Fall Recommended Reads 2017

In need of a different sort of read, since the madness in our country of late, I searched for recommendations.  Here’s what I have added to my list:



If Romeo and Juliet Had Gone…

If Romeo and Juliet Had Gone House Hunting Together – is a read that had me entertained so much that I had to share it here.  Please do yourself a favor today and simply appreciate the creative take on the story of Romeo and Juliet and oh…a few villas:

What if Romeo hadn’t drank the poison? What if Juliet had awoken to find her beau alive & kicking at her bedside and they’d ridden off into the sunset in search of a love nest, to live out the rest of their days happily ever after? Now that would be a house I’d like to visit. And some five centuries after their story is thought to have taken place, it appears as if the Italian real estate market has really changed all that much. You see, I’ve been imaginary house-hunting again in the dreamy property books of Italian agency Lionard, and it seems there is no shortage of historic castles and palatial estates fit for a Montague heir and his runaway bride. Palazzo’s of all shapes and sizes, waiting for a new generation to save them from ruin. Let’s just play real estate agent to Shakespeare’s star-crossed lovers for a moment…(more)

First Assignment – Under Twenty Minutes

You know what I love the most about a twenty-minute quick writing assignment in class about a moment when you felt a rush of adventure?  Just being able to sit in front of a computer and write – quickly, without putting much thought to it or worrying about how it comes out. Kind of like this:


We disembarked on the shores of Capri. A short ferry ride from Sorrento late August in 1995, thinking we’d beat the tourist season, and were about to experience an island on our own. But instead, steered through a crowd of travelers alike, and even locals, holding hotel signs and maps of sorts, over speaking one another about, who knows what. I wasn’t really listening. I simple took note they were intending to retail a room and board. 

 Worried, I scanned the small cobbled-stoned waterfront for signs leading me to a tourist information booth; I read about in Lonely Planet – advised to be the best source to finding hotels and guided tours. My boyfriend at the time, and my brother, relying on me, followed behind me to a small building bearing the ‘i’ symbol in blue and white, and we queued up for the tourist information agent, to direct us on how to proceed. While in line, I began to regret convincing my travel partners, while in Rome to take a spontaneous trip down south, to Sorrento, and now to Capri. 

Forty-minutes later, we stood in front of the clerk, as typical looking like a group of amateur travelers, and asked for a budget hotel to spend at most two nights, or maybe three if we had to – I remember telling the girl, seated behind the counter, interning from Switzerland – I discovered, when I asked how she spoke English so well.    

She made a call, booked as two rooms for three nights, and sent us on our way, with a visitor map, she drew arrows on pointing to where we needed  to go to catch the local bus to our hotel. 

Holding my breath in a state of panic, although trying my best not to show it to the boys, I pointed to the bus stop. We queued up in the mid-morning heat, but couldn’t get on the empty bus, even at the starting point to the route, because of the number of tourists and locals doing the same. So we were forced to wait. Thirty minutes, it read on the timetable pinned inside an obscured glass frame mounted by the stop. But in reality, it was forty-five minutes, to when the bus actually showed up.

We managed to get on, and took seats on the right side in the bus, the three of us agreeing that we would simply spend the next three days catching up on our sleep. Until the bus began a climb, the windy narrow road, up so high that we got the most spectacular views of the azure Tyrrhenian Sea hundreds of feet below, and a fleeting glimpse of the countless people sunbathing, or playing in the water. Some even perched on small boats or yachts, and the breeze, mixed with the scent of various flowers, coming through the opened windows, was enough for us to get off the bus, check in, get inside our hotel rooms quickly, change and leave, unanimously agreeing to explore the entire island on foot, no matter how long it took.

IndieBound September 2017 Book Recommends

Each month IndieBound puts out a list of books to read, and I race to my local mom/pop bookstore, literally brick and mortar run down shop in San Francisco, and grab the flyer so I can plan out my next set of stories to tackle. And so, here it is, my list from their list:

“Little Fires Everywhere is a breathtaking novel about art, motherhood, and truth. Mia and her daughter, Pearl, move to the perfectly planned community of Shaker Heights as the last stop on their nomadic adventure, bringing some much-needed permanence to teenager Pearl’s life. They both find friendship, but the connections they create with their landlord’s family will soon change all of their lives. Impossible to put down or stop thinking about. A great read.” {source}







“The World of Tomorrow is so wise and so ambitious in scope, with characters so complex, sympathetic, and real, that you will be hard-pressed to set it aside at a reasonable hour. Mathews’ success in rendering the physicality of New York City just before WWII, the complexities of the Irish-American experience, and the first awful rumblings of the Holocaust, along with all the details of class, race, family, tragedy, comedy, heroics, and jazz, make this a truly immersive reading experience. With beautiful prose, a plot that manages strand after strand of narrative without ever becoming knotted or coming undone, and a cast of characters as alive as any on the page, this novel is a masterpiece.” — Robert McDonald, The Book Stall At Chestnut, Winnetka, IL





“This is the novel John Boyne was born to write: A brilliant book of identity and redemption, both heartbreaking and humorous, intimate and expansive. Cyril Avery has been constantly reminded he doesn’t belong, first by his adopted parents, then by the church and his country. As we follow him on his journey to acceptance, we are shown the cruelty of fate and the surprising kindness of ordinary people. Boyne perfectly constructs every story told, unveiling the humor and hypocrisy of humanity in each character and illuminating how the arc of Cyril’s story is also the arc of modern times. An amazing feat from the first page to the last.” — Luisa Smith, Book Passage, Corte Madera, CA

These should get me through the next six weeks. How about you – do you see a story you want to read? Or have read recently that you recommend?

The Debate: Print over Digital

I am  old-fashioned when it comes to reading paperback books, and recently I’ve seen more and more people doing the same. I remember a few years back, during my commute to work, I’d see countless passengers with their eyes glued to their kindles and other gadgets, reading. Although at the time, I felt ancient among them, I held fast to my belief that reading a paperback was/is still better then any electronic device, and for so many reasons:

One article details solid points by Naomi Baron,  about the topic of why paperback over anything else. Such as:

“The first is concentration. In a study I did with over 400 university students in five countries, 92 percent of participants said the reading platform on which they concentrate best is print. Students complained about distractions when reading onscreen. And as we know, if you’re distracted, your stress level can go up and attention span go down.”

“The second reason is that we probably remember more of what we read in print. I say “probably” because researchers are still figuring out how to move from laboratory-style comprehension tests to measuring memory that matters. Memory for abstract concepts or how the pieces of a story line fit together. Memory that connects our reading with other things we learn and with our everyday lives. Students tell us they remember more when reading in print. Not surprisingly, some report spending more time when reading print and reading more carefully than with digital texts.”

Naomi S. Baron is professor of linguistics at American University in Washington, DC. She is author of Words Onscreen: The Fate of Reading in a Digital World (Oxford University Press).

Here’s a few of my favorite excerpt from HuffPost:

Print books are physical reminders of your intellectual journeys.

There is a link between physical gestures and cognition: the things we do to print books seem to help us to understand and remember better.

Print books are better for your health. A Harvard Medical School study last year found that reading a light-emitting e-book before bed interferes with your ability to sleep, with your alertness the following morning, and with your overall health.

A bus full of people with print books is a snapshot of what is on a town or a city’s minds – as well as a collection of ideas for what you should read next. A bus full of people reading e-books is just a lot of people staring at devices.

And then in England – there is this bit of shifting – when it comes to paperback or digital:

The UK reached peak e-reader in 2014, when a quarter of UK book buyers owned one. Three years on that figure is back to only just over one-fifth as Britons have swapped their e-reading on to phones and tablets. Waterstones stopped selling the Kindle two years ago because they were “getting virtually no sales”.

And I know there is more…but you get the point. And even if you do, or feel that I am off my rocker, then please offer up your opinion right here. Otherwise have a pleasant day, and be sure to read – a paperback 🙂



Travel Quotes or Best Affirmations I’ve Read So Far

I travel extensively, mostly for pleasure. But I do use the excuse that it’s for research. I mean, technically, it isn’t an excuse. I do research for my novels –  while I travel for pleasure.  🙂

Anyway, the other day I stumbled upon these set of travel quotes from my favorite  Conde Nast Traveler e-magazine, and from the dozen or so, I picked out some of my favorites to share here. Enjoy.

Children’s Books From Around the World

I love children’s books, even as an adult with no small children of my own, I often times walk through the sections in a traditional bookstore dedicated to the genre. My favorite growing up was Madeline and Tintin. I couldn’t wait to read the next installment of all the Tintin adventures and believe it or not, that’s how I became curious about the world – through Tintin.

So, in light of this topic, I share with you all 25 wonderful reads from Condé Nast Traveler for your tiny bookworm: