Teaser Tuesdays: Mañana Forever? by Jorge G. Castaneda


Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just open your current read to a random page and share a few sentences. Be careful not to include spoilers!

Mañana Forever? Mexico and the Mexicans is a book about the Mexican national character, more or less. To tell you more fully what this book is about, I could refer you to the preface; but really, no. The preface was painful. As I’ve said before, I like my nonfiction narrative, friendly, readable, and interesting. I have high hopes for this book, as it got infinitely more accessible in the bulk of the book. But the preface, in which Castaneda (an academic, and a former foreign minister) explains the goal of his book and outlines it, is difficult. Full of references to academic and political theory, big words, and lengthy sentences, I’m sure it indicates his intellect, but it required some effort from me to wade through.

But! The book itself, it gets better. First of all, the first chapter is titled Why Mexicans are Lousy at Soccer and Don’t Like Skyscrapers. I see whimsy! There is hope!

Your teaser comes from page 120 (although I have not read this far yet):

As The New York Times put it in an article in 2009, “If Guinness World Records ever creates a category for the country most obsessed with being in the Guinness Book of World Records, Mexico will surely be in the running.” It goes on to list the strange records Mexico has sought to break: largest number of people dancing simultaneously to Michael Jackson’s Thriller; most mariachi musicians gathered in one place; the longest catwalk and St. Valentine’s Day kiss; the largest meatball, cheesecake, and, of course, the biggest taco and tamale.

I hope Castaneda can find an attractive writing style, because the subject matter interests me immensely. As a neighbor to Mexico all my life and a traveler there repeatedly, I have something between a strong interest and a mild obsession with the place, the language, the scenery, the culture, and the cuisine. I love Mexico. I got engaged there, and we would have been happy to have gotten married there, except that we chose to share our day with our friends and family without asking them to travel. I would like to know more about the country; I should really study its history as I’m woefully undereducated. But my greatest interest has got to be in that cultural identity or “national character” as Castaneda seems to want to talk about. I hope this book satisfies. I need it to read more like something I read out of interest, though, than something I’m being forced to read for class! I’ll let you know.

2 Responses

  1. That is a very interesting teaser. NICE!

    Paranormal Wastelands’ TT
    http://paranormalwastelands.blogspot.com/2011/06/teaser-tuesday_21.html#comments

  2. An interesting passage, it amused me for sure!

    My teaser is from Madonna of the Seven Hills, which is a book about the Borgias.

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