Tag Archives: Francisco Goldman

In the news: Best of 2011, La Casa Azul bookstore, World Book Night

Best of 2011

• Here’s some more Best of 2011 lists: Entertainment Weekly put Francisco Goldman’s Say Her Name on its Top 10 Fiction list. Barnes and Noble picked When Tito Loved Clara, by Jon Michaud, about a Dominican Republican woman trying to settle in New Jersey when her old lover returns.

• Sergio Troncoso’s From This Wicked Patch of Dust and Richard Yanez’s Cross Over Water both earned spots on the Southwest Books of the Year by the Pima County Library in Tucson, Arizona. Two books by Rudolfo Anaya made the list – La Llorona: The Crying Woman and Randy Lopez Goes Home: A Novel, as did the children’s book, Juan Verdades: The Man Who Couldn’t Tell a Lie / El hombre que no sabia mentir by Joe Hayes.

• Rigoberto Gonzalez made his list of the best Small Press books, including Chulito by Charles Rice-González.

Body art by Mia Roman. Photographed by Johnny Ramos.

Bookstores

• Congratulations to Aurora Anaya-Cerda, left, who plans to open La Casa Azul bookstore in East Harlem in the spring. Publisher’s Weekly and the New York Daily News wrote articles about the bookstore, which was funded through a donation drive.

World Book Night

• Junot Diaz’s awesome The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao was chosen as one of 30 novels that will given out for World Book Night April 23. You can apply to be a book giver here.

New releases:

All Yours, a paperback crime novel by Argentine Claudia Piñeiro, came out last week.

Interesting:

In this article in The Guardian, Spanish novelist Lucía Etxebarria announced this week she would stop writing because she opposes the downloading of books. Brazilian Paulo Coehlo has taken a different view, allowing readers to download his books in some countries, according to this New York Times story published in the fall.

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In the news

New releases: Fantasy mega-bestseller Diana Gabaldon, who is of Mexican-American and English descent, released her latest book, The Scottish Prisoner, on Tuesday.  Entertainment Weekly has a great interview in which she lists her favorite and not-so-favorite books. Also new on the bookshelves is Something Urgent I Have to Say to You: The Life and Works of William Carlos Williams, a biography of the poet, who was half-Puerto Rican, by Herbert Leibowitz.

Year in Review: Two of The Hispanic Reader’s favorite books of the year, Héctor Tobar’s The Barbarian Nurseries and Francisco Goldman’s Say Her Name, were named to The New York Times’s 100 Notable Books of 2011. For its Best of 2011 list, Kirkus Reviews picked The Secret History of Costaguana by Columbian author Juan Gabriel Vásquez and We the Animals by Justin Torres. (Its teen list includes by If I Could Fly by Judith Ortiz Cofer and Under the Mesquite by Guadalupe Martinez McCall.) Animals also made Amazon.com’s Best of 2011 Top Twenty list. Lorraine Lopez’s The Realm of Hungry Spirits was selected for Bookpage’s best list.

Law: Nobel Laurete Gabriel García Márquez won a lawsuit in which a Colombian man claimed that a character in Márquez’s 1984 book Chronicle of a Death Foretold was based on him, according to The Guardian.

Random: President Obama purchased Junot Diaz’s The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, among other books, while holiday shopping, ABC News reported.

Awards: Julia Alvarez, pictured at right, recently wrote about her acceptance of the Vermont Governor’sAward for Excellence in the Arts, which she received in November. The Cervantes Prize, considered the most prestigious Spanish language literary award, was given to Chilean poet Nicanor Parra, 97.

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In the news

Awards: Pam Muñoz Ryan picked up the PEN Center USA award in Children/YA Literature earlier this month for her children’s book about poet Pablo Neruda, The Dreamer. Francisco Goldman took the Prix Femina Étranger, a French literary award, for his novel, Say Her Name, the first American to win since 2005.

• This is cool: The prestigious University of Iowa creative writing program is adding a master’s degree in Spanish Creative Writing, officials announced last week.

• Here’s some interesting articles about young adult authors: The Dallas Morning News profiled Ray Villareal (pictured at right), whose Don’t Call Me a Hero is published by Arte Publico Press, and NPR did a story about the popularity of Malín Alegría’s 2006 book Estrella’s Quinceanera.

• Spanish poet Tomas Segovia died last week. Segovia, who later lived in Mexico, won numerous awards for his work.

New releases: Luis Alberto Urrea’s Queen of America, the sequel to the awesome The Hummingbird’s Daughter comes out Nov. 29. Arte Público is releasing two books from Rolando Hinojosa Nov. 30: Partners In Crime: A Rae Buenrostro Mystery and A Voice of My Own: Essays and Stories. The Third Reich, written by the late Chilean author Roberto Bolaño, will come out Dec. 1 by Farrar Straus Giroux.

• The Hispanic Reader will return with reviews of those books after a weeklong holiday break. Happy Thanksgiving!

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In the news

New releases: Maria Duenas’s The Time in Between comes out Tuesday. The suspense novel has received great reviews, including a blurb from Nobel Prize winner Mario Vargas Llosa.  News for all the People: The Epic Story of Race and the American Media, by Juan Gonzalez and Joseph Torres, came out last month.

 • Book festivals: The Miami Book Fair International begins Nov. 13 and runs through Nov. 20, with the street fair running from Nov. 18-20. One session includes Francisco Goldman, Elizabeth Nunez, Esmeralda Santiago and Héctor Tobar – all in one room! Other writers include Ricardo Cravo Albin, Jose Alvarez, Sandra Rodriguez Barron, Jorge Casteñada, Maria Duenas, Christina Diaz Gonzalez, Martha Medeiros, Ana Menendez, Javier Sierra, Justin Torres, Ian Vasquez and Luis Alberto Urrea. Awesome.

Sandra Cisneros announced this week that she plans to leave San Antonio to concentrate more on writing, according to this San Antonio Express-News article. She has put her home up for sale, and she is considering moving to New Mexico. The fate of the Macondo Foundation for writers remains unclear since Cisneros said she had difficulty balancing her writing with her charity.

 Writing contests: Pulitzer Prize winner Junot Diaz will judge stories (no longer than 1,000 words) based on their narrative voice for the Figment writing website. Deadline is Nov. 30. For details, click here.

Feb. 1 is the deadline to submit noir fiction for the Valley Artistic Outreach’s “Border Noir: Hard-Boiled Fiction from the Southwest,” an anthology of short stories to be edited by Machete co-screenwriter Alvaro Rodriguez. The book will come out in May. Stories can be sent to noir@valartout.org. For more information, click here.

 

 

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Book Review: Francisco Goldman’s “Say Her Name”

Francisco Goldman has turned his pain into one of the most eloquent and most praised novels of the year.

Goldman writes about his young wife’s death in the book, Say Her Name. Goldman was married to Aura Estrada, a Ph.D. candidate in literature who died in a swimming accident in 2007, and he keeps their names and many real life incidents in the novel.

In the book, he describes their first meeting, their difficult families, and their lives spent in New York City and Mexico. The first hundred pages are particularly riveting and, although the subject can be heavy, Goldman’s details make the reader know the characters intimately and feel Francisco’s heartache. Many times Goldman sounds like a teenage boy who can’t believe his crush likes him back – such as this passage in the beginning of their relationship, when he calls Aura and her roommate answers the phone:

“She had a young cheerful voice that came through the phone line like a fresh breeze of spring. Aura was in the shower, she told me. She was in the shower. That phrase evoked so much – it was about six or seven on a weekday evening, normally not an hour for showering unless she was going out, most likely on a date, or whatever it is, I thought grad students call ‘dates.’ Even now it hurts to imagine her engaged in that sweet ritual for anyone other than me: coming out of the bathroom with her hair turbaned in a towel, another wrapped around her torso, choosing her dress, blow-drying her hair, putting on the dress, studying herself in the mirror, applying makeup, taking off the dress and putting on another – one that’s less pretty and sexy but that’s in a way that covers the yin-yang-faced sun-moon tattoo on her chest above her left breasted that she’s had since she was fifteen – reapplying her lip gloss with a Zen calligrapher’s perfect touch, padding around the apartment in still bare or stockinged feet, in that state of restrained excitement just before going out into the night.”

Looking back on her life, Goldman is charmed even by Aura’s annoying characteristics – such as her habit of losing or forgetting things. And his grief is so profound, he kisses a tree that he walks by every day because he imagines seeing her face on it, and he even goes out in the middle of a frigid night because he had forgotten to kiss the tree earlier that day.

Just as Goldman is haunted by his wife’s memories, readers will be haunted by his words.

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