Thursday, June 30, 2011

June Author in the Spotlight Wrap Up and Giveaway

My Flag Grew Stars Giveaway Ends Today at Midnight.

June - Author in the Spotlight Wrap-Up.
June is coming to an end.  I would like to highlight Hometown Track Minnesota Author in the Spotlight, Kitty Gogins.

Today is the last day to enter the contest to win one of one personalized copy of My Flag Grew Stars.  The contest ends at midnight tonight.  The contest is open to people living in the U.S. or Canada that are current Booksnob followers.  Good Luck and as always thanks for following Booksnob!

Click here to enter: My Flag Grew Stars Contest

Please check out my book review of My Flag Grew Stars.  This historical story highlights Kitty's parents journey from World War II as refugees to American citizens.  This non-fiction book reads just like a novel.  Highly unique and enjoyable.

My Flag Grew Stars Book Review

Check out the author interview with Kitty Gogins.  Her interview highlights how she came to write down her parents story, advice to readers and writers who want to record their family's story as well as a Hungarian recipe.

Kitty Gogins Author Interview

Kitty wrote a guest post on refugees in the world and it relates to her book because her mother and father were refugees at one time and her mother worked for an organization here in Minnesota that brought many refugees safely into the United States. Read Kitty's post to learn more.

Kitty Gogins Guest Post

I really enjoyed working with author, Kitty Gogins.  I would like to thank Kitty for being June's Minnesota Author in the Spotlight.  Please support this emerging author by reading her book My Flag Grew Stars.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Kitty Gogins Author Interview

Kitty Gogins Author Interview
I would like to welcome Kitty Gogins, author of My Flag Grew Stars and Hometown Minnesota Author in the Spotlight.  

1.  Please tell us a little bit about yourself?  I grew up in Minnesota surrounded by a mix of the traditional Minnesotan “you betcha” and the unique traditions of foreign-born. I married a friend from high school in a wedding that resembled “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” with his parents of reserved Minnesotan stock and mine infusing Hungarian traditions in all they do.  While I have had lots of opportunities to travel and live in other lands, I have also had stability―I even serve on the school board of the same district where I went to school. Professionally, I have worked for several Fortune 500 companies and non-profits in leading strategic change efforts ranging from new ways to go to market, to entering new businesses or introducing new products. I now consult on strategic and project leadership for small and medium-sized companies and non-profits.

I’m always game for visiting a new place, eating a new food ― even if it can still stare up at me ― or trying a new activity. When I turned forty-five, I knew just how to celebrate. I jumped out of an airplane. Granted I did it tandem, strapped to the front of an expert like a baby kangaroo, but I got to feel the air rushing by, the freedom of zigzagging through the clouds, the sensation of dropping at racing speeds. After two weeks of saying, “Could you please repeat that,” since my ears were still plugged from the dive, I acknowledged that I wasn’t likely to do it again. But it was worth it.

  1. This book is a biography/autobiography of your parent’s journey to America, can you tell us what inspired you to write and publish a book about their experiences?

I have been fascinated by my parents’ story since I was a child.  Whenever neighbors or friends heard about their journey, their usual response was, “That’s amazing. What an inspiring story. It shouldn’t be lost!”
Once I grew up, the longer I worked in leading strategic and cultural change, the more appreciation I got for their incredible cultural journey and wanted to capture it on paper.

  1. How did you gather the information and research for your book?
I started with an intimate knowledge about their lives and built on this base, spending over a thousand hours on research. I was lucky and had a lot of original material to work with: my father kept a diary for several years, there were a thousand pages of letters my parents’ exchanged over a three year period, and they saved numerous documents and pictures. I supplemented this with dozens of interviews, library and internet research, and digging into historical events, so I could recreate their lives---the events, the atmosphere, the feeling, the tone of conversations.

  1. Did you travel to Hungary to meet relatives and visit the places where your parents grew up?

I have had the opportunity to travel to Hungary many times visiting the places were my parents grew up and my extended family. I didn’t need to go nearly as far to talk to the relatives most familiar with the story, all my parents’ siblings and several cousins live in Canada. One of my father’s cousins even contributed his father’s post-war diary, filled with interesting facts and impressions of the refugee camp and the cement tile factory where both families lived.

  1. Why did you choose to share your family story with the public?

It provides an interesting perspective on history, as many reviewers and readers have said ‘it brings history to life’. It looks at World War II and post-war events from an average citizen’s perspective on the losing side, a view not broadly published.  I wanted to share this view, as well as their inspiring story of how they successfully adapted to dramatic change.

  1. Can you share a traditional Hungarian recipe mentioned in the book?

Go to for a good recipe for Hungarian Chicken Paprikas.

  1. Do you like to read? What authors or books influence you?

I love to read and read a wide variety of books. Refugee’s stories have been a large part of my reading since I decided to write down my parents’ refugee journey. My favorite is The Latehomecomer: A Hmong Family Memoir by Kao Kalia Yang. - # Kalia lyrically relates the moving story of her family from the war-torn jungles of Laos, to the overcrowded Thailand refugee camp, and ultimately to the United States, beautifully weaving in Hmong folklore and culture.

  1. Do you encourage others to write their stories down? Do you have any great suggestions for people who want to do this?
I strongly encourage folks to write down their story. I recommend they start by writing what they remember. Their memory serves as the seed, which they should nurture and grow into a full story by talking to others who share the memory, looking for relevant family papers or mementos, conducting research on the internet and in libraries, and interviewing others who have had similar experiences.

When my mother shared a memory, I would write it down and read it back to her, which triggered more memories. I would then do research, adding the new learning into the story, which triggered even more memories for her. I found the final story was ten times richer than the first version.

9.     9.   How did you decide on the title? Publisher? Cover Art? Etc.

I used a mini-market research process to select my title. With help from friends and family I generated a list of ten possible titles, then surveyed fifty people leaving a bookstore who expressed interest in the topic of the book. I found the titles that created a vivid picture in people’s mind did the best.

I would strongly recommend anyone interested in publishing their first book hire an editor to take their writing to a higher level. My initial product was really a compilation of stories, not a book, but with my editor’s general comments on flow, pacing, sensory detail, etc., I was able to create a book. While my editor definitely thought the final product was publishable, my research indicated that it is extremely difficult for first time authors to be published in today’s market. Unless I was willing to patiently send it from one publisher to another for several years, I needed to self-publish.

While I published through Amazon’s self-publishing arm, I did the inside block myself and hired a professional designer for the cover, since I did not like the quality of the self-publisher’s sample products.

  1. In one sentence, tell us why we should read My Flag Grew Stars?
My Flag Grew Stars, reading like a novel, brings history to life and relates an inspiring story of adapting to world-shattering change.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

My Flag Grew Stars by Kitty Gogins

My Flag Grew Stars.  World War II Refugees' Journey to America by Kitty Gogins

Tibor and Olga are Hungarian citizens during World War II.  Tibor is conscripted into the German army as his family is fleeing the Russians.  Tibor's story of survival is amazing.  Olga is leaving Hungry with her family as well and emigrates to Austria.  Their paths cross after the war, where they meet and fall in love.  

This is a unique story of how Tibor and Olga met and emigrated to the United States after World War II.  Most stories that take place during World War II stop when the war ends.  This book, I found to unique because it really started at the final few months of the war and detailed the time spent in refugee camps as well as their indentured servitude.

Tibor and Olga are the author's parents and Kitty has taken their miraculous true story and turned it into a book and a legacy for everyone to enjoy.  This book is full of Hungarian culture and how this family is able to hold onto their traditions in the many countries that they live in.  This is one families story and it makes me think of all the amazing stories out there that have never been told or written down.  Thank you Kitty for writing this story down for all to enjoy and embrace.  I have learned so much.

If you were forced to leave your country and could only take one possession besides clothing, what would you take?

Have you ever thought of writing down your family's story?

Enter to win a copy of My Flag Grew Stars.  The contest ends June 30th at midnight.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Roots by Alex Haley. Week #2 of the summer Read-A-Long

Roots by Alex Haley.
Read-A-Long Week #2

Pages read:  106-200
Chapters read:  21-34

Note:  I am reading ROOTS in honor of my former student Quincy Blue who was recently found murdered, his body burned beyond recognition, in Saint Paul, Minnesota.

I had an extremely busy week and didn't start reading ROOTS until Sunday when I read almost all 100 pages.  ROOTS is extremely well written and very readable.  I found that I didn't want to stop at page 200 but I did. 

This week we find Kunta at 10 rains, entering his manhood training and becoming a man of the Mandinka tribe.  I figure by page 200 Kunta is probably about 17 rains as he is captured by the white man and forced aboard his big canoe in chains.

Like week number one, three important events or instances stood out for me and I would like to highlight them.

One, Kunta enters manhood training.  He is taken from his home, hooded and led through the forest where he will become a man in four moons.  He endures beatings, wrestling lessons, hunting lessons, and night walks where he learns to read the stars.  All the young Mandinka boys are circumcised during manhood training.  Griots came to tell the history of the Mandinka's which went as far back as the great kingdoms of Mali.  I really liked reading about manhood training and I think we should adopt some sort of rituals that mark womanhood and manhood for Americans.  What would you include in a training for teens to make them into adults?

Two is the fact that I really wanted Kunta to continue living in his Mandinka village in The Gambia and continue with his travels.  I enjoyed learning about village life and the court system in Juffure.  I knew he was going to be captured by slave traders and I found myself lamenting Kunta's untold tale.  What would his life have been like if he lived his whole life in Juffure, taking a wife and having children?  Traveling to Mali with his brother.  What other interesting adventures Kunta would have had in his place of birth? Alas, Kunta's story leads him to travel across the ocean and never see his family again. 

Three, Kunta is captured by slave traders while he is out looking for wood to build a drum.  He is surprised by them in the early morning.  He is beaten, scared and made to suffer many indignities.  He is taken aboard ship where the horrific stink assaults his nose.  Thus begins his journey on the Atlantic, called The Middle Passage.  The treatment of slaves has long bothered me, especially when they are portrayed by whites as less than human and used as a tool to make money.  Most slaves didn't live longer than ten years, as they were worked so hard and beaten so badly.  I feel fear for Kunta and sadness for his family.

Next week:  I plan to read from pages 201-301 and post on Monday.
These are the bloggers/readers participating in the Read-A-Long.  Please visit them and comment.  Also if you are participating and want to be included on this list, please comment and I will add a link to your blog.
Thanks everyone for participating.

1.  Bre from Booksnob Wannabe
2.  Sherrie from Just Books
3.  Michelle from Truebookaddict
4.  Laurie from Whatsheread

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Kitty Gogins Guest Post

Kitty Gogins Guest Post

Welcome to Kitty Gogins, Hometown Track Minnesota Author in the Spotlight.  

Most refugees arriving in Minnesota today have spent over 14 years in refugee camps. I’m honored that Laura invited me to share more with you about refugees and is featuring my book, My Flag Grew Stars: World War II Refugees’ Journey to America. The book brings to life my parents’ experience as refugees and new Americans.

A refugee is someone who fled their homeland due to persecution based on race, religion, ethnic group, or political opinion; someone unable to return.  Like my parents, they often leave unexpectedly, without important papers and with only what they can carry. Today there are 16 million refugees worldwide. The largest numbers are from Asia, Africa and the Middle East with Afghanistan, Iraq, Burma, Sudan and the former Palestine highly represented.

The U.S. resettles 50 to 100 thousand refugees a year. Most arrive from camps where conditions are primitive and difficult. Schooling, food, medical care, work, and things to do are in short supply. In this picture, a camp resident (from Karen ethnic group in Burma) uses a rock to teach camp children the alphabet ― he has no paper or books to use. The transition from this world to our modern one is challenging. Everything is strange, new and often intimidating. Climate, language, houses, plumbing, culture, government, nothing is familiar.

In Minnesota our percent foreign-born is low, half the national average, but our concentration of refugees is half again as high as the rest of the U.S. There are several reasons refugees are attracted to Minnesota ― although climate is not one of them! A diversified economy with employment opportunities, a well-developed non-profit support network, a strong educational system and friendly people all serve as magnets.

My Flag Grew Stars relates not only my parents’ refugee story, but the story of others my mother helped through the International Institute. “Area Immigrants Are Soon to Lose Their Patron Saint,” read the front-page headline of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune when she retired. If you are interested in helping refugees make the transition, contact the International Institute of Minnesota (651-647-0191,

Thanks Kitty!!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Roots by Alex Haley. Week #1 of the summer Read-A-Long


Roots by Alex Haley- Read-A-Long Week #1

Chapters Read:  1-20
Pages read:  1-105

I have decided to read ROOTS in honor of my former student Quincy Blue who was recently found murdered, his body burned beyond recognition, in Saint Paul.  Quincy was an 30 year old African American male, who has two young boys, he was a student at a local business college, engaged to be married and a local hip-hop artist and musician.  They have no leads or suspects in the case.  Quincy died a horrible death and it makes me so sad.  Quincy was in my class about 14 years ago and I taught a unit on African History.  I always show Part 1 of Roots to my class and Quincy would have seen it, which is why I feel that I want to honor Quincy and other African American males who have lost their life to violence by reading ROOTS.  Too many young black men are the victims or perpetrators of violent crime and this hurts everyone.  We need to do something to stop the senseless violence.  The first step is to educate yourself.

ROOTS begins in The Gambia on the western side on Africa in an area known as The Slave Coast.  Kunta Kinte is born in 1750 as the first son to Omoro and Binta.  They live in a tiny Muslim village and we learn about their daily life and survival through the season changes.

The first 100 pages are very entertaining as they chronicle Kunta's first eight rains and the reader experiences African culture and history.

Three things stood out to me as I read the book.
First, the African Griot.  A Griot is a storyteller who keeps the history of the people and relays it to others.  Most African cultures didn't have a form of writing to record their history and so they used Griots.  I love reading about how important they are to society and how the whole village would sit quietly to listen to a story.  In my class, I have a Griot Day, where we sit in a circle for the day and share a story of our personal history.  It is one of my favorite lessons.  What saddens me is that some of my African American students say they don't have a story.  How do I convince them that they do and that it is worth hearing?

Second, the amazing Gambian women.  The Gambian, Mandinka women with their babies on their back, work their rice fields.  Then they work their husbands fields, cook, clean, dye cloth, sew, dance and are just plain amazing.  They carry water and all sorts of materials on their head and just strike me as strong, colorful, and faithful women.  So I have to admit, I tried walking around with books and other things on my head all week.  I recently saw a woman walking down a street close to here with a 12 pack on her head and was just amazed by it.  Nothing stayed on my head though, either because my posture is bad or my hair is too fine and slippery.  I will keep trying though.  I am also thankful that amazing women like this came before me, so that I can have time to learn and do the things they never had time to do.

Third, the traveling tree.  OK, I loved the traveling tree that each Mandinka village has.  When you go on a journey you tie a piece of cloth to the tree and each strip represents the prayer of a traveler, so that his journey will be safe.  Kunta and his father take a journey out of the village about a 3-5 day walk.  Each village they pass by has a traveler's tree and a welcoming committee with a host in the community.  The host feeds the travelers and provides shelter for them for the night.  The members of the village take turns being the community host for travelers.  I think this is a great idea and wished we did it here in small communities in the United States.  Just think of how that would change us for the better.  I would love to welcome visitors from all over the world to my home and table.  I also love the idea of a traveling tree where you tie strips of cloth to represent a prayer and your journey.  I just might have to adopt a tree in my yard and begin this wonderful African tradition.

Next week:  I plan to read from pages 106-200 and post on Monday.
These are the bloggers/readers participating in the Read-A-Long.  Please visit them and comment.  Also if you are participating and want to be included on this list, please comment and I will add a link to your blog.
Thanks everyone for participating.

1.  Bre from Booksnob Wannabe
2.  Sherrie from Just Books
3.  Michelle from Truebookaddict
4.  Laurie from Whatsheread
(I know Michelle and Laurie are starting late and so may not have a post this week)

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life. Vol. 1 by Bryan Lee O'Malley

Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life. Vol. 1 by Bryan Lee O'Malley

Scott Pilgrim, is 23 years old and dating a high school student, named Knives.  His roommate is gay and owns everything in their apartment.  Scott is in a rock band and by all appearances he is a happy guy until he starts dreaming about a girl on roller skates.  Turns out roller skate girl is real and her name is Ramona.  Ramona is hot but she comes with baggage, seven evil ex boyfriends, that Scott must defeat if he wants to be with her.  But what about Knives?

I have been wanting to read this graphic novel series for a long time and when I finished volume number one, I immediately went out and bought volume number two.  There are 6 volumes in the series and I believe the film is based on all six.  I am super excited to complete each book and then watch the film.

I brought this book to school and was reading it in the copy room and left it on my desk, well a student borrowed it during class, read the whole thing and promptly asked me for volume 2.  I love it when high school boys get excited about books, especially if I introduce it to them. 

This is a fun, drama filled, exciting, kickass book.  All of the characters are entertaining and unique and keep you turning the page.  O'Malley is a great artist and he has definitely drawn/written the start of a great series.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

My Name is Number 4 by Ting-Xing Ye

My Name is Number 4.  A True Story from the Cultural Revolution by Ting-Xing Ye

Ah Si was the 4th born child in her working family of 5, which is why she is called Number 4.  Ah Si's father owned a rubber factory and the family lived happily in an apartment on Purple Sunshine Lane.  Things were comfortable until The Cultural Revolution began, when Ah Si's father was forced to surrender his factory to the Chinese Government and in return received a red flower that he could pin to his lapel. He was kept on as a Private Representative but was soon labeled a "Hard-Minded Capitalist". 

  After her parents die, her family of siblings are left to face cultural pressure and hatred for their Capitalist status even though they were living on welfare for years.  Classes were suspended to make revolution.  Teachers and Principals are arrested by hateful students and denounced, locked in sheds and sent to prison.  The world as Ah Si knew it, is turned upside down and life no longer made any sense.

This is a memoir of Ah Si's experiences growing up during The Chinese Cultural Revolution.  The Cultural Revolution lasted 10 years.  Educated people were sent to the country to be "re-educated".  Many families were forcibly displaced and young adults were sent to rural regions to work.  This was a time of major social and political upheaval in China. 

Ting-Xing Ye includes many Maoism's from his "Little Red Book" in her memoir.  You will be amazed at the resilience of Ah Si and her siblings and how they are able to suffer and endure, but still remain hopeful. This is a powerful memoir that relates the period of the Cultural Revolution from a teenager's point of view.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

My Flag Grew Stars Contest

My Flag Grew Stars Contest

Hometown Track Minnesota Author in the Spotlight, Kitty Gogins, is giving away one copy of her book, My Flag Grew Stars to a lucky Booksnob follower from the United States or Canada.

Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

Homeland destroyed, teenagers Olga Wagner and Tibor Zoltai independently flee Hungary near the end of World War II, carrying only rucksacks. Olga’s family escapes minutes ahead of advancing Russian troops. Tibor, conscripted by the Germans, almost dies as an American prisoner of war. Their experiences as citizens on the losing side provide a unique perspective of war, the actions of Americans, and the daily fight of refugees to survive. My Flag Grew Stars follows Tibor and Olga’s search for a new land to call home. Escaping war-torn Europe, they work as indentured agricultural servants in Canada, then embark together on a cultural journey to become Americans. Excited and perplexed by their new world, Tibor and Olga must decide which old ways to abandon and which are core to who they are. Through perseverance and creativity, they learn how to thrive, Tibor as a world-renowned professor and Olga counseling refugees, earning the title of “area immigrants’ patron saint.”

Contest Rules:
Fill out the form
Leave a comment
Must be a Booksnob follower
U.S./Canada residents only
Contest ends June 30th at midnight.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Roots Read-A-Long Begins Today!


Hey Everyone, The Roots Read-A-Long starts today!! Have you picked up your copy of Roots by Alex Haley yet? Have you decided to participate? Please leave me a comment as I would love to have you participate!

Roots won the Pulitzer Prize when is was released in 1976 and spent over 40 weeks on the New York Times Best Seller List.  It is hailed as an American classic even though it is only 30 years old. If you have ever wanted to read this stunning, page-turning book, now is your chance.

Booksnob Wannabe and I will start posting our thoughts about the first 100 pages next Monday and I can't wait for the conversation to begin.

Next week (probably on Sunday or Monday) I will include a list of readers and bloggers participating in the Read-A-Long, so please join us for a memorable summer, a summer of ROOTS!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson

Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson

I have fallen for Major Ernest Pettigrew (retired) in a big way.  This man is a quiet hero and deserves to be my new literary boyfriend.  Major Pettigrew is a man of substance, widowed, a gardener, reader and a champion of living a life of integrity.  He is just about the sweetest male character out there. 

Meet Mrs. Ali, also widowed.  She is the Pakistani shopkeeper from the village.  Mrs. Ali and Major Pettigrew have formed a wonderful friendship that blossoms quite slowly into love.  Their families and the village, however, are not supportive of their relationship and merely patronize them.  The family ideals of religion and race relations interfere causing catastrophe.  

This novel is very Austenesqe.  Major Pettigrew's Last Stand is Jane Austen meets the modern world.  This book takes place in a small English country village near the seashore.  It is very quaint with old houses containing old English families and new immigrants moving into the area.  Most people find manners and formalities very important as well as their daily tea.  So when scandal enters their small village to shake the tea pot, people are not sure if they should embrace what is new and modern or hold fast to traditional ways.

One part that I found most fascinating was the talk about Pakistan.  Pakistan was partitioned off of India in 1947.  Many Indian Muslim's were forced to migrate to Pakistan and some chose to migrate to England.  England colonized India in the late 1800's.  In England the Pakistan people are never really accepted as English and if they visit Pakistan, they are not known as Pakistani's but as Englishman.  It is like they straddle two countries and continents but are only a part of each culture, not a member of the whole culture. 

When Major Pettigrew makes his last stand, people in the neighborhood listen and think.  It makes me wonder, what do I stand for? 

If you had to make a Last Stand what would it be about?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Contest: The Anthropology of an American Girl

Contest: The Anthropology of an American Girl

The Publishers are offering Booksnob followers the chance to win one copy of The Anthropology of an American Girl by Hilary Thayer Hamann.  U.S/Canada only.

Here is my book review of the book:  American Girl Review

Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

Self-published in 2003, Hilary Thayer Hamann’s Anthropology of an American Girl touched a nerve among readers, who identified with the sexual and intellectual awakening of its heroine, a young woman on the brink of adulthood.  A moving depiction of the transformative power of first love, Hamann’s first novel follows Eveline Auerbach from her high school years in East Hampton, New York, in the 1970s through her early adulthood in the moneyed, high-pressured Manhattan of the 1980s. Centering on Evie’s fragile relationship with her family and her thwarted love affair with Harrison Rourke, a professional boxer, the novel is both a love story and an exploration of the difficulty of finding one’s place in the world.  As Evie surrenders to the dazzling emotional highs of love and the crippling loneliness of heartbreak, she strives to reconcile her identity with the constraints that all relationships—whether those familial or romantic, uplifting to the spirit or quietly detrimental—inherently place on us. Though she stumbles and strains against social conventions, Evie remains a strong yet sensitive observer of the world around her, often finding beauty and meaning in unexpected places.
Newly edited and revised since its original publication, Anthropology of an American Girl is an extraordinary piece of writing, original in its vision and thrilling in its execution.

Please fill out the form.
Contest ends:  June 23rd at midnight.
Please leave a comment.
Must be a Booksnob follower
Must be a resident of the U.S or Canada.

Interview with a Dead Person Pictures

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Anthropology of an American Girl by Hilary Thayer Hamann

The Anthropology of an American Girl by Hilary Thayer Hamann

According to the dictionary, Anthropology means: The scientific study of the origin, the behavior, and the physical, social, and cultural development of humans.  According to Hamann, the definition of an American Girl, goes by the name of Eveline.  Eveline is artistic, beautiful, fragile, unsure of herself and her place in the world.   We meet Eveline, the summer before her senior year of high school and follow through early adulthood.  The novel takes place in the 1970's through the 1980s.

Eveline is possessed by a deep love for a man who has control of her soul. She is utterly deprived when they are apart and complete when they are together, yet their relationship is not perfect.  This is a coming of age story of a girl entering womanhood and struggling to survive with inequality.  Eveline is awakening, sexually, intellectually, physically, socially etc.  (refer to definition above).  She learns how to survive failed relationships and struggles through the heartbreaks that define all women.

Hamann is an excellent writer.  Her prose is lyrical, artistic, bold and it gives you the sense that you are reading a great book.  Hamann includes song lyrics of the time period in the book as well as noteworthy news headlines of the time.  As a child who grew up in the decades of the 70's and 80's, I could really relate to Eveline and of course I remember the songs and the news stories.

The library Journal compares this author to Henry James but I wouldn't as the books I have read by James don't fit for me.  I would compare this book to
The Awakening by Kate Chopin, while they are very different books, they both possess a woman's awakening and they would make a great discussion if paired together.  I would also compare this book to The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing.  Both compare in size (600 pages) and in main characters trying to find their way in a world not made for them.   

So what is your definition of a American Girl?

Has the definition changed over the decades?

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Whiteout Contest Winners

Whiteout Contest Winners!

I would like to congratulate the winners of a personalized copy of Whiteout by Brian Duren.   This is a great book to read in the summer while it is warm.  The winners are......

Michelle from The True Book Addict
Lisa from Lisa's World of Books and
Mary from Nevada

Thanks everyone for entering and for following Booksnob.
If you didn't win, Brian's book WHITEOUT is available from amazon.
You can order through this link and don't forget to check out his website at

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Annoucing "ROOTS" Read-A-Long


Hey Everyone,

This summer Booksnob Wannabe and I are hosting a Read-A-Long of the classic book ROOTS by Alex Haley.  The Read-A-Long will start June 13th officially but you can start any time you like. 
The plan is to read about 100 pages a week for 9 weeks.  Booksnob Wannbe and I plan to post our weekly reviews on Monday.  You can post or comment any time during the week.  Please comment if you want to join the Read-A-Long, we would love to have you join in.  If you have a blog please grab the button and check out Booksnob Wannabe's blog.  Then announce it on your blog. 

I am so excited to read this book, it has been on my to-read list for a long time. 
This is the true story of Alex Haley and his journey to discover his roots.  He traces his heritage back to Africa when his ancestor, Kunte Kinte, was kidnapped as a slave and brought through the Middle Passage to the United States in the  1700's.  The book takes the reader through many generations of his family.  Roots was hailed as a masterpiece when it was released in the 1970's, won the Pulitizer Prize and a mini-series was created for television on the book.  I have never watched the television mini-series, but I will as soon as I finish the book at the end of the summer as my reward.

Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:
This "bold . . . extraordinary . . . blockbuster . . ." (Newsweek) begins with a birth in 1750, in an African village; it ends seven generations later at the Arkansas funeral of a black professor whose children are a teacher, a Navy architect, an assistant director of the U.S. Information Agency, and an author. The author is Alex Haley.

I hope you can join us for a great read this summer.  It will be a summer to remember, a summer of ROOTS!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Hometown Track Author in the Spotlight #11

Hometown Track Author in the Spotlight #11

Yeah, It is June, my favorite month of the year!  The seniors graduated today and so begins a new month of opportunities.  Today I would like to introduce Booksnob readers to the Minnesota Author in the Spotlight, Kitty Gogins.  Kitty has written a great book called My Flag Grew Stars.  It is about World War II and her parents journey to America. 

Kitty has agreed to do a guest post this month, I am personally excited to read it.  I will be doing a book review, hosting a contest as well as conducting an author interview.  It is going to be a great month.  Stay tuned for a summer of fun at Booksnob!

Kitty wanted me to share a link to a youtube video she just post on her book.  It is a reading of the book and it is about 10 minutes long.  Check it out.