depending on other's mercy to feel "at home", Farmworker's Daughter was that book that feels just right. Not pretentious, preachy or condemning, but just the right blend of truth, reality, and life.
The writing of Farmworker's Daughter was really great, I enjoyed reading from the perspective of the little girl, then adolescent, then college age woman. It had really good follow through and lead me on right to the end of the book very smoothly. I loved reading this book, check it out!
Here are some quotes ( I love quotes so I always have to include them!!):
"As a teenager I once asked my mother why she had left since she always talked about the greatness of Mexico. Maybe she had given up too much to come here, I suggested. She thoughtfully considered what I knew to be an impudent comment, and I immediately felt guilty. She shook her head sadly and looked into space, as if her gaze could travel back in time and pinpoint the precise moment she had made that momentous decision. [...] "There was nothing to loose. There was nothing for you and me.""(p. 23).
" Once I stepped outside my door, I was all alone and had to fend for myself. The only thing I feared more than school was disappointing my mother, so I hid my anxieties" (p. 48).
"One of the most memorable episodes during my years in Mrs. Rojas class was the day our class picture was taken and Mrs. Rojas announced that the prettiest and most photogenic person in class was Ramona--a shy Mexican girl. The blondes were shocked, Ramona blossomed with new self-confidence and the rest of us were struck by the notion that a Mexican could be considered beautiful" (p. 86).
"It was great to be popular in Mexico by acting out being an American, because in the United States I certainly didn't feel like one" (p. 112).
" Those Americans found Mexicans in Mexico charming, but those same Mexicans, it seemed, quickly lost their "charm" once in the United States. My cousins were proud, and being snubbed left them with little desire to explore beyond the small-town prejudices. They did not return" (p. 114).
I just got home from a really good book club meeting (our book club called Pretty Paper...oh it is fun!) We read Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy last month, and our book for this coming month is Town House by Tish Cohen. We try to switch back and forth from light to heavy read, some lighter than others, some heavier. Anyway, it is such a nice time to get together with friends and blab about our latest favourite characters, and least favourite! I love it.
This last week I read Farmworker's Daughter by Rose Castillo Gibault, which I will excitedly review later on today during the Sunday Salon. I just started The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami, which I have been entranced by. I have seriously just started it, but the writing so far truly has captured my eyes. I know this will sound funny, but I had never really heard of this author until a couple of days ago at someone's book blog giveaway! I see that there is a following though! Okay...off to bed. I need sleep, I will post another Sunday Salon post tomorrow after the sun rises...or a bit after that.