quick review–the third policeman by flann o’brien

Such an odd and strange little book from O’Brien. What I liked: Definitely not a book you can easily categorize. The plot was meandering–more so than At Swim Two Birds–and completely unpredictable. A place wholly away from reality was the setting, and late in the novel we learn the “place” of the novel was aContinue reading “quick review–the third policeman by flann o’brien”

quick note–twin peaks, juan rulfo and spirit world voices

After a long semester of teaching I found some time to indulge in studying the novella Pedro Paramo by Juan Rulfo. I’ve been an admirer of Rulfo’s career and this book reads as a tremendous progression from his short stories I was introduced to in his book The Burning Plain. What I found in this work is aContinue reading “quick note–twin peaks, juan rulfo and spirit world voices”

summer reading

Summer is for reading. And I have quite a few books stacked next to my bed. I used to worry about having too many books hanging around and felt bad if I couldn’t finish them all. I’ve since changed that thought. The more books the better. Here are a few of the books I am working through:Continue reading “summer reading”

film recommendation: a scanner darkly

Lately for many reasons I feel I’ve been living inside of a Philip K. Dick novel, so I’ve been rereading a couple of my favorite–Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said and A Scanner Darkly. What does a scanner see? Into the head? Down into the heart? Does it see into me, into us? Clearly or darkly?Continue reading “film recommendation: a scanner darkly”

quick review of big sur feature film

Big Sur may be my least favorite Jack Kerouac novel. While On the Road and The Subterraneans captured youth and restlessness, Big Sur relates the aged, alcoholic Kerouac. And perhaps that is why I don’t enjoy the book. Kerouac’s persona is one of such a broken down writer unable to cope with fame and personal relationships.Continue reading “quick review of big sur feature film”

quick review of junot díaz’ this is how you lose her

I’ve long read and admired Junot Diaz‘ style of prose. I’m almost embarrassed to say how much I’ve modeled my own work after his. This latest collection of work contains all the themes of trouble and failure at its heart. And also the redemption. I continue to admire how the work follows a consistent universeContinue reading “quick review of junot díaz’ this is how you lose her”

stuart dybek’s the coast of chicago

We’re discussing a few stories tomorrow from Stuart Dybek‘s collection The Coast of Chicago. I admire “The Woman Who Fainted” and “Pet Milk” (4:27) and I was happy to find this reading for my Lit 50 students. So important to hear the author’s voice. I was lucky enough to hear him read years back atContinue reading “stuart dybek’s the coast of chicago”

the house of order indie reader review

Grateful for the thoughtful review at Indiereader.com: “…the book is filled with beautiful moments, like shards of broken stained-glass window lying in the dirt. This book will open your eyes to a new way of life and will leave you with haunting images not soon forgotten. A worthy read.” –IndieReader.com

quick review of daniel chacon’s hotel juarez

A few months back I wrote a quick review of Daniel Chacon’s book Unending Rooms. I admire Chacon’s aesthetic and overall writerly choices.  I look forward to picking up his novel and his other work Chicano Chicanery. His work at times is surreal and also thought provoking. I find his work here playful and intelligent. AndContinue reading “quick review of daniel chacon’s hotel juarez”

quick thought on the man with the golden arm

Finished reading through Algren’s The Man with the Golden Arm and I’ve enjoyed the story of self-destruction. I can see why this book is such a classic. Does feel a bit overwritten at times but Algren’s Chicago is a gritty and dirty place–very naturalistic. I most enjoyed the sweeping third person narration.

a book and a labyrinth

Rereading Borges’ The Garden of Forking Paths this morning. And the idea of a chaotic novel or a novel with confounding paths of time consoles me as I’ve been thinking Semi-Orphaned is a mess of vignettes and scene/organization that spirals. Hopeful that I have found a plan for the chaos. “No one realized that the bookContinue reading “a book and a labyrinth”

the house of order in sacramento book review

Happy to see The House of Order featured on the cover of the August Sacramento Book Review!

the house of order writeup in the san francisco book review

Here’s a quick excerpt from the writeup in the August San Francisco Book Review: Star Rating: 5 out of 5 “Raw and highly emotional at times, Jaramillo’s stories give a realistic look in to the lives of his characters as he presents short vignettes that hint at a deeper family saga. His style is easy to readContinue reading “the house of order writeup in the san francisco book review”

quick review: orwell’s down and out in paris and london

Drafting and revising semi-orphaned novel project but had some time to finish reading Orwell’s memoir/nonfiction/autobiographical novel about a young writer’s time in the ghettos of Paris and London. He works in restaurants and sleeps in homeless hostels. Pawns his clothes for food and also closely observes the down and out people he encounters. What strikesContinue reading “quick review: orwell’s down and out in paris and london”

quick review: luis alberto urrea’s the hummingbird’s daughter and queen of america

I first read the short fiction of Luis Alberto Urrea in graduate school. The discovery of a prolific Latino author whose work moves so adeptly from English to Spanish was important to my development as a writer. I enjoyed his collection of short stories Six Kinds of Sky and the keen worlds and characters drawn,Continue reading “quick review: luis alberto urrea’s the hummingbird’s daughter and queen of america”