The Literature Café

Great books and yummy food!

My top five… Books that I want to read


The great thing about literature is that there is always something new to look forward to and read.  Regardless of the publication date, there is always some book that will be new to you.  As an avid reader, I have a list of these that I want to read, have bought and have not read yet because this is an ever expanding list.  I am sure that a lot of you have the same problem.  However, I have already decided which of these books are next.  These are:

  • As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
    • Although I also want to read The Sound and the Fury, the plot of this book attracts me more.
  • The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende
    • Having seen a film adaptation of this novel when I was young, I was a little turned off this one.  However, as an adult and fellow Latina I am intrigued.
  • Sapphira and the Slave Girl by Willa Cather
    • I recently discovered this book and thought it would be interesting to use on my graduate studies’ research.
  • The Paris Wife by Paula McLain
    • This novel is the story about Ernest Hemingway and his wife Hadley, during their stay in Paris while he wrote his novel, The Sun Also Rises.  An important American author, romance, and Paris, what’s not to like?
  • The Cookbook Collector by Allegra Goodman
    • Saw this book and it looks interesting.  The title caught my attention in a store, since I have bought cookbooks that I have not used and I wondered if it’s about this.  Also, the author is compared to Jane Austen so I’m curious.


What books are you planning to read next?  Or has anybody read these?

A Problem in my Island

Recently, I was having a conversation with a friend about the belief of some women in our culture about men. She is a single mom and has been for a few years. She relates that her female friends always told her that she should have a man in her life to which she responded that she did not need one to be happy. Coming from a single mom home, I could relate to what she was telling me since my mother went through this.
We started discussing why some women believe that they cannot be happy without a man and came to the conclusion that in our Latino culture we are taught by what we see on the television, in this case soap operas. The common soap operas here show women treating themselves and each other badly because of a man. If a man treats them badly it’s okay because at least they have one by their side. Also, if you like a guy you have to get him to want you by playing games, manipulating, kissing, and flirting to the extent of driving him crazy and then stopping everything. As a consequence, he will fall in “love” with you and its okay if he uses a little force to kiss you because this means he is passionate about you.
The problem with all of this is that this has become the entertainment of our growing children because they watch this with their parents. Girls as young as 8 years old are under the belief that this is how you get a guy and that you should always forgive them because “love” and have him. That they cannot make decisions or deal with problems without the help of a man. Boys grow up believing that to be a man they have to own the girl. With this as their entertainment, children have lost the appreciation for reading.
I am not saying that by reading everything will be okay, but I truly believe that even reading fiction opens children’s eyes to reality. That there are ways of dealing with problems and that by believing in yourself does not mean that you will be unhappy and alone. To give an example, Hermione of the Harry Potter Series believes in herself, is respected and she was never alone. There are countless of other examples like this in literature.
I know that this problem of misconceptions in gender roles and children not reading are not new. However, in my island these are growing problems and I am worried. Reading does help us and, even if you are already grown up, it is never too late to start appreciating it. It is never too late to give a child a book. As I described last week any book can be influential, it just depends on your taste.

What do you think?

My Top Five… influential books


I stumbled upon two lists of Influential books that I liked because they did not focus entirely on one genre.  Unlike most, I believe that these do not have to necessarily be fiction or self help books.  So I thought this would be a good way to continue with the top five sections.  I chose for today books that have been influential, inspirational and motivational in my life.    So, this is a little list of the books that have just helped at one or various points in my life.

Here they are:

  • Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
    • I won’t go into too much detail, since this book has been discussed other posts.  I will only say that this was the novel that started it all! It ignited my love flame for literature.
  • How to Stop Worrying and Start Living by Dale Carnegie
    • Before I read this book I used to worry more and my stress levels were affecting me physically, but when I read it I began to use its strategies.   I got to say it is a work in progress, but my stress levels are down.  Even though the book seems at times to be discriminative towards women, this can be overcome.
  • The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch
    • When I read this book I was at a crossroads in my life and this book greatly helped me make, what I believe to have been, the right decision.  It has helped me through out, especially in keeping focused on what matters most.
  • The Women of Brewster Place by Gloria Naylor
    • I loved the representation of sisterhood and community so much in this novel that it has influenced my research.
  • Puerto Rico True Flavors by Wilo Benet
    • My mother was not very keen on cooking the traditional dishes of our Puerto Rican culture. Hence, this book came to the rescue.  I highly recommend it since it is easy to follow, is in English, but he mentions most of the dishes names in Spanish, and the recipes are yummy.


Which are your influential books?

My Top Five … Favorite books


Continuing with the Top five series, today I will be discussing my favorite books.  Some of these are by my favorite authors, but not all of them.  Others, I have read at various points in my life and I absolutely adore them.  Each time I read them, I find something new and the feelings that they bring are always memorable.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

P.S. I Love You by Cecilia Ahern

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

Have you read any of these? Which books are your top five?

My Top Five Favorite Authors


Today’s post is the first of a new series titled “Top Five” and it consists of my favorite authors.  Now, being a literature major this is somewhat difficult to narrow down since I read lots of texts by various authors; especially when I am taking courses on different themes.  My criteria for choosing these is pretty easy, since I just evaluated the authors that keep me coming back and reading more than one book by them because I enjoy their writing style.

  • Gloria Naylor
  • Toni Morrison
  • Zora Neale Hurston
  • Jane Austen
  • Charles Dickens

Do you have any favorite authors?  

A lot of food and little reading…

Well that was some good Jambalaya last Thursday.  I hope yours turned out well too!  It seems like all I am doing throughout the weekend is eat.  I have barely read, since I have a lot of engagements to attend and in all of them there is a lot of food.   So, here are some of the yummy recipes that I would like to bring to The Literature Café in the future:

Sushi – California rolls

Red Velvet cake


Cielito Lindo

On the literature front, I did start Lakota Woman and found it a little hard to get into.  However, after the first chapter things are looking up. 

Has this ever happened to you?

Happy Valentine’s Day

Hope you have a great Valentine’s Day with friends and family.  I do not consider this day to be solely for couples or romance, but for sharing with friends and loved ones. So instead of stating my favorite fictional romantic couple, I’ll discuss my favorite fictional siblings/friends. MP900314150

One of my favorite fictional siblings/friends are the March sisters from Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. The love that these sisters share is worthy of celebration.

Which fictional friends or siblings do you like?


A New Stage

Did I mention that I’m a Graduate student?  I don’t think I did.  I study English and I am in the third year of the doctoral program that I wanted!  I study literature, so it is safe to say that I will forever be reading.

This is a big stage for me and its one that I’m really excited about.  I moved to a completely different place, have enjoyed different cultures, meeting new people and new classes to tackle.  However, the time that I previously had to work on this site vanished. The Literature Café closed for a while, but now it is back and renovated!

My first recipe and book review is coming soon.



Now to celebrate with something that involves chocolate!

What would you have?