Category Archives: Reading

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The Book That Changed My Country

I mostly sit at the window when I’m working at Café la Habana. I have a spot. It’s the same spot where I sat when my buddy, Santiago, first brought me for coffee when I arrived in Mexico City. But … Continue reading

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Say Anything: A Case for Dialogue

Recently I was reading the prose section of an online literary magazine’s fall issue when I could not overcome a nagging sense that something was lacking. The stories themselves were well-written; the style was cohesive with the magazine’s tone; the … Continue reading

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Why I’m One Bad—But Well-Read—Feminist

It’s been a long time since I’ve felt like an adequate representation of “feminist.” When I married my husband a little over seven years ago, I barely waited a month before giving notice at my full-time job so I could give full-time … Continue reading

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Lit GIFs: The Giver (and why I haven’t seen the movie)

Let’s talk about The Giver. The Giver is a wonderful book by Lois Lowry. Many of us probably read it for school. Recently it was made into a movie, which I refuse to see because why in the world is Jonas cast as … Continue reading

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Likeable, Relatable, and Real

When I was a junior in high school, we read The Great Gatsby in English class. I hadn’t read the book yet, but I knew the rest of my family hated it. (They’re Hemingway fans.) “Ugh, that Daisy,” my mom … Continue reading

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Welcome to the Literary Jungle

Several times a year I am the recipient of emails or phone calls from friends, colleagues, parents, or complete strangers in search of writing guidance. Often the messages begins, “Hello, my name is Barbra. My daughter wants to be a … Continue reading

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The Power of An Author Who Can Share Her Insides

At least sixteen years ago, maybe more, I read Elizabeth Wurtzel’s Prozac Nation and saw myself. These days, it’s de rigueur to dismiss Wurtzel as a chaotic, self-involved mess. But back then, after receiving a diagnosis of chronic depression with bipolar tendencies, I ate … Continue reading

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Is Chicana/o Literature Dead? (A: No, not really): A Teacher’s Ramblings

It used to be that I didn’t know what Chicana/o literature was. Sometimes I still think I don’t, which is embarrassing because I teach classes on Chicana/o lit. The dictionary definition is easy—it’s been studied, chronicled, crystalized–and I can easily … Continue reading

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The Best Story I Read in a Lit Mag This Week: “Birthright” by Elizabeth Evitts Dickinson

I believed in ghosts as a kid. Since then, I’ve wondered why I wasn’t ever fascinated by the lore of other supernatural creatures. I think it’s in large part because ghosts—unlike angels, demons, vampires, or werewolves—didn’t seem to have such … Continue reading

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What Is It About the Literature of War?

Up until that short story workshop I took my junior year of college, my TBR pile was made up of a bizarre mix of Stephen King, Barbara Kingsolver, and Bill Bryson. Then my professor passed around photocopied packets containing stories by Lorrie Moore, Grace … Continue reading

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