Book Review: A Dictionary of Mutual Understanding by Jackie Copleton

Identifying as an Asian American, my curiosity was peaked when I read about the debut fiction title, A Dictionary of Mutual Understanding by Jackie Copleton.    The title deals with dictionaryofmutuala Japanese widow, Amaterasu Takahashi, who has moved to the U.S. to escape the devastating loss of her daughter and grandson in the atomic bombing of Nagasaki.  The novel starts in present day  as a disfigured gentleman appears at her front door claiming he is her grandson,  Hideo.  What to believe?  Amaterasu life has been defined by this loss and for someone to claim this lineage at the end of her life makes her more than skeptical.  However, Hideo comes bearing a box of letters that bring back painful memories she has tried to erase over time, and the reader is swept back to the city of Nagasaki before the bombing.  Copleton has done her research and her novel demonstrates a skillful handling of prose with twists and turns along the way.  A worthy read!

Posted in 2016, 4 stars, Adult Fiction, Asia, Historical Fiction, Women's Fiction, Women's live and relationships | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Guest Room by Chris Bohjalian

I thought my  2016 was off to a bad start with a  water leak  in my ceiling and my son involved in a car crash, but after reading Chris Bohajalian’s book, The Guest Room, I guestroom.began to think my life isn’t so bad after all.   You see, Bohjalian’s latest book begins with the premise of a bachelor party that went horribly wrong.  How wrong?  Our main character, loving husband Richard Chapman, offers to host a  bachelor party for his younger, wilder brother  at his home and things go horribly south.  There is not just one stripper, but two, and oh wait, they turn out to be prostitutes who have brought their burly Russian bodyguards with them.  The party is rowdy and the guests are getting crazier, when Richard is lured into the guest room and into a comprising position. The reader is already on the edge of their seat  when the prostitutes decide to kill their bodyguards and escape, leaving Richard Chapman with a horrible mess  to explain to the police and his wife.   A nightmare to be sure, and that is just in the first few chapters of the book!  I predict The Guest Room is sure to be Chris Bohjalian’s  next best-seller as I quickly finished this thrilling read. I would suggest this book to any reader who wants a page turner with an interesting plot line.  Highly Recommended.


Posted in 2016, 4 1/2 stars, Adult Fiction | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Let’s Start the Year of 2016 with Gratitude

The first book I read of 2016 was Gratitude by  famous neurologist and author, Oliver Sacks. Well known for his books including,  Awakenings and The Man Who Mistook His gratitudeWife for a Hat, this book is a slim 64 pages and contains his thoughts as the author is nearing the end of his life.  The book consists of four essays that capture his feelings and thoughts on life and readers can clearly see that Sacks has lived a vital life.  This book is a gem that can certainly be read in one sitting, but can be referred to time and time again for the wisdom it imparts.  This book was published two weeks before Sacks death on August 30, 2015.  The verso of book states,  “I am not face to face with dying, but I am not finished with the living.” Sacks makes us count our blessings and this book leaves us with a feeling of gratitude – a perfect start to 2016.

Posted in 2016, 5 stars, Non-Fiction | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Everything In Moderation: Bacon Day 2015

The World Health Organization  came out with a report on processed meats in October stating that processed meats, including bacon, cause cancer.  They did interpret  their position a few days later and said that they are not asking people to stop eating processed meats all together but just to reduce our consumption.  Thank goodness for the clarification because according to a  National Pork Board report, over half of all households in the United States(53%) report that they always have bacon on hand in their  kitchen.

In preparation for Bacon Day, December 30 2015,  you should  check out some of these books, below because as Elizabeth Taylor once said, “The problem with people who have no vices is that generally you can be pretty sure they’re going to have some pretty annoying virtues.”


Posted in 2015, Bacon Day, cookery, Non-Fiction, recipes | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cli-Fi for December 2016

As I look at  the weather today and once again it is in the 60’s in December, I am thrilled that 195 countries have taken an historic stand and signed the Paris Accord on climate change.   Novelists have taken a look into the future of Cli-Fi or climate fiction  for years  and it  has become popular reading because it literally deals with  the what-ifs of climate change and global warming.  Here are some titles available at the Newburgh Free Library.  Just click on the cover  to reserve in the library catalog.

doandroidsdream     solar    goldfamecitrus     stationeleven     flighbehavior

waterknifte    greenmars.     stateoffear    memoryofwater   climatechanged



Posted in 2015, cli-fi, climate fiction, dystopian, Fiction, global warming, paris climate accord | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

December 1st, The 60th Anniversary of the Montgomery Bus Boycott

Today is the  60th anniversary of the  start of the Montgomery Bus Boycott.  Civil rights activist Rosa Parks refusal to give up her seat to a white man on December 1st, 1955, propelled the start of the yearlong Montgomery Bus Boycott, which eventually ended the practice of legally segregated transportation. It is a common misconception that Mrs. Parks  was just an unassuming but weary seamstress who was just tired and unwilling to give up her seat that fateful day.  An active member of the NAACP, Parks wrote  in her autobiography, “… that isn’t true. I was not tired physically… No, the only tired I was, was tired of giving in.”  Let’s not forget the courageous act of this woman this day and every day and as Parks said, “You must never be fearful of something, when you know it is right.”    To learn more about Rosa Parks, the above titles are books available at the Newburgh Free Library .

Posted in civil rights movement, courage, Montgomery Bus Boycott, Rosa Parks, segregation | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

As Thanksgiving Approaches, Let’s Try Listening a Little Harder

Have you ever heard of an organization called StoryCorps?  Their mission is to “provide Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to record, share, and preserve the stories of our lives.”  It honors and celebrate the lives or ordinary American citizens — everyone has at least one story to tell, don’t they?

If you’ve never listened to any of their stories, you might want to  watch,  Listening is an act of love: a Storycorps special.”As Thanksgiving approaches, Storycorps has developed a program they call the #TheGreatListen where every day citizens can record the stories that bring the StoryCorps experience out of the booth and puts it entirely in the hands of users, enabling anyone, anywhere to record conversations with another person for archiving at the Library of Congress and on the new website.

StoryCorps hopes to make the Great Thanksgiving Listen a national tradition and to continue fostering meaningful connections within families, communities, and classrooms while also creating a singular and priceless archive of American history and wisdom.  We hope you give StoryCorps and #theGreatListen a try this Thanksgiving.


Posted in #TheGreatListen, First person narratives, Non-Fiction, StoryCorps, Thanksgiving | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment