Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Goodreads Giveaway

Please enter to win a new copy of "Heroic Vignettes."

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Heroic Vignettes by Tami Richards

Heroic Vignettes

by Tami Richards

Giveaway ends August 17, 2013.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Saturday, June 22, 2013


Set In Stone is a refreshing look at a private eye who is dealing with a big problem. I love the humor in this book which is the first of a series of quick and quirky reads sure to captivate readers and leave them wanting more. It is a captivating series much like when Stephen King released The Green Mile in small bites of novella's. I remember it was nearly torture to wait for the next installment to come up. THAT was fun! The Travis Eldritch series is holding me captive in very much the same way.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Aliens In America

Aliens In America by Sandra Tsing Loh is a comical yet touching look at a three-dimensional culture clash. Loh's German mother is often trying to leave her past behind and move forward in an American culture that allows for much freedom, while Loh's Chinese father is always pinching pennies to the nth degree in an effort to stave off some unseen impending doom. Loh stands at the tip of this triangle of German-Chinese immigration waving the American flag with no history of political/social oppression to hold her back.

Aliens In America is a short book, a quick read. It is a great choice for anyone who is looking for an easy smile or a new perspective on living in the Untied States. Loh's wonderfully smooth conversational tone of writing made the book a pleasure to read, as if I were sitting across the table from her and sharing in her personal reminisces' while sipping a creamy mocha java and trying not to spray it out my nose when laughter caught me off guard.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Girl Land

Having raised two daughters, now in their twenties, and being the grandma of three young granddaughters, I find Caitlin Flanagan's recently published book, Girl Land, particularly relevant to me. In comparing the teen scenes of generations past to those of today, we find that though Girl Land is a common phase shared by all females, the stark differences between the social atmospheres over time has landed many young girls in a difficult struggle to find their places. The biggest struggle, as has been for generation upon generation in the past, is a girl's self-image and how it relates to the opposite sex. This building of the self-image requires much introspection, hence the term "finding oneself." Our culture being one of techno-media is overwhelming our girls and causing great turmoil, for instead of spending enough time in self-contemplation, they simply learn all of their information by watching the images frolicking across the various screens before them.

As we fail to provide support and encouragement for the struggling girls in our homes and communities, we need to realize that it is us who first taught them that reality is learned by watching TV. It is the parents, caregivers, and teachers who plopped our toddlers down in front of Barney, Elmo, and the like for the purpose of learning the fundamental skills that were once taught first by direct-parenting then hands-on teaching. Now these same girls are learning of the larger reality of which they are infinitely curious. The media-learning that our girls are subjected to by a society that does not have their best interests at heart is countered in Girl Land with some of the most successful teaching aids in all of history: Books. What better way to aid a young gal in her all important deep thinking moments than by giving her characters, plots, and conflicts which not only can she relate to, but which she can work through in her own imagination without the distraction of caustic images and sound bites? Give her some space where she's not being bombarded with how other people think she should act or look or think. Books have been known to encourage thinking for many centuries; the combined audio/visual media does not have this track record, and in fact seems to be failing quite miserably as a tool in personal and social development.

I have made a list of many of the books that are quoted and referenced in Girl Land. Titles such as Are You There God, It's Me, Margaret, A tree Grows In Brooklyn, and Forever, are among those that I am heading to my local bookstore to purchase. I am hopeful that the insights and situations within the pages of these books will make me a better grandparent for my granddaughters; for Flanagan's book has revealed to me just how truly difficult my generation has made it for the next generation to find happiness.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Worst Hard Time

In the Middle of the United States during the 1930's, the skys swirled incessantly with so much soil that homes could not be rid of it, animals died with it blocking their digestion, and people died of what was termed dust pnuemonia. Chains were hooked to the backs of automobiles and dragged behind in order to ground the vehicles and prevent electricution while driving, rabbits were rounded up in great masses and clubbed to death, and some folks took to canning tumbleweed for it was the only vegetation that could be found.

The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan is a tale not only of the massive dusters that plagued this era, but also of the people who confronted these conditions with the hope of coming out ahead. The hope of tomorrow. We, as readers, get to know them as they struggle within their communities from the Panhandle in Texas to the lower regions of Colorado. Each with an engaging tale of survival, cunning, and resourcefulness. As we follow along with these unforgettable hero's, we learn much about what caused the dust bowl and the approach to solving the problem that affected the entire nation.

Reading this book, I realized that greed is not a class attribute, but a universal one, that hero's truly are born everyday and come in many shapes and sizes, and that hope really is eternal.

Saturday, December 3, 2011


Sometimes it's hard to pinpoint when the indigo first began running off the pages of a book and squeezing my heart with inky fingers. Reading WILD SWANS, by Jung Chang is just such an instance. It is at once a memoir and a colorful, first-hand history of twentieth-century China. The "Wild Swans" are Jung Chang's  grandmother, mother and herself as the story of the Chinese cultural revolution unfolds in chronological order. The grandmother was born in a time when foot binding was practiced, Jung Chang's mother was a member of the Communist forces, and Jung was born during a time of casting off of imperialistic modes as well as suffering greatly at the hands of rumor and accusation by all acounts of a violent cultural upheaval.

The scenery, characters, and emotion of this story are portrayed with dignity and strength by Jung Chang as doubts of her devotion to Chairman Mao begin to creep in. The hardships that the citizens of China suffered during Mao's purging of enemies, who's faces changed like the wind, are portrayed with passion and thought.
This is the book I recommend to all who tout the benefits of Communism, be it by labeling "class enemies," or touting a State that sees to the needs of its people.

Jung Chang was born in  Yibin, Sichuan Province, China, in 1952. She left China for Brittain in 1978, soon after earning a Ph.D in Linguistics from York University.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Baiqiao Tang

My Two Chinas: the memoir of a Chinese counter-Revolutionary is an in-depth look of the struggle of Baiqiao Tang as he went from being a student leader during the pro-democracy movement, to improsonment under the charges of being a counter-revolutionary, to becoming a voice to free China. Everybody should read this book. Within these pages are descriptions the Tiananmen Square Masscre, prison life in China, a great deal of the humanity that binds all people together, as well as depictions of Chinese culture, including family life and allusions to great Chinese poets.

I was inspired by this book to work harder on my poetry writing, to take it more seriously than I have done in the past because this man, Baiqiao Tang is obviously a modern day hero and in this book he reveres poets as well as including some poet terminology within his work. That, despite the fact that on June 4th, 1989 the Tiananmen Square Massacre claimed the lives of thousands of peaceful protesters.

Baiqiao Tang lived to tell the story of that massacre, and that's what he has devoted his life to ever since his escape from China. This is a book of courage and strength that is well told with poetic prose and frightening reality.