First sentence: A long time ago, in a certain place in Africa, a small village lay across a river and half a day's journey from a city where a great king lived.
Friday, February 29, 2008
First sentence: A long time ago, in a certain place in Africa, a small village lay across a river and half a day's journey from a city where a great king lived.
Woohoo to an extra day this year! 1. I'm looking forward to celebrating my birthday next week.
2. I don't handle things involving patience very well.
3. Fresh, organic, just picked strawberries are something I could eat every day.
4. Warmth and sunlight are just around the corner. Come on Spring!
5. Ready or not, here I come!
6. I like tattoo(s), but was too chicken to have any. After 24 hours of unmedicated labor, I've come to realize I could probably handle the pain of one tattoo.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to when I see my husband tomorrow (he left on Wednesday for an interview in Pasadena, CA, came back at 2am last night and started his 30 hour on-call shift at 5am), tomorrow my plans include taking Maya to baby story time at the library and Sunday, I want to have a nice lunch out with my hubby and daughter!
Woohoo to an extra day this year!
1. I'm looking forward to celebrating my birthday next week.
Thursday, February 28, 2008
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Monday, February 25, 2008
Countries Completed are highlighted in purple.
Books read are highlighted in red.
Reviewed books are followed by link to the review.
8. Central African Republic
12. Congo, Democratic Republic of
16. Equatoria Guinea
Purple Hibiscus, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (finished 5 June 2007)
Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe (finished 6 January 2007)
39. Sao Tome and Principe
42. Sierra Leone
Cry The Beloved Country, by Alan Paton
Sunday, February 24, 2008
To join in the Sunday Salon, go here.
I am always a bit hesitant to start a book that everyone gushes over. And The Book Thief by Markus Zusak certainly falls into this category. The blog world certainly loves it:
"Overall, what can I say. WOW and again WOW. I don't keep many books - I pass them along for others to read. This is going to be one of the few that I put my name in because I want my daughter to read it when she's old enough." Books, Memes, and Musings
"But what I found so fitting in this novel, so perfect, was that it is about words. The power of words and what we are with them—and without them." Trish's Reading Nook
"Markus Zusak makes the words right. His novel will resonate with book lovers. It is a story larger than life; one that touches the reader's heart and never lets go." Caribousmom
And that is just a smidgen of all the wonderful reviews I have read in the past year. So, it was almost with relief that I started reading it a few days ago, and found that I absolutely love it. If it weren't for the fact that the Oscars are on tonight, I would probably stay up after Maya is asleep to finish the book. I had 150 pages to go this morning; now it's closer to 100, but I probably won't have the chance to read that much more today.
Book Acquisitions: Today was also a day of book acquisitions. Long-time readers of my blog will be familiar with my trips to The Book Thing, a non-profit organization that gives books away to city school libraries, senior centers, homeless shelters - anywhere that needs a book. On the weekend, they open their doors for the general public to browse and take as many books as you want for free. So we took a family trip today to donate a few books, and pick up a few for our home library.
Here is what I came away with:
A bunch of Agatha Christie's:
- What Mrs McGillicuddy Saw!;
- Murder in Mesopotamia;
- Ten Little Indians;
- The Witness for the Prosecution, and other stories
- A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers
- Brick Lane by Monica Ali
- Delta Wedding by Eudora Welty
- When We Were Orphans by Kazuo Ishiguro
- The Road to Wellville by T.C. Boyle
- The Fixer by Bernard Malamud (not pictured)
- Absalom, Absalom by William Faulkner (not pictured)
Happy Sunday, folks!
Friday, February 22, 2008
1. Meeting new people and experiencing new cultures and new places is the best thing about traveling. 2. I love a good hot apple cider, chai, or herbal tea when I'm cold. 3. I often use a toothbrush. 4. I'm reading The Book Thief right now; I love it as much as those who have already raved about it. 5. Economics is something I dislike talking about. 6. When I visited South Africa I most looked forward to seeing Desmund Tutu. And I did! He came and spoke to us when we first arrived. 7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to watching the rest of Season 1 of The Wire, tomorrow my plans include grocery shopping and Sunday, I want to get outdoors if the weather permits!
1. Meeting new people and experiencing new cultures and new places is the best thing about traveling.
2. I love a good hot apple cider, chai, or herbal tea when I'm cold.
3. I often use a toothbrush.
4. I'm reading The Book Thief right now; I love it as much as those who have already raved about it.
5. Economics is something I dislike talking about.
6. When I visited South Africa I most looked forward to seeing Desmund Tutu. And I did! He came and spoke to us when we first arrived.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to watching the rest of Season 1 of The Wire, tomorrow my plans include grocery shopping and Sunday, I want to get outdoors if the weather permits!
Thursday, February 21, 2008
I accepted Maggie's tag on everybody for guatami's Non-fiction meme.
What issues/topic interests you most in non-fiction, i.e, cooking, knitting, stitching, there are infinite topics that has nothing to do with novels? I try to read a whole range of non-fiction. There are some genres that pop up frequently: international relations, especially those relating to human rights and refugees and/or immigration; "social commentary" books; and armchair travel reading . Others appear less frequently, and can be a bit more diverse: cooking, art books, books about various women in history, books about historical events, parenting books (last year it was pregnancy and breastfeeding books), adventure books, and books ab0ut world religions.
B) Would you like to review books concerning those? I review all the books I read, non-fiction included.
C) Would you like to be paid or do it as interest or hobby? Tell reasons for whatever you choose. I do occasionally reveiw ARC copies of forthcoming publications. Payment is usually in the form of a free copy of the book and sometimes an Amazon gift card. It would be kind of neat to really get paid, but then things such as deadlines come into play. Not really interested in that kind of pressure at the moment!
D) Would you recommend those to your friends and how? Yes, and I do. Whenever I read a book (fiction or non-fiction), if someone comes to mind whom I think would enjoy it, I always recommend it if it is good.
E) If you have already done something like this, link it to your post. My most recent non-fiction reviews are The Translator: A Tribesman's Memoir of Darfur; The Sky Isn't Visible From Here; Living A Jewish Life; and Secrets of the Baby Whisperer. The next non-fiction book I plan on reading is Barabara Kingsolver's Animal. Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life.
F) Please don’t forget to link back here or whoever tags you. See the beginning of the post.
If you haven't done this one yet and would like to, you're it!
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Title: The Translator: A Tribesman's Memoir of Darfur
Author: Daoud Hari (as told to Dennis Burke and Megan McKenna)
Rating: 5 out of 5
In 2003, fighting broke out in Darfur as a result of the government's systematic campaign to move non-Arab Sudanese in Darfur off of the oil-rich land. Sudanese government forces and armed militia (known as "Janjaweed") began attacking civilians who are members of the same ethnic groups as the rebels. Countless villages have been destroyed. The rape of women and young girls is used as a tool of war. Hundreds of thousands have died, and over two million people have fled to refugee or IDP (internally-displaced) camps.
Much to my delight, I recently received an ARC of The Translator--a memoir by Daoud Hari, a Sudanese refugee--from one of the marketing managers at Random House.
Daoud Hari, a Zaghawa tribesmen from Darfur, had recently returned to his village after living abroad when his village was attacked by the Janjaweed. He lost his beloved brother, Ahmed, in the attack, but helped his family and many of his relatives and fellow villager cross the desert to reach the relative safety of a border refugee camp.
Daoud Hari is not a person to stand around and do nothing. Despite the danger, he felt compelled to put his English skills to use as a translator for genocide investigators and reporters, in an attempt to get the word out about the genocide, to bring the ethnic cleansing of his people into your living room, so their voices could be heard. His memoir largely follows his work from 2003 until 2006, when he received protection as a refugee in the United States. It is a remarkable story of one man's determination to help his people, risking his life over and over again to fight the injustice that he has witnessed.
Daoud's story is the story of his people. It is also the story of millions of refugees living in border refugee camps around the world. They encounter many of the same problems that Hari witnesses: inadequate shelter, women and girls raped when they have to leave the camp to gather firewood for fuel, and people unable to earn any income when their host country forbids them from working. It is a story that must be read, and that needs to be heard. I believe one of Hari's goals in writing this memoir is to encourage people to take action. It is a lesson I took to heart. Since leaving my work in the refugee field to become a stay-at-home parent, I have wondered how to fill that void. Reading Hari's memoir gave me the impetus I needed to seek out volunteer work with the Stop Genocide Now organization. Thank you, Daoud.
The Darfur genocide is still taking place today. It may come and go in the news, on the whim of large media outlets, but it has not gone away. Ineffective peace agreements often make the situation worse. As Hari points out, as long as the Sudanese government attacks villages or provokes others to do so, there will be more people that join the rebel groups and fight back. In recent months, as predicted, is threatening to create a broader regional instability. In the beginning of this month, fighting broke out on the border regions of Chad and Sudan, threatening refugee camps, as well as the city N'Djamena.
Monday, February 18, 2008
Saturday, February 16, 2008
Friday, February 15, 2008
1. Snowdrops are one of my favorite things. But I don't like the cold temperatures that come with them.
2. I'm going to start reading my ARC of The Translator this afternoon.
3. Cheek to Cheek sung by Frank Sinatra (among others) is a song whose lyrics have meaning to me.
4. Just one sip and my body is warmed by the hot cup of tea.
5. Travelling with my husband is where I'm happiest.
6. I believe that doing your taxes is a necessary part of life.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to making salmon papillote, tomorrow my plans include meeting my parents for lunch and Sunday, I want to watch more of Season One of The Wire that I have from Netflix.
Thursday, February 14, 2008
I had a post ready for today, but I liked this suggestion from Chris even better, so … thanks, Chris!
Here’s something for Valentine’s Day.
Have you ever fallen out of love with a favorite author? Was the last book you read by the author so bad, you broke up with them and haven’t read their work since? Could they ever lure you back?
It's pretty rare that I don't stick with an author once I fall in love with them. The only one I can think of in recent years is Zadie Smith. I read White Teeth and adored it. I couldn't wait to see what she came out with next. Then On Beauty was published. After I read it, I thought "What was that??". It was an extremely disappointing follow-up book, and I haven't been able to go back to her since.
And, here is last week's BTT, since I forgot all about it:
- Hiking: I am a three seasons hiker. I also used to love going out in the winter, but after living in Australia for 4 years, I learned that I HATE the cold. I would rather hibernate. I'm really looking forward to taking Maya out on some trails in a few months, once I figure out how to change a diaper in the middle of the woods.
- Travelling: I love to travel. Before we started saving for a house, this is where all of our extra money went. We're tentatively planning a trip to Romania and Hungary in early fall.
- Cooking: One of my greatest joys is cooking a huge meal for my friends and families. This is how I socialize. :) I love to cook all sorts of ethnic cuisines I have learned from various friends and past refugee clients. My favorites are Ethiopian and Nigerian stews, Indian and Sri Lankan curries, and various dishes from Central and South America. I have recently been playing around with the Pennsylvania Dutch recipes I grew up with - but giving them a bit more pizazz. I have also been on a bit of a Jewish kick since my husband bought me this cookbook (haha - I still managed to mention a book in a non-book related BTT!)
- Sewing. This is a brand new hobby. Well, actually it's a re-discovered one. I liked to sew in my pre-teen years. I just got a new sewing machine, and I am hoping to get back into it.
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Do I have a book lurking inside? I'd like to think so. Years ago, I made a list of 100 things I would like to accomplish in my life, and writing a book was listed amongst them. In fact, I plan on applying for grants to begin a non-fiction book in the somewhat near future. That book will be about the experiences of refugee women who have resettled in America. But, I'd rather not play along with this meme--thanks for tagging me Gautami!--with a non-fiction book in mind. Therefore, here are the top ten signs that a novel is written by me:
1. The lead character is a young woman, recently graduated from college.
2. The novel has an international setting, as it follows the young woman on her travels around the world when she has a difficult time finding a job after graduation.
3. There will be a hilarious scene involving the young woman and one of these high-tech washlet toilets in Japan (be warned, the man in this youtube video likes to swear):
4. Our young woman will visit Australia, China, Vietnam, Kenya, South Africa, India, Brazil, and Cuba. Countries I just happen to have visited myself.
5. There are scenes of quirky bar experiences in various countries.
6. During the course of the novel, she will pick up a few travel companions that will join her in her many adventures.
7. My novel is light-hearted, but explores some issues I find important, particularly poverty in developing countries.
8. My novel has a good editor to catch all of my grammatical mistakes.
9. It will not be a romantic novel. If made into a movie, it would be PG-13.
10. It will not have a sappy ending, and may leave the option open for subsequent books.
I now tag the following people:
Tag, you're it!
Author's Blog: Felicia Sullivan: Author, Foodie, Rockstar
Monday, February 11, 2008
In the weeks leading up to the start of the Neustadt Challenge, I plan highlighting many of the winners. First up is Giuseppe Ungaretti.
Scribed by Nyssaneala at 4:16 PM
Sunday, February 10, 2008
Saturday, February 9, 2008
Title: The Castle on Hester Street
Author: Linda Heller (illustrated by Boris Kulikov)
Rating: 5 of 5
First sentence: One day while Julie was visiting her grandparents, her grandfather said, "Did I ever tell you about my good friend Moishe?"
This a cute story about a grandfather's tall tales of the family's immigration from Russia to America. By countering grandpa's stories of castles and moons made of matzoh, with grandma's explanations of how things really were, Linda Heller has created a gem of a book in teaching kids about the experience of immigration. It's an endearing story that all ages could enjoy.
Friday, February 8, 2008
1. I'm looking forward to eating some blueberry and cheese blintzes for dessert and finishing the memoir I'm currently reading.
2. Macchu Picchu is a place I always wanted to visit and haven't made it there yet.
3. I've fallen in love with my daughter.
4. Six of one, the number of cookies I could easily eat in a sitting.
5. Addiction, also known as bibliophilia.
6. The Daily Show cracks me up!
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to sleeping, tomorrow my plans include shopping for a baby shower gift and Sunday, I want to have some time to read!
Thursday, February 7, 2008
Wednesday, February 6, 2008
Tuesday, February 5, 2008
Title: Sarah, Plain and Tall
Author: Patricia MacLachlan
Rating: 3.5 of 5
First sentence: "Did Mama sing every day?" asked Caleb.
In the late 19th century, a farmer and his two children on the great Plains puts in an advertisement for a wife. When Sarah replies, and arrives from Maine, Anna and Caleb do everything they can to convince her to stay, despite her homesickness for her family and the sea.
This is the premise of Sarah, Plain and Tall, a story about acceptance, loss and love. The story did not capture my emotions in the same way that other Newbery winners have in the past. I found the characters to be a bit one-dimensional and flat. It was hard to get past the "mail-order bride" vibe that ranckled my inner feminist. However, the story is not that simple, and is sweetly seen from the eyes of Anna and Caleb. To them, their whole world is resting on Sarah's decision whether to leave or stay. It is a nice story for young kids.
It was a surprise and a delight to come back to my blog after a brief interlude to discover that Eva at A Striped Armchair gave me the You Make My Day Award!
Now it's my turn to choose ten bloggers that make my day, whose words inspire me, and make it a pleasure to be a part of the blogging community.
Melissa: I was first introduced to her blog when she started the Expanding Your Horizons challenge. I have since discovered that all of her posts are a delight to read.
Jeane: I don't comment on her blog as much as I should, but I always take pleasure in reading her latest reviews.
Wendy: Wendy (of caribuosmom) was the first person to comment on my blog. Her book selections are eerily similar to my reading tastes, and her reviews are so well-thought out, they always stimulate that somewhat neglected intellect portion of my brain!
Wendy (Literary Feline): Wendy's posts are always so much fun to read. Plus, she shares my love for friendly felines, you can't beat that!
Kristina: I only recently discovered Kristina's blog, after realizing that we were both expecting our first child within months of each other (which turned into weeks, when her son arrived very early, and my daughter arrived late). I love reading about her journey into motherhood, and the books she still makes time to read.
Lotus Reads: One of the first blogs I started visiting regularly. I love her cultural and anthropological perspective on the books that she reads.
Laura: Laura reads a lot of prize winners and international authors, and I always enjoy reading her perspective.
Dewey: Her blog is wonderful in every way.
Tukopamoja: Another blog I recently discovered, he is the host of the African reading challenge. I always enjoy reading his thoughts on African current events.
Becky: Her blog has been a blessing in helping to discover (and re-discover) wonderful books to read to my daughter.
Scribed by Nyssaneala at 9:08 AM
Sunday, February 3, 2008
Using the handy-dandy random number generator, Myrthe from The Book Reader or the Armenian Odar Reads is the winner of The Hours by Michael Cunningham.
I know my blog has been a bit silent this past week. Our family has been in town for Maya's baby naming ceremony, which was earlier today. I thought I was crazy to host a ceremony in brunch for 30 people in our small 2 bedroom apartment with a 2-month old baby, but it was a spectacular success!
More blog updates to come soon!
Scribed by Nyssaneala at 5:26 PM
Today was the first day in a long time that felt, well, relaxing. My hubby just started his two-week vacation, which we kicked off with a Sunday morning trip to our neighborhood markets at Belvedere Square for a coffee, and to stock up on milk, veggies, and meat. Maya had a very enjoyable time looking at all the colorful foods, and then falling right to sleep.
Scribed by Nyssaneala at 5:21 PM