Latino USA

Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

Josefina Lopez

“This is either the longest suicide note in history or the juiciest, dirtiest, most delicious confession you’ll ever hear.” So begins the first novel from Josefina López.

A young American journalist—jaded by war and censorship—breaks off an engagement and heads to Paris to find herself again. She enrolls in a cooking school in order to get a visa, and it turns out cooking school provides just the sort of spiritual awakening she needed.

López is probably best known for her play (and later, the screenplay) “Real Woman Have Curves.” Listen as Maria Hinojosa talks with López about her debut novel Hungry Woman in Paris.


Right click here to download an .mp3 of this segment.

Barbara Renaud Gonzalez

Bárbara Renaud González, a native-born Tejana and acclaimed journalist, has written a lyrical story of land, love, and loss, bringing us a first novel of a working-class Tejano family set in the cruelest beauty of the Texas panhandle. Her story exposes the brutality, tragedy, and hope of her homeland and helps to fill a dearth of scholarly and literary works on Mexican and Mexican American women in post–World War II Texas.

Maria Hinojosa talks with Bárbara Renaud González about Golondrina, Why Did You Leave Me?.


Right click here to download an .mp3 of this segment.

Sandra Cisneros

25 years ago, the world was just beginning to learn about all that goes on at The House on Mango Street. Sandra Cisneros introduced us to Esperanza Cordero and we began to experience, through her eyes, being young, poor, female, and Chicana in America.

Maria Hinojosa talks with Cisneros about life beyond Mango Street.


Right click here to download an .mp3 of this segment.

An Ode to Aura

Many spend a lifetime in search of their true soul mate and ultimate love –passionate and everlasting. Very few can say they’ve experienced it. Internationally acclaimed Guatemalan – American author and journalist Francisco Goldman is one of the lucky ones, but his love story has a tragic ending.

Goldman’s soul mate was the beautiful and talented Mexican writer, Aura Estrada. They got married in the summer of 2005, but less than two years later she died in a random swimming accident at their favorite beach in Mexico.

To cope with his grief, Goldman began to write. In his critically acclaimed novel Say Her Name, he chronicles their love story and deep spiritual connection through the prism of his bitter-sweet memories that at times blur the line between reality and fiction.

Maria Hinojosa recently sat down with Goldman to talk about his book and his life with Aura and after her death.


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¡Sissy Puede!

Writer Erasmo Guerra felt alone and outcast growing up as a gay teen on the Southern Border of Texas. He struggled with the intolerant environment. Now decades later, as a gay man in a long term relationship, he reflects on the isolation and depression of being a gay boy growing up in a masculine Latino world.

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Jesse Katz: The Opposite Field

Baseball has long been recognized as America’s pastime. And in recent years, the diversity of baseball has greatly reflected that of this country. Little League is no exception. Organized baseball can be found in all kinds of neighborhoods in all kinds of communities across the country.

Los Angeles-based writer Jesse Katz grew up playing ball. When it came time for his son to play, he volunteered to coach, but ended up as the Little League commissioner of a park located within one of the most Asian neighborhoods in the country, itself next to one of the most Latino neighborhoods in the country.

The cultural mix served as the backdrop for Katz’s new memoir titled The Opposite Field. Latino USA’s Maria Hinojosa speaks with two-time Pulitzer winner Jesse Katz about the book.


Right-click here to download an .mp3 of this segment.

Watch a short film featuring Jesse Katz at La Loma in VIMEO:

The Opposite Field Trailer from Jesse Katz on Vimeo.

B as in Beauty

Alberto Ferreras is probably not content with sitting still or doing any one thing for too long. Born in Madrid, Spain and raised in Caracas, Venezuela, Ferreras has been New York based since the 1990s. He has adapted plays based on classic Latin American novels in Spanish. He designs and promotes film and documentary projects for cable outlets like MTV and HBO. He even has written music that has been performed by such artists as Madonna.

All of those elements, music, books, movies, and pop culture are incorporated into his first novel titled B as in Beauty. Well received by critics and audiences alike, Ferrera’s “B” is a large girl who is miserable as she struggles with her looks in a thin-crazed society. It’s not until she embraces her large size that she finally begins to live life more fully. Okay, so she becomes a “comfort provider” for men who love large women. But it’s a fun story told with lots of comedy.


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OBIT: Chicana Poet Angela de Hoyos

Actually, to call Angela de Hoyos a Chicana poet would be too limiting. To those who knew her, she bore many titles: co-foundress of a movement, woman of letters, publishing activist, voice of the voiceless, and many, many more.

Born in Mexico, de Hoyos called San Antonio, Texas her home for the great majority of her life. She died on September 24. But her birth date is a matter of intense dispute. Some encyclopedias describe her as being born in 1940. Her official obit in the San Antonio Express News placed her birth date in 1923. Those dates aren’t even close. But what is not in dispute is her legacy and role in the Chicano Movement of the 1960s and 70s.

Largely unschooled, de Hoyos was mainly a self-educated woman. She often told the story of how she used to create childhood rhymes when she was four years old during a long convalescence from an illness. By the late 1960s, she began having some of her poetry published, winning international awards beginning with the Bronze Medal of Honor of the Centro Studii e Scambii Internazionale (CSSI) in Rome in 1966. She won awards for her writing from Argentina, India, Italy, and Germany. Her works would be translated into fifteen languages. As fate would have it, de Hoyos’ was better known in Europe than in her adopted U.S.-homeland.

When she read a letter to the editor in one of the San Antonio newspapers in 1970s, suggesting that all “Mes’kins” should go home, she fought back, writing: “Yes, amigo …! Why don’t I? Why don’t I resurrect the Pinta, the Niña and the Santa María — and you can scare up your little ‘Flor de Mayo’ —so we can all sail back to where we came from: the motherland womb.”

At the height of the Chicano Movement of the 1970s, de Hoyos and her husband Moises Sandoval created M&A Editions. They would publish and mentor writers like Evangelina Vigil-Piñón, Carmen Tafolla, and Inés Hernández. Her self-published poem “To Walt Whitman” remains one of her most quoted pieces.

Perhaps her most important poem as far as Chicanos are concerned was her seminal work, “Arise, Chicano.” Here now, Maria Hinojosa recites de Hoyos’ classic poem.


Right-click here to download an .mp3 of this segment.

Josefina López

“This is either the longest suicide note in history or the juiciest, dirtiest, most delicious confession you’ll ever hear.” So begins the first novel from Josefina López.

A young American journalist—jaded by war and censorship—breaks off an engagement and heads to Paris to find herself again. She enrolls in a cooking school in order to get a visa, and it turns out cooking school provides just the sort of spiritual awakening she needed.

López is probably best known for her play (and later, the screenplay) “Real Woman Have Curves.” Listen as Maria Hinojosa talks with López about her debut novel Hungry Woman in Paris.


Right-click here to download an .mp3 of this segment.

Sandra Cisneros: Beyond Mango Street

25 years ago, the world was just beginning to learn about all that goes on at The House on Mango Street. Sandra Cisneros introduced us to Esperanza Cordero and we began to experience, through her eyes, being young, poor, female, and Chicana in America.

Maria Hinojosa talks with Cisneros about life beyond Mango Street.


Right-click here to download an .mp3 of this segment.

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