Staff Recommendations for You!


Authors we enjoy:

Quentin Kirk! Quentin lived and taught in Des Moines for many years. He's an anthropoligist, educator, and poet. He and his spouse Blanca now reside in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas. Here's one collection of his poetry that we enjoy: The Moon Straight Overhead.


Gabriel García Márquez is a Colombian novelist, short-story writer, screenwriter and journalist. He is considered to be one of the most significant authors of the 20th century. In 1972 he won the Neustadt International Prize for Literature. Ten years late he was awarded the 1982 Nobel Prize in Literature. Márquez started as a journalist, has written many non-fiction works and short stories, but is best known for several of his novels including One Hundred Years of Solitude.


Books worth reading:

NPR said it well: “Extraordinary . . . Panoramic . . . Poetic . . . Minot shows her readers that war zones cannot be contained within one country, or one region. When cruelty and violence reign, we are all at risk.” Get yourself a copy of Thirty Girls

Love and Other Demons by Gabriel García Márquez. Or get the Spanish edition Del amor y otros demonios

A Dream of Red Mansions (also known as A Dream of the Red Chamber or The Story of the Stone) originally by Cao Xueqin and later chapters are by his partner, Cheng Weiyuan. Written in the late 1700's, this is a classical and revered piece of Chinese literature. While it is fiction, it is thought to be semi-biographical and representative of the rise and fall of the QING Dynasty. The book series is tedious at times yet worth the effort to learn the nature of the lifestyle and social norms typical of 18th-century Chinese aristocracy.


Art and Poetry:

Hudojnik: The Life and Art of Ivan I. Garikow is a fascinating story. Art, history, detective work all bundled together.

Akiane: Her Life, Her Art, Her Poetry by Akiane Kramarick and Foreli Kramarick. Akiane is a child prodigy and this book includes examples of her artwork and poetry. Amazing!



And don't forget to check out Amazon's list of Hispanic and American Literature which is extensive.




Los Angeles Guitar Trio plays a variety of genres and blends world music, rock, jazz, and more with a touch of California surf music. This team has been together for over 20 years and plays an energetic set with great technical skill while maintaining fun and lively musical notes. This guitar trio has earned them an enthusiastic following and world-wide notoriety. They successfully perform crossover into progressive, acoustic and classical music scenes.

Montreal Guitar Trio plays an energetic set full of vibrant emotion. For over a dozen years this trio has performed world-wide and earned numerous awards including the 2011 Opus Prize for concert of the year in the Jazz / World Music category. They are creative, writing their own songs and reworking others, and exciting to watch.

Esperanza Spalding received one of the music industry’s most prestigious prizes, the Grammy for Best New Artist, in 2011. She has classical training and brings her depth of understanding music to her bass playing, vocal performance, and is and accomplished composer who is rejuvenating the jazz scene.

Sergio and Odair Assad play a number of Latin and Brazillian guitar duets. These musicians came to Des Moines a few years ago and are very entertaining. They play a variety of pieces inclusing classical, tango, and folk.


Individual songs or recordings:

JC (Juan Carlos) Barrios From Sandy's good friend Marcia: "This is a lovely song in Spanish written and performed by a friend of mine. He managed to do all the production himself and get it on I tunes and Amazon. He is a musician/writer/performer from Guatemala and his day job is working with disabled people who have little physical function. He's been called a Godsend because he's so kind, caring and competent. I hope you'll listen and pass it on....and maybe even buy the tune. Thanks."

Radio Music Society Esperanza Spalding's latest and greatest album and was recently nominated in three categories in the 55th annual Grammy Awards. Congratulations!




Like stars on Earth is made in India but is not a typical Indian style movie. It makes you think and has a good idea contained within. Heartwarming and good for the whole family.

Bend It Like Beckham is a very entertaining movie for the whole family and a good movie dealing with cultural issues with youth (Rated PG-13).

The Joy Luck Club follows four Chinese mothers and their American daughters (Rated R).

The Mambo Kings is an adaption of the novel by Oscar Hijuelos’ Pulitzer Prize winner. Two brothers leave Havana for America seeking acceptance and fame for their music (Rated R).


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