Posts

Pachinko: Why Reading an Epic Korean Novel Matters

Image
I first became aware of Korea as an iconic setting for profound fiction when reading Paul Yoon’s award-winning collection of short stories, Once the Shore. Despite having traveled to over 27 countries by the time I was thirteen, I’m embarrassed to say how little I knew about Korea, or about Korean literature.

Korea has once again risen to the forefront of our nation’s consciousness. Divided into two nations in 1948, the colonization of Korea by Japan began before 1910. Korea was ruled by the imperial nation of Japan until the end of World War II. Over 5 million Koreans were forced into labor, and (according to CNN), over 200,000 young Korean girls and women (known as “comfort women) were forced into sexual slavery for the Japanese military. 
Which brings me to Korean-born American author Min Jin Lee, and her epic novel PACHINKO.I met Min Jin Lee last February at Denver's Tattered Cover Bookstore’s annual Literary Feast.

“I come from a working-class background,” Min told the audie…

#ReadMoreWomen

Image
The meaning of life comes to us, in part, through synchronicities. Yet it is up to us to recognize how these coinciding threads weave themselves through each day. Four such synchronistic events occurred for me this week. Here's a go at weaving them together in a way that deepens the meaning of each event and creates a more all encompassing tapestry...  THREAD #1: YESTERDAY, on the eve of the International Day of the Girl Child (known as the International Girls Day here in the U.S.), our book club discussed Wayétu Moore’s ambitious and highly praised debut novel, She Would Be King Moore (who was born in Liberia) uses magical realism to bring to life the early years of her homeland’s history. One of the main characters, the young girl Gbessa, is exiled from a small West African village, left for dead after being starved and bitten by a snake, and yet she survives. Wayétu Moore’s story, too, is one of survival. In 1989, when she was five years old, she and her family fled Monrovia. “M…

On Summer Hiatus

Image
All Things Literary & All Things Natural is on summer hiatus during August and September. I hope these days, for you, are filled with the beauty of the literary and natural landscape, time with loved ones, and immersion in the creative landscape of your inner dreams.  Page


The Bones We Once Belonged To: The Lyrical World of JudIth Ansara

Image
"Tell me a story," I ask, curled beneath a quilt on this cool summer day, and the poet opens her mouth and speaks to me of startled birds, and lavender seas, and of the thin brown legs of the becak driver who pedals her through the streets of Java on a wheeled cart he does not own. How much money do you make, she asks, and Aatif answers....

                          oh not enough, not enough he says smiling                           most goes to the mullah who owns the cart
 She tells me, this poet, that when she and her family decide to buy Aatif his own becak...

               how his tiny toothless mother                           smiled and bowed smiled and bowed
She tells me how, once he understands, the whole world breaks open, ear to ear. I imagine his smile. I imagine the toothless mother, smiling and bowing.

Curled beneath a quilt, on this cool summer day in Colorado, 9000 miles from Java, this story comes from across the ocean, travels as fast as any tweet, faster t…

Riding into the Heart of Patagonia: Weaving Together the Threads of Life

Image