Last month started off great - I was nearing the end of a great year of reading, and I actually came up with my goal for the new year before 12:59pm on December 31st. I decided for 2011 that I will read one book a week by an author I interact with on Twitter. Having already read wonderful books by several authors on Twitter, I was so excited about this goal, I decided I couldn't wait until January and wanted to start right away.
Hahaha - silly bookslinger!
In return for my enthusiasm for starting a project before the last minute, the universe made me its bitch: I got bronchitis, the heat in my apartment was broken for a week, I took a nasty fall, and my dad had a stroke. December definitely thought that negative attention was better than no attention at all. So, I took my godsmacks and retreated under my blankets to hide until the new year. Once I was ensconced in 2011, I felt safe enough to attempt my goal again. My first pick: Into the Beautiful North by Luis Alberto Urrea.
So, here's my PSA for the day: if you're thinking of throwing a party, and are worried you won't be able to keep your guests entertained, invite Luis. We hosted him this summer at RiverRun Bookstore, and he was marvelous! There can hardly be a more charming storyteller out there. He's a natural at telling tales, and funny, funny, funny. He and his lovely wife Cindy were kind enough to come to see @readandbreathe and I when we traveled to Brooklyn this past fall, and Luis was a rock star at the Brooklyn Book Festival.
Into the Beautiful North is the story of a Nayeli, a teenage girl who convinces her friends to illegally cross the border into the States to help her find her dad, and also seek out 'warriors' to help run the drug dealers out of their Mexican village. Luis's writing is a warm breeze - even in the face of sad situations, the story radiates hope and joy. The teenagers are so delightful, and their adventures are, for the most part, very funny. I particularly enjoyed the road trip Nayeli and her friend Tacho take to look for her dad in Kankakee, Illinois. The descriptions of the scenery and the tourist attractions along the way reminded me of Pee-Wee's Big Adventure, a classic. I also really liked their 'bodyguard', Atómiko. This book is great fun. Viva la Luis!
To learn more about Luis Alberto Urrea, visit here.