Tag Archives: Dr. Alfredo Quinones-Hinojosa

In the News: New books and short stories, and plenty of awards

Hello, summer! Here are some June book releases to keep you entertained:

Already in bookstores: Nobel Prize winner Mario Vargas Llosa’s The Dream of the Celt depicts the life of Irish human rights activist Richard Casement.  La Roja: How Soccer Conquered Spain and How Spanish Soccer Conquered the World by Jimmy Burns covers the world’s most popular sport. Daniel Orozco’s critically acclaimed book of short stories, Orientation, is now in paperback.

June 14: The Neruda Case by Roberto Ampuero features a private eye solving a case for poet Pablo Neruda during his final days. Carolina DeRobertis, author of Perla, talked to Publishers Weekly about translating the book.

June 26: Spanish author Felix J. Palma’s The Map of Time explores time travel in Victorian London.


Congratulations to the winners of Latino Literacy Now’s International Latino Book Awards, which were announced last week. Honorees included some of The Hispanic Reader’s favorites – such as Becoming Dr. Q: My Journey from Migrant Farm Worker to Brain Surgeon by Dr. Alfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa and Crossing Borders: Personal Essays by Sergio Troncoso, which won first place and second place, respectively, in the Best Biography category; Outside the Bones by Lyn Di Iorio and Say Her Name by Francisco Goldman, which earned honorable mentions in the Best Popular Fiction – English category; and The Time in Between by Maria Dueñas which received first place for Best Novel – Historical.

• The Skipping Stones 2012 Honor Awards – given to books with multicultural themes – honored Marisol McDonald Doesn’t Match by Monica Brown.

When We Were Outlaws: A Memoir of Love & Revolution by Jeanne Córdova and Gay Latino Studies: A Critical Reader, edited by Michael Hames-García and Ernesto Javier Martínez, won prizes at the 24th Annual Lambda Literary Awards, which honors lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgendered literature.

New short stories and other works:

Junot Díaz talks about the science fiction short story, “Monstro,” he wrote for The New Yorker. He also remembered science fiction writer Ray Bradbury, who passed away earlier this month, in an article for the magazine.

Luis Alberto Urrea will have a short story included in Esquire’s ebook aimed at men, You and Me and the Devil Makes Three, out June 12.

Carlos Andrés Gómez put up a new poem, How to Fight, in response to recent shootings.

Author profiles:

NBC Latino profiled Julia Alvarez and her new book, A Wedding in Haiti.

Pulitzer Prize winner Oscar Hijuelos talked about his memoir, Thoughts Without Cigarettes, to The Morning News.

Carmen Gimenez Smith, New Mexico State University assistant professor of English and editor of the literary magazine Puerto del Sol, was featured in the Las Cruces Sun-News about being NPR’s NewsPoet.

Body art by Mia Roman. Photographed by Johnny Ramos.

Other news:

La Casa Azul bookstore, which specializes in Latino literature, opened in June in East Harlem by Aurora Anaya-Cerda (right), and was featured in The New York Times.

Aztec Muse publisher Tony Diaz earned the Open Book Award from the American Society of Journalists and Authors for his Librotraficante work.

• Here’s an interesting story, published in the The Daily Beast/Newsweek, about how Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude brought down a banana empire.
Note: This post was updated to correct that Sergio Troncoso won second place in the International Latino Book Awards and to add the Garcia Marquez link.


Filed under 2012 Books, Awards, Children's Books, Fiction, News, Poetry

Book Review: Dr. Alfredo Quinones-Hinojosa’s “Becoming Dr. Q: My Journey from Migrant Farm Worker to Brain Surgeon”

As a young boy in Mexico, Dr. Alfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa admired Kalimán, a comic book character with superhero-like abilities.

Quiñones-Hinojosa has demonstrated the same abilities in his lifetime – jumping over a fence to get into the United States, working his way through college and medical school and becoming one of the top brain surgeons in the country – which he writes about in his autobiography Becoming Dr. Q: My Journey from Migrant Farm Worker to Brain Surgeon (University of California Press).

Quiñones-Hinojosa grew up in Mexicali, showing precocious leadership and academic skills at a young age. He came from a loving, but poor, family that endured the death of one child and worked in the fields of California. Believing he could make more money for his family, Quiñones-Hinojosa crossed the border illegally on his 19th birthday in 1987 – an event that makes for the book’s most riveting chapter.

The laws at the time made it possible for Quiñones-Hinojosa to obtain legal status and, eventually, his citizenship. His hard work and determination drove him to study at the University of California at Berkeley while working as a welder. Inspired by his curandero grandmother and his own desire to help others, he got into medicine, and he was accepted into Harvard Medical School.

“Two gears still drove me forward,” he writes. “One was for the dreamer and optimist in me who imagined, as I had from childhood, that I was destined to live forever. But the other was for the part of me that realized that life could be snatched away at any moment and felt I had to work hard at everything, as if each day were my last to live.”

Quiñones-Hinojosa goes through his residency while working on weekends and raising a young family – and he survives a few brushes with death. But the hard work pays off. He lands a job at Johns Hopkins Medical Center, one of the most prestigious medical institutions in the nation. He was featured on the ABC documentary Hopkins and PBS’s Nova.

Quiñones-Hinojosa, along with co-author Mim Eichler Rivas, writes in a matter-of-fact tone without sounding sorry for himself or arrogant. The fast-paced book is most intriguing when he writes about his early life. The last third of the book focuses on his medical cases, but it doesn’t get too technical and is easy to understand.

This book will appeal to almost everybody, but it should make its way to the hands of young Hispanics, who will hopefully make Dr. Q their own Kalimán.

More about Dr. Alfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa:

• The University of California Press posted an excerpt of the book here, which describes his baby sister’s death.

• Fox News Latino has an excellent article about Dr. Q. He also discussed his book on C-SPAN.

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Filed under 2011 Books, Book Reviews, Non-Fiction