Friday, February 02, 2007


Manuel Ramos

I must have had some time on my hands because I came up with a crossword puzzle for La Bloga readers. It's all about the literature, of course, so if you are a regular visitor to La Bloga or have more than a passing interest in Chicana/o and Latina/o stories, characters, writers, publishers, and reviewers, you should breeze through this puzzle.

I can't figure out how to paste the puzzle directly onto the La Bloga pages, so you are going to have to click on another link to see the grid and the questions. There are two versions: the first looks oversized on my screen but loads up quickly, the second version fits better on my screen but it may have too much black for some printers and it takes a bit more time to load. The questions are the same in either version.

In any event, if you have the inclination, check out the puzzle of your choice, print it, solve it, and let me know what you think about this diversion. I hear that solving crosswords is good for keeping the brain cells young and vigorous; too bad I can't do crosswords with my back. I think I killed a few thousand brain cells putting the puzzle together so it's a trade off for me. Here are the links:

La Bloga Puzzle Version 1

La Bloga Puzzle Version 2

And the answers are here.

NEWN is now open for submissions. Visit the website for complete guidelines:

NEWN accepts submissions in all categories ONLY between January 1 through March 31.

Fiction: Open to all genres and types of previously unpublished fiction up to 3,000 words. NEWN encourages submissions of novel excerpts. NEWN will note that the excerpt is out of context and requires a little more understanding from the reader. Pick no more than 3,000 words of your novel that can semi-stand alone and show off your novel.

Pay: $10 and one copy for short stories or novel excerpts.

Quotes from the publishers

The Savage Detectives, Roberto Bolaño
Translated from the Spanish by Natasha Wimmer
Farrar, Straus and Giroux - April

"New Year’s Eve, 1975: Arturo Belano and Ulises Lima, founders of the visceral realist movement in poetry, leave Mexico City in a borrowed white Impala. Their quest: to track down the obscure, vanished poet Cesárea Tinajero. A violent showdown in the Sonora desert turns search to flight; twenty years later Belano and Lima are still on the run.

...The Savage Detectives follows Belano and Lima through the eyes of the people whose paths they cross in Central America, Europe, Israel, and West Africa. This chorus includes the muses of visceral realism, the beautiful Font sisters; their father, an architect interned in a Mexico City asylum; a sensitive young follower of Octavio Paz; a foul-mouthed American graduate student; a French girl with a taste for the Marquis de Sade; the great-granddaughter of Leon Trotsky; a Chilean stowaway with a mystical gift for numbers; the anorexic heiress to a Mexican underwear empire; an Argentinian photojournalist in Angola; and assorted hangers-on, detractors, critics, lovers, employers, vagabonds, real-life literary figures, and random acquaintances.

... The Savage Detectives is a dazzling original, the first great Latin American novel of the twenty-first century."

Lost City Radio, Daniel Alarcón
HarperCollins - February

"For ten years, Norma has been the voice of consolation for a people broken by violence. She hosts Lost City Radio, the most popular program in their nameless South American country, gripped in the aftermath of war. Every week, the Indians in the mountains and the poor from the barrios listen as she reads the names of those who have gone missing, those whom the furiously expanding city has swallowed. Loved ones are reunited and the lost are found. Each week, she returns to the airwaves while hiding her own personal loss: her husband disappeared at the end of the war.

But the life she has become accustomed to is forever changed when a young boy arrives from the jungle and provides a clue to the fate of her long-missing husband.

Stunning, timely, and absolutely mesmerizing, Lost City Radio probes the deepest questions of war and its meaning: from its devastating impact on a society transformed by violence to the emotional scarring each participant, observer, and survivor carries for years after. This tender debut marks Alarcón's emergence as a major new voice in American fiction."

Still Water Saints, Alex Espinoza
Random House - February

"Still Water Saints chronicles a momentous year in the life of Agua Mansa, a largely Latino town beyond the fringes of Los Angeles and home to the Botánica Oshún, where people come seeking charms, herbs, and candles. Above all, they seek the guidance of Perla Portillo, the shop’s owner. Perla has served the community for years, arming her clients with the tools to overcome all manner of crises, large and small. There is Juan, a man coming to terms with the death of his father; Nancy, a recently married schoolteacher; Shawn, an addict looking for peace in his chaotic life; and Rosa, a teenager trying to lose weight and find herself. But when a customer with a troubled and mysterious past arrives, Perla struggles to help and must confront both her unfulfilled hopes and doubts about her place in a rapidly changing world.

Imaginative, inspiring, lyrical, and beautifully written, Still Water Saints evokes the unpredictability of life and the resilience of the spirit through the journeys of the people of Agua Mansa, and especially of the one woman at the center of it all. Theirs are stories of faith and betrayal, love and loss, the bonds of family and community, and the constancy of change."

Flight, Sherman Alexie
Grove Atlantic - April

"[Alexie's] first novel since Indian Killer is a powerful, fast, and timely story of a troubled foster teenager—a boy who is not a legal Indian because he was never claimed by his father—who learns the true meaning of terror.

The journey for this young hero begins as he’s about to commit a massive act of violence. At the moment of decision, he finds himself shot back through time and resurfaced in the body of an FBI agent during the civil rights era. Here he will be forced to see just why Hell is Red River, Idaho, in the 1970s. Red River is only the first stop in a shocking sojourn through moments of violence in American history. He will continue traveling back to inhabit the body of an Indian child during the battle at Little Bighorn and then ride with an Indian tracker in the nineteenth century before materializing as an airline pilot jetting through the skies today. During these frantic trips through time, his refrain grows: Who’s to judge? and I don’t understand humans. When finally, blessedly, our young warrior comes to rest again in his own contemporary body, he is mightily transformed by all he’s seen."

Dancing to "Almendra", Mayra Montero
Farrar, Straus and Giroux - January

"Havana, 1957. On the same day that the Mafia capo Umberto Anastasia is assassinated in a barber's chair in New York, a hippopotamus escapes from the zoo and is shot and killed by its pursuers. Assigned to cover the zoo story, Joaquín Porrata, a young Cuban journalist, finds himself embroiled in the mysterious connections between the hippo's death and the mobster's when a secretive zookeeper whispers that he knows too much. In exchange for a promise to introduce the keeper to his idol, the film star George Raft, now the host of the Capri casino, Joaquín gets information that ensnares him in an ever-thickening plot of murder, mobsters, and finally, love.

The love story is another mystery. Told by Yolanda, a beautiful ex-circus performer now working for Havana's famed Sans Souci cabaret, it is interwoven with Joaquín's underworld investigations, eventually revealing a family secret deeper even than Havana's brilliantly evoked enigmas. In Dancing to "Almendra," Mayra Montero has created an ardent and thrilling tale of innocence lost, of Havana’s secret world that was the basis for the clamor of the city, and of the end of a violent era of fantastic characters and extravagant crimes. Based on the true history of a bewitching city and its denizens ... ."

Man, all of those sound good.


1 comment:

msedano said...

What a great list of reading! And a crossword to boot!

I used to watch in amazement as the Sergeant Major attacked the daily crossword in Pacific Stars & Stripes. He'd finish it with a grunt of satisfaction, then give me the newspaper. One day I decided to look at his work, wondering where all the speed comes from, given his daily vocabulary and interests.

He cheated. He answered with words like Fxlgub or Sargvints, any letter that he chose. Every box had a letter, every question an answer.

I promise to be more directed when I do your puzzles.