Thursday, September 05, 2013

THE POWER OF ONE... Enrique Morones' title wins award

We congratulate Enrique Morones for winning Honorable Mention in the Category of best Non-Fiction written by multiple authors in the International Latino Book Awards.

For fifteen years the International Latino Book Awards have celebrated greatness, partnering up this year with Las Comadres para las Americas and Instituto Cervantes. The Premium Sponsor included Libros Publishing and Gold Sponsor Scholastic. Bronze sponsorship came from Atria/Simon Schuster and Vaso Roto Ediciones. Additional support came from University of Arizona and Arte Publico Press.

International Latino Book Awards, now one of the largest award ceremonies for Latino authors, has awarded Enrique Morones The Power of One: The Story of the Border Angels out of the 190 authors meticulously picked from a board of sixty notables. Morones' The Power of One walks away garnished with International Latino Book Awards' newly released Award Winning Author logo.

Morones took to the American Southwest joining and impacting grassroot immigration reform with Undocumented Workers. His memoir, with noted Chicano Historian Richard Griswold de Catillo, unveils the struggles along "la frontera," the border, and proves the possibility toward change and reform.

Congratulations Enrique Morones for The Power of One!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Discover the Past with Dead Sea Scrolls by Risa Levitt Kohn with SDSU Press

"The Dead Sea Scrolls have revolutionized the study of the Bible, early Judaism, and early Christianity." -
-Michael Wise 1996.
In this sleek paperback by Risa Levitt Kohn, one will uncover the many mysteries of the Dead Sea Scrolls -- great historical texts that were created over 2,000 years ago.  The content of these scrolls is mind blowing; they have the earliest known manuscripts of works that were included in the Hebrew Bible.  They have changed what many people thought they knew about Judaism and Christianity.

San Diego State University along with the San Diego Natural History Museum has brought to print all the extraordinary findings in the Dead Sea Scrolls together in this book.  It contains beautifully vivid pictures of the scrolls and in depth explanations of what they mean.  Through them, you are able to look into the language and beliefs of people from thousands of years ago!  If you're up for a blast from the past this is the book for you! Both informational and exciting, the Dead Sea Scrolls is the book for any mood.

Buy it here

Learn more about the dead sea scrolls:

150 Years of Evolution: Darwin's Impact on Contemporary Thought Culture

click to enlarge
Do you ever wonder how the world came to be and why things are the way they are? There are millions of people and events that have made the present what it is and have changed the way people think about things.  There was one man, however, that made a greater impact than most events or people and his name was Charles Darwin.  If you want to find out about what this innovative researcher  did to impact the present world, how he did it, and what he discovered, this book is perfect for you!

This wide-ranging anthology delves into Darwin's revolutionary discoveries in evolution.  Created in commemoration of Charles Darwin's 200th birthday, 150 Years of Evolution: Darwin's Impact on Contemporary Thought & Culture is a combination of crucial studies on Darwin's theories and essays from scholars discussing them.  If you are interested in Darwin's theories and in discussions of life this is the book for you!

Buy it here

Looking for more on Darwin? Check out this fun, interactive site!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Vidas Fronterizas: Creative Non-Fiction from the U.S./Mexico Border... Somewhere Beyond the Border

The border seems to have turned into the largest iron monster- transmuting everything from wealth, art, territory, people, and dust. Yet, it seems to exist in a fractured reality, and like broken bones or scars, the land receives a blow, healing in the makeshift slings of bureaucracy. The borderland, it receives a jailhouse sentence with graffiti walls for prison tattoos. And the only people feeling it are those who have itch-a-sketched, with barbwires, the borders of their bodies with the physical land of which they belong. In the mind: a hallucinogenic Polaroid imprints its experiences, souls, corpses, and the ultimate art of life into the slings of the conscience unconscious.

And so the definitive questions is posed, and it is not who am I? But, "where are you from?"

Vidas Fronteriza/Border Lives balances and rumbles the binary border of the U.S. and Mexico, excavating between the buried and alive, flirting with past ghost and patrols-finding, and always finding the genesis of when the definitive line was drawn. But, who's asking the questions around here... anyway.
EZLN marching into San Cristobal de las Casas
January 1994. 

Existential break-downs and mental-shakes frisk the definitions of each of these essays. From Harry Polkinhorn's introduction to the creative non-fiction essay genre to Ramon Mejia's Loteria-like visions, writing a death defying game of chance. As well as William Anthony Nericcio's Nietzschean deconstruction of border memories and the ever-persistent, pesky, little TRUTH. Or the Chorizo James Bradley dishes out. Even Emily Hicks wills a kaleidoscope collage of performance in ink and paper.
Emily Hick's performance character La Marquesa

Essays like James Bradley transcend experiences from the page answering our enigmatic question:

"I am from the Border (i.e. ,Borderlands)". Or if I really wanted them to have something to think about, I'd say, "I was born in San Diego, like my mother and my mother's father, and raised in the foothills east of there along the Mexican Border." Not U.S. Border, or U.S.-Mexico Border, but the "Mexican Border, as if to emphasize the relationship with the "other" country, the proximity of the "foreign."
And it is this "foreign" nature that does not marginalize the indentations of these border text but give life to a fluid identity. These voices speaking not from a wound but a womb, the divide, Beyond the Border.
In Vidas Fronterizas

Jose Manuel Di Bella at center with friends in Ensenada B.C.
circa 1953

Saturday, July 13, 2013

The Comic Trial of Joseph K.:Text and Context... as staged by Hector Ortega

{Direct purchase link from the SDSU Press/Amazon discount store:}

It is surprising: I have found that  more people than I realize enjoy the theater- personally I have never been one for it. I am sure that high school Shakespeare has convinced me as well.  But this is not to say that I have not matured or changed my opinion. Maybe I have not seen or read "the right one," so I start here.

After reading The Comic Trial of Joseph K.: Text and Context there are too many places to start. Everything from the introduction by Harry Polkinhorn to the last word of Emily Hicks essay astounds me. The title alone says it all. But despite its forwardness, the book does more for laughs and chair-clenching (un)satisfactions.

For us Lit-Heads, The Context surrounding this adaptation vivifies comedy, when explaining a joke usually ruins it. For example, Hector Ortega invites us in with his "Notes on the Stage Adaptation of Franz Kafka's The Trial" starting with:
Perhaps I've exaggerated in taking a [comic] side (Gogol says that a speech cannot be launched without exaggerating a little), but I'm sure I have exaggerated much less that Jean Louis Barrault and Andre Gide did, or even Orson Welles himself accentuating the tragic and pathetic side of the novel and eliminating any humorous dash that could compromise his gloomy conception and inspire a laugh.
This Book has amazing pictures by Jose Luis Cuevas detailing
what we might read and adding dimension to the work.
Moments like this the author begins a dialogue with us, animating the work that  otherwise demands viewership. Though we could say that Hector Ortega intends to print his stage adaptation; because of a interweaving thread, that of fragmentation, or fractured identity. To further explain, Harry Polkinhorn admits in his introduction:
How can any art escape the straitjacket of identity... Kafka, the Polish Jew living in Prague and writing in German (instead of Yiddish), becomes a symbol for the most extreme of fractured identity politics characterizing our time... Yiddish, German, Spanish, and now English. Each translation betrays the original, again repeating the pure guilt and consequent sacrifice visited upon the individual.
In this comedy you can be
the judge!
If we take this fractured lens of identity further away from the stage, than we see the book as fractured. Because it does not have the stage or actors in front of us, but in our mind. Betraying all the aesthetics of theater, and possibly novels, but transcending a jelly boundary that exist between live actors and that of print.

So, this is where I find the comedy in Hector Ortega's stage adaptation- in these clashes and fractures. An irony that can break bodies of identity, but only from belly laughs. Still, comedy is very dangerous, and Hector Ortega works with meticulous pen to reveal an image and mirror. I can call it Mexicanidad, and I will. But I think we can get a little funky, and get indeterminate. Only for the sake of interpretation. So go ahead, its summer! Enjoy a laugh or two while staying cool with The Comic Trial of Joseph K. Text and Context.

Hector Ortega includes photos documentation that this play happened.
"That's enough for today; so we can say good-bye,  for now, of course."

{Direct purchase link from the SDSU Press/Amazon discount store:}

Monday, July 08, 2013

Nailed to the Wound... Tales by Jose Manuel Di Bella

There are books, titles, works , and so on that deal with a "peculiar" literary technique that seems to have fallen into an awkward void. People seem to constantly put anything from William Faulkner to Joyce on their reading list, the title of which might read "'Summer books...' I need to read to seem more cultured, but won't understand," otherwise known as Stream-of-Conscious. And it is ok! I have authored such a list as well, and cannot begin to comment how many times I have to had re-read a page of The Sound and The Fury, at this point I should just re-read the whole book.

But by far the most moving piece I have encountered, and I recommend for anyone who wants to start maneuvering and breaking into a pair of new stream-of-consciousness reads is Carlos Fuentes "La Raya del Olvido" or "The Line of Oblivion," found in his novel of short stories La Frontera de Cristal or The Crystal Frontier. The reason why, its complexity veiled in simplicity. The language and sentence structures will not take a toll on many, but yet reveal a dramatic mentally savage end. It's also short, for those of us that say we have no time.
If yiu want to get a taste of Carlos Fuentes, this link will take you to a Dance performance video Arturo Fuentes did based off Carlos Fuentes "The Line of Oblivion." Go ahead and click on it and peer a little into the Crystal Frontier

Somwhere on this path do I find myself with Jose Manuel Di Bella's Nailed to the Womb. 

His sentence lines move with controlled swiftness and dissonance. For example, in his short story "The Card," which involves a translator, who takes the role of narrator, illustrates his last interactions with his lost  friend. This quote highlights their friendship and the beginning of the end..
I had thought to call Lucia to have her invite Magui, but soon this idea dissipated, too far away, on hearing the first thing he said: 'Time only exists for those who dare to measure it. I have no beginning or end.' and he cackled impressively. Used to his phrases, I also started to laugh and added somewhat uncertainly: 'If you hide a minute in a box, and then open it after 20 years the minute will still be there.' his response left me cold: 'yes, but you have to be very careful about hiding it. It can be the minute of your recapitulation.' And he again cackled, which now didn't last as long, and with that naturalness he asked me how the matter of the translations was going...
This should also provide a taste to Jose Manuel Di Bella's caliber by impressively creating vivid characters through not only the eyes of others but the characters own internal experiences in a few concentrated pages. Which perfectly portrays the power of a stream of conscious. This is as close as we can get into someone else's skin before losing ourselves. 
Another example of Jose Manuel Di Bella's narrative power resonates in each character's boundary breaking voice tearing through the pages and our atmosphere. In the main titles story "Nailed to the Wound" the narrator begins:
Well I'll tell you. I don't worry too much. As long as you don't interfere with what I want to do, good luck and good-bye. It happens that suddenly you adopt high integrator flights of dispersed masses and want- really it's a reverend ingenuity- feel yourself the inspiration of something that transcends us...but the truth is that you have an authentic leader complex.
Each ending also brands a picture of longing. I would give you a quote to peak, but I think 1) that would ruin the ending 2) you need to find out by yourself 3) if I gave you any more passages I might end up showing you the whole book. And you need to read this. It is a beautiful mental piece without the surgical price or deathly scavenge.

Jose Manuel Di Bella
if you want to know more about him visit this site, hopefully you can read spanish...

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Perceiving and Telling: A Study of Iterative Discourse... A Tale by Daniéle Chatelain

Have you ever pondered Einsteinian ideas of the spacetime continuum? Or wanted to redefine the parameters of narrative analysis? Or both? Then you may not be the only one!

Either way, you may defiantly enjoy destroying the binary structuralization Daniéle Chatelain challenges in her Perceiving and Telling: A Study of Iterative Discourse, and iteratively return to each new concept as it perplexes and unfolds with jigsaw corners connecting past analyst and the future.  

And in case you were wondering what iterative discourse is, like I was at first, Daniéle Chatelain plainly explains “Iterative discourse is the synthetic expression of what has been repeated n times.” Then she adds “But what is it that repeats?” As each page unfolds so do her intentions of destruction and rebuilding the boundaries and definitions of iterative discourse, structure, narrative, analysis, and so on...

            This image to the right illustrates a bit of her madness. Below are some complimentary sneak peeks.

Except for this image, it has nothing to do with Daniéle Chatelain’s work. But I thought it could provide a little mental exercise that could help understand the complexity of her analysis throughout her title.

1)      First start by looking at the larger triangle, that we may assume is the base of the image, which lies adjacent to our screen.
2)      Now look inside the larger triangle to the multiple white triangles, made up of smaller triangles. They seem to parallel and compliment the symmetry of the larger triangle.
3)      Then focus on the negative spaces of darkness. Each dark triangle points and its even larger counterpart, and in turn point at the second largest triangle in the picture, which is the center of the overall image.
We begin to question the complexity of the image by asking, what is the true focus of the image? “What is it that repeats?” Keep this in mind.

Here is an example of Daniéle Chatelain actually explaining Iterative literature, by explaining how English and French find different modes of grammar to portray a repeating idea, action, or circumstance.

Here is another example that I fancied from the text, and believe works much like the triangle mind twister above. It reads:
“The large candelabra, like bouquets of fire… repeated themselves, in the mirrors.”

Daniéle Chatelain sets blaze to her pages when she begins using the text of past analyst as her fuel. She transforms and grows iterative discourse from the traditionalism of its past, exclaiming that:
Perceiving and telling are an eminently human process, because they are open-ended and thoroughly engaged in transformation. If the methods of modern science are committed to such a process, it seems as if many theoretician of narrative still resist this idea of process and transformation in relation to narrative forms.
The complexity and technicality of her work are appropriately replicated to enhance the understanding and analysis. And though she may burn old hierarchies of theory, she opens a new door of perception, and telling, a new interconnectedness of narrative.

Have you ever wondered about the interconnectedness of everything? Like our thoughts and surroundings. That the reality might be, our perception solely lies in the experiences of our ever revolving day to day environment. And our narrative, our voice, helps to elaborate this iterative. This is exactly what Daniéle Chatelain proclaims.

Monday, July 01, 2013

Learning for Revolution: The Work of Kathy Acker

From the streets of New York City came punk icon and rebellious-extraordinaire Kathy Acker, or so she’s faultily labeled. 

In Learning for Revolution, Spencer Drew attempts to eradicate any misconceived labels and visions of Kathy Acker- even now after her unfortunate death due to cancer- in this wonderfully woven book.

Fearlessly, Drew covers Acker’s life, teachings, and argues against claims from a few of Acker’s critics. While making his readers feel as though they grew up alongside Kathy Ackler’s journey through academia, he also injects high doses of analysis on Acker’s most important aspects of her pedagogical model of teaching.

Learning for Revolution is crucial for the preservation of Kathy Acker’s work, which involved deconstructing patriarchy and challenging the oppression of all peoples. Many of the novels Acker published are controversial for “disorientating” and causing readers a form of trauma due to her lack of plot and open-endings, but that’s only essential for her goal. It’s an effective form of deconstruction, pushing readers to think beyond the constrictions of a capitalist society and begin to feel comfortable with things outside the “norm”. 

Essentially, Acker is more than an icon. In fact, as Dew says, any such labels “silence[s] the very goals to which her innovative tactics were employed.” Acker began the construction of a whole new community that involved a symbiotic relationship between literature and its readers. Just as she used pieces of literature for her novels, such as Don Quixote and Wuthering Heights, she hoped that her readers would use hers for learning and progressing. So whether you are a Kathy Acker fan or not, Learning for Revolution is a space itself that both aims to project a clearer image of Acker and continues a conversation in finding the best efficient way of incorporating revolutionary perspectives in the classrooms of all schools. I’m sure that after the last few pages, there will be something new taking root in your mind. 

Here’s a little gem straight from Learning for Revolution

“Novelists must be allowed, first by themselves, to say, to make what others perhaps-politicians, community people-cannot say and make; novelists allow themselves to speak contradictions, irrationalities, the actualities of human nature and of nature. To dissent, so to speak, with limitation. To question and so, to open the door for perception and comprehension depends on its width and depth, the more devastating the question is, the greater the comprehension. Perhaps here lies the morality of the novelist.”

- Kathy Acker 

For futhering venturing: 

Kathy interviews one of her biggest influences- William S. Boroughs: 

Neil Gaiman (a good friend) talks a little bit about Kathy Acker in an interview here: 

An interview with Kathy Acker for BOMB Magazine: 

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Representations of Fashion: The Metropolis and Mediological Reflection Between The Nineteenth and The Twentieth Centuries

          Metropolis and photography are the two conductors in Antonio Rafele’s Representations of Fashion proving the mundane cycle of life and death that is experienced each day. Rafele prescribes it as a “sequence of isolated moments” created by natural time that hangs our obvious looming death at the hems of our subconscious, pushing society to scour for methods of distraction. These distractions now come through the temporariness of television, web, photography and fashion, which have become so crucial, they’ve fallen into a basic need. They’ve become methods for society to fulfill an emptiness dug from the predictable one-way road of our lives full at the belly with illusions of success and disillusionments that arrive thereafter. 

          Dissecting the “The Metropolis” by Georg Simmel and W. Benjamin’s “The Passages”, Rafele offers the formula of the individual’s growing relationship with discontinuous media that took root at the birth of the metropolis, eradicating societies who’ve experienced life through instances of solitude and self-motivated accomplishments. It was when the population grew denser that identities began to be shaped by the gaze of others, pushing people to bend and mold to the choreography of expectations. At this time, Rafele highlights,  the creation of new media, such as photography, became popularized. It allowed and continues to allow people to capture moments of our lives that become pictures in a dusty shoebox, ephemeral and dust-ridden at best. 

         Rafele’s essay is an excellent inspection of a world still breathing through the streets of our neighborhoods and the alleyways of our consciousness. Giving us a punch in the stomach, he uncovers a deeper and eery relationship with fashion and the devices of our world that envelop us in a dream. 

Here's a trailer of a classic film capturing the metropolis in both the title and the setting:

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Goat Tails and Doodlebugs - Everett Gee Jackson's attempt to catch your attention!

I don't know about any of you, but Goat Tails and Doodlebugs: A Journey Toward Art is a title that I won't soon forget.

My fellow avid readers,
Are you tired of reading long novels for school?  Maybe you've been going through a phase where you are delving into the latest classic to suit your fancy, and you're craving some kind of break - but you just can't stop reading!  Well, my dear friends, I am here to solve your problem.

Evert Gee Jackson's book is a delightful read.  It is said to be a "testimony to the notion that art imitates life" - through the stories and illustrations within this novel, one is submerged within the life of Jackson and his journey on the way to becoming a successful artist.  The print is big, the content fulfilling; the pictures take up an entire page, and will fill a void present within the depths of your mind.  Not only will this title remain with you forever, but the impact of Jackson's words and art will continue to influence you in every aspect of your life.

AND to top it all off, THIS BOOK IS FUNNY.  Jackson has quite the sense of humor laced throughout his personal story, and weaves his intelligence in between the laughs so that his readers can understand how some events in life occur for a reason.  Admire the words and the works of art; this book is one that will remove any cobwebs that have formed in your library (or on your bookshelf).  You simply will not be able to put it down!  And then of course, you'll share it amongst your friends and tell Jackson's story to the next listener at your company's Christmas party.  Honestly, reading this is a win-win situation for everybody.

Now that it is summer, enjoy the nice weather (or bring this on the vacation you're going to take to get away from the craziness of life) and flip through this book.  I guarantee that you'll love it - if not for the title itself, then for the phenomenal story told from cover to cover (through words and pictures).

GOAT TAILS AND DOODLEBUGS; You know you want to take this Journey Toward Art.

Monday, April 15, 2013

An Angel Walks Among the United States/Mexico Border

Enrique Morones - An angel among mere mortals. View his book here: BOOM

Isn't this view absolutely breathtaking?  To one side, you have a vast expanse of open land, and to the other, you can see the sprawl of modernization.  Unfortunately, that giant wall in between these landscapes prevents individuals to cross from one side to the other--particularly, from Mexico into the United States. There are those (too many) who crack jokes about individuals crossing from Mexico into the United States. Others truly believe that those men and women who risked their lives to support their family do not deserve the job that they worked for.  Despite the fact that so much hatred resides on the American side of the border, there is a group of angels who want to do nothing more than help provide a life to those risking everything for a chance at freedom. 

Enrique Morones' The Power of One: The Story of the Border Angels, sheds light on the current situation going on in the American Southwest. Listed under 7 different genres (border studies, history, memoir, political science, social justice, activism, chicana/o studies), this is a book that will be sure to leave an impression on all of those who are lucky enough to read it.  Even for those of you who prefer pictures to words, this book is filled with real pictures of real people which enriches the overall beauty of this piece.  

If you are interested in more information about Enrique and his activism, take a trip to his site:  Not only will this site further your knowledge when reading Enrique's book, but it may make you think twice about looking down upon immigrants who risk their lives every day crossing miles and miles of unruly desert.  

According to Josefina Lopez, author of Real Women Have Curves, "Enrique Moronoes' story is remarkable and needs to be told.  He is a man of conscience who stands up to injustice by simply being on the side of love and human dignity.  Let us all rejoice that an angel walks among us in this fight for immigration reform, truth, and justice for all."

Join the journey to save humanity and do your part by reading this book.  I promise you that you won't regret it.  If anything, your inner activist will come forward and change how you look at life. 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Future of Poetry in a Pretty Little Pink Book

Hello there Poetry Patrons! Let's jump right to the Good Stuff

For those of you who tend to cringe when you hear the word poetry, I was once in your shoes.  After sitting through middle school, high school, and college classes where teachers didn't know how to teach poetry - or more importantly, taught me how boring poetry was - I loathed the course assignments that had anything to do with poetry.  But now, as my eyes have been privileged to glance upon pages and pages of poetry I actually understand, and have had the opportunity to work with professors who eat, breathe and live poetry, I have come to realize just how beautiful poetry can be.

Just this past January, during the President's Inauguration, poetry came to the forefront of the minds of United States' Citizens.  A man by the name of Richard Blanco delivered a beautiful poem about his experiences in America.  In a CNN interview with him, Richard said, "Regardless of my cultural, socioeconomic background and my sexuality, i have been given a place at the table, or more precisely, at the podium, because that is America."  Richard brought life back into the poetry world (even though it never really died, he mainly brought it back into mainstream society) and a new found love for poetry seems to be pounding through the heart of America.  

Here, I shall introduce you to the book ZAUM: The Transrational Poetry of Russian Futurism

Pronounced ZA-OOM, Zaum is a Russian Futuristic neologism used to describe words or language whose meaning is "indefinite" or indeterminate.  It is a theory, which was given the clever nickname "beyonsense" because those who wish to understand this theory must learn to both embrace and let go of rational thinking while utilizing those witty and intelligent muscles sitting stagnant in your brain just waiting to absorb Gerald Janecek's brilliant work. 

Don't worry if you don't know how to speak Russian.  Like every great book that is translated for you enjoyment, it is completely written in English, and those Russian poems are translated to suit your poetry needs.  

If you are interested in modern poetry or art (or are simply trying to become a cultural American citizen by branching out of your comfort zone) take some time to read through this book and enjoy a whole new side of poetry which has not been explained in depth like this before.  With spring coming around the corner, this is a perfect buy!  What could be better than lounging out in the sun with this book in your hands?  Lounging out in the sun with this book in one hand and a glass of wine in the other! 

A Pink Book with Pink Wine?  That sounds Perfectly:

Friday, February 08, 2013

SDSU presents "Reading in America". Does Such A Thing Exist Anymore?

HEY YOU! YEAH YOU! Don't have time to read this entire blog, but interested in reading the book?  Follow this link: Slim Blue Book

Hello there my beautiful blog readers! 

I have some exciting news to share, which may actually come as a surprise to those individuals who believe that TV, computers and movies have replaced the need for reading.


According to Reading in America: A Progress Report, Professor James Flood says, "It is through reading that we achieve  our greatest potential  so we thank you for sharing these thoughts with us, and what we wanted to talk with you about is where as a nation we are in reading.  We want to rejoice, we want to celebrate our successes" (4). 

Congratulations America!  Contrary to popular belief, you are ALL competent readers - and this, my dear dear SDSU Press shoppers and avid readers, is the gift you are capable of giving to the next generation. 

Put down the remote control and pick up this book (a mere 37 pages to read) so that you may see some of the research done by Professors Diane Lapp and James Flood. In this University Lecture series, you, the reader, are given puzzles to figure out, charts to analyze, and paragraphs to think about critically.  This is, after all, a book that was written to give you the option of participating in The University Research Lecture Series.  You deserve to read about how great you are as an educated American and should bask in your glory while flipping through the pages of this book.  You may learn something you didn't 

"[Americans] spend for entertainment and reading about $1,100 a year...$140 or 12% of their fun money is spent on reading...Americans are reading" (Lapp 10).

You hear that?  Reading is FUN! (Buy me, Buy me, Read me!)


Here are some examples of what you might come across.  Even though they say not to judge a book by its cover, I'd have to say that this one looks pretty sharp.  Be one of those Americans who loves to read because you know it is a tremendous gift to be literate, and you should not take it for granted. 

Sixth University Research Lecture; San Diego State University.  Reading in America: A Progress Report.  Research by James Flood and Diane K. Lapp.   

Monday, February 04, 2013

Renato Barilli Poses the Question: What's in A Word?

Click here if you want to skip ahead to the book itselfCLICK

Language: it is a beautiful thing.  Whether it be English, Spanish, Italian, German, Hungarian, Polish...there is something mesmerizing about the way people use words.  Renato Barilli, a Professor at the University of Bologna, takes language a bit further by attempting to shred the definitions and assumptions that are associated with a word.

Barilli writes, "By 'working below the phrase,' I mean returning to its essential ingredient, the word, no longer respecting its previously sacrosanct feature of wholeness, but on the contrary subjecting it to fractures and successive segmentations." 

Take a moment to imagine a world with no words - no set definitions.  Where "cat" does not conjure the image of a pointy eared creature scratching at your brand new furniture, but simply the letters C, A, and T, sitting next to one another in harmony.  Barilli wants you to stretch your imagination even further, and try not to recognize each letter with a sound - which can be difficult considering humans have developed to speak a multitude of different languages based on definitions and differing accents.  

*A note of Irony: when picking up this book, one might want a dictionary on hand.  There are some words used that one might want to understand further in order to grasp why Barilli wants his readers to let go what they already know. 

Without further ado, I'd like to personally introduce you to Renato Barilli's book:

First published in Italian in 1981, and later translated for your enjoyment by Teresa Fiore and Harry Polkinhorn. Take a moment to give them a round of applause, because without them, people who are unable to read in a language other than English (like me) would not be able to indulge in such an extraordinary work of art.  

If you are interested in challenging your mind to understanding ideas that would otherwise be foreign to you, turn off your television and purchase this book.  And then give your mind a chance to breathe by reading the mini-anthology of poems which are published after Barilli's critical discussion.  They are full of puns, visuals, new words, and multiple poetic devices that have been used to give life to expressive language. 

Light up your day and pick up a copy of this book.  You don't even have to leave the comfort of your computer!! All you have to do is click the following link and let technology do the rest:  

Don't take it from me.  Read it yourself and spread the word.  We have already embarked on the voyage to the end of the word.