"Chicano writers from El Paso are the most progressive, open-minded, far-reaching, and inclusive writers of them all."

Octavio Romano

Friday, September 22, 2006

El Pasoen 's book finalist for the Colorado Book Award and more news: Subcomandante Marcos, Gary Soto, Illan Stavans, raul salinas

Award-heavy book

We just heard that Sheryl Luna's already award-heavy book, Pity the Drowned Horses is a finalist for the the Colorado Book Award. Congrads!

More from the Arte Publico Catalog

Spinning through Arte Publico's Catalog, there are some older awards mentioned from 2005. But one this year is one we mentioned in an earlier blog. El Pasoan Alicia Gaspar de Alba's book Desert Blood: The Juarez Murders was the winner of the 2005 Lambda Literary Award - Best Lesbian Mystery and the winner of the 2006 International Book Award inthe Best Mystery Novel catagory.

Another new book mentioned:

We Happy Few by Rolando Hinojosa. This actually came out in April.

Why wait until November

Well guys and gals, we won’t put out a Libros, Libros issue until November, so we thought we’d give you some heads up on some books coming out from now until then.

Puerto Rico, rico

Henry Holt and Co has put out Sergio and the Hurricane (Paperback)( Henry Holt and Co. BYR Paperbacks by , Alexandra Wallner. Description goes: “Sergio lives in San Juan, Puerto Rico. San Juan is usually sunny and peaceful, but one day the sky grows dark and the ocean gets choppy. A hurricane is coming, and Sergio and his family must prepare for the storm. Sergio is excited at first, but he soon realizes that hurricanes can be dangerous. Through the experiences of one little boy, readers will learn about hurricanes and the damage they can do. And they'll also see how a community can pull together to repair that damage.”

El Tapon still livin' large: raulsalinas put out new one

Raul Salinas will put out (or maybe he has already) raúlrsalinas and the Jail Machine : My Weapon Is My Pen (Paperback)(Center for Mexican American Studies University of Texas at Austin), Louis G. Mendoza (Editor).

Yo mama: Julio Cortezar

One we missed in the literary criticism area SUNY Press released MOTHERS, LOVERS, AND OTHERS: The Short Stories of Julio Cortázar in Jan 2006 by CYNTHIA SCHMIDT-CRUZ. Description: “Provocative reappraisal of the portrayal of women in Julio Cortázar’s short stories. Using feminist revisions of psychoanalytic thought and cultural studies, Mothers, Lovers, and Others examines the pervasive role of the conception of the feminine in the short stories of Argentine writer Julio Cortázar (1914–1984).

Contending that his obsession with the mother is the source of Cortázar’s uneasiness with femininity, Cynthia Schmidt-Cruz traces an evolution in his relationship to female space, from a convoluted and defensive posture to a more open and tolerant stance, paralleling his increasing political commitment. Schmidt-Cruz explores the role of gender in Cortázar’s quest to reconcile his divided allegiance to Argentina and France, and his denunciation of the atrocities of the Argentine military dictatorship.”

Soto and Jesse

Another young adult work is out by Gary Soto. Jesse on Harcourt Paperbacks is described as Soto’s “first novel for young adults, Gary Soto paints a moving portrait of two sweet, ambitious Mexican American brothers who hope junior college will help them escape their heritage of tedious physical labor.

Their struggles are humorous, true to life, and deeply affecting, and young adults will sympathize with them as they work through their problems and eventually come to terms with what is possible in an imperfect world.

UMI stuff available on web

Another one we missed (WE NOT PERFECT!) is 'It doesn't have to be this way': Re/presentations of Chicano masculinity in Chicano and Chicana literature, film, and performance on ProQuest / UMI March 19, 2006 ISBN: 0542194767), Phillip Ruben Serrato. And this is interesting because many of the dissertations are being put up on the web for sale now.

Just like ordering from UMI, you can get the printed version, but it also allows you to buy the PDF version. Description reads: “This dissertation surveys the diverse ways that Chicano masculinity has been constructed, deconstructed, and re-imagined in Chicano and Chicana literature, film, and performance.

From the nineteenth century to the present day, Chicano and Chicana writers alike have been engaged in reassessments of Chicano masculinity. But as this dissertation reveals, these writers' approaches to have varied depending on their historical context, personal anxieties, and personal subject positions.

Notably remaining constant across the various writers that I discuss in this dissertation is the centrality of the issue of masculinity in their nationalist projects. Chapter after chapter reveals how a concern or preoccupation with masculinity is at the heart of these writers' nationalist endeavors. Yet while in some cases writers betray an obsession with Chicano male primacy, in other cases they insist on a transformation in Chicano masculinity.

Chapter 1 attempts to gain insight into the psyche of early Mexican-American men by examining Juan Seguín's Personal Memoirs and Américo Paredes's George Washington Gómez. Chapter 2 describes how two early Mexican-American female writers, Maria Amparo Ruiz de Burton and Jovita González, respond to the tragic inflexibility of men like Seguín and Paredes by suggesting in The Squatter and the Don and Dew on the Thorn, respectively, the need for a transformation of Mexican-American masculinity.

To illustrate the difficulty that male writers have had in synthesizing Chicana feminism into their nationalism, I also discuss in chapter 2 a classic of the Chicano Movement, Victor Villaseñor's Macho!.

Chapter 3 discusses the ways that two films, Zoot Suit and Born in East L.A., open up some critical concerns about Chicano masculinity but end up re-valorizing Chicano masculinity.

Chapter 4 looks at the different degrees of success that the comedy trio Culture Clash and gay performance artist Luis Alfaro have had in engaging critically the subject of Chicano masculinity.

Finally, chapter 5 uses Victor Martínez's adolescent novel Parrot in the Oven and Ana Castillo's illustrated chant My Daughter, My Son, the Eagle, the Dove to explore how children's and adolescent literature are important yet fraught arms of critical Chicano masculinity studies.”

More crit stuff

Sticking in literary crit, Ethnic American Literature: Comparing Chicano, Jewish, And African American Writing is being put out by University of Virginia Press in October. Written by Dean J. Franco, description goes: “In Ethnic American Literature: Comparing Chicano, Jewish, and African American Writing, Dean J. Franco offers a comparative approach to ethnic literature that begins by accounting for the intrinsic historical, geographical, and political contingencies of different American cultures.

These contingencies, he argues, dictate critical perspectives that are ultimately ethical and that establish the terms for the study of ethnic literature in the first place. Franco looks at a range of writing, from novels by Philip Roth, Cynthia Ozick, Toni Morrison, and Alejandro Morales, to literature and criticism by Tony Kushner, Cherrie Moraga, and José Limón, among others. While the early chapters focus specifically on what mourning means in these different cultural contexts in the representation of and response to trauma and loss, the later ones critically examine metaphors of the borderlands, diaspora, and nationalism.

Proposing a method that both accounts for what is common in ethnic literary cultures and describes what is at stake in understanding their differences, the author extends current discussions of identity politics, race theory, trauma studies, and multiculturalism into a praxis of comparative ethnic literary criticism that is rooted in an ethics of respect.”

Okay, say "Milwaukee" right: Getting past the Cunninghams, the Fonz, and Lavern and Sherly

Another one we missed earlier this year is Latinos in Milwaukee (Images of America) on Arcadia Publishing by Joseph A. Rodriguez and Walter Sava. Description reads: “‘I didn’t know there were Latinos in Wisconsin’ is one of the more frequently heard comments when visiting outside of the state. In fact, more than 100,000 Latinos live in Milwaukee, and the continued growth of this community is visible in every segment of the city.

Milwaukee’s Latino community began humbly as a “Colonia Mexicana” in the 1920s, when Mexicans were recruited to work in the city’s tanneries. Subsequent waves of workers came from Texas to work in Wisconsin’s agricultural fields. In the early 1950s, Puerto Ricans began arriving to the area, and the population doubled in the 1990s.”

Edge of what?: Marina put out anthology

Mariner Books will publish Lengua Fresca: Latinos Writing on the Edge edited by Ilan Stavans and Harold Augenbraum. Description goes: “Brazen, bold, nervy, and fresh: an unexpected take on Latino literature, spotlighting some of the culture's most exciting experimental and emerging voices. An entertaining, provocative and often exhilarating collection, Lengua Fresca celebrates some of the most original and cutting-edge work to emerge from the cultural collide that is Latino life in the United States.

Featuring an eclectic mix of Latino writing including fiction, journalism, essays, comics, and even cultural ephemerathis unique anthology showcases literature found in unexpected places. Selections include stories from Junot Diaz and Ana Lydia Vega; graphic pieces from the Hernandez brothers (creators of the groundbreaking comix Love and Rockets) and Lalo Alcaraz (creator of La Cucaracha); and essays by Michele Serros and Dagoberto Gilb on pop culture topics such as The George Lopez Show and Taco Bell.

The growth of Spanglish, the lingua franca of Hispanic communities, is highlighted as well. Compiled by the editors of the classroom favorite Growing Up Latino, Lengua Fresca offers an unconventional window on a vibrant, quickly expanding culture.”

Doesn't get more uncomfortable than this: Marcos and Paco

Also this month, Akashic Books published The Uncomfortable Dead by Subcomandante Marcos and Paco Ignacio Taibo II . In alternating chapters, Zapatista leader Subcomandante Marcos and the consistently excellent Paco Ignacio Taibo II create an uproarious murder mystery with two intersecting story lines.

The chapters written by the famously masked Marcos originate in the mountains of Chiapas, Mexico. There, the fictional "Subcomandante Marcos" assigns Elias Contreras-an odd but charming mountain man-to travel to Mexico City in search of an elusive and hideous murderer named Morales.

The second story line, penned by Taibo, stars his famous series detective Hector Belascoaran Shayne. Hector guzzles Coca-Cola and smokes cigarettes furiously amidst his philosophical and always charming approach to investigating crimes-in this case, the search for his own "Morales." The two stories collide absurdly and dramatically in the urban sprawl of Mexico City.

The ugly history of the city's political violence rears its head, and both detectives find themselves in an unpredictable dance of death with forces at once criminal, historical, and political.

Well, my hand is getting tired. So I’ll stop for right now. See ya tomorrow and I’ll think of something thoughtful to write.

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