Stacey Lee photo

Stacey Lee is a fourth-generation Chinese American whose people came to California during the heydays of the cowboys. She believes she still has a bit of cowboy dust in her soul. A native of southern California, she graduated from UCLA then got her law degree at UC Davis King Hall. After practicing law in the Silicon Valley for several years, she finally took up the pen because she wanted the perks of being able to nap during the day, and it was easier than moving to Spain. She plays classical piano, raises children, and writes young adult fiction. Her debut book is Under a Painted SkyFollow her: @staceyleeauthor

under a painted sky cover

I write young adult historical and contemporary fiction, but read across all genres. As long as it's a good story, I'm in! I didn't find enough stories about people who "looked" like me growing up, so I'd love to share with you some stories that either feature diverse characters, or are written by a diverse author. 

Flygirl by Sherri L. Smith. A black girl in 1940s Louisiana joins the Women Airforce Service Pilots "passing" as white. A touching story of sacrifice and friendship.

Conviction by Kelly Loy Gilbert. A small town boy's radio minister father is accused of murdering a cop. This one will wring your heart dry.

Tiny Pretty Things by Sona Charaipotra and Dhonielle Clayton. Backstabbing ballerinas. It's juicy. Read it.


Maangchi's Real Korean Cooking book jacketHere are the top four reasons why I love Maangchi:
  1. Maangchi is a girl gamer - her handle means "hammer" in Korean.
  2. She's a good dresser.
  3. She's a YouTube and blogging star.
  4. Finally, she taught me everything that I know about Korean cooking!
Three years ago, Maangchi taught me how to make kimchi at home. Fast-forward to 2015: With Maangchi's Real Korean Cooking at my side, I made Korean fried chicken (dakgangjeong) and soft tofu stew (kimmchi-sundubu-jjigae). If you've never had it before, Korean fried chicken (KFC) is super crunchy, garlicky, and has a great sweet and spicy sauce. Unfortunately, you can't eat KFC everyday, but that's what soft tofu stew is for. The stew, which is made red and spicy by hot pepper powder, is full of onions, garlic, kimchi, silken tofu, and pork belly. Both dishes are comfort food at its best.
Other things that I've made in the past that are absolutely yummy include: kimchi fried rice (kimchi-bokkeumbap), LA kalbi (LA galbi), bok choy with miso (cheonggyeongchae doenjang-muchim), and stir fried potato glass noodles (japchae). All these recipes are highly recommended.
Although many of these recipes are available online, I encourage you to check out her book because it's a work of art. Maangchi's Real Korean Cooking is an excellent cookbook for people like me who get easily intimidated by complicated, unfamiliar foods. Stop running away from your true desires! Cook with Maangchi now.

Do you enjoy reading stories told from multiple perspectives in alternating chapters? Do you like your characters to surprise you, but still feel authentic? Are you more moved by a story with substance but also want it to be a page-turner?  
If you answered yes, then there's a good chance you'll enjoy three of my recent five-star reads. Each one shares all the traits mentioned, but the best part? Their similarities end there. Because, when I put down a book I love, I want another great book, but not the same great book. I want to be surprised by something new.
Book jacket: The Life and Death of Sophie Stark by Anna NorthThe Life and Death of Sophie Stark by Anna North is fiction, but it reads like the true documentary of a controversial filmmaker. Sophie Stark's life unfolds in chapters told from the perspective of the people that were most affected by her and by her work. Never mind that the title gives away the ending; I got sucked in fast to this story and didn't dare look away for fear of missing a hint or clue as to where it all went wrong. Sophie Stark is not exactly likable, but as an outcast artist, who relies on images to express how she sees the world when words fail her, she was absolutely believable. If you love outsider stories or psychological fiction about art and creativity, don't pass this one up!
Book jacket: The Fair Fight by Anna FreemanI have a hard time imagining why anyone wouldn't want to read about female bare-knuckle boxers in 18th century England, so I'm baffled that The Fair Fight by Anna Freeman doesn't have holds on it. Told from the perspective of three characters who defy social class and convention in their own way, this is a great read for fans of richly-detailed historical fiction looking for unconventional characters. But what makes this book especially fun to read is the language. Filled with cullies, strumpers, and babbers, The Fair Fight is a brilliant, brash and brawling book that shoves you through a mass of foul smelling coats, out the back door of a Bristol tavern where you're left looking up at a young woman on a low wooden stage, petticoats pinned up to expose thick legs, stays loosened, bandaged fists raised, head high and eyes fixed, letting her opponent know, "I'll drive that breath out of you sonny." 
Book Jacket: All That Followed by Gabriel UrzaAll That Followed by Gabriel Urza begins with a terrorist act. The 2004 bombing of commuter trains in Madrid, stirs up painful memories in a small Basque town miles away. The truth behind the gossip whispered in the cafes of Muriga unfolds slowly, told in alternating voices by the town's residents: the lovely young widow of a murdered outsider politician, an American expat teacher with a dark past that binds him tightly to his adopted homeland, and the young radicalized Basque separatist, jailed for his part in a crime that should have never happened.
If you like fiction that brings to life newspaper headlines, this could be a book for you. If you like stories vividly set in small towns with complicated histories and nuanced characters with dark secrets that leave you questioning where to place blame; this might be a book for you. If you think you'd like a story where a character believes her donated "terrorist kidney" is talking to her, sharing images and smells from the donor's life, this is definitely a book for you!
Have you recently loved a book, but are still waiting to find your next great read? Tell me about it, I'd like to help!

Book cover of The Underground Girls of Kabul“What’s bacha posh?” you may ask. Literally it means “disguised as a boy.”
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

The Dead Duke, His Secret Wife, and the Missing Corpse

by Piu Marie Eatwell

The story of a sensational ten year trial that took place during Edwardian England full of greed, fraud and characters that seem fictional rather than real. A cliffhanging narrative which will be a treat for anglophiles.

The Courage to Act: A Memoir of a Crisis and Its Aftermath

by Ben Bernanke

The chair of the Federal Reserve reveals how his agency used every resource it could muster to pull the country through the economic crisis of 2008, and the efforts made to prevent a global economic disaster.

Keeping an Eye Open: Essays on Art

by Julian Barnes

The iconic novelist and Man Booker Prize winner Barnes presents his essays on his love of art and his fascination with painters such as Delacroix, Magritte and Lucien Freud.

The Natural World of Winnie-the-Pooh: Exploring the Real Landscapes of the Hundred Acre Wood

by Kathryn Aalto

An exploration of Ashdown Forest, the real Hundred Acre Wood, which Milne used as the setting for his beloved stories of Winnie-the-Pooh.

The Witches: Salem, 1692

by Stacy Schiff

The Pulitzer Prize winning author of Cleopatra, portrays the historic witch scare in Salem, Massachusetts which lasted less than a year but quickly spread panic among all levels of the inhabitants of the colony.

Elephant House

by Dick Blau

Elephant House takes an inside look at the Oregon Zoo's Asian Elephant Building exploring the relationship between the elephants and their caregivers through photographs and commentary by zoo staff.

Whoopi's Big Book of Relationships

by Whoopi Goldberg

Whoopi presents her hilarious take on relationships, love and marriage.


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
  1. Go to

  2. 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.


  1. In the housing column, choose the option you want. If you are looking for a house or apartment to rent, choose apts/housing.

  2. 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.


  1. Limit the search by price, size, and number of bathrooms and bedrooms on the left side.

  2. Limit the search by using the checkboxes on the left side to find listings that are cat or dog friendly, that

  3. have wheelchair access, and more.

  4. Click housing type to specify what kind of house or apartment you are looking for.

  5. Click parking and laundry if you want to choose these features.


The top of the screen gives you options for viewing the results.


Thumb shows you small images, gallery shows you larger images, and map shows you locations. The map option might be really important when you’re searching for a place to live.

Map view

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:

Need more help?

Craigslist help:

Try this tutorial:

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


What a summer it was in Portland for the gardener and cook. And what a perfect book Kitchens of the Great Midwest was to read while harvesting piles and piles of the tastiest tomatoes our garden has ever produced.

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!

A Collection of Essays book jacketYou’ve probably noticed that much of what is said does not actually say anything. Yes there are words, but they are vague enough to mean anything or nothing. George Orwell also noticed and he wrote an essay in 1945 called "Politics and the English Language". The problem, he says, is lazy writing which often is just a bunch of worn out phrases strung together. Orwell says when our writing is sloppy it is easier for us to have foolish thoughts. It also makes it possible to dance around an issue without committing ourselves. He calls for writing that is clear and concise, where we are aware of the meaning.

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.

All Art is Propaganda and A Collection of Essays contain "Politics and the English Language" and are available at Multnomah County Library.

Thrillers and series are not exactly my thing, but I was swayed by the common themes in The Expats and The Accident by Chris Pavone: who can you trust and what happens when secrets are revealed, as they always are…

cover image of the expats


Imagine yourself keeping secrets from your spouse. Now imagine that secret was in fact your day job. Makes things a bit more complicated right? Consider that while you have been lying to your husband about how you earn a living, perhaps he has been hiding some things from you as well? Now take the setting out of the USA and make it some rainy European city like Luxembourg or Paris. Still with me?

Once that mess has been settled, you make a brief appearance in another story (but only figure in it as a minor character). The main players in this one? An author, a publisher, and a who's hunting who scenario.

cover image of the accident

I was hooked on audio for both of these. Normally I drift peacefully off to sleep while listening, but I found myself still awake at the end of the disc and getting up to put in the next one. So much for my relaxing bedtime ritual. No need to read them in order, they stand alone.


A Leisurely breakfast on a work day? Ha!

I stay up late. Whether the reason is  getting stuck in a page turning book, “just one more” episode, or an inconvenient burst of restlessness, there’s not much time between a last hit of the snooze button and leaving for work.

However, there are the rare mornings with coffee in a ceramic mug, breakfast comes a bowl without a lid, and a there's a few moments to spare. The Iphone beckons out of habitual use, but screens await all day at work. Taking advantage of these precious minutes requires a good book.

What would you read if you had ten minutes? Personally, I like things that are entertaining, short, and easy to put down.  That precludes anything with chapters, literary writing, and page turning books that kept me up the previous night. The following are a few of my favorites for such occaisions.

5 very good reasons to punch a dolphin in the mouth



Matthew Inman, aka the creator of The Oatmeal offers a collection of hilarious cartoons that demonstrate how caffeine works and answers the question that's been keeping you up late "How would a T-rex do at comedy?" Ranging from the everyday to the absurd, these cartoons are a great start to the day.



cook everything cover



You may be eating breakfast, but what's for dinner?



Calvin and hobbes cover




A boy and his stuffed tiger make breakfast grrrrrrrreatttt!!! Wait, wrong tiger...







Next time there’s a choice between “ten more minutes” and the breakfast table there’s no guarantee what will win.  However, I’ll always have something waiting to read and enjoy if it does.



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