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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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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Under the Wave at Waimea by Paul Theroux, Reviewed by Mark D. Walker

I’ve read and reviewed the last six books from the iconic travel writer Paul Theroux and was fortunate enough to snag a copy of the uncorrected proof of his next book which will be available in mid-April. Initially I was unenthusiastic about reading of the life of an aging surfer in Hawaii, but after reading “On the Plain of Snakes” about Mexico, I felt sure he’d manage to turn Hawaii into one of his ebullient tomes—and I was not disappointed. After all, the author has lived there for over 30 years during which time he’s been gathering stories and materials […]

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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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A Long Petal of the Sea by Isabel Allende, Reviewed by Mark D. Walker

  I hadn’t read any of Allende’s books since “House of Spirits,” and after seeing several revealing interviews of her over the last few months, I decided it was time to reacquaint myself with her latest novel. The setting of the Spanish Civil War and Chile drew me in even more, as many of my favorite authors, such as Federico Garcia Lorca, George Orwell, John Dos Passos, Ernest Hemingway and Pablo Neruda lived through that war. Also intriguing was the landing of the protagonists in Chile after the military takeover of Pinochet. The President who was toppled was the author’s […]

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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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Africa Memoir by Mark G. Wentling, Review by Mark D. Walker

I’ve read and reviewed several of the author’s books over the years. We were both Peace Corps Volunteers in Central America and worked in West Africa, although Wentling went on to work and travel in 54 African countries over the years. My favorite book from his “African Trilogy” is “Africa’s Embrace,” which is fiction, but reflects his experience working as a Peace Corps Volunteer in West Africa in the 1970s. The well-developed characters force the reader deep into the heart of Africa. Wentling worked with USAID and the State Department, so his book, “Dead Cow Road,” is an authentic and […]

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On the Road: The Original Scroll by Jack Kerouac

  After writing several “counter culture” articles on my experiences in the early 1970s, the first entitled, “Crested Butte 1970: Reflections of a Town in Transition,” I decided it was time to re-read perhaps the most influential beat generation book, “On the Road.” This book is now ranked number two on Amazon’s “Beat Generation Criticism” list, after “Dharma Bums” by the same author. The New York Times hailed the book as “the most beautifully executed, the clearest and the most important utterance yet made by the generation Kerouac named years ago as “beat.” In 1998, the Modern Library ranked On […]

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