Jul 17, 2011

Junot Díaz & The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

As I said in the suggestions email, since I am spending a couple of months woking in Dominican Republic, I thought reading a Dominican author would be a great way to learn more about the country and share a bit of these months with my No Cookies fellows :-)

Following Rocio's suggestion, I am adding here some info about the author of our next reading together. I always like learning something about the authors of the books we read, so I hope you do too:

Junot Díaz was born in 1968 in a neighborhood in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. He was the third child in a family of five. Throughout most of his early childhood, he lived with his mother and grandparents while his father worked in the United States. In 1974, Díaz was re-united with his father in New Jersey. There he lived less than a mile from what he has described as "one of the largest landfills in New Jersey".

He was a voracious reader during his elementary years, often walking four miles in order to borrow books from his public library. At this time, Díaz became fascinated with apocalyptic films and books. He graduated in 1992, majoring in English. In college he was involved in Demarest Hall, a creative-writing, living-learning, residence hall, and in various student organizations. He was exposed to the authors who would motivate him to become a writer: Toni Morrison and Sandra Cisneros. He worked his way through college by delivering pool tables, washing dishes, pumping gas, and working at Raritan River Steel. Reflecting on his experience growing up in America and working his way through college in 2010, Diaz said: "I can safely say I've seen the US from the bottom up… I may be a success story as an individual. But if you adjust the knob and just take it back one setting to the family unit, I would say my family tells a much more complicated story. It tells the story of two kids in prison. It tells the story of enormous poverty, of tremendous difficulty."

On 2010, it was announced that Diaz had been selected to sit on the 20-member Pulitzer Prize board of jurors. Diaz described his appointment, and the fact that he is the first Latino to be appointed to the panel, as an "extraordinary honor".

Currently, Díaz teaches creative writing at MIT and is also the fiction editor for the Boston Review. He is active in the Dominican American community and is a founding member of the Voices of Our Nations Arts Writing Workshop, which focuses on writers of color.

In addition to the Pulitzer in 2008, The Brief Wondrous life of Oscar Wao has been awarded many prizes and distinctions. "The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao... the saga of an immigrant family, but that wouldn't really be fair. It's an immigrant-family saga for people who don't read immigrant-family sagas." (Time)

Jul 16, 2011

Next reading

So the winner is "The brief wondrous life of Oscar Wao" by author Junot Diaz. The reading schedule will be coming soon!!

Jul 9, 2011

Twenty-Four Hours in the Life of a Woman - Final

So, we have finished the book, come on, don't tell me you didn't finish it! It was barely a two-hour read... So do you have any final comments? Feel free to keep posting about them, even though we open a new session. And, hey, don't forget to take part in the poll!

Jul 6, 2011

Thank you!

First of all, I would like to wish everyone a happy summer! Whether you will be working, like me :-( or on vacation, have a great one!
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Macarena and Rocio for their great job keeping up this blog! It is my first experience both in a book club and in a ciber community and I am having a great time!
I have read a lot since I was young, but never really discussed books with other people, since most of my friends and colleagues read little or nothing. I think it is fantastic to share thoughts and impressions with others!
I have to say that before joining this club, for some reason, I was lazy or bored to read in English, not sure why. This has changed and I really enjoy reading in English now and realize this is a great habit.
Also, I love discovering books that otherwise I might have not picked. I am always looking forward to the next one.
What else can one ask for?
Thank you everybody!!