Three Expat Women. Three international love stories. One book giveaway.

Do you know what I love more than a good memoir?  More that two good memoirs?

Yep, THREE good memoirs!

And there’s even a giveaway. Click below for details.
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I’ve already started reading Leza’s book and am enjoying it immensely. Years ago I heard Tracy read a bit from hers (it was still a work in progress), but I was intrigued even then. And while I haven’t started  Shannon’s yet, I’m pretty sure it’s going to be a trifecta.

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1) Here Comes the Sun: A Journey to Adoption in 8 Chakras

By Leza Lowitz
At 30, Californian Leza Lowitz is single and traveling the world, which suits her just fine. Coming of age in Berkeley during the feminist revolution of the 1970s, she learned that marriage and family could wait. Or could they? When Leza moves to Japan and falls in love with a Japanese man, her heart opens in ways she never thought possible. But she’s still an outsider, and home is far away. Rather than struggle to fit in, she opens a yoga studio and makes a home for others. Then, at 44, Leza and her Japanese husband seek to adopt—in a country where bloodlines are paramount and family ties are almost feudal in their cultural importance. She travels to India to work on herself and back to California to deal with her past. Something is still not complete until she learns that when you give a little love to a child, you get the whole world in return. The author’s deep connection to yoga shows her that infertile does not mean inconceivable. By adapting and adopting, she transcends her struggles and embraces the joys of motherhood.
Stonebridge Press, June 2015

2) The Good Shufu: Finding Love, Self, & Home on the Far Side of the World
By Tracy Slater
The Good Shufu is a true story of multicultural love, marriage, and mixups. When Tracy Slater, a highly independent American academic, falls head-over-heels in love with the least likely person in the world–a traditional Japanese salaryman who barely speaks English–she must choose between the existence she’d meticulously planned in the US and life as an illiterate housewife in Osaka. Rather than an ordinary travel memoir, this is a book about building a whole life in a language you don’t speak and a land you can barely navigate, and yet somehow finding a truer sense of home and meaning than ever before. A Summer ’15 Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Selection, The Good Shufu is a celebration of the life least expected: messy, overwhelming, and deeply enriching in its complications.
Putnam/Penguin, June 30, 2015

3) Year of Fire Dragons: An American Woman’s Story of Coming of Age in Hong Kong
By Shannon Young
In 2010, bookish 22-year-old Shannon follows her Eurasian boyfriend to Hong Kong, eager to forge a new love story in his hometown. She thinks their long distance romance is over, but a month later his company sends him to London. Shannon embarks on a wide-eyed newcomer’s journey through Hong Kong—alone. She teaches in a local school as the only foreigner, explores Asia with other young expats, and discovers a family history of her own in Hong Kong. The city enchants her, forcing her to question her plans. Soon, she must make a choice between her new life and the love that first brought her to Asia.
Susan Blumberg-Kason, author of Good Chinese Wife, has called Year of Fire Dragons “a riveting coming of age story” and “a testament to the distance people will travel for love.”
Blacksmith Books, June 7, 2015

 

Japanese Picture Books

I was walking through the kid’s section of the bookstore the other day when this beauty caught my eye:

PB tengoku

 

 

How absolutely awesome, I thought. It’s a picture book about paradise, or Buddhist heaven.

 

Hey, wait. If they have a book about gokuraku“-極楽,  they surely must have a book about…

 

And they did!

PB jigoku

 

Hell!!

There it is. A picture book about Buddhist jigoku-地獄.

So cool. So cool.

But the fun doesn’t stop there. It wasn’t two days later when I was browsing the library that this lovely piece of work stopped me in my tracks.

PB oshiri

BUTTS!

An entire picture book on animal butts. And if my guess is correct, will probably end with a nice pink human one!

(No, really. I need to go back and thumb through that one. Just for curiosity’s sake.)

Okay, okay, but really,  it doesn’t end there (or maybe it *does* end there).

Alas, no Japanese bookstore or library is complete without a book about…

PB Unko

 

Hold on. It’s better than that. It’s not a book about poop. It’s an entire set of (karuta) cards on the subject.

Unko Karuta.

Screenshot 2015-05-02 08.54.56

 

I’ll let that haunt your thoughts for awhile…

 

The Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley Scholarship

I am tickled pink to announce that I have won this year’s Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley Scholarship.  I would like to give a world of thanks to The Horror Writers Association for providing female horror writers with such a wonderful opportunity to invest in and hone their craft.  And thanks and appreciation also to the HWA Scholarship Committee: Ellen Datlow, Vince Liaguno, and Marge Simon.

I plan to study hard and make them proud!