Friday, August 11, 2006


Manuel Ramos

These books are blurbed here without me having read them yet. I got the titles from the August Booknews newsletter of the Poisoned Pen. They are recently released and on the shelves now. Am I taking too much liberty with the term "Latino fiction" in referring to these books? Why don't you read one and send us your opinion? You can submit reviews, articles, etc., to me at labloga at aol dot com. Any of the other La Bloga hosts also will consider material. No promises, but we do love contributors, commentators, even critics.

Wanted, by T.I. Alvarado (Alyson): A debut novel featuring bounty hunter Ladybird Blacker. Her latest capture turns out to be the son of a poweruful crime boss who hires an assassin to take out Bird and rescue his son. Lo and behold, the hired gun turns out to be Bird's ex-girlfriend. As they say, then things get interesting.

Tomorrow They Will Kiss, by Eduardo Santiago (Back Bay): Book Sense Pick says "Santiago has created a kaleidoscope of female characters in a novel that is as irresistible and addictive as a telenovela. His Cuban women in exile will wrap you up in their stories, as they illuminate the immigrant experience in a tapestry of memory, dreams, friendship, nostalgia, and humor."

The Art of Murder, by José Carlos Somoza (Abacus): "Madrid novelist Somoza's latest thriller to appear in the U.S. (it was originally published in Spain in 2001) concerns a young girl who is found murdered and two police detectives who must find the killer before he strikes again. But it's the world of the novel that captures our interest, not the whodunit aspect. The action takes place in the bizarre subculture of hyperdramatic art, in which the works of art are actual, living people, painted and posed like living mannequins." Booklist, © American Library Association.

Raymundo Elí Rojas
sent us the Summer Issue of Libros, Libros, 54 pages. Ray's compilation of all that is new in Chicano/a and Latino/a literature is the absolute ultimate source. I expect that in the next few weeks we here at La Bloga will use it to help us select what we will be reading for the next several months. If you have any interest in this kind of stuff - and you must, you're reading La Bloga, right? - you have to get your hands on this publication. I think one of my fellow blogueros is going to host Libros on his website - until that becomes official, here is contact information for Ray:
Pluma Fronteriza
P.O. Box 6216
Kansas City, KS 66106
plumafronteriza AT msn DOT com

In the Sierra Madre
by Jeff Biggers (University of Illinois Press, 2006) comes highly recommended: "Jeff Biggers has the keenest eye in the business, and he has a fine, luminous voice to tell you what he has seen. Biggers manages to write like a poet, a historian, a naturalist and an adventurer. His pages are burnished and alive, and I admire his work. This is a welcome addition to western and Mexican letters. You need to read this one soon."-- Luis Urrea

The publicity for this book says: "The Sierra Madre--no other mountain range in the world possesses such a ring of intrigue. In the Sierra Madre is a groundbreaking and extraordinary memoir that chronicles the astonishing history of one of the most famous, yet unknown, regions in the world. Based on his one-year sojourn among the Raramuri/Tarahumara, award-winning journalist Jeff Biggers offers a rare look into the ways of the most resilient indigenous culture in the Americas, the exploits of Mexican mountaineers, and the fascinating parade of argonauts and accidental travelers that has journeyed into the Sierra Madre over centuries. From African explorers, Bohemian friars, Confederate and Irish war deserters, French poets, Boer and Russian commandos, Apache and Mennonite communities, bewildered archaeologists, addled writers, and legendary characters including Antonin Artaud, B. Traven, Sergei Eisenstein, George Patton, Geronimo, and Pancho Villa, Biggers uncovers the remarkable treasures of the Sierra Madre."

RudyG - this sounds like something right up your callejón, how about a review?

There's a nice story (PDF) about Denver artist Stevon Lucero in the online journal Five, written by Renne Fajardo. Lucero's work is vibrant, dynamic, and loaded with cultural references, you know - Chicano art. Here are a couple of paragraphs from Fajardo's article to give you a taste of the artist and the story:

"Admittedly, Lucero seems eccentric. But his profound sense of spirituality has enabled him to create a prolific body of work that goes beyond addressing only Chicano issues. It speaks to all races and cultures.

It was at the University of Wyoming that he started painting what he calls Metaphysical Fantastic Realism. His work later evolved into Metarealism, where the conscious and subconscious merge together. 'In essence, what we think is manifested physically,' Lucero says of his style, which combines bold colors and lively organic forms."

Lucero's website has several images of his art to give you a great idea of what it is that he does.

The mission of Latinitas Magazine is to "empower Latina youth through media and technology." Hey, we can get behind that, no? I recently found the following message in the overflowing La Bloga mailbox:

"Do you know a young Latina who is active in community service and is making a difference? Latinitas is currently accepting nominations for Latinita Superstars. On a quarterly basis, Latinitas recognizes outstanding young Latinas by featuring girls on our website along with their photo. Candidates must be Hispanic girls between the ages of 11-18. To nominate a girl, please submit an online nomination at:

Latinitas is a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering Latina youth through media. We publish a bilingual webzine by, for, and about Hispanic girls as well as host media empowerment programs through Central Texas. Latinitas presents enrichment after-school clubs, mentor programs, college internships, Saturday camps, youth media conferences, and community workshops dedicated to encouraging girls to express themselves. For more information, visit"

Alma Luz Villanueva
forwarded us a plea for help for the Casa Hogar Santa Julia don Bosco - the "Little Girls Orphanage in San Miguel de Allende". The message says in part that "school begins August 21. In the meantime, the Madres are catching up on paperwork, doing deep cleaning, and taking care of maintenance that is difficult to take care of with girls there. For instance, there is no running water to the girls’ bathroom or shower room at present. In addition, the Madres are getting ready to send the girls to school, which means they need funds for school uniforms, shoes, workbooks, book covers, school supplies, school registration fees, etc. ... Donations may be dropped off at the box at Border Crossings, Mesones 57 at the corner of Relox, Box 121A, or mailed to the US box at 9902 Crystal Court, Suite 107 BC 2323 121A, Laredo, Texas 78045." Much more information about the orphanages and the ongoing projects and needs on the website.


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