The great day is finally here - carp(e) libris has moved to its own domain, so I invite you to come and take a look! I will keep my Blogger blog up and running, but all new posts will now be at www.carpelibrisreviews.com.
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Posted by Diane Kidman at 2/19/2008
Monday, February 18, 2008
Just a quick announcement - if you hurry, there's still time to sign up for a book giveaway on my other blog, dkMommy Spot. It's for a book of essays called At Work in Life's Garden, so go check it out!
Also, I was made aware of an article written by Laila Halaby (Once in a Promised Land) called Dare I Ask, which discusses questions often asked of Arab and Muslim Americans, and what is and isn't appropriate. It's a great article with a YouTube video that fits well with her article, so go check it out!
Friday, February 15, 2008
When I was young, there was a series of biographies I loved reading. Our teacher gave me extra credit for each one I read, and I thought I was really pulling one over on her because I was reading them purely for the entertainment value. I guess in the end, my teacher knew what she was doing - I was learning.
Walking in Two Worlds (Mixed-Blood Indian Women Seeking Their Path) gave me that same feeling all over again. A series of biographical stories, Peterson's book covers the lives of several mixed-blood Native American women. Each biography is compelling and inspiring, and full of descriptions of Native American life around the turn of the 20th century. This was a time in history when Native Americans were quickly losing their land, their freedom, and their identity. These women, born into a life torn between their two heritages, became the perfect fighters for what was being lost in tribal life.
Peterson's writing style is clear and easy to read, giving you the desire to learn even more of these courageous women and the struggle of their peoples. Walking in Two Worlds is a good book to read if you need a push to follow your dreams in the midst of opposition.
Published by Caxton Press.
Monday, February 11, 2008
Sometimes a book draws you in like a lucid dream. You smell, hear, touch; you see everything before your eyes but printed words on a page. This was the journey I took in Locke 1928, guided by the masterful storytelling of Shawna Yang Ryan. The pages are filled with Chinese folklore, moving flashbacks, and a vivid attention to detail. The narrow streets lined with Old West-style wooden buildings harbor lost souls, broken dreams, and the possibility of ghosts. When three Chinese women float to shore on a dilapidated boat after having been adrift at sea for over a month, the men of the town line up to woo them. The madame of the local brothel begins having visions she takes as a warning. The pastor's wife, the only "whitewoman" in town who isn't a prostitute, takes two of the women under her wing, and it could be a big mistake.
Locke 1928 reveals a real town in the Sacramento Delta very few Americans have heard of. The first town in America built by the Chinese for the Chinese, the city of Locke still exists today, and looks much the same as when it was first built in 1915. I was fascinated by the pictures on the city's website because Locke looks just as Ryan portrayed it in her writing. In fact, Ryan's seven years of obvious hard work on this book gives it such realism it feels as if she walked in the shoes of each and every character herself.
Locke 1928 is breathtakingly haunting. I've ingested the characters and will carry them with me, and for this reason, I am giving Ryan's first novel the carp(e) libris Goldfish Award. A completely moving work worth reading, without a doubt. If you have a to-be-read list, this one must be placed at the top.
Published by El Leon Literary Arts.
Thursday, February 7, 2008
Once in a Promised Land by Laila Halaby is the tragic story of a Jordanian couple in the U.S., struggling with secrets that drive wedges between them. Set in the shadow of 9/11, this novel tells of two people caught in their knot of lies while getting tied up ever tighter in the misconceptions of others.
Once in a Promised Land is not a suspense or thriller, yet the reader will not be able to keep from reading faster, wanting to get up and yell warnings to the book's protagonists. The married couple of Jassim and Salwah become real people, with whom you wish you could be friends. I myself wanted so badly to give them my advice, and when I wasn't reading, I found myself wondering if they were able to undo the mess their lives had become.
Hallaby has a way of crafting sentences that gracefully dip into the spirit of an ancient Arab folktale. For a moment, you get a hint of where Salwah and Jassim are from before the writing style shifts back to contemporary America. It gives the reader a real sense of who these two people are and how they're caught between two worlds. With page-turner events and a strong cast of characters, Once in a Promised Land is a book you can definitely sink into.
Published by Beacon Press.
Tuesday, February 5, 2008
Time to announce the winner of the book Downriver by Jeanne Lieby. Carrie has won herself a copy of this wonderful short-story collection. Congratulations, Carrie! Your book should arrive soon.
Look for up-and-coming giveaways and big, wonderful changes SOON at carp(e) libris!