Monday, November 26, 2012

G13 Book Review of Autobiography of Us by Aria Beth Sloss

Name of Book: Autobiography of Us

Author: Aria Beth Sloss

ISBN: 978-0-8050-9455-8

Publisher: Henry Holt

Type of book: friendship, 1950s-1990s, betrayal, crushed dreams, feminism, hopes, California, New York, marriage, adoption, secrets, unspoken issues

Year it was published: 2013


A gripping debut novel about friendship, loss and love; a confession of what passed between two women who met as girls in 1960s Pasadena, California

Coming of age in the patrician neighborhood of Pasadena, California during the 1960s, Rebecca Madden and her beautiful, reckless friend Alex dream of lives beyond their mothers' narrow expectations. Their struggle to define themselves against the backdrop of an American cultural revolution unites them early on, until one sweltering evening the summer before their last year of college, when a single act of betrayal changes everything. Decades later, Rebecca’s haunting meditation on the past reveals the truth about that night, the years that followed, and the friendship that shaped her.

Autobiography of Us is an achingly beautiful portrait of a decades-long bond. A rare and powerful glimpse into the lives of two women caught between repression and revolution, it casts new light on the sacrifices, struggles, victories and defeats of a generation.


I liked the character of Alex as well as Rebeca. Rebeca is best described as an ordinary girl who desired to be a doctor, but instead her dreams got shot and she ended up being ordinary, just like Alex. In a way I felt pity towards the girls, as well as Rebeca's mother. The male characters, besides the father, aren't prominent and little is shown and known about them. I couldn't connect to the male characters. The females are complex and well rounded as well as very emotional. This isn't simply a love story, which isn't prominent but is more of a tale of friendship and broken dreams.


It's important that women get education and have more outlets beyond the stereotypical ones, else everyone else suffers.


I found the beginning few chapters disconnected, and it wasn't until halfway, at least until the senior year that the things have started to make sense. The story is very 1960s, including the aura and characters are genuine who only did what they were taught to do. In terms of rights and other issues of 1960s and 1970s, they are mentioned in passing and the book doesn't really dwell on them a great deal. Instead the focus is on friendship and relationships between families and the daughters as well as the lifestyles that they were raised with. In truth I loved reading the book and consider myself one of the lucky ten to have won it.

Author Information:

Aria Beth Sloss is a graduate of Yale University and the Iowa Writers' Workshop. She is a recipient of fellowships from the Iowa Arts Foundation, the Yaddo Corporation, and the Vermont Studio Center, and her writing has appeared in Glimmer Train, the Harvard Review, and online at The Paris Review and FiveChapters. She lives in New York City.


I'm surprised that I loved this book. I thought I might like it, but then I thought it would be dull or boring. Yet it was neither, and somehow it stuck with me: this is a reminder of what happens when women are deprived of choices and opportunities to make something of themselves, or what happens when dreams are crushed. In the end, they suffered along with husbands and families. I enjoyed the dialogue style and felt it realistic, as well as various 1960s makeup references and the whole secrecy around certain issues such as rape, abortion, abuse and "keeping up with Joneses" lifestyle that everyone subscribes to. Strangely enough, the book reminded me of Forever Sisters by Judy Blume and has this area of tragedy from F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, especially of Daisy and the baby. I would highly recommend the novel to women to read, to remember the past that their mothers and grandmothers and great-grandmothers have lived in.

Quick notes: I won this book on thus this review will appear in its entirety on goodreads as well as the blog

4 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

Sunday, November 25, 2012

G12 Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness

Name of Book: Brain on Fire; My Month of Madness

Author: Susannah Cahalan

ISBN: 9781451621372

Publisher: Free Press

Year it was published: 2012


A gripping memoir and medical suspense story about a young New York Post reporter’s struggle with a rare and terrifying disease, opening a new window into the fascinating world of brain science.

One day, Susannah Cahalan woke up in a strange hospital room, strapped to her bed, under guard, and unable to move or speak. Her medical records—from a month-long hospital stay of which she had no memory—showed psychosis, violence, and dangerous instability. Yet, only weeks earlier she had been a healthy, ambitious twenty-four year old, six months into her first serious relationship and a sparkling career as a cub reporter.

Susannah’s astonishing memoir chronicles the swift path of her illness and the lucky, last-minute intervention led by one of the few doctors capable of saving her life. As weeks ticked by and Susannah moved inexplicably from violence to catatonia, $1 million worth of blood tests and brain scans revealed nothing. The exhausted doctors were ready to commit her to the psychiatric ward, in effect condemning her to a lifetime of institutions, or death, until Dr. Souhel Najjar—nicknamed Dr. House—joined her team. He asked Susannah to draw one simple sketch, which became key to diagnosing her with a newly discovered autoimmune disease in which her body was attacking her brain, an illness now thought to be the cause of “demonic possessions” throughout history.

With sharp reporting drawn from hospital records, scientific research, and interviews with doctors and family, Brain on Fire is a crackling mystery and an unflinching, gripping personal story that marks the debut of an extraordinary writer.

Author Information:
(from: Susannah's webiste)

I always knew I wanted to write, even when I was in elementary school, writing a “book” about familial dysfunction inspired by the afternoons I spent with my babysitter watching The Bold and the Beautiful. And for as long back as I can remember, I’ve had a deep love for newspapers. So when there was an internship opening at the New York Post when I was entering my senior year in high school, I jumped at the opportunity.

I’ve now been at The Post for ten years, three of which I worked full-time after graduating from Washington University in St. Louis. I started as a “copy kid”—responsible for making coffee, handing out papers and sorting mail, dreaming that I would one day have a mailbox of my own. Now, I finally do. I’ve covered a wide variety of topics for the tabloid, from the quirky and the weird, to the dangerous and the criminal. These days I mainly cover books for the paper’s Postscript section. My work has also been featured in The New York Times and The Czech Business Weekly, where I worked when I studied abroad my junior year of college.

In 2009, I was the proud recipient of the Silurian Award of Excellence for the article “My Mysterious Lost Month of Madness,” on which Brain on Fire is based.

I live in Jersey City with my boyfriend and dog, Gus the Spinone.

Thanks so much for your interest in my story!

Other works:

This is her first novel, although she wrote other pieces for The Post.


She is a journalist for The Post and at the age of 24 in 2009 she ended up in a neurological hospital due to a mysterious illness she has contacted which turned out to be Anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis. I would guess now she's healthy and she's shared her story with the world.


I would guess that the main theme is trying to reconstruct what happened with her, as well as giving advice and hope and insight into the illness that she suffered from. "There are undoubtedly things that I have gotten wrong, mysteries I will never solve, and many moments left forgotten and unwritten. What is left, then, is a journalist's inquiry into that deepest part of the self- personality, memory, identity- in an attempt to pick up and understand the pieces left behind." (IX)

Problems it addresses:

Mysterious diseases and importance of the brain. Apparently the knowledge that we know of the brain and of dynamics are just the tip of an iceberg rather than the complete knowledge. There are things that will elude people in one way or the other.


First she attempts to reconstruct from memories of what its like to have the disease, then she moves on to either videos or flashes or her friends and families as sources, and then she moves back to trying to get back to normal life.


There is hope at the end of the tunnel.

Main Points:

The life before the disease and the life after disease, and the fact that she did regain herself, although it took her a long time to do so.

Why book is interesting and informative:

The fact that the book is a medical mystery and she's a talented writer makes this book fascinating. She is basically suffering from something that most doctors aren't familiar with and the fact that this disease was named in 2000s rather than early 1900s or 1800s, makes this a fascinating book as well as a fascinating topic on what its like to suffer hallucination and delusion. She's good at informing the reader of what's going on as well as replicating various things like the test and handwriting and giving out information for strange psychological jargon as well as trying to explain how the brain works.

Book supports thesis:

I think the book does support thesis, and it shows the importance of network and of how beneficial it can be for people, even when all hope might be lost.

Outside sources:

I always had fascination for psychology, and to my knowledge this seems to be correct. Besides classes, I hadn't read any other psychology books or novels.

Time period:

The time period is 2009, and its shocking by how much we don't know or are unfamiliar with.

Special things:

I have an ARE, (Advance Reader's Edition,) but in there are some replications of papers and thoughts that Susannah had during that time period.

Issues it raises:

I believe that every century we see ourselves as advanced civilization, gifted with knowledge and wisdom beyond our predecessors, but this book raises an issue that in fact as hard as we try, we will never control universe or be gods. The doctors that treated Susannah were one of the best, but yet they failed to diagnose her. Tis book shows how much we don't know and how much we lack. I also think that unintentionally Susannah gives positive light to someone who came from Syria, a man from Middle East who helped to cure her.


I hadn't suffered from the disease (knock on wood three times,) but for me it sounded very scary to have it and to suffer from. This book reminded me of the fragility of brain and how much we all depend on it for survival.


I would guess that the sources are credible: she used herself, her family members and doctors to fill in the gaps. Yet there will always be blocked memories and things unknown. If I'm not mistaken she also used books and other materials.


I found it a beautiful book and I couldn't find anything wrong with it. I highly recommend the book for reading or for pondering mysteries, or perhaps for a feeling of humanity and frailty.

Quick notes: I won this book on thus this review will appear in its entirety on goodreads as well as the blog

 5 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

E-Reading: Book Review of #8 Nancy's Mysterious Letter by Carolyn Keene

Name of Book: Nancy's Mysterious Letter

Author: Carolyn Keene

ISBN: 9780448095080

Publisher: Grosset and Dunlap

Part of a Series: Nancy Drew series

Type of book: Mystery, young adult, 1930s, letter, heiress, Lonely Hearts Club, football game, college, wealth

Year it was published: 1932


BY mistake Nancy Drew receives a letter from England intended for an heiress, also named Nancy Drew. When Nancy undertakes a search for the missing young woman, it becomes obvious that a ruthless, dangerous man is determined to prevent her from finding the heiress or himself. Clues that Nancy unearths leads her to believe that the villainous Edgar Nixon plans to marry the heiress and then steal her inheritance.

During her investigation Nancy discovers that Nixon is engaged in a racket that involves many innocent, trusting persons. The thrilling hunt for Nixon and the heiress takes Nancy in and out of many perilous situations.

How the teen-age detective saves the British heiress from the sly, cunning schemer makes a highly intriguing story of mystery and suspense.


Same old characters. This time Burt and Dave, Bess's and George's boyfriends, are introduced, or at least have brief cameos in the book as football players. Nancy still loves mystery and is oblivious to a lot of things.


None that I can think of.


Very implausible plot. Most of it is from Nancy's point of view, while very little is from Bess's and George's points of view. I also felt angry that Edgar Nixon, the villain, was portrayed the way he was.

Author Information:

Children's Books, Mystery & Thrillers

About this author

Carolyn Keene is a writer pen name that was used by many different people- both men and women- over the years. The company that was the creator of the Nancy Drew series, the Stratemeyer Syndicate, hired a variety of writers. For Nancy Drew, the writers used the pseudonym Carolyn Keene to assure anonymity of the creator.

Edna and Harriet Stratemeyer inherited the company from their father Edward Stratemeyer. Edna contributed 10 plot outlines before passing the reins to her sister Harriet. It was Mildred A. Wirt Benson, who breathed such a feisty spirit into Nancy's character. Mildred wrote 23 of the original 30 Nancy Drew Mystery Stories®, including the first three. It was her characterization that helped make Nancy an instant hit. The Stratemeyer Syndicate's devotion to the series over the years under the reins of Harriet Stratemeyer Adams helped to keep the series alive and on store shelves for each succeeding generation of girls and boys. In 1959, Harriet, along with several writers, began a 25-year project to revise the earlier Carolyn Keene novels. The Nancy Drew books were condensed, racial stereotypes were removed, and the language was updated. In a few cases, outdated plots were completely rewritten.

Other writers of Nancy Drew volumes include Harriet herself, she wrote most of the series after Mildred quit writing for the Syndicate and in 1959 began a revision of the first 34 texts. The role of the writer of "Carolyn Keene" passed temporarily to Walter Karig who wrote three novels during the Great Depression. Also contributing to Nancy Drew's prolific existence were Leslie McFarlane, James Duncan Lawrence, Nancy Axelrod, Priscilla Doll, Charles Strong, Alma Sasse, Wilhelmina Rankin, George Waller Jr., and Margaret Scherf.


Honestly I'm beginning to get annoyed with this: why must what seems to be every single book is the villain so identifiable? If Nancy has a bad feeling about him or doesn't like him, then he's automatically bad! Great way to teach deductible skills! While sometimes it is true, but it's not 100 percent true.

2 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Book Review of Kenjiro by Pat Barr

Name of Book: Kenjiro

Author: Pat Barr

ISBN: 0-446-30030-6

Publisher: Warner Books

Type of book: Japan, Britain, culture clash, 1862-1869, 1888-1895, unbelievable, culturally poorly researched, foreigners, interracial relationship, Asian male/white female, Asian female/white male, hapa children

Year it was published: 1985


 Kenjiro...the ambitious, handsome samurai, who fought the barriers of race and sin that stood between him and the beautiful white "barbarian" he loved.

Elinor...the stunning Englishwoman, caught in a spell of intrigue and violence, enchantment and ecstasy, torn between two ways of life- and love.

Ryo...Kenjiro's sister, who traded a traditional future for a forbidden love and an independent life.

Felix...the proper Victorian, forever loving women he could not truly possess, from the married woman who broe his child to the young Japanese girl he was forbidden to marry.


I couldn't capture or relate to any of the characters in the book. In beginning I liked Kenjiro and thought I would like this novel, but not my fate. Kenjiro could have best been an Englishman wearing yellow-face makeup. Short of having an affair with a Geisha, no Japanese personality or characteristics. He constantly apologized for what his countrymen had done, has none of Japanese grace that I expected one to have: his sister has an affair with someone and lied about having an aunt. Kenjiro, instead of replying that yes he has the aunt thus saving his sister face, instantly says "what aunt?" I doubt that someone from any Asian nation would be so blunt and all. For some odd reason I never liked Elinor. She strikes me as an incredibly spoiled child. Even though the characters were supposed to have been together for a few years before Elinor's confession, I couldn't feel anything, not even chemistry between them. To me it seemed that all of a sudden she wanted something and used Kenjiro for it. I couldn't understand the point or usefulness of Felix and his son Oliver, as well as others. Also, why are most women in there described as having blond hair? And the only brunette there described as ugly?


Honestly I couldn't understand why she wrote this book in the first place: make Asian men more desirable would be my guess. But please make use of the environment they are naturally in instead of the one you used!


Omniscient all seeing narrator seeing into all of the characters' thoughts. Constant changes. Somehow the author never meshed in characters with history, thus the characters tended to fall to the flat side and I couldn't get attached to them. I still don't understand how certain events shaped them or how it all happened because of them. I didn't understand the point of why so many years were skipped, and don't fall for the summary on the back of the book. Trust me, it's not as exciting as it sounds. The events, despite the potential, are boring, and happen too quickly. On some of the events I couldn't help but laugh, and they weren't funny!

Author Information:

She wrote another fictional novel titled Jade, otherwise known as Chinese Alice. Unfortunately I couldn't find any information about her.


I really didn't want to give a 1 star to a AM/WF novel, thus I feel sad. Yet I don't want to lie about my experience in reading this book, the many times I hit my head against an imaginary wall, thinking this novel culturally ridiculous as well as impossible in many ways. I think historically this book may be accurate, although first of all, it was Mongolians that tried to conquer Japan in 13th century, not Koreans (The Divine Wind, Kamikaze is referred to Mongolians, and Koreans were under Mongolian control during that time...) Although I admit lack of familiarity with Japanese culture because I've never been with anyone who is from Japan, but from studying Chinese and Korean cultures, there's a lot she has gotten wrong. The Japanese characters strike me as having yellow-face makeup instead of being authentic Japanese; I read Tale of Genji a while ago, and I understand that 800 years bring a lot of changes, but still...Japanese value harmony, thus their talk will be circular and careful trying to save face for others instead of being direct; also during the time confessing love was abhorrent, including public display of affection. I also expected there to be focus on nature and whatnot, maybe not Tale of Genji extent, but still perhaps Kenjiro reflecting some childhood memories or whatnot a lot more. This is a perfect example of how not to write a novel.

1 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

Thursday, November 22, 2012

G9 This Generation Dispatches from China's Most Popular Literary Star (and Race Car Driver)

General Information:

Name of Book: This Generation: Dispatches from China's most popular Literary Star (and race car driver)

ISBN: 978-1-4516-6000-5

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

Year it was published: (2006-2012), anthology form, 2012


For those who follow Chinese affairs, Han Han is as controversial as they come- an irreverent singer, sports celebrity, and satirist whose brilliant blogs and books have made him a huge celebrity with more than half a billion readers. Now, with this collections of his essays, Americans can appreciate the range of this rising literary star and get a fascinating trip through Chinese culture.

This Generation gathers his essays and blogs dating from 2006 to the present, telling the story of modern China through Han Han's unique perspective. Writing on topics as diverse as racing, relationships, the Beijing Olympics, and how to be a patriot, he offers a brief, funny, and illuminating trip through a complex nation that most Westerners view as marching in lockstep. As much a millennial time capsule as an entertaining and in and invaluable way for English readers to understand our rising Eastern partner and rival, This Generation introduces a dazzling talent to American shores.

Overall theme:

"Although the originality and profundity of his ideas are sometimes questioned, the importance of his role in shaping opinion in China cannot be so easily discounted, given the immense size of his readership." (IX)

Author: Han Han

Author Information:

Han Han was born in 1982 to middle-class parents. After dropping out of high school due to low grades, he wrote a novel, Triple Door, which became a runaway bestseller with more than twenty million copies in print. He has since become a star of the rally racing circuit and an international celebrity. He lives in Shanghai. (from back)

1. This Generation

Date published: February 5, 2008

Issue: Often elders blame youngsters for everything and even tend to accuse them of being self-oriented. Han Han counsels people to look at themselves first before blaming "this generation" for problems.

2. Why Do you Cost More than me?

Date published: April 14, 2006

Issue: Han Han points out the inequality between someone living in a rural area vs someone who's living in a suburban area. He talks a little of his personal history and briefly discusses and outlines how a village turns into a city, as well as problems that rural people experience, and importance of urban registration.

3. Social regression, government extortion

 Date Published: May 13, 2007

Issue: Anhui wants to develop steps to curb the births among the rich and famous having more children than they can. One of the proposals is having fines for such people that exceed their salaries. Han Han pokes holes in that theory, asking different and proposes that to curb population, why don't all the wealthy people move out of China and pointing out that money won't go to poor people.

4. Regarding my debt to society

Date Published: May 14th, 2007

Issue: In #3 Han Han mentions how he feels that society is unjust, and a few people call him out on it, mentioning that he should be more appreciative. He points out various taxes one has to pay for different things, as well as says that if he should be poor, the government will not help him out.

5. How radical and ridiculous I am

Date Published: May 17, 2007

Issue: Han Han wrote Xu Jinglei's magazine towards youngsters and their sexuality, which was misinterpreted. Then he ridicules how Chinese parents don't let their children date until way past high school and possibly college and how they hope that kids find a right person with apartment.

6. Traditional Values

Date Published: May 28, 2007

Issue: In #5, Han Han encourages what he calls "Western-style sexual liberation". The criticism he experiences talks about when he'll have a daughter. Han Han points out the inconsistency between men that are womanizers but will deny their daughters the same thing and then moves on to lack of virtues of China.

7. On flying the flag

Date Published: June 2, 2007

Issue: Huang Ju has passed away and Han Han wonders why the flag wasn't lowered to mourn his passing like in capitalist nations, even if they are putting on a show, according to him. He also considers when the flag should be lowered and how many people need to die, or "filtered keywords" that is. He also contemplates of having extremely tall flag-post to make half-mast normal.

8. Let's do away with student essays

Date Published: June 15, 2007

Issue: In China, the way to write essays is to follow models instead of letting your own voice shine through. Those who express their true opinions will either be expelled or receive zero points. Han Han mentions that students lie in their essays but tell truth in their love letters. He tells people not to write essays but write other stuff instead. Essays, he feels, could destroy interest in literature.

9. Insults to China

Date Published: August 11, 2007

Issue: Han Han feels that it takes very little to insult China, or to get it up in arms. He points out that various nations will NOT react to minor insults the way China does. He also feels that Chinese have very little self-respect, and points out that should Americans wish to create dissension they could call all people from different cities bastards. "If and when the day comes that we are no longer always crying and wailing about how other people are insulting us, that'll be the time when there is no more risk of civil war in China." (31)

10. Market day for patriots

Date Published: April 20, 2008

Issue: There was a disruption in Paris by Tibetan supporters which caused the Chinese to encourage mass protests around the French Carrefour chain in China. Han Han feels that these protests are on the childish side and they show no class. He basically continues to do what's he's doing and also thinks there's no debate, but only actions. He also mentions that something like this is only for thrill seekers instead of true emergencies.

11. Q &A with Chinese nationalists

Date Published: April 23, 2008

Issue: Due to previous, #10 story, Han Han makes a mock Q and A Session with "patriots", answering to the charges and comments and accusations against him, as always pointing out inconsistencies and sarcasm he uses in terms of Carrefour chain and the ridiculousness that one wants to relax the government but then wants them to clamp down on his blog.

12. Loving our country, saving our face

Date Published: April 23, 2008

Issue: Han Han talks that he's also loyal and loves China as well and refuses foreign travel unless absolutely necessary and also loves Chinese women. He makes an appeal to the readers not to do anything stupid and not to march or anything else, pointing out that if China continues to threaten with boycotts and whatnot, then the foreigners will refuse to tell China anything and in the end China will end up the loser. Also criticism of a nation is not a big deal. It also seems that habit is stronger than thought: each time something bad happens, the Chinese often go back several decades.

13. Let's not get in a rage so easily

Date Published: June 4, 2008

Issue: Sharon Stone made a callous comment about the earthquake to China where only two of her remarks are posted and rest are removed. Han Han discusses the criticism as too much and asks where is the criticism is towards the countrymen that built poor schools and so forth. He feels that she shouldn't be criticized and even pointed out that Chinese say these similar things when it comes to tragedies abroad.

14. Expressions of personal taste strictly prohibited

Date Published: June 21, 2008

Issue: In the journal blog that wasn't included in this collection, Han Han criticizes the worship, (if I'm not mistaken,) that people have towards certain writers such as Ba Jin and Mao Dun, as well as Bing Xin whom he finds unreadable. Instead of being rational, the critics became irrational and even wanted to nail Han Han's picture to a pillar.

15. I'll do whatever it takes to be an Olympics sponsor

Date Published: July 17, 2008

Issue: The Olympics approach and China becomes concerned with intellectual rights which makes Han Han happy. But the intellectual rights, he feels, often go to people who don't need them, and he wonders about his own rights and losses when it comes to books and whatnot. From what I can understand, China protects the giant not the little person.

16. Faking it

Date Published: August 14, 2008

Issue: A girl, Lin Miaoke sang the Olympic song, but in truth the singer was Yang Peiyi. Apparently there is more criticism and whatnot when the musical director, Chen Qigang confessed to such an act. China often fakes things, according to Han Han, and he finds the teacher's confession admirable.

17. Sex+Soccer= Scandal?

Date Published: August 29, 2008

Issue: There's a problem with Chinese soccer men checking into a hotel for a short time and then doing poor showing afterwards, which causes people to cry out disciple and order. Han Han points out the energy that these people experience and says that the hotel room is not a problem. He proceeds to criticize that Chinese players have no individual streak and that China needs to reform leaders instead of players.

18. Oh, man- what do we do now?

Date Published: September 15, 2008

Issue: Han Han points out how one country's products were boycotted, while another has hurt their feelings, the last because it made them look bad and they ended up supporting Chinese products which damaged health.

19. Clothes must be new; this is getting old

Date Published: October 30, 2008

Issue: Han Han wants to donate the barely used clothes and items he has received as gifts, but donations that are going to Wenchuan earthquake victims refuses to accept them, saying only new stuff is needed. He goes on how people are generous in spirit and whatnot, and why does it matter what kind of items they are as long as it goes to people who need them? If this will be kept up, there won't be many donations in the future.

20. We must boycott French products

Date Published: December 10, 2008

Issue: Due to a meeting between the French President Sarkozy and Dalai Lama the Chinese government is encouraging people to boycott French products once more. Han Han gives hilarious reasons on why he supports the boycott, such as the fact it will enable his team to hopefully win during a race, help with focus change, serving interests for government, clamp down on corruption, discourage officials from defecting to France and last but not least will give men excuse not to buy French luxury goods.

21. In praise of Feng Shunqiao

Date Published: December 20, 2008

Issue:  Feng Shunqiao, who used to be a secretary-general of Zhejiang Province was found guilty of taking bribes and was sentenced to a twelve-year prison term. Han Han points that from 1993-2003, Feng Shunqiao accepted only eight hundred thousand yuan throughout the year, and when you compare him to other politicians, the guy has very clean hands and isn't lucky. "If all our officials were as honest as he, if all of them could restrict themselves to eight hundred thousand yuan in bribes in a thirteen-year period, this would be a heaven-sent blessing for common working folk." (80)

22. Some points to note about whoring

Date Published: January 4, 2009

Issue: Han Han publishes an article on his blog where someone's friend ends up consorting with a prostitute and gets into trouble and how it happened at the end of the year when police have to fulfill their quota, as well as how much it cost to get his friend out. Han Han breaks down the expenses the man has suffered and points out lots of things, as well as the fact that the friend messed up and what he could have done with such a large amount of money and what if all cases were treated equally and so forth. Anyways, be careful when sleeping with prostitutes.

23. No fire without smoke: business as usual for China Central Television

Date Published: February 11, 2009

Issue: CCTV headquarters in Chang'an Avenue in Beijing were burned down by fireworks due to a manager mistake. Han Han condemns CCTV over its behaviors and actions, then points out that many people don't care or don't think too much about CCTV. Han Han also points out how strange that CCTV tended to hush up about the accident or downplay it, while the foreign media reported on it in great deal. He debates on whether or not CCTV should be banned and points out that people no longer respect Chinese media.

24. Like Jackie Chan, guessing the majesties' wishes

Date Published: April 21, 2009

Issue: Jackie Chan makes remarks about Taiwan and Hong Kong being too free. Han Han agrees about people being controlled, but argues about the "who" should be controlled. While he agrees about Taiwan, Han Han makes interesting points about Hong Kong which used to be a British colony but was then returned to China in 1997. Certain programs didn't stick to Hong Kong as they should have. Han Han also points out that due to Jackie Chan's name, he won't succeed as an official because who would want to work with someone whose name means "will become a dragon?"

25. Further points to note about whoring

Date Published: June 8, 2009

Issue: Another story related to sex; a public official "unknowingly" has sex with a minor who's about fourteen years or younger, along with a lot of money received by different people. Han Han points out the lessons one can learn from such a story, such as if government says you're not guilty, then you're not, or people can get trouble for knowing too much and so forth.

26. The Founding of a Republic

Date Published: August 8, 2009

Issue: Han Han sees a list of famous Chinese actors as well as their nationalities. None claim residence to China. He points out that China has a lot of work to do and mentions that it's China's responsibility that so many people tend to be flying the nest. While he claims he won't be doing anything, he doesn't want to be restricted to only having one child in the future.

27. Report on preparations for the World Rally Championship in Australia

Date Published: September 3, 2009

Issue: Han Han travels to Australia where he writes (I think,) a sarcastic travelogue on the sights and experiences he had, as well as comparing them to China. He is shocked by protesters, by things cutting into profits, and not meeting any government authorities. He invites Australians back to China to just visit, advising them that living in China is a bad idea.

28. November 21, 2009

Date Published: November 21, 2009

Issue: Han Han gets invited to do a professional lecture and does a topic titled "The city makes life more miserable" about how unbearable life in Shanghai is. ( I doubt the speech is included in this collection.) President Obama wanted to meet him, but he declined, stating that "I have absolutely no interest in sharing a room with a bunch of actors, that's all." (116)

29. Try the pickles

Date Published: December 14, 2009

Issue: The government, after attempting to restrict politicians from various vices, goes after the ordinary people by creating standards towards the bikes they ride. Han Han points out the dangers and whatnot of various bikes, that people should be wearing helmets and be fitted with disc brakes and whatnot. Han Han sold a bike to a friend that has problems with transportation and works at a petroleum factory, but the friend returned the bike back due to different fees. Han Han urges people that instead of only a day to live out the poor life, is to just do it everyday of your life.

30. Just testing

Date Published: January 15, 2010

Issue: Han Han reads a few reports about Shanghai: one is about the bulldozers and the rate they're moving is something like "one crushed person a day" (121) Second that Shanghai directors will not allow mafia types to make a home in Shanghai in which Han Han points out that the cost of living is already so expensive that no one can support a gang. Third will be the restriction of using a car, similar to the Beijing system. Then he moves on to Google planning on removing its operations from China and being misunderstood. At long last will be a new device where indecent messages will cause for a cell phone to be disabled and one has to sign paper to get them working again.

31. Required course for Chinese officials: Lesson One

Date Published: January 20, 2010

Issue: According to Han Han, things are not a problem until officials start involving themselves with the issues. Gansu Province will be creating a new website where a team of 650 Internet commenters will lead the public opinion into a right course. Han Han feels that the attempt is misguided and says that if someone has to spend money just to get a good opinion, then they're doing a bad job. He then tries to compare Gansu Province to the entire nation and concludes that the money being spent on such things could have been used on other things such as good planes and whatnot, in other words, something for public good.

32. Are you Xiaoming?

Date Published: February 6, 2010

Issue: Recently there has been an increase in pointless posts, and this causes Han Han to talk about Fifty-centers, people who get paid money to sway public opinion. Han Han mentions that perhaps its because the the posters now get paid ten cents instead of fifty cents and in order to earn more money, the posters have to make many posts. He mentions as well that its because of them he began the blog and they sell their souls for that money. He also feels that praise is worthless and at last is planning on sorting out comments, who goes in what category.

33. Han Feng is a fine cadre

Date Published: March 4, 2010

Issue: An official, Han Feng, kept a diary online and talked about his activities, mostly having sex with women and whatnot. I think Han Han might be sarcastic in this, but he calls him a fine cadre, and mentions that things could be worse as when compared to other officials he's familiar with. (Love this part: "9. As for his job performance- although we have yet to uncover evidence of him doing any work, given that he is a bureau chief who has burrowed his way inside a number of female subordinates, his title and his performance more or less match." (135)) Han Han also urges for people to keep him working instead of letting him go.

34. Where else could I find someone like you?

Date Published: March 14, 2010

Issue: After #33, Han Han sets up a poll asking his readers whether or not Han Feng is a good cadre. Ninety-six percent say yes, while four percent say no. Many people feel that Han Feng isn't bad at all due to his limited appetite. Apparently he raised tobacco consumption in Guangxi. Han Han was invited to observe or propose legislation but felt he couldn't achieve much so he turned the invitations down. Towards the end of the post, he points out how fortunate Chinese government is in having  such a trusting doe-eyed population that completely believes in it. According to him as well, the Chinese hope to meet someone who won't cause trouble for them, and don't care about the politicians' personal lives.

35. Letters from strangers

Date Published: April 4, 2010

Issue: A newspaper article publishes Han Han's address, thus a lot of people begin to visit him with various grievances they have suffered, in hoping that he could help them out. He talks of history, of how in Imperial China the common folk could try to intercept a sedan chair in hopes of finding an Emperor himself. But now due to automobiles, it would be thought of as suicide. He then talks about a chain of command that an unfortunate person has to go through and mentions that even then their problem will not be resolved, and uses an example of government stinting the victims. The unlucky ones will appeal to media after those failures. There is hopelessness within them.

36. What is it you're so afraid of?

Date Published: April 17, 2010

Issue: Han Han hears a story of three people who have been sentenced to jail terms in Mawei, Fujian. He started to do research only to run into some blocks. He then describes the story as of a woman who died was possibly gang-raped. The parents demanded autopsy but that was denied to them. Three rights activists tried to get justice but in the end got captured. Han Han then tries to explain the complication. He points out that incident could have easily been averted instead of it blossoming the way it did. He also says that People's Court is more of fashion statement rather than a philosophy.

37. Yes, do come! Yes, do go!

Date Published: April 19, 2010

Issue: The Shanghai Expo is about to begin, and reporters have started bombarding Han Han with requests for interviews. Han Han decides to provide standard questions and answers he is likely to get asked such as lack of culture in Shanghai, what will happen to Pavilions and so forth, including a question where foreigners have weaker constitutions than the Chinese.

38. Children, you're spoiling grandpa's fun

Date Published:  May 2, 2010

Issue: Recently there have been knife attacks at few different kindergartens where numerous children have perished. Han Han points out that instead of news coverage and whatnot of the attacks as well as casualties, the government refuses media the right to print things out and instead the media is focusing more on happy things such as festivals and whatnot.

39. Talking freely, wine in hand

Date Published: May 7, 2010

Issue: Han Han points out as well as talks about the interview he has had with a Canadian reporter. He also discusses how the Chinese and foreign media outlets are different from one another. He pastes various questions as well as his responses to them. He states that he will not leave China for Canada in terms of living, as well as why he doesn't miss Google and so forth.

40. Those scallions that just won't wash clean

Date Published: May 14, 2010

Issue: Fujian Province came up with ten principles for institutions of higher educations, and one of those happened to be that if someone gives students wrong ideas according to Communist rules and laws, then they will be dismissed from their jobs. Han Han admits that he has only a middle school diploma. (Little contradiction because "I seem to recall that there was a discussion about the tripartite division of powers in my high school curriculum...You know that I am someone with only a middle school diploma..." (166)) If you tell the real TRUTH in China, you will get in trouble. Han Han urges teachers to be real teachers and asks them how they will look at themselves years from now.

41. Youth

Date Published: May 28, 2010

Issue:  Han Han talks about the two friends he has as well as the jobs these friends have to suffer through. He also discusses the situation of the migrant labors, how people aren't doing as well as they should, and how some people try to get by with help of parents if you're a man, or if you're a woman in hopes of marrying well. Han Han sees no way out of the situation.

42. Orphan of Asia

Date Published: June 24, 2010

Issue: Han Han writes a brief history of a book titled Orphan of Asia by Wu Zhuoliu, then proceeds to talk about the "true" orphan of Asia: the North Korea. There was a game between North Korea and Brazil and Han Han hopes that should the team lose they won't be shot. Han Han feels that the relationship between North Korea as well as China is often misunderstood by the outside world. He also points out how far China has come in the fifty years.

43. Protect the -[unacceptable input]

Date Published: September 12, 2010

Issue: There's an issue with Senkaku Islands, otherwise known as Diaoyu Islands where Japanese Coast Guard took a Chinese fishing boat as well as the crew into custody. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs wants to stage a protest about it, but Han Han urges others to worry about things in their life instead of being concerned about big things and reminds others once more about the free choice. He points out the government's attitude and compares it to being sneaky, while the reader is clean. Diayu Islands have history of government receiving foreign officials. The islands will not be ceded, or so Han Han feels, and urges others not to worry about it.

44. Should we or shouldn't we?

Date Published: September 19, 2010

Issue: Due to the anniversary of September 18, 1931, Han Han and some of his friends are debating whether or not to demonstrate in protest of Diaoyu Islands. He then begins to discuss the three types of classes that exist in China: masters, slaves and dogs. Han Han feels that people should be more of spectators rather than protesters, and everyone feels useless due to the incident. He compares a nation to a woman, and party owner is a man and talks of various relationships they all can have. He will be planning on demonstrating for Tang Fuzhen and Xie Chaoping and feels that if people can't demonstrate peacefully, then any protests they'll make will be meaningless.

45. Do we need the truth, or just the truth that fits our needs?

Date Published: January 2, 2011

Issue: Chief Qian, otherwise known as Qian Yunhui has died and the uproar over his death has not subsided. Han Han is unsure of what happened and tries to present the facts this way, as well as giving the romantic version of the Chief Qian's life. He reveals that his family is originally from a village on outskirts of Shanghai, and talks about the Chief's life and attempts to battle government over land sales and whatnot. The government presented his death as a "traffic accident," but people never believed that. Han Han wonders if the romantic version truly happened or what the government said it happened? Everyone assumed that the story wouldn't match up to police, but that wasn't the case. "Sometimes the truth does not correspond to the people's needs, but the truth matters more than sentiment, and sentiment matters more than standpoint." (192)

46. On begging

Date Published: February 10, 2011

Issue: Han Han discusses the issue of how sometimes his car rattles and he tells his friends that it's money and nothing to worry about. He then proceeds to the reason why he does this- begging from adults and children- and to his feelings about it. He feels that begging from children should be strictly banned, then explains how the government can take steps and go about it, as well as provide assistance if the person is disabled or whatnot. 

47. Prices are going to take a dive

Date Published: February 22, 2011

Issue: Han Han reflects on how he keeps finding out he doesn't have much money in his wallet anymore, and then takes a reader through the trip of where the money goes as well as the costs and gives personal history as well, how he bought an apartment around the year 2000, or his parents helped him out rather, as well as the rise of prices, how a tank of gasoline went up from one yuan to over five yuan and renting apartment later on in Sognjiang. When he returned back to Hong Kong later on, he reported that the only thing that actually cheapened was the marriage registration fee which went from nine yuan to five yuan.

48. Huang Yibo is a fine cadre

Date Published: May 4, 2011

Issue: Huang Yibo wears a badge with full five stripes which signifies a lot of achievements during his life. Han Han points out that the person most admired at a reunion is one who made the most money rather than one who has held a post in school. Han Han recalls how he thought China was mighty and had a secret weapon, but was later disappointed to learn that China didn't have a secret weapon because they can't manufacture various items. Han Han also mentions how Huang Yibo is very similar to the politicians and how they are his role models. He recalls three lessons one must remember in order to be a successful administrator. In the end Han Han wishes Huang Yibo luck in Communist Youth League.

49. Three Gorges is a fine dam

Date Published: May 22, 2011

Issue: In 2006 the Three Gorges Dam was completed, and five years later people begin to criticize it for various reasons, such as possible ruin to environment, trigger earthquakes and so forth. Han Han attempts to refute the criticisms by pointing out the positives and even brings in Boyang Lake, which, if the dam is built, the land can be used to sell real estate.

50. I have a good life in Shanghai

Date Published: June 24, 2011

Issue: When Han Han returns from the airport, he goes driving on various highways and searches for "Asia's No. 1 Curve" which no longer exists and causes him to recall how his old primary school no longer exists and how for a friend of his nothing exists anymore either. He also reflects on how Chinese leave their native cities to try luck for other ones, and if they come back, then they realize that old things don't exist anymore. He has some run-ins with people which causes him to wonder if these people text their families back home about how they have good lives in Shanghai.

51. The disconnected nation

Date Published: July 26, 2011

Issue: On 23rd of July in 2011, two high-speed trains collided in Wenzhou of Zhejiang Province. Han Han tries to act the mediator between the authority and normal sides by asking the questions that ordinary people ask and answering them the way authorities might view them. According to his view, the consequences aren't important, and if something happens, at least they expressed concern and tried to do something about it. Han Han says that everyone feels aggrieved and without reform people won't progress.

52. What do you do if it's too downbeat?

Date Published: November 2, 2011

Issue: Since #51 was deleted, for a while Han Han refused to publish or to write anything. Then he begins to discuss his experiences with writing and publishing while living in China, such as you need a book number to be able to publish, and only a publishing house can issue book numbers, and with only official approval can one have a publishing house, thus its impossible to have free publishing. He also discusses some vocabulary that was used, such as counterrevolutionary and then downbeat which translates to "beat down." Even if you attempt to try other ventures to publish your work, Han Han points out they won't work then proceeds how difficult it might be to be considered part of culture if you have to censor everything.

53. We already had our say on that

Date Published: November 16, 2011

Issue: Han Han reveals that he has been keeping a blog for six years now, and that he has wrote several hundred posts in all. He describes his experience in having a microblog as well as his experience or days when he blogs, such as getting up, checking comments and followers, and trying to get dates and so forth, as well as brief discussion of vanity and why he doesn't attend high class things. He finds out that like minded people congregate in one place and things are basically same old same old.

54. Speaking of revolution

Date Published: December 23, 2011

Issue: Han Han tries to answer more questions from media and readers about whether or not revolution is needed, (he feels a reform is more necessary,) why not lead uprising (he doesn't want to, and government will block his efforts,) whether or not China doesn't need democracy and freedom, (freedom has different meaning for Chinese,) and so forth.

55. Talking about democracy

Date Published:  December 24, 2011

Issue:  Han Han continues to answer more questions about revolution and democracy such as whether or not revolution can mean violence, along with accusations that he has accepted money from government, whether or not changes will depend on people in power, and last but not least finishes with question about if revolution should come, what role can influential intellectual figures play?

56. Pressing for freedom

Date Published: December 26, 2011

Issue: Since Han Han feels that things don't come for free, he agrees to bargain and then begins with saying what he wishes the government can do for him and some of his friends, such as more freedom of the press, to loosen bounds that stifle culture, publishing, media and film. In return he will try not to settle scores, he'll try to look to the future, withhold comments about high leaders' families and their interests, as well as focus on discussions of current society. In few years if there's no improvements, he says he'll personally make appearance at every congress of Writers' Association or Federation of Literary and Art Circles to audit proceedings and register his protest. He hopes to create more of an open playing field.

57. This last year of mine

Date Published: January 8, 2012

Issue: Han Han reminisces on the year he has had in 2011, as well as recalling why he started to race in the first place, his friends Liu Caodong as well as Xu Lang have left (Liu Caodong died in 2011, while Xu Lang died somewhere 2000s,) he also became a father to a little girl, he also wants a bigger family, his essays have changed, although he claimed they began to change in 2009 or 2010, he has no other aspirations in other directions and will continue to keep demanding all the constitutionally permitted freedoms that are important to his work. 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Book Challenge A-Z #50 Dragons of Autumn Twilight by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman

Fulfilling the requirement:

The W letter for the author's last name (Weis) alphabetically.



Creatures of legend. Stories told to children.

But now dragons have returned to Krynn. The darkness of war and destruction threatens to engulf the land.

Then hope appears- a blue crystal staff in the hands of of a beautiful barbarian woman. The promise of hope, as fleeting as smoke upon the autumn wind, forces a group of long-time friends into the unlikely roles of heroes.

Knight and barbarian, warrior and half-elf, dwarf and kender and dark-souled mage; they begin a perilous quest for-

the legendary Dragonlance.

Lesson learned:

Anything is possible

Link to review: click here

G11 Book Review of The Book of Why by Nicholas Montemarano

Name of Book: The Book of Why

Author: Nicholas Montemarano

ISBN: 978-0-316-18847-0

Publisher: Little Brown

Type of book: Romance, coincidence, dog, Harry Houdini/ Erich Weiss, 1970s?-2012, confusing, poor transition, Martha's Vineyard, New York, cancer, faith vs. reason, reincarnation, dreams, Ralph the female dog

Year it was published: 2013


A novel about an unforgettable love. The Book of Why asks big questions: Is there meaning in signs? Do coincidences matter? Does love ever really have to die?

The answers to these questions are within you- at least that's what writer Eric Newborn said in his mega-best selling books and speeches. But the loss of his wife has left Eric with a failed belief system. In the wake of that trauma, Eric has become a recluse in his home on Martha's Vineyard.

A fan who tracks Eric down brings him back to memories of his wife, leading him closer to her than he'd dreamed he could ever get again. With a breathtaking twist at its end, The Book of Why is a perfect, unforgettable love story.


Besides Eric, to an extent, I couldn't understand the characters. I think if a different writing style was used, the book would truly shine. Eric is superstitious, a gift from his father, while his wife Cary is the realist. Eric also sells self help books created like The Secret. (Positive energy brings on positive, negative brings on negative,) yet he is a widower, his wife is unable to have children, and he becomes a recluse. I think that amidst the personal tragedy, there can be happiness, which is the ultimate message of the book.


Love never dies.


The story moves front and back, and also tends to skip years. The year that Eric met Sam was 2001 if I'm not mistaken, and Sam stayed for only a few weeks or days, at least that's my impression. Yet the story seems to be like scrambled eggs, or scrambled brain, with the character only giving glimpses and then moving to something else and then something else. He only gives hints as to what's wrong with Cary, but never says anything out loud. I got confused following the train of thought and whatnot.

Author Information:

Nicholas Montemarano is the author of a story collection, If the Sky Falls (a New Your Times Book Review Editor's Choice,) and a debut novel, A Fine Place. He is an associate professor of English at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.


I wanted to like it, really I did, but I feel that due to poor transitions, I couldn't like it. The book does remind me of Andrei Makine's story Once Upon the River Love, but while I appreciated the depths and intricacies represented by the book, I couldn't appreciate it from this book. The author does have talent, but I feel that he needs more practice in writing novels. I don't mean to be harsh by the way; I loved the scenery and mood he evoked, as well as the way he used words, but I got confused as to why. Also as well, the author expects for the reader to know or be familiar with the story, and I think that the story needs to be re-read a few times in order to be understood.

Quick notes: I won this book on thus this review will appear in its entirety on goodreads as well as the blog

3 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

Sunday, November 18, 2012

G8 Fresh Off the Boat: A Memoir

Title: Fresh of the Boat A memoir

Author: Eddie Huang

Date it will be published: February 2013

Type of book: food, immigrants, FOB, drugs, street-wear, 1980s-2010s, rap/ hip-hop, "rotten banana", China

Subject matter: Focuses on the story of what it's like living as an Asian American and having to experience racism and whatnot as well as why and how he turned out the way he did.

Special features: Since this is an ARC, none. I would imagine that the published versions will have pictures of him and his family.

Price: $26.00 dollars in USA, $31.00 dollars in Canada

ISBN: 978-0-679-64488-0

Publishing company: Spiegel & Grau Hardcover

What Is The Meaning of This Primary Source?

This is an autobiography of Eddie Huang that charts time from his childhood to the time his restaurant makes it into New York Times. In there he talks about the racism he experienced from the time he was a kid to the impact it had on him on as a teenager and a man. Eddie is only three years older than I and although I could relate to a lot he wrote, as well as feel sadness and pain he experienced, there are some aspects I couldn't relate to.

Why was this document/object written or made?

I am struggling to answer this question. I somehow doubt that it's for nostalgic purposes that Eddie wrote his autobiography, because his history is very colorful and he focuses a lot on the negative things that have happened. I also doubt it was intended for inspirational purposes. The most that Eddie talks about is racism he experiences and I have a feeling that perhaps he wrote it for his two younger brothers due to dedication on the page: "To Emery, who lived it, and Evan, who built it."

Who was the intended audience/user?

I would guess that people who were born in 1980s as well as Asian Americans are the intended audience and users. I could imagine that the two Korean guys I used to know who also were born in 1982 would be able to relate a lot to his experiences and whatnot. While I could relate a little to what he wrote, (I am 1.5 generation Russian-Jewish,) I somehow doubt that he had women in mind when he wrote the book. (The book is best described as a "Man's World" I think the only thing that would interest a woman in it are the food descriptions he talks about.)

What questions does this source raise? What don't we know about this source?

I was mostly shocked that name-calling and whatnot happened to Eddie during 1980s and 1990s! I mean we are supposed to be the tolerance/ multicultural generation and this is how we still treat people who are different from us? This continues to raise the question of emasculated Asian male stereotype as well as the idea of selling out to the establishment.

What I don't know about the source is how he feels about white women. Few times he mentions that a cousin or someone he knows are with a white woman, and in his chapter entitled "Pink Nipples" he talks about a crush he has towards a girl while in camp. Yet in the rest of the book he tends to focus on the negative aspects of white people, such as the part about him wanting to be a sports-caster and being told he couldn't "with that face." or how kids laughed at the seaweed salad.

What other information do we have about this document or object?

Since it hasn't been published and it takes place in very recent history, I can't really imagine that there will be other sources that are similar to the author's.

What other sources are like this one?

If some do exist, I haven't had a chance to read them yet. Closest I can come up with is "Han Han" who's criticizing Chinese government. (It's not known if Han Han is the actual writer or not of the blog and books. Huge controversy in China.) The language is very different: Han Han translation uses the "public" language, while Eddie uses "colorful" vernacular in forms of cuss-words (a drinking game for each time he says motherfucker or fuck...) but both criticize the society.

What other sources might help answer our questions about this one?

Perhaps personal interviews with Eddie or Eddie doing a follow up book to this one.

What else do we need to know in order to understand the evidence in this source?

I think one needs to either have lived through it or perhaps have a friend or two that grew up during those times and happened to be Asian Americans who became "rotten bananas" like Eddie had.

What have others said about this or similar sources?

So far nothing to my knowledge.

How does this source help me to answer my research question?

I don't have research questions, but if someone did do research on Asian American experience very recently, this would be a good source to use because Eddie discusses that in great deal. Or perhaps the culture of 1980s and 1990s, in particular the rap music and its impact on Eddie's generation would be another good reason to use the book.

How does evidence from this source alter or fit into existing interpretations of the past?

It shows that racism is still alive and going strong, at least towards Asian Americans. Unfortunately little has changed.

My Experience reading the book:

I found the book to be delightful, despite the cuss words as well as funny. I read a portion of this book to my friend who liked it and laughed at some instances that I cringed at. (She found the seaweed salad debacle funny, while I could imagine how painful it was for Eddie.) I admire that Eddie turned his pain to comedy. I had delightful mornings in reading the book on my way to work, so thank you Eddie Huang. This is also one of the first times I'm reading an autobiography so I hope I did justice to this book.

Quick notes: I won this book on thus this review will appear in its entirety on goodreads as well as the blog

4 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Planned Books

Books I'm Reading:
Kenjiro- Pat Barr 146/499
The Music of Dolphins- Karen Hesse 15/181
Bridge of Scarlet Leaves- Kristina McMorris 176/421
Cloud Atlas- David Mitchell 16/509
Anna Karenina- Leo Tolstoy 492/807

Story of the Stone- Xueqin Cao
5. The Dreamer Wakes 126/376
Flirting with Justice- Wendy Etherington 
2. Breathless on the Beach 41/218
People Series- W. Michael Gear and Kathleen O'Neal Gear
3. People of the Earth 204/587
Storyteller Trilogy- Sue Harrison
3. Call Down the Stars 195/503
Harry Potter Series- J.K Rowling
1. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone 61/309
Dragonlance Chronicles- Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman
2. Dragons of Winter Night 29/399
Millicent Min Trilogy- Lisa Yee
3. So Totally Emily Ebers 174/280

Nancy Drew Series- Carolyn Keene
8. Nancy's Mysterious Letter 119/197

Fresh off the boat- Eddie Huang 209/272
This Generation- Han Han 9/254

Future Books:
The Book of Why- Nicholas Montemarano

People Series Quartet- W. Michael Gear and Kathleen O'Neal Gear
4. People of the River
Harry Potter- JK Rowling
2. Harry Potter and Chamber of Secrets
3. Harry Potter and Prisoner of Azkaban
4. Harry Potter and goblet of fire
Dragonlance Chronicles- Margaret Weis, Tracy Hickman
3. Dragons of Spring Dawning
Dragonlance Legends- Margaret Weis, Tracy Hickman
1. Time of the Twins
2. War of the Twins
3. Test of the Twins

Life in ancient Egypt- Adolf Erman
A History of the Roman People- Allen Ward, Fritz Heichelheim, Cedric Yeo
Western Europe in the Middle Ages 300-1475- Brian Tierney
Don't know much about History- Kenneth C Davis
Brain on Fire My month of madness- Susannah Cahalan

Winter Garden- Kristin Hannah

The Winter Sea- Susanna Kearsley

Revolutionary Road- Richard Yates

E-Reading Series:
Flirting with Justice- Wendy Etherington
3. Undone By Moonlight
The Blackfoot Warriors- Karen Kay
3. Night Thunder's Bride
Lakota Series- Karen Kay
1. Lakota Surrender
2. Lakota Princess
3. Proud Wolf's Woman
The Nancy Drew Series-Carolyn Keene
9. The Sign of the Twisted Candles
10. Password to Larkspur Lane
11. The clue of the broken locket
12. the message in the hollow oak
13. the mystery of the ivory charm
14. the whispering statue
15. the haunted bridge
16. the clue of the tapping heels
17. Mystery of the Brass Bound Trunk
18. Mystery of the Moss covered Mansion
19. the quest of the missing map
20. the clue in the jewel box
21. the secret in the old attic
22. the clue in the crumbling wall
23. mystery of the tolling bell tower
24. the clue in the old album
25. the ghost of blackwood hall
26. the clue if the leaning chimney
27. the secret of the wooden lady
28. the clue of the black keys
29. mystery at the ski jump
30. the clue of the velvet mask
31. the ringmaster's secret
32. the scarlet slipper mystery
33. the witch tree symbol
34. the hidden window mystery
35. the haunted showboat
36. the secret of the golden pavilion
37. the clue in the old stagecoach
38. the mystery of the fire dragon
39. the clue of the dancing puppet
40. the moonstone castle mystery
41. the clue of the whistling bagpipes
42. the phantom of pine hill
43. the mystery of the 99 steps
44. the clue in the crossword cipher
45. the spider sapphire mystery
46. the invisible intruder
47. the mysterious mannequin
48. the crooked banister
49. the secret of mirror bay
50. the double jinx mystery
51. mystery of the glowing eye
52. the secret of the forgotten city
53. the sky pavilion
54. the strange message in the parchment
55. mystery of the crocodile island
56. the thirteenth pearl
Sons of Chance- Vicki Lewis Thompson
3. Claimed
4. Should've been a cowboy
5. Cowboy Up
6. Cowboys Like Us
6a. Merry Christmas Baby
6b. Already home
7. Long Road home (paper back copy)
8. Lead Me Home (paper back copy)
9. Feels Like Home (paper back copy)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

G10 Journeys to Mother Love: Nine Women Tell their Stories of Forgiveness and Healing

WARNING: This is a christian book, thus there will be plenty of religion and mention of jesus. 

General Information:

Name of Book: Journeys to Mother Love: Nine Women Tell their Stories of Forgiveness and Healing

ISBN: 978-098189295-5

Publisher: Cladach

Year it was published: 2012

Overall theme: "We-the writers of this book- represent four different generations and come from various backgrounds and places. What we have in common in this: We are all mothers and we all have mothers (whether or not they are still living.) For each of us, coming to the place of freely receiving and giving love in the mother-daughter relationship has been a sometimes difficult journey." (9) Pretty much all the stories deal with death as well as rebirth or discovery of rejuvenation.

Common observations: I found the stories to be somewhat confusing. They were well written and brilliant but too short for my taste. Some common things they shared were the secrets, abandonment, and most took place in 1950s to 1930s and so forth. Almost all dealt with some sort of death and there was this air of things not being spoken  about. In all honesty I should never have won or received this book. I entered into the giveway by accident, not realizing that it was a christian novel. Ten copies, about nearly 600 people wanted it. In all odds I had a 1:60 chance of winning. Somehow, G-d knows why or how, (I'm thinking G-d must have been in a sarcastic mood, or has a weird sense of humor,) I won it and then realized I've won a christian book. I don't know why I was chosen; besides the christian testament no christian novels grace my bookshelves; I'm also Jewish as well, I studied history, thus learning about the atrocious deeds committed against my relatives by christians, and my experiences with people who happened to be christian really soured me against the religion or spiritual experiences for that matter. I will not convert to christianity, and despite the christian messages and whatnot, I do wonder if a lot is universal; for years I was lectured to be more patient and whatnot. I'm very superstitious, and in some cases or instances do believe in G-d. If you're a non-christian and am thinking I'm converting, I'm not. Pretend that it's not a christian themed book and skip over god/jesus aspect and pretend its G-d or Allah or whoever else is speaking to you.

1. Run, Run as Fast as You Can

Author: A.R. Cecil

Message: During difficult times trust in god, and don't blame self for things that don't work out.

About the Author:

A.R. Cecil is a wife of forty-one years. She and her husband, Joseph, have four grown children and four young grandchildren. She received a MSFA (Masters of Science in Fine Art) from the University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee. For several years, she wrote a column entitled "journeys" for the Southeast christian church's newspaper. She has published a collection of short stories entitled christmas remembered. Her most-recent book, if the fish could talk: words of comfort for the journey is an illustrated study that can be used by individuals or small groups. Mrs. Cecil may be contacted at Learn more about Mrs. Cecil and her writings at

Issue: Feeling Inadequate

2. She Did Her Best

Author: Treva Brown

Message: Give the burdens to god for help, and he will set you free.

About the Author:

Treva Brown no longer lives a grief-stricken life, but a victory-driven life, due to her personal relationship with jesus christ who is the ultimate healer of our grief. Treva has a heart for those who are hurting, especially those affected by uxoricide (murder of a wife by a husband). She is writing a book to show grieving children of uxoricide that life did not end for them, too, and they do not have to walk that painful road alone.

Treva is also passionate about mothers of preschooler's, a ministry that encourages moms in their parenting and faith, letting each mother know that they are not alone. She serves as social coordinator on the steering team of her local MOPS group. Treva is a wife and mother of three living in Colorado. She maintains a blog at

Issue: Devastated by violence and separation

3. Take Care of Your Mother

Author: Verna Hill Simms

Message: Forgive the parent and trust in god.

About the Author:

Verna Hill Simms is a prolific freelance writer. She joined the Jefferson County Writers Society ten years ago at the age of eighty and is still an active member. She credits them with her writing successes. Verna's stories have been published in two Cup of Comfort books and eight other anthologies. She writes for magazines and has a column in the local newspapers, where she shares "short essays on slices of life." She is looking for a publisher for her novel, water under the bridge, and is working on her autobiography.

Verna's hobbies include swimming, sewing, gardening, and reading. She lives in the Midwest close to her family. She adds, "god has been good to me- giving me a loving husband, and now support and love from my two girls and their families."

Issue: Always "second fiddle"

4. Finding the Blessings in Alzheimer's 

Author: Kerry Luksic

Message: Answer life with optimism, life isn't fair

About the Author:

Kerry Lonergan is a mother, a writer, and an Alzheimer's advocate. Her work has been published in The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Star Ledger, The Main Line Times, Parent Guide News, Parents Express, and Kerry's memoir, Life Lessons from a Baker's Dozen: 1 Mother, 13 Children, and their Journey to Alzheimer's was recently published by Unlimited Publishing, LLC. Kerry has an undergraduate degree from Rutgers University and an MBA from Seton Hall University. She is a member of the International Women's Writers GUild and lives in Chest County, Pennsylvania, with her husband and three daughters. Visit Kerry at

Issue: Adjusting to changes in mom

5. Beauty from Barrenness

Author: Kyleen Stevenson- Braxton 

Message: Try to heal yourself or let god heal yourself through pain, barrenness doesn't mean its the end of the world.

About the Author:

Kyleen Stevenson-Brazton has an MA in Literature from the University of Wyoming, and M.Ed. in Secondary English Education from Oklahoma City University. As an undergraduate English major at Oklahoma City University she received the Jean Boyle Award for Excellence in Writing and was named the Most Outstanding Student in the Arts and Sciences Department and present the Virginia Goff Memorial Award for OUtstanding Senior in English (1994)

Kyleen served Care Net Pregnancy Center as Post-Abortion Healing Coordinator 2003-2007. She has led several post-abortion healing groups, given her testimony at numerous churches, and present a workshop at Ramah International in 2006, on how infertility complicates post-abortion healing.

Kyleen is co-owner of Fashion Crossroads, Inc, a chain of two women's retail clothing stores in Casper, Wyoming (

Her published writings include "Sing O Barren Woman" in Deliver Me: Hope, Help and Healing through Trust Stories of Unplanned Pregnancy. Dianne E Butts, ed. (Connections Press, 2011) and "From Barreness to Restoration Joy" in At the Center Magazine (autumn 2005).

To learn more, visit Kyleen's blog:

Issue: After Abortion and Cancer

6. When I Feel Forsaken

Author: Catherine Lawton

Message: Imagine god is with you during the most painful moments and imagine him comforting you to help you let go of the pain.

About the Author:

Catherine Lawton is the author of several books and many articles, essays, and poems. She and her husband, Larry, are the parents of two grown children and their spouses, and the grandparents of five.

After living most of their lives in northern California, the Lawtons now reside in northern Colorado, where they enjoy worship and fellowship in their local church, gardening, hiking and camping in the Rocky Mountains, travels to the west coast and east coast, practicing and performing with the gospel quartet, Mountain High Sound, and the dialy work of Cladach Publishing, their family business. More about Catherine can be found on the web at

Issue: Unmet Emotional Needs

7. Finishing Well

Author: Ellen Cardwell 

Message: Try to let go of the pain and resentment towards the not biological parent.

About the Author:

Ellen Cardwell was raised in San Francisco and lived most of her adult life in teh East Bay. The majority of those years were spent raising two children and helping her husband with his business. On becoming empty nesters, Don and Ellen moved to a pretty little twon on the western slope of the Sierra Nevadas.

After becoming a widow and seeking god's direction for the future, Ellen attended a christian writer's conference at Mount Hermon. There she heard Ethel Herr state our goal is to glorify god, not to be published. That remains her motivation as she continues learning the craft.

As Ellen began putting into words what god had put in her heart, she found a way to reach others beyond her immediate circle of influence. For instance, the devotionals written for the upper room are translated into thirty-nine languages and read by two million people worldwide. Now Ellen is expanding her range into writing longer pieces that allow for further development of ideas. Visit her on the web at:

Issue: Stepmother Blues

8. Walking My Mother Home

Author: Ardis A. Nelson

Message: god makes really crazy connections and coincidences.

About the Author:

Ardis A Nelson is a a wife of twenty-nine years and a mother of two teenage young men. She has what she considers "extended family" in Spain, including a young man who she affectionately considers her son, and his mother.

Residing wit her family and miniature schnauzer named Zoe, in the suburbs of Seattle, Washington, Ardis's hobbies and spare time are devoted to photography, scrap-booking, reading, and memoir writing.

Her ministry passion is facilitating spiritual growth and support groups for women. She has been active in organizing women's retreats and events, speaking at women's functions and sharing her testimony at recovery group meetings. Her writing includes e-devotionals for her church and regularly blogging at She can be contacted at

Issue: Distanced by Mental Illness

9. White Knuckles

Author: Loritta Slayton 

Message: follow the messages and emotions to live a more satisfied life.

About the Author:

Loritta was raised in sunny California with one younger brother. She learned early that she had musical and artistic abilities, which she still sues passionately today. Her mother taught her beginning piano lessons and provided art lessons for her at a young age. She also brought her to a personal acceptance of the lord at the age of five. Loritta attended the early grades in a private parochial school, and then six years of boarding school before college. She and her lifetime mate celebrate their thirty-seventh wedding anniversary this year. They moved to Loveland, Colorado, twenty-one years ago with their three daughters. The girls are grown and married and now there are six grandchildren. Loritta's mother instilled in her a love for flowers and also invested time in helping plant many flowers in the garden Loritta enjoys today.

Loritta loves to share about the faithfulness of the lord and how god's word has been the light on her path.

Issue: Angry and frustrated with mom

Quick notes: I won this book on thus this review will appear in its entirety on goodreads as well as the blog

4 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

G7 Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend

Name of Book: Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend

Author: Susan Orlean

ISBN: 978-1-4391-9014-2

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

Year it was published: 2012


He believed the dog was immortal. 

So begins Susan Orlean's sweeping, powerfully moving account of Rin Tin Tin's journey from abandoned puppy to movie star and international icon. Spanning almost one hundred years of history, from the dog's improbable discovery on a battlefield in 1918 to his tumultuous rise through Hollywood and beyond, Rin Tin Tin is a love story about "the mutual" devotion between one man and one dog." (Wall Street Journal) that is also a quintessentially American story of reinvention, a captivating exploration of our spiritual bond with animals, and a stirring meditation on mortality and immortality.

Author Information:

Susan Orlean has been a staff writer at The New Yorker since 1992. She is the author of seven books, including Saturday Night and The Orchid Thief, which was made into the Academy Award-winning film Adaptation. She lives with her family and her animals in upstate New York and Los Angeles. For more, visit and


The title promises a biography of the dog named Rin Tin Tin, the life he has lead as well as he as the private type dog. The chapters include "Forever," "Foundlings", "The silver screen," "heroes," "the phenomenon" and last "The leap" It starts out with a general outline of the book, and then the author takes us step by step through how she met people and how Rin Tin Tin started to enjoy his life as an "immortal" dog and so forth.


"He believed the dog was immortal. 'There will always be a Rin Tin Tin,' Lee Duncan said, time and time again, to reporters, to visitors, to fan magazines, to neighbors, to family, to friends. At first this must have sounded absurd- just wishful thinking about the creature that had eased his loneliness and made him famous around the world. And yet, just as Lee believed, there has always been a Rin Tin Tin." (3) The book itself is a biography, and the author tries to portray the immortality that Rin Tin Tin acquired from the 1918 up until 1950s and perhaps even now to some extent. The popularity has existed until past 1950s, but then it faded away and perhaps the author hopes to inspire the newer generations with this tale of a dog that has existed from 1920s.


It's not only Rin Tin Tin that the author discusses. She mentions as well as discusses Rin Tin Tin's predecessors and competitors (Lassie) she also discusses the little known history of having to send dogs to fight into WWII. What I found shocking is the Nazi's paradoxical view, that they tried to be humane to animals while cruel to human beings. This part can't leave my mind and has made me sick. I found the history aspect to be fascinating, from times that Hollywood developed to the 1960s. And the kind of merchandising that was enjoyed by Rin Tin Tin can be similar to Harry Potter, Hunger Games, Twilight and perhaps Fifty Shades of Gray series. Also as well, the author doesn't invent or get "creative" with Lee Duncan. She doesn't set him as a main character and she keeps everything strictly factual.


This book doesn't have direct footnotes, but the author does cite sources and where they might have come from, using both print and online sources. The primary sources include Lee Duncan's diary, and Daphne's book, as well as a bit of Anne Frank's diary (the main entry where she talked about Rin Tin Tin and how she wanted to have him as a dog.) She alos uses movies sources and I recall that she goes into great deal about them in some of the chapters.


I wonder too why the author wrote and published Rin Tin Tin at this particular time and period. I do have some guesses or theories as to why: one is the atmosphere of today where everything seems darker than in the past generations and where nothing is clear. My other reason is that she was trying to capture voices that would soon be forgotten and will soon die. She also has been trying to find herself through writing about Rin Tin Tin. (I can see that she is a very passionate writer.) I also would guess that in some cases she has been trying to provide a memento for the baby boomer generation who has grown up with Rin Tin Tin and is trying to give them something fond to remember.

Quick notes: I won this book on thus this review will appear in its entirety on goodreads as well as the blog

4 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

Monday, November 12, 2012

Book Challenge A-Z #49 Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

Fulfilling the requirement:

The N letter for the beginning title of letter N alphabetically.


The most sprightly and satirical of Austen's novels, Northanger Abbey is both a comedy of manners and a cautionary tale. Written when the author herself was in early twenties, the novel takes for its heroine seventeen-year-old Catherine Morland, a spirited young woman preoccupied with the pleasures of dressing, dancing, and reading sensational novels. When she is on a visit to the fashionable spa town of Bath, Catherine's naive charm makes her prey to the sinister influences of the ambitious Thorpe family. But she is rescued by handsome Henry Tilney for a visit to his ancestral home, Northanger Abbey, where Catherien's choice of reading material comes back to haunt her. The rambling house full of locked doors and the family's mysterious history give rise to dreadful suspicions, and finally only Catherine's sweet nature and good humor can once again rescue her from peril. A sly commentary on the power of literature and also a warning for women against too much innocence. Northanger Abbey is a fresh and funny tale of one yougn woman receiving, as Margaret Drabble reveals in her illuminating introduction, "intensive instruction in the ways of the world."

Lesson learned:

Don't believe everything you read.

Link to review: click here

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