Depending on your point of view, Valentine’s Day is either one of the best or worst holidays of the year. But no matter what your point of view, this is a good time to look at some of the greatest love stories in Latino literature.
For the hopeless romantic:
In Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s Love in the Time of Cholera – young Florentino Ariza loves Fermina Daza from the moment he sees her – and keeps loving her even when she marries another man. This classic book was made into a 2007 movie staring Javier Bardem and Benjamin Bratt.
For the food lover:
Tita’s emotions can be felt in the food she is making in Laura Esquivel’s 1989 Like Water for Chocolate – and her emotions are intense when her sister marries the man she loves. The best-selling novel, made into a 1992 movie, includes recipes for the meals.
For a good cry:
Francisco Goldman’s 2011 Say Her Name tells the story of Goldman’s relationship with his wife, Aura Estrada, who died in a swimming accident. His love for her is so palpable that your heart will break along with his.
For the poetry fan:
If you prefer poetry, you can’t more romantic than Nobel Prize-winning poet Pablo Neruda’s Love Poems. This book inspired the 1994 Academy Award-nominated movie Il Postino, in which Neruda appears as a character who helps a postal carrier woo the woman he loves.
For the movie lover:
The 2011 film Chico and Rita features the romance between a Cuban pianist and singer in the 1940s. NPR talked to co-director Fernando Trueba about the film, which is up for an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film.
Do you know of any other great Latino love stories that should be included here? Post them in the comments.
• Wednesday will mark a National Day of Solidarity in which educators across the country are encouraged to teach the controversial Tucson, Ariz., school district curriculum – including Latino-themed books such as Occupied America. The district put away the books so it could still receive funding from the state, which has banned ethnic studies. Tucson teacher Curtis Acosta discussed the situation here.
• The Huffington Post wrote about Aztec Muse magazine’s Librotraficante caravan, which will distribute the banned books in Tucson in March.
• The Progressive magazine features several articles about the situation, with reactions from banned authors Ana Castillo, Junot Diaz and Dagoberto Gilb.
• Books by Meg Medina and Bettina Restrepo were named to the 2011 Amelia Bloomer list for their feminist themes. Medina was honored for Tia Isa Wants a Car and Restrepo was awarded for Illegal.
• Congratulations to California-based writer Jennifer Torres, who won the Lee and Low New Voices Award for her book, Live at the Cielito Lindo. She received a publishing contract from the publisher.
• The 2011 Best Fiction for Young Adults list, chosen by the Young Adult Library Services Association, includes I Will Save You by Matt de la Peña, Under the Mesquite by Guadalupe Garcia McCall and What Can(t) Wait by Ashley Hope Pérez.
• Nobel Prize winner Mario Vargas Llosa and 170 other writers signed a letter published in the Mexican newspaper El Universal calling for the end of violence to journalists in that country, according to the BBC.
• Nobel winner Gabriel Garcia Marquez, left, talked to the Daily Sun about his return to journalism.
• Benjamin Alire Sáenz discussed his writing and painting to the El Paso Times. The article noted that Sáenz, as well as Marquez and Pat Mora, made the list of the top 50 most inspiring writers in the world by Poets & Writers magazine in 2010. Salvador Plascencia was also included.
• Slam poet Jessica Helen Lopez received a nice profile from the San Antonio Express-News before a recent performance there.
• 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.
Here’s some news happening this week with Latino authors:
• Cuban-American author Alisa Valdes (formerly Valdes-Rodriguez) released her third book in The Dirty Girls Social Club series, Lauren’s Saints of Dirty Faith, this week. She’s selling the novel by e-book and paperback through an online merchant instead of through traditional bookstores. An excerpt of the book can be found in the October issue of Latina magazine.
• The Guardian reported that Colombian Nobel Prize winner Gabriel García Márquez’s 1996 book, News of a Kidnapping, has been selling out in Tehran because it has drawn similarities to kidnappings in Iran.
• Puerto Rican writer Justin Torres continues to get critical acclaim for his book We the Animals, and, as this Reuters article points out, he has made it to the New York Times bestsellers chart.
• A campaign to bring a Latino-oriented bookstore, called La Casa Azul, to East Harlem has drawn attention from the Shelf Awareness e-newsletter and the Huffington Post. The owner hopes to raise $40,000, which an anonymous donor will match.
• Brazilian Paulo Coelho, (pictured at right) author of one of the mega-bestselling book, The Alchemist, will release his latest novel, Aleph, on Sept. 26.
Filed under 2011 Books, News