WWW: Gathering Books

Gathering Books is currently in the midst of a multicultural-based theme, "“Rainbow Colors of Diversity: Voices of the Silenced.”

Gathering Books is currently in the midst of a multicultural-based reading theme, “Rainbow Colors of Diversity: Voices of the Silenced.”

Are you looking for something to read? Check out the phenomenal blog: Gathering Books. I’ve always been aware of this incredible resource, but I’ve never had much of a chance to explore its voluminous content. Until now. My one word summary is: “Wow!” I’m struck by the amount and quality of work the team at Gathering Books must devote to the blog. It’s mind-blowing.

The bloggers responsible are Myra Garces-Bacsal, an Assistant Professor and clinical psychologist who does extensive work with the gifted; Fats Suela, a B.A. in Psychology, “nomad at heart,” and fabulous book reviewer; and Iphigene Daradar, a managing consultant, pyschometrician (I had to look this up), and counselor-in-training. These three have reviewed and commented in depth on hundreds of books. Many kudos for that!

The blog is organized into sections consisting of book reviews of all types (with new reads on Mondays and Saturdays), Filipino Lit, Nonfiction for Adults, Picture Books, Young Adult Lit, and more… Visitors interested in finding a good read can navigate these sections, read the reviews, view scans of illustrations, and comment on the books after reading.  Continue reading

Local Event! Benjamin Alire Sáenz in Santa Fe

SaenzIt’s no secret we’re huge fans of Benjamin Alire Sáenz at Vamos a Leer.  Last year our book group read Sammy & Juliana in Hollywood, and this past February we read Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe.  We absolutely loved both of them.  So you can imagine how excited we were when we found out he’s going to be in Santa Fe!!

Named one of 2010’s “Fifty of the Most Inspiring Authors in the World” by Poets & Writers magazine, Sáenz studied philosophy and theology and was a Wallace E. Stegner fellow in poetry at Stanford University. Born in Old Picacho, New Mexico in 1954, Sáenz has been a member of the faculty at the University of Texas at El Paso since 1992. Continue reading

Book Review: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

Aristotle-and-DanteWe had another great book group meeting on Monday night! We so appreciate all of you who come out and spend the evening talking about literature with us! Sáenz latest was another book group favorite.  With the multiple themes covered in this beautiful novel, it’s the perfect book to consider bringing into your classroom for February.  Neoshia has been sharing different books and resources appropriate for focusing on various ways of teaching about civil rights, and this book offers one more way to integrate civil rights lesson plans into the classroom.  In our Educator’s Guide we’ve included a number of lesson plans and resources for teaching about sexuality, gay history, and gay rights.  As I discuss in more detail below, it’s also a unique love story that goes beyond just romantic love but touches on the love shared between friends and the love between parents and their children–perfect for this Valentine’s Day month!

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
Written by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2012
ISBN: 978-1442408920
Age Level: 12 and up

Description (From GoodReads):

Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship—the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be.

My thoughts:

It’s no secret that we love Benjamin Alire Sáenz here at Vamos a Leer.  He’s been a favorite author of mine since I discovered Sammy and Julianna in Hollywood two summers ago.  This past summer our book group took a break from young adult literature and read Saenz’s Everything Begins and Ends at the Kentucky Club.   I remember starting it with some hesitancy, fearing that I would be disappointed because there was no way it could be as moving as Sammy & Juliana.  I was wrong.  It was amazing.  Despite this, I was hesitant again when I heard about Aristotle and Dante.  All the reviews said it was excellent.  It was continually placed on lists of award winning books.  I put off reading it, afraid it wouldn’t live up to my expectations.  Of course, my fears were completely unfounded.  It is one of the most beautiful books I’ve ever read.  It may be cliché to say that it is achingly beautiful, but I can’t come up with another way to describe it.  While I cried through at least the last third of the book, I absolutely loved every minute of reading it.  Continue reading

Our Next Good Read. . .Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

Join us February 3rd at Bookworks from 5:00-7:00 pm to discuss our next book.  We are Aristotlereading Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secretes of the Universe (Ages 12 and up) by Benjamin Alire Sáenz.

Here’s a sneak peek into the book: (from Goodreads)

Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship—the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be.

Continue reading

Book Giveaway!! Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

From The Librarian who doesn't say shhhh @ http://busyteacher.wordpress.com/tag/realistic-fiction/

From The Librarian who doesn’t say shhhh @ http://busyteacher.wordpress.com/tag/realistic-fiction/

We’re giving away a copy of Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universewritten by Benjamin Alire Sáenz–our featured novel for February’s book group meeting!! Check out the following from L. Lee Butler at NPR:

“Two Mexican-American teens living in El Paso in the 1980s, Dante and Ari could scarcely be more different. But through their years of growing up, apart and together in the pages of this lyrical novel, they are able to become more to each other than either could have imagined. While most young adult novels are confined to a small, urgent window of time, Benjamin Alire Saenz’s book is expansive, taking in the whole of an adolescent friendship, through momentous turning points and casual disintegrations. Ari’s voice is powerful and the perspective is specifically Mexican-American without being exclusively Mexican-American. If you’re anything like me, your heart will be in your throat through the final third of the book, hoping against hope for the joy that these characters deserve with each other.”
Continue reading

¡Mira, Look!: Américas Award Commended Titles

Hello, all,

In the past few weeks I’ve shared the winner and honorable mention for the 2013 Américas Award. This week I complete these announcements by sharing the titles from the final award category: commended titles.

Each of the commended titles is worthy of extended discussions.  They’re all remarkable books and as such I find it difficult to narrow the conversation down to a single post.  For the time being I’ll keep it brief, but only so as not to spoil future posts.  Spoiler alert: in the future, look for longer posts from us regarding Sáenz and Lake. Continue reading