- Maangchi is a girl gamer - her handle means "hammer" in Korean.
- She's a good dresser.
- She's a YouTube and blogging star.
- Finally, she taught me everything that I know about Korean cooking!
I learned about bacha posh in The Underground Girls of Kabul by Jenny Nordberg. She interviewed many Afghan women to learn about this cultural practice of girls dressing and living as boys in Afghanistan. Why would a family choose to do this?
I can’t stop thinking about these women’s experiences, because there’s so much to think about: the roles of women, gender identity, human rights, cultural beliefs. Even the way Nordberg titled the sections of this book made me think. The book’s about girls and women, right? The sections are titled Boys, Youth, Men, Fathers. What’s that about?
Since I’ve read the book twice already, I've started looking for more about bacha posh and women in Afghanistan. Here’s my list. Is there anything else that you think I should add to it?
I love when people recommend books to me. In fact, it’s because a friend gave me this book as a gift that I discovered it at all. (Thank you, A. It’s my favorite book so far this year.)
If you’d like me to recommend books especially for you, contact me at My Librarian Lisa W.
Looking for rental housing and apartments can be frustrating, but Craigslist is a great place to get started. Craigslist is like an online bulletin board. You can use it to find a home to rent or buy.Getting Started
Find your city or state (Craigslist serves the whole world!)
Choose Portland for Portland and the Portland metro area (Beaverton, Gresham, Troutdale, etcetera.)
Housing/Apartments on Craigslist
Many rental properties are listed on Craigslist. You can view listings in a list, with pictures, or on a map.
In the housing column, choose the option you want. If you are looking for a house or apartment to rent, choose apts/housing.
Type a keyword or keywords into the search box.
This could be a feature of the neighborhood you want to live in. For example, if you want to live near public transportation, you could enter the keyword bus.
A keyword could also be a feature of the dwelling you are seeking. For example, the keyword light might help you find apartments or houses that let in lots of light.
- A keyword can also help you find a particular neighborhood, for example: Kenton.
Limit the search by price, size, and number of bathrooms and bedrooms on the left side.
Limit the search by using the checkboxes on the left side to find listings that are cat or dog friendly, that
have wheelchair access, and more.
Click housing type to specify what kind of house or apartment you are looking for.
Click parking and laundry if you want to choose these features.
The top of the screen gives you options for viewing the results.
When you use the map view, you can click the bubbles to zoom in and get more information.
When you find a listing you would like to pursue, read the entire listing carefully. You may need to click a show contact info link to see the phone number for the listing.
Avoid scams: be skeptical of any listing that looks too good to be true. Do not send money or other forms of payment in advance to secure a home. Do not give personal information to anyone whose identity you cannot verify.
Find more information on avoiding scams at Craigslist: http://www.craigslist.org/about/scams.
Need more help?
Craigslist help: https://www.craigslist.org/about/help/
Try this tutorial: http://www.gcflearnfree.org/searchresults?q=craigslist
The library also offers a class called Using Craigslist. To see if that class is available now, you can search for it in the search box, or check here.
Kitchens of the Great Northwest is a new novel by J. Ryan Stradal. It’s been compared a lot to Olive Kitteridge, because both of these take the form of short stories told by different narrators that illuminate one central character, but Olive Kitteridge, while a very fine book, is a bit more glum. Kitchens is brighter in its outlook, much funnier, and more delicious, as its central character is Eva Thorvald, the daughter of a chef and a sommelier. Eva is excited about food even as a baby, and she ultimately becomes a famous chef, the kind of chef who does simple, amazing things with the best local ingredients. It was a really fun book to read, and I read it fast, enjoying the well-developed characters. I also enjoyed the enticing recipes that appeared from time to time.
Different varieties of heirloom tomatoes are passionately described several times in this book, and this reminds me... I need to go make a ton of tomato sauce and can it right away. Sadly, I can’t invite you all over for spaghetti, but I can offer this list of very delicious fiction for you to savor. Bon appétit!
Give Orwell’s essays a try. You will be treated to some fine writing and great arguments. I hope you will enjoy his essays as much as I have. They should help you develop the critical tools needed to evaluate if what you are hearing or reading makes sense or is nonsense.
There is a current national campaign, We Need Diverse Books, to promote diversity in publishing for children and teens. One of our librarians, Alicia, got the opportunity to see W.N.D.B. founding members speak earlier this summer. People of different races, cultures, gender identities, sexual orientations, religions, mental and physical challenges exist in our society. Studies have shown that there are relatively few books being published that reflect this diversity of potential readers.
Three debut young adult novels Gabi, A Girl in Pieces, Under A Painted Sky, and Far From You are great examples of books that reflect this diversity of potential readers. These books have nothing in common except for having well developed heroines with riveting narratives.
In Gabi, A Girl in Pieces, Isabel Quintero produced a powerful coming of age story about a likable, young, smart, resilient Latina, facing various challenges in her life. She finds courage and humor from her friends, family and creative writing. She has problems ranging from her father’s meth addiction and body image concerns. Read other coming of age stories that are touching, realistic, and hopeful with characters who are from diverse cultures and circumstances.
In Under A Painted Sky, Stacey Lee created an historical adventure story about two girls, one African American and one Chinese American, who escape harrowing circumstances in the pre-Civil War West. They disguise themselves as boys and runaway to freedom and the California Gold Rush. Here are some other wonderful books with historical adventures of teens on the run plus a few books to give historical background behind some of these stories.
In Far From You, Tess Sharpe tells a story of mystery and endurance of a bisexual, disabled teen girl recovering from trauma and substance abuse. Check out these books featuring diverse teens dealing with some dark events.
As part of Banned Book Week (September 27-October 3), Multnomah County Library is hosting a panel discussion featuring the authors of the above books, Isabel Quintero, Stacey Lee, and Tess Sharpe. The conversation will be moderated by local professor and author, Swati Avasthi. We are calling this event Censorship by Omission: The Diversity Deficit.
Please mark your calendars and join us for Censorship by Omission at Midland Library (805 SE 122nd Ave, Portland, OR 97233) on Saturday, October 3rd, at 2-3:30 PM.
"There are these things and they
are da kine to me. They are the tear.
The torn circle.
There are these things and they are
the circle malformed, pulled tight
in one place. These things are the
symbol of all not being right. They
are da kine for me.
Da kine for me is the moment when
things extend beyond you and me
and into the rest of the world. It is
Like two who love each other
breaking eye contact and coming
out of that love and back into the conversation " (p. 8)
"That Winter the Wolf Came" - Julianna Spahr's recently published collection of thoughtful and painful interrogations against capitalism - is unfortunately not currently available through Multnomah County Library. We do however have a copy of "Fuck You, Aloha, I Love You," her mesmerizing
book of poems from 2001.
The poems in "Fuck You, Aloha, I Love You" generate a never-ending series of questions and tensions, pitting the cost and construction of selves (most assuredly not as specific indicators of psychological depth) within the coordinates of location/place. But the selves in these poems are never transcendent, never reified - barring those collisions when the determinate conditions of history and capital freeze us in frightening, dead, and/or emptied moments.
As the title suggests, most of these encounters and repetitions occur in Hawai'i, where Spahr was living and teaching at the time the book was being written. Spahr's poems are tricky (but never clever-tricky) in the way they reveal aesthetic structures that are doubled in the
structures of Hawai'i as political geography. Spahr elicits Hawai'i's ongoing history of violent colonialism without reducing the conflicts and tensions to an outsider's appreciation of the "local" or within a liberal's plea for empathy for the other.
"We want this story, our personal
story, to tell this story:
It is late at night and we lean over
and kiss, our one head one way
and our other head another way,
and stick our tongues in our
mouths and it feels strange this
way, top of tongue on top of
I have finally found my answer to the question, “what author, from any time period, would you want to invite to a dinner party?” My answer is Shirley Jackson.
I'll always remember the visceral feeling of reading Jackson's amazing short story, "The Lottery" (And if you haven't read that story yet, read it now. Or listen to Shirley Jackson read it to you.). Her memoirs, Life Among the Savages and Raising Demons, are totally entertaining. The Haunting of Hill House and We Have Always Lived in the Castle are wonderfully creepy. And now there's a lovely new collection of her writing, Let Me Tell You: New Stories, Essays, and Other Writings.
Alas, since there shall be no dinner with Shirley (she died at the too-young age of 48) I will have to be satisfied with Let Me Tell You.
What if you didn’t want to be invisible and you were? That’s what happens to Clover Hobart. One morning she wakes up and she is invisible. It doesn’t help that she is 55-plus woman and already invisible in society’s eyes. Even her family is oblivious to the fact that she is invisible. The only one who notices is her best friend, who tries to help Clover in her non-visible adventures.
When studying Greek and Roman mythology consider using some of the library’s databases. Using the “Reference Center” in World Book Encyclopedia can expand your study on the subject. Search for “Greek and Roman divinities,’ and you will get another chart matching up Greek and Roman counterparts with links to learn more about the individual deities. Gale Virtual Reference Library (GVRL) is another online resource that will lead you to a variety of online e-books full of mythological information.
If you are trying to keep track of who is related to who in the Pantheon (all the gods of a people or religion collectively), Greek Mythological Link has great genealogy charts as well as maps. History for Kids also has brief descriptions on the differient gods as well as book suggestions for further reading, many that you will find here at the library. Check out some of our reading suggestions too.
Penelope (aka Peppi) has a pretty rough start when she begins classes at a new middle school. On the first morning of the first day, she manages to trip in the hallway and scatter books and papers everywhere. When Jaime, a kind, but nerdy boy, attempts to help her and the mean kids laugh at them, she screams at him to leave her alone. She almost instantly regrets her action, but can't seem to find a way to apologize and avoids him like the proverbial plague. Peppi finds friends among the Art Club and things are going pretty well, but then - horror of horrors - the science teacher assigns Jaime to be her tutor! What's a girl to do? Skip the sessions and flunk science or just face the music? Maybe art can meet science and have something positive emerge. You'll have to read Awkward by Svetlana Chmakova to find out.
Are you heading back to class or just wanting to relive those days? If so, check out these graphic novels about the school experience...they've got to be more fun than a calculus textbook!
Mercifully, this is not the actual condition in the library at the moment! Everything is just fine. But if this scene appeals to you for some reason, maybe you should be reading more Portland crime fiction.
Did I leave something important off this list? Let me know!
But books are not the only things that get banned. Music has its own long history of being banned. For instance, the works of many composers were banned in Nazi Germany and in the Soviet Union during the reign of Joseph Stalin.
The banning continues in the Twenty-First Century. About a year ago, the New York Youth Symphony commissioned a new work by the talented young Estonian-born composer Jonas Tarm. The
The work’s debut at Carnegie Hall was cancelled. The orchestra’s executive director said that the instrumental quotes from the Horst Wessel Song and the Ukrainian Soviet national anthem were offensive, even though the composer insisted that the piece was dedicated to “the victims who have suffered from cruelty and hatred of war, totalitarianism, polarizing nationalism -- in the past and today.”
It’s a classic case of judging a creation by its parts rather than its overall artistic merits. I look forward to the day when I can hear this piece and make my own decision.
Celebrate Banned Books Week later this month, September 27-October 3.
A Committed Reader and Teacher
by Sarah Binns
Multnomah County Library volunteer Ivy Wong loves to talk about books, which means our interview for this article derailed several times as we discussed Harry Potter (the books of which she gradually collected as she grew up), The Hunger Games, and Sherlock Holmes mysteries (some of her favorites). Interestingly for someone as committed to reading as Ivy, her library volunteer work focuses on its people, not on its books. As an English as a second language (ESL) teaching assistant, Ivy provides an invaluable resource to many of Portland's immigrants and others who want to improve their communication skills.
Ivy grew up in Portland with Midland as her home library, though she recalls being awed on occasional visits to Central. While currently working on her bachelor's degree in business through a dual PCC/PSU program, she also volunteers two nights a week at Midland, organizing her college classes around the ESL classes. When I marvel at her commitment, she smiles. “Summer is easier” to balance, she says, “class ends an hour or two before I teach,” so she can go home and eat dinner; during the school year, however, she often eats in the car to make it to her students on time.
In the classroom, Ivy helps patrons with speaking and writing on a theme to get them familiar with English. She enjoys “being able to interact with those who come in for the classes and hear their different experiences.” She says she's met people from all over the world and through her students has picked up some Spanish and Ukrainian words, in addition to brushing up on her Chinese, which she also speaks.
In her spare time -- not that she has much of it -- Ivy reads, of course, with a preference for autobiographies and mysteries. She remembers checking out as many as 25 books at a time when younger. Now, however, she focuses more on her textbooks, but still tries to find time to read in the evenings. It's a lovely testament to her commitment that she says she'll keep teaching at Midland as long as the classes are offered and the students keep coming back.
A Few Facts About Ivy
Home Library: Midland Library
Currently reading: Textbooks for school, mostly business and writing books
Favorite book from childhood: The Boxcar Children series. “I always checked out one of the books when I went to the library.”
A book that made you laugh or cry: In high school, she read the last book in the Princess Diaries series and it struck a chord. “I was having some issues in school and the book made me look at [the situation] differently than I did before.”
Favorite section of the library: Fiction, for the variety
E-reader or paper? Both. “Whatever way I can get access to a book, that's the way I'll read it.”
Favorite place to read: The library or a bookstore
Sadly, Kent Haruf died in the fall. But according to Ron Charles of Washington Post's Book World, with Black River, S.E. Hulse is poised to take up Haruf's torch. As a Haruf fan mourning the loss of an author who could capture a depth of character in just a few lines of dialogue, I immediately placed Black River on hold. I tried not to see the very young looking author photo on the back - how could she possibly write with the gravitas of Haruf?
I'm glad I didn't let my biases stop me. Black River is a beautifully taut and painful story of an embattled man who has lost everything. After the death of his wife, Wes Carver returns to the small Montana town where they met. At a time when he should be mending his troubled relationship with his stepson, he is instead intent on one thing - preventing the parole of a man Wes guarded years before while working at the local prison - a man who took something essential from Wes.
There are authors who can keep you emotionallly attached to a character even as you're mentally exhorting him to take another course of action. S.E. Hulse seems to have that knack. I hope you enjoy Black River as much as I did.
School started yesterday and with it, the slow begrudging shift back into scheduled living. I have a hard enough time just getting myself out the door in the morning, so trying to corral a free-spirited and easily distracted kid in addition, is easily my least favorite part of parenting.
The one thing that helps quiet my mind and find focus in the eye of the storm that is the morning ritual, is a regular yoga practice. Like many, I don’t have the time nor money to get to a yoga studio as often as I’d like and I lack the focus to go solo at home. That’s why, in anticipation of amped up school mornings, I’ve been turning to Hoopla.
Did you know that there is a treasure trove of wide-ranging yoga instruction videos available to stream right now on Hoopla? I didn’t until recently. So I tried a few out.
I started out bold with a Vinyasa class with Clara Roberts-Oss, jumping in at Episode 3, Twist it out Yoga. The mountain setting was lovely but the Vinyasa flows were too fast and unfamiliar for me. Then Clara said “booty” and “awesome” one too many times and I went into child pose and didn’t come out.
Humbled by Clara, I next visited Rodney Yee Complete Yoga for Beginners -Season 1, starting with his morning workout. There’s something extraordinarily calming about Rodney Yee and this was a gentle and meditative workout. And yes, for twenty glorious minutes and a few thereafter, the morning was all tranquil waters and clear skies. Then I got whacked in the face with a foam Thor hammer and realized I’m going to need something with a bit more vigor to reach a deeper calm.
I think I found my go-to class in Hatha Yoga with Cameron Gilley. Yoga videos can veer towards cheesy and over-produced, but Cameron comes off as just a straight-forward tattooed guy on a pink mat in front of what looks like a drizzly Northwest marina. Flow with Grace & Slow Burn Hatha feel a lot like the average yoga class you’d attend at any number of Portland studios and for me, that’s a good thing.
With a limit of eight checkouts per month, I can’t rely on Hoopla workouts entirely to keep me calm this school year. But maybe it can provide the bridge I need to finally inch towards a regular home yoga practice. And when I do lose my cool (because I will), perhaps I can return back to center just a little bit faster.
Check out my list for more online resources and books to help build your physical yoga practice at home. Are you loving an online yoga class that I've overlooked? Share your favorites in the comments!
I’ve wanted to write a little something about Roald Dahl for a long time. Yes, everyone knows him for his children’s books: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach, The Witches, and Esio Trot seem to always have a permanent place on the bookshelves of many young readers. Yet there is more to Dahl than his beloved children’s books. His short stories for adults are among the best around. They are highly original, deeply engaging and filled with unusual characters who stand out from the ordinary but seem strangely familiar.
Dahl has been around for the long time, rising to eminence long before J.K. Rowling and writing before the days when series fiction was needed to draw young readers in. Roald Dahl appeals to children because he takes them seriously and endeavors to treat them well. Dahl created worlds where magic lived just along the edges of ordinary life and where a shove in any direction would turn that life upside down.
Dahl’s personal life was filled with its own share of the unexpected. His autobiographical books including Boy and Going Solo detail his early school days
Reader, I married the guy. We moved to Portland and acquired jobs, a mortgage, and two kids. It’s great, really, but I miss traveling. I miss that sense of not knowing what the day before me will bring, and I dream about going back to Africa.
It must be said that both books skirt the very real issue of how British colonists treated the natives-- but I still couldn’t help being beguiled by their descriptions of Kenya in the early 20th century. I long to join all the expats on Karen Von Blixen's veranda to sip gin and tonics and watch the hills in the distance turn a darker and darker shade of purple as the sun goes down. I want to go riding along Lake Elementaita in the early morning, scattering thousands of flamingos who take to the sky as we draw closer, and I want to go on safari again and see lions stalking a kudu in the long grass.
Paula McLain is so good at putting my fantasies on the page. Someday I'll get to travel the world some more, but until then, Circling the Sun offered a great escape, one I think you might enjoy.