Saturday, June 24, 2006


Manuel Ramos


On April 30, a fire in the basement of the Zimmerman Library at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque destroyed or damaged several periodicals and collections. According to a letter to the UNM faculty from Fran Wilkinson, Associate Dean, University Libraries, among the areas "completely destroyed were history, Latin American studies, Native American studies, Hispanic studies, and African-American studies. Other damaged areas were geography, anthropology, archaeology, religion, philosophy, and cultural studies." Sounds like a major disaster. Some of the library may open on June 26 pending the State Fire Marshall's approval. Meanwhile, Dean Wilkinson notes that there have been "many generous offers of donations from the faculty and the public" but, unfortunately, there is no place to store donations at this point.

Here are a few recommendations from trusted sources - I pass them on without, unfortunately, having read them yet:

Last Evenings on Earth by Roberto Bolaño (New Directions, 2006) From Publishers Weekly - "Chilean Bolaño (1953–2003) wrote 10 novels (including Distant Star, published to acclaim last year), books of poems and two story collections before this one. These 14 bleakly luminous stories are all told in the first person by men (usually young) who yearn for something just out of their grasp (fame, talent, love) and who harbor few hopes of attaining what they desire. New Yorker readers may remember two selections: Gómez Palacio, concerning the grimly uneventful encounter of a Mexico City writer with the woman who directs the backwater writing program where he comes to teach, and the title story, set in 1975, in which a young Mexico City man and his father vacation in Acapulco—a trip their relationship is not strong enough to survive. The stories are similar, in theme and voice (though not in locale), and they are perfectly calibrated: Bolaño limns the capacity of a voice to carry despair without shading into bitterness. (May) Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved." Thank you, Jesse Tijerina, for the tip.

Raymundo Elí Rojas in Pluma Fronteriza announces that the Delgado family have republished Abelardo Lalo Delgado's classic, Chicano: 25 Pieces of a Chicano Mind. $12 plus $2 shipping, payable to Dolores Delgado, 6538 Eaton, Arvada, CO 80003.

Adiós Hemingway by Leonardo Padura Fuentes (Canongate, 2005): This book has been available in English for a while now, but High Crimes Mystery Bookshop listed it in a recent newsletter, so something's going on here that deserves attention. According to Booklist,"Mario Conde is a retired Havana cop obsessed with Hemingway, so when the skeletal remains of a man killed on Papa's Cuban estate 40 years earlier are unearthed, it's only natural that the police ask Conde to work the case. A celebrated mystery writer in Cuba, Fuentes offers a fascinating mix of fact and fiction, jumping between present and past, and vividly dramatizing Hemingway's last days in Cuba. What is most fascinating about the book is the character of Conde, torn between his mixed feelings about Hemingway the man and the writer, but drawn to the case like a supplicant to the altar. Fans of Cuban noir will love the cars, the crumbling chic of old Havana, and, of course, the aftertaste of rum-soaked decadence, but best of all, finally, is the priceless anecdote about Ava Gardner's black silk knickers, a souvenir to die for."

Alicia Gimenez-Bartlett, Dog Day (Europa, 2006): Spanish author Gimenez-Bartlett was awarded the Feminino Lumen prize for the best female writer in Spain. Her Petra Delicado detective series has made her one of Spain’s most popular crime writers. From her publisher's website: In Dog Day, "detective Petra Delicado and her maladroit sidekick, Garzon, investigate the murder of a tramp whose only friend is a mongrel dog named Freaky. One murder leads to another and Delicado finds herself involved in the sordid, dangerous world of fight dogs. A crime story for dog lovers and lovers of dog mysteries."

I would greatly appreciate it if someone could tell me why Blogger won't let me upload images. This is a recent glitch that just showed up one night.

That's all I got.


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