Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Dear Ita,

Dear Ita,

I finished your book this week. I don't want to add to it anymore. I think you don't want me to add to it anymore either because as I wrote "Sabor a Mi" came on twice and so did "Por Un Amor". "Por Un Amor" came on just as I was finishing, so I'll take the hint. I think we're both tired. Also, I think you don't want me to share anymore of your life.

I want you to know that I needed to share those things though, to show how much you still loved even after everything you'd lost.

Sometimes when I think of us, it's in stages. When I was little you and Mom were my whole world. Later as teen, I owned the asshole genes from our family like a proud scrape on my new Vans. I was annoying, and standoffish, and well an asshole. I'm sorry for all the times I was a jerk and/or rude. As an adult, I was always working. I remember you would always make me refried cheesy beans at the drop of hat. How did you always have beans made?

When I talk about you in class I imagine that you are sometimes there watching, excited that people are learning about you (or maybe not depending on the story). For the record, I never thought it was weird you took me to bars. Maybe not typical, but you made me smarter, more street wise, which is good because then I would only be one kind of smart.

Anyway, I wanted to tell you that I hope you like the finished book, and you know why I wrote it. I hope that you're not angry with me for writing it. More important, I hope you're not angry at me for staying away so long. You taught me an important lesson even in death. I hope that you help me make the book successful (because I think everyone should know you), and that people understand (I realize not everyone) but that it was truly written por un amor.

                                                                                              Love,
                                                                                                   Prieta

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Books I Love: A Post for Readers like Daisy

Recently, I was asked for the title of the post that featured my favorite books, and I realized I didn't have one. So, this week's post is going to list some of my favorite books in no particular order, but I will separate them by genre and why and...nevermind. Without further ado books that have made an impact on me. 

Favorite Book as a Pre-Teen
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
Why? Because it's amazing. It has a sprinkling of everything the mind needs at that age (or at any age). I loved Meg and her family. I loved that she was a smart/brave girl in a world before Katniss.

Favorite Recent YA Read 
The Smell of Old Lady Perfume by  Claudia Guadalupe Martinez
It's a version of a slice of home. Although I couldn't relate to all of it, I know someone who knows someone who's experienced some of those situations. I also like supporting local authors. If you sprinkle El Paso in your book you're good in mine. 

Favorite YA Anthology
The Curiosities: A Collection of Stories by Maggie Stiefvater, Tessa Gratton, and Brenna Yovanoff  
I bought this book for a class I was teaching, and I loved the notes the authors wrote to each other that illustrate the writing process, the stories that resulted from prompts, and finally the stories themselves. It has a bit of something for everyone. 

Favorite Mind Blowing, "I Saw the World Differently After I Read it" Book 
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley 
I can't remember how old I was when I read this book, but I was definitely in my 20's, (I think) and I was blown away, by not just the writing, but the idea. For a length of time in my life, I was obsessed with utopian society books. Huxley seemed to capture something not as dark as Orwell's  1984 or Rand's Anthem, but it still carries a heavy warning sign. I remember thinking, "What it would be like to be satisfied?" then I shook my head and snapped out it. I like that it made me question. 

Favorite non-Cheesy Love Story
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
"It was the best of times it was the worst of times" when I went on a classic novel binge and would only read things from a "50 Best Classic Books" list. I went in skeptical and left sad, happy, and surprised by Dickens. I'd plowed through Great Expectations long winded moments, but found myself lingering in Two Cities. Stick with it. It's worth it.   

Favorite Memoir
Another Bullshit Night in Suck City by Nick Flynn
Raw, real, and made my heart hurt a little in commiseration. I loved this book, not just because I was knee-deep in writing my own memoir, but because it's beautifully, painstakingly put together. It plays with form and presents the reader with different versions, scenarios, etc.    

Favorite Food Book
Chez Moi by  
If someone asked me what this book was about I'd say, "food and other stuff". The other stuff although more prominent, I can't remember as well. I read the book for a food and culture class I took early on in grad school and it stuck with me. Yes, the book but also food, so I think that's why I remember that aspect of it so much. The book is surprisingly gritty but in the good way. 

Novel Shorts 
Drown by Junot Diaz
Because lately I've been reading books of short stories. I read Diaz's The Brief and Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao after reading this one, and I would be lying if I didn't say I liked Drown better. I'm not sure if it's because it has short stories I had already read, taught, or what, but I loved it.  


*putting this list together I kept scrolling through my Goodreads and finding other books I loved/liked, so there may need to be a part two in the future.