Posts Tagged ‘FIL’

Culture

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.

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FIL recap

December 2, 2007

The FIL is over and I am listening to the last concert, Acterciopelados, live, on the University’s radio station. We decided that it was too much on a Sunday night, even though it’s free, and the place sounds like it is jam-packed.

I think we did just about everything we wanted to do during the last week. We bought books for ourselves and others, we saw most of a concert, we listened to concerts in our house (they are all broadcast live), we listed to talks by authors and architects, we walked the isles until our feet couldn’t take it anymore.

Adolfo posted our photos, so you can see the madness. Here are some of the things I noticed:

We encountered many friends and coworkers at the FIL, which makes me feel like we are meeting the right people.

You can SMOKE in the expo hall! The first person we noticed smoking was a security guard.

The general admission for the FIL is $20 pesos (discounts for teachers, students, and seniors). That’s a price that many people can afford once and some of us can afford it several times. It allows families to come to check out the books. I thought it was very generous and allowed a wide variety and large number of people to come to the FIL.

The FIL is run by the University of Guadalajara and many of the people working in the expo hall looked like students. They were obviously not assigning people to security guard duty based on physical appearance (seeing these teeny little girls with shirts that said “security” across the back made me pause more than once). Which then made me think – really, what kind of security do bookworms need?

I found a book in English by a woman we saw speak 2 weeks ago, Raquel Tibol. I’m very excited, because I came home from the speech and looked to see if she had anything published in English and found very little.

Adolfo found good architecture books (of course) and had to make difficult decisions about which to buy (the agony lasted for days!). He did buy one in particular, which he showed me before buying. I said, “Who’s that guy?” And, in response, he turned the book over. The guy was posing next to his model of the St. Louis Arch! Whoops! How embarrassing.

There was an excellent stand for CDs (Pentagrama) and I bought one Blues and one Zydeco CD and Adolfo got a CD of very old Son. I think they are all pretty good.

There is an architecture part of the FIL called the Arpafil. We saw one of Adolfo’s coworkers give a very interesting talk on sustainability.

We caught the announcement of the winners of the architectural competition for the FIL and one of Adolfo’s friends won first place.

We saw part of a speech by Elena Poniatowska. But, the best lecture we saw was by Tariq Ali.