Saturday, October 25, 2008

Recommendations for your reading pleasure

And, yes, a couple of shameless plugs for friends and loved ones.

First, a new wonderful children's book everyone will love. The Best Mariachi in the World, or for the Spanish language version, El major Mariachi del mundo tells the story of little Gustavo, who comes from a family of Mariachis. But poor Gustavo cannot play an instrument. His family won't even let him touch their violins, trumpets, or guitars. He is sad and left out, until he goes out early in the mornings to sing the songs he knows, all alone, to the stars. Soon, the people of the village hear Gustavo's beautiful singing, his cousins carry him into the house for a special breakfast just for him, and he IS a Mariachi, singing with his family, and feels he is the Best Mariachi in the World.

The book comes in a Spanish language edition or a bilingual edition for those of us who are still learning our Spanish, and trying to expose our children to as much as we can. There is a glossary in the back with the English and Spanish equivalents, so if there is a word you can't figure out, just turn to the end. There is also a short explanation of the Mariachi, for those of us who were clueless there too.

The illustrations are beautiful and you can't help but fall in love with little Gustavo. It's a great story, and a great way of exposing your little ones (and yourself!) to some more of the Spanish language and some of this beautiful culture. I know what all my friends with little ones will be getting for Christmas this year, and it's NOT just because the author is a dear friend. : )

And since we've now covered English and Spanish, if anyone reads French, I've got a rec for you, too.

Noir Beton was released in France this week. And since I don't speak or read much French, and you must be wondering why I care, well, I'm just in LOVE with the author in any language. (Um, yeah, he's my husband.) And as difficult as he was to put up with while he was ... "editing" this book, it was all worth it when I saw this:

Not to mention the fact that the book has footnotes, explaining things like the 49er's, and various names of cheap booze, which makes me smile. And my absolute favorite part of the book (in French): The book is about rough-and-tumble concrete workers who drink too much, smoke too much, and curse too much, and who I just can't imagine speaking French. At one point, Rex shouts out to the main character, "Broadstreet!" and Broadstreet's response is, "Oui!" And I can't read it without cracking up.

And in case you are like me and can't read French, the book is also available in a plain old English edition as Two-Up, and is definitely a good read, even if I am a bit biased.

1 comment:

J.D. Smith said...

Those are a couple of very fine writers you mention there.

I have had the distinct pleasure of reading different versions of Two-Up or, s'il vous plait, Noir Beton, since it was a manuscript lo those many years ago.

Colby Root, one of the novel's characters, is a post-industrial Ahab.