April 2011

Books read this month:

  1. Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination by Toni Morrison. For my PhD. Following up a lead on race theory, and actually going somewhere with it.
  2. Borderlands / La Frontera by Gloria E. Anzaldúa (50%). Also following up on a race theory lead, but this one led nowhere. I read the first half which was in prose; the second half was poetry.
  3. A Mysterious Affair of Style by Gilbert Adair. Sequel to The Act of Roger Murgatroyd, and unfortunately not as good. I think I’ll stick to Agatha Christie.
  4. Stanzaic Guy of Warwick ed. by Alison Wiggins. Middle English romance about Guy of Warwick. He goes on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem and fights giants.
  5. Three Cups of Deceit by Jon Krakauer. An exposé on Greg Mortenson and how he’s run the CAI.
  6. The Queen of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner. Sequel to The Thief. A war between three countries, meddling from a fourth, and the thief Eugenides must find a way to steal peace. I’ve lost count how many times I’ve read this book. It’s my favourite, and I want to pick it up and read it through again.

A somewhat disappointing list, but as Kelly pointed out to me, I’ve been gardening. Also, the last few weeks have been busy with Holy Week and rehearsals. And working on my thesis. I suppose I could include the 12 articles that I read the last week and a half? Note that 3 books on this list were for my PhD, and 3 were nonfiction.

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4 thoughts on “April 2011

  1. Rebecca says:

    The first Gilbert Adair is straightforward pastiche. The second is a bit of a let-down. The third is just pomo oddness, but very entertaining for all that!

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  2. simplybackward says:

    I had to read Anzaldua when I was at UTSA, then portions of it here in HI. The location makes a big difference for class discussion – ie, a class with at least 50% of the students of Mexican heritage and the discussion becomes very personal and localized vs. a class where no one has ties to Mexico (or speaks Spanish to understand the portions in Spanish) and the ideas are discussed on a more global level.

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  3. Chera says:

    Pami: I read it on my own (no class to discuss it with; fortunately my Spanish was good enough to understand most f the Spanish portions) and I found it in varying degrees interesting, insane, and inappropriate. She definitely had a few axes to grind. I chose not to read the second half of the book because I had gotten what I came for out of it.

    Out of curiosity, did your classmates in UTSA agree with her, and to what extent? Because I found that she was making broad, universal statements about the experiences of Chicanos from her own experience, when most of the Latino/as I knew in San Antonio had different, more urban backgrounds.

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    • simplybackward says:

      I remember one particular student – a middle-aged Hispanic woman from a lower socio-economic background- really identified with it. I don’t remember anyone speaking about it negatively – perhaps due to a level of sensitivity to Hispanic students?

      In Hawaii, some of the non-white students of mixed ancestry (eg, Native Hawaiian/Philipino) identified with her ideas of “mestiza.” However, there was another student (also non-white) who had a really negative reaction to her use of Spanish – “We’re in America. We speak English.” That became a dominant part of the discussion.

      One of my professors here taught it previously in Arizona. He said many of the non-white students (Hispanic, Hispanic/Native American) students appreciated reading something that finally spoke to their experience, as opposed to the traditional literary canon.

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