30 April 2009

Japanland: A Year in Search of Wa

Japanland: A Year in Search of WaIt seems like I've read a lot of books like this recently- a 30- or 40-something American is dissatisfied with life so she runs off to another country for a change and then comes back to the US to write about a book about it because she has to make some money (okay, that last bit is an exaggeration, but it almost seems like they go to write a book). I was expecting Karin Muller's Japanland to be more of the same- good, but nothing amazing.

Luckily, it turned out to be better than that. Muller is a likable and interesting author, and she describes her life in Japan honestly, but is never whiny. There were lots of I-know-exactly-what-she's-talking-about moments even though I've never been in Japan (although it did seem like she stereotyped the Japanese a bit, but like I said, I've never been there). All in all it was a great read and recommended.

29 April 2009

28 April 2009

University Policies and Procedures

Another post for husband.

University of Macau

HKU- equal opportunity, HR, safety

Seoul National University- recruitment

Chinese University of Hong Kong- computer stuff, search, academic honesty, other policies, research, consultancies, and IP

American University of Beirut- everything

American University of Cairo- equal opportunity, HR, more search results

King Saud University- search results

26 April 2009

Aksakal Stuff

This is for my husband too. But I didn't get very far today.


25 April 2009

Kyrgyz Constitution Stuff

Go on with your life. This is for my husband.

April 2005 and here
November 2005
December 2005 and here
March 2006
April 2006
May 2006 and here
June 2006
September-November 2006
October 2006

The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry

The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry: Love, Laughter, and Tears in Paris at the World's Most Famous Cooking SchoolAnother gourmet foodie book, this time in France. I liked it even though French food and French cooking isn't really my thing, even if some of the recipes did call for coconut and lemongrass. The author, Kathleen Flinn, has a pleasant writing style and the book seemed honest and balanced. All in all a worthwhile read, even if it wasn't amazing.

23 April 2009

the mysterious edge of the heroic world and E.L. Konigsburg In General

The Mysterious Edge of the Heroic World [MYSTERIOUS EDGE OF HEROIC WORL]I always like a trip through one of E.L. Konigsburg's books and this one was no different. There's always a certain something about her books that Melissa sums up almost perfectly:
There is something about E.L. Konigsburg's writing that simultaneously entertains, enlightens, and even mildly annoys me. I enjoy her books, sometimes immensely-- as in this case-- but am usually left with a sense of not-quite-getting it, of not entirely being in on the joke.

Except for the annoying bit (because it doesn't annoy me, although it almost does at times), I think this is the perfect description of Konigsburg's books. The reason why her books always seem to immediate is that she knows exactly how to describe the process that children (and adults too) go through of learning about the world, other people around them, and especially themselves. And that's why it doesn't annoy me- I feel like she takes me through that process as I read her books. I don't always quite grasp everything, but I know it, and knowing it is part of what I learn. I never read anything else like it.

A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush

A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush (Travel Literature)This was an amusing little book about two sorry Brits who trek off into the wilds of Afghanistan to visit Nuristan and climb mountains. Since they neither of them were mountain climbers in any sense of the word, it's hardly surprising that the whole thing is a bit of a flop. The book is filled with British humor (which one of my sisters excels in, so I liked it) and it doesn't take itself seriously at all. Overall, it's a pretty good travel book, if you don't think too hard about it.

Diversity in Reading Meme

I picked this one up at pages turned.

1. Name the last book by a female author that you've read.
Just finishing E.L. Konigsburg's the mysterious edge of the heroic world.

2. Name the last book by an African or African-American author that you've read. It looks like it's been a year since I read anything that I'm sure fits this question (I could well have read something, but didn't know the author was African-American). Last year I read The Dark Child and A Long Way Gone and Dreams from my Father.

3. Name one from a Latino/a author. The most recent was probably How the Garcia Girls Lost their Accents, last fall.

4. How about one from an Asian country or Asian-American? China Witness, last month. Banker to the Poor was the month before, and Serve the People and The Hundred Secret Senses and The Joy Luck Club and Better in January.

5. What about a GLBT writer?
Nope. At least nothing where that was the point. I've read lots of books where it's mentioned in passing that the author is GLBT, but I don't remember.

6. Why not name an Israeli/Arab/Turk/Persian writer, if you're feeling lucky? Things I've Been Silent About, last month, then Pomegranate Soup and Persepolis 1 and 2 and The Swallows of Kabul in January.

7. Any other "marginalized" authors you've read lately? I suppose last week's The Silent Steppe should go here, instead of on #4, because I'm betting the writer of the meme wasn't thinking of Kazakhstan for that question.

I'm feeling diverse enough. Of course, half these questions turned out to be about Asia, so I'm at an advantage.

22 April 2009

Community Gardens for All

I went to a conference last week on Central Asia and one of the presentations was on food security in Tajikistan (one of the others was my husband's; I just had to add that). Since homegrown food is so important in Central Asia, one of the suggestions to improve food security in Tajikistan was to implement new ways for city-dwellers to grow more of their own food. My husband and I have talked about this sort of community garden idea before. I think there is potential for an idea like this to take hold in Tajikistan and other Central Asian countries. Most of the high-rise apartments have some space around them, sometimes with old playground equipment, but often just covered with cement. What if that cracked, old concrete could be removed and the apartment tenants allowed to plant a few vegetables? I'm a little more into this idea after my own apartment complex lobbied for a community garden and the university allowed us to dig up the grass and start planting in a few areas. I've long wanted to be involved with some sort of NGO that got good books published and distributed in local Central Asian languages, but I could get behind an NGO that provided support for community gardens in Central Asia.

20 April 2009

Hajj Doors

So, it's not Friday and I haven't done this in a couple of weeks, but I thought about it today. We were in Jerusalem in 1997 during Eid al-Adha and this picture is the doorway to someone's house/courtyard in the Old City. If a member of the family is going on the Hajj, the door is painted to celebrate the trip and the Hajj.

I like the little girl too.

Oh, and the pictures are of the Ka'aba and the Dome of the Rock and the Shahada is written there, along with Muhammad and God and welcome. Other houses had pictures of airplanes or whatever transportation was used, but this one doesn't seem to.

On Moving Overseas

There's a family on a homeschooling board I frequent who's moving to Malaysia soon. It's been lots of fun to read about all her ups and downs as they're getting ready to go because they remind me of so many things we've gone through (and hope to go through again soon).

Today she wrote about some stupid things a relative said about Malaysia and her family's decision to move there, and that reminded me of a lot of the not-so-nice things people have said to us when they hear where we're moving next, or that we like living in Muslim countries, or that we're actively trying to return to Central Asia (and that it's a we thing, not a he thing). I realized I've gotten a lot better at politely disagreeing with people and then moving onto a topic they're more familiar with, instead of getting annoyed, because usually the person who made the comment doesn't really care or know about the place we're going. They're just making conversation.

I don't always manage it though. But I can usually manage to wait till I'm alone with my husband to tell him what I would have liked to say.

16 April 2009

Still hoping

That's a good sign.

14 April 2009

Hungry Planet

I hadn't actually looked through any of this series of books until this weekend when a friend gave me Hungry Planet. It seems that everyone is familiar with these and I'm glad to finally have a chance to sit down with this book (and I finally got Material World and some others on hold at the library).

And it is a great book. There isn't a lot of commentary, but there doesn't need to be because the pictures speak for themselves. It's so interesting I've even been balancing it on my knee while I'm breastfeeding the baby, and big books are usually banned during breastfeeding.

Highly recommended.

Cuisines of the Axis of Evil and Other Irritating States: A Dinner Party Approach to International Relations

This is a fun little cookbook by Chris Fair. And it is mostly a cookbook, but there's a lot more to it than that. The title is just about perfect for what you get here. Fair is witty and snarky, and not really shrill, although maybe just a little.

I didn't read every word here since the recipes are pretty basic (and Fair doesn't assume the reader has much cooking experience, which is probably a good thing for this sort of book) and because there really wasn't anything new if you've read much about these countries (it also helped that I generally agreed with almost everything Fair wrote).

It's fun to read. Recommended.

The Silent Steppe: The Story of a Kazakh Nomad Under Stalin

Silent SteppeI read this interesting book by Mukhamet Shayakhmetov last week. Shayakhmetov is an ethnic Kazakh and grew up during the years of collectivization and famine in Kazakhstan, then fought in WWII. I very much enjoyed reading it, especially since most of what I've read about this time period isn't first-hand. It's also valuable for brief glimpses into Kazakh life before collectivization.

However, I can't completely recommend it, because I don't think most people would be interested in this book, and the writing and translation aren't terribly engaging. In fact, the translation seemed a bit odd in places and I would have appreciated a translator's note or intro before the book to know a little more of her philosophy in translating the book.

But if you have any interest in the Soviet Union, or in Central Asia, or in genocide (although that's an exaggeration here, even if some say Shayakhmetov is writing about genocide), then do pick this book up.

12 April 2009

Christ the Lord Is Risen Today

March 27, 2005

There aren't very many Easter hymns in our LDS hymnbook. We sing them so rarely that I have specific memories of singing all three. I love all three. I especially like to sing those Easter songs when I have my little green hymnbook on hand.

I took my hymnbook to Jerusalem with me twice. It went to Bethel, where we sang "Nearer, My God, To Thee." We sang "Redeemer of Israel" on top of Mt. Sinai. "Angels We Have Heard on High" was sung in a field near Bethlehem. We would sing praise hymns while we were returning to Jerusalem. I can still hear "Christ the Lord Is Risen Today" in Bethany in the tomb of Lazarus. Singing "More Holiness Give Me" always takes me back to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

I wrote in my hymnbook the names of the places where we sang those songs, and the names of my dear friends' favorite hymns. I remember Shahira saying that "O Savior, Thou Who Wearest a Crown" is her favorite hymn while we were at the Garden Tomb. Kirk loved "Brightly Beams Our Father's Mercy." And even "Love at Home," which I don't particularly like, takes on special meaning when I remember singing it with an Iraqi family in Jordan who had escaped Iraq and joined the Church in Irbid, Jordan.

I know I've been writing about Jerusalem a lot recently. Easter is the time I think about Jerusalem the most. I miss Jerusalem. I don't think I ever felt more alive than when I was there.

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
They shall prosper that love thee.
Peace be within thy walls,
and prosperity within thy palaces

If I forget thee, O Jerusalem,
Let my right hand forget her cunning
If I do not remember thee,
Let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth;
If I do not prefer Jerusalem
Above my chief joy.

Happy Easter. Christ the Lord is risen today.

April 8, 2007

Happy Easter!

Christ, the Lord, is risen today, Alleluia!
Sons of men and angels say, Alleluia!
Raise your joys and triumphs high, Alleluia!
Sing, ye heavens, and earth, reply, Alleluia!

Love’s redeeming work is done, Alleluia!
Fought the fight, the battle won, Alleluia!
Lo! the Sun’s eclipse is over, Alleluia!
Lo! He sets in blood no more, Alleluia!

Vain the stone, the watch, the seal, Alleluia!
Christ hath burst the gates of hell, Alleluia!
Death in vain forbids His rise, Alleluia!
Christ hath opened paradise, Alleluia!

Lives again our glorious King, Alleluia!
Where, O death, is now thy sting? Alleluia!
Once He died our souls to save, Alleluia!
Where thy victory, O grave? Alleluia!

Soar we now where Christ hath led, Alleluia!
Following our exalted Head, Alleluia!
Made like Him, like Him we rise, Alleluia!
Ours the cross, the grave, the skies, Alleluia!

Hail, the Lord of earth and Heaven, Alleluia!
Praise to Thee by both be given, Alleluia!
Thee we greet triumphant now, Alleluia!
Hail, the resurrection, thou, Alleluia!

King of glory, Soul of bliss, Alleluia!
Everlasting life is this, Alleluia!
Thee to know, Thy power to prove, Alleluia!
Thus to sing and thus to love, Alleluia!

Hymns of praise then let us sing, Alleluia!
Unto Christ, our heavenly King, Alleluia!
Who endured the cross and grave, Alleluia!
Sinners to redeem and save. Alleluia!

But the pains that He endured, Alleluia!
Our salvation have procured, Alleluia!
Now above the sky He’s King, Alleluia!
Where the angels ever sing. Alleluia!

Jesus Christ is risen today, Alleluia!
Our triumphant holy day, Alleluia!
Who did once upon the cross, Alleluia!
Suffer to redeem our loss. Alleluia!

And one of my favorite Easter stories. I like to think of the two as being Mary and her husband Cleophas:

That very day two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and they were talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them. But their eyes were kept from recognizing him. And he said to them, "What is this conversation that you are holding with each other as you walk?" And they stood still, looking sad. Then one of them, named Cleopas, answered him, Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?" And he said to them, "What things?" And they said to him, "Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, a man who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him. But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things happened. Moreover, some women of our company amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning, and when they did not find his body, they came back saying that they had even seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive. Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see." And he said to them, "O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?" And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he
interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.

So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He acted as if he were going farther, but they urged him strongly, saying, "Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent." So he went in to stay with them. When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them. And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight. They said to each other, "Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?" And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem. And they found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, saying, "The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!" Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread.

10 April 2009

Holy Friday

March 25, 2005--I prefer this name for this day. Good Friday has never sounded right to me. We asked a Christian in Jerusalem how they said the name of this day in Arabic, and he said al-Juma al-Haziin, which means Mournful Friday. So I call it that now.

We spent the morning walking along the Via Dolorosa (yes, I know it's far from accurate, but isn't this all symbolic anyway?) to visit the stations of the cross. The first 9 stations are in the city, and the last 5 are in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. This was another day when it felt wonderful to walk along the streets of Jerusalem with such a large number of Christians from all over the world.

Many groups were carrying crosses. Others were led by priests. We didn't spend much time in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre this day, but the various sects all have rituals they perform in the Church this day.

April 13, 2006--And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha: Where they crucified him... John 19:17-18

And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? Mark 15:34

And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, gave up the ghost. Luke 23: 46-47

When the even was come, there came a rich man of Arimathaea, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus' disciple: He went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be delivered. And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, And laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock: and he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre, and departed. And there was Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary, sitting over against the sepulchre. Matthew 27:57-60

Arab Christians call this day Mournful Friday or Sad Friday instead of the more common Good Friday that we hear in the West. I prefer Mournful or Holy Friday. This day commemorates the crucifixion of the Lord, and his being laid in the tomb.

I remember the Church of the Holy Sepulchre today. There are many Protestant and LDS Christians who don't like this site (partly because they have no claim on the site like the Roman Catholics and many Eastern Orthodox sects), but I love the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. They call it the Church of the Resurrection in Arabic. Again, I don't care if this church is the actual site of the crucifixion, but there is a lot of historical evidence and a long tradition that makes this site the most likely site in the area.

The history of the building is absolutely fascinating, but I just love to be in the building itself and see the remnants of the faith of so many Christians over almost 2,000 years. One of my favorite places in the church are the stairs leading down to St. Helena's Chapel where countless Christian pilgrims have carved crosses into the stone over many centuries. I love to see this visible symbol of the devotion of those faithful people.

The first time I was in Jerusalem, the dome over the traditional tomb of Christ was being repaired (and had been under construction for decades). The rotunda surrounding the tomb was rather dark. But when I went back a year later, the dome had been completed. The rotunda was filled with light. It's now one of my favorite places in the church.

There are many hymns that are appropriate today. "There Is a Green Hill Far Away" is one of our family's favorites now (the boys like it since it is short), but I'll always remember singing "There Is A Green Hill Near at Hand" instead. We also like "Upon the Cross of Calvary." But it is "O Savior, Thou Who Wearest a Crown" that I remember singing at the Garden Tomb to commemorate this day.

O Savior, thou who wearest
A crown of piercing thorn,
The pain thou meekly bearest,
Weigh'd down by grief and scorn.

The soldiers mock and flail thee;
For drink they give thee gall;
Upon the cross they nail thee
To die, O King of all.

No creature is so lowly,
No sinner so depraved,
But feels thy presence holy,
And thru thy love is saved.

Tho craven friends betray thee,
They feel thy love's embrace;
The very foes who slay thee
Have access to thy grace.

Thy sacrifice transcended
The mortal law's demand;
Thy mercy is extended
To ev'ry time and land.

No more can Satan harm us.
Tho long the fight may be,
Nor fear of death alarm us;
We live, O Lord, thru thee.

What praises can we offer
To think thee, Lord most high?
In our place thou didst suffer;
In our place thou didst die,

By heaven's plan appointed,
To ransom us, our King.
O Jesus, the anointed,
To thee our love we bring.

A Bit of Earth

Our apartment complex is trying a new thing and allowing residents to have small garden plots around the buildings. I am so completely excited by this. I think Asian greens are in order, and a few tomatoes. We'll see if I can figure out a new climate. We've lived in lots of places, but the climate has always been about the same. This one's not. At all.

09 April 2009

Maundy Thursday

There's so much that you can talk about on Maundy Thursday. The Garden of Gethsemane is so important, but there's something about Jesus washing the feet of the disciples that I love. Here are two old posts about this day:

March 24, 2005

On Thursday morning of Holy Week, we went to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, which happens to be one of my favorite places in Jerusalem. We went to watch the Greek Patriarch performing the Ceremony of the Washing of the Feet. The Church was crowded with people so we climbed up on the roof to get a better view.

It was a fairly long ceremony because the Greek Patriarch had to have his heavily decorated robe removed; he wore a much simpler white robe for the ceremony. He washed the feet of 12 of his clerics while prayers were recited. I can still hear the sound in my mind. Afterwards, he sprayed the crowd with the leftover water from the ceremony.

We didn't see the Latin Patriarch celebrating the washing of the feet, but it is a much simpler process inside the Church (if the weather is decent, the Greeks do it outside). Afterwards, The Latins go to the traditional site of the Upper Room on Mount Zion.

The Armenians don't do their ceremony in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre at all; they use the Cathedral of St. James in the Armenian Quarter of Jerusalem. The Copts use the Church of St. Anthony in the Coptic Patriarchate. The Coptic Archbishop washes the feet of the entire Coptic congregation.

April 12, 2006

And he came out, and went, as he was wont, to the mount of Olives; and his disciples also followed him. And when he was at the place, he said unto them, Pray that ye enter not into temptation. And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and knelt down, and prayed, Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him. And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground. ~Luke 22:39-44

Out of all the days of Holy Week, Maundy Thursday seems to be the most overlooked, but it is one of the most important days, possibly even more so than Easter Sunday because Thursday night was the time Jesus Christ suffered for our sins in the Garden of Gethsemane. Without that, the Resurrection wouldn't have been worth nearly so much.

I've spent a lot of time in the traditional Garden of Gethsemane. There are two separate sections, both filled with old olive trees. Neither sections are particularly big, and it doesn't really matter to me if the traditional sites are the actual places where Jesus actually stood. There is a large church on the site, the Church of all Nations. It's not my favorite church in Jerusalem (Dominus Flevit on the Mount of Olives is one I like much better), but it is a lovely building.

But my favorite place there is to the garden. Once when I was in the garden on a Saturday morning in October, one of my roommates introduced me to the hymn "Reverently and Meekly Now." These are the first and fourth verses. I also like to remember "How Great the Wisdom and the Love" today.

Rev'rently and meekly now,
Let they head most humbly bow.
Think of me, thou ransomed one;
Think what I for thee have done.

With my blood that dripped like rain,
Sweat in agony of pain,
With my body on the tree
I have ransomed even thee.

At the throne I intercede;
For thee ever do I plead.
I have loved thee as thy friend,
With a love than cannot end.

Be obedient, I implore,
Prayerful, watchful, evermore,
And be constant unto me,
That thy Savior I may be.

07 April 2009


You know how you feel when there's a completely exciting possibility out there that you have no control over whether it happens? Something that you'd love to do, but you have to wait and wait to see if you'll be able to do it? Something that you really should remember isn't likely to happen, but you can't help hoping?

That's what I feel like. And the feeling isn't likely to go away anytime soon. In fact, the longer we don't know, the better.

06 April 2009

The Glass Castle

It seems like everyone has already read The Glass Castle, but here I am just getting to it now. I enjoyed it- a quick read, interesting, engaging writing. It would be a good book to discuss.

05 April 2009

All Glory, Laud and Honor: Happy Palm Sunday!

Originally posted April 9, 2006

And as he went, they spread their clothes in the way. And when he was come nigh, even now at the descent of the mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works they had seen; Saying, Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven and glory in the highest. And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto him, Master, rebuke thy disciples. And he answered, and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out. ~Luke 19: 36-40

Palm Sunday is one of my favorite Sundays out of the entire year, and one that is sadly ignored by many members of the Church. I started celebrating it 9 years ago when I was in Jerusalem and celebrated all of Holy Week with the Orthodox Christians in Jerusalem. I prefer Orthodox Easter because it is usually less touristy and there are a lot more locals participating. (See here for more on the celebration of Palm Sunday in Jerusalem.)

We met at Bethphage on top of the Mount of Olives then walked down the Mount of Olives through Lion's Gate to the Church of St. Anne where we sang and shouted hosanna. A somewhat familiar experience since I had been at the dedication of the Mount Timpanogos Temple the year before.

I always remember that particular Sunday on Palm Sunday now, but I also like to have an official beginning to this Holy Week when the most important event in history took place. So much that was good and bad happened this week, and I like to commemorate the entire week instead of just Easter Sunday. It's nice to begin and end the week with happy events.

And don't forget Saturday, the day before Palm Sunday, when Mary annointed Jesus (John 12:1-9). Unless it was on Tuesday (Mark 14:3-9).

So many of the praise hymns like "Praise to the Lord, the Almighty" and "Come, O Thou King of Kings" are beautiful songs to sing today. "All Glory, Laud and Honor" is one of my favorites:

All glory, laud, and honor
To thee, Redeemer, King
To whom the lips of children
Made sweet hosannas ring

Thou art the King of Israel
Thou David's royal Son
Who in the Lord's name comest
The King and Blessed One

The company of angels
Are praising thee on high
And mortal men and all things
Created make reply

The people of the Hebrews
With palms before thee went
Our praise and love and anthems
Before thee we present

To thee, before thy passion
They sang their hymns of praise
To thee, now high exalted
Our melody we raise

Thou didst accept accept their praises
Accept the love we bring
Who in all good delightest
Thou good and gracious king.

04 April 2009

Happy Nowruz: Cooking with Children to Celebrate the Persian New Year

This is a great book by Najmieh Batmanglij, a well-known author of Persian cookbooks. Unfortunately, it only made it to the library this week (a touch too late for Nowruz), but I think this is a book worth owning.

I do think the subtitle isn't the best. Yes, there are plenty of recipes, but it's a lot more than a cookbook. I think a better subtitle might have been something along the lines of celebrating Nowruz with your children.

Now, I know that many Americans don't know what Nowruz is, but if you do and are interested in celebrating it, this is an excellent book to explain all aspects of Nowruz, for the entire 4 weeks. Recommended.

02 April 2009

I've been rereading Snow Flower and the Secret Fan and The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down and To Kill a Mockingbird this week for three different book groups. This is a good month for my book groups. I'm always happy to reread a book if it'll start a good, thoughtful discussion. And it really does make a difference to reread the book. Even though I love To Kill a Mockingbird and have read it many times.

01 April 2009

The Places We Went for Dinner This Week

Thailand, Lebanon, Pakistan, Uruguay, India

It was a slow week.