Creative Habit

Tharp, Twyla. The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It For Life. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2003.

Admission: I cannot hear Twyla Tharp’s name without thinking two things and they are one right after the other. First, my aunt’s best friend’s name is Twyla. I personally know no one else with such an interesting name. Two, who remembers the movie The Bird Cage with Robin Williams? Remember? There’s that fantastic scene with Robin dancing across the floor singing “Twyla! Twyla! Twyla!” Classic! Anyway, on to the review.

Twyla Tharp believes creativity is not something you are just born with. It shouldn’t be considered a gift. Instead, it is a craft to be honed. It should be cultivated and tended to just like a garden. There is a deliberate effort to creativity. While I didn’t participate in any of her exercises, her methods were clear.

Reason read: Okay, I will admit. Not even 30 days after swearing off non-Challenge books I pick up this one. But. But! But, full disclosure: I really didn’t read the whole thing.




Fifty-Year Silence

Mouillot, Miranda Richmond. A Fifty-Year Silence: Love, War and a Ruined House in France. New York: Crown Publishers, 2015.

Reason read: an Early Review book from LibraryThing.

Here’s what I loved about Mouillot’s memoir straight away: she was unapologetic about the inaccuracies in her book. She admits a lot of her documentation is based on conversations and possible faulty memories. From some reason, that admission alone makes it all the more real to me.

How does a relationship go from just that, a relationship, to a subject for a book? When I think about Mouillot’s grandparents and their fifty year silence I find myself asking, what makes this divorce any different from other relationship that crashed and burned? Could we all write a story about a relationship that fell apart? Well, yes and no. Add World War II, being Jewish and escaping the Holocaust and suddenly it’s not just about a couple who haven’t spoken to each other. It’s a mystery of survival on many different levels. While Mouillot’s account is choppy and sometimes hard to follow I found myself rooting for her. I wanted her to discover the mysteries of love and relationships, especially since her own love life was blossoming at the same time.

We aren’t supposed to quote from the book until it has been published but I have to say I hope this sentence stays, “How do you break a silence that is not your own?” (from the preface). I love, love, love this question. It should be on the cover of the book because it grabs you by the heart and throttles your mind into wanting to know more. Maybe that’s just me. Case in point: I was drawn into the show, “The Closer” after hearing Brenda say, “If I wanted to be called bitch to my face I’d still be married” in a promo. One sentence and I was hooked. Sometimes, that is all it takes.

Book trivia: According to the galley I received, A fifty-Year Silence will have maps.

Biodegradable Soap

Ephron, Amy. Biodegradable Soap. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1991.

This is such a short, snarky little story about a community in suburban Los Angeles. Claudia Weiss is becoming more and more obsessed with recycling and the environment while her husband leaves her for a younger, more self-centered actress. Claudia’s friends gossip and have affairs of their own. One friend starts up an affair with her personal trainer and gets caught. Interspersed in the story are different current events: the Soviet invasion of Lithuania, the war in Iraq, the Exxon-Valdez spill… It’s truly an odd book.

Quote worth quoting, “That was what he liked about Lara – she was completely self-obsessed and he didn’t think she’d ever had an altruistic thought in her life” (p 45).

Reason read: Ehpron’s birth month is in October.

Author fact: Ephron has her own website here.

Book trivia: This is a quick, quick, quick read. 159 pages…but not really. Each “chapter” is short and choppy; only 1-2 pages long. If you were to squish the pages it’s only — pages long.

BookLust Twist: from More Book Lust in the chapter called “All in the Family: Writer Dynasties” (p 6).

Half Magic

Eager, Edward. Half Magic. Performed by The Worlds Take Wing Repertory Company. New York: Listening Library, 1999.

I read a whole bunch of reviews of Half Magic that began with the sentence, “I loved this book as a child…” and it got me thinking, do the reviewers love it now, as adults? And, if they do, do they love it for purely nostalgic reasons? I know there are songs I could never like or listen to if they weren’t intrinsically entangled with my memories of past great times (like the song “Rain Maker”).

Anyway – Half Magic is about four siblings, three sisters and a brother, who stumble upon a magic talisman. This talisman, much like a nickel in size and shape, grants wishes…sort of. Every wish is exactly halved. “Desert isle” becomes just “desert” which is how the children end up in the Sahara rather than on a deserted island like they had originally wished. A talking cat becomes a mumbling cat, a barely understood cat. The more the children learn about the talisman’s capabilities, the more trouble they get into even though they vow their wishes are to be used for good intentions. If you want to listen to the audio version it would be in your best interest to get the “Worlds Take Wing Repertory Company” version. Instead of having one actor read the story, an entire cast of characters each take a part. The children are adorable.

Phrase I like, “terrible good intentions.”

Reason read: Eager died in October and it’s Halloween time – another reason to read about magic.

Author fact: Eager died young – in his 50s.

Book trivia: Half Magic was originally written in 1954 and remains Eager’s most popular book.

BookLust Twist: from More Book Lust in the chapter called “Fantasy for Young and Old” (p 83).

Eyre Affair

Fforde, Jasper. The Eyre Affair. New York: Penguin Books, 2003.

Reason read: Reason #1 – I was home-home and had finished the two books I brought with me. I was thinking Robert Jordan’s 800+ page behemoth would take much longer, but obviously I forgot I would be in the backseat for 5.5 hours, then on a boat for another hour, and then stuck in a very relaxing vacation on a very relaxing island with lots of time to read…
Reason #2 – October is Crime Prevention Month and since Thursday is a cop, more or less, I thought this would be appropriate. More or less.

So. Picture this: the year is 1985. The Crimean War is still raging and Great Britain is in a reverse time warp. Instead of being behind the times they are way ahead of them. England is a futuristic place where time travel is an everyday occurrence, the most common thing to clone is the resurrected Dodo bird (everyone has them as pets), and visitations to the pages of literature is child’s play. Thursday Next is a Special Operative in literary detection where not much is supposed to happen (it’s supposed to be a desk job after all). Most crimes in involve Byronic forgeries and protests over Shakespeare’s authenticity. That is until a minor character from a Dickens novel is found murdered outside the novel, changing the plot forever. That’s just for starters. When Jane Eyre herself is plucked from Bronte’s original manuscript and the kidnapper threatens to alter Great Britain’s most beloved story, Thursday rises to the challenge to rescue Jane. It’s no small task for the kidnapper is a former professor who once tried to seduce Thursday and seems to have godlike powers. To make matters worse, Thursday’s mind is not 100% on the case as she is distracted by a heartbreaking secret in the form of an ex-lover she can neither escape nor forget.
Fforde writes with cunning intention. Every chapter is riddled with wordplay, puns, literary allusions and trivia. With a names like Thursday Next, Hades Acheron, and Jack Schitt, you can just imagine the possibilities. Even the twins Jeff and Geoff got a giggle out of me. Because I am not up on pop culture I am sure some references went over my head.
One of my favorite scenes is when Thursday and the before mentioned ex-lover attend a performance of Shakespeare’s Richard III. Only this adaptation is more like The Rocky Horror Picture Show than serious theater in the round. The audience participation is hilarious. Another great moment is when Thursday’s uncle is showing Thursday his latest inventions. The bookworms are the best.
My only gripe is when Thursday is first asked to join the hunt to stop her former professor from destroying an original manuscript. Rule #1 is to never think or say the professor’s real name. If you do he can detect your whereabouts, your whole game plan right down to your very next move. After the first attempt to capture him goes horrible awry Rule #1 is abandoned and no one abides by it anymore. It doesn’t seem to matter anymore. Odd.

Favorite line, “The worms were busy reading a copy of Mansfield Park and were discussing where Sir Thomas got his name from” (p 152).

Author fact: Fforde has one of the most entertaining websites I have seen in a long time. Visit it here.

Book trivia: This is Fforde’s first novel.

BookLust Twist: from Book Lust in the chapters called “Action Heroines” (p 6), “Companion Reads” (p 64), and “First Novels” (p 88). Also, from More Book Lust only in the chapter called “Brontes Forever” (p 35). As an aside, Pearl suggested reading The Eyre Affair with Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys and Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (for obvious reasons), but I already read Jane Eyre and The Eyre Affair for different reasons so it was pointless to read them again with Wide Sargasso Sea.

I have to say, one of the drawbacks to reading anything in Book Lust is that it is going to be old news. I always feel late to the party when I see a best seller with over 500 reviews on LibraryThing. It makes me wonder what I could possibly say that hasn’t already been said.

Captain Sir Richard Francis Burton

Rice, Edward. Captain Sir Richard Francis Burton: the Secret Agent Who Made the Pilgrimage to Mecca, Discovered the Kama Sutra, and Brought the Arabian Nights to the West. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1990.

Doesn’t the subtitle of this book just about rope you in? If the subtitle doesn’t do it for you, how about the man himself? Explorer, scientist, secret agent man? Capable of speaking 29 different languages, supposedly most of them in their proper dialect. Thought to be a Gypsy. If anything, Burton should have the title of Most Interesting Man. He inherited his father’s wanderlust and would often move his family without reason. And, what about that Kama Sutra? Come again? In all fairness, I couldn’t finish the book. Interesting man or not, the writing just wasn’t. This is a classic case of “Did Not Finish.”

Reason read: Burton died in the month of October

Book trivia: There are a few photographs in Sir Richard Burton. Pity there weren’t more – Burton was an interesting looking fellow.

BookLust Twist: from Book Lust To Go in the chapter called “Star Trekkers” (p 222).


Cheever, Benjamin. The Partisan. New York: Atheneum, 1993.

Right away Cheever wants you to laugh out loud. How could you not with an opening like this? “That was the summer I worked for the Westchester Commons. I was in love with Amy Snodgrass Rose. Amy was in love with David Hitchens. David was in love with Gloria Thomas. I was in Westchester. Amy was in Washington State. David was in Montreal. Gloria had gone to Paris. The sex was very safe” (p 1). I know I was thinking, “oh the poor schmuck” until I got to last sentence. At least the guy has a sense of humor. It’s even funnier when you find out the person speaking, the main protagonist Nelson, is a virgin.
So the gist of the story is this: Nelson narrates the story about his life with “Uncle”, “Aunt” and sister Narcissus in Westchester, New York. Nelson is 20 years old, and as I mentioned, in love obsessed with Amy. “Uncle” really isn’t Nelson and Nar’s uncle. Jonas Collingwood and his wife Elspeth, took over raising Nelson and Nar after their adoptive father died. Jonas is a revered author on the verge stardom when a newspaper article hints his last book was a thinly veiled autobiography of his time in wartime Italy. He receives a huge advance to write a real memoir but what ensues is a comedy of errors and tragedies. Cheever has a dark side to him and while most of the story is relatively funny (Nelson is someone I would love to hang out with), there are moments is subtle uncomfortableness. My favorite scenes involve the car.

I should add that it took me only three days to read this book. It would have taken only two had I been a little more serious about reading. Cheever packs a strong story in a tight little package.

Likes I liked (other than the beginning), “I want the kind of love you don’t have to hear” (p 3), (Don’t we all?) and “Really, there ought to be a law about facial expressions” (p 223).

Reason read: Ben Cheever’s birth month is in October.

Author fact: Benjamin Cheever is the same age as my mom, older by mere days.

Book trivia: I feel bad for The Partisan. Every decent review of it mentions Cheever’s first novel The Plagiarist. It’s another one of those situations where you think, “crap! I’m reading the wrong book!”

BookLust Twist: from More Book Lust in the chapter called “All in the Family: Writer Dynasties” (p 5).

Culture of Disbelief

Carter, Stephen L. The Culture of Disbelief: How American Law and Politics Trivialized Religious Devotion. New York: Doubleday, 1993.

The simplest way to sum of The Culture of Disbelief is this, it is the argument that society forces religious devotion to be kept private and should not to be displayed openly. Society discourages us from voicing a religious choice. Right from the beginning you are hit with a sentence that brings it all to light: “More and more, our culture seems to take the position that believing deeply in the tenets of one’s faith represents a kind of mystical irrationality, something that thoughtful, public spirited American citizens would do better to avoid” (p 7).

Reason read: Carter was born in the month of October.

Author fact: Stephen Carter and Natalie Merchant share the same birthday.

Book trivia: Blood transfusions is a major topic in Culture of Disbelief.

BookLust Twist: from Book Lust in the chapter called “African American Fiction: He Say” (p 8). Here is yet another example of a title that shouldn’t have been included in this particular chapter. Yes, Stephen Carter is African American, but this particular work is not fiction.

Eye of the World

Jordan, Robert. Eye of the World: Book One of the Wheel of Time. New York: Tom Doherty Associations, 1990.

I will be the first to admit I am not a big fan of fantasy. I can’t suspend my belief for long enough, my kisa says. He also says I have a sense of humor, so really what does he know? Half the time I think fantasy is someone’s excuse to not make any sense. Everything from people’s names (Nynaeve al’Meara) to the places they live (Cairhien) are gobbledegook to me. Everything is so over the top grandiose. Elan Morin Tedronai is the Betrayer of Hope. See what I mean? Cue evil music. Then, there are the trillion difficult weird names to remember. In the first chapter alone there are 14 different such oddball names. The only normal one is Bela, and she’s a horse.
So, anyway – onto my review, such as it is. Eye of the World opens with a whole slew of firsts. Strangers come to the village of Two Rivers for the first time in five years. The entire town is on edge because the youth of the community are the only ones who get the feeling they are being watched. They are also the only ones to catch glimpses of an ominous figure on a black horse. Soon after, a pedlar and a gleeman both come to town with news of a war raging across a nearby land. Suddenly, their peaceful little village is ravaged by these half human, half animal creature looking for three young farmers. They are the chosen ones so of course, in order to protect their community they must leave. What follows is a journey through many different kinds of hell. Spoiler alert: they all survive every single ordeal. In the end, some fare better than others but Jordan definitely leaves the door open for his 13 subsequent sequels.
In the end, I enjoyed Eye of the World. You know how I can tell? I was thinking about the characters the next day and when I saw a fairy house in Cathedral Woods with at least six different rat skulls, I shivered.

Jordan draws from Tolkien in that his Two Rivers is a lot like the Shire in Middle Earth. I also see hints of Star Wars with Evil being after one particular boy, like Anikin Skywalker in Star Wars.
I think the first sentence sums up Eye of the World nicely, “The Wheel of Time turns, and Ages come and pass, leaving memories that become legend” (p 1). Other quotes I took a fancy to: “There must be a difference in what you saw…depending on whether you sought adventure or had it forced on you” (p 159), and “Keep your trust small” (p 196).

Reason read: October is National Fantasy Month.

Author fact: Robert Jordan is actually James Oliver Rigney and he passed away in 2007.

Book trivia: This is the first book in the Wheel of Time series – the massive Wheel of Time series. I have 11 on my list. Gawd help me. Another book trivia: Eye of the World was made into a comic book series.

BookLust Twist: from Book Lust in the chapter called “Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror” (p 213).

Owl Service

Garner, Alan. The Owl Service. Read by Wayne Forester.  Franklin, TN: Naxos Audio Books, 2008.

This is a really cool audio. For starters, each chapter is punctuated with classical music – music from the Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra with Libor Persek, conducting. Wayne Forester does a great job reading the story as well. My one gripe? The plot itself was a little difficult to follow since a lot of detail is implied rather than spelled out. I might have had an easier time of it if I had read it rather than listen to it on audio. This is part children’s story, part Welsh legend. The Owl Service takes children and adults alike through mythology and modern day tensions. Alison and Roger are step-children brought together by the marriage of Alison’s mother to Roger’s father. In an attempt to bond the family they go on holiday to the countryside of Wales. The vacation home has been in Alison’s family for years and with it comes a cook/housekeeper and her son, Gwyn, who happens to be the same age as Alison and Roger. Together, the three children struggle to find their place in the newly formed union. But, the story really begins when Alison hears a noise in the attic. Nothing is there except a pile of dishware with an owl/flower design. These plates become the center of an ancient welsh myth and become Alison’s obsession. Strange things start to happen. As she traces the design onto paper it disappears from the plates, leaving them a plain white porcelain. Then the plates are discovered smashed, one by one. What follows is a tale of secrets unraveling – great for young and old…as Pearl says.

Reason read: Garner’s birth month is in October.

Book trivia: The Owl Service won the Carnegie Medal.

Author fact: Don’t Google Alan Garner. You’ll get the guy from the Hangover. This Alan Garner, the one who wrote The Owl Service has a really cool unofficial website here.

BookLust Twist: from More Book Lust in the chapter called “Fantasy For Young and Old” (p 84).

Last Tycoon

Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Last Tycoon. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1941.

It’s too bad this was never finished. I think this would have been my favorite Fitzgerald book. Even incomplete, I like it better than anything else I have read. This is a simple yet complicated story about love. She loves him. He loves someone else. That someone else is set to marry anyone else but him. Classic love square. You have to feel sorry for Monroe Stahr. He is lovestruck by a woman who strongly resembles his deceased wife. As a man in the movie business he has the money and the power to woo Kathleen into a brief relationship, even despite the fact she is engaged to be married to someone else. Meanwhile, there is young Cecilia, a junior at Bennington College, just willing Stahr to look at her, to notice her. It is her voice that tells the entire story. Fitzgerald explains the first and third person narrative. What Cecilia is not witness to, she imagines. “Thus, I hope to get the verisimilitude of a first person narrative, combined with a Godlike knowledge of all events that happen to my characters” (p 164).

One of my favorite scenes is Stahr’s treatment of a letter Kathleen addressed to him. He manages to not read it for three hours and is proud of his restraint. Why? What difference does it make when he opened it, immediately or three hours later? The fact of the matter is he opened it anyway.

As an aside, this is going to sound awful, but in a way I am glad Fitzgerald died. The story is beautiful as it is – unfinished yet simple. His plans for the rest of the book are over the top: murder plots and a Stahr dying in a plane crash. Children stealing from the dead and their subsequent trial. Cecilia in a sanitarium (like his wife, Zelda?). Like I said, it all seems over the top.

Lines I liked, “His dark eyes took me in, and I wondered what they would look like if he fell in love” (p 22), “It was more intimate than anything they had done, and they both felt a dangerous sort of loneliness, and felt it in each other” (p 102), “What people are ashamed of usually makes a good story” (p 117), and “It would come in some such guise as the auto horns from the technicolor boulevard below, or be barely audible, a tattoo on the muffled dream of the moon” (p 144).

Reason read: F. Scott Fitzgerald was born in September.

Author fact: Fitzgerald died of a heart attack while writing The Last Tycoon. According to the forward, he had just written the first episode of Chapter six. Sad.

Book trivia: The Last Tycoon is narrated by a junior co-ed at Bennington College, but the story is more about Monroe Stahr.

BookLust Twist: from More Book Lust in the chapter called “Literary Lives: the Americans” (p 145). This book actually doesn’t belong in the chapter. “Literary Lives: the Americans” begins with this sentence, “If you want to know more about a writer, before or after reading his or her book, here are some top-notch literary biographies” (p 144). The Last Tycoon is not a biography of F. Scott Fitzgerald.




Dervish is Digital

Cadigan, Pat. Dervish is Digital. New York: Tom Doherty Associates, 2000.

Right away I knew Dervish is Digital was going to be weird. The story opens with Dore Konstantin, a detective lieutenant in charge of TechnoCrime, Artificial Reality Division, meeting with an arms dealer. Later, she is spending time discussing demons and blowfish with a cyborg. It’s almost as if you aren’t meant to follow Cadigan’s off the wall imagination. It gets even stranger so my only advice is to hang on. Maybe you aren’t supposed to understand it all. Snarly Konstantin is supposed to be solving a case involving someone stalking his own ex-wife but it gets more complicated when the East/West Japanese and Hong Kong deviants are introduced. While Konstantin’s character is shallow and underdeveloped, Cadigan does an amazing job of describing Konstantin’s world. Cyberspace is richly detailed and completely believable. I never did latch onto the idea of there was a real crime to solve, but the story was an interesting ride.

My only gripe? Cadigan loved to describe anatomy as “wasp-waist.” I get the look Cadigan was going for, but after awhile I started to believe she couldn’t think of any other way to describe someone as having a narrow waist.

Reason read: September is Cadigan’s birth month..and if I’m still reading this in October, October is computer learning month. Whatever that means.

Author fact: according to the all-knowing Wikipedia, Cadigan is local. Schenectady and Fitchburg.

Book trivia: the main character, Dore Konstantin is introduced in an earlier novel by Cadigan called Tea From an Empty Cup. Yup, I am reading them backwards. Here’s what I’m hoping, Konstantin is an underdeveloped character in Dervish because she has been completely spelled out in Tea.

BookLust Twist: from Book Lust in the chapter called Cyberspace.Com (p 69). For the record I want to say that Pearl doesn’t mention that the same character is in both Dervish is Digital and Tea From an Empty Cup. There was no way for me to know the two books are linked.

Baltimore Blues

Lippman, Laura. Baltimore Blues. Read by Deborah Hazlett. North Kingston, RI: BBC Audiobooks America, 1997.

Tess Monaghan is an out of work reporter trying to make ends meet with little odd jobs. The only stable consistencies in her life are rowing and her friendship with fellow rower, “the Rock.” She manages to stay out of trouble until Rock “hires” her to do some private investigating of his near perfect fiancee. She has been acting so weird as of late so Rock wants to know why. Tess’s tactics to tease out the truth are less than desirable, so when she uncovers an affair and the other man, who happens to be the fiancee’s boss, winds up dead,  all fingers are pointed at Rock. Of course they do. Now Tess has even more incentive to uncover the truth. Along the way Tess uncovers a whole slew of shady dealings involving a rape support group, unpaid settlements for victims of asbestos related ailments, and a sexual predator of children on death row. What makes Baltimore Blues a likeable story is a combination of things. Tess is far from perfect as a private investigator. Her antics are downright funny. The city of Baltimore is like another character in the book. Places around Baltimore play a significant role in the plot which is a treat for readers who really know the area.

My only irritant? Tess doesn’t know the difference between an attempt on her life and a hit and run. Even though her friend Jonathan is killed in the process, it is deemed an accident and dismissed. Tess isn’t the least bit suspicious until there is a second attempt to kill her.

Reason read: Baltimore, Maryland has a book festival in September. What better way to celebrate than a book called Baltimore Blues?

Author fact: Laura Lippman lives in Baltimore, Maryland. Big surprise, right?

Book Audio trivia: This is one of the few audio books I have listened to where the narrator is American and doesn’t have some sort of accent. Although her Baltimore accent is funny.

BookLust Twist: from Book Lust To Go in the chapter called simply “Baltimore” (p 35).

Song For Cambodia

Lord, Michelle. A Song for Cambodia. New York: Lee and Low Books Inc., 2008.

Reason read: While I was reading Children of Cambodia’s Killing Fields by Dith Pran I kept thinking about a high school mate of mine named Arn Chorn-Pond. From the day that I met him I knew he had a pretty horrific story to tell, but here’s what I remember most about my time with Arn: he was thoughtful and kind and warm. To talk to him you would never know of the atrocities he witnessed and suffered in 1975 as a small boy in Cambodia. We were not close in high school. We were not even what you would call friends, but there was an unspoken respect for his integrity and grace. This book, Song for Cambodia is a powerful message for children: music heals.

Even though this is a book for children, as I said before, it speaks volumes about how music can create beauty.

This is one of the last books I will read off the Challenge list.

Children of Cambodia’s Killing Fields

Children of Cambodia’s Killing Fields: Memoirs By Survivors. Compiled by Dith Pran. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1997.

There has never been a more deadly genocide of its own people than in Cambodia. When Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge regime descended into Cambodia in April of 1975 they brought with them a rein of terror like never seen before. Children of Cambodia’s Killing Fields contains eyewitness accounts of the genocide and lends a voice to the children who barely survived. Each chapter is a mini memoir, compiled by Dith Pran, a survivor himself. Some accounts are so graphically disturbing they left me sleepless for days. Imagine being forced to witness the killing of your family and not be able to show a single emotion? Imagine having to kill your own community? These children were worked to death, starved to death, disease-ridden and deprived. And yet, they survived and by all accounts, thrived once they escaped. A moving memoir.

I want to quote something from some of the survivors because their words have had a lasting impact on me. I want to pass that impression on.

  • Sophiline Cheam Shapiro: “I know of almost no family that survived without losses” (p 4)
  • Chath Piersath: “Like other mothers, you tried to wage a battle against it with the intention of saving what was left of your children” (p 7)
  • Teeda Butt Mam: “I was scared that they would hear my thoughts and prayers, that they could see my dreams and feel my anger and disapproval of their regime” (p 14)
  • You Kimny Chan: “We had hoped and prayed to leave for years, and now that we had the chance, we realized that we had nowhere to go” (p 25)
  • Sopheap K Hang: “Mother and I began laughing, but then the memory hit our hearts” (p 33)
  • Savuth Penn: “This time the unforgiving Khmer Rouge did not let my father survive” (p 46)
  • Charles Ok: “But life goes on, and I have to learn to take care of myself” (p 55)
  • Moly Ly: “Hitler is dead, but Pol Pot and his entourage are still alive and craving a return” (p 64)
  • Sarom Prak: “I am not you and you are not me, but we are all human beings (p 71)
  • Khuon Kiv: “Amazingly, human life still beats the odds” (p 103)
  • Sophea Mouth: “Can the effect of violence be so strong that it destroys human compassion?” (p 179)

Reason read: The Cambodian monarchy was restored in the month of September. Note to self, look up the Digital Archive of Cambodian Holocaust Survivors website.

Author Compiler fact: According to the back flap of Children of Cambodia Dith Pran is a photojournalist and the founder of the Dith Pran Holocaust Awareness Project. I knew the movie “The Killing Fields” was based on his own experiences in Cambodia.

Book trivia: Each story of a survivor is accompanied by a black and white photograph. But, interestingly enough, the cover has been photoshopped to exclude the temple which, during the Khmer Rouge regime, was used as a killing field.

BookLust Twist: from Book Lust To Go in the chapter simply called “Cambodia” (p 48).