Category Archives: Marion’s Favorites

Marion’s Favorite Things from books, music, art, travel, and anything else that he really enjoys.

Wisdom From Kammbia Book Review 91: Sabrina and Corina by Kali Fajardo-Anstine

I love book cover art. 

I was scrolling through my Goodreads page recently and noticed one of my friends add Sabrina & Corina by Kali Fajardo-Anstine to their TBR list.  The beautiful cover got my attention, and I bought book the next day.

Sabrina & Corina is the debut book of Kali Fajardo-Anstine and has received a lot of praise since its publication in 2019. Add me to the list of readers that love these eleven powerful and thought-provoking stories featuring Latinas of Indigenous descent as they struggle with acceptance, violence, and broken relationships.

My favorite story of the entire book is Galapago. Galapago tells the story of Pearla Ortiz, a widow, who has an encounter with a man that breaks into her home.  Pearla’s granddaughter, Alana, comes to live with her and wants to sell the house and move her grandmother into senior housing. Pearla refuses to sell for sentimental reasons and one night faces the trespasser with tragic consequences.  Fajardo-Anstine does an excellent job weaving the backstory of Pearla with her husband in their home and the changing aspect of their neighborhood.  The vivid writing captures both widowhood and the dynamics of the neighborhood in transition.  Pearla’s instinct for survival is still on my mind after reading the story a few days later.

There is not a bad story in the book.  Some of my other favorites are Sugar Babies, the story of an eighth-grade girl named Sierra who discovers a dead woman at the edge of a small southern Colorado town named Saguarita. How did the woman get there? What will Sierra and her friend Robbie Martinez find out? Also, she takes part in a class project where she has to turn a 5 lb bag of sugar into a doll and takes care like it is a baby.  Fajardo-Anstine’s lucid prose brings this improbable story to life.

Other favorites are Tomi, Any Further West, and the title story, Sabrina & Corina. Fajardo-Anstine has brought a much-needed perspective to contemporary fiction, and this is the best short story collection by a single author I have read since Charles De Lint’s Dreams Underfoot.  Short stories are the stepchildren of modern fiction, but it’s an art form that deserves more respect and a great way to build up reading muscles.

Bravo Kali Fajardo-Anstine for these powerful stories.  Sabrina & Corina is my second favorite book of the year alongside The Final Revival of Opal & Nev by Dawnie Walton.

Wisdom From Kammbia Book Review 90: Furia by Yamile Saied Mendez

“Lies have short legs.” That is the opening sentence of Furia by Yamile Saied Mendez.  Camila Hassan says this proverb and opens a window into her double life as an Argentinian high school student by day and a Futbol player known as Furia after school.  Camila has kept her secret of playing Futbol from her… Continue Reading

Wisdom From Kammbia Book Review 89: Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

I’ve had my eye on Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s work over the past several years. I downloaded her first novel, Signal to Noise, on my Kindle a couple of years ago and her fourth novel, Mexican Gothic, I have seen throughout social media recently.  Moreno-Garcia’s work has been popular for some time. Gods of Jade and Shadow… Continue Reading

Wisdom From Kammbia Book Review 88: Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner

“And so, by circuitous and unpredictable routes, we converge toward midcontinent and meet in Madison, and are at once drawn together, braided and plaited into a friendship. It is a relationship that has no formal shape, there are no rules or obligations or bonds as in marriage or the family, it is held together by… Continue Reading

Icon #12

“Don’t forget, you’re a full-time student and a part-time superhero.” Icon told Rocket the aforementioned sentence at the beginning of Issue 12 while they were saving someone from being robbed.  Rocket has been trying to manage her life of high school student, superhero, and pending motherhood.  One of her good friends, Josie, came to school… Continue Reading

Wisdom From Kammbia Book Review 84: The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Alex Haley

“Grace meets you exactly where you are and it doesn’t leave you.” I heard the author Anne Lamott say this quote on the Tim Ferriss podcast a couple of days ago and knew this would be the opening sentence to my latest book review.  Grace would be the proper view about Malcolm X’s life after… Continue Reading

Marion’s Favorites: Mary J. Blige’s My Life Documentary

Mary J. Blige’s My Life is one of my top ten favorite albums and one of the most important R&B albums to be recorded in the last thirty years.  Blige’s pain and vulnerability soars throughout the entire album and how sings over strong hip-hop beats makes it a landmark album that has stood the test… Continue Reading