A Dash of Latin Flavor - The Melting Pot
Welcome to The Melting Pot, NOR’s hub for diversity and multiculturalism. My name is C. Morgan Kennedy. I’m an avid reader and I read a little bit of everything. Join me each month to learn about books that feature a diverse cast of characters or exotic locations.
Let’s kick things off by adding a dash of Latin flavor with a ghost story twist to the melting pot!
Trust me when I say that Daniel José Older is most definitely ‘one to watch.’ His collection of short stories is a vibrant woven tapestry with a palatable eeriness that builds like the subtle heat of a spicy salsa. (To this day, the story that features porcelain dolls still haunts me.) :0)
A 300 year-old story collector enlists the help of the computer hacker next door to save her dying sister. A half-resurrected cleanup man for Death’s sprawling bureaucracy faces a phantom pachyderm, doll-collecting sorceresses and his own ghoulish bosses. Gordo, the old Cubano that watches over the graveyards and sleeping children of Brooklyn, stirs and lights another Malagueña. Down the midnight streets of New York, a whole invisible universe churns to life in Daniel José Older’s debut collection of ghost noir.
Frida Kahlo is one of my favorite artists and I know her history well. (When I traveled to Mexico City, I spent the better part of a day visiting her Casa Azul.) Originally published in Spanish, this translation of F.G. Haghenbeck’s tells the story of a woman who feels she is living on borrowed time. After striking a deal with her ‘Veiled Godmother’ (aka Death), Frida creates an amazing life filled with passion, pain, love, and delicious food. Yup, there are recipes at the end of each chapter. (Don’t worry; modified recipes with readily available ingredients are at the back of the book.)
Acclaimed Mexican novelist F. G. Haghenbeck was inspired to write this book after a series of notebooks and sketchbooks were recently discovered among Frida’s belongings in Casa Azul, her home in CoyoacÁn, MÉxico City. Although her family never confirmed their authenticity, Haghenbeck imagines that one of the notebooks was a gift from her lover Tina Modotti after Frida nearly died. Frida called the notebook “El Libro de Hierba Santa” (“The Sacred Herbs Book”) and filled it with memories, ideas, and recipes for The Day of the Dead, the Mexican holiday that commemorates deceased friends and family through the cooking of a delicious feast of exotic dishes.
In a rich, luscious style bordering on magical realism, Haghenbeck takes readers on an intriguing ride through Frida’s life, including her long and tumultuous relationship with her lover Diego Rivera, the development of her artistic vision, her complex personality, her lust for life, and her existential feminism. The book also includes stories about the remarkable people who were a part of her life, including Georgia O'Keeffe (with whom she had an affair), Trotsky, Nelson Rockefeller, Hemingway, Dos Passos, Henry Miller, and DalÍ.
Columnist: C. Morgan Kennedy
I have a confession to make. I’m a time traveler. I love flinging myself into the future, then hurtling fast to an alternative past. In my usual time-space-dimension, I’m a mechanical engineer and business woman. So, I have a natural penchant for hover cars and steam or aether powered engines. Though I was born in the wrong era, I’m actually a child of the sixties – 1860, 1960, 2060.
My stories feature strong women, who know how to wield their minds like weapons. Their men are smart and often controlling….but, rest assured, my female leads give them a run for their money. They strive to follow their hearts and dreams for the betterment of themselves and their loved ones. Like my life, all of my stories feature a diverse cast of characters.
With my business partner, Therese Patrick, I work to demystify marketing principles for my author friends. Our first book, Author Marketing 101 Guide & Journal, was published by Gazebo Gardens Publishing and released in October 2013.
Steampunk, futurist, blerd, artist, author, and marketing maven…a real creative force of nature – that’s me in a nutshell.
Keep tabs on my adventures via my blog, Morgan’s Mix Tape, on my website: http://www.cmorgankennedy.com.