Saturday, October 10, 2009

Latinos & Books!, the Perfect Xmas gift for that pocha in your life, & Obama & Peace(?)

The L.A. Latino Book & Family Festival begins today and goes through tomorrow. You can't do better than go to their website, yesterday's coverage by Ramos, Colato's on Thursday or Olivas's on Monday to learn details.
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The PERFECT Xmas gift for younger señoritas AND for that favorite
pocha trying to reclaim her language

By: Myrtha Trujillo

Publisher: Cursack Books
Softcover: $17.95

Publisher's blurb: Misión Mujer is the portrait of eighteen extraordinary women, from Sappho and Joan of Arc to Rosa Parks and Sally Ride, who stood out in their respective fields and whose stories represent the struggles and achievements of women throughout history. Only available in Spanish.

Book blurb
(which I like better): "Las historias de esta magnifica obra no son biografías académicas, aunque están muy bien documentadas: son unos textos viscerales, donde la pasión de cada una de estas mujeres encuentra el espejo donde reflejarse."

My own take:
While I don't know anything else about the author nor her other books, I highly recommend this one, and not only because it's appropriate for and would inspire young women (as young as some pre-teens?).

A taste of Misión Mujer: "Mujeres mitológias o reales; algunas rebeldes, de vanguardia o disciplinadas; todas estuvieron dedicadas por completo a su tarea. Las que sufren por amor y las que sufren por esencia. Todas, con gran voluntad y entereza, luchando contra lo establecido; contribuyendo, sin planearlo, al reconocimiento pleno de su lugar en la sociedad y de su ejemplo para generaciones futuras.

"Admiradas, amadas, respetadas, reconocidas o no, temidas, odiadas y, algunas de ellas, tildadas de locas, estas mujeres no pasaron desapercibidas. Con espíritu sensible, con afán de lucha, con entrega y sacrificio, se dedicaron por completo a su tarea, a su misión, conociendo el martirio, la soledad, el fracaso y la victoria." Read aloud, this stuff gives me the chills.

One more, this from the chapter on Marie Curie: "Como persona, como mujer, Marie Curie se destacó en una sociedad típicamente machista logrando triunfos que nadie, ni mujer ni hombre, pudo lograr."

While your favorite pocha (FP) might need a dictionary to get through these wonderfully poetic essays of eighteen historical figures, there's sufficient flowing prose and beautiful portrayals to make it seem not so much of a task. At only 150pp., and with many chapters in the range of two to four pages, your FP could pick and choose, further simplifying a read.

Fluent Spanish female readers who've already read the book repeatedly used the term passionate, as best describing the book.

Befitting the overall tone of the prose, the book covers a rainbow of women's history, with Andrómeda and Penélope ("mujer inteligente, esposa fiel"), Safo, María Magdelena, Hipatia de Alejandria (a discovery, for me), Jeanne D'Arc, Teresa de Avila (as a literary figure), Pocahontas (never one of my favorites), Cuban writer and intellectual Gertrudis Gómez, Argentinian poetess Alfonsina Storni, Ann Frank and on through astronauts Christa McAuliffe and Sally Ride.

I'd like to have seen chapters about La Pasionaria and Aleida March (who fought alongside Che) but maybe they'll appear in another Trujillo installment.

Buy this book and give it away! But if your bilingualism permits, first, read it yourself.

About the author:
Myrtha Trujillo was born in Cienfuegos, Cuba, on May 4, 1937. She earned her Ph.D. in physical and chemical sciences from the University of Havana, and was a professor of chemistry at the University of Puerto Rico for 30 years. Now retired, the author currently resides in Miami, Florida. She has published several books, as well as numerous articles and essays in literary magazines and newspapers. At present, she is enjoying the beaches of Miami and working on her fifth book.

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Obama's Nobel Peace(?) Prize

As the U.S. President said Friday, "To be honest, I do not feel that I deserve to be in the company of so many of the transformative figures who've been honored by this prize." You can read the Nobel Committee's
press release here.

While I know the Rush-to-rage Limbaughists are already all over this, many of us who did vote for Obama might have to agree with his assessment of whether he deserved receiving the Nobel Peace Prize.

The Iraq War's been expanded into nearby countries and isn't on any schedule to end. The War in Afghanistan may be about to expand with additional troops. Palestine remains subjugated, with nothing on the horizon bringing anything but more razed homes, expanded Israeli settlements and no end to the instability of the region. Guantanamo hasn't been shut down. On the other hand, Obama has pulled us back some from the brink of conflict with Korea, Iran and other nations. He's not Bush, but hardly qualifies as the Anti-Bush, either.

Awarding Obama the Peace Prize might make many question its significance and integrity.

At the moment, about the only Peace initiatives I can think of that make him worthy are that 1. he as a black man managed to win the Presidency without the country falling into a civil war of racial overtones. Then too, the fact that 2. he's managed to stay unassassinated is the other feat engendering peace. The last thing we need is riots reminiscent of the days after MLK's assassination.

Those on the left who say we need to give him more time before rendering judgment might ask why the Nobel Committee didn't do the same.


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