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

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!
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

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!