Keep on Bookin'
New on the Border Book Shelf
Virtual Public Library — While El Paso library branches closed until further notice, 24/7 online services for library cardholders are still offered. The library is also offering free story-time, crafts and tutorials on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Information: elpasopubliclibrary.org.
‘Chrysalis’ Release Party — EPCC’s literary and arts journal, “Chrysalis,” will celebrate the release of its 2020 issue 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, April 24, at Cafe Mayapan, 2000 Texas, with a reading by writers, followed by a reception. The event will also include music and an exhibit by artists featured in this year’s issue. Admission is free. Information: Minerva Laveaga, 831-2724 or email@example.com.
Amigos and Flamingos Book Club — The monthly book club for young readers meets at a different El Paso Public Library Branch covering a different reading list each month. Check for future meets and cancelations. Information: 201-3040. Updates at Facebook at AmigosAndFlamingosBookClub.
LGBTQ book group — The bimonthly book group meets on odd-numbered months. Open to all LGBTQ and LGBTQ-friendly people interested in book discussions. Discussion start with personal sharing, followed by book discussion (food available). Information, location: Ted, 867-4261 (call or text) or on Facebook at ElPasoLGBTBookGroup.
Books Are Gems — 7744 North Loop Ste B (behind Compass Bank). The nonprofit organization sells and gives away new and used books. Children who come to the store may receive six free used books. Teachers can also receive free books for their classroom. Hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday; and 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Saturday. Information: 845-5437 or booksaregems.org.
Black Cat Sunday Poets — Black Cat Books and Coffee, 128 Broadway in Truth or Consequences, N.M., hosts free poetry readings at 1 p.m. the second Sunday of the month. Information: (575) 894-7070.
New on the Border Book Shelf
‘The Rescuer’ by Kari Veenstra. (INtense Publications). Veenstra’s new novel for teen readers features a teenager living 500 feet below the surface of a drowned planet who gambles his family’s one chance at a better future to help a missing friend.
The protagonist, Prok Zandin, “has two chances to qualify for advanced cadet training and he just lost one,” according to the author’s website. “Stuck at the bottom of the class system on the underwater planet Krador, 15-year-old Prok needs this training to become a Sea Warrior, a position with automatic social advancement into Krador’s upper class plus a hefty paycheck to fund his disabled sister’s medical procedure.”
“The Rescuer” is available through INtensePublications.com/shop/ or at her website kariveenstra.com.
‘Huevos con Chorizo: A Love Story’ by Earl Rymkus. (New Mitote Press). This memoir by El Paso author Rymkus is his second book for New Mitote Press after his 2017 short story, poetry and vignette collection “The Rio Grande Blues & Death and Mexico.” The book, interspersed with poetry and prose excerpts in both English and Spanish, takes readers on a brief journey not only through Rymkus’s not-always-happy life with his late wife, Adela, but also gives them a look into his thoughts and musings, as well as some flashes back to his own childhood.
Rymkus is planning a book signing in March, with location to be announced.
‘Who’s Miguel?’ by Ginny Satterwhite. Part time travel, part historic fiction and part emotional journey of a teenager overcoming grief, Satterwhite’s story for young readers follows 13-year-old Freddy Griswold, who finds himself whisked to Jamestowne in 1607 to the height of brutalities between the Powhatan Indians and English colonists.
As a member of Jamestowne Society and El Paso Chapter of Daughters of the American Revolution, Satterwhite emphasizes much of actual American history, while keeping the struggles of a 1950s teenage in primary focus. There’s also a drag racing element, as Griswold finds his place among the car club, Chukkas.
Young readers can draw parallels between the racial prejudices of early settlers and Indians, to the cliques and biases of teens. Any young reader who has experienced the isolation and angst of trying to fit into a new environment, as well as the loneliness of having to continue life losing a loved one, will find this a relatable read, but with an unexpected and easy-to-follow history lesson.
The book is available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle forms.
“Aaaachooo!” A Story and Drawing Book” written by author Cristina Casas Palmer and illustrated by Sirac Martinez (aka Sirac). The new children’s book, slated for a December release, is an exaggerated tale about a little girl named Amanda whose great big sneeze causes trouble everywhere she goes. Blank pages are provided for children to draw what happens when Amanda sneezes.
‘Buenas Noches, El Paso’ — Luke Lowenfield, who wrote the original poem, and artist Hal Marcus will release their “whimsical and timely” children’s book in time for the holiday season.
“Buenas Noches, El Paso” is about a child’s magical journey of discovery that truly captures the unique charm of the border region. Celebrating the limitless creativity of children, the book aims to leave all who turn its pages more connected to their community and each other than before they opened its cover.
The book will make its premier Nov. 1-3 at Junior League of El Paso’s A Christmas Fair, and will later appear at Las Artistas Nov. 23-24. It will also be available at Hal Marcus’s gallery at 1308 N. Oregon. Information: BuenasNochesElPaso.com.
‘No Soy Meche: La De Juan Gabriel’ by Joseph Carlson (Pupfish LLC). The Spanish language book chronicles the life of Mercedes Alvarez “Meche,” and her relationship with iconic singer Adan Luna (Juan Gabriel).
Meche, now in her early 70s, is the only living person who knew the true Juan Gabriel and the secret private life that the famous singer successfully hid from the public and his fans. She was instrumental in starting Gabriel’s career and is featured in several of his songs, including the one named after her, “Meche.”
“I started this project because after Juan Gabriel’s death many of his fans kept telling me they wanted to know the real life history of the legendary singer,” Carlson said. “I hired a professional Mexican author, Fausto Lozano Lara, who spent nearly one year interviewing ‘Meche’ and reviewing her personal memoirs and photos; many which date back several decades.”
Learn more at nosoymecheladejuangabriel.com.
‘Copper Stain: ASARCO’s Legacy in El Paso’ by Elaine Hampton and Cynthia Ontiveros (University of Oklahoma Press). Through nearly 100 interviews with ex-employees and others involved in the smelter’s demise, the book is filled with “stories of horror, humor, courage and sorrow documenting the grim reality of laboring under giant machines and lava-spewing furnaces while turning mountains of rock into copper ingots.” According to a release from Hampton, the book exposes the political tug-of-war between industrial and enviromental issues. Available at oupress.com.
'A Fighter’s Will' by Thomas “Tommy” Dominguez III (Dorrance Publishing Co.). The 16-year-old Faith Christian Academy student has authored his first book, featuring a cover design by his sister Mia Ilani Dominguez. The coming of age story about a high school student named Bryson, which Dominguez should appeal to lovers of Shounen Jump stories and martial arts. Information: dorrancepublishing.com.
‘Twenty Miles West of Branch, Texas’ is a collection of 13 short stories and a novella by veteran El Paso writer K.C. Knouse. The book begins with the title story of a brief encounter between a would-be good Samaritan and a stranded motorist on a West Texas highway. The ending selection is the novella about an old-school salesman coping with changing times as he makes some calls in Truth or Consequences. Available for $11.79 in paperback or $2.99 as ebook from Amazon.com and other online sellers. Information: KCKnouse.com.
“Broken Circle” (Akahsic Books) by J.L. Powers and M.A. Powers. A teen-ager finds out his family business is headed by the Grim Reaper, and is surrounded by fellow teens all destined to become soul guides in Limbo. The authors area sister and brother, who now live on opposite ends of the country but grew up in Vinton. J.L. Powers’ first novel was “The Confessional,” set in a fictional version of Cathedral High School. This work still has some traces of the authors’ border roots, including a dose of Día de los Muertos.
“Walking Juarez,” black and white photographs and text by NMSU journalism professor Bruce Berman (Border Blog Press). The book compiles photographs and stories he’s taken of Juárez and the border spanning 45 years. Berman said the book, “Walking Juarez,” is not about “how horrible Juárez is” but about the “sweet epiphanies and little insights.” The oldest photos in the book are from 1972, while the most recent photos are from 2017. Information: bruceberman.com.
“The South Franklin Trinity,” by Jim Murphy (BLBM Publishing). The story takes place in El Puente, Texas, a far-west Texas community nestled in the Franklin Mountains. Three signature characters are absorbed in their own personal search for the meaning of life. Their unpredictable destinies cross a fiery path on the third Tuesday of April 2016.
Also recently released by Murphy is “I'm So Pissed Off!!!—An Adult Stress Relief Book.”
‘My Favorite El Pasoans: Past and Present’ by James Robert Murphy (BookBaby). El Paso writer and musician JMurphy has compiled a list of 200 El Pasoans who have made their mark (but not always in a good way) in the fields of performing arts, literature, athletics and charitable causes, politics, history, crime and other areas.
Murphy said he began the project three years ago and put in on the back burner until a friend encouraged him to revisit it.
“My first version was a little stiff you might say; filled with the regular happy-go-lucky El Pasoans everybody hears about all of the time,” Murphy explains on his website. “So I went back to work and gathered a host of new colorful characters like escape artist Fred Brown. After his incredible 1937 street performance in San Antonio, Texas, the police arrested him for vagrancy.”
Other notables Murphy celebrates include pioneering auto mechanic Tom Ogle, bootmaker Tony Lama, blues guitarist Long John Hunter, record producer Terry Manning, actress Irene Ryan (Granny from Beverly Hillbillies), and even notorious serial “Night Stalker” killer Richard Ramirez.
The book retails for $20 and is available via jamesrobertmurphy.com.
‘El Paso 120: Edge of the Southwest’ by Mark Paulda (TCU Press). In his follow-up to “Celebrating El Paso,” his first book of local photography, Mark Paulda has expanded his radius to 120 miles from El Paso, hence the title. The collection of landscapes and aerial images are grouped by location, mostly geographic gems such as the Guadalupe Mountains, Hueco Tanks, Kilbourne Hole and White Sands National Monument.
Paulda is an El Paso native who learned the craft and art of photography around the world, winning internationl awards.
“El Paso 120” is available for $35 at bookstores on online at pres.tcu.edu.
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