Saturday, May 14, 2005

Summer Diversions

Manuel Ramos

Summer Reading
I've been asked by a local newspaper for a recommendation for summer reading. I have a couple of ideas but would be interested in others. What book would you suggest to someone who says, "I need a good book for the summer"? Read into that phrase whatever conditions you want. Thanks for any suggestions.

Cocaine Chronicles
This may be news to some of you - I have a story in the recently published anthology The Cocaine Chronicles, edited by Jervey Tervalon and Gary Phillips. This collection kicks and, as you might guess, the topic lends itself to stories that just won't let go of the reader. Phillips and Tervalon have brought together some excellent writers and I don't hesitate to recommend it, even if you pass on my story. The piece by Detrice Jones, Just Surviving Another Day, will blow you away (no pun intended), more so because this is the author's first published story, it was written while Ms. Jones was a student in Tervalon's class at UCLA, and it's based on her own life experiences.

The publisher is Akashic Books, an adventurous outfit doing some unique publishing projects under the guidance of Johnny Temple. For example, Akashic published Adios Muchachos by Daniel Chavarría, which won an Edgar Award. Here's some of the publishing blurb for Adios Muchachos:"The first suspense novel in English-translation by internationally acclaimed Uruguayan mystery writer Daniel Chavarría, Adios Muchachos is a dark, erotic, brutally funny romp through the sexual underworld and black-market boardrooms of post-Cold War Cuba."

You can find several good reviews of the Cocaine Chronicles on the web and I suggest you also listen to the NPR interview of Tervalon and Phillips, which is archived at this link. And visit Gary Phillips' website.


Anonymous said...

A great summer read will be Luis Alberto Urrea's magnificent new novel, "The Hummingbird's Daughter," which was released this week by Little, Brown. My review of it will appear May 19 in The Elegant Variation.

Manuel Ramos said...

Great news about the new Urrea book. His Devil's Highway is a classic and needed more than ever these days. Is it just me or does it seem as though we are seeing a nice bump in new and outstanding books from Latinos - for example, Rodriguez's Mill Music; Anaya's two or three new ones; some of the ones I've mentioned on previous posts; and now Urrea's. It's all good.

Anonymous said...

And now we have a Chicano mayor in L.A. The perfect brown storm.

Anonymous said...

I'd wait on assessing the positives of a brown mayor. We had one in Denver and all we got was a corporate give-away baseball stadium with a team that cuts Latino stars for the sake of the bottom line; an airport that makes Wyoming seem close and costs enuf to fly out of that you're better off staying in Denver; and I don't remember anything else "positive."

Anonymous said...

I wish I'd never slept with Jervey Tervalon! How could you have anything about him on your blog! Jervey tervalon is not the great guy tries to make himself out to be. He is a piece of trash infact.He believes in sleeping around. He sleeps with folks in the clubs he frequents and he also sleeps with his students. (I'm one of those students @ USC and I've had enough of his BS!) How could you ever have anything about him on your blog??? It's an an insult to humanity. Period. I discovered that he has a wonderful wife and two healthy daughters, yet he continues to sleep around like the dog he is! And for those he sleeps with or hangs around, ... They are bound to get up with fleas the next day too, like I did. I pity anyone this flea-infeasted creature comes in countact with.