The Bookshelf, The Parlor, The Young Texas Reader, and the Monthly

The Texas Bookshelf is different from the The Texas Parlor, . The Texas Parlor carries "general" bookish information and non-book information and even different Texana news and notes of use to the bibliographically challenged and other nosey folks intersted in historical, literary, and cultural observations. Will's Texana Monthly may carry material from either blog, but extends itself beyond those, especially for longer compilations or treatments. The Monthly, the Bookshelf and the Parlor are all companions. So, is the Young Texas Reader which specialized on books and such things for the youngest to the teenagers.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Cinco de Mayo Collection

This last Cinco de Mayo [2006],
the Editor went out browsing some west Houston retail outlets for material on Texas written in Spanish.

First on the list of stops was the book store Libreria Amigos (5401 Bissonnet, Houston, Texas, 77081, near the Bellaire Triangle, 713-667-7772) where the kindly caballero Celso Alonso, un cubano, will tell you he has “miles de libros en espanol.” And it’s true. Inside the clean and well-lighted place as it has been for several years, you’ll find over 300 shelves of books from Latin America. Philosophy, history, cinema, children’s books, novels, culinary guides, and whatever is appropriate. I already knew he didn’t have a Texana shelf, but there was a title that fit the mark.

Ningun Ser Humano Es Ilegal.
Por Marcello Marini. Houston: n.p., 2003. 160 pages, paperback. Cover illustrated with a collage of facial profiles clustered into the shape of a tree. $10.00. Marini was born in Argentina in 1939, college educated there, and got into the communications business through journalism and television and teaching at the college level. He came to Houston in 1968 and continued his career, adding community leadership to his portfolio. Most recently he has associated with Channel 47 Telemundo through his program “Nuestra Gente.” The present volume is in three parts. First there are brief essays of Marini reflecting on the condition and status of the Latino immigrant to Texas and the wider Estados Unidos, then a translated summary of those essays into English by Sybil Moncivais, and finally the story of Juan Bautista, a Mexican immigrant. Gracias, Sr. Alonso.

The Editor’s next stop was the grocery giant Fiesta where the usual mixture of magazines and books are found, many in Spanish but little connection to Texas – the usual grocery store mix. Separately, a couple of small book cases were set off to the side, near the pharmacy. I was amazed. There seemed to be a hundred paperback novels, virtually all at 96 page length with the usual colorful cover image of cowboys, horsemen, outlaws, city women, and such. They were Westerns, not Max Brand or Louis L’Amour, but Westerns, plain and simple. Apparently, somebody in Barcelona and Madrid, Spain (the Bantam of their market maybe) has found that a good penny can be made writing and publishing and then marketing (even in Fiestas) the traditional Western story to Spanish readers. And to top it off one of the many sub-series was “Texas.” I found a dozen of them. I bought two, Del Sudeste de Texas and Charles Lane, ‘El Tejano,’ each respectively connected to Santa Fe and Colorado. They are written under the name of Marcial Lafuente Estefania. They cost only $1.30 each. They are distributed through the BRAINS Company in Miami, in association with Atheneum in Boston which oozes us into the mainstream book publishers.

Next the Editor opted for some air-conditioning at Barnes & Noble and Borders. There the usual homogenized fare was found as well as titles from Arte Publico, Cinco Puntos, and Wings. More popular titles were several children’s picture books of Texan Carmen Lomas Garza (one co-authored by Sandra Cisneros), a biography by Maria Arras of Selena, El secreto de Selena, the translated version of Joel Osteen’s new Su mejor vida ahora, and Kitty Kelly’s La familia: la verdadera historia de la dinastia Bush. The Spanish language books at B&N were grouped on 50 shelves next to the area where the Benavidez Elementary School was having the book-sale fund raiser.

On another day, these stores may be visited, Libreria Cristiana Ebenezer, 10709 Gulf Fwy (713) 946-0713, Libreria Espanola, 620 W Alabama St (713) 523-4444, and Los Diez Mandamientos 10709 Gulf Fwy (713) 910-2656.

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