Thanks to Tuesday’s Google Doodle, many of you may already know that January 7th was the 123rd birthday of Zora Neale Hurston. You may also know that Hurston went largely undiscovered until well after her death in 1960.
African fiction took a prominent position in publishing last year and more notable novels will be published early this year. NoViolet Bulawayo’s We Need New Names is an episodic story about Darling, a ten-year-old girl in Zimbabwe, and her immigration to the United States. Through the eyes of Darling, Bulawayo melds the terrible (forced relocation, AIDS, poverty) with the pleasant (discovery, family, and friendship).
Thursday a Chinese helicopter dramatically rescued 52 scientists, journalists, and tourists who had been trapped on a Russian research vessel since Christmas Eve. The ship got stuck in sea ice off Antarctica while on a mission to follow the footsteps of historic Antarctic explorer and scientist Douglas Mawson. The event made me think of two of my favorite novels that happen to have Antarctica as a setting.
The beginning of a new year is a time when I make all sorts of promises to learn and do new things. This year, to help me along with this promise, my sister (who is awesome at doing and learning things) gave me an embroidery starter kit. I’m convinced that, like knitting, embroidery is due for a comeback of epic proportions. Sadly, she lives in the fair state of Illinois which left me to figure things out on my own.
Hace poco que dejaba mi hija mayor en la frontera para que pudiera pasar la Navidad con sus abuelos en México. Recuerdo muchas veces manejando entre camionetas llenas de cosas como regalos para algunos familiares que viven al otro lado.
I finally finished preparing for Christmas so this morning I started evaluating how well I’d done on my New Year’s Resolutions. I failed miserably at one which was to send one postcard a week to a friend or family member. Despite my adorable McSweeney’s postcard set, that project fizzled out before taxes were due.
Last Friday in Chennai, India Magnus Carlsen became the second-youngest ever world chess champion. The 22-year-old Norwegian defeated Viswanathan Anand, world champion since 2007 and Chennai's hometown hero. Carlsen has the highest ever recorded rating. Ratings cannot predict actual play, but his high rating implies that if a tournament of the greatest ever were played, Carlsen would win.
Those of us who are avid mystery readers are familiar with the tropes of the genre. We’ve got the anti-heroes who aren’t above breaking the law in the pursuit of justice, we’ve got the fluffy heroines who get themselves in and out of danger with ridiculous regularity. We’ve got the cozy cottage mysteries and the hard-boiled detectives. I do not believe, though, that we’ve ever met a heroine quite like Claire DeWitt.
Drawn entirely from a major gift to the McNay Art Museum by Drs. Harriett and Ricardo Romo, the new book, Estampas de la Raza, documents the development of printmaking in the Latino community post-1960. The Romos began acquiring art while teaching in Southern California at the height of the Chicano Movement.