Lisa See, Shanghai Girls, Peony in Love, China Dolls, Dreams of Joy, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, On Gold Mountain etc... I love Lisa See's books, they always take me into a world of adventures. My very first Lisa see book was Shanghai Girls, which captivated my attention because it's was so engaging, and it took me into a different world of learning new things as it depicted real life experiences lived.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR In her beloved New York Times bestsellers Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, Peony in Love, and, most recently,Shanghai Girls and Dreams of Joy, Lisa See has brilliantly illuminated the strong bonds between women, romantic love, and love of country. Now, inCHINA DOLLS, which is about Asian-American nightclub performers of the 1930s and 1940s, she returns to these timeless themes. The San Francisco Chronicle praised the novel, stating,“China Dollsplunges us into a fascinating history and offers an accessible meditation on themes that are still urgent in our contemporary world. The women’s story explores burning questions about the possibilities of friendship, the profound effects of betrayal, the horrors of prejudice and the nature of ambition—especially female ambition. . . . These Asian artists were true pioneers, breaking ground, chasing vast dreams, subverting stereotypes simply by appearing onstage against the odds. Here, in China Dolls, they have found another stage of sorts, another place to rightfully shine.” TheWashington Post commented,“This emotional, informative and brilliant page-turner resonates with resilience and humanity,” while O Magazine called China Dolls “a spellbinding portrait of a time burning with opportunity and mystery.” The novel is Lisa See’s fourth instant New York Times bestseller. Ms. See has always been intrigued by stories that have been lost, forgotten, or deliberately covered up, whether in the past or happening right now in the world today. For Snow Flower, she traveled to a remote area of China—where she was told she was only the second foreigner ever to visit—to research the secret writing invented, used, and kept a secret by women for over a thousand years. Amy Tan called the novel “achingly beautiful, a marvel of imagination.” Others agreed, and foreign-language rights for Snow Flower were sold to 39 countries. The novel also became a New York Times bestseller, a Booksense Number One Pick, has won numerous awards domestically and internationally, and was made into a feature film produced by Fox Searchlight. Ms. See was born in Paris but grew up in Los Angeles. She lived with her mother, but spent a lot of time with her father’s family in Chinatown. Her first book, On Gold Mountain: The One Hundred Year Odyssey of My Chinese-American Family (1995), was a national bestseller and a New York Times Notable Book. The book traces the journey of Lisa’s great-grandfather, Fong See, who overcame obstacles at every step to become the 100-year-old godfather of Los Angeles’s Chinatown and the patriarch of a sprawling family. While collecting the details for On Gold Mountain, she developed the idea for her first novel, Flower Net (1997), which was a national bestseller, a New York Times Notable Book, and on the Los Angeles Times Best Books List for 1997. Flower Net was also nominated for an Edgar award for best first novel. This was followed by two more mystery-thrillers, The Interior (2000) and Dragon Bones (2003), which once again featured the characters of Liu Hulan and David Stark. This series inspired critics to compare Ms. See to Upton Sinclair, Dashiell Hammett, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Ms. See has led an active and varied career. She was the Publishers Weekly West Coast Correspondent for thirteen years. As a freelance journalist, her articles have appeared in Vogue, Self, and More, as well as in numerous book reviews around the country. She wrote the libretto for Los Angeles Opera based on On Gold Mountain, which premiered in June 2000 at the Japan American Theatre followed by the Irvine Barclay Theatre. She also served as guest curator for an exhibit on the Chinese-American experience at the Autry Museum of Western Heritage, which then traveled to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., in 2001. Ms. See then helped develop and curate the Family Discovery Gallery at the Autry Museum, an interactive space for children and their families that focuses on Lisa’s bi-racial, bi-cultural family as seen through the eyes of her father as a seven-year-old boy living in 1930s Los Angeles. She has designed a walking tour of Los Angeles Chinatown and wrote the companion guidebook for Angels Walk L.A. to celebrate the opening of the MTA’s Chinatown metro station. She also curated the inaugural exhibition—a retrospective of artist Tyrus Wong—for the grand opening of the Chinese American Museum in Los Angeles. Ms. See serves as a Los Angeles City Commissioner on the El Pueblo de Los Angeles Monument Authority. She was honored as National Woman of the Year by the Organization of Chinese American Women in 2001 and was the recipient of the Chinese American Museum’s History Makers Award in Fall 2003.
The most powerful stories may be the ones we tell ourselves, says Brené Brown. But beware they're usually fiction
My husband, Steve, and I were having one of those days. That morning, we'd overslept. Charlie couldn't find his backpack, and Ellen had to drag herself out of bed because she'd been up late studying. Then at work I had five back-to-back meetings, and Steve, a pediatrician, was dealing with cold-and-flu season. By dinnertime, we were practically in tears.
Steve opened the refrigerator and sighed. "We have no groceries. Not even lunch meat." I shot back, "I'm doing the best I can. You can shop, too!" "I know," he said in a measured voice. "I do it every week. What's going on?"
I knew exactly what was going on: I had turned his comment into a story about how I'm a disorganized, unreliable partner and mother. I apologized and started my next sentence with the phrase that's become a lifesaver in my marriage, parenting and professional life: "The story I'm making up is that you were blaming me for not having groceries, that I was screwing up."
Steve said, "No, I was going to shop yesterday, but I didn't have time. I'm not blaming you. I'm hungry."
Storytelling helps us all impose order on chaos including emotional chaos. When we're in pain, we create a narrative to help us make sense of it. This story doesn't have to be based on any real information. One dismissive glance from a coworker can instantly turn into I knew she didn't like me. I responded to Steve so defensively because when I'm in doubt, the "I'm not enough" explanation is often the first thing I grab. It's like my comfy jeans—may not be flattering, but familiar.
Our stories are also about self-protection. I told myself Steve was blaming me so I could be mad instead of admitting that I was vulnerable or afraid of feeling inadequate. I could disengage from the tougher stuff. That's what human beings tend to do: When we're under threat, we run. If we feel exposed or hurt, we find someone to blame, or blame ourselves before anyone else can, or pretend we don't care.
But this unconscious storytelling leaves us stuck. We keep tripping over the same issues, and after we fall, we find it hard to get back up again. But in my research on shame and vulnerability, I've also learned a lot about resilience. For my book Rising Strong, I spent time with many amazing people—from Fortune 500 leaders to long-married couples who are skilled at recovering from setbacks, and they have one common characteristic: They can recognize their own confabulations and challenge them. The good news is that we can rewrite these stories. We just have to be brave enough to reckon with our deepest emotions.
In navigation, dead reckoning is how you calculate your location. It involved knowing where you've been and how you got there—speed, route, wind conditions. It's the same with life: We can't chart a new course until we find out where we are, how we came to that point and where we want to go. Reckon comes from the Old English recenian, meaning "to narrate." When you reckon with emotion, you can change your narrative. You have to acknowledge your feelings and get curious about the story behind them. Then you can challenge those confabulations and get to the truth.
I'll walk you through it. The next time you're in a situation that pushes your buttons—from a breakup to a setback at work—and you're overwhelmed by anger, disappointment or embarrassment, try this practice.
Engage with your feelings.
Your body may offer the first clue that you're having an emotional reaction: for instance, your boss assigns the project you wanted to a colleague, and your face begins to feel hot. Or your response may involve racing thoughts or replaying the event in slow motion. You don't need to know exactly where the feelings are coming from: you just have to acknowledge them.
My stomach is in knots. I want to punch a wall. I need Oreos. Lots of them.
Get curious about the story behind the feelings.
Now you're going to ask yourself a few questions. Again, it's not necessary to answer them right off the bat.
Why am I being so hard on everyone? What happened right before this Oreo craving set in? I'm obsessing over what my sister said. Why?
This step can be surprisingly difficult. You're furious because Todd got the project, but it may feel easier to steamroll over your anger with contempt: Todd's a brownnoser. This company's a joke. Getting curious about your feelings may lead to some discoveries: What if you're more hurt than you realized? Or what if your attitude could have played a part? But pushing through discomfort is how we get to the truth.
Write it down.
The most effective way to become truly aware of our stories is to write them down, so get your thoughts on paper. Nothing fancy—you can just finish these sentences:
The story I'm making up... My emotions... My thinking... My body... My beliefs... My actions...
For instance, you might write, I'm so peeved. I feel like I'm having a heatstroke. She thinks I'm incapable. I want to hurl a stapler.
You can be mad, self-righteous, confused. A story driven by emotion and self-protection probably doesn't involve accuracy, logic or civility. If your story contains those things, it's likely that you're not being fully honest.
Get ready to rumble.
It's time to poke and prod at your findings, exploring the ins and outs. The first questions may be the simplest:
1. What are the facts, and what are my assumptions?
I really don't know why my boss picked Todd. And I didn't tell her I was interested in the project I figured she knew.
2. What do I need to know about the others involved?
Maybe Todd has some special skill or she has me in mind for something else.
Now we get to the more difficult questions:
3. What am I really feeling? What part did I play?
I feel so worthless. I'm failing in my career. And I don't want to ask for anything because someone might say no.
You may learn that you've been masking shame with cynicism, or that being vulnerable and asking for what you want is preferable to stewing in resentment. These truths may be uncomfortable, but they can be the basis of meaningful change.
Figuring out your own story could take 20 minutes or 20 years. And you may not make one big transformation; maybe it's a series of incremental changes. You just have to feel your way through.
If you're thinking this sounds too hard, I get it. The reckoning can feel dangerous because you're confronting yourself—the fear, aggression, shame and blame. Facing our stories takes courage. But owning our stories is the only way we get to write a brave new ending.
The Nightingale, by Kristin Hannah In love we find out who we want to be.
In war we find out who we are.
In the quiet village of Carriveau, Vianne Mauriac says goodbye to her husband, Antoine, as he heads for the Front. She doesn't believe that the Nazis will invade France … but invade they do, in droves of marching soldiers, in caravans of trucks and tanks, in planes that fill the skies and drop bombs upon the innocent. When a German captain requisitions Vianne's home, she and her daughter must live with the enemy or lose everything. Without food or money or hope, as danger escalates all around them, she is forced to make one impossible choice after another to keep her family alive.
Vianne's sister, Isabelle, is a rebellious eighteen-year-old girl, searching for purpose with all the reckless passion of youth. While thousands of Parisians march into the unknown terrors of war, she meets Gäetan, a partisan who believes the French can fight the Nazis from within France, and she falls in love as only the young can … completely. But when he betrays her, Isabelle joins the Resistance and never looks back, risking her life time and again to save others.
With courage, grace and powerful insight, bestselling author Kristin Hannah captures the epic panorama of WWII and illuminates an intimate part of history seldom seen: the women's war. The Nightingale tells the stories of two sisters, separated by years and experience, by ideals, passion and circumstance, each embarking on her own dangerous path toward survival, love, and freedom in German-occupied, war-torn France a heartbreakingly beautiful novel that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the durability of women. It is a novel for everyone, a novel for a lifetime.
The Girl on the train, by Paula Hawkins “The Girl on the Train, Hawkins’s first thriller, is well-written and ingeniously constructed.” The Washington Post
The Making of a Man, by Tim Brown
The Making of a Man: How Men and Boys Honor God and Live with Integrity NFL All-Pro, sports analyst, and businessman Tim Brown teaches men and boys principles and priorities for life.Every young boy dreams about growing up to be his vision of a man, but what does that look like? What is manhood, really, and how do guys get there? For some boys their dreams are to be an astronaut, a fireman, or a professional athlete. When legendary coach Lou Holtz told Tim Brown he might be the best football player he'd ever seen it started Tim on a fast track to the Heisman Trophy and playing sixteen seasons for the Los Angeles and Oakland Raiders. While Tim quickly achieved athletic success, he had to work harder off the field to live a life of honor and integrity―two essential cornerstones of manhood.Much more than a sports biography, The Making of a Man reveals Tim's struggles with life and God, his ultimate triumph, and the foundation of faith and family that even today helps him to be one of the most respected men in the world of sports. He shares the importance of a life well-lived and a lasting legacy with stories and lessons on:• Practicing thankfulness • Offering forgiveness • Living with humility • Taking responsibility • Facing temptation • Overcoming evilThese strong principles, woven into the fabric of Tim's remarkable career, not only provide a compelling narrative but challenge all men to measure their life by a higher standard.
Kisses from Katie, September 4 th, 2012
A New York Times bestselling book "Kisses from Katie" is about Katie J. Davis journey, this courageous eighteen-year-old from Nashville, Tennessee who gave up every comfort and luxury of being a homecoming queen, a senior class president to become the adoptive mother to thirteen girls in Uganda. Kisses from Katie invites readers on a journey of radical love down the red dirt roads of Uganda. You’ll laugh and cry with Katie as she follows Jesus into the impossible and finds joy and beauty beneath the dust. Katie and her children delight in saying yes to the people God places in front of them and challenge readers to do the same, changing the world one person at a time.
"Fully Alive", Tmothy Shriver Fully Alive by Timothy Shriver ( Discovering what matters most) November 11, 2014
Timothy Shriver has written this lovely, honest, and inspiring book that draws on his own wisdom, life experiences, and pioneering work as an advocate of the intellectually disabled, people living with exceptionalities in the community and to offer important lessons for all of us. On a quest for what matters most, Timothy Shriver discovers a radically different, inspiring way of life.
At a time when we are all more rudderless than ever, we look for the very best teachers and mentors to guide us. In Fully Alive, an unusual and gripping memoir, Timothy Shriver shows how his teachers have been the world’s most forgotten minority: people with intellectual disabilities. In these pages we meet the individuals who helped him come of age and find a deeper and more meaningful way to see the world.
Shriver’s journey begins close to home, where the quiet legacy of his aunt Rosemary, a Kennedy whose intellectual disability kept her far from the limelight, inspired his family to devote their careers to helping the most vulnerable. He plays alongside the children of Camp Shriver, his mother’s revolutionary project, which provided a space for children with intellectual disabilities to play, and years later he gains invaluable wisdom from the incredible athletes he befriends as chairman of the organization it inspired, Special Olympics. Through these experiences and encounters with scholars, spiritual masters, and political icons such as Nelson Mandela, Shriver learns how to find humility and speak openly of vulnerability and faith.
Fully Aliveis both a moving personal journey and a meditation on some of the greatest wisdom and the greatest contradictions of our society. Is disability to be feared or welcomed, pitied or purged? Shriver argues that we all have different abilities and challenges we should embrace. Here we see how those who appear powerless have turned this seeming shortcoming into a power of their own, and we learn that we are all totally vulnerable and valuable at the same time.
Their Eyes Were Watching God,
Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston is a 1937 novel and the best known work by African-American writer Zora Neale Hurston. The novel narrates main character Janie Crawford's "ripening from a vibrant, but voiceless, teenage girl into a woman with her finger on the trigger of her own destiny. Set in central and southern Florida in the early 20th century, the novel was initially poorly received for its rejection of racial uplift literary prescriptions. Today, it has come to be regarded as a seminal work in both African-American literature and women's literature. Time included the novel in its 2005 list of the 100 best English-language novels published since 1923.
HOW CHILDREN SUCCEED, by Paul Tough. (Mariner/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.) An argument that the qualities that matter most have to do with character, not intelligence.
Bernhard Schlink, the internationally best-selling author of The Reader, or Summer Lies Summer Lies brims with the delusions, the passions, the outbursts, and the sometimes irrational justifications people make within a mélange of beautifully rendered relationships.
BRAIN ON FIRE, by Susannah Cahalan. (Simon & Schuster.) Doctors struggle to discover why a young reporter suddenly experiences seizures, hallucinations and eventually near catatonia.
THINKING, FAST AND SLOW, by Daniel Kahneman. (Farrar, Straus & Giroux.) How we make choices in business and personal life.
AMERICAN SNIPER, by Chris Kyle with Scott McEwen and Jim DeFelice. (Harper/HarperCollins.) A memoir about battlefield experiences in the Iraq war by the Navy SEALs sniper, who was recently killed in Texas.
FAR FROM THE TREE, by Andrew Solomon. (Scribner.) The difficulties and triumphs of families dealing with exceptional children.
AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL, by Ben Carson with Candy Carson. (Zondervan.) A vision of the nation's future that is informed by a view of its past.
HEAVEN IS FOR REAL, by Todd Burpo with Lynn Vincent. (Thomas Nelson.) A boy's encounter with Jesus and the angels.
I Am Malala:When the Taliban took control of the Swat Valley in Pakistan, one girl spoke out. Malala Yousafzai refused to be silenced and fought for her right to an education. fearless memoir, co-written with journalist Christina Lamb, begins on Malala’s drive home from school on the day she was shot in the head. “Who is Malala?” the young gunman who stopped the Khushal school van asked. None of the girls answered. But everyone in the valley knew who Malala was.
A Knock at Midnight Book by Martin Luther King, Jr. A Knock at Midnight is the definitive collection of eleven of Dr. King's most powerful and spiritual sermons, moving and meaningful words to live by for everyone.