Tag Archives: Mario Alberto Zambrano

WWW Wednesday, 5-April-2017

5 Apr

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

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The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.


Currently reading: My husband and I made some major progress on Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs this weekend! We have about 2:30 left on it and we might just finish it separately because we don’t have another road trip coming up soon. Yay for progress!
I read a few pages of The Book of Speculation by Erika Swyler when I forgot my textbook for lunch reading. I’m still really enjoying this book, but it’s slow going for sure.
I think I’ll finish Once In a Great City by David Maraniss  this week. It’s a good one to listen to during my long runs and it’s fun listening to it while I drive because more than once, I’ve been on the freeways or in sight of the buildings he mentions and it’s really exhilarating.
I started a new physical book, A Son of the Circus by John Irving. Many of you know how much I love Irving and I’m also a big fan of circus books so this is one I’m really looking forward to! It’s a long one so I expect it to be here a while.

Recently finished: I finished Lotería by Mario Alberto Zambrano Saturday night. It was a lot faster of a read than I thought and I was glad to get through it. The images in it were beautiful and the story was a big puzzle to solve which was a cool structure. My review is already up so please go check it out. I gave it 4 out of 5 Stars.

Reading Next: The plan is still to listen to Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See on audio, though I may power through Library of Souls before I pick it up, just depending on what the hubby and I decide to do with that one. I’m looking forward to See’s book, though!


Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

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Book Review: Lotería by Mario Alberto Zambrano (4/5)

4 Apr

I bought this book years ago. My friends and I were on a ‘book crawl’ of Ann Arbor and I was in Literati, telling myself I wasn’t going to buy any more books, but then I saw this one. The cover is gorgeous and the blend of Spanish in the text interested me. I was hooked and bought it. Unfortunately, due to the number of books I buy, it was a while before I picked it up but I wanted to treat myself after a long book to something that looked fun.

Cover image via Goodreads

Lotería by Mario Alberto Zambrano

Summary from Goodreads:

In Loteria, the spellbinding literary debut by Mario Alberto Zambrano, a young girl tells the story of her family’s tragic demise using a deck of cards of the eponymous Latin American game of chance. With her older sister Estrella in the ICU and her father in jail, eleven-year-old Luz Castillo has been taken into the custody of the state. Alone in her room, she retreats behind a wall of silence, writing in her journal and shuffling through a deck of loteria cards. Each of the cards’ colorful images–mermaids, bottles, spiders, death, and stars–sparks a random memory. Pieced together, these snapshots bring into focus the joy and pain of the young girl’s life, and the events that led to her present situation. But just as the story becomes clear, a breathtaking twist changes everything.

This book was a lot less ‘fun’ than I hoped for, but that’s not to say it wasn’t good. I don’t read summaries before I read books because if I’d read that one, I would have known how sad this book was going to be. Young Luz has had a rough life and her lotería cards are one of the happy memories she has. She likes to use the cards to remind her of her life because they’ve become such an intricate part, a weekly ritual formed when her family was happy and whole. Zambrano reveals the story slowly and I enjoyed learning about Luz’s story a bit at a time. She would flash from a happy memory to a moving one and back, using the cards to tell her tale.

Writing a child is hard and I think Zambrano did it well. There were one or two times when she seemed older than her age and there as a few mentions of how she was very mature, more so than the teenagers sometimes. I thought this was a bit unbelievable, but made writing her easier for Zambrano. I thought the other characters were very believable, especially Tencha.

I think Mama was my favorite character. This sounds terrible because she’s not really a hero in the book. The way Zambrano writes her, you feel bad for her but you also know she’s not doing the right things all the time. I felt bad for her more than anything. I saw her as someone who’s hurt, has no one to turn to, and who loves her children. It’s hard to see, but that’s what stuck out to me. Not knowing a lot about her made her really intriguing.

There weren’t any life experiences I shared with these characters. The thing I related to most was when they described spending time with the Silva’s after mass. When I was studying in Mexico, we would go to Abuela’s house a few times a week just to be with the family and hang out in her courtyard to eat and be with the family. We would cook and eat and sleep there because it’s where the family was and everyone was comfortable there. It was so much fun and I really miss that.

Mario Alberto Zambrano
Image via The Village Voice

I liked finally finding out what happened to Estrella. I’m not saying it was a good thing, but my opinion of Papi was very tainted by things I thought he did and clearing the air of that made the rest of the book easier to enjoy. It sounds like a weird favorite part, I’ll admit.

I didn’t enjoy the end of this story. It didn’t seem to really move anywhere. I think it’s supposed to be hopeful, like Luz and her father might reconnect, but I didn’t see it that way. I saw it as her giving up on her mother and staying put. The past had been cleared up, we knew how Luz got to where she was, but I didn’t know where she was going.

 

I think family had a very different meaning for Luz than it would for most people. For a time, the Silva’s were like family. Then she couldn’t trust her cousins in Mexico. Her immediate family was loud and yelled and, after a time, began to shrink. She had to find who she would trust and she’s placed that trust in her father. She was tested a lot and had to continue to decide how to justify her love for her father, the only family she has left.

Writer’s Takeaway: In the interview with Zambrano at the end, he talks about how the architecture of books fascinate him and I love the architecture of this story. The short stories made it easy to read many at a time and fly through the story. I liked basing the story on the lotería cards. I wondered if there was an order or if Zambrano put them in an order to drive his story. I really want to play the game now.

I enjoyed this book a lot and it was a fun, quick read. Four out of Five Stars.

Until next time, write on.

 

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Related Posts:
Lotería: A Novel – Mario Alberto Zambrano | Una Vita Vagabonda
Lotería by Mario Alberto Zambrano | Read More
An Interview with Mario Alberto Zambrano | Read to Write Stories

WWW Wednesday, 29-March-2017

29 Mar

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

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The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.


Currently reading: I decided not to take Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs off of this list. Hubby and I are going on a road trip for a friend’s baby shower this weekend so we’ll have six hours in the car and I hope we can make some decent progress on this book!
I’ve been picking up The Book of Speculation by Erika Swyler as much as possible because I’m really enjoying the story and I don’t want to forget what I’ve read each time I pick it up. I think I’m getting close to some major action and I can’t wait!
I’ve made steady progress on Once In a Great City by David Maraniss because of long runs and time spent cooking so I’m happy with how this one is going. I think I’ll have it finished next week!
I started  Lotería by Mario Alberto Zambrano! I’m so excited to finally be reading this one. I bought it two years ago because I thought it was pretty, haha. I don’t normally pick books out by their covers so this was a fun treat for myself.

Recently finished: I finally finished Night Soldiers by Alan Furst! It was a mad scramble to finish it over the weekend before I had to return it on Tuesday but I managed and I’m so proud, woo! The review went up yesterday so go check it out!

Reading Next: I think I’ll need an audiobook next and at the top of my list is Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See. I have a signed copy of this one but I’m making an effort to knock down my TBR through audio whenever possible so I’ll go for it. Besides, then I don’t have to worry about my signed copy getting battered at all!


Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 22-March-2017

22 Mar

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.


Currently reading: I’m tempted to take Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs off of this list because I’m barely moving with it. I was only moderately enjoying it while reading it and I don’t feel any pressure to get back to it. Plus, hubs and I usually only listen to these on long car rides and there are none of those coming up soon.
I was really hoping to make progress with The Book of Speculation by Erika Swyler during Spring Break but no luck! I read for school during lunch instead of reading at home, which felt like a treat, but meant I was slow on making progress here.
I got through another big chunk of Night Soldiers by Alan Furst this weekend. I’m still not sure I’ll finish it, but it will be close! I’m trying to keep my TV ban, but I did allow myself an hour on Saturday. It’s too hard to resist getting some quality knitting time in, haha.
I was hoping to be further in Once In a Great City by David Maraniss but I forgot headphones for my long workout on Saturday! I was so mad. So there’s 90 of listening time I won’t get back. I’m really enjoying the book and the focus on a city I know so well.

Recently finished: Noting! I’m so sad about this one. I’m really hoping to make progress this week, honestly! I’m in the middle of a few long books now and I swear I’m making steady progress, haha. Maybe next week?

Reading Next: I keep staring longingly at my bookshelf when I walk past, wondering what I will read next. I have it boiled down to two, Lotería by Mario Alberto Zambrano or You Are An Ironman by Jacques Steinberg. The first looks like a quick read and there are beautiful images in it. The second seems like something I should read before triathlon season gets into full swing. What do you guys think?


Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!