soup for syria

soup nourishes body & soul / it comforts & provides solace \ it provides community & an outstretched helping hand / as in the folktale “stone soup” & the ubiquity of soup kitchens in both good & bad times

“soup for syria” is a fundraising effort / here’s hoping that a peaceful, diplomatic solution is reached & ends the suffering of the Syrian people

poetry for young people

delightful series of books of poems for young people / got these for a book drive in the office \ gives a background about each work such as the author’s intent and in what context it was written / this makes great gifts by adult fans of shakespeare & lewis carroll for their favorite young people

happy national library week!  apr 9-15


ethnic america

“ethnic america” / thomas sowell <1981> \ a concise history of 9 immigrant groups: irish, german, italian, jews, chinese, japanese, mexicans, blacks and puerto ricans / describes how their culture and their experiences in their homeland impacted their experiences as u.s. immigrants in terms of their coping mechanisms, length of time of acculturation & socioeconomic progress, as well as the dynamics within and between ethnic groups \ an enlightening read for these times as immigration policies are being re-written

dictator’s handbook

“the dictator’s handbook: why bad behavior is almost always good politics” <2011> bruce bueno de mesquita & alastair smith / cynical & thoughtful framework for explaining the business of politics, & how and why a politician  <autocrat or democrat> behaves the way s|he does \ autocrats privately reward small coalitions (i.e., those who bring them to power) while democrats work with large coalitions whom s|he rewards with public goods

eyeopening – & i could not help but agree – is that foreign aid is the way rich nations buy policy concessions abroad \ how else explain the non-progress of countries who have been receiving aid for decades from the world bank & imf? / reading the book made me reflect about the marcos years  in the philippines which the u.s. supported & aided until, as the framework predicted, marcos was on his way out – he was terminally ill & consequently losing the support of his cronies & the military

xmas tradition

imageholidays on ice (1997) by humorist david sedaris contains “santaLand diaries” \ aired on public radio every year around christmastime, the reading of “santaLand diaries” is like the “twas the night before christmas” tradition of the npr crowd

“santaLand diaries” fictionalizes sedaris’s time working as an elf at macys \ my favorite part is when santa santa asks him to sing “away in a manger” for a little girl / like any helpful elf, he does – unlike other elves, he sings it a la billie holiday 🙂 \ always makes me laugh – just heard it on morning edition

anecdotes of destiny

imagetwo of the five stories in anecdotes of destiny <1958> by isak dinesen were adapted for the screen \ the danish film “babette’s feast” won the academy award for best foreign film in 1987 / orson welles directed the 1968 french film “the immortal story” \ easily the most satisfying to read <& fun to watch despite the austere characters> was “babette’s feast” / character- & atmosphere-driven with a very simple plot that was effectively captured on screen

a book about the nordic way


the nordic theory of everything <2016> anu partanen, finnish journalist who is now an american citizen / explanations of how finland is able to provide high quality free education and a reliable social safety net to its citizens \ enviable, yes / a model for the u.s.? \ i’m not sure / i think it is easier to get agreement in a homogeneous culture like finland / learnings for the u.s.? \ absolutely