Brief Hiatus


Baylor University || Homecoming

I’m going to be away from Jorie’s Reads by Starry Night Elf for a few days. If you’re curious as to what I’m up to, keep an eye out for posts from Jorie’s Journeys by Starry Night Elf.

National Hispanic Heritage Month – Julia Alvarez


Julia Alvarez | Goodreads

This post is part of a feature at Jorie’s Reads by Starry Night Elf called “Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month.”

As high school seniors, we had to read Julia Alvarez’s In the Time of the Butterflies. While the guys balked, I finished the book long before it was due. Alvarez’s rendering of the Mirabal Sisters’ cause led me to do research in my spare time. 

Later, I picked up her book How the García Girls Lost Their Accents and took note of her use of reverse chronological order. This is also present in In the Name of Salome. There’s no really unifying story line! 

Wikipedia states:

Many of Alvarez’s works are influenced by her experiences as a Dominican in the United States, and focus heavily on issues of assimilation and identity. Her cultural upbringing as both a Dominican and an American is evident in the combination of personal and political tone in her writing. She is known for works that examine cultural expectations of women both in the Dominican Republic and the United States, and for rigorous investigations of cultural stereotypes. In recent years, Alvarez has expanded her subject matter with works such as In the Name of Salomé (2000), a novel with Cuban rather than solely Dominican characters and fictionalized versions of historical figures.

In addition to her successful writing career, Alvarez is the current writer-in-residence at Middlebury College.

I often recommend Alvarez’s work. She writes everything from historical ficion –  In the Name of Salomé, Alvarez’s telling noted Dominican poet Salomé Ureña and her daughter, Camila Henríquez Ureña to Young Adult – Finding Miracles to poetry. I like how diverse she is in her writing.

For more on Julia Alvarez, check out her site by clicking here.

 

National Hispanic Heritage Month – Alisa Valdes


Alisa Valdes | Goodreads

This post is part of a feature at Jorie’s Reads by Starry Night Elf called “Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month.”

It was a happy accident when I came across an audiobook version of Alisa Valdes (formerly Valdes-Rodriguez) Haters. This book had great characters, good story, and a strong moral. The cover of this book touted her as the author of The Dirty Girls Social ClubOf course, I had to read that one as well!  Again, these characters were so clearly defined by Valdes that I felt they were sitting in the room with me.

Goodreads states:

Alisa Valdes is a NY Times and USA Today bestselling author of women’s fiction, young adult fiction, and memoir, including The Dirty Girls Social Club. She has a master’s in journalism from Columbia University and spent ten years as a staff writer for the Boston Globe and LA Times before becoming an author. She lives in New Mexico with her family and pets and wishes the calories you ate when no one was watching didn’t count.

Another thing I’d be remiss in not mentioning is how Valdes manages to bring together diverse female characters. This especially comes through in her books about the Dirty Girls (Las Sucias) – six successful Latin American women who met and bonded while students at Boston University. There’s been much talk of getting Las Sucias on film.

For more on Alisa Valdes, check out her website by clicking here.

Sandra Brown’s Low Pressure


Low Pressure by Sandra Brown | Jorie’s Store @ Amazon

 
Title and Author(s):  Sandra Brown’s Low Pressure
Release Date: Sept 18, 2012

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing 

ISBN: 9781455525188
Pages: 480
Source: eBranch Harris County Public Library 

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Reasons for Reading: Author Sandra Brown resides on my Author Alerts list. I normally enjoy the dialogue between Brown’s characters. Like Brown, I grew up in Texas and appreciate the local color which creates the settings for her stories. When  I discovered Low Pressure took place in Austin, Texas, I requested an eBook version of her latest.

Summary: When a tornado struck an Austin-area state park, twelve-year old Bellamy Lyston lost her teenage sister, Susan. The tornado didn’t kill Susan, though. Her murder destroyed the blended Lyston family.

Eighteen years later, as Bellamy’s father, Howard, ails from cancer, Bellamy writes a book about it called Low Pressure. It’s a huge bestseller but not everyone is pleased. Bellamy receives threats on her life. With the reluctant help of her late sister’s boyfriend, Denton “Dent” Carter, Bellamy tries to solve the mystery behind her sister’s death.

One Thing I Learned from this book: Dent is a pilot and, as such, he thoroughly checked the planes before flying anywhere.

What I Liked: I liked the info about Dent’s flight checks. Also, I appreciated the relationship between Dent and his mentor called Gall.

What I Disliked: The local color didn’t come through in Low Pressure. Also, I found Bellamy and Dent’s relationship rather predictable. I wished Brown had eased up on the single-entendres. Lastly, Bellamy is an awful name!

RR - Orange

Rainbow Rating: Orange – Restricted from those under age 17 


Song: 
Tee Set – Ma Belle Amie 

You might also like:

For more, check out the following sites:

Zondervan’s The Bible in 90 Days: Cover to Cover in 12 Pages a Day (New Testament)


Jorie’s Store – The Bible in 90 Days: Cover to Cover in 12 Pages a Day

* Through the Bible

Zondervan’s The Bible in 90 Days: Cover to Cover in 12 Pages a Day (The Bible in 90 Days) 

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In late February 2013, I took on The Bible in 90 Days challenge. As I mentioned in my post on the Old Testament, it took me more than 3 months to finish reading the entire Bible.

The New Testament (NT) is made up of 4 narratives of the life, teaching, death and resurrection of Jesus, called “gospels” (or “good news” accounts) (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John); a narrative of the Apostles’ ministries in the early church (Acts of the Apostles); twenty-one letters, often called “epistles” in the biblical context, written by various authors, and consisting of Christian doctrine, counsel, instruction, and conflict resolution; and an Apocalypse, Revelation, which is a book of prophecy, containing some instructions to seven local congregations of Asia Minor, but mostly containing prophetical symbology, about the end times. (New Testament | Wikipedia)

I’ve always been partial to the Gospels. However, this was the first time I was so moved by The Gospel According to John. This particular telling of the Good News of Christ’s return greatly differs from the synoptic gospels. Lately, one of my favorite verses, John 14:27 comes from this book.

I am glad I took on this challenge. I hope to do it again – maybe I can finish it within those 90 days!

 

National Hispanic Heritage Month – Junot Díaz


Junot Díaz | Goodreads

This post is part of a feature at Jorie’s Reads by Starry Night Elf called “Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month.”

Junot Díaz’s The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao changed my perception of something which seemed so scholarly – footnotes. My goodness, I’d never seen anything like it – little contradictions and factoids to add to the story of the woeful ghetto nerd Oscar. Within a page, I got narrative and the Dominican Republic’s volatile history. His work pointed me towards other books about the DR. I felt I had an idea and that’s mostly due to Díaz.

Goodreads states:

Junot Díaz is a contemporary Dominican-American writer. He moved to the USA with his parents at age six, settling in New Jersey. Central to Díaz’s work is the duality of the immigrant experience. He is the first Dominican-born man to become a major author in the United States.

Díaz is creative writing professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He received the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for his novel, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao in 2008.

In addition to the Pulitzer Prize, Díaz has received a Eugene McDermott Award, a fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, a Lila Acheson Wallace Reader’s Digest Award, the 2002 Pen/Malamud Award, the 2003 US-Japan Creative Artist Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, a fellowship at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University and the Rome Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He was also awarded a MacArthur Fellowship in 2012. He was selected as one of the 39 most important Latin American writers under the age of 39 by the Bogotá Book Capital of World and the Hay Festival. In September 2007, Miramax acquired the rights for a film adaptation of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.

After reading The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, this book became a staple on my Top Ten Tuesday posts 🙂 … I also pushed through his previous work Drown, a collection of short stories (not my favorite prose) simply because they were written by Díaz. Lucky for me, Yunior, Díaz’s narrator, was there, too.

His latest – This is How You Lose Her – is on my TBR pile. Why? Well, his blend of facts and narrative bring forth a gloriously clear picture of what has happened, what is happening, and what will happen. Thus, I couldn’t celebrate without mentioning Díaz.

National Hispanic Heritage Month – Sandra Cisneros


Sandra Cisneros | Goodreads

This post is part of a feature at Jorie’s Reads by Starry Night Elf called “Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month.”

Sandra Cisneros holds the distinction of being the author of the first book I reviewed on this blog. To check out this review, click on “Wrapped up in Caramelo by Sandra Cisneros.”

Goodreads says:

Sandra Cisneros was born in Chicago in 1954. Internationally acclaimed for her poetry and fiction, she has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the Lannan Literary Award and the American Book Award, and of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the MacArthur Foundation. Cisneros is the author of two novels The House on Mango Street and Caramelo; a collection of short stories, Woman Hollering Creek; two books of poetry, My Wicked Ways and Loose Woman; and a children’s book, Hairs/Pelitos. She is the founder of the Macondo Foundation, an association of writers united to serve underserved communities (www.macondofoundation.org), and is Writer in Residence at Our Lady of the Lake University, San Antonio. She lives in San Antonio, Texas.

While Caramelo is the only Cisneros work I’ve read, it’s a stellar one. She wrote a family saga with characters so distinctive that one can’t confuse them. Also, I found myself reminiscing about family road trips my own very different family. I liked the vignettes from the famous people as well.

I’d be remiss leaving to not mention hearing the legendary “Woman Hollering Creek.” I think of it each time I take a road trip from my native Houston to San Antonio. Shiver!