Category Archives: reading

The Wonder of Books, Returned


The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar WaoThe Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Amazing piece of fiction. Diaz has spun worlds and characters in vivid colors and hues. Emotion and myth pop off of the pages amidst the history of Caribbean diaspora people.

View all my reviews

My wife told me about this book. Enthusiastically, she said to me, “You have to read The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. This is a Brian book.”  When she told me this, I was wrapped up in two projects (one for work, one for my web enterprise), read almost no fiction, barely any books that didn’t related to men’s lifestyle or Latin American history and culture in the US (latinidad).

Have you ever been so caught up in what you were doing that you couldn’t see the forest for the trees? I was writing about the impacts of Latinos in America on one hand, and how to define masculinity in the on the other. My wife, my smart wife floated a book by me (that sat on the shelf for years) that addressed aspects of both, along with orishas, science fiction, vivid imagery, incredible prose, and that tingle and nausea of being slightly different in a world with a tightly prescribed set of behavioral and social norms. Growing up in an urban setting, multi-ethnic, the sounds of the streets calling, but you not knowing what to make of it. And FOOTNOTES!

Fuku wasn’t Oscar’s problem. Oscar’s problem was that he was born 10 years too early. Today he’d have a blog, with several e-books out, and a whole host of other kids just like him.


Quick Read: The Begatting of a President


The Begatting of a President by Myron Roberts
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This arrived in my house last week. It was a gift from my late grandmother’s home in North Carolina.  One of my aunts brought it back with her from a recent visit to check on some renovations occurring on the old house. Given my background in history, she thought I might enjoy it.

For fans of late 20th century American history, this book is a lighthearted look at a most tumultuous event during a period of tumultuous events. The 1968 presidential election is amazing to think about in retrospect. Truly epic in terms of the storylines that emerged and the political machinations that played out in the public sphere. And out of that rises Richard Nixon, left for dead after the 1960 election.

The authors write the story in the style of the King James Bible, a style worthy of the events, with pen and ink satirical illustrations of the presidents and political leaders in biblical garb. If you are familiar with the Old Testament and/or the late 1960s, this will give you a chuckle, and perhaps cause you to shed a tear.

View all my reviews