martes, 29 de noviembre de 2011

Club de Escritores -- Invitación

Hace días ingresé al recientemente creado Club de Escritores "Palabra sobre Palabra."
Puede convertirse en un interesante foro para intercambiar nuestras opiniones sobre muchísimos temas.
Es para escritores en lengua española -- y con todos los cambios vale la pena ponernos al día.
Conversando entre nosotros podremos cambiar el futuro.... ¿o verlo a través de mi bola de cristal?
Lo recomiendo.

viernes, 25 de noviembre de 2011

Her Peaceful Sleep´by Alex Canton-Dutari

"Acabo de leer Her Peaceful Sleep. Me gustó su intensidad contenida, su emoción poderosa, aunque siempre a salvo de caer en baches lacrimógenos, así como su poder de concentración.

Alberto Gualde"

Milkshake by Matt Hammond

Milkshake by Matt Hammond

Reviewed by Alex Canton-Dutari
I must say that I was enthralled while reading perfect Queen's English laced with a bit of Maori.
Apart from a frightingly believable if -no-so-easy-to -follow plot, initially, the author gibes the reader a good insight into the Maori culture. Thre thriller maintained a good crescendo with its proper final bang.
After reading this book I have included new Zealand in my to-visit list and Mr. Hammond among my to-read authors.

jueves, 24 de noviembre de 2011

Thanksgiving Thankfulness / Agradecimientos del Día de Acción de Gracias

For more than a century Panama has slowly adopted some US traditions, one of them being Halloween -- which is discouraged at the time -- the other being Thanksgiving.  Panamanian culturalists frown on both celebrations, as they are not native to this country.  Well, neither is Christmas, which is celebrated as "yankeely" as possible sans the snow.
Still, with the passing of the years in this earth I have finally accepted that I must thank "someone" or "something" for  being around.  I cannot say that I was popped out of my mother's womb for a purpose, as so many people tend to believe. 
But today I can be thankful for having had a life full of experiences -- tragical and joyous.  These are allowing me to engage in creative writing in such a way that I realize I hope to be around for some time to share bits of my life intermingled with all the fantasy my mind is able to concoct.
My dad's carrying me//
Me carga mi papá
Durante más de un siglo Panamá ha ido adoptando algunas tradiciones gringas, una de ellas es Halloween y la otra es el Día de Acción de Gracias o Halloween.  Defensores de la cultura panameña condenan estas celebraciones por no ser originalmente del patio.  Tampoco lo es la Navidad, la cual es celebrada tan "gringamente" como en gringolandia, sin la nieve.
Con el paso de los años en este mundo he llegado a la conclusión de que no salí del útero de mi madre para cumplir un propósito especial. Pero puedo dar gracias por una vida llena de experiencias, tanto trágicas como alegres.  Éstas me están permitiendo escribir de tal forma que espero poder estar en esta tierra por algún tiempo para compartir escenas de mi vida mezcladas con la fantasía que a mi mente se le ocurra.

miércoles, 23 de noviembre de 2011

Halloween Jack and the Devil's Gate

Halloween Jack and the Devil's Gate by Michael Gallowglas

Reviewed by Alex Canton-Dutari
Not being an American or British, I was only aware of some of the traditions of Halloween --trick or treat in the US and costume wearing in the UK. The carved pumpkin with a candle inside I had seen without knowing much about it.
The story of John of the Lantern was very well described, but the creation of Halloween Jack was surprising. I had never "experienced" the company of so many devils, goblins and other hellish creatures.
An important outcome of this reading was that the first night I actually had a nightmare including the book's characters.
A book that can make my subconscious work itself up is worthwhile reading.

martes, 22 de noviembre de 2011

Political Correctness? / ¿Políticamente correcto?

There was an inquiry in Book Junkies not long ago. My colleague wants to write a book set in the '60s and was not sure if she could use the words "fag" or "queer."  In other words, she was very concerned about not "insulting" or demeaning anyone through her written words. She wanted to be "politically correct."
In my opinion, this so-called "politically correctness" is not necessarily synonymous of the concept of equality so much in vogue today.  I have read many an article using the "correct" words but sending the most demeaning and insensitive messages possible.
Back to writing, my personal opinion is that when one is setting the story in a particular age, the dialogue should be exactly as it was used.  Not doing so will make the scene completely unbelievable.
Do you know that a white South African residing in the US is, technically, Afro-American?  I remember that this was commented to a white, South African Miss Universe.  Her reaction was politically correct but not pleased.
I believe it is the intention of the author  of the words and not the words themselves what turnes them either demeaning, or endearing.
I'll just try to write "correctly" and forget about the political bit.

Una colega de Book Junkies manifestó que quería escribir un libro con un tema ubicado en los años 60 y no estaba muy segura si debía utilizarlas palabras "cueco" o "marica."  Estaba muy preocupada por no insultar o devaluar a los lectores homosexuales.  Quería mantenerse "políticamente correcta."
En mi opinión, la importación del concepto norteamericano de "corrección política" no es necesariamente sinónimo de "igualdad" tan en boga en nuestros días.  He leído muchos artículos con términos "políticamente correctos" pero totalmente insensibles y degradantes.
De vuelta a la palabra escrita, mi opinión personal es que si la trama se ubica en una época especial, el diálogo debe ceñirse a la misma.  No hacerlo reduciría la credibilidad.
¿Saben ustedes que una persona blanca, Sur Africana, residente en los Estados Unidos de América es, técnicamente, Afro-Americana?  Recuerdo que esto se le comentó a una Miss Universo de Sur Africa, blanca.  Su reacción fue políticamente correcta pero no cómoda ante el hecho.
Creo que la intención del autor de las palabras y no las palabras en sí es lo que las convierte en degradantes o agradables.
Yo trataré de escribir "correctamente," y olvidarme del aspecto político.

martes, 15 de noviembre de 2011

I Will Not Go The F**K To Sleep by Richard Crasta

I Will Not Go The F**K To Sleep by Richard Crasta

Reviewed by Alex Canton-Dutari
I must admit that I bought this book looking for a good laugh. I ended up with more than a few.
Nevertheless, as with most books dealing with socio-political-religious and so on issues ,I found that this is not a work that can be easily understood by the average reader. A pretty good knowledge of --in this case-- In......dian and US affairs and worldwide issues in common with other countries is needed to understand the humor.
I'm glad that I know what Mr. Crasta was griping about. And he does it very well. BTW, I got a pick out of the list of "praises" for his previous books --making fun of regular promotion tactics?

sábado, 12 de noviembre de 2011

Literary Quandries / Dudas literarias

Literary thought for the day:

Erotica: "Covering Michaelangelo's David's genitals with a transparent fig leaf."
Porn: "Taking off the transparent fig leaf and baring it all through the written word?"
Curiosidad literaria del día:
Erótica: "Cubrir los genitales del David de Michaelangelo con una hora de parra transparente."
Pornografía: "Remover la hoja de parra transparente y describir lo descubierto a través de la palabra escrita."

jueves, 10 de noviembre de 2011

A Southern Tale of Forgiveness by Brandi Lei Morrisson

A Southern Tale of Forgiveness by Brandi Lei Morrison

Reviewed by Alex Canton-Dutari
I must say that I am quite partial to stories of psychological and cultural inspiration. "A Southern Tale of Forgiveness" did not let me down.
The plight of a set of twins of different color living in the South during the first half of last century was a big enough mess. What Ms Morrison described throughout her novel was somewhat expected but poignant.
I was happily surprised to read the dialogues, which included French phrases. This reinforced the location of the story.
My favourite portion was that pertaining to Jolie's stay at L'Aide. I found it nothing less than superb.
The subject of forgiveness --after living with deep guilt-- was very well handled and completely credible.
I, usually, go by the rule that regional lingo should appear only in dialogues. Though in this particular case I do not know if some flexibility in the narrative is due to the author's inclusion of forms of speech due to regional upbringing, or were slips. An example: "..get off of…" and "walked passed…"
I look forward to Brandi's next book.

martes, 8 de noviembre de 2011

The Last Resort by Valerie Douglas

Reviewed by Alex Canton-Dutari
I was impressed by how well Ms Douglas handled writing this novel completely in first person, which is not easy to do. It helped to almost participate in “her” quest.
The author has earned the right to be flexible with her punctuation – she has written enough books.
This is not my preferred genre, but it was comfortable to follow and, by the way, enabled me to learn something about new social trends – Goth, Wiccan…
Just a word for clarification: If the reference was to the country originating drugs, Colombia, not Columbia, is the correct one.
I am glad I read this book.

jueves, 3 de noviembre de 2011

Olga - A Daughter's Tale by Marie Campbell

Olga - A Daughter's Tale by Marie Campbell

Reviewed by Alex Canton-Dutari
I have always believed that family history should be recorded, and Ms. Campbell has reported on her mother's life in a very unique fashion: Through recollection of letters and diaries.
As the story originates in England but develops in Jamaica with a return to England, I was enthralled by the sociological descriptions that made me smile. In my country, Panama, there is a large black population which follows, even today, the same dynamics described by the author -- racial perfection is determined by whiteness, straighter hair and not necessary by wealth or education.
I also appreciated that this book was not written following the current "political correctness" in writing or speech. This added an important flavor of sincerity.
As the diaries seemed to have been transcribed, I do not know if the work merits some re-editing for punctuation, especially misplaced commas and substitution by semi-colons. Curiously, my mind fixed them as I read on. The story was compelling.
This book should be included in readings for sociology students.