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<<December 2012>>
new posts in all blogs
Viewing: Blog Posts from All 1562 Blogs, dated 12/2012 [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 4,467
1. Best books not of 2012

       Best book lists at this time of the year (well, last year) focus on the ones published in 2012 -- but both The Guardian and The Rumpus have now asked folks about the best books not from 2012:

        - in The Guardian Laura Hassan has: 'Authors and critics choose their favourite old books of the year', in Not-new books of the year

        - at The Rumpus Stephen Elliott: 'asked a handful of Rumpus contributors for the best book they read that was not published that year', in The Best of Not 2012

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2. Winter list

       The Winter 2012 issue of list - Books from Korea is now up, with the usual variety of reviews and (brief) articles.
       Of particular interest: coverage of Lee Young-do's Dragon Raja, Origins of the Korean Fantasy Novel, as well as a special section on 'Creating the World in Korean Literature', with pieces on, for example, Imagining America and the "Other".

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3. The year in reviews at the complete review

       It's been a busy year at the complete review: the 236 reviews posted mark the most in any year since 2000, and more than 10 per cent more than last year's total (212).
       That's also a total of 197,916 review-words (an average of almost 839 words per review, up from the 2011 average of 773); I don't keep as close a track of Literary Saloon-posting word-counts, but I figure, conservatively, there were at least 250,000 words worth here.

       Reviews of fiction dominated, as always: 190 of the reviews were of works of fiction (and 180 of those of novels) -- though that's a slightly lower percentage than in 2011. Interestingly, a majority of books by US authors were non-fiction -- 15, vs. only 9 fiction -- while, for example, books by authors from other countries were overwhelmingly fiction: France: 24 fiction vs. 3 non; UK 13 fiction vs. 2 non.

       Male-authored books were, as usual, predominant too ... 192.5 (81.57 %) ..... (Best balance: 3 books of 13 by Japanese authors reviewed were by female authors, 4 of 17 from the UK, 2 of 7 from Spain; worst: Netherlands: 0 of 6; US: 3 of 26.)

       Reviewed books were originally written in 33 different languages (up slightly from 31 in 2011, but still far below the 41 in 2010); the most common were:

  1. English - 67 books
  2. French - 40
  3. Spanish - 23
  4. Japanese - 12
  5. Arabic - 9
       Reviewed books were by authors from 64 countries (up considerably from the 51 in 2011 and 2010); the best-represented were:
  • 1. France - 30 books
  • 2. US - 26
  • 3. UK - 17
  • 4. Japan - 13
  • 5. Argentina - 7
  • -. India - 7
  • -. Spain - 7
       Rather surprisingly, I reviewed at least one book first published in each of the years between 1986 and 2012. (Note that I only count year of first publication, in whatever language a book was originally written in, not first US or English publication -- hence only 36 of the reviewed books are counted as having been first published in 2012; if the US publication date were the deciding one, that number would be about three times as high.)

       I reviewed at least five books from each decade since the 1910s except the 1940s (3) -- including 19 from 1910 to 1939 -- but only a very feeble four from before 1900.

       Only one title was graded 'A+' or 'A' (Gerald Murnane's Barley Patch), though 22 rated 'A-'. The most frequently assigned grade was 'B' (104), but four titles were rated 'C+' or lower.

       Except for the date-of-publication range there aren't too many numbers here that make me want to fundamentally change my approach to what I review. The pervasive sexism is embarrassing, but then it has been since day one at the site; I really don't know what to do about it (sorry, affirmative action isn't in the cards). But I would like to focus more on classical works -- that 98.3 per cent of the books reviewed were written in the past century (and hence less than 1.7 per cent before then) seems way too modern to me.
       As for the rest, the site will certainly remain as internationally (and multi-lingually) focused -- though I suppose I would like to extend the range of coverage of some other genres some as well: poetry (2 books in 2012), drama (1), etc.

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4. R.I.P. Raymond Souster, 91, in October (Canadian poet)

Only one of his poetry collections is listed as juvenile - "The Flight of the Roller Coaster," 1985.

About that book: "Raymond Souster takes us out for a day at the carnival and for a walk across a bridge, and provides us with moments that we will likely never forget."


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5. R.I.P. Max Fatchen, 92, in October (Australian adventure-writer/poet)

(long tribute, with 69 comments)


.........Max Fatchen started his journalistic career in the 1930s on the afternoon paper The News and won a wide and loyal following for his columns in that journal from 1948 and The Advertiser from 1955.

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6. R.I.P. Mary Medearis, 97, in September (author of "Big Doc's Girl," 1942)

A piano teacher, she lived in Washington, Arkansas.

"My motivation in writing Big Doc's Girl [which has been made into a television drama] was almost one of anger; Arkansas was chiefly known as a place of hillbillies and barefooted fiddlers sitting on a barrel in front of a run-down cabin--and I knew that there was beauty and dignity in those people and that state. Therefore, I wrote of my childhood among the `have not' people and tried to show the unique simplicity and character of my people."

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7. The 2012 Cybils Finalists

Dear Book Nerds:

You already know why you're here. It's not for the fab party, the football scores or to watch the ball drop. No, you won't find Cybilians indulging in those overly exhuberant displays of normalcy. Hanging out at the Cybils site is by far the best New Year's tradition, and here are just a few reasons why:

  • You do not have to dress up. In fact, you do not have to dress at all;
  • We will not try to corner you in an awkward conversation;
  • We will not scream like banshees at overgrown boys in plastic armor tossing an animal hide at each other;
  • There are no commercial interruptions, ever;
  • You do not have to brave the cold, the crowds or the litter of Times Square;
  • You will not throw up afterwards.

See? There is no need to be anywhere else today. Welcome to this year's Cybils short lists, brought to you by the hardest-working kidlit and YA book bloggers in existence.

 Book Apps

Easy Readers/Short Chapter Books

Fantasy and Science Fiction (Middle Grade)

Fantasy and Science Fiction (Young Adult)

Fiction Picture Books

Graphic Novels

Middle Grade Fiction

Non-Fiction: Middle Grade & Young Adult

Non-Fiction Picture Books


Young Adult Fiction

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8. The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pick-Up Artists

The GameI bought a book a few years back based purely on the fact that lots of boys were furtively buying it. A lot of boys who weren’t what you’d call avid readers, that is. The phenomenon piqued my interest. What was it about this book that made word spread of it among secret boy channels? Could it deliver what they hoped? More importantly, would its anticipated benefits be enough to get them to read it, a reasonably hefty book, from start to finish?

Given that I was buying it for product knowledge reasons and that it wasn’t the most relevant or appealing book for me, I subsequently shelved it with a plan to get around to reading it just as soon as I’d tackled my Pisa-like tower of to-be-read tomes.

I finally read the book over this holiday break not because I’d make it through the other books, but because yet another guy did a you have this?/you know about this?/what the?! double take when he saw it on my bookshelf. Huh, I thought, there’s clearly something in this book they don’t want me to know.

The book is Neil Strauss’ bestselling The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pick-Up Artists. It seems to be a finely scoured bible for guys on cracking the code to meeting girls*. I can see why the guys were a little nervous I had the book, but I was more than a little dubious this book would contain the bulletproof answers they were looking for.

The Game is surprisingly good, but not at all what I’d expected. It’s more memoir than instruction manual. It’s more cautionary tale than do this and you will win (although the guys I’ve put this to have been genuinely mystified—they didn’t see that side to it at all). With a graphic novel feel, it’s also incredibly cleverly designed and clearly catering to boys’ tastes. Images of dice denote the chapter numbers. Crosshair-like targets and strong, solid black lines frame the page and page numbers. Quotes writ large in white text on full pages of black ink break up the chapters (and yes, I’m wondering about the printing costs). These quotes are weighty, too, including some profundity from such greats as Fyodor Dostoevsky.

How To Make Love Like A PornstarThe tale unfolds this way: Strauss becomes a pupil of pick-up artists (PUA). There’s a bunch of different methods or schools of thought and he samples lots before finding and honing the ones that work for him, at which point he becomes a master pick-up artist (MPUA). He charts his progress as well as of those he meets, and at one stage lives in a house full of pick-up artists in LA.

There’s an entire PUA language (in case you hadn’t already noticed). The Game helpfully provides a glossary (and it’s likely you’ll need to refer to it, with all the acronyms and initialisms the book contains making it hard to stay across them).

An ‘AFC’ stands for an ‘average frustrated chump’, i.e. a stereotypical nice guy who struggles for pick-up skills. An ‘AMOG’ is the ‘alpha male of the group’. To ‘sarge’ is to pick up women (or to try to). To ‘FMAC’ is to ‘find, meet, attract, close’. To ‘peacock’ is to dress outrageously to draw attention from women, e.g. wearing a cowboy hat or a loud shirt. To ‘neg’ a woman, is to deliver an ambiguous statement or seemingly accidental insult to a beautiful woman to demonstrate a lack of interest in her and to, arguably, bring her down a peg or two. ‘Chick crack’ is that which appeals to most women but few men, e.g. tarot cards, personality tests.

Contrary to perhaps most girls, I was down with most of The Game. My one sticking point was the negging, which is not cool. Girls’ confidence is in the red at the best of times without guys further undercutting it with such statements as ‘Is she always like that? How do you live with her?’ or ‘Nice shoes. They’re the third pair I’ve seen a girl wearing this week.’ I put this to a friend of mine who said I was misunderstanding it, then conceded he mightn’t think negging was so great if girls negged him.

Everyone Loves You When You're DeadThe Game was plenty amusing, though. When Mystery, one of the main guys, decides to move out of the house he also decides to sell his bed. His selling point, which includes listing the girls in chronological order: ‘I’ve only slept with ten girls on it so it’s very clean.’

One ‘opener’ made me laugh, mostly because I have an ongoing My Little Pony joke with some friends. Do you remember the show? the guy asks. He was trying to remember if they had special powers. Cue girls chatting to him about the much-loved cartoon. Another opener I like involves a guy saying that their friend just bought new puppies and wants to name them after an ‘80s pop duo. Do they [the girl they’re targeting] have any suggestions?

There were also a few moments that appeal to me as a writer. One of the other PUAs who’s a little strange is a lot like a rival pretends to be Strauss as an in. It doesn’t always work. ‘Let me tell you something,’ Strauss tells him. ‘I’ve been writing for over a decade, and it hasn’t gotten me laid once. Writers aren’t cool or sexy. There’s no real social proof to be gained by hanging out with a writer.’

I have to say, though, that as writers go, Strauss is very cool. He has a talent for finding and writing about the fascinating quirks of life and in publishing subsequently bestselling books (not to mention writing for the New York Times and Rolling Stone. I mean, kudos). He’s most famous for The Game, but I’m currently ordering up his other titles here on Boomerang Books; in addition to his story-sniffing skills, I enjoy his style of writing. These books include Jenna Jameson’s How to Make Love Like a Porn Star, Motley Crue’s The Dirt, and Marilyn Manson’s The Long Hard Road Out of Hell, Dave Navarro’s Don’t Try This at Home, Everyone Loves You When You’re Dead: Journeys Into Fame and Madness, and Emergency: This Book Will Save Your Life.

DirtThere also seems to be a second book (or a book that comes in a boxset with The Game) called Rules of the Game. I’m not sure I’m that enamoured with the PUA lifestyle to want to read it, but when it comes to book reading, I never say never. I think I’d be more interested in the boardgames, though, apparently called Who’s Got Game? The Game with Benefits.

One guy friend told me I should now watch pick-up videos on YouTube. I tried, but only watched moments because I found them cringeworthy, not to mention a little creepy that the guys were filming themselves picking up girls. It’s this need to catalogue, to prove, to share these pick-up successes that people smarter than me have already noted. In the New York Times (AKA the publication Strauss himself writes for), Alexandra Jacobs, for example, wrote that The Game is the mens’ version or antithesis of The Rules and that Strauss ‘does come to perceive one curious thing about the PUAs: They seem far more interested in spending time with fellow PUAs, amassing, refining and discussing the game, than actually getting to know women. Call them SLBs (scared little boys)’.

I find it interesting that many (if not all) of the PUAs self-destruct in some way in Strauss’ book and that, despite one PUA arrogantly saying that he’s ‘starting to feel like I’m hunting rabbits with a howitzer’, the PUAs seem to struggle to find and maintain a real connection with a girl.

‘The problem with being a pick-up artist is,’ Strauss writes in the book, ‘that there are concepts like sincerity, genuineness, trust, and connection that are important to women. And all the techniques that are so effective in beginning a relationship violate every principle necessary to maintaining one.’

EmergencyTellingly, none of Strauss’ PUA techniques are what help him attract the girl of his dreams and he writes that while those techniques helped him meet plenty of girls, they never prepared him for how to keep one.

But that point didn’t wash with the guy friends I put it to. Cautionary tale? they puzzle. No. Pick-up manual. Maybe that’s my girl perspective at work. And my hope that no guy has ever or will ever run the game on me as Strauss’ book dedication alludes:

[This book is] dedicated to the thousands of people I talked to in bars, clubs, malls, airports, grocery stores, subways, and elevators over the last two years. If you are reading this, I want you to know that I wasn’t running game on you. I was being sincere. Really. You were different.

*It should be noted that this book that assumes heterosexuality and involves guys chasing girls. I’m hazarding a guess that the techniques may work under other circumstances.

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9. Best Poems of 2012

Twenty-thirteen, Day One

Michael Sedano

Twenty-twelve with three seconds remaining.

La Bloga sends you wishes for vigorous health and awesome opportunities in the new year. 

In support of which, forthwith find suitably pithy epigrams upon which to hang sundry new year's thoughts:

You deserve more, and that's up to you. 

View "problems" as opportunities; this way you'll find ways to fix what's not satisfactory and define your own outcomes.

Have a plan, work the plan. If you fail, understand why, rather than win accidentally without a clue.

If you don't know where you're going, any which road will take you there.

With the right tools, you can do anything.

It's the "U" in "fun" that counts.

Here's to everyone having something like what I'm enjoying the last day of the year, a six year-old blowing streams of mocos out both nostrils and laughing joyously, her cold broken and robust health coming back, right on time for the new year.

La Bloga On-Line Floricanto Best Poems of 2012
Tara Evonne Trudell, Ramón Piñero, Odilia Galván Rodríguez, John Martinez, Andrea Mauk, Andrea Hernandez Holm, Devreaux Baker, Victor Avila, Francisco X. Alarcón, Nancy Aide Gonzalez, Sharon Elliott, Elena Díaz Bjorkquist, Sonia Gutiérrez, Carmen Calatayud, Hedy Garcia Treviño, Claudia D. Hernández

“Border Song” by Tara Evonne Trudell
“They Have Names” by Ramón Piñero
“Poem 6 ~ Being A Border” by Odilia Galván Rodríguez
“Words Can Set The Meter of Healing” by John Martinez
“Mudos Across the Ocean Divide” by Andrea Mauk
“Not Enough-Too Much” by Andrea Hernandez Holm
“Recipe for Peace” by Devreaux Baker
“A House Full of Light (Psalm 1000)” by Victor Avila
“Ultimate Migrants: Monarch Butterflies’ Life Mantra / Migrantes por excelencia: Bio-mantra de las mariposas monarca” by Francisco X. Alarcón
“Tapestry of Dawn” by Nancy Aide Gonzalez
“The Day of Little Comfort” by Sharon Elliott
“Calling Forth the Seeds of Winter” by Elena Díaz Bjorkquist
"Herencia / Legacy" by Sonia Gutiérrez
"Commitment Otra Vez" by Carmen Calatayud
"Walking on the Shards of Broken Dreams" by Hedy Garcia Trevino
“Tejiendo la niebla" por Claudia D. Hernández

Border Song
By Tara Evonne Trudell

will I be
the border song
you sing
rusty tall
will I be
the warm
you ache
to feel
in cold
will humanity
ever comprehend
how deep
can feel
so many years
taking fear
and crafting it
to the masses
keeping souls
in far away
continual stealing
taking earth
killing her people
will children die
playing sticks
and stones
into living
a walking dead
tireless ancestors
spirits fighting
over and over
in an America
that doesn't care
to question
will I be
last border

They Have Names
By Ramón Piñero

“No one asked their names.”
So screams the headlines
throughout the
Arab world
We know just
that nineteen
were killed
this time;

We did
not count the
last time
the last
we said this
would be the
last time

No one asked their names;
they almost never do
they are expendable
fodder for the cannons

One side
point’s fingers
we excuse it
‘cause after all
it had to be a rough
going back
one time
two times
three times
who could have?
would have thought
that war and violence
has no reset button

when you’re dead
you stay dead
no health bars
no extra lives
in this video
game version
of mans’ oldest
folly; yes
the oldest
on steroids

no one asked their names
so screams the headlines
through the Arab world
as it should scream out
throughout this world.

The dead were:
Mohamed Daewood
Nazar Mohamed

the other dead

Yesenia Briseño
Trayvon Martin

all children
or women
all inocentes

The dead were:

the other dead
those travelers
on the
Trail of Tears
those in the
cargo holds
of slave ships
thrown overboard
worked to death
without a name
to their name.

The dead were:

The dead also
those babies
in Appalachia
the Sonoran desert
those killed
by the Zeta and
Sinaloa Cartels.

The dead were:
Essa Mohamed
Aktar Mohamed

in this
make believe
war where only
the other

where only we
and all
“unfortunate and

how many times
can you
ask a
man to kill
without killing
the man in him

no one asked
their names
to be added
to a dustbin

My Lai
footnotes in

and the
all names
etched forever
in my memory
etched forever
in my heart.

Poem 6 ~ Being A Border
By Odilia Galván Rodríguez

I've been here all of my life
on the edge of this or that
a bridge between my people
crossing people
they come to me
to enter more worlds
than I can even fathom
all I am is a border
something of a fence sitter
except in my case I am not neutral
I take both sides, I am from and for
both sides, yes
I live the in-betwixt and in-between
I am the center and the balance
I see good and bad
at every turn
at every crossroads
and every crossing is a ritual
what do you offer to enter?
seven shiny dimes to the mother
of all mothers, of the salty waters
or nine pennies to the wind whisperer
the keeper of the last door we enter...
I've been here all of my life and
all I want to do is cross that line
myself, want to pass the torch
having now been totally scorched
by this playing at blind justice
is there really such a thing?
I think not.
someone always has to win
and someone loses
even if I know the secret
that losing you win
still, that's because
I'm a different kind of thinker
having the luxury or curse
of being from the middle
living on that fine line
between this or that
here or there
it's a fact
being a border is no fun
you have to let some in
and keep some out...
then all those
convoluted routes
people take to get here --
even when they know in their heart
it's not for them, and
they should've stayed put
they figure that out later
sometimes, when it's too damn late
but wait, why'd I let them in

in the first place?

oh yes, because it was a lesson...
lofty this job of mediator
border deity
job seems too big
too pretentious
somehow playing god
when all I really am
is a bad idea

I am a border
a door
a hoarder of hopes
of injustices
tucked inside promises
of new lives,
lives not new or better
simply different
I am a border
a line
una línea
a big lie.

By John Martinez

Para El Maestro, Francisco X. Alarcón

If I could give myself,
Without speaking,
To the suffering,
To the clenched body,
I’d give that part of me
That does not hate,
That does not want
When others
Cannot have

I’d give the song
That has no sadness.

If I could give
In silence,
Just a piece
Of myself,
To those who have lost
Everything to greed,
I’d give my soul,
All 21 grams

If I could give myself
Like a hush
To the mother,
Whose child
Weeps in the corridors
Of death, wanting to
Hold her like air,
I would give
My two hands,
Touch her face
With fingers of rain,
Assure her, with my eyes,
That he will be waiting
Near the fountain
With the others

If I could rise one day,
Knowing that pain
Is being lifted like a shawl
From the Countries
Beneath the boot
Of my U.S.A,
I would rise with
A greater love

Today, I have words,
Not guns,
Not the rabid teeth
Of a killer

I have words
That I can shout,
That I can throw
Like brown birds into
The audience,
Because these birds
Know the meaning
Of peace
And these words
Can push
A convoy of donkeys
Down an indigenous path,
With medicine to treat
The sick, the starving

Words yes words
Can set the meter
Of healing

If I could give myself,
To the suffering,
I would give myself
With words,
Words yes words
Can set the meter
Of healing

© 2012 John Martinez

Mudos Across the Ocean Divide
By Andrea Mauk

I shed the flag in which I'm draped
so I can see myself bare breasted
unadorned by donkey tails and elephant tusks.
I pluck the stars one by one
from the field of blue
and launch them out the window sill
wonder if they can still
but they twirl back to earth
in a tailspin
and melt like snowflakes
as they touch down.

I come from an island
a goddess
of red, white and blue
Spain's last outpost,
one star, her voice
washes between
loudly unheard,
testing ground
for the pill,
breeding ground of
beauty queens...
And here, we are hemming skirts
and stocking shelves
rolling up sleeves,
as they're trading coffee beans
and sugar cane
for tax-free trade
and tourism.
Would you like an umbrella with that?

I sew the stripes together
and wind them 'round me
walk to the nearest polling place
enthusiasm of a mummy,
close the curtain
and cast my net across the wide
froth of Atlantic blue
catch my fill of calamar
and octopus,
fry them up with
Green Party platano
but loving arms, tostones and tentacles aside,
I am awash in my own
milk and honey land,
they call me
that other kind
of Mexican (?)

I am not a slave but I am owned,
possessed like a noun
watched over by the eye
and the pyramid.
And I question the Goddess,
does she really want
to be a state
when the state of the nation
is unraveled, just broken
coming unglued
link by link
on the partisan spine
and the laborious backs,
to be owned by the
boardroom masters on the
87th floor?

I run down the stairs
out the front stoop
to gather the stars
that have yet to dissolve
upon the bodega's
place them in my eyes,
their sparkling hope
let the ribbon of stripes sewn
red after white
fly towards home from the boardwalk
on this starless night,
send my voice
spinning out to sea,
a gift to those who stayed behind.

We are citizens both here and there.
We are mudos across the ocean divide,
our borders drawn by Poseidón.
We are peripheral,
between the shores.
I have given away my stars and stripes
left only with the yellow fringe
belted around my nakedness.
It doesn't really matter.
No one will even notice me
on this election eve.

Recipe For Peace
By Devreaux Baker

Bare your feet
roll up your sleeves
oil the immigrant's bowl
open the doors and windows of your house
invite in the neighbors
invite in strangers off the street
roll out the dough
add spices for a good life
cardamon and soul
cumin and tears
sesame and sorrow
add a dash of salt
pink as new hope
add marjaram and thyme
rub lemon grass and holy basil
on your fingers and pat the dough
bless the table
bless the bread
bless your hands and feet
bless the neighbors and strangers off the street
bake the bread for a century or more
on moderate heat
under the olive trees in your back yard
or on the sun filled stones of Syria
in the white rocks of Beirut
or behind the walls of Jerusalem
in the mountains of Afghanistan
and in the sky scrapers of New York
Feast with all the migrant tongues
until your mouth understands
the taste of many different homes
and your belly is full
so you fall asleep cradled
in the skirts of the world
in the lap of peace.

A House Full of Light (Psalm 1000)
By Victor Avila

I was born in a house
full of light.

In one where corners
have never known shadows.

I stand before windows
that have never known night.

I stare out its doors-
This house free of sorrow.

Yes, I was born in a house
full of light.

I grew up amid melodies

that awoke me from the deepest
of slumber.

And the luminous voice,
perhaps of an angel

calmed every fear
and whispered remember-

You were born in this house
where one day is a thousand.

Here all time is sand
and each second eternal.

So come share these walls
for you are the Father's.

He knows you are here
and delights.

He welcomes you here
to his house full of light.

By Francisco X. Alarcón

we defeat time, the cold
and all borders –we are
the ultimate migrants

thousands of miles
we fly North–South and East–West–
beauty is our might

the Sun guides our flight–
nothing can really stops us,
no even our short lives

to return to the land
where our great–grandparents
once emerge from

four generations
we undergo in a year —from eggs
to caterpillars

and then to pupa
to emerge from cocoons
as beautiful butterflies–

we are fearless
in our commitment to life
beyond our own lives–

we defeat time, the cold
and all borders –we are
the ultimate migrants

Por Francisco X. Alarcón

vencemos el tiempo
y toda frontera –somos migrantes
por excelencia

miles de millas volamos
del Norte al Sur y del Este al Oeste–
la belleza es nuestro poder

el Sol no guía–
nada puede pararnos,
ni nuestra corta vida

para volver a la tierra
de donde nuestros bisabuelos

cuatro generaciones
pasamos en un año —de huevos
a orugas

luego a pupas
para del capullo emerger
como bellas mariposas—

no tenemos miedo
al compromiso a la vida
más allá de la propia–

vencemos el tiempo
y toda frontera —somos migrantes
por excelencia

Tapestry of Dawn
By Nancy Aidé González

Sun, summoning dawn
truth will come with portraits of consciousness
narratives of shelter

interlocked woven fabrics
find equilibrium
strings of transcendence in cosmos

beyond ancient knowledge alive
planets orbit echoing memory of universe
saffron stars manifest wholeness

nimbus treasures – rain
jaguars roam spirit realm
leave prints where

trees take root
in tierra firme
drawing humanity closer.

The Day of Little Comfort
By Sharon Elliott

the day of little comfort
and no food
began as any other day
the sun came up

resting on the horizon
there was no heat
radiating from its yellow eye

the crows were quiet
sitting in echelons on telephone wires
like mourners in black babushkas
eyeing the humans below them
with sadness

green and growing things
struggling to push through concrete
dirt solid as granite
compacted by the soles
on hundreds of shoes
gave it up
nodded their two
or three
leafy shoots
and toppled over

she peeked outside the curtains
wondering why
there was so much silence
she hummed softly
a lullaby that soothed
her 6 year old heart
opened the window a crack
stuck her head out
into the full force of


where had all the creatures gone?
from her?
from them?
from what?

a low rumble began
like a ruined growl
deep in the throat of
an archangel
breathing holy asthma

a tree across the street
tried to hide
but the respiration resurrection
caught it in a lie
rattled its twigs and
bent it double
snapped it in half

she started to pray
a lonely supplication
too young to be heard
older than endless

she didn’t notice the rain
pouring wet blessings
into clandestine passages
full of people
catapaulted out
by invincible water
ejected by a depraved howitzer
spraying unsanctified bullets on the streets

her mother scrambled to close the window
was sucked out into the rain
fell from a great height
to splash into the villainous river
in the street

her father
rushed down the stairs
trying to save her mother
sank into the same torrent
they disappeared

she wondered
about where her breakfast would come from
who would tuck her into bed
when she should get ready for school
who would help her tie her shoes

and then

the lights went out

Calling Forth the Seeds of Winter
By Elena Díaz Bjorkquist

Dedicated to my Comadres of Sowing the
Seeds who endured the cold outside on
the porch at our last meeting!

In cold truth, Summer ends,
Seeds prepare to rest.
Something about that cold.
Things come out of it,
Settle in our writer’s heart.

Sun vanishes, temperature drops,
We endure head-clearing cold,
Recall, recognize, honor
The seeds of our wisdom’s harvest.

Winter winds like sacred voices
Call forth abundance,
A time to resurrect
Our natural creativity,
A joy for all.

Time to remember the gifts
From loved ones who’ve gone on.
Time to select seeds of wise actions
To plant for future harvest.

Cold and heat,
Summer and winter,
Seed time and harvest time,
Suggest a definite time of harvest.

But there's no fixed time for harvest,
We can call it forth at will.
The harvest is clear—memories
Reveal the lessons of what's passed.

We become aware,
Accept the creative power of now,
Conceptualize, visualize, energize
A world of beauty, good relationships.

The heart of awareness,
Is the dance of arising worlds,
Soul seeds planted in winter.

Por Sonia Gutiérrez

for Poets Responding to SB 1070

Soy la lengua de Frida—vulgar
como la de mi abuela.

Y la punta del bolígrafo azul,
doblegando al papel callado.

También soy la flor de tuna,
asomándome por la madrugada.

Soy orejas de olla de barro, escuchando
el paladar de mis antepasados.

Mujer de cara redonda
como la tortilla de maíz y nopal.

Cuerpo de abeja punzante
de donde nace el mañana.

Y soy, por supuesto, letras armadas
con azadones arreando nuestro destino.

La mariposa sedienta, bebiendo
del sudor de una mano humedecida.

Soy las garras del jaguar, rasgando
las líneas esclavas del bufón de vista corta.

Soy la poeta que las leyes escupen muy lejos—
al exilio de los poetas.

Soy herencia—que pinta de mil matices
de verde a esta nuestra tierra natal.

Pero definitivamente soy una manita de puerco
si tu horquilla del diablo asoma su feo rostro.

A esos los vestimos de esqueletos
y los ponemos a bailar por las calles, eternamente.

By Sonia Gutiérrez

for Poets Responding to SB 1070

I am Frida’s tongue—vulgar
like my grandmother’s.

And the tip of a blue ballpoint pen
kowtowing shy paper.

I am also the prickly pear flower
peering at dawn.

The ears of a clay pot, listening
to the palate of my ancestors.

A woman with a round face
like the corn and cactus tortilla.

Body of a throbbing bee
where tomorrow is born.

And I am, of course, armed letters
with hoes spurring our destiny.

The thirsty butterfly drinking
from the sweat of a moist hand.

I am the claws of the jaguar, tearing
the enslaved lines of the nearsighted fool.

I am the poet whom laws spit far away—
to the exile of poets.

I am legacy—who paints this our homeland
a thousand shades of green.

But I am most definitely an arm twist
if your devil’s pitchfork shows its ugly head.

To those, we dress up like skeletons
and make them dance through the streets, eternally.

Commitment Otra Vez
By Carmen Calatayud

For R.V.

Some generations ago,
you were a Zapatista
inside your great-grandmother’s
womb, black eye sockets of
revolution, carrying roses
with the pink blown out,
dando gritos in earshot
of the Americas.

But now your doubt
is strewn across the room
like petals from dead maravillas,
even in this space you rent
where spiritual warriors
pray for your country
and you can finally sleep
through the night.

Listen, amigo de los desamparados,
this is your time, again,
beyond gut-level fear
and black and white film:
The explosions just keep coming,
and you are chewing on history,
and never let it be said
that all you could do was cry.

Originally appeared as Split This Rock's Poem of the Week

Walking on the Shards of Broken Dreams
By Hedy Garcia Treviño

Walking on the shards of broken dreams
scattered voices call
from underneath the desert sand
where nothing grows
Lies still the seed of hope
Awaiting the furrow of the plow
unearthing hope that never sleeps
gaining strength from every storm
Lies still the seed of hope
Called forth by footsteps on the desert floor
keeping rythm with the heartbeat of the sun
comes forth the seed of hope

Tejiendo la niebla
Por Claudia D. Hernández

Descalzo uno emigra
a tierras extrañas

hay quienes no olvidan,

hay quienes se ensartan
su patria en el alma.

—La tierra no tiene fronteras
murmuran los pies reventados

las huellas que implantan
trasmiten nostalgia;

hay tierras calientes
que a veces se enfrían;

hay campos dorados
que tejen la niebla;

hay volcanes que arrojan
sus piedras de pomo.

Y uno aquí, escupiendo
cenizas en la lejanía

—La tierra no tiene fronteras
suspira la arboleda

El árbol exiliado no logra evitar
que su fruto florezca

¿Qué culpa tiene la almendra
que el viento la arrastre
y la engendre en tierras ajenas?


Tara Evonne Trudell has resumed writing poetry after a break of almost ten years and is passionate about combining poetry and film to create a visual art form of her own. She is a mother of four children and raising them to be socially aware and conscious of the injustices that plague our society. This is a top priority of hers as a she rediscovers her own word in a world that only attempts to silence the Indigenous spirit. She advocates strongly on behalf of Earth and incorporates this into her poetry, film, and life as part of her love and commitment to give back and represent her own connection.

Ramón Piñero. Ex Bay Area poet living in the buckle of the Bible Belt, aka Florida. Where good little boys and girls grow up to be republicans who vote against their own interest. Father of three and Grandfather to six of the coolest kids ever.

Odilia Galván Rodríguez, poet/activist, writer and editor, has been
involved in social justice organizing and helping people find their
creative and spiritual voice for over two decades.  Her poetry has been
widely anthologized, and she is the author of three books. Her last editing
job was as the English edition editor of Tricontinental Magazine in Havana, Cuba.
Odilia is one of the founding members and a moderator of Poets
Responding to SB 1070 on Facebook.  She teaches creative writing
workshops nationally, currently at Casa Latina, and also co-hosts,
"Poetry Express" a weekly open mike with featured poets, in Berkeley,
CA. For more information about workshops see her blog http://xhiuayotl.blogspot.com/
or contact her at Red Earth Productions & Cultural Work 510-343-3693.

John Martinez studied Creative Writing at Fresno State University under Phillip Levine and has published poetry in El Tecolote, Red Trapeze and in The LA Weekly. Recently, he has posted poems on Poets Responding to SB1070 and this will be his 14th poem published in La Bloga. Martinez has performed (as a musician/political activist, poet) with Teatro De La Tierra, Los Perros Del Pueblo and TROKA, a Poetry Ensemble, lead by poet Juan Felipe Herrera. He has toured with several cumbia/salsa bands throughout the Central Valley and in Los Angeles and has just completed first book of Poems, PLACES. For the last 18 years, he has worked as an Administrator for a Los Angeles law firm. He makes his home in Upland, California, with he wife Rosa and four children.

Andrea García Mauk grew up in Arizona, where both the immense beauty and harsh realities of living in the desert shaped her artistic soul. She calls Los Angeles home, but has also lived in Chicago, New York and Boston. She has worked in the music industry, and on various film and television productions. She writes short fiction, poetry, original screenplays and adaptations, and is currently finishing two novels. Her writing and artwork has been published and viewed in a variety of places such as on The Late, Late Show with Tom Snyder; The Journal of School Psychologists and Victorian Homes Magazine. Both her poetry and artwork have won awards. Several of her poems and a memoir are included in the 2011 anthology, Our Spirit, Our Reality, and her poetry is featured in the 2012 Mujeres de Maiz “‘Zine.” She is a regular contributor to Poets responding to SB 1070. Her poems have been chosen for publication on La Bloga’s Tuesday Floricanto numerous times. She is also a moderator of Diving Deeper, an online workshop for writers, and has written extensively about music, especially jazz, while working in the entertainment industry. Her production company, Dancing Horse Media Group, is currently in pre-production of her independent film, “Beautiful Dreamer,” based on her original screenplay and manuscript, and along with her partners, is producing a unique cookbook that blends healthful recipes with poetry and prose from the community.

Devreaux Baker is a Pushcart Prize nominee and winner of the 2011 PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Poetry Prize for her book; Red Willow People. She is the recipient of the 2012 Hawaii Council of Humanities International Poetry Prize, and the Women’s Global Leadership Initiative Poetry Award. Her poetry fellowships include a MacDowell Fellowship, the Hawthornden Castle International Fellowship, three California Arts Council Awards and the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation Fellowship. She has published three books of poetry; Red Willow People, Beyond the Circumstance of Sight, and Light at the Edge and conducted poetry workshops in France and Mexico. She has taught poetry in the schools with the CPITS Program and produced the Voyagers Radio Program of original student writing for KZYX Public Radio.

Victor Avila is an award-winning poet.  Two of his poems were recently included in the anthology Occupy SF-Poems From the Movement.  Victor has taught in California public schools for over twenty years.

Francisco X. Alarcón, Chicano poet and educator, is the author of thirteen volumes of poetry, including, Snake Poems: An Aztec Invocation  (Chronicle Books 1992), recipient of the 1993 Pen Oakland Josephine Miles Award, From the Other Side of Night: Selected and New Poems (University of Arizona Press 2002). His latest book is Ce•Uno•One: Poems for the New Sun (Swan Scythe Press 2010). His most recent book of bilingual poetry for children is Animal Poems of the Iguazú (Children’s Book Press 2008). He teaches at the University of California, Davis. He created the Facebook page, POETS RESPONDING TO SB 1070: http://www.facebook.com/PoetryOfResistance

Born and raised in Seattle, Sharon Elliott has written since childhood. Four years in the Peace Corps in Nicaragua and Ecuador laid the foundation for her activism. As an initiated Lukumi priest, she has learned about her ancestral Scottish history, reinforcing her belief that borders are created by men, enforcing them is simply wrong.

Elena Díaz Björkquist. “I have enjoyed being a moderator on Poets Responding to SB 1070 since its creation by Francisco and Odilia. It’s a pleasure opening poems and reading so many wonderful works, but always difficult to select the ones for La Boga’s Floricanto. I like being a friend and mentor to many great poets on Facebook. Reading poetry is an inspiration for writing my own poetry.”

A writer, historian, and artist from Tucson, Elena writes about Morenci, Arizona where she was born. She is the author of two books, Suffer Smoke and Water from the Moon. Elena is co-editor of Sowing the Seeds, una cosecha de recuerdos and Our Spirit, Our Reality; our life experiences in stories and poems, anthologies written by her writers collective Sowing the Seeds.

As an Arizona Humanities Council (AHC) Scholar, Elena has performed as Teresa Urrea in a Chautauqua living history presentation and done presentations about Morenci, Arizona for twelve years. She received the 2012 Arizona Commission on the Arts Bill Desmond Writing Award for excelling nonfiction writing and the 2012 Arizona Humanities Council Dan Schilling Public Humanities Scholar Award in recognition of her work to enhance public awareness and understanding of the role that the humanities play in transforming lives and strengthening communities. She was nominated for Tucson Poet Laureate in 2012.

Her website is at http://elenadiazbjorkquist.com/.

Sonia Gutiérrez is part of this generation of Chican@ poets of the New Sun. Sonia writes about pressing social issues that haunt her and demand our immediate attention. La Bloga’s On-line Floricanto is home to Sonia’s Poets Responding to SB 1070 poems, including “The Books”/“Los libros,” “Careful with the River”/“Cuidado con el río,” “Memografía”/“Memography,” “Mi bandera”/“My Flag,” “My Heart Is a Strawberry Field,” “The Passing,” and “La maza y cantera de una poeta”/“A Poet’s Mallet and Quarry” (10 Best Poems of 2011). Her bilingual poetry collection, Spider Woman/La Mujer Araña (Olmeca Press) is forthcoming in 2013. Sonia is at work on a novel, Kissing Dreams from a Distance, among other projects. Her website www.soniagutierrez.com is coming soon.

Carmen Calatayud's first poetry collection In the Company of Spirits was published in October 2012 as part of the Silver Concho Series by Press 53. In the Company of Spirits was a runner-up for the 2010 Walt Whitman Award from the Academy of American Poets. Her poetry has appeared in various journals and anthologies, including Beltway Poetry Quarterly, Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, Cutthroat: A Journal of the Arts, Gargoyle, La Bloga, PALABRA: A Magazine of Chicano and Latino Literary Art, Red River Review and the anthology DC Poets Against the War. Carmen is a Larry Neal Poetry Award winner and recipient of a Virginia Center for the Creative Arts fellowship. She is a poet moderator for Poets Responding to SB 1070, a Facebook group that features poetry and news about Arizona’s controversial immigration law that legalizes racial profiling. Born to a Spanish father and Irish mother in the U.S., Carmen works and writes in Washington, DC

Hedy M. Garcia Treviño. Has written poetry since the age of eight. Her first poem came as a result of being punished for speaking Spanish in school. Her poetry has been published in numerous journal's and other publications. She has performed her poetry at numerous cultural events. She continues to write poetry, and inspires others to use the written word as a form of self discovery and personal healing. Hedy is also one of the moderators for Poets Responding to SB 1070.

Claudia D. Hernández was born and raised in Guatemala. She's a bilingual educator, poet, writer, photographer and translator in the city of Los Angeles. She's pursuing an MFA in creative writing at Antioch University Los Angeles. Her photography, poetry, and short stories have been published in: The Indigenous Sovereignty Issue of The Peak, Hinchas de Poesía, KUIKATL Literary Journal, nineteen-sixty-nine an Ethnic Studies Journal, Blood Lotus, REDzine, Kalyani Magazine, Along the River II Anthology, among others.

She’s currently working on a project titled: TODAY’S REVOLUTIONARY WOMEN OF COLOR. This is a yearlong project that will tentatively culminate on November 2013, with a walking photography exhibit and the publication of a photography book.

To stay updated with the latest interviews of these phenomenal women, please visit and ‘like’ TODAY’S REVOLUTIONARY WOMEN OF COLOR Facebook page @

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10. A Lucky 2013!

It's here! 2013. The year my YA, GILDED, will launch into the world. I'm beyond excited. I don't even know how to tell you other than pages and pages of exclamation marks which would be annoying and you'd never want to visit my blog or read my book again. So I won't succumb you to that.

Instead, I'm excited to tell you that the The Lucky 13ers are celebrating 2013 by having an awesome contest to kick off the new year. And I'm participating. One lucky winner will win a giant swag pack from 20 debut authors! Check it out here.

Or you can head over to the MiGs where we're talking about our writing goals. I've a long list that I'm hoping to acheive. Wish me luck.

And if you get a chance, you can vote for GILDED on any of these Listopias over on Goodreads.

So what are you most excited about for 2013? It's going to be a lucky year and I'm wishing you all the luck that this upcoming years has to hold.

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11. Happy New Creating

 by Maureen Lynas  As you embark on another year of creativity, all fired up with the Slushpile wish lists, I thought I'd offer up some gems of advice from the people who know what it takes to stay on the creative pathway of bumps and potholes. Authors and illustrators must show determination in the face of so many things - the learning curve, rejection, the learning curve, the state of the

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12. Happy New Creating

 by Maureen Lynas  As you embark on another year of creativity, all fired up with the Slushpile wish lists, I thought I'd offer up some gems of advice from the people who know what it takes to stay on the creative pathway of bumps and potholes. Authors and illustrators must show determination in the face of so many things - the learning curve, rejection, the learning curve, the state of the

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13. January We Love to Illustrate 2012 Round Up!

Happy New Year everyone! It's 2013 and all of us here at www.welovetoillustrate.com wish to say Thank You for all of your visits and comments, and we look forward to spending the new year sharing our posts with you each month.
We wanted to share our annual post-year Illustration Round-Up with links below for our January post. If you missed anything, you can click on the links below to take you to each month's posts and downloads. 

As we start the new year, we hope you all have a happy, healthy and peaceful year ahead..may you all find time to create, enjoy moments with family and friends, and pass along a bit of kindness to others along the way.

Thank you for your visits and support..it means a lot to all of us!
- Julissa, Cally, Jennifer, Nina, Shirley and Bee -
1) Free Printable Valentines for Kids – Julissa Mora
2) Free Printable Valentines for Kids – Belinda Strong
3) March...of the Chinese Zodiac Animals – Cally Johnson-Isaacs
4) Free Easter Printables – Nina Seven
5) Spring Fashion Show – Jennifer A. Bell
6) Thank You! – Shirley Ng-Benitez
7) London Calling – Julissa Mora
8) It's time for some FREE Back-to-School downloads! – Belinda Strong
9) Fairy Tale Celebs – Cally Johnson-Isaacs
10) Fun Halloween Printables – Nina Seven
11) Fall Time – Jennifer A. Bell
12) Free Gingerbread House downloads – Shirley Ng-Benitez

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14. Happy New Year!

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15. Read in 2012 - 135 Books

I finished 135 Books in 2012.  8 more than I read last year but far less than the 250 I read in 2010.  I'm nearly done with another one but that will count towards 2013.  I'm not sure my "page" count is accurate for this year because the larger number of ebooks I read which don't always have a page count.

Pages Read

I'm hoping to read 150 books in 2013!

Read in 2012

Book of a Thousand Days
The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan
Divinely Designed
Before I Fall
Inside Out
Outside In
Murder by the Book
Wrong Number
Crispin: The Cross of Lead
My Double Life
The Body Finder
Queen in Exile
City Limits
Kay'sville: The Rhea Jensen Series, Book 4
Where She Went
The Absolute Value of Mike

Inspired Kathy's favorite books »
Share book reviews and ratings with Inspired Kathy, and even join a book club on Goodreads.

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16. REDDIT WINNER: MOST MESMERIZING GIF OF 2012: Best of WoahDude 2012 [Awards] : woahdude

Results are in! Best of WoahDude 2012 [Awards] : woahdude

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17. 2013 New Year Resolutions

You can’t reach for anything new if your hands are full of yesterdays junk. – Louise Smith


Well, it’s time to stop partying, get out of that bathtub and start laying out your plans to get rid of yesterday’s junk, so you can forge ahead for a successful 2013. My plans are below this delightful illustration by Louis Bergeron.


Here they are:

Read one hour everyday.

Complete the YA and Middle Grade book that are in the final draft.

Complete YA first Draft of book that I started and did not finish.

Complete new YA novel that is only one page.

Write 1000 Words Everyday (Will require shutting off the phone).

Spend one hour everyday sketching and trying out new illustration techniques.

Spend three hours six days a week conducting business – websites, critiquing, developing marketing plans for writers and illustrator clients.

Set-up another Writer’s Retreat. 2012′s event was such a great success.

Blog Everyday 

Walk one hour four times a week. I would like to say everyday, but I know exercise will take a back seat when life gets in the way.

Keep a food journal. I’m not going to say, I will count my calories and lose so much a week.  That always fails.

Spend one hour everyday on house chores.  Notice how far down on the list this is?

Have fun doing things above and try to find time to have fun with friends.

I will update you once in a while on how I’m making out and how long it takes to fall flat on my face.

What are your resolutions?

Talk tomorrow,


Filed under: Uncategorized

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18. My Year In Reading 2012

In no particular order, but grouped together in ways that make the most sense to me, here are my favorite reads this year:

Sara Gran's Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead defied all expectations and proved to be so much more than the mystery I thought I would find. The characters, the setting, the dialogue, all were most compelling. But it was the backstory that Gran created that really put this over the top. I dream of a sequel like you would not believe. Another mystery also impressed - Available Dark by Elizabeth Hand. Graphic, brutal, the very definition of cold and hard, this one takes you into the recesses of a heroine's mind as it threatens to splinter apart. No one wants to grow up to be like Cass Neary and yet Hand makes you care deeply about her anyway; she's damn near majestic in this novel.

The Mirage by Matt Ruff should not work, really, but it does and brilliantly. Seeing 9/11 in this mirror world gives Ruff lots of room to play with big ideas. It's not a "gotcha" book either, but a very smart and thoughtful one. Ruff should be a household name as far as I'm concerned.

Lincoln's Dreams by Connie Willis was overlooked by me for far too long. I loved the history bits, obviously, but also the mystery, the relationships, and the ending slayed me. I'm just never disappointed by Willis. (And like Ruff, she does twisty-turny better than most. It's the very definition of interstitial.)

The Birding Life by Laurence Sheehan is a great big coffee table book with lush photos of birds and bird life in art and interior design and literature. It's the kind of book you page through again and again. A luxury read.

Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma was recommended by Kelly at Stacked and it proved to be one of the creepiest YA titles I've ever read. It's subtle but sinister from start to finish and for all that it is impossible it is also utterly believable. This is an author to watch for sure.

Other YA I gulped down with glee were the Book of Blood & Shadows by Robin Wasserman and The Diviners by Libba Bray. Wasserman's book is a thriller of the first order but even better than most as it incorporates so effectively the issues of trust and love that first come up in the teen years. I also love the history here - and how compellingly she brings the distant past to life. Bray has written fabulous horror in The Diviners, which is NOT paranormal romance but rather a mystery, a set piece, some Bradbury, some King, some Buffy at her Scoobies-loving best and an enormous bloody valentine to 1920s NYC. Both books are good for what ails you.

Polar Wives by Kari Herbert and Visit Sunny Chernobyl by Andrew Blackwell are both straight-up nonfiction of the best sort - compelling, clearly written and full of the authors' own thoughts on their subjects. Herbert shines a light on the long overlooked wives of several great explorers and Blackwell hits some of the planets hellspots. The books could not be more different in subject matter but are easy to dip into and crack with literary energy.

Zeuglodon by James Blaylock is my MG read of the year - funny, outlandish, full of adventure, exactly what the average ten-year old could want. It reminded me of childhood reads in a good way and made me long yet again for Dick Van Dyke, circa Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, to be my father figure. (They lived in a windmill! A WINDMILL!!!!!)

Dotter of Her Father's Eyes by Bryan & Mary Talbot. Bryan Talbot is one of my favorite gn authors and artists and his illustrations for his wife's book are lovely. Her story though, about her own life as the daughter of a Joycean scholar and the parallel life of James Joyce's troubled daughter Lucia, is extremely compelling. This is the sort of subject I think is made for the gn treatment - the pictures illuminate the tale and in the end, oh how your heart will break for Lucia. (I should note I knew nothing about her which really annoyed me after studying Joyce's work in high school.)

Glaciers by Alexis Smith is a very quiet book about ordinary people that will appeal hugely to bibliophiles (a book conservator!) but mostly it is about how we get along, who we hope to be, the little things we do each day as we inhabit the same workspace. It's about friendship and romance and humanity if that makes any sense. Or I could just tell you it's about a man and woman and how they come to know each other. The quietest book I read all year and yet one of the most powerful. A textbook on how to write well.

I heard Kathleen Flenniken read from Plume at the Mazama Book Festival in August and it has stayed with me every since. This collection about the Hanford Nuclear Facility in eastern WA (where her father worked and she grew up near) reminded me so much of my father's career working for the DOD. So eloquent, so powerful, so sad. The power of poetry, for sure.

Redshirts by John Scalzi is the funniest book I've read in ages. I bought a copy for my brother, who made me watch Star Trek when we were kids, and I told him it was written for people like us. It's not easy to do funny well and the plot Scalzi crafted here is really something to behold. Greatness.

As I posted a couple of weeks ago, I like a good romance but it's hard to find a balance between hot and story. Everyone's talking about getting to the "good parts" of the Fifty Shades books - well if the story sucks then I'm done. (Really - when the sex parts are the best part then I think you need to just call it porn and stop trying to wrap it in a literary bow just to make yourself feel better.) Riveted by Meljean Brook is a steampunk book set in her version of Iceland that has a rocket to the moon, a hidden colony of women and a hero that is every bit the damaged stoic type that readers love. Brook is having so much fun with this series, each entry just makes it more intriguing.

The Spindle Cove series by Tessa Dare is much more traditional - pretty standard historical (Napoleonic Wars period) but the women are wholly unexpected, especially in the second book where the protag is a geologist desperate to get to a conference in Scotland. Smart, sassy, struggling to find a way to matter in a social construct that doesn't give them much value, and funnier then heck as they interact with their romantic leads. Plus hot. Totally.

Best final pages of a book I read this year go to Blackwood by Gwenda Bond. This is a mystery/thriller with paranormal elements and I expected it all to be wrapped up nicely but Bond goes big in the final pages and doesn't give her characters a break but rather the conclusion they earned. Sad (but also hopeful). This really elevated the book for me.

And finally, the best confrontation between parents and children occurs in the poignant drama Happy Families by Tanita Davis. There's a moment when the two teens are in counseling with their cross-dressing father and the therapist asks the kids what they want for the future - essentially their goals. One of them (I think it's the boy) just unleashes, demanding to know why it matters what they want when as the kids they are just stuck with whatever their parents decide and have to deal with it. Their plans have already been upended and likely will be again and again because parents - even good nonabusive parents - sometimes really screw up and the kids are along for the ride whether they like it or not. This resonated so powerfully with me and illustrated something YA gets wrong a lot, when readers are given a false sense of empowerment by a novel. Most of us are just stuck at that age, and Davis gets that - she gets it in every book she writes and is why I feel she really is a writer to watch.

Be sure to check out Jenny D.'s year in reading as well! (Thanks for including me in it!)

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19. Happy New Year!

Here's to more laughter in 2013.

This is a tune called the Laughing Rag by Roy Smeck from the 1920s. Buster Keaton would have certainly known this one and probably could have played it better than I can. Anyway, here's a version recorded during the packing and moving from my old studio. I'm using my 1930 Reed/Regal ukulele purchased from Antebellum Instruments.

Happy New Year, everyone!

6 Comments on Happy New Year!, last added: 1/15/2013
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20. Please share your words today. #slice2013

Post a link to your slice of life story and/or share the one little word you'll live by this year.

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21. The 2012 Person of the Year Is. . .

Writing_prompt_generic2012 PERSON OF THE YEAR!

Time Magazine has their Person of the Year, and we now present the first ever . . . STACKS Person of the Year!

Last week we asked you to nominate the person or group of people that have had the biggest impact in YOUR world in 2012. There were lots of amazing nominations, but the person (or in this case group of people) is . . . Niall Horan, Harry Styles, Zayn Malik, Louis Tomlinson, and Liam Payne, a.k.a. One Direction.


  • ArtisticCat7 has personal reasons for nominating One Direction. "They have made a big impact on my life because it's the first time I was really involved in a band. It showed off a diferent side of me as a person." 
  • Caroline nominated them "because they're just simply downright AMAZING!"
  • ChattyAngel42 summed it up saying, "They're all so talented and nice! I think they should be nominated because they've gotten really popular this year."

Happy New Year, One Direction! You are the STACKS Person of the Year!

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22. Happy New Year 2013 Giveaway!!

Happy New Year 2013 
Giveaway Hop

Hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer & Babs Book Bistro

January 1st - 7th 2013

I'm going to let my winner choose which book they want to read.  Book of Choice up to $15 from The Book Depository or a $15 Amazon Gift Card.
Ends 1/7/13

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Each of these blogs is hosting a giveaway as part of this hop.  The linky will be accurate by tomorrow afternoon.  Happy New Year!!

23 Comments on Happy New Year 2013 Giveaway!!, last added: 1/7/2013
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Two of Artie’s widely published Christmas stories were republished this month by Families Online Magazine. To read the stories, please click on the covers below.

Bipper and Wick – A young bear’s youthful rebellion leads to an unlikely friendship on the night before Christmas.

Light on a Snowy Day – After nurturing an injured baby deer back to health, a young girl’s lone Christmas wish is to be reunited with the friend she lost.

Bipper and WickLOASD - COVER

Artie’s children’s story The Race for Space was published in the December print edition of Lincoln Kids!. To read the story online, please click on the cover below. The story is on page 22.

The Race for Space

Artie’s poem Ceiling to the Stars was published in the November print edition of California Kids! To read the poem online, please click on the illustration below.

Artie’s children’s story The Hummingbird Who Chewed Bubblegum is being published in a book collection by the Oxford University Press in India. More to come.


Use of any of the content on this website without permission is prohibited by federal law

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24. 100 Magnificent Children’s Books of 2012

Happy 2013, everybody!


And that officially marks the end of all my 2012 reviews.  I’ll have an appropriate regret-filled post on the matter tomorrow, but for now let’s celebrate the year!  Everyone has their own little lists, and I am no exception.  In case you’re curious, I did similar ones for 2010 and 2011.  Now just because I don’t mention your favorite book here, that doesn’t mean I don’t adore it on some level.  I just had to limit these titles to 100, which is bloody difficult.  Similarities to the 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing list from NYPL are acknowledged, but there are some definitely differences, you betcha.  For one thing, I could only include the books I’d actually read on this list.

So without further ado . . . here we go!!

Picture Books

And Then It’s Spring by Julie Fogliano. Illustrated by Erin E. Stead. Roaring Brook Press

Baby Bear Sees Blue by Ashley Wolff. Beach Lane Books

Beach Feet by Kiyomi Konagaya. Illustrated by Masamitsu Saito. Enchanted Lion Books

Boot & Shoe by Marla Frazee. Beach Lane Books

Cat Tale by Michael Hall. Greenwillow Books

Chloe and the Lion by Mac Barnett. Illustrated by Adam Rex. Hyperion Books

Creepy Carrots! by Aaron Reynolds. Illustrated by Peter Brown. Simon & Schuster

Duck Sock Hop by Jane Kohuth. Illustrated by Jane Porter. Dial Books for Young Readers

Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett. Illustrated by Jon Klassen. Balzer & Bray

Green by Laura Vaccaro Seeger. Roaring Brook Press

Happy Like Soccer by Maribeth Boelts. Illustrated by Lauren Castillo. Candlewick Press

H.O.R.S.E.: A Game of Basketball and Imagination by Christopher Myers. Egmont USA

It’s a Tiger! by David LaRochelle. Illustrated by Jeremy Tankard. Chronicle Books

Jimmy the Greatest! by Jairo Buitrago. Illustrated by Rafael Yockteng. Groundwood Books

John Jensen Feels Different by Henrik Hovland. Illustrated by Torill Kove. Eerdmans Books for Young Readers

Jonathan & Martha by Petr Horacek. Phaidon

Lester’s Dreadful Sweaters by K.G. Campbell. Kids Can Press

Let’s Sing a Lullaby with the Brave Cowboy by Jan Thomas. Beach Lane Books

Me and Momma and Big John by Mara Rockliff. Illustrated by William Low. Candlewick Press

My Dad Is Big and Strong, But . . . by Coralie Saudo. Illustrated by Kris Di Giacomo. Enchanted Lion Books

The Quiet Place by Sarah Stewart. Illustrated by David Small. Farrar, Straus & Giroux

Step Gently Out by Helen Frost. Photographs by Rick Lieder. Candlewick Press

The Swing by Robert Louis Stevenson. Illustrated by Julie Morstad. Simply Read Books

Trains Go by Steve Light. Chronicle Books

Up, Tall and High by Ethan Long. G. P. Putnam’s Sons

Folk and Fairytales

The Goldilocks Variations by Allan Ahlberg. Illustrated by Jessica Ahlberg. Candlewick Press

The Great Race: An Indonesian Trickster Tale. Retold by Nathan Kumar Scott. Illustrated by Jagdish Chitara. Tara Books

Hans My Hedgehog: A Tale from the Brothers Grimm. Adapted by Kate Coombs. Originally written by Brothers Grimm. Illustrated by John Nickle. Atheneum Books for Young Readers

Robin Hood. Retold by David Calcutt. Illustrated by Grahame Baker-Smith. Barefoot Books

The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse: An Aesop Fable. Retold by Helen Ward. Templar Books


Forgive Me, I Meant to Do It: False Apology Poems by Gail Carson Levine. Illustrated by Matthew Cordell. Harper

Leave Your Sleep: A Collection of Classic Children’s Poetry. Adapted to music by Natalie Merchant. Illustrated by Barbara McClintock. Farrar Straus Giroux

National Geographic Book of Animal Poetry. Edited by J. Patrick Lewis. National Geographic

Outside Your Window: A First Book of Nature by Nicola Davies. Illustrated by Mark Hearld. Candlewick Press

Shiver Me Timbers!: Pirate Poems & Paintings by Douglas Florian. Illustrated by Robert Neubecker. Beach Lane Books

Walking on Earth and Touching the Sky: Poetry and Prose by Lakota Youth at Red Cloud Indian School. Edited by Timothy P. McLaughlin. Illustrated by S. D. Nelson. Abrams Books for Young Readers

Early Chapter Books

The Adventures of Sir Balin the Ill-Fated by Gerald Morris. Illustrated by Aaron Renier. Houghton Mifflin Books for Children

Duck for a Day by Meg McKinlay. Illustrated by Leila Rudge. Candlewick.

The No. 1 Car Spotter and the Firebird by Atinuke. Illustrated by Warwick Caldwell Johnson. Walker & Company.

Rabbit & Robot: The Sleepover by Cece Bell. Candlewick Press.

Sadie and Ratz by Sonya Hartnett. Illustrated by Ann James. Candlewick Press.

Twelve Kinds of Ice by Ellen Bryan Obed. Illustrated by Barbara McClintock. Houghton Mifflin Books for Children

Older Chapter Books

A Boy and a Bear in a Boat by Dave Shelton. David Fickling Books

Buddy by M. H. Herlong. Viking

The Case of the Deadly Desperadoes by Caroline Lawrence. Orion Children’s Books

Chickadee by Louise Erdrich. Harper

Crow by Barbara Wright. Random House

Deadweather and Sunrise by Geoff Rodkey. Putnam Juvenile

Fairest of All by Sarah Mlynowski. Scholastic

The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen. Scholastic Press

Freaky Fast Frankie Joe by Lucile Clifton. Holiday House

Goblin Secrets by William Alexander. Margaret K. McElderry Books

The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy. Illustrated by Todd Harris. Walden Pond Press

In a Glass Grimmly by Adam Gidwitz. Dutton Children’s Books

The Kairos Mechanism by Kate Milford. The Clockwork Foundry

Katerina’s Wish by Jeannie Mobley. Margaret K. McElderry Books

Liar & Spy by Rebecca Stead. Random House

The Lions of Little Rock by Kristin Levine. G. P. Putnam’s Sons

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate. Illustrated by Patricia Castelao. Harper

Pickle: The Formerly Anonymous Prank Club of Fountain Point Middle School by Kim Baker. Illustrated by Tim Probert. Roaring Brook Press

Plunked by Michael Northrop. Scholastic Press

The Prince Who Fell From the Sky by John Claude Bemis. Random House

Return to the Willows by Jacqueline Kelly. Illustrated by Clint Young. Henry Holt and Company

Splendors and Glooms by Laura Amy Schlitz. Candlewick Press

The Star Shard by Frederick S. Durbin. Houghton Mifflin Books for Children

Starry River of the Sky by Grace Lin. Little, Brown and Company

Summer of the Gypsy Moths by Sara Pennypacker. Balzer & Bray

Three Times Lucky by Shelia Turnage. Dial Books for Young Readers

The Traveling Restaurant by Barbara Else. Gecko Press

The Unfortunate Son by Constance Leeds. Viking

The Vengekeep Prophecies by Brian Farrey. Illustrated by Brett Helquist. Harper

Who Could That Be at This Hour? by Lemony Snicket. Illustrated by Seth. Little, Brown & Co.

Wonder by R. J. Palacio. Alfred A. Knopf

Graphic Novels

Cardboard by Doug TenNapel. Graphix

Drama by Raina Telgemeier. Graphix

Fangbone! Third-Grade Barbarian by Michael Rex. G. P. Putnam’s Sons

Giants Beware! by Jorge Aguirre. Illustrated by Rafael Rosado. First Second

Hades: Lord of the Dead by George O’Connor. First Second

Little White Duck: A Childhood in China by Na Liu and Andres Vera Martinez. Graphic Universe

Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales: Big Bad Ironclad! by Nathan Hale Amulet Books

The Secret of the Stone Frog by David Nytra. Toon Books

Nonfiction Picture Books

Bird Talk: What Birds Are Saying and Why by Lita Judge. Flash Point

Bill the Boy Wonder: The Secret Co-Creator of Batman by Marc Tyler Nobleman. Illustrated by Ty Templeton. Charlesbridge Publishing

The Fantastic Jungles of Henri Rousseau by Michelle Markel. Illustrated by Amanda Hall. Eerdmans Books for Young Readers

How Many Jelly Beans? by Andrea Menotti. Illustrated by Yancy Labat. Chronicle Books

It Jes’ Happened: When Bill Traylor Started to Draw by Don Tate. Illustrated by R. Gregory Christie. Lee & Low Books Inc.

Jazz Age Josephine by Jonah Winter. Illustrated by Marjorie Priceman. Atheneum Books for Young Readers

Spirit Seeker: John Coltrane’s Musical Journey by Gary Golio. Illustrated by Rudy Gutierrez. Clarion Books

Nonfiction Chapter Books

A Black Hole Is Not a Hole by Carolyn Cinami DeCristofano. Illustrated by Michael Carroll. Charlesbridge

Buried Alive! How 33 Miners Survived 69 Days Deep Under the Chilean Desert by Elaine Scott. Clarion Books

Chuck Close: Face Book by Chuck Close. Abrams Books for Young Readers

The Fairy Ring by Mary Losure. Candlewick Press

The Great Molasses Flood: Boston, 1919 by Deborah Kops. Charlesbridge

Hand in Hand: Ten Black Men Who Changed America, by Andrea Davis Pinkney. Illustrated by Brian Pinkney. Hyperion

The Human Body Factory by Dan Green. Illustrated by Edmond Davis. Kingfisher

Invincible Microbe: Tuberculosis and the Never-Ending Search for a Cure by Jim Murphy and Alison Blank. Clarion Books

The Skull in the Rock: How a Scientist, a Boy and Google Earth Opened a New Window on Human Origins by Marc Aronson and Lee Berger. National Geographic Books for Children

Temple Grandin: How the Girl Who Loved Cows Embraced Autism and Changed the World by Sy Montgomery. Houghton Mifflin Books for Children

Titanic: Voices from the Disaster by Deborah Hopkinson. Scholastic Press

Zombie Makers: True Stories of Nature’s Undead by Rebecca L. Johnson. Millbrook Press

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10 Comments on 100 Magnificent Children’s Books of 2012, last added: 1/11/2013
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25. Please share your words today. #slice2013

Post a link to your slice of life story and/or share the one little word you'll live by this year.

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