Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Essay and the Essayist

I love to read a good essay.
Hopefully you have read these essays: A List from Flavorwire:

Also here are wonderful essayists to read: A list from Flavorwire:

Enjoy the reads.

Saturday, April 14, 2012


I can't believe I haven't posted about Bossypants- By Tina Fey.

Read it and laugh.
Enjoy the read.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Deep and Important to Read and Understand

The New Jim Crow By Michelle Alexander.

Here are some articles and interviews about and with Michelle.


Legal Scholar: Jim Crow Still Exists In America


NYT: Go to Trial Crash the Justice System By Michelle

TED- Another speaker Bryan Stevenson- son of Rosa Parks: Hard Truths About the Justice System

They are not easy reads, but truly important and inspiring.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Go to a Reading!

I have been going to the Happy Ending Reading Series.
It is wonderful to attend once a month because
a. I love the readings and music.
b. I get great new books to read to enjoy.
c. I am exposed to things I wouldn't normally read or pick up on my own.

Here are a few of the latest authors that have come by who I have greatly enjoyed:
Heidi Julavits- Absolutely hilarious! The Uses of Enchantment
Hari Kunzru- Gods without Men
Elissa Schappell- Blueprints for Building Better Girls

If you are ever in town, go to the series at Joe's Pub.
It is a good time.
Hope you enjoy the reads as well.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Spring is Here

Welcome spring!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Welcome Back!

I am going to try and catch you all up slowly on my reading life.
I will start with this initial post and hopefully will have more to come!
I will start with my kindle and some of the things that I have been reading to help me think about
school and work and raising kids!

This past year I have read:

Drive by Daniel Pink

Nurture Shock By Po Bronson

Enhancing Professional Practice By Charlotte Danielson

Change Leader By Michael Fullan

I think out of all of them, Drive was my favorite, although Change Leader is my runner up!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

My book list to you!

Every year, at the end of the academic year, I send out a summer book list of favorite reads from the year-

Here is my fiction short list:
Blue Boy
How to Read the Air
Some Sing, Some Cry
Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk

Here is my nonfiction short list:
Just Kids
Chuck Klosterman On film and television
Factory Girls
Create Dangerously



-be the change you hope to see in the world...

Friday, May 27, 2011

Lin Hairong!

While in Shanghai, I discovered Lin Hairong! I love her art! Mostly of children, but expressive and beautiful. Upon return to the United States I 'googled' her and found all these wonderful articles about her!

Enjoy her art! Enjoy the reads!

Lin Hairong Article One From NYarts magazine
Lin Hairong Article Two From China Today
Lin Hairong Article Three From Art Slant
Lin Hairong Article Four From Art Link Art

I am also including a link to Eastlink Gallery in Shanghai. If you get a chance to visit while you are there- take advantage!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

The Last Train Home

This is a documentary film from china I just saw. Moving. Important for the world to see.


-be the change you hope to see in the world...

Location:Shanghai China

Friday, April 22, 2011

Friday, April 15, 2011

Factory Girls

My friend Maggie suggested reading Leslie Chang and Peter Hessler while I'm visiting China- so I started with Factory Girls. I love literary non fiction- and what Chang does in this book is to only shed light on migrant women workers here in china, but she also reveals her own journey into the history of her family here too. Some have given critiques of this- but I think it works quite well in her book!

It definitely shines a light on the factories and the hardship of life, but her book works to do something else, to give these women voices and to hear their stories about migration. It is really quite interesting and of course thought provoking.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Shanghai Girls

I finished Shanghai Girls on the plane ride to China. It's my second Lisa See book. I read her memoir a few years ago and enjoyed hearing about her family's story. This novel is also quite a story- set between Shanghai and Los Angeles- in the 30's/40s. Historical and gripping. I definitely was able to predict many of the outcomes- but it was an enjoyable read.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, February 28, 2011


November 12, 2010  - - - -  
Dear Pumpkin-Flavored Seasonal Treats,  
So you're back. You just come waltzing into town like nothing has happened, 
like  nothing has changed. Don't look at me like that. You're the one who left for a  
year with no explanation, no warning. No note. And I'm just supposed to be okay  with that?  
Well, I'm not. A lot has changed in the last year. I've moved on. I tried going  vegan, did 
you know that? Of course you didn't. You know why? Because you never  bothered to call and 
check in. I had a fling with peppermint in December, but  that didn't last long. 

I never really got over you.  Do you know what it was like for me after you disappeared? 
I was a wreck. I  couldn't get out of bed; there was nothing to look forward to. I started  
visiting the places we spent time together, on the off chance you might be  there. But no matter 
where I went, the fact was that you were gone. Worst of  all, it seems that I was the only one 
who noticed. Signs advertising your  presence remained up. Commercials encouraging me to consume 
you in mass  quantities flooded my television and haunted my dreams. You were everywhere and  
nowhere, all at the same time.  If I had realized how temporary your presence in my life 
would be, I would have  done things differently. I would have cherished the time we spent 
together more.  I would have taken more pictures. I would have told you I loved you each and  
every single day. If only I knew it was all going to end, I would have planned  ahead. 
I would have stocked up. If only.  But like I said, things are different now. I've changed. 
I'm strong now. I'm not  the same girl who needed you, yearned for you and cried when you 
weren't around.  I am an independent, self sufficient woman, who refuses to be tied down.  
Especially to something that can't handle hanging around for more than a three  month period 
of time. 

So screw you, you commitment phobic piece of crap.  You've got a lot of nerve coming 
back here. How dare you look me in the eye? Do  you think I'm dumb? Do you think I don't realize
that since you've come back,  you've flirted with every person you pass on the street, tempting
them with your  elusive charms and intoxicating scent? You jerk. You big jerk. I trusted you. 
I  thought we had something special. And now you've gone and thrown it all away.  

Again. God, I'm stupid. I'm so stupid. I hate you. I really, really do.  
Wait. I'm sorry. Maybe I'm being too hard on you. I don't know. I've put so much  
into this relationship already. Maybe it's better to just try again. A blank  slate, so to speak.
 It's still early in the season. We still have time; we can  still make it work. What do you say?
 How about a drink? For old time's sake? But  please, whatever you do. Don't ever leave me again.
 I love you, Ilana Abby Plen

Sunday, February 27, 2011


Read my friend khalid's interview- here at the mcgill daily-


-be the change you hope to see in the world...

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Happy Birthday Mum!

My mum loves mysteries and thrillers! Give her the birthday gift of some titles! Post here!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Guest Blogger: Cory Gillette

I am a voracious reader, and of all the books I have read recently, two stand out for me. They are The Help by Kathryn Stockett and A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick. I would consider them must-reads like The Kite Runner, The Poisonwood Bible and Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell.

Before I start talking about the books I should let you know that I love to read narratives with an emphasis on relationships and well developed characters. The relationships in these books sat with me well past the final chapters. The characters came to life for me and l loved how the authors kept revealing new layers.

I began The Help this summer very reluctantly. I had heard the author interviewed on NPR and something about her comments turned me off. Race is hard to write about, especially as a white woman from the south. Her descriptions of the books and her apologetic comments made me feel the book would be the same, a storyteller who was tentative and apologetic in her narrative. I had run out of books on vacation so I had to give it a chance. I was totally wrong. From the first page I was hooked. I met Abilene and I fell in love. The book is told from several perspectives. There is Abilene and Minnie who were domestic servants and then there is Skeeter, a southern white woman who was ahead of her time. Beside the fact that the narrators are so well developed, the book makes you think about the big issues that we still face around race and hired help. It also made me think about the expected roles of all women. Even the white women were oppressed as they put down others. They were expected to get married and have kids and nothing else.

The Reliable Wife came to me through the podcast of the New York Times Book Review that discussed the best books of 2009. This was right around the new year. The Reliable Wife was not in the top 10 when it was in hardcover, but somehow by the time it came out in paperback it was number 2. I also loved this book from the beginning. The quality of the writing in the first few pages is so outstanding that I often refer to it when talking to teachers about teaching writing. Though I did not realize it at first, the book is a bit of a mystery thriller. It begins describing a wealthy widower waiting on a train platform for a reliable wife that he found through an advertisement in the newspaper. We meet Catherine, the wife to be, on the train as she changes into her plain clothes on the train and tosses out her fancy ones. We realize that she has lied to the widower when she gets off the train. She is beautiful. She is not the plain woman in the picture that he expected. The surprises continue from there. I could not put it down.

Happy Reading.

Here is the New York Times review of The Help http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/19/books/19masl.html

Here is the review of A Reliable Wife from a mom’s book blog. I liked hers better than the others.


Monday, February 14, 2011


"Home is where the Self dwells." -Toni Morrison

Monday, February 7, 2011

What are Egyptians Saying...

Our thoughts are with the people in Egypt. 13 days they have been protesting in the square.

We have been posting many links on facebook.

Nawal El Saadawi, one of the most important and famous women writers/novelists, has been interviewed recently on the square. She also spoke to the NYTimes as well. Article: with Kristoff

Monday, January 31, 2011


Quart: Not enough milk.  
Gallon: Too much milk.  
Teaspoon: An unsatisfying bite of ice cream. 
Tablespoon: Brain freeze.  
Pint: The amount of ice cream eaten in one sitting that guarantees shame.  
Pound: 1/10th of the reason you have an unused gym membership.  
Mile: The maximum distance gym teachers can force out of shape teenagers to run  
without being charged with reckless endangerment.  
Kilometer: A mile in Europe. 
Meter: About a yard. 
 Yard: About a meter.  100 yards: The distance a jock thinks he can throw a Nerf football.  
Acre: The area in front of a barn.  
Foot: The average length by which you miss an elevator.  
Inch: Three smart phones stacked on top of each other.  
Centimeter: The smallest measurement visible to the human eye.  
Millimeter: The width of an atom.  
Minute: The amount of time you must listen to your cell phone ring before it  goes 
to voicemail if you don't want the caller to know you're avoiding their  call.  
Hour: The length of time you incorrectly believe it will take to run a few  errands while using metered parking.  
Day: The time it takes to prepare before doing something you don't want to.  
Month: The time it takes to become tired of a popular song.  
Year: The time it takes radio to become tired of a popular song.  
Decade: The time it takes for the popular song to become an ironic reference. 
Light year: The time it takes light to travel a year.  
Dollar: The gratitude you're expected to show a bartender for opening a beer  bottle.  
Hour of work: At least 1/7th the worth of having a beer opened for you.  
Watt: The power dissipated when a current of 1 ampere flows across a difference  in potential of 1 volt.  
Kilowatt: The power dissipated when your brain attempts to understand a watt.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Suheir Hammad's: Born Palestian Born Black

Suheir Hammad, one of my favorite poet's, a new edition of her first book of poetry out. For years it has been out of print and impossible to find! Lucky us, now we have a chance to read and own this amazing collection of poetry.


Saturday, January 22, 2011

Sarah Jones at the Nuyorican

SJ was amazing last night at the nuyorican. It is a really cool improv that she is doing- an experiment she calls it. some old characters and some new- SJ presents an array of characters that are having a dialog and q and a session with the audience. Not only does she present a diverse set of personalities and characters but she unravels a world view that is honest, humorous, and that resonates with all.

Seriously, don't miss it! Www.nuyorican.org
20 bucks!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Sarah Jones Performs in NYC

Now is your chance to see Sarah Jones live, and up close. Sarah Jones is the author and performer of Bridges and Tunnel! An amazing show that won numerous awards about 6 years ago-ish. Now she has written new material and is performing at the Nuyorican Cafe, where she got her start, the month of January and February.

She will also be performing at Joe's Pub- at a special edition of The Happy Ending Reading Series on January 31st.

Both performances would say are not to be missed!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Edwidge Danticat Will Be at Symphony Space

On January 26, Symphony Space is having a book reading from the selected short stories form Haiti Noir- a collection of stories that Edwidge Danticat has put together.

My sister and I agree, Create Dangerously: The Immigrant Artist At Work, is one of the best books written in 2010.

If you have a chance to attend the reading, it will prove to certainly be a moving one. If not, begin to read her work. It is moving, honest, and educational.

On our facebook page, we have posted many articles from Edwidge Danticat and certainly other people writing about Haiti, especially a year after the devastating earthquake that shook the country.

Here are a few links to key articles that we have posted in the past month.

Link 1 http://www.democracynow.org/2011/1/12/novelist_edwidge_danticat_haitians_are_very




Sunday, January 2, 2011

Reading All Things Omani!

Let's start with the map! Many people have asked about the geography of Oman, where is it? What is there to do and see?

Oman is a beautiful country with an interesting history and present day story. Tourism is very recent as well as drive-able roads.

The Lonely Planet Guide was a helpful read, but we preferred the Bradt Guide's suggestions and narrations more often.

Oman has some great websites for suggestions of things to do and see.

We visited Nizwa and Salalah. These cities gave us a feel for the variety of landscapes and people.

I give Oman high marks! Read up on this fascinating country!
Maybe you too will decide to visit!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Design Blogs

I have really been into reading and admiring design/artistic blogs and magazines online.
Here are a few favorites.




Monday, November 22, 2010

Oman- Here I Come

My sister and I are planning a trip to Oman. So, I have been reading the Lonely Planet Guide to Oman, UAE, and Arabian Peninsula. Right now mostly trying to plan out the cities we will visit!
I also will be thinking about loading up my iPad with good reads!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Online Magazines

My G-d-Kids' cousin, has published an online magazine, Socially Awkward. It is great! She is a journalist major in college and in her spare time puts together this fun and hip magazine!
Enjoy it and pass it on to your friends. Spread the love!

Zewdy- featured in the magazine! Super cool.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Nicole Krauss

Are you interested in who is nominated for the National Book Awards?
Nicole Krauss is nominated. I have her book on my iPad and I need to start it soon, because she will be reading at Symphony Space, November 15th and I want to be ready for reading. I have listened to her on NPR. She talked about her writing process and basically all that I can discern is that she is a genius. Looking forward to reading her new novel. I loved History of Love. If you haven't read it, do so!

Monday, November 8, 2010

New York Public Library

Today is my birthday! Happy Birthday to me. On my flight home from the west coast, I am finishing Edwidge Danticat's book of essays, Create Dangerously. She is one of my favorite writers and I am so excited to see her at the New York Public Library, this Wednesday the 10th of November. Should be a powerful reading.

I'm sad I missed her at the New Yorker Festival this fall with Dave Eggers and Uwem Akpan.

Hopefully I will be able to see her in January though at Symphony Space. Make sure you read ED and possibly even hear her speak!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

David in NYC

David Sedaris will be in NYC November 1st and 2nd at the Apollo! Holla!
He will be reading from his new book of animal short stories, Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk. I'm almost done with them. For my birthday, my friends and I are going to see him read live. It will be my second book reading with DS! Really looking forward to it.

Plus, I love how my iPad shows off the cool illustrations by Ian Falconer (our beloved author of Olivia)!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Mary Roach is...Funny!

Recently I heard Mary Roach on NPR's show, Wait Wait Don't Tell Me. She was very funny. You probably have read her books about death and sex and most recently about outer space!
If you haven't read her books, do so! And take a quick listen to her on the radio. Very funny.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Fairy Tales for Adults

Have you read, Wicked or Son of a Witch?
Gregory Maguire will be at Symphony Space giving a reading Wednesday October 27.
Should be wonderful!
I reread Wicked for the event!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Music to Follow

The last two shows at, The Happy Ending Reading Series, have had amazing guest musicians.

We all fell in love with the groovy viola playing, Anni Rossi and a cool band from North Carolina, Lost in Trees.

Check them out. Show your love and purchase some of their music.

Here are a few of my favorites.

Favorite- Anni Rossi Crushing Limbs
Favorite- Walk Around the Lake Lost in Trees
Favorite Lost in Trees All Alone in an Empty House
Favorite Anni Rossi Hatchet

Monday, October 18, 2010

Event at Symphony Space

Sloane Crosley will be at Symphony Space on Wednesday the 20th.
Should be a great show with David Rakoff who I am excited to hear as well!

John Stewart recently had him on the daily show.

Might need to go on the book shelf to read next!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Symphony Space

I went to Symphony Space- Selected Shorts program this past week to hear Richard Russo discuss the recently edited, Best American Short Stories. There were two readings, one- a short story by Jennifer Egan, "Safari" and two- a short story by Joshua Ferris, "The Valetudinarian". Hope Davis and Tony Roberts read. It was amazing!

They will play back these readings on NPR! Check them out on the radio!

Richard Russo and Joshua Ferris had a little conversation on stage. Russo's novels are quite dramatic and beautiful. I especially loved Empire Falls-novel and the HBO mini series! I am almost done with That Old Cape Magic. Great books, great reads.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Rat Girl

I finished JF's book, Freedom. My friend Audra and I have been talking about it back and forth throughout the read. there is a lot to think about the different ideas of freedom embedded throughout the text. All in all felt quite satisfied by the read and am sure will continue to think about it.

Of course because of the new iPad addition to my life, I had my next book lined up immediately for this weekend- Rat Girl- a memoir of a rock star. Last month I went to the Happy Ending Reading Series (which you know ends up impacting my reading life tremendously. The excerpts read really drew me in and sounded amazing. I guess I will probably have to buy her music after I read her book.

Hope you are enjoying this weekend- feel free to comment or to leave us good book suggestions to read!!!!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:East Coast

Currently I Am Reading

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Education in the News

Two great articles- one in the NYTimes and one in the New Yorker this week.
What are we thinking when it comes to the education of our kids. These are very thoughtful.

Article One: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/20/opinion/20engel.html

Article Two: http://www.newyorker.com/talk/comment/2010/09/27/100927taco_talk_lemann

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Freedom Baby

As you know from facebook, I started Freedom on Labor Day Weekend- but I didn't get very far. Now I have given myself the task to read --- all things related to Franzen and must finish it by this weekend- 100 pages a day should get me there!

This is a great article just in the NYTimes about the book. I think it will help me through this great novel.

And it is great. Loving it--- even though I am fifth of the way through it!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Brooklyn Loves Book

The Brooklyn Book Festival is tomorrow-
great line up of authors. Don't miss it!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Find Some Books For the Fall to Read

Louise Erdrich - Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Have you read Erdrich's blog? It is great. She owns a bookstore in Minnesota.

This post definitely is inspiring a line of books! Bolanos, Roth...


Sunday, August 29, 2010

Currently I am Reading: Tracy Kidder

Mountains Beyond Mountains
You probably saw, on our facebook page, some articles we have posted about Partners in Health. Especially about ways to support the people in Haiti and Pakistan. This book is the 'story' about Paul Farmer, the founder of PIH.

Below there are a few articles about Kidder and about Partners in Health.



Background on Kidder:

Friday, August 27, 2010

Finally Finished

Upon my friend Barb's suggestion, I read and finished, Then We Came to the End, by Joshua Ferris. Very good. Dark. Funny. A definate, 'You should read'. I passing it along--- a good book for our Accidental Book Club!

Below is the website for the book and an article from the NYTimes. http://www.hachettebookgroup.com/features/twctte/twctte_022307/index.html


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Guest Blogger: Raimi

Fellow Blogger, "Raimi" brings us her favorite author of the summer, Anne Lamott. Follow Raimi on her own blog, Think Big! It is a thoughtful and creative blog. It is very reflective and meant to challenge the mind and spirit. Enjoy her blog. http://thinkbigproject.blogspot.com/

Enjoy her post here.

When I think of Anne Lamott I think of how great it is that there is someone just as neurotic in this world as me. Then I think of ways I can be as witty, funny, and vivid as her through my writing. My summer reading has taken me into Annie's world. I started by devouring two of her acclaimed memoirs/collections of essays on her spiritual life, “Traveling Mercies” and “Grace Eventually”. More specifically, these books focus on Lamott's journey into Christianity. She takes us into glimpses of her life that are incredibly vivid and hilarious. She sprinkles the truth in between laughs.

If anything Lamott teaches us to take a closer look, to pay attention, to laugh at our often absurd moments. She shows us how to notice our imperfections with compassion and not let them get in the way of that wonderful person that is trying to be born from our past and present. There is something so genuine about her writing; I doubt anyone could say otherwise. She is not trying to persuade you into her Christian faith, just presenting her truth. Lamott’s truth is presented sometimes in a charming and poetic manner and at times so frankly you cant deny your heart skipped a beat because of how well she nailed an aspect of your own character.

I still have not had my fill of Lamott. I am currently reading “Bird by Bird”, her praised book on writing, and next up will be her work in fiction. And although my review might paint her work in a slightly self help-ish hue, the difference is self-help has instructions, while good literature teaches you your own personal lesson. Whichever lesson it is you choose to take with you, that is what Lamott's memoirs have to offer her readers.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Poetry in the Mesas

My friend Audra recently read this at an event. It is a beautiful poem. Enjoy. Happy Summer.
Freshen the Flowers, She Said By Mary Oliver

So I put them in the sink, for the cool porcelain
was tender,
and took out the tattered and cut each stem
on a slant,
trimmed the black and raggy leaves, and set them all -
roses, delphiniums, daisies, iris, lilies,
and more whose names I don't know, in bright new water -
gave them

a bounce upward at the end to let them take
their own choice of position, the wheels, the spurs,
the little sheds of the buds. It took, to do this,
perhaps fifteen minutes.
Fifteen minutes of music
with nothing playing.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Happy Birthday Dad!

Happy Birthday Dad! Lucky number 13. Well at least lucky for me!

My dad is a big reader. We have often gifted him many books over the years, especially about psycho-analysis, civil rights, jazz music and musicians, memoirs. Hope you have a great birthday weekend. We love you.