My first new read of the New Year falls within the parameters of the Themed Reading challenge, which asks readers to pull books from their TBR stack that share a common theme. I chose Latino authors, as I have an ample supply of qualifiers.
So Far From God by Ana Castillo, written in 1993, has become required reading for some literature courses and is considered a breakthrough novel on Chicano life. Set in the small New Mexico town of Tome, the book tells the story of Dona Sofia and her four daughters, each with her own unique abilities – and tragedies. I’m loving the book, with all its Spanglish and references to both Mexican and Native American cuisine, healing arts, spiritual beliefs, and traditions.
The novel also explores the determination of women, as Sofia organizes her neighbors to preserve their heritage and improve their existence by building, bartering, and engaging in enterprises as a community. The long, descriptive chapter titles remind me of Jorge Amado, whose Gabriella, Clove and Cinnamon I will probably read next for this challenge.
For the Well-Seasoned Reader challenge, I am listening to Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace…One School at a Time by Greg Mortenson and David Relin. I’ve had the book for some time, but decided to check out the audio version.
The book recounts the adventures of Greg Mortenson, a trauma nurse by profession and mountaineer by choice. While descending from an unsuccessful climb up K2 in Pakistan’s Karakoram mountains, Mortenson wanders into the small village of Korphe. He promises to build a school and ends up building 51 of them, especially for girls, as a tribute to his sister. This is a story I’ve been looking forward to reading – or hearing, as it turns out – and so far it’s wonderful.