Archive for December, 2009


December 5, 2009

I’ve been having an exhilarating time at the FIL.  Since the invited area is Los Angeles, many of the panels and round tables are of authors I’ve read, I have their books, and/or they provided the foundation for my thesis.  Needless to say, I’ve been there a lot and have been asking lots of questions and coming home breathless with excitement.

After posing one question, an author I admire posed a question back at me and I have been thinking about how to respond for the last couple days.  Héctor Tobar writes for the LA Times and he is best known for his debut book “The Tattooed Soldier”, which I didn’t read because it’s about tortured Guatemalans.  His second book, “Translation Nation” was lent to me by Iliana and it was fantastic.  He travels throughout the US focusing on the Spanish-speaking US, but not just in the big cities of LA or Chicago, but in the little towns in Alabama or Kansas where they are having an influx of Spanish-speaking people because they have a meat packing plant or a chicken processing center.  It is a very interesting and important read.

I thought he did a very good job of capturing the culture of the Mid-West, not something that many LA writers can do, and when I told him this, he asked me where I was from and also for some recommendations on books that have good representations of Mid-West culture. So…..

I’m assuming he’s looking for something beyond Mark Twain or Laura Ingles Wilder, the first things that popped into my head.  The best book I can think of is called something like “Farm” which makes it impossible to find in any book search.  I got it from the MU library and it was guy who spent a year living with a farmer and family somewhere near Warensburg.  He goes into great detail about the difficulties of modern farming and the social fabric of these communities.

Anyone else have any suggestions?  Héctor asked me to email him when I had something.