Transforming our Perception of Music

the-concious-musician-200x300The Conscious Musician
Autora: Paulina Derbez
Editorial: Editorial Ink, Mexico City, 2014

Reseña por Karin Otterbach

The Conscious Musician is a stunning book, destined to change the perception of music teaching held by parents, teachers and students completely.” – Jorge Volpi

As the writer Jorge Volpi suggests in his prologue to the book, The Conscious Musician is an extraordinary book that offers a completely new approach to music teaching. The book, written by Mexican violnist and music teacher Paulina Derbez, points out various problems that arise in day-to-day music practice and offers the reader practical and effective solutions for enjoyable and tension-free playing.

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A Rarity among Anthologies of English-language Literature

Desde el norte_portadaDesde el norte. Narrativa canadiense contemporánea
Editor: Martha B. Bátiz Zuk
Publisher: UAM-Xochimilco, México, 2015
Review by Roberto García Bonilla

Canadian culture possesses a richness barely known in Mexico. Canada —like Mexico— is part of “North America”, although it is common practice to use this name to refer only to the United States of America. Indeed, it is even possible to hear it used this way by senior officials in Latin America, including certain heads of state.

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Intimate Portraits in Times of Crisis

DetransitoDe tránsito
Author: Martha Bátiz Zuk
Publisher: Terranova Editores
Santo Domingo, 2014
Review by Néstor E. Rodríguez

In “Writing Short Stories”, one of the few essays rescued from the personal writings of Flannery O’Connor after her death in 1964, the American writer defines the story as “a dramatic event that involves a person, because he is a person, and a particular person—that is, because he shares in the general human condition and in some specific human situation.” O’Connor’s comments on the art of writing stories are enlightening for an analysis of the superb short story collection De tránsito(2014), by Mexican-Canadian writer Martha Bátiz, recently published by the Puerto Rican publisher Terranova.

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A Bittersweet Tribute to Magical Realism

House of Impossible LovesThe House of Impossible Loves
Author: Cristina López Barrio
Translator: Lisa Carter
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Boston, 2013
Review by Carla Martínez

Synopsis: “The Laguna women have borne a terrible curse for as long back as the family lineage can be traced: all have suffered from lovesickness and have given birth only to daughters who perpetuate their cruel inheritance. But when, after decades of forbidden passions and tragic loves, the first male Laguna is born, a door of hope opens up. Could this be the end of the curse?”

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Poets of Love and Exile

Lumbre y relumbreLumbre y Relumbre
Editors: Julio Torres-Recinos, Margarita Feliciano
Publisher: Lugar Común
Ottawa, 2013

Review by Natalia Gnecco

Its literary compositions span from Vancouver to Fredericton, passing through Calgary, Saskatoon, Ottawa, Toronto, London and Montreal, touching us along the way with an exquisiteness of language that evokes themes as sublime as the longing for a lost love, and even experiences as challenging as immigrating to a foreign country without losing one’s identity.

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To Diversify or not to Diversify

Diversification in the Language IndustryDiversification in the Language Industry
Author:  Nicole Y. Adams
Publisher: NYA Communications
Brisbane, 2013

Review by Nikki Graham

Honesty is the best policy, so I will admit that when I first heard of this book my reaction was firmly in the “why is diversification necessary” camp. After all, I gave up teaching to translate because heading off to classes for a few hours every day was not compatible with being available to translate for clients full-time, at least not as far as I was concerned. And I certainly wouldn’t want to go back to teaching part-time out of necessity. It might surprise you then that I bothered to buy it if that was how I felt. Why did I feel the need to read a book that announces on the back cover that it “will inspire today’s translators and set them up for success beyond translation” (their italics, not mine)?

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The Monarch Connection

Flight of the ButterfliesFlight of the Butterflies
Director: Mike Slee
Studio: SK Films/Sin Sentido Films
Canada/Mexico, 2012

Review by Martin Boyd

When I founded Diálogos in 2006, my wife suggested adopting a monarch butterfly as the company logo. Apart from its obvious aesthetic appeal, the symbolic power of the monarch seemed perfect; what could be a better logo for a Toronto-based company whose purpose is to promote dialogue between English- and Spanish-speaking worlds than a butterfly that makes an incredible 4,000 kilometre journey between Mexico and Canada every year? But I’d never given much more thought than this to the amazing story of the monarch until this week, when I had the opportunity of seeing Mike Slee’s documentary Flight of the Butterflies at the gala opening of MexFest at Scotiabank Theatre.

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A Reading Peppered with Revelations

EtcheverryApocalipsis con Amazonas
Author: Jorge Etcheverry
Publisher: Antares
Toronto, 2014

Review by Marcelo Novoa

“In contrast with the Anglo-American school, Latin American fantastic literature does not constitute a clearly defined movement: it is mixed inextricably with general literature, free of stifling cultural histories, and at the same time shaped by the multiple breeding grounds of the countries that produce it, demonstrating a remarkable vitality and originality, much greater than that which prevails in the attempts at genres such as science fiction or crime fiction in the same geographic region.” – Elvio Gandolfo, Antología de Literatura Fantástica Latinoamericana (1971)

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The Suspended Cry of the Poem

WayfarerWayfarer
Author: Teobaldo Noriega
Publisher: Lugar Común
Ottawa, 2013

Review by Clinton Ramírez Contreras

Wayfarer, the latest collection of poetry by Teobaldo Noriega, brings together a selection of poems in Spanish and English from his books Candela viva (1984), Duende de noche (1988), Ars amandi (1998), Polvo enamorado (2001), Doliente piel de hombre (2005) and Las orillas del canto (2012). This painstakingly and astutely chosen selection has been rendered in English by the Colombian translator Ana María Correa, a resident of Santa Marta, where she works as a teacher.

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The Many Faces of Spanish

The Story of SpanishThe Story of Spanish
Authors:  
Jean-Benoît Nadeau and Julie Barlow
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

London, 2013

Review by Dwain Richardson

According to 2012 statistics prepared by the Cervantes Institute, Spanish is the native language of some 500,000,000 people. It has official status in 21 countries, and 18,000,000 people worldwide are learning Spanish as a foreign language. Indeed, Spanish is now the world’s second or third most widely spoken language. With such compelling statistics, one might ask: How did Spanish become so important in the world today? Why are so many people learning it? Answers to these questions, and many others, can be found in The Story of Spanish.

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