Entries by Janet Rodriguez

Why American Dirt Matters to All of Us

My friends and I are still reeling from the news of American Dirt, that pinche novel written by Jeanine Cummins, rolled out by Flatiron Books as the next Grapes of Wrath, and then chosen as the January selection of 2020 by Oprah’s Book Club. People all over the world are buying American Dirt, reading it, and declaring it to be an “eye-opening” piece of literature.[…]

Litdish: Anjali Singh, Literary Agent

Anjali Singh, literary agent with Ayesha Pande Literary (APL), started her career in publishing in 1996 as a literary scout, and later worked as an editor with Simon & Schuster, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Vintage Books, and as Editorial Director at Other Press. She is best known for having championed Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis, after stumbling across the original French version on a visit to Paris.[…]

What’s In a Name?

Our first grandchild was born at home, in a warm tub of water that soothed my daughter-in-law so much that she brought forth her first child without any pain medication. As soon as we heard, my husband, Mario, hugged and kissed me. I held his face and whispered, “We’re grandparents! Our lives will never again be the same.”[…]

Before and Beyond the Moon

I recently read an article about Itaru Sasaki, a citizen of Japan, whose cousin died in 2010. A designer by trade, Sasaki erected a glass-paneled phone booth on his hilltop garden, and placed a disconnected black rotary phone inside. Every time Sasaki missed his deceased cousin, he went to the phone booth and called him.[…]

What We Hold Inside

Nesting Matryoshka dolls were originally created as an homage to family, each doll at home inside a loving matriarch. Now an important part of Russian culture, the first sets were designed as toys. Traditional sets consisted of eight hand-painted pieces: the largest a Babushka, holding a rooster with a headscarf tied […]

The Language of Community

Once I gave up alcohol, sugar and flour, there were only a few splurges left in the culinary world for me to enjoy—one of them was good coffee.  I didn’t mind standing in line to get it—even the time some jerk interrupted my order. “I ordered extra whip,” a voice boomed, behind me. “This doesn’t […]