Monday, July 25, 2016

On the Shelf at Paragraphs - Barbarian Days -- A Surfing Life



Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life (Paperback)

By William Finnegan

Published May 17th 2016 by Penguin Books

Paperback, 464 pages   

I am always watching for new or interesting titles about surfing. One of the things I look for when reading is the authenticity of the story, no matter the genre. So, deciding on the merits of a surfing memoir is difficult for me since I know nothing about the sport.  But last year when I read “Barbarian Days” by New Yorker staff writer William Finnegan I was mesmerized. This book is about so much more than surfing even though that is the medium Finnegan uses to tell his story. 

When announcing the winner of the 2016 Pulitzer award for biography the board called “Barbarian Days”  “an old-school adventure story, an intellectual autobiography, a social history, a literary road movie, and an extraordinary exploration of the gradual mastering of an exacting little-understood art.” This excellent book is now available in a paperback edition.

Sports Illustrated claims ”reading this guy on the subject of waves and water is like reading Hemingway on bullfighting… but the juice propelling this memoir is wrung from the quest that shaped him…A … coming-of-age story, seen through the gloss resin coat of a surfboard.” 


Raised in California and Hawaii, during the 1950s and ‘60s, Finnegan started surfing as a child and states: “I did not consider, even passingly, that I had a choice when it came to surfing. My enchantment would take me where it would” and surfing eventually took him around the world. He has chased waves all over the globe, wandering for years through the South Pacific, Australia, Asia, and Africa. He later went on to become a distinguished writer and war reporter.

Literature provides a framework that helps us understand human nature and a person’s life. It is Finnegan’s ability to examine so many of the classic human conflicts that sets “Barbarian Days” apart from a travel or adventure journal. He tackles themes as big as, man against man, man against nature, and, finally, man against himself. He asks serious questions. What are the vulnerabilities of a solitary self, never more alone than on the ledge of a big wave? What of the unavoidable competition among one’s brothers? The impact of the almighty ocean on one’s psyche and character? The self-questioning that attends risk and recklessness?

This is also a book about intense male friendships.  He writes:  “Surfing is a secret garden, not easily entered. My memory of learning a spot, of coming to know and understand a wave, is usually inseparable from the friend with whom I tried to climb its walls.”

Along the trail, he found himself carrying the weight of more than just his backpack and surfboard. On the one hand, “chasing waves in a dedicated way was. . . dynamic and ascetic, radical in its rejection of the values of duty and conventional achievement.” On the other, “being rich white Americans in dirt-poor places where many people, especially the young, yearned openly for the life, the comforts, the very opportunities that we, at least for the seemingly endless moment, had turned our backs on — well, it would simply never be O.K. In an ­inescapable way, we sucked, and we knew it.”


“Barbarian Days” is certainly a surfing book written for surfers but the clarity and lyrical quality of the prose allows even the most land-locked reader to understand the power and thrill of the big waves and the surfer’s obsession. When Finnegan writes “The close, painstaking study of a tiny patch of coast, every eddy and angle, even down to individual rocks, and in every combination of tide and wind and swell…is the basic occupation of surfers at their local break” he helps me understand my friends a little better.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Meet the Author - Luis Diaz Santana Garza



Meet the Author Series at Paragraphs 

Tuesday – July 26th       1-3 PM 

Historia De La Musica Norteña Mexicana 

With Luis Diaz Santana Garza, 
And music performance by Sonia Medrano (singer) and 
Javier Díaz Santana (accordion). 

HISTORIA DE LA MÚSICA NORTEÑA MEXICANA: 
DESDE LOS GRUPOS PRECURSORES AL AUGE DEL NARCOCORRIDO. 
El presente trabajo analiza el origen, evolución y difusión de la música del conjunto norteño, representante histórico de una identidad local, que se transforma en una identidad del noreste, para luego dar paso al norte de México, y más tarde ser asimilada nacional e internacionalmente. Esta visión de largo aliento en torno al conjunto y las formas musicales que emplea, como la polca, el corrido, la canción y el bolero, así como sus transformaciones y aportaciones a otras culturas sonoras, es analizado en términos de cómo puede articular significados, organizar nuestro sentido del tiempo y la memoria, y contribuir a la construcción social de las identidades individuales en la frontera. La música popular puede proporcionar un sistema para la presentación y la negociación pública de la identidad, así como para construir fuentes de poder y significado alternativas. A pesar de no haber sido impulsada directamente por ninguno de los dos estados-nación donde prolifera, la música regional de acordeón y bajo sexto es uno de los principales referentes de la identidad mexicana y chicana desde mediados del siglo xx, desplazando hoy incluso al mariachi, gracias a que los migrantes mexicanos reclamaban su música, mientras que al sur, el poder económico del noreste del país ha tratado de imponer una hegemonía cultural y económica por medio de los sonidos armónicos. 
―Sin duda el trabajo de Luis Díaz Santana es de las contribuciones que la etnomusicología mexicana ha esperado por mucho tiempo y que tiene que ver con las músicas urbanas. El autor ofrece importantes avances en la investigación histórica sobre aspectos fundamentales como la identidad en un ámbito fronterizo, migración, cultura y cultura popular, música popular mexicana, industrias norteñas como factor de cambio sociocultural, los músicos y sus conjuntos como actores de la gestación de una nueva tradición‖. Dr. Arturo Chamorro Escalante, UDG. 
 

Luis Díaz Santana Garza nació en Monterrey, Nuevo León, México. Es Licenciado en Música, Maestro en Humanidades y Doctor en Historia. Ha publicado el libro Tradición Musical en Zacatecas, (1850-1930), y se encuentra en prensa "Historia de la música norteña mexicana: desde los grupos precursores al auge del narcocorrido". Actualmente es docente-investigador “Titular C” en la Unidad Académica de Artes de la Universidad Autónoma de Zacatecas.  






Meet the Author Series at Paragraphs 
Tuesday – July 26th       1-3 PM 
Historia De La Musica Norteña Mexicana 
With Luis Diaz Santana Garza, 
And music performance by Sonia Medrano (singer) and 
Javier Díaz Santana (accordion). 
The overall objective of the present book is to analyze the origin, evolution and dissemination of the norteño and tejano conjunto, a group that represents, historically, a marginalized local identity, which was transformed primarily into an identity of the northeast, then giving way to the whole northern México and the American Southwest, and later assimilated as mainstream genre nationally and internationally. My purpose is to give a long-term historic vision of conjunto and the various musical forms that uses, such as the polka, the corrido or cancion (song), and more recently the bolero and the cumbia, as well as their transformations and contributions to other sonic cultures.

Luis Díaz-Santana Garza was born in Monterrey, México, in 1970, studied a Bachelor of Music, Master of Arts and PhD in History, and has done research of music from the baroque period until the present, performing with original instruments, such as the baroque guitar and the 19th century Mexican seven-string guitar. He is Professor of guitar and music history at the Music Department of Zacatecas Autonomous University, and has received several fellowships from CONACULTA, INBA and PACMYC. His recordings include mexican songs and dances of the 19th century, the Opera San Francisco Xavier from Bolivia, and two records of mexican music for guitar fron the 19th century. He wrote the books "Tradición Musical en Zacatecas, Una historia socio-cultural, 1850-1930", "Transcription of guitar works", and his new book about the history of conjunto norteño and conjunto tejano 
Please note the book is published in Spanish.
 
This event is free and open to the public.
Paragraphs On Padre Boulevard, 5505 Padre Blvd. South Padre Island, TX 
For information call us at 956-433-5057 

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

August Meet the Author - Patty Raymond



Meet the Author Series at Paragraphs
Saturday – August 13th       1-3 PM
“It’s Too Windy”
Discussion and reception with author, Patty York Raymond

It’s Too Windy! is about family and how establishing long  lasting traditions leads to developing close family ties that last a lifetime. This enchanting book is about Jessica and David, a young sister and brother, who come to town every chance they have in order to visit with their grandparents and to play with their cousins.

One thing they like to do when they visit their grandparents is go swimming in their backyard pool. “Hooray! Yeah!  Yippee! Yahoo!” they exclaim as they run out of the house in anticipation of getting into the pool. However, their grandmother has other plans for them. She redirects their play and cites unsatisfactory weather conditions as the reason for not letting them get in the pool. It doesn’t take the reader long to determine that the grandmother has an ulterior motive for not letting her grandchildren get in the pool-- but what is it?

The reader will enjoy the repetitive text, rhyming words and the rare and unusual vocabulary words throughout the story. There are numerous opportunities for the children to infer as well as to predict how long the grandchildren will have to wait in order to get into the pool or even if they are able to get in the pool.

Patty York Raymond earned her M.Ed. in Early Childhood Education from the University of Houston and her Administration and Supervision from Texas A&M International University.  Patty has enjoyed working with children, families, and educators in a variety of roles including social worker, teacher and administrator. She and her family reside in McAllen, Texas where she is an independent education consultant as well as owner/director of Abrazo Case Management Services for Children and Pregnant Women.

It’s Too Windy! is Patty’s first book, and it has recently been honored with the International Latino Book Award for 2016. Her next book, The ABCs to Ranching, is about a mischievous little boy who goes to the ranch to help his father with the chores. With one mishap after another, he gains an appreciation for nature and develops a strong connection with his father and their heritage. The ABCs to Ranching will be in bookstores late 2016.

This event is free and open to the public.
Paragraphs On Padre Boulevard, 5505 Padre Blvd. South Padre Island, TX
For information call us at 956-433-5057