Book Review: Notes from a Public Typewriter

Book Review: Notes from a Public TypewriterNotes from a Public Typewriter
by Michael Gustafson, Oliver Uberti
on March 27, 2018
Pages: 160
Published by Grand Central Publishing
Genres: Non-Fiction
Goodreads

When Michael Gustafson and his wife Hilary opened Literati Bookstore in Ann Arbor, Michigan, they put out a typewriter for anyone to use. They had no idea what to expect. Would people ask metaphysical questions? Write mean things? Pour their souls onto the page? Yes, no, and did they ever.

Every day, people of all ages sit down at the public typewriter. Children perch atop grandparents' knees, both sets of hands hovering above the metal keys: I LOVE YOU. Others walk in alone on Friday nights and confess their hopes: I will find someone someday. And some leave funny asides for the next person who sits down: I dislike people, misanthropes, irony, and ellipses ... and lists too.

In NOTES FROM A PUBLIC TYPEWRITER Michael and designer Oliver Uberti have combined their favorite notes with essays and photos to create an ode to community and the written word that will surprise, delight, and inspire.

My Takeaway “Life, like this typewriter, has no backspace. Type strongly and don’t look back.” Notes from a Public Typewriter Occasionally, a book comes along you simply fall in love with and folks, we have a winner here! I learned about Notes from a Public Typewriter…

Book Review: Celia: Mi Vida

Book Review: Celia: Mi VidaCelia: Mi Vida
by Celia Cruz, Ana Cristina Reymundo
on July 5th 2005
Pages: 304
Published by Rayo
Genres: Memoir, Non-Fiction
Goodreads

Cuando murió Celia Cruz, el 17 de julio del 2003, más de medio millón de personas --en Miami y en Nueva York-- esperaron en fila durante horas para presentarle sus últimos respetos. Varios millones más, le rindieron homenaje en pequeñas celebraciones conmemorativas, organizadas en sus propias casas y en festivales callejeros a través del mundo entero.

De su modesta infancia en Cuba, a sus años de exilio en México y su impresionante carrera en Estados Unidos, de sus extravagantes vestidos a su personalidad sencilla y reservada, Celia fue sin duda alguna, una mujer de contrastes. Era sincera, espontánea y accesible para sus fans, pero siempre muy privada. Era desinhibida sin ser decadente, honesta sin ser ofensiva, confiada sin ser arrogante y generosa a más no poder. Sin embargo, antes que nada, Celia era una mujer auténtica. Y es esa autenticidad que la caracterizaba, la que hizo que su público llegara a quererla tanto.

Basado en más de 500 horas de entrevistas grabadas tan sólo unos meses antes de su muerte, Celia incluye fotografías y anécdotas inéditas sobre la vida de Celia Cruz, revelándole a sus millones de admiradores, una vida que había permanecido muy privada a pesar de haberse vivido sobre el escenario.

Celia es la celebración de la vida de una mujer dotada de un talento extraordinario. Es la historia de una mujer apasionada, trabajadora que tenía una fe indestructible en Dios y en toda la humanidad. En estas, sus últimas palabras, le rinde homenaje al público que tanto la adoraba.

No te aflijas, chico, ¡vive tu vida con sabor! Celia Cruz Desde niña he escuchado la música de la reina de la Salsa, Celia Cruz. Celia nació y se crio en Cuba, pero en realidad ella pertenecía a todos los latinos y el mundo. La Guarachera del…

Book Review: Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood

Book Review: Born a Crime: Stories from a South African ChildhoodBorn a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood
by Trevor Noah
on November 15th 2016
Pages: 304
Published by Doubleday Canada
Genres: Memoir, Multicultural, Non-Fiction, Short Stories
Goodreads

The compelling, inspiring, and comically sublime New York Times bestseller about one man’s coming-of-age, set during the twilight of apartheid and the tumultuous days of freedom that followed.

Trevor Noah’s unlikely path from apartheid South Africa to the desk of The Daily Show began with a criminal act: his birth. Trevor was born to a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother at a time when such a union was punishable by five years in prison. Living proof of his parents’ indiscretion, Trevor was kept mostly indoors for the earliest years of his life, bound by the extreme and often absurd measures his mother took to hide him from a government that could, at any moment, steal him away. Finally liberated by the end of South Africa’s tyrannical white rule, Trevor and his mother set forth on a grand adventure, living openly and freely and embracing the opportunities won by a centuries-long struggle.

Born a Crime is the story of a mischievous young boy who grows into a restless young man as he struggles to find himself in a world where he was never supposed to exist. It is also the story of that young man’s relationship with his fearless, rebellious, and fervently religious mother—his teammate, a woman determined to save her son from the cycle of poverty, violence, and abuse that would ultimately threaten her own life.

The eighteen personal essays collected here are by turns hilarious, dramatic, and deeply affecting. Whether subsisting on caterpillars for dinner during hard times, being thrown from a moving car during an attempted kidnapping, or just trying to survive the life-and-death pitfalls of dating in high school, Trevor illuminates his curious world with an incisive wit and unflinching honesty. His stories weave together to form a moving and searingly funny portrait of a boy making his way through a damaged world in a dangerous time, armed only with a keen sense of humor and a mother’s unconventional, unconditional love.

My Takeaway “My mom did what school didn’t. She taught me how to think.” Trevor Noah, Born a Crime This phenomenal and fascinating memoir gets all the stars and all the love! Noah’s candid and humorous storytelling completely captivated me from beginning to end. Noah grew…

Book Review: We Should All Be Feminists

Book Review: We Should All Be FeministsWe Should All Be Feminists
by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
on February 3rd 2015
Pages: 52
Published by Anchor
Genres: Multicultural, Non-Fiction
Goodreads

In this personal, eloquently-argued essay—adapted from her much-admired TEDx talk of the same name—Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, award-winning author of Americanah, offers readers a unique definition of feminism for the twenty-first century, one rooted in inclusion and awareness. Drawing extensively on her own experiences and her deep understanding of the often masked realities of sexual politics, here is one remarkable author’s exploration of what it means to be a woman now—and an of-the-moment rallying cry for why we should all be feminists.

My Takeaway “A world of happier men and happier women who are truer to themselves. And this is how to start: We must raise our daughters differently. We must also raise our sons differently.” Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, We Should All Be Feminists “Teach your daughters to worry less about fitting…

Book Review: A Cup of Water Under My Bed

Book Review: A Cup of Water Under My BedA Cup of Water Under My Bed: A Memoir
by Daisy Hernandez
on September 9th 2014
Pages: 185
Published by Beacon Press
Genres: LGBTQ, Memoir, Non-Fiction, Short Stories
Goodreads

A coming-of-age memoir by a Colombian-Cuban woman about shaping lessons from home into a new, queer life  In this lyrical, coming-of-age memoir, Daisy Hernández chronicles what the women in her Cuban-Colombian family taught her about love, money, and race. Her mother warns her about envidia and men who seduce you with pastries, while one tía bemoans that her niece is turning out to be “una india” instead of an American. Another auntie instructs that when two people are close, they are bound to become like uña y mugre, fingernails and dirt, and that no, Daisy’s father is not godless. He’s simply praying to a candy dish that can be traced back to Africa. 

These lessons—rooted in women’s experiences of migration, colonization, y cariño—define in evocative detail what it means to grow up female in an immigrant home. In one story, Daisy sets out to defy the dictates of race and class that preoccupy her mother and tías, but dating women and transmen, and coming to identify as bisexual, leads her to unexpected questions. In another piece, NAFTA shuts local factories in her hometown on the outskirts of New York City, and she begins translating unemployment forms for her parents, moving between English and Spanish, as well as private and collective fears. In prose that is both memoir and commentary, Daisy reflects on reporting for the New York Times as the paper is rocked by the biggest plagiarism scandal in its history and plunged into debates about the role of race in the newsroom.

A heartfelt exploration of family, identity, and language, A Cup of Water Under My Bed is ultimately a daughter’s story of finding herself and her community, and of creating a new, queer life.

My Takeaway “Generally speaking, gay people come out of the closet, straight people walk around the closet, and bisexuals have to be told to look for the closet. We are too preoccupied with shifting.” Daisy Hernández, A Cup of Water Under My Bed A Cup of Water Under My…