Because it snowed today in Rochester, I’m going to post again about the Guadalajara Book Fair. Mainly, I want to apologize for doing crap research before linking to Hermano Cerdo’s coverage of the fair . . . Their coverage is excellent, and Hermano Cerdo deserves tons of traffic, but there are some others also writing about the Fair—even in English! (Helps that the Guest of Honor this year is Los Angeles.)
I travel on Saturday to Guadalajara, where the big International Book Fair opens with a special guest of honor this year, the city of Los Angeles. From the fair’s official site:
“A natural bridge between Mexican and American culture, Los Angeles is also a city that has been able to acquire a unique identity relating to cultural production, the trademark that distinguishes its delegation, comprised of around 50 authors, 20 academics, 14 artists and theater companies. The program also includes 7 visual arts exhibitions and a film series presenting classic and contemporary films designed to showcase the diverse perspectives on its urban landscape, its culture and people.”
True enough, there’s going to be so much going on I won’t know where to begin.
Both “Phantom Sightings” and “Vexing” are on view at Guadalajara museums. L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa will be in town, and so will L.A. Weekly food critic Jonathan Gold, and the Zócalo crew. One panel will have Gregory Rodriguez moderating the question of how Mexican Americans see Mexico.
The Jalisco edition of La Jornada breaks down the Encuentro Chicano, an ambitious two-day program that focuses on Mexican American arts and letters, organized by the Centro Universitario de Ciencias Sociales y Humanidades at the University of Guadalajara. I am excited to be moderating a panel with Luis Rodriguez, Maria Amparo Escandon, Jose Luis Valenzuela, and Ruben Martinez. Come check it out if you’re in town.
And one of our all time favorite blogs is Monica Carter’s Salonica World Lit where she too is covering the book fair and finding some interesting publishers:
Because I am focused on broadening the inventory for the bookstore that I work at, Skylight Books, I was drawn to many of the Mexican and Latin American publishers. My new favorite is Almadia which is a little press that started in 2005 in the Oaxaca city. Great covers and great authors. I spoke briefly with one of their directors today and they are not yet distributed in the United States. But he said possibly next year. They have great authors including Francisco Hinojosa, Jorge Volpi and Camille de Toledo. Also deserving of some attention is Tumbona Ediciones with their nostalgic, retro pin-up style website with a twist of sexy, who puts out a cool series call Versus, which are essays from well-known writers against pretty much any form of ideology. Jonathan Lethem takes on originality and Laura Kipnis takes on love. I became completely enamored with Sexto Piso for their graphic novel version of Proust’s Swann’s Way.
Randall Jarrell once argued a point that I will now paraphrase and, in doing so, over-simplify: As a culture, we need book criticism, not book reviews. I sort of agree, but let’s not get into all of that. Having finished. . .
Like any good potboiler worth its salt, Fuminori Nakamura’s The Gun wastes no time setting up its premise: “Last night, I found a gun. Or you could say I stole it, I’m not really sure. I’ve never seen something so. . .
Heiner Resseck, the protagonist in Monika Held’s thought-provoking, first novel, This Place Holds No Fear, intentionally re-lives his past every hour of every day. His memories are his treasures, more dear than the present or future. What wonderful past eclipses. . .
If you’ve ever worked in a corporate office, you’ve likely heard the phrase, “Perception is reality.” To Björn, the office worker who narrates Jonas Karlsson’s novel The Room, the reality is simple: there’s a door near the bathroom that leads. . .
I recently listened to Three Percent Podcast #99, which had guest speaker Julia Berner-Tobin from Feminist Press. In addition to the usual amusement of finally hearing both sides of the podcast (normally I just hear parts of Chad’s side. . .
Let’s not deceive ourselves, man is nothing very special. In fact, there are so many of us that our governments don’t know what to do with us at all. Six billion humans on the planet and only six or seven. . .
“Rambling Jack—what’s that?”
“A novel. Novella, I guess.”
“Yeah, it looks short. What is it, a hundred pages?”
“Sorta. It’s a duel language book, so really, only about… 50 pages total.”
“And this—what. . .
Many authors are compared to Roberto Bolaño. However, very few authors have the privilege of having a Roberto Bolaño quote on the cover of their work; and at that, one which states, “Good readers will find something that can be. . .
In Josep Maria de Sagarra’s Private Life, a man harangues his friend about literature while walking through Barcelona at night:
When a novel states a fact that ties into another fact and another and another, as the chain goes on. . .
César Aira dishes up an imaginative parable on how identity shapes our sense of belonging with Dinner, his latest release in English. Aira’s narrator (who, appropriately, remains nameless) is a self-pitying, bitter man—in his late fifties, living again with. . .