23 September 2009

I forgot it was Hispanic Heritage Month


To be fair, as a month it was only instituted in 1988 but no one really cared until1996, which mean that at the end of my elementary experience, someone in Washington made noise about a formerly passed law, which made teachers and the media have to start incorporating what it means to be Hispanic into their lesson plans and the media. This sounds like a great idea right? Well the problem with this is that very few teachers in the schools I went to knew about this proclamation from Washington. Or if they did they were a) the ESL teacher (a class I was NOT in) or b) the Spanish teacher (who spoke Spanish with an Italian accent that made it different for certain native speakers to understand her). Needless to say, its understandable why I would forget that September is Hispanic Heritage month.

I often say my family hails from 2 countries in Latin America. Cuba. Colombia. When people ask me what my background is, they usually assume I'll say Sicily or Italy or something to that nature. Usually I just smile and say "No, I'm Cuban-Colombian." What follows next is the most insulting remark ever: "You don't LOOK Latino." I smile and shrug and say "Well you know."

What I'm thinking is this: Latin America is very diverse. Hispanics (I prefer this term over Latino) are usually made up of former inhabitants of the Iberian peninsula, the Netherlands (remember Spain used to own them) and even some Germans and Austrians, in some places the decedents of indigenous peoples and along the coastal regions, Africans.

Anyway, I thought about what do so that's special about this month, but really, I am Hispanic, I live it out each day with out effort since its my way of life, so what's to celebrate? I think there should be a Christian Heritage Month because that would give me something more challenging to live out. But maybe I'll hop on over to Babalu blog and check in on the Cuban-American news?

(book reviews resume next week).

15 September 2009

Day of Three Novels

Ok so this was an eventful weekend! What with doing laundry and eating brunch with the family and...PROTESTORS MARCHING ON WASHINGTON. Between that, and Taylor Swift getting dissed, oh, and the Princeton Jazz Festival...Is it any wonder I had a case of the Mondays yesterday?

Anyway, true to my word I'm sitting here prepared to review two novels for you this week. Well, actually three. Melody Carlson's FINAL Diary of a Teenage Girl book came out over the weekend and I had to snatch it up. So let me start there!

Maya Stark is a bi-racial girl struggling to follow Jesus. In the third book of her series she is a high school senior dealing with her African-American Father's music legacy and her Caucasian mother's absence. She is still living with her uncle, and still being "just friends" with her man Dominique. Melody Carlson really out does her self here. Maya does things against the grain in this story (hard to describe without giving much away) but she stays true to who God made her to be, and in the end, realizes that what matters most is creating a home with those God has given to you to love. Gold Star Melody!

Secondly I have Names My Sisters Call Me by Megan Crane. This book is a delightful easy read for those of us who adore novels set in Philadelphia. What I loved most about this novel was not the protagonist or her family, (which I believe was kind of the point) but her fiance and best friend who were there to tell her the hard truth about her self and her world. It really took a good look at what it meant to be a "real" artist in this world. Silver Star Megan Crane!

Finally, I have to review This Side of Married. I think the error I made here was reading two novels written for women about family relationships in Philadelphia. This one seemed forced and lacked a lot of the natural charm that the other one hard. The mother seems heavy-handed and old fashioned in her desire to married off her daughters and have them make babies just to inherit some dishes. It was enjoyable enough and well written enough that I rate it with a PASS but I wouldn't recommend it.

Next week.... "This Side of Paradise" by F. Scott Fitzgerald and "Prophet" by Frank Perretti.

07 September 2009

Puddle Wonderful Days

Whenever I am in a super happy mood, I quote e.e.cummings. Specifically his poem about when the world was puddle wonderful. That fully describes the weekend I had, relaxing after an exhausting week at work, then going to my grandfather's 70th birthday party. God is beautiful and he creates beautiful lives.

Anyway, this past week I have been taking my lunch in the local shops around olde city, and I've been reading "Vintage Jesus" by Mark Driscoll and Gary Breshears. I went to a Christian elementary and middle school before being thrust into the wide world of public high school and a public university. I read C.S.Lewis in high school, and wandered around in emerging type books in college, so this book was a call back to true faith for me, a soul-brace if you will. It made me want to study the Bible again, not just take whatever popular "Christian" belief is out there. The chapter I liked best was about Jesus' resurrection. I would sub-title it "The common man's apologetics" because its more readable to most people than C.S.Lewis and its contemporary to our time. Gold Star for Driscoll and Bresheares.

Next week: "Names my sisters call me" and "This side of Married"