Monday, September 23, 2002

good children’s books

One of my favorite authors, Michael Chabon (wonderful writer of Werewolves In Our Youth, Wonderboys, and of course my much-loved Adventures of Kavalier & Clay AND reportedly the writer for the sequel to “Spiderman”) is going to have a new children’s book soon, entitled Summerland. I’m adding this to my objects of desire list to get next month. I enjoy Chabon’s voice whether he’s writing long form or short form, so he goes into the list (he works his change of tone well in the last short story of his I read “The Laughter of Dark Gods”). Neil Gaiman’s Coraline, assuming I don’t get it here first, also goes into the list, as well as future children books from Isabel Allende (City of Beasts has two children finding a legendary animal) and Clive Barker (his book, Ararat, is about a girl who saves a group of islands). I used to feel that Allende was a copycat (of Gabriel Garcia-Marquez) but after reading almost everything she wrote, I was finally convinced otherwise by her novel Daughter of Fortune. As for Clive Barker, his best short story for me was “In the Hills, the Cities” from Books of Blood. I read his play and previous children’s book and find myself curious to see what he has to say. Great reading to look forward to.

ave maria

In the course of doing research for new Hinirang stories one cannot help but notice the incredible influence of Spanish Catholicism in this country. Indeed, it was Spain’s “good” reason to come over here (in actuality, my country served simply as a waystation for the Acapulco galleon trade). The clerics that came, from different orders, set up churches and chapels and vied among themselves for the indios’ souls, ultimately taking advantage of the ignorant rabble by acquiring huge tracts of lands in the name of the Church. In the meantime, the various taxation systems bled the people dry, while enforced labor broke their backs. And yet, over 300 years since the Spaniards first came, no one but dedicated historians and researchers know, remember or are particularly aware of how much the invaders changed the course of history. In the name of greed, in the name of influence, and in the name of the Virgin - rich, dark and multi-layered breeding grounds of Hinirang tales of all sorts.


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