Book Review x3

I’ve been on a book reading roll recently. Here are the last three books I’ve read.

The Last Madam is the true story of a famous New Orleans madam Norma Wallace. She ran a legendary house of prostitution in the French Quarter for approximately forty years. I was interested in the story of this woman; however, the book details quite a bit of the politics in New Orleans. Because of that, I would only recommend this book to people who would enjoy reading about the city’s history as well.

Everything I Never Told You is about a Chinese/American family whose daughter goes missing and is found dead. The pain and confusion the family goes through is felt through each family member in a real and honest way. I highly recommend this book.

I think all books from those who were affected by World War II are worth the read.

The Year of Magical Thinking-Book Review

Joan Didion takes us through her year after losing her husband unexpectedly; and at the same time, having her only daughter in critical condition. It’s an honestly written book on the denial, fog, and numbness she felt from her loss.  I thought for sure I would cry through this whole book, but someone in denial doesn’t cause tears. It’s in the paragraph below that I cried.

“Grief turns out to be a place none of us know until we reach it. We anticipate (we know) that someone close to us could die, but we do not look beyond the few days or weeks that immediately follow such an imagined death. We misconstrue the nature of even those few days or weeks. We might expect if the death is sudden to feel shock. We do not expect the shock to be obliterative, dislocating to both body and mind. We might expect that we will be prostrate, inconsolable, crazy with loss. We do not expect to be literally crazy, cool customers who believe that their husband is about to return and need his shoes. In the version of grief we imagine, the model will be “healing.” A certain forward movement will prevail. The worst days will be the earliest days. We imagine that the moment to most severely test us will be the funeral, after which this hypothetical healing will take place. When we anticipate the funeral we wonder about failing to “get through it,” rise to the occasion, exhibit the “strength” that invariably gets mentioned as the correct response to death. We anticipate needing to steel ourselves the for the moment: will I be able to greet people, will I be able to leave the scene, will I be able even to get dressed that day? We have no way of knowing that this will not be the issue. We have no way of knowing that the funeral itself will be anodyne, a kind of narcotic regression in which we are wrapped in the care of others and the gravity and meaning of the occasion. Nor can we know ahead of the fact (and here lies the heart of the difference between grief was we imagine it and grief as it is) the unending absence that follows, the void, the very opposite of meaning, the relentless succession of moments during which we will confront the experience of meaninglessness itself.”
Joan Didion, The Year of Magical Thinking

My Book Store Game Plan

“One day I will find the right words and they will be simple”. -Jack Kerouac

(City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco CA. A Literary Landmark)

Nooks and Kindles could never actually replace an actual book. For me, I just feel more connected to the book and the author when I have it in my hand turning the pages. Don’t get me wrong. I buy books online too. It’s a necessity living in Monterrey. There are only a few small bookstores in malls that I have found, and really small English sections. But when I’m back in the states, I can easily idle away hours roaming the book aisles. It’s my happy place. I’m sure a lot of book nerds have a master plan for navigating the bookstore. Here is mine.

  1. First is my list. I go to the bookstore with a list of books that are all candidates for that days purchase.
  2. Do a quick scan of displays as soon as I walk through the doors. See if anything pops out at me.
  3. Locate and pick up the books on my list. This is important to do first thing because if I wait until I’m ready to leave, I have often forgotten all about those books.
  4. Go to the New York Times bestsellers section. This is to simply to look at the newer popular books. I normally do not purchase these because they are hard covers. I’m a gal on a budget!
  5. Now I go to the new books in paperback. These are the books that have recently been put into soft cover from hardcover. Now we’re talkin…
  6. Next, I check out the New Writers section and the Staff Recommendation section.
  7. Meander through the rest of the aisles: Literature, Poetry, Self Help, Cookbooks, Classics, etc.
  8. At this point, it’s been an hour or two and I will have an armful of books. I go through them and reevaluate which books to purchase. I can usually get it to around 5 books, but the ones I leave behind will haunt me throughout the rest of my visit.
  9. On to the discount books. Here is where I will pick up any last minute books which will in turn cause me to have to reevaluate my purchases again.
  10. After this, I walk through the miscellaneous area of journals, bookmarks, calendars, etc. I rarely buy from this section, but I always walk through it anyway.
  11. Now I’m finished and the next stop is the cashier. This is when I pause, relook at my books, consider the ones I left behind, and make the decision: Should I go back for the book/s I left behind?
  12.  Lastly, I get in line and buy.
  13. Often when I’m driving home thinking about the books I bought, I will realize I forgot to give the cashier the coupon I had.


Dinner Chez Moi- Book Review

So, this is definitely a cookbook, but more too. It’s a cookbook made for the basic to mid level cook. It’s a perfect French cookbook for those like me: culinary challenged, lacking  decision making skills of what to cook, not wanting to spend hours in the kitchen. (BTW: I have tried a few of her recipes from her previous books and they have been easy to make and delicious.)

There are also a lot of French cooking tips and insights into how the French view and eat meals. Which is why I read this book entirely last night (excluding all the recipes) and am counting it as one of the 12 books I said I would read this year. 😉

Dinner Chez Moi is Available Today!

I’m psyched about Elizabeth Bard’s third book. Her previous two books have been about her expat life in France with recipes included in each chapter. Based on internet intel, I think this book might be more of a cookbook, but I don’t care. I’m purchasing now!

Dr. Seuss Portrayal of the US From 1941

dr seuss adolf the wolf

In mid-2015, global debate raged over an increasingly large exodus from Syria, while the terror attacks in Paris on 13 November 2015 exacerbated tensions about matter of asylum seekers across the world.

Articles that were popular on social media in the wake of those attacks in Paris included some pertaining to similar events in U.S. and world history. One prominent rumor accurately held that Anne Frank was one of many Jewish children denied entry to the United States in the early stages of World War II, and as a result she (like others) died in the Holocaust. Another surprisingly relevant claim involved the sentiment of Americans toward to European refugees in 1938, with the vast majority of the former (80 percent) unmoved by their plight and disapproving of their migration to the U.S. to escape Hitler’s growing reach.

Another popular rumor was that iconic children’s author and illustrator Dr. Seuss (Theodor Seuss Geisel) had espoused surprisingly strong positions on the isolationist political climate in the United States as World War II began. Among Seuss’ putative works was the above-reproduced cartoon, eerily applicable to the Syrian refugee crisis of 2015. In that cartoon, a self-satisfied mother wearing a sweater bearing the legend “America First” reads a book called “Adolf the Wolf” to two horrified, saucer-eyed children, telling the youngsters the story of how “the wolf chewed up the children and spit out their bones … But those were Foreign Children, and it didn’t really matter”:

Seuss’ catalog of political cartoons is a well-documented (if infrequently referenced) aspect of his long career. The 1999 book Dr. Seuss Goes to War: The World War II Editorial Cartoons of Theodor Seuss Geisel focuses on this period of Seuss’ work.
Article via

Mi Primera Post en Español (Para mi maestra)

Yo he estado clases de español por approximate 3 años en Monterrey. He tenido clases a la Universidad, escuela de español, y tutores. Todo eran bueno y cada tenia alguna cosa a oferta. En mi opinion, la Universidad es la mejor para grammatic. Tutores son la mejor para conversación. Si pudiera hacer otra vez, me gustaría ir a Universidad primera, entonces ir a un tutor.

Yo creo que dedicación es muy importante. En Monterrey, es muy facil usar ingles porque mucha gente la habla. Ahora, digo a gente que necesito hablar in español por practicar. Mas gente en Mexico son muy amable conmigo. Esta es tambien bueno porque necesito escuchar español de diferente gente. Yo he muy dificil tiempo escuchando español. Para mi, mexicanos hablan muy rapido y en Monterrey muy fuerte tambien!

Por ahora, puedo hablar los basicos con gente. En el future, yo estaré teniendo muchas conversaciones en español. Espero mas rapido que luego.

Antes olvido, Feliz Mujeres Internaciónal Dia


Current Read-Born a Crime


This is a great read. Trevor Noah (current host of the Daily Show) tells us stories of his childhood growing up in South Africa during apartheid and after. He explains how he navigated as a youth in a country where he did not fit in because of his mixed race/skin color. His stories are educational, insightful, and humorous.

I  just watched his stand up routine and again his intelligence and humor shine. I’m a little Trevor obsessed now.