Monkey Boy by Francisco Goldman, Reviewed by Mark D. Walker

  The Long Night of White Chickens was my introduction to Francisco Goldman, the author who I selected to review due to his connections to Guatemala, and I’ve been a fan ever since.  Though born in Boston, his mother is a Catholic Guatemalan, his father Jewish American, so his life started off with an intriguing combination of influences. The book is a tense, almost surrealistic detective story that opens windows on the Latin American reality of State Sponsored assassinations, marabunta youth gangs and organized crime. His next book, Say Her Name, is an evocative story of love and loss between […]

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“Crossing Borders, Building Bridges: A Journalist’s Heart in Latin America, by Maria E. Martin, Reviewed by Mark D. Walker

I first became aware of the author at a “Peace Corps Connect” conference in Austin, Texas in 2019 where she was on a panel on “Crossing Borders” with several experts on immigration including the Guatemalan filmmaker, Luis Argueta. Recently, I heard her program on immigration in Guatemala, which aired on the public radio program “Reveal.”  I contacted her once I learned that she was the head of the “Gracias Vida Media Center” in Antigua, Guatemala, which was when I learned about her new book, which was published by Conocimientos Press. This book is an inspiring account of the author’s work […]

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“The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together, by Heather McGhee, Reviewed by Mark D. Walker

I initially came across this book after listening to several interviews with the author and realized that her focus on how racism affects all Americans was consistent with what we’ve learned about the consequences of the COVID pandemic, where the majority of developing countries are unable to access the vaccine, despite none of us being safe until everyone is vaccinated.  And the consequences of ignoring the plight of so many Central Americans forced to flee their homes to head north in search of safety and a decent quality of life. The author embarks on a deeply personal journey across the […]

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Halfway Home: Race, Punishment, and the After life of Mass Incarceration by Reuben Jonathan Miller, Reviewed by Mark D. Walker

  One of the stories often hidden from public view with tremendous consequences is the astonishing size of our country’s incarcerated population at 2.3 million while another 20 million live with a felony record. That does not include the 555,000 locked up in the U.S. who have not been convicted of a crime. I heard an interview of the author and decided this book would be a good place to dig into this grave reality. Reuben Miller knows the issues from first-hand experience. He was a chaplain at the Cook County Jail in Chicago and is now a sociologist studying […]

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At Home and Abroad by V.S. Pritchett, Reviewed by Mark D. Walker

While perusing my books recently, I recognized this book by V.S. Pritchett, who is a British writer and literary critic and a well-known travel writer. I’d recently written several of my own stories on Latin America, “The Ying & Yang of Travel: Traveling Solo,” and “Tschiffley’s Epic Equestrian Ride,” so I decided to get this author’s take. After all, according to the “WorldCat List,” which is the largest data- base on books for libraries around the world, Pritchett had logged 422 works in 1,896 publications in 5 languages in almost 43,000 library holdings. And he was knighted of Sir Victor […]

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“Keep Sharp: Build a Better Brain at Any Age”, by Sanjay Gupta MD, Reviewed by Mark D. Walker

Keep Sharp: Build a Better Brain at Any Age by Sanjay Gupta, MD Reviewed by Mark D. Walker   My youngest daughter handed me this book and said, “Dad, we don’t have time to read this, but this is important. Could you read it and report back to us?” So I did. And I believe that all adults should take responsibility for our health, especially our mental health, so this looked like a timely book to review and reflect on with my family. The author caught my attention with a study that indicated that 47 million Americans have some evidence […]

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How I Learned English by Tom Miller, Reviewed by Mark D. Walker

I purchased this book as a Christmas present for my Guatemalan wife because, she like millions of other Latinos, has struggled to master the quirks and challenges of English. Ligia took English in school in Guatemala. But I’ve always insisted we speak Spanish in order to maintain my fluency and she patiently corrected my grammar, which she continues to do.  After our first year of marriage, I took her to my hometown of Evergreen, Colorado in the dead (cold) of winter, where she tried to communicate with my mother by writing notes. But my mother insisted that we get a […]

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Storming the Wall: Climate Change, Migration, and Homeland Security” by Todd Miller

  Reviewed by Mark D. Walker  This book caught my attention, as the author connects climate change and the hostility toward refugees, which is a key theme I focus on in a documentary on immigration in Central America. Although much debate on the existence of climate change that I’m exposed to takes place among relatively well-to-do urban dwellers, the author points out that 48 of the “least developed countries” are five times more likely to die in a climate-related disaster than the rest of world. Floods are now impacting 21 million people worldwide annually and by 2030, a “double exposure […]

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The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill Reviewed by Mark D. Walker

  My middle daughter gifted me this book, which remained next to my bed for over five months due to its imposing size and more than 500 pages. But I decided to check it out as part of my “Black Lives Matter” awareness program. What was slavery about and how had it impacted the U. S. for so long? In this case, Aminata Diallo would be taken from her village in West Africa and placed on a slave ship in Sierra Leone – where I’d worked for three years. The ship was bound for South Carolina and from there she’d […]

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Author Interview in SIETAR Newsletter (Soc. Intercultural Education, Training & Research) on Moritz Thomsen

CRAIG STORTI BOOKMARKS: LIVING POOR AND THE SADDEST PLEASURE 14 Dec 2020 8:26 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator) TWO BY MORITZ THOMSEN: Living Poor and The Saddest Pleasure Reviewed by Craig Storti There’s a movement afoot (led in part by Mark Walker, see the interview below) to elevate Moritz Thomsen to the status of a Very Important Writer, someone whose books stay in print for generations and get assigned in college literature classes, someone whose name every well-read person should know. And we here at BookMarks are happy to do our part. We briefly mentioned Thomsen in one of our previous columns (where we reviewed […]

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