Because it appeared on some list of not-to-be-missed Mexican authors, I borrowed this curious, slim volume from the library last week. Brief and denseBecause it appeared on some list of not-to-be-missed Mexican authors, I borrowed this curious, slim volume from the library last week. Brief and dense, ending with a lengthy, informative translator's note, Herrera's story of Makina, a sturdy young woman tempered by implied underworld violence and other gritty social ills, crosses the border to collect her brother, who had made the passage some time back without return or further word. Before his disappearance, however, he observes of his new surroundings:
Everything’s so stiff here, it’s all numbered and people look you in the eye but they don’t say anything when they do. They celebrate here, too, but they don’t dance or pray, it’s not in honor of anyone. The only real big celebration is the turkey feast, which is a good one because all you do is eat and eat. It’s really lonely here, but there’s lots of stuff (68-9).
En route, Makina bears a parcel from shady Mr. Aitch and a letter from her mother to the long-gone, observant brother. Moreover, having been employed as a switchboard operator, she also bears the ability to speak "latin," "anglo," or a hybrid, making keen linguistic observations along the way: Using in one tongue the word for a thing in the other makes the attributes of both resound: if you say Give me fire when they say Give me a light, what is not to be learned about fire, light and the act of giving? It's not another way of saying things: these are new things. The world happening anew, Making realizes: promising other things, signifying other things, producing different objects. Who knows if they'll last, who knows if these names will be adopted by all, she things, but there they are, doing their damnedest (66).
Overall, a worthwhile, very short read--dense, dangerous, and deft....more
Moyna Chitrakar's vibrantly alive illustrations provide a fluent, lively foil to this version of the Ramayana. It is nonetheless affecting and a worthMoyna Chitrakar's vibrantly alive illustrations provide a fluent, lively foil to this version of the Ramayana. It is nonetheless affecting and a worthy library and/or classroom addition, as we learn from Sita's retelling that:
"War, in some ways, is merciful to men. It makes them heroes if they are the victors. If they are vanquished--they do not live to see their homes taken, their wives widowed. But if you are a woman--you must live through defeat...you become the mother of dead sons, or an orphan, or worse, a prisoner" (p.120)....more
A summer reading option for seniors, this title is a valuable reminder to students (&, more likely, their parents) that where a student attends scA summer reading option for seniors, this title is a valuable reminder to students (&, more likely, their parents) that where a student attends school is less significant than the character of the person who attends. ...more
This well-narrated audiobook provides important historical background about Pakistan since partition from India and the secession of Bangladesh in relThis well-narrated audiobook provides important historical background about Pakistan since partition from India and the secession of Bangladesh in relating the dramatic story of Malala's journey from sturdy schoolgirl to international spokesperson for girls' rights. I found most moving the account of Malala's family managing the dire circumstances of her care after she was shot. She is a truly remarkable figure. An inspiring, informative memoir. I'll be curious to see which students chose this book for Summer Reading....more
Just returned from a Service Trip in Nicaragua & finished this book today. Here's what I wrote to my students & colleagues who were there.
I'vJust returned from a Service Trip in Nicaragua & finished this book today. Here's what I wrote to my students & colleagues who were there.
I've so enjoyed looking at the photos of you all in Nicaragua-- holding, carrying, wheelbarrowing, playing with the children of the community.
I've spent some time upon my return from our trip considering my own experience in the community of El Jicarito, especially with my Dice Race-playing 10-year-old friend, Dixon.
How can I feel so attached to that lad, only after a few days/moments/hours in his company? What is the unlikely source of my optimistic yearning for his unknowable future?
In reading "Becoming Who You Are," by James Martin, SJ (one of the assigned Summer Reading books for rising sophomores), I came across this 1958 passage from Thomas Merton. In it, he describes his sense standing at a busy intersection in Louisville, Kentucky.
"...I was suddenly overwhelmed with the realization that I loved all those people, that they were mine and I theirs, that we could not be alien to one another even though we were total strangers. It was like awaking from a dream of separateness, of spurious self-isolation in a special world...."
While I'm still thinking and writing about the trip, this passage helped me realize that "they [are] mine and I theirs."...more
This title just appeared in my audiobook queue, & I have only 21 days to listen to it, so I'm off. So far, narrative is poignant & well-wroughThis title just appeared in my audiobook queue, & I have only 21 days to listen to it, so I'm off. So far, narrative is poignant & well-wrought, & remained so through the end. I cried more than once listening to Stevenson's plain-spoken efforts to remedy the broken justice US justice system. A worthy read. ...more