Sunday, January 31, 2010

Songs for the Heart: A Rock Concert at the Highline

I think every now and then it is good to do something you normally wouldn't do, read something you wouldn't on your own necessarily read, and listen to music you might not choose for yourself. It allows you to see more beauty that exists in the world and it opens up parts of yourself that you might not have seen.

I guess I consider myself an R&B, Acoustic Guitar, Salsa listening person. My friend Kathy invited me to a Cowboy Mouth concert and she said that it was one of the best shows she had ever seen and that we had to go. While New Orleans rock music is not on the top of my play lists, I thought, 'Just try it. Be open to it.'

It was quite a show. I don't think I have ever seen so much energy on stage in my life. It was almost overwhelming for me. The music was loud, the crowd was digging it. They were jumping up and down, screaming, and clapping along to the rhythm.

I can't say that I grooved to all their songs, but the show was something to watch. What stood out to me even more were the lyrics. They had some beautiful words singing along to their drum beats and guitar riffs. I have to say, I left that concert smiling.

Cowboy Mouth: I Believe
Whatcha gonna do with the restlessness inside you worried mind
How you think you're ever gonna get ahead when you feel so far behind
Step inside this endless moment for a subtle touch of grace
I've always found my strength inside the act of faith

I believe in the spirit of Rock N Roll
In the eternal strength of the immortal soul
Cause sometimes everybody's gotta let it go
I believe in the power of love

I believe in the sounds of Sam and Dave
That little children should occasionally misbehave
That all that you get is all that you gave
I believe in the power of love

Little boy staring out a windowsill to a world that doesn't care
Everybody 'round is so much bigger that they don't even know he's there
But one day he's going to grow to be a man and maybe then they'll see
He'll provide the hope and care for the family

I believe in the chance of love at first site
That your life doesn't always have to be a fight
And if you do it at all you ought to do it right
I believe in the power of love

I believe that sometimes you got to take a stand
That you're holding my heart when you're holding my hand
Cause everything is eventually in gods hands

I have got to take the best of me and keep that heart alive
Why'd I ever want to shut that down and kill my soul?

I believe that sometimes you've got to take a chance
That you can't love your life just listening to can'ts
Cause the thrill of the ball's part of the thrill of the dance
I believe in the power of love

I believe that we never really are alone
'Cause there's so much more than anything we've known
New Orleans is always gonna be my home
I believe in the power of love

I believe in the spirit of Rock N Roll
In the eternal strength of the immortal soul
Cause sometimes everybody's gotta let it go
I believe in the power of love

I believe in the power of love


Saturday, January 30, 2010

Blogs are Part of My Reading Diet: A Sampling of Blogs I Read In January


You will see a long list of blogs that I enjoy reading on this website. Here are a few new ones I have added this month to the longer lists. Blogs are a great way to read something quick and short. You can also find new connections through them for more infomation on a topic.

Enjoy the blogs, bloggers and readers. Happy blogging and blog reading.

A new blog- funny.

A blogger finding something to do with their time.

This blog was sent to me on Martin Luther King Jr Day.

A blog doing good in the world!

Blogs in Spanish that were recommended and found through other blogs.

Blog about Reading.

This a blog by a beloved poet.

Here is a blog about family.

Favorite writers blog.

Writers recommend blogs.

Read a blog, write a blog- send a blog to someone who will love it! Blog, blog blog blog, blogging.

It's a New Year: My Daily Reading Life in January 2010


This new year I have read many articles. I started this blog out thinking that I could really document my whole reading life- Wow. I guess I read a lot. I don't like nor agree with all that I read. Some of it I pass on, but not all. I've selected a few articles (ha-ha) this month that I read and think you should read too! Each for its own reason.

#1 This month Sara Barron gave another book reading. The ABC just really loved her book!

http://www.wordbrooklyn.com/event/witty-women-writers-sara-barron-doree-shafrir-and-claire-zulkey

#2 Barb kept me updated on the reality TV gossip and latest. How wrong, wrong, wrong. And he is a teacher. No worries, Barb has an upcoming post she is contributing about her own reading life.

http://www.ny1.com/8-queens-news-content/top_stories/111918/queens-teacher-fired-for-punching-reality-tv-star

#3 Laurie Sandell writes memoir (graphic novels), writes for glamour, and freelances on a variety of topics like cooking. Another ABC favorite.

http://www.realsimple.com/magazine-more/inside-magazine/life-lessons/a-stirring-tale-00000000028686/index.html

#4 My friend Katie keeps me updated on some good new hip eateries in NYC! April- from iron chef- has a new place! Check out. It sounds amazing!

http://nymag.com/restaurants/reviews/63213/http://events.nytimes.com/2010/01/13/dining/reviews/13rest.html

#5 Other articles about food- for the foodie out there!

http://tastingtable.com/entry_detail/nyc/1032/Savory_pies_make_the_perfect_drinking_companions.htm

http://www.dakotacooks.com/2010/01/angelique-kidjo/

#6 My friend, Adam, posted this article by Stephen Elliot about how hard the books selling world really is. Adam has just written, Viral Loop, an extraordinary book about the stories of businesses spreading viral-ly through the Internet. Great read! Elliot is a great author himself . I got to see him read at The Happy Ending Reading Series in NYC. Pick up both books and read the article!

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/17/books/review/Elliott-t.html link to first post

#7 We lost many people in January. three stand out to me because they made such an impression upon me.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/12/world/europe/12gies.html?pagewanted=2

http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/books/2010/01/remembering-salinger-dave-eggers.html

http://www.zinnedproject.org/news, http://www.democracynow.org/2010/1/28/howard_zinn_1922_2010_a_tribute, http://www.historyisaweapon.com/zinnapeopleshistory.html

#8 I am forever reading about politics about the war and the peace we have in this world.

http://motherjones.com/politics/2009/12/afghan-war-costs-5707760-minute

#9 This is a beautiful post about the importance of story. It reminded me also of Chimamanda and her beautiful talk at the ted conference. Stories matter.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/pam-allyn/how-stories-save-us_b_376991.html

#10 This is a great piece about Greg Mortensen. His story and his work is so important- for adults and kids to think about. Go to this BLOG and think about how to connect with kids about his work.

http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/01152010/profile2.html

#11 This was a piece written by Bono for the New Year.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/03/opinion/03bono.html?pagewanted=1&ref=opinion

#12 I'm always interested in articles and pieces about bringing peace everywhere, especially in the Middle East.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/31/world/middleeast/31children.html?_r=1

#13 For educators out there and people supporting schools and education:

http://www.adoptaclassroom.org/index.aspxhttp://www.publishersweekly.com/article/CA6715153.html

#14 More on Haiti. Trying to stay updated. Trying to help in whatever way I can. There is a beautiful reading and discussion from Junot Diaz about Edwidge Danticat's work.

http://www.newyorker.com/online/2009/12/14/091214on_audio_diaz

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/22/opinion/22danner.html

http://teachingforchange.org/news

http://www.greenbeltmovement.org/blog/entry.php?id=144

February I will try to post more frequently the articles I read so that they feel more current and connected. Happy reading to you in February.

Post your favorite articles you read this month and/or that you posted or gave to others. What do we need to read? Post it here!

I Don't Read Enough Poetry: Read Poetry All the Months of the Year!


I heard James Howe speak the other day. He spoke about his writing process. He said that he reads 2, or 10 poems each day to "connect to his own heart". Especially when he feels like his "heart isn't in it." He reads Mary Oliver, American Poet Extraordinaire:

“Instructions for living a life: Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.”

What a wonderful reminder of a genre I don't read hardly enough. Waking up in the morning and reading a new poem or returning back to old favorites, adds a calmness and beauty to my day.

I was reading Poets and Writers this month. I read The 5th Annual Debut Poets Round Up. William Archila, author of The Art of Exile, wrote, "Poetry gives us a sense of beauty, a sense of dignity. It reminds us to feel human again." Isn't this so.

My friend Pam posted as one of her facebook status updates, a quote fromNaomi Shihab Nye (Palestinian - American Poet) "Love means you breathe in two countries". What a wonderful line for so many of us, living between cultures, countries, and other identities. I love the images that she creates and the thoughts that she provokes.

Another Blog that agrees. Ponder this quote from Neruda, "I wheeled with the stars, my heart broke loose on the wind."

Suheir Hammad is a poet that I have been reading and rereading for years. I met her several years ago when she did a reading at a hip hop conference at the University of Pennsylvania. Her poems and readings are powerful and deep. She has a memoir as well as three poetry books.Zaatar Diva comes with a CD so you can hear her deliver the poetry out loud. It is absolutely beautiful and will bring goosebumps to your arms. You can of course catch her on YouTube: Poem. She was one of the original poets of The Def Poetry Jam Series. Her poetry is universal and very personal by nature. It is political and literary. When you get a chance to see her live, don't miss it for anything. In the meantime, pick up one of her books and read.

A friend from college, Craig, has a blog where he posts his most recent thoughts and poetry. Add this page to your weekly reading diet. My friend, Kawita, wrote Folding a River. A beutiful anthology of her poetry. Check it out!

Currently I am reading Kay Ryan, our nation's Poet Laureate. In Poets and Writers this month she is named as one of the 50 most inspirational writers! I'm glad I started that reading project.

Poetry isn't something I usually pick up first, but I am going to try to add more of it into my reading life. It creates space and time for reflection. It brings beauty and life to the forefront of my thoughts. It reminds me of what is important.

I will leave you with this poem.

Please posts your thoughts and reflections about these poems or others that you think others should read.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Powerhouse Arena in Dumbo: Lowboy


I saw John Wray from Lowboy at The Happy Ending Reading Series at Joe's Pub.
If you are in NYC or get a chance- go to his reading and/or buy his book!

Also Powerhouse Arena in Dumbo is a great bookstore you should check out as well!
Great books for adults and kids. They always have interesting authors present and read!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Howard Zinn: A Hero


Howard Zinn will be rememebered for all that he fought for: justice, truth, and peace.
He is truly someone who has shaped much of how I see the world! I hope you have read him and continue to reread and spread and teach his work to others.


"There is no flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people for a purpose which is unattainable." Howard Zinn.


"His writings have changed the consciousness of a generation, and helped open new paths to understanding and its crucial meaning for our lives. When action has been called for, one could always be confident that he would be on the front lines, an example and trustworthy guide."
-- Noam Chomsky



—Frederick Douglass

Finding Balance Through Books



I really enjoy Sunday mornings. Sunday at 1000 is the time of my favorite yoga instructor's class. Ruth Lauer Manenti gives one of the best yoga classes ever. My friend Sasha was asking me what makes her classes so wonderful. Is it the workout? Yes, you sweat, build muscles, and get a good vascular workout. Most classes are above my level and I have a difficult time keeping up.

Is it her skill of teaching? Yes, she gives clear instructions and is easy to follow her steps and demonstrations.

But for me, the best part of class comes before all of this. It is the dharma talk she gives at the beginning of class. This is what sets her classes apart from all others. She is able to tell a story that reaches you and helps you to reflect on your life. They are not self righteous stories nor are they meant to make you feel bad. Instead they are stories that are personal and reflective and inspire you to do the same as you listen.

Last year she finally published her first book. She recorded many of her talks and selected her best ones to put together a book with a series dharma talks. Read An Offering of Leaves and get inspired! Take her class! You will be mesmerized and transformed.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Accidental Book Club's Third Book: I Was Told There'd Be Cake



After the ABC read Sara Barron's book, People are Unappealing, Barb quickly passed around a great book, I Was Told There'd Be Cake by Sloane Crosley. It made for a wonderful text set! One book really does lead to another! Another wonderful tale of growing up. This book will fill you with laughter! It has quickly become an ABC favorite.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Reading In Translation

To expand my reading repertoire and content knowledge about the world, I have been reading fiction from different countries around the world. It is a way to understand the world better and provides you with an opportunity to share some of the same thoughts and views as others who live far and different lives than you. It allows you to grow another set of eyes looking at and thinking about the human experience.

Interested in Somalia? Want to learn more? I did. I started to read- Nuruddin Farah. My sister recommended to me his trilogy. As soon as I read, Sweet and Sour Milk, I was hooked. Not only did I finish the trilogy, Variations on an African Diaspora, but went on to read, Blood in the Sun (another trilogy) and Links.

This year two novels have won quite a bit of acclaim in the English speaking world. The first is Wild Mulberries by Iman Humaydan Younes. It was the runner up of the best translated book from Arabic to English. This novel is set in Lebanon. The second is a French novel, Elegance of a Hedgehog, set in Paris.

I highly recommend looking for some books in parts of the world that you want to get to know better. Read them in translation and then pass along their titles!

Reading On A Transcontinental Flight

Yesterday I flew into Seattle and needed something light to read on the plane. I didn't have much time to read because I needed to do some work and take a quick little nap. I needed something short and entertaining.

The last time I flew to Seattle my friend, Julia, gave me The Guernesy Literary Potato Peel Pie Society to read. I devoured it on the plane on the first half of the trip! What a read! I really enjoyed- the history and of course the beautiful love story. It was a quick, easy to read on the plane – that was just as entertaining as watching a movie.

Luckily this time I had People and Us Weekly! I have to say that I do love me some celebrity reading. I reserve most of it for plane trips. My friend Barb says that she is going to Guest Blog about her reading life about reality TV! I can't wait. Bring it B!

In this week’s issues a few things stand out to me that I would like to comment on

#1 Why are we still obsessed with Jen’s divorce of Brad- GET OVER IT! Already!

#2 What is so interesting and fascinating about the Kardashians? Please explain.

#3 I’m heart broken to hear about Corinne Bailey Rae's loss of her husband. How incredibly sad. I am so happy that she has made a new album. Writing really can be a life saver.

#4 Haiti

#5 I know why I don’t like Kate Gosselin.

#6 I am a huge fan of Drew Barrymore. Glad she won for Grey gardens, but I loved, loved Whip It! I also love that she is still dating the apple computer man, Justin Long!

#7 The two Kates and Halle always look amazing! I love the red dresses on Cameron and Beyonce. And Rachel McAdams definitely looks great in her black lace dress.

#8 Looking forward to Damages Season 3.

#9 Notes From the Cracked Ceiling looks appealing, a "might read".

#10 About the Conan scandal, I say "Go Conan!" (even though I have never watched a full episode of either of his shows.

#11 I think that US weekly this week actually provided more information than People this week!

Enjoy your travels! Enjoy your celebrities! Happy reading to you!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Rejection Show: Rejected


As you know, NPR is a great source for your reading life. I listen to Terry Gross, The Sound of Young America, and This American Life regularly. I can't say daily- but I do subscribe to their podcasts- so that I don't have to miss a show! On TSOYA- I heard an interview with Jon Friedman- a writer for the Jimmy Fallon show. He has written a book, Rejected. It is a collection of stories about rejection, rejecting others and material that has been "rejected" out in the world.

Another interview with Jon.
NPR

Jon, is a comedian. He started a show, that is now held monthly at the UCB in Chelsea (NYC). He, along with a set of other friends- get 10 minutes to 'perform' or discuss, or just share a story (sometimes more than one) about their own experiences with rejection. Some people come and share about being rejected in "Hollywood"- others talk about rejection in their own personal lives. Rejection comes in many forms and this show tries to open the door to it all. Now it does sound depressing as I am writing this, but last night- trust me - when I saw the show, I was rolling in laughter.

If you are in NYC- check out the show! It's only 5 bucks and it is an entertaining hour. Get the book- I am. Kristi, a loyal member of the ABC, read it and guess what? That's right- she's passing it along.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Pedro Noguera


I saw Pedro Noguera, from NYU, speak today to a group of educators. He is an inspirational speaker that really gets his audience to reflect on schools, families, and themselves as practitioners.

He is the author of several 'must read' books. Last year, when I heard him speak for the first time, I immediately wanted to be prepared. So I read City Schools and The American Dream and The Trouble With Black Boys: And Other Reflections on Race, Equity, and the Future of Public Education. I also caught up with him on NPR to hear him talk about Public Schools in large urban cities.

Other great interviews with Pedro.
NPR
NPR


Sometimes I get inspired to read after attending a reading/lecture- sometimes I like to be well prepared before one. It's my inner nerd!

Pedro brought with him this time a film that looks at a School in Atlanta- and the change that it went through. Since his background is Sociology, Pedro's approach is always- what can we do to change the environment- to reach the kids. Instead of the approach- kids can't, families can't.

If you get a chance- try and see him in person. In the meantime- read up! Think about the things in our environment- your community- that can help bring about change! Get your own inner nerd on!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Accidental Book Club's Second Book: The Imposter's Daughter


My friend, Amanda Stern, from college, recommended a book that her friend wrote, The Imposter's Daughter By Laurie Sandell. I have rule, if your friend writes a book, you have to promote it to your friends. If a friend of mine is trying to rally a readership for one of their friend's books- the rule still stands- support!

I bought the book and read it in one day. It was my second- graphic novel- memoir. Persepolis was my first. Sandell's book, about learning that her father was not the man she had thought he was, is a gripping and moving story.

Sandell gave a reading at Amanda's monthly event that she holds at Joe's Pub called, The Happy Ending Reading Series. The ABC attended the reading in high numbers and the show that night did not disappoint. Laurie read from her book and as her "risk" she read her college entrance essay. This is how the next circuluation of the book club began. I think we got 12 people to read it this time.

Laurie also has a great blog that she usually writes in daily. It's a great blog, you should follow her on it! It's a great book, you should buy it and read it- my ABC did- and we loved it!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Reading Ritual On a Day of Service


I went to Martin Luther King Jr Elementary School in the '70s- before there was a National Holiday dedicated to his life of service. It was a yearly event though, on his birthday, the entire school gathered in the gymnasium for an assembly in his honor. The two things I remember most is that each year we sang, We Shall Overcome, and different students and teachers shared in a reading of I Had a Dream. Now each year, on this holiday, I make sure that I reread this speech- remembering what the dream is and what someone's life can mean to entire people- even world.

My favorite speech that he gave was Drum Major Instinct. I usually start to cry when I get to the part where he says,

"If any of you are around when I have to meet my day, I don’t want a long funeral. And if you get somebody to deliver the eulogy, tell them not to talk too long. (Yes) And every now and then I wonder what I want them to say. Tell them not to mention that I have a Nobel Peace Prize—that isn’t important. Tell them not to mention that I have three or four hundred other awards—that’s not important. Tell them not to mention where I went to school. (Yes)

I'd like somebody to mention that day that Martin Luther King, Jr., tried to give his life serving others. (Yes)

I'd like for somebody to say that day that Martin Luther King, Jr., tried to love somebody.

I want you to say that day that I tried to be right on the war question. (Amen)

I want you to be able to say that day that I did try to feed the hungry. (Yes)

And I want you to be able to say that day that I did try in my life to clothe those who were naked. (Yes)

I want you to say on that day that I did try in my life to visit those who were in prison. (Lord)

I want you to say that I tried to love and serve humanity. (Yes)

Yes, if you want to say that I was a drum major, say that I was a drum major for justice. (Amen) Say that I was a drum major for peace."

A few years ago I went to my favorite yoga teacher, at 615pm, on the National Holiday. During the final pose, she usually leaves us listening to a prayer- but on this day (as it turns out each year) she played this excerpt of his speech in class- leaving us all to weep. The audio is powerful. It was one of the most beautiful experiences. I have added it to my reading ritual on this day- whether or not I go to yoga class.

How do you celebrate this day? What did you read today? Post here- inspire us.





Everything Haiti: Broken Hearts

All of our reading lives have been filled with Haiti. It is devastating and heartbreaking. As citizens in the world we need to find ways to inform ourselves and others. We need to find ways to help. Here are a series of articles and organizations I have been reading to stay updated. We can contribute financially to helping the people in Haiti. Here are some places I have been supporting. There are also some blogs included to comment on the responses of the world. Stay informed!
#6 NPR
#7 CNN
#10 Edwidge Danticat on TED
#11 TED
#12 Edwidge Danticat Miami Herald
#13 Photos and Videos from Kids in Haiti

Post your articles and organizations that you have been reading and contributing to! Let's organize and network the community to help!

My Daily Reading Life: December 2009


On a daily basis I read many articles on the Internet. I read blogs and news organizations (like the BBC) every morning. On the weekends I catch up with the parts that I haven't read in the NYT and the Huffington Post. Facebook has become a new source of news. Collecting articles from my friends to read has opened me to topics and new sources of information that I hadn't necessarily expected. Reading the links that my friends post- has become a new part of my reading diet. Here are some examples of posts that friends suggested reading.
Looking back at the variety also allows me to look back and think about some of the major events or topics in that time.

#1 Feminist books for five-year-olds is an article my friend Barb sent me. It gives a list of books for kids that try to fight against stereotypes.

#2 For my birthday two years ago my friend Lori gave me a gift of a donation to Kiva: A microbank to help give loans to people to fund their small businesses. I often read their website and information. Reading about microbanks are important- especially in this economic climate. A few years ago, Muhammad Yunus, won the peace prize about his work on microbanks! Loans not only change but save lives.

#3 Mathew Rushing Creates 1920's Tribute for Alvin Ailey- NYTimes.com. I love dance and I love Alvin Ailey! One of my favorite dance troupes. If you get a chance- you should try and see them perform.

#4 Message to Obama: You Can't Have Muhammad Ali: This is a great article about the war. It comments on the troop surge in Afghanistan. Muhammad Ali stood for peace- he was an anti-war activist. Obama, while he won the Peace Prize, the public is still awaiting- when the wars will end.

#5 Understanding Obama's educational policy is not easy to follow. While it does differ from Bush, it is not as progressive as many educators would like to see. Amy Goodman on Democracy Now is one of my favorite journalists of all time. You can hear in NY on 99.5.

Obama's Choice for Education Secretary, Arne Duncan, Seen as Compromise Between Divided Strands

#6 The Greenlight Bookstore in Brooklyn NY was having a book drive. So I read about the organization they were donating too. I love reading about new organizations and how they help others.

#7 Same sex marriage in the United States in 2009 was in the news since it was in front of the courts and the voters. Many states disappointed the community. Some passed a same sex marriage bill for equality. This was a great article: Mexico City Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage in the NYTimes.

#8 Have you read Howard Zinn? He is one of America's leading historian, most famous for writing a People's History. The History Channel has now produced a live series so that the history can be spread to more of 'the people'.

#9 In Essays, Author Zadie Smith Reveals Her Process. Zadie is one of my favorite authors. She won my heart in White Teeth- like so many of us. Books about writing process are some of my favorites. I gave this book to my sister for the holidays, hoping that she finishes by the next time I go up to visit with her.

#10 My friend from college, Amanda Stern, posted links to Stacked Up. While technically you don't 'read' stacked up, you 'watch' it, I am still including it because it is a great site to go to. There are interviews of writers like Susan Orlean of the Orchard Thief, Laurie Sandell, The Imposter's Daughter and my friend, Amanda Stern of the Long Haul. The interviews take place in the homes of the writers who give us a 'tour of books' in their living/working spaces. They ask things like, What are your top picks of books you would take to a desert island. It is a fun site!

#11 Maureen Corrigan's Best Books Of 2009. I love lists at the end of the year! Especially book lists of suggestions for us to read! Here is just one that my friend Maggie sent to me!

#12 The last text that was posted in 2009 was from my other friend Maggie. It was a poem written by Naomi Shihab Nye, "Wandering Around an Albuquerque Airport Terminal".

Books to read, reflections on the writing and artistic process, political issues: in marriage, education, war and in books! Enjoy some new websites, blogs, and topics!

What are some of the interesting topics that your friends post? Let us know here.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

A Few Favorite Reads From 2009 That You Should Read Too

For my birthday in 2008, my friend Betsy gave me, Special Topics in Calamity Physics. It is a thick piece of fiction that I couldn't imagine opening till the summer. But when I read it, it took no time at all to get through, because the lyrical voice, of this girl coming of age, was so engaging. It is also a literary treasure, dropping references to every book in the world! It is truly a great story. Definitely it was one of my favorite books I read this past year.

As I browsing in a bookshop, trying to get ready for vacation, I came upon, The Thing Around Your Neck. I hadn't heard of it and picked it up and read about the author, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. As I read about her, I was embarrassed that I hadn't read anything from this Genius award winning author. So I bought Half of a Yellow Sun first. What a wonderful piece of literature, taking us into the recent history of Nigeria. Not only did I thoroughly enjoy this acclaimed novel, but then I went on to read Purple Hibiscus her first novel and the recent anthology of short stories, The Thing Around Your Neck. What an author. What a speaker. I became obsessed- which is nothing new about my reading life and I started watching speeches that Chimamanda has given around the United States. All very beautifully crafted and delivered which such passion. Here is a clip of Chimamanda at the Ted Conference. Enjoy the speech and enjoy her books!

The Life You Can Save ,By Peter Singer, certainly is a fabulous book to help you reassess your life and how you fit into the rest of the global community. He gives you a lot of information and tools to reflect on the decisions and choices you make in your life. He truly does show how you can make a difference. It is a short read, but definitely not an easy emotional one. It truly does hit at the core.

I read, My Guantanamo Diary: The Detainees and the Stories They Told Me by Mahvish Khan, because I have wanted more information about Guantanamo. I have read a few accounts of US lawyers working with people in Guantanamo, and I thought this was a unique perspective. You really get to hear about the lives and the thoughts of some of the people detained. I really felt uninformed and without information I felt that I could not weigh in on this issue. This horrible issue that we face here in the US. Reading Mahvish's book really gave me another perspective to consider, which is critical in order to member of the global community. I really feel like this is a must read! It too is a tough, emotional read- but well worth it.

The last book that I would like to recommend to you I found on the Daily Show. I watched John Stewart interview Christopher McDougall about his new book Born to Run. I loved the interview so I went out I bought it and read it on a plane trip to Seattle. I was hesitant because I don't like to run. In fact given a choice to run and catch a bus or walk and miss it- I'd rather miss it. But reading about the journey that the writer took me on though races in Mexico and the United States, brought me to a new world! It's a fun read!

Post your favorites and "must reads".

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

I'm Adding Julie Powell's Book to My Wish List


I went to a book reading: Julie Powell at Word (a little book shop in Greenpoint Brooklyn). Powell's blog, Julie/Julia Project, was an amazing idea. I mean, I don't cook and actually don't really get any pleasure in cooking. I do understand those who do and appreciate greatly the fruits of their labor. Not enjoying running, didn't stop me from enjoying, Born To Run. Not enjoying cooking, didn't stop me from enjoying, Julie and Julia. While I am not the biggest fan of the movie (even though Streep just won the Global Globe! Good for her!) - I found the blog absolutely fascinating.

When I saw she was giving a reading for her new book, Cleaving, I was intrigued. I haven't read it, but now I have the inside scoop. It definitely will become a must read this year! Readings do that- they turn you on to new books. She talked about the difficulties in her marriage and love life, with much love, affection and kindness-especially for her husband Eric. She has gotten a lot of heat for the topic of this book- seeing as that it has infidelity in it- by a woman. She was reflective and honest at her reading- so too, I am assuming, is the book.

When a reporter asked Amy Adams what she thought about the affair that Powell wrote about in her new personal narrative, Adams said something to the effect- My Julia would never had done that. Powell took the comment in stride. And while at first she admits it struck her as odd and even got her pissed- later she reflected and said that it actually was kind of sweet of Amy. To embrace the character. To defend the character. Still odd- she actually never really knew the character.

Powell has a new blog! It too, is filled with great little quick quips! Powell is funny (she curses a lot)! Powell is creative (love her metaphors)! Her books make a good read. I'm adding this one to my- next read, on my bookshelf wish list! Looking forward to the read!


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Accidental Book Club


An 'aaccidental book club' is one that has no meetings, no formal book talks, and no arguments about what to read.

Our ABC started when our friends Molly and Sarah took me to see The Moth . Sara Barron was hosting the night. She was hilarious. We were laughing the entire evening. At the end of the night, Sarah, who had finished reading People are Unappealing By Sara Barron, was anxiously waiting afterwards to get her book signed. Molly had her copy too, but was too shy to ask herself for an autograph! I told Molly I needed to read it after her.

So started the line of friends. We must of circulated a couple of copies of that book between 8 or 9 of us. And so the impromptu book club conversation began. Everyone we gifted it to- laughed out loud while reading it and fell in love with the book.

This Thursday, at the cool hip bookstore in Greenpoint Brooklyn- Word , Sara will be doing a reading! You can also catch her hosting The Moth event around NYC! It's a great read! She is quite a character!

Good luck on starting your own ABC! If you are having trouble starting- pick up SB's book and pass it along to your BFFs! Post your favorite episodes from her book.

If you have an ABC, post some of the latest titles you all have passed around.

Enjoy! Happy reading to you!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

What Am I Currently Reading


I am always reading multiple books- I have many interests. At times it could be seen as a strategy to delay or avoid ending a good book. If you are looking for two new good books to read in 2010-
Super great read- stories about companies- such as facebook- and how they went viral. It gives you a great way of understanding how the web works and how companies can grow. If you want to be in the 'know', read Viral Loop with me!

I am also reading Margaret Atwood's new book, The Year of the Flood. Did you read The Handmaiden's Tale or Never Let Me Go? These books explore the notion of - distopias! Here is her latest genius piece of work- or at least that is how my sister (a literature professor) sold it to me! I am half way through and loving it!

Lastly today I decided that I am carry around with me for the entire month the travel section of the NYTimes today- to start plotting for my next trip! Which of the 31 places are you hitting? So far I have only been to 7 of the places- so I had better get moving! I have been to Costa Rica, Istanbul, Damascus, Los Angeles, Marrakesh, Brekenridge, and Colombia! I better get reading, dreaming and studying for a great travel place this summer!

Happy reading days to you!