For FALL 2010's delicious offerings of books, art, food, film, and unique travel--check out the NEW ISSUE of our online magazine FEAST--you will not go away hungry-- http://www.feastofbooks.com/

Between issues, read our blog posts as we and our special guests share thoughts, ideas, and recommendations about books, art, food, film, and travel. We love to hear from our readers, so please post a comment! Thanks-- Rosemary Carstens, editor

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Snax Online is undergoing a redesign and will be moving to a new location. Check back from time to time for a link. In its new format, this blog will cover a wider range of topics but also its usual five. In the meantime, keep up with what's happening in the world of books, art, food, film, and travel at http://www.FEASTofBooks.com --

See you in 2011!!

Friday, December 05, 2008

“Ancestors whispering over my shoulder . . . “

As readers, we often wonder—and ask at book readings—where authors get their ideas. For CARMEN TAFOLLA, the much celebrated Chicana writer, poet, speaker and performer, it is those who have come before that whisper into her ear. Carmen has published five books of poetry, eight children’s picture books, seven television screenplays, one nonfiction volume, and, her latest, a collection of short stories titled THE HOLY TORTILLA AND A POT OF BEANS (Wings Press 2008). Honored with the Art of Peace award for writing that furthers peace, justice, and human understanding, Carmen’s stories contain more than a touch of magic about the Mexican experience, the immigrant, “other culture” experience that is all too often pushed to the periphery of American writing. Channeling stories she’s heard all her life or merely glanced at from the corner of her eye and absorbed into her bones, her characters spring to life to celebrate the joy, tragedy, compassion, oppression, and liberation of a certain way of living.

I often suggest books here that focus on the myriad of cultures that make up the category “American” people, because I feel the more we learn, the more we know, the more we understand our common ground and also the uniqueness that each brings to the mix, the richer we are. Sometimes we feel left out in our own culture, or it’s simply not a fit for our personality, our psyche. When we know more about the ways of others, we have a source for something different—a new tradition, another style, another beat, that we can make our own. With a new year approaching, why not branch out in our reading, seek something new, try some salsa on that meatloaf? Perhaps start with reading Tafolla’s Holy Tortilla or some of her poetry, buy a child one of her bilingual picture books. For more about this talented woman: http://www.carmentafolla.com/

-- Rosemary Carstens


Anne said...

The past affecting the present with stories moving forward in time...that really does speak to heritage, doesn't it?


Anonymous said...

Reminds me of Ying Compestine —I encountered her in California, giving a reading at the Woodside library (near my mother's house).

Cynthia Morris said...

This sounds great. I agree about reading outside your own culture. I had the idea to have 2009 be a themed reading year - Latino authors. Not sure if I will do it, but like many ideas, I enjoyed the possibilities!

Anonymous said...


Thanks for the reminder to read outside the box. It seems to me that we are surely lost if we keep circling around the same thinking, the same cultural archetypes, and the same subject matter in our reading.

Think outrageously, read broadly, and live like there's no tomorrow. Those might be a good mantra (for me) for 2009!


ClaireWalter said...

I'd also recommend Sandra Cinseros' 'House on Mango Street.' It is a coming of age novel by a another Chicana author.