reading books together: a podcast with deborah brothers and john paul jaramillo episode 7

In November’s podcast, we discuss Annie Dillard’s Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. We talk about pantheism and God-searching in the woods. We also have some fun and read one star reviews from Goodreads.

–Deborah Brothers holds a Ph.D. in English Studies and reviews books for Choice and The Lion and the Unicorn and her essays, fiction, and scholarly work have appeared in several publications.   

–John Paul Jaramillo holds an MFA in Creative Writing and is the author of three books: The House of Order, Little Mocos, and Carlos Montoya.

Music “Viv” by Joel Styzens from Relax Your Ears 

reading books together: a podcast with deborah brothers and john paul jaramillo episode 5

Radiant Child is a 2016 picture book by author/illustrator Javaka Steptoe.  It is a biography of artist Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960-1988) whose work first appeared in NYC in the late 1970s.  In this month’s discussion, we talk about picturebooks as a form and the lives and work of both Basquiat and Steptoe, which overlap in several ways. 

–Deborah Brothers holds a Ph.D. in English Studies and reviews books for Choice and The Lion and the Unicorn and her essays, fiction, and scholarly work have appeared in several publications.   

–John Paul Jaramillo holds an MFA in Creative Writing and is the author of three books: The House of Order, Little Mocos, and Carlos Montoya.

Music “Viv” by Joel Styzens from Relax Your Ears 

reading books together: a podcast with deborah brothers & john Paul jaramillo episode 4

Reading Books Together:  A Podcast with Deborah Brothers & John Paul Jaramillo 

Music “Viv” by Joel Styzens from Relax Your Ears 

John Paul Jaramillo and Deborah Brothers sit for a 40 minute discussion of 2022’s novel Woman of Light by Kali Fajardo-Anstine. The August “Reading Books Together” podcast discusses young people and reading, historical fiction and Colorado history. 

–Deborah Brothers holds a Ph.D. in English Studies and reviews books for Choice and The Lion and the Unicorn and her essays, fiction, and scholarly work have appeared in several publications.   

–John Paul Jaramillo holds an MFA in creative writing and is the author of three books: The House of Order, Little Mocos–a novel, and Carlos Montoya–a novel.

reading books together:  a podcast with deborah brothers & john paul jaramillo–episode 3 July 2022

Reading Books Together:  A Podcast with Deborah Brothers & John Paul Jaramillo 

Music “Viv” by Joel Styzens from Relax Your Ears 

Join John Paul Jaramillo and Deborah Brothers for a 30 minute discussion of Peter Wohlleben’s 2016 non-fiction work The Hidden Life of Trees. Our July “Reading Books Together” podcast dives into the mysteries of undisturbed forests and what author, a German forester, claims humans can learn about conservation, climate change, communication, and co-existence. 

–Deborah Brothers holds a Ph.D. in English Studies and reviews books for Choice and The Lion and the Unicorn and her essays, fiction, and scholarly work have appeared in several publications.   

–John Paul Jaramillo holds an MFA in Creative Writing and is the author of three books: The House of Order, Little Mocos, and Carlos Montoya.

reading books together:  a podcast with deborah brothers & john paul jaramillo–episode 1 may 2022

Reading Books Together:  A Podcast with Deborah Brothers & John Paul Jaramillo 

Music “Viv” by Joel Styzens from Relax Your Ears 

For their first foray into book review podcasts, Deborah Brothers and John Paul Jaramillo feature the 2021 novel by Canadian-American author Ruth Ozeki, The Book of Form and Emptiness. They discuss aspects of postmodernism metafiction, Buddhism, and bildungsroman.  

–Deborah Brothers holds a Ph.D. in English Studies and reviews books for Choice and The Lion and the Unicorn and her essays, fiction, and scholarly work have appeared in several publications.   

–John Paul Jaramillo holds an MFA in Creative Writing and is the author of three books: The House of Order, Little Mocos, and Carlos Montoya.

quick review/recommendation–consider this: moments in my writing life after which everything was different (2020)

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Chuck Palahniuk’s new book might be one of the most down to earth texts on the craft of writing. And I’ve long admired Palahniuk and his craft of writing–his fiction and his non-fiction. And back in the day when I started teaching fiction, I started using his lessons from litreactor.net and his compiled 36 Writing Craft Essays by Chuck Palahniuk. I used them in my classes and for my own education on craft. Reading his work in those days led me to Amy Hempel and Tom Spanbauer. (The book is dedicated to Tom Spanbauer by the way.) I very much enjoyed his take on the pretentiousness of heavy lit and how-to workshops and texts. His criticisms made me think of my own thoughts on the Writing Fiction by Janet Burroway text I use in my classes and how I feel the text doesn’t quite communicate with my intro to fiction students. There are so many lit references I don’t think they can swim with–the examples and lessons the text brings seem very heavy. That book seems good on paper for intro to fiction and I used that since my grad school days in courses. Palahniuk’s work on the other hand references films and television in a way I believe the Burroway craft text and others like it do not. And I enjoyed learning more about Palahniuk’s growing up and family life only hinted at in other essays. This may be a book when out in paperback I can bring into my classroom for a more practical way of teaching literary minimalism and writing process.

documentary recommendation: trudell

One of my favorite writers, activists and speakers.

John Trudell: It has been, literally, the most blood thirsty, brutalizing system ever imposed on this planet. That is not civilization. That’s the great lie – is that it represents civilization. That’s the great lie. Or if it does represent civilization, and that’s truly what civilization is, then the great lie is that civilization is good for us.

little mocos a novel in stories–book soundtrack–parts 1 and 2

Put together a quick listing of song titles I think work with each chapter of my book. Saw a few other writers I admire do this and so I thought I would try. More and more I like the idea of a movie-style book soundtrack. And I am finding this a fascinating exercise. Many of these titles are songs I listened to while drafting and revising and many I found recently as many of the characters and chapters refer to films and or songs in dialogue.

Ch 1 Animales has a very strong Los Lobos influence because I admire them so much. This is a bluegrass tribute I find beautiful:

Ch 2 Relles’ Boy and Ch 3 Little Mocos were both heavily influenced by Good Morning Azlan. I listened to this album nearly consistently for weeks as I drafted and re-drafted these early chapters.

Ch 4 Cornbread is all about the notorious criminal though I chose a upbeat track–maybe because I have so much sympathy or empathy with his character. Also the narrator has so much joy and love in learning about the man. Also the track is very quick and the chapter was meant to be this way–quick and elliptical–bopping from sad and funny story to sad and funny story.

Ch 5 Birthdays introduces the old folks or the grandparent characters back in their day–someone mentions Wheel of Fortune at the birthday–las dias–and the band I imagine would play this during the festivities. Also the family at the party sing together as I remember the old folks doing and I imagine them singing “de colores”:

Ch 6 Bear and Peaches is about a husband and wife feuding so the Hank Williams track is something the old folks might’ve listened to on the radio. I was actually amazed how popular Hank Williams was with the old folks:

Ch 8 Dogtrack is about the uncle who is a bad influence on his crew of boys and so I like that Emeterio might be listening to Al Hurricane on the truckito radio traveling out to the dog track:

Ch 7 and and Ch 9 are war stories essentially and the boys ask if the experience were similar to The Longest Day. This is a film I remember watching as a kid and thinking this was what military service was though the stories in the book contrast the film.

Ch 10 belongs to the crew of boys and so the child version of Las Mananitas seemed appropriate:

Ch 11 follows Emeterio’s downfall and he mentions drinking and partying as the fruits of his labor:

Ch 12 This feud between brothers ends with Emeterio going to jail and the other Santiago left alone to deal with family and bills. It also ends with a street fight and so this War track seemed appropriate.

father fragments

Relles on horseA quick nonfiction excerpt from a project I’m working on:

The dark haired boy, bare footed and tired takes the reins of the mare and throws his leg over with a kick. He’s been waiting for hours to ride. His lips widen and then he nearly lets himself giggle as the mount kicks and strides away from the Jefe and the fieldwork. The Jefe told the boy the horse needed rest and grain and so the boy bit at his lip and clipped onions until twilight. And after a day’s work the boy’s energy rivals the horse’s and the boy lurches with each powerful jump nearly uncontrollably for hundreds of yards. After weeks of side jobs it is the first time the boy has ventured out. When the boy finally thinks to check back, the old man wipes at his forehead and at the back of his neck. The old man’s face is small and worrisome. And the boy’s face glows for the horse and the yards paced ahead.

inside llewyn davis and the mobius strip narrative

inside_llewyn_davis_posterTeaching a film as lit class this term and spending some time this week closely studying Joel and Ethan Coen’s pre-Bob Dylan period film Inside Llewyn Davis. I am particularly interested in the themes of crisis and purposeleness. I also like the feel that the narrative is a mobius strip trapping the main character.

I am seeing many similarities with The Big Lebowski–another Coen brothers film I admire–in the themes of authenticity and honesty–also the theme of abiding or enduring. I also like the idea of the character who is not exactly aware of the depth of the crisis though I do feel Llewyn Davis comes to an understanding and awareness of sorts. I also love the motif in the incredible journey of the lost cat.

podcast recommendation: code switch–race and identity, remixed

Highway driving this summer and enjoying the fairly new Code Switch podcast. I also enjoy the written articles posted on NPR Code Switch site. Primarily enjoying the article on digital divides between Latino and Anglos.