Sunday Salon: Junot, Gloria, and Banned Books Week

Greetings, lovely readers. I’m still alive. I’ve had a frustrating, hectic, and depressing September (one of my cats has vanished into thin air). Between grad school and teaching, I haven’t had as much time to blog as I’d like. HOWEVER, last week was awesome because I went to Austin to see Junot at Book People. I tweeted a little about that trip, then decided to Storify it instead of rewriting everything. If have trouble viewing the screen grabs, here’s the Storify link:

Junot was in Austin last Tuesday. I live about 6 hours away, but y’all know how obsessed I am by now, right? I went, armed with my stack of books.

I’ve seen him speak twice before (and I met him once), back when I lived in New York. He’s a FABULOUS speaker. Seriously, if you ever get a chance to see him, go. He talked about race and colonialism, his writing process, comic books (of course), and a little about his upcoming book. He also read a bit of “The Cheater’s Guide to Love” and “Alma” (which he said he’s sick of looking at by now…I can imagine). He has a great rapport with the crowd, and he’s a really really nice guy when you talk to him one-on-one, too.

The next morning, I tweeted a little bit about the evening:

(I should probably add that his teasing was not mean-spirited in any way. He’s hands-down the warmest author I’ve ever encountered, with the best audience interaction.)

After the talk, my friend and I got in line to get our books signed. everyone was walking away with a big smile on their face. I had several books for him to sign, one of which was my advance copy of This Is How You Lose Her. He was like, “Ooooh, advance copy! You’re GANGSTA!” (probably the only time in my life anyone will ever call me gangsta. lol!) I was just giggly and giddy because I’m a socially awkward dork (the fact that I harbor a massive literary crush on the man probably didn’t help). 😉

Driving back from Austin, Jessica’s post at The Hispanic Reader reminded me that Wednesday was Gloria Anzaldua’s birthday:

The borderlands that shaped Anzaldua = the Rio Grande Valley, where I’m from. I’d never visited her grave, but I knew it was on my drive back home and decided to stop by. I figured it was about 40-45 minutes away, but she’s actually buried 25 minutes away from my house. It’s a very small cemetery surrounded by fields. About 10 yards in front of her grave is a fenced off patch of mesquite trees where the neighbors raise goats and chickens. It’s silent except for the sounds of animals.

Overall, it was a good trip. I think it was just what I needed to help me recharge and refocus.

Which brings us to this coming week: Banned Books Week! For once, I actually do have a few reviews lined up, and all of them have to do with the books that were banned in Tucson when the Chican@ studies program was kicked out of schools. The list of books is quite long, and not all of them are even by/about Chican@s. If by any chance you are writing about any of those  books, please add your link to my Read and Resist Tucson site. On that note, please browse people’s reviews of Tucson’s banned books. You might come across some books of interest!

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8 comments

    • Melissa

      Thanks! I can’t wait to see him again at Texas Book Fest! He’s great.

      And I just realized that people who see my This Is How You Lose Her review around the interwebz PLUS this post are probably like “What’s with her sticking Gloria in Junot posts?” lol! Totally coincidental…although I think they go well together, so whatev. 😉

  1. Ellen Rhudy

    I saw Junot last night here in Philly and was so psyched to finally see him after hearing what a good speaker he is. Because, you know, some writers…just aren’t all that good in front of crowds. Awesome to hear him teasing the crowd a little bit. And hearing him read “Alma” made me wish that I could just sit him down and have him read ALL of his stories out loud, because he does such a fantastic job with it.

  2. alisonrose711

    He sounds like a pretty awesome dude 🙂 I haven’t read any of his stuff but thanks to your fervent love, I definitely plan to!

    Also, going to check the Tucson banned books list for a good non-fiction pick. (I like to alternate fiction and non and am currently reading the Hurston book I mentioned on FB.) Are there particular non-fiction works on the list you’d recommend, by chance?

  3. cindylu

    Aw, it makes me so happy to see that he wasn’t a jerk. I’ve never met a writer/musician who was not gracious and kind in person even when I have been all giggly and star struck. Gloria Anzaldúa’s grave is lovely.

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