Posts Tagged ‘drama’

The Rag Doll Plagues

November 28, 2012

Title: The Rag Doll Plagues

Author: Alejandro Morales

Genre: Fiction, magic realism, historical, sci-fi, Chicano lit

Publisher: Arte Publico Press: Houston

Number of Pages: 200

Date of Publication: 1992

Geographic Setting: Spain, Mexico, California, Lamex

Time Period: 1788-1792, modern day, 2050

Summary: The plague called La Mona (what we would call AIDS today) is sweeping through Mexico during its colonial period, and no one knows what to do. The King of Spain sents his physician, Dr. Gregorio Revueltas, to try and help the colonists. Interwoven is the story of a doctor in California who falls in love with a woman who contracts AIDS from a blood transfusion; and the future story of Lamex, a collaborative state combining Mexico and the Southwest USA: where the people who once lived in Mexico City may finally develop the cure for the plague. The whole book is one cycle, as the main characters of books two and three are descended from the physician of the first, and that the spirit of the doctor returns to help guide them to the cure.

Subject Headings: communicable diseases–fiction

Appeal: drama, disease study, dystopian world, suspense, contemporary, Chicano, alternative history, deep, detailed, culture study, folk medicine, terse writing

My Three Appeal Terms: culture, detailed, disease study

Recommended Nonfiction Authors:

Santeria:The Religion: Faith, Rites, Magic by Migene Gonzales-Wippler. World Religion and Magic Series, 2002.
An in-depth look at Santeria, a religion that combines Catholicism and Yoruba African deities into a spell-binding package. Chosen because it plays a major role in Dreaming in Cuban.

The Wisdom of Whores by Elizabeth Pisani. Norton W. W. & Company. 2008.
An unconventional look into AIDS from angles people might not have considered, including political and autobiographic viewpoints. A little graphic in parts, but not meant to be gratuitous. Chosen because it deals with the main subject of Rag Doll.

Tales from Another Mexico: The Lynch Mob, the Popsicle Kings, Chalino and the Bronx by Sam Quinones. University of New Mexico Press, 2001.
A book of nonfiction vignettes about contemporary Mexico collected while reporting in the area. Chosen for subject area and general format, as well as for setting, which ties it to the other recommended books.

Recommended Fiction Authors:

Dreaming in Cuban by Cristina Garcia. Ballatine Books: New York. 1992.
A family split by the revolution in Cuba and each takes their own way in life. Chosen because it falls under Latin American literature and history. It also is cyclically written and detailed in its settings like Rag Doll. Recommended for those who want another view on Hispanic culture, modern history or religion.

Like Water For Chocolate by Laura Esquivel. Perfection Learning 1995.
The youngest daughter of a Mexican woman in the 20th century tries to find true love and independence from her overbearing mother and the rule that the youngest daughter cannot marry. Chosen because it is cyclical, deals with family and is extremely detailed. Recommended for those who like cooking, romance, history, culture and for those who like to get angry when they read ( trust me, you will!)

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia-Marquez. Harper Perenial Modern Classics: New York. 2006.
A cyclical view of the mythical town of Macondo, as told by the Buendia family. Chosen for being in the canon of Latin American Literature and lush, detailed settings. For those who like drama, family and Latin American culture studies.

Name: Jennifer

Thirteen Reasons Why

October 3, 2012

Author: Jay Asher

Title: Thirteen Reasons Why

Genre: YA; Psychological Suspense

Publication Date: January 2008

Number of Pages: 288 pages

Geographical Setting: Most likely a small town in the USA

Time Period: Present Day

Series (If applicable): N/A

Plot Summary: Clay Jenkins comes home from school one day to a box full of tapes. As he listens to them he hears the voice of Hannah Barker, the girl who took her life a few weeks back. On the tapes are thirteen people who played a role in Hannah’s decision to take her life and she wants them to know why. Each person on Hannah’s list will receive these tapes and have to listen to her story and their role in it. Clay is distraught and can’t believe he is on these tapes, he shouldn’t be on them, he liked Hannah and even had a crush on her. Throughout the book Clay walks the streets of his town to places Hannah mentions on the tapes and listens to the events that lead up to her suicide. Suspensefully written and full of emotions and detailed characters, this book gives you a look at high school life for teenagers, the struggles they face and the real life decisions some teens make.

Subject Headings: Suicide Victims, Rape, Emotions in teenagers, guilt, suicide, interpersonal relations, tapes, high schools, schools, teenage boys

Appeal: Suicide, Relationships, Dual Narratives, High School, Suspense, Realistic Fiction, Drama, Character Driven, Emotional, Present Day, Fast-Paced, Small Towns

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: Suicide, Suspense, High School

Three Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

1.Dear bully: Seventy authors tell their stories (Sep 2011)

For anyone interested in hearing more stories about bulling and how it affects others. These authors of teen and young adult literature share their own stories about bullying from all sides of the issue.

2. Secrets girls keep: What girls hide (& why) and how to break the stress of silence (Nov 2009) by Carrie Silver-Stock

Thirteen Reasons Why centered around Hannah Bakers’ decision to take her own life and the stresses faced by teenage girls. In this book, teenage girls can find answers to questions about daily life as a teen. Topics covered in this book include; drug use, Internet, making friends, boyfriends, school and grades, depression and more.

3. Teen Suicide (Aug 2011) By Lorena Huddle

The main subject of Thirteen Reasons Why was teenage suicide. In this book we get an overview of the causes, risks, prevention, intervention and how to cope with a suicide.

Three Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

1. Looking for Alaska (Mar 2005) by John Green

Like Thirteen Reasons Why, this book tell of a young boy who falls for a girl whose death will leave unanswered questions. Throughout the book, one main character searches for answers dealing with life and death.

2. Why we broke up (Dec 2011) By Daniel Handler

For anyone looking for answers as to why something happened, check out Why we broke up. Why we broke up tells the story of a 16 year old girl who writes a letter to her ex-boyfriend explaining why they broke up. Along with the letter she includes a box of items that will help tell the story and why the relationship ended. In Thirteen Reasons Why, Hannah gives tapes to the people who played a part in her decision to take her life. She tells her story and reasons why through the tapes.

3. Hate List (Sep 2009) By Jennifer Brown

After the school shooting by her boyfriend, Valerie realizes that the people targeted during the shooting were on the Hate list. A list she helped create with her boyfriend. Now she is struggling with the last year of high school and her relationships with those around her as she tries to deal with feelings of guilt and her role in the shooting. Like Thirteen Reasons Why, there was a list and the people on this list played a role in the decision to take a life.

Name: Madison Gailus

Shame on It All

April 15, 2009

Title: Shame on It All
Author: Zane
Publication date: 2001
Page count: 355
Genre: Urban fiction, African American
Geographical setting: Baltimore/Washington D.C. area
Series: n/a

Plot summary: This humorous, fast moving novel chronicles the lives of the three Whitfield sisters: Harmony, Lucky, and Bryce, who don’t always see eye to eye, but love each other just the same. Harmony and Bryce are highly successful career women, while Lucky is an ambitious medical school student. However, it’s not long before the sisters run into trouble. Harmony has just received news that will change her life forever;  a secret she’s deterimined to keep from her sisters and her longtime boyfriend, Zachary, whom she abruptly begins pushing out of her life. Bryce goes through a messy breakup herself, when she discovers her man has been cheating on her. Finally, while at school, Lucky meets the love of her life, Robbie. But a mistake from her not-too-distant past has the potential to put their relationship, and, in fact, her entire future in jeopardy. The sisters’ struggles to get back on track often result in hilarious and surprising twists, and their friends’ scrapes provide for some unforgettable subplots. In spite of their squabbles and outrageous predicaments, the deep friendships and unbreakable bonds amongst the sisters and their friends manage to grow even stronger.

Subject headings: African American women; African Americans; Sisters; Female friendship; Dating (social customs); Family
Appeal: steamy, erotic, unembellished, raw, multiple points of view, humorous, page turner, fast moving, strong secondary characters, romantic, contemporary, sexually explicit, graphic, gritty, racy, family-centered, drama, strong female characters

Similar works (fiction): Soul Mates Dissipate – Mary B. Morrison (relationships, steamy, plot twists, romance)
Ladies’ Night Out – Electa Rome Parks (erotic, female friendship, successful female characters)
Sister, Sister – Eric Jerome Dickey (multiple points of view, sisters, family, relationships)

Similar works (nonfiction): Sucka Free Love: How to Avoid Dating the Dumb, the Deceitful, the Dastardly, the Dysfunctional and the Deranged – Deborrah Cooper (dating, relationships, sex, African American viewpoint)
What Brothers Think, What Sistahs Know About Sex: The Real Deal on Passion, Loving, and Intimacy – Denene Millner and Nick Chiles (African American viewpoint, sex, relationships)
Having it All? Black Women and Success – Veronica Chambers (strong women, careers, community)

Name: Suzanne