Garden of Stories/Jardin de Cuentos (Rating: 2 - 5 votes)
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Tunoms Honey, Dancing to Pay the Light Bill: Essays on New Mexico and the Southwest, Garden of Stories/Jardin de Cuentos, El Santo Queso: The Holy Cheese, Mas Que No Love It: Cuentos/Short Stories, On the Make Again/Otra Vez En La Movida, Sabelotodo Entiendelonada & Other Stories, Unexpected Turn, El Santo Queso Cuentos/the Holy Cheese Stories, Where the Cinnamon Winds Blow: Donde Soplan Los Vientos de Canela
-, A bilingual, imaginative fantasy spiced with traditional Hispanic folktales of New Mexico. Author Jim Sagel recently won Spain's prestigious El Premio Literario Ciudad de San Sebastian., Jim Sagel continues the themes cultivated in his other works. The title story recounts the comical but poignant sinsabores of Sabelotodo Entiendelonada, a man so nicknamed because of the contrast between his extensive formal legal education and his total ineptitude at simple ranching activities. Among the other unusual characters in the collection are Petenrita (Pete and Rita), a couple that has been quarreling constantly for 54 years., Jim Sagel explores with sensitivity and humor the unique language, turbulent history, and rich multicultural fabric of life in New Mexico and the Southwest. He creates a concrete and delightfully detailed panorama of southwestern life--from century-old Indian elders stepping in time to a pre-Columbian dance to lowriders cruising like conquistadors into a Lotaburger future. Sagel has honed his unique ability to not only observe the quirky and sometimes magical interplay of cultures, but to set those observations in a context that is both accessible and entertaining to the reader. His essays explore the relevancy and dynamics of bilingualism, the effects of tourism, and the importance of maintaining traditions. Sagel's diverse portraits demonstrate the stamina and self-sufficiency of New Mexicans who have worked to sustain their creativity and privacy. Among the issues Sagel addresses are the linguistic and cultural phenomena of bilingual code-switching, or "Spanglish, " as it is popularly known; the beauty and significance of the oral tradition; and the effects of tourists and immigrants who, in spite of their muskets and Master-Cards, all end up being changed by this ancient land with its vibrant history. Sagel's poetic language and humor make these essays of interest to a broad cross-section of readers, from the bilingual educator to the high school student, from the cultural anthropologist to the occasional visitor interested in knowing more about Hispanic culture and the Southwest.