THE SAN DIEGO PARTICIPANT OBSERVER Participant Observation is the Process of Learning by Observing and Participating in Cultural Life
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Tuesday, Apr 20
4:30 PM Zoominar: Abenomics and the Japanese Economy
6:30 PM Talk: Myanmar: Development, Democracy, and Despair
Wednesday, Apr 21
12:00 PM Poetry Reading with Kazim Ali
4:00 PM Book Talk: Yellow Wife
7:00 PM Shakespeare Trivia Night
Thursday, Apr 22
12:30 PM 3 Italian Films
6:30 PM 2021 Women PeaceMakers Event
Friday, Apr 23
10:00 AM Virtual Tour of Umbria, Italy
12:00 PM iCafé – Your Passport to Culture!
4:00 PM The Shadow of El Centro: a History of Migrant Incarceration and Solidarity
Saturday, Apr 24
11:00 AM Book Talk: Kate Quinn
11:00 AM 16th Annual Student Shakespeare Festival
7:00 PM San Diego Opera: the Barber of Seville
Tuesday, Apr 27
7:00 PM San Diego Opera: the Barber of Seville
Wednesday, Apr 28
11:30 AM Talk: Confronting Racism. Embracing Diversity
3:30 PM Radicalism at the Crossroads: Black Women Activists in the Cold War
4:00 PM Talk: the Ripple Effect of Racial Bias in the Toy Industry
6:30 PM Film: Innocence
Thursday, Apr 29
1:00 PM Talk: a Third Way - the Origins of China’s Economic Strategy
Friday, Apr 30
10:00 AM 10th Annual International Jazz Day
12:00 PM iCafé – Your Passport to Culture!
12:00 PM Talk: Jillian Hernandez
7:00 PM San Diego Opera: the Barber of Seville
Saturday, May 1
10:00 AM Old Town Cinco de Mayo
7:00 PM San Diego Opera: the Barber of Seville
Sunday, May 2
10:00 AM Old Town Cinco de Mayo
The Worldview Project International Book Club 2016

Book Club Image

(Go to Book of the Month)

Miss Burma
May 8, 2018

June Book: Miss Burma
By Charmaine Craig

Meeting: Tuesday, June 5, 2018

October 5, 2017

November Book: Popular Music From Vittala
By Mikael Niemi

Meeting: Tuesday, November 7, 2017

September 5, 2017

October Book, The KPBS One Book One San Diego 2017 Selection:
The Sandcastle Girls

By Chris Bohjalian

Meeting: Tuesday, October 3, 2017

September 22, 2017 - Armenia - Part 1

Meeting Location:
Please RSVP for directions to [email protected]


June 7, 2017

August Book: The Best We Could Do: An Illustrated Memoir
By Thi Bui


Meeting: Tuesday, August 1, 2017

May 3, 2017

June Book: An Unnecessary Woman
By Rabih Alameddine

Meeting: Tuesday, June 6, 2017

May 12, 2017 - Lebanon - Taking it Deeper - Part 1

MarHabā (Hello in Lebanese),

In a marvelous stroke of serendipity, I stumbled upon the announcement of the Lebanese Festival which is coming up this Memorial Day weekend in El Cajon. It looks like a limited affair on Friday night, but a full-stop food and cultural extravaganza on Saturday, May 27, and Sunday, May 28, from 11:00am-10:00pm. Check out the details here:

May 18, 2017 - Lebanon - Taking it Deeper - Part 2

Thank you to book club member, Carolisa, for giving a fabulous recommendation for the Lebanese restaurant, Alforon, located near 60th Street on El Cajon Boulevard. She said their food was "truly delicious"
LINK. Also a popular spot with Yelp's list is Mama's Lebanese Kitchen, on Alabama Street, near El Cajon Boulevard LINK. I've eaten there before and it was delicious! Here's the full Yelp list in case neither of these two are nearby: LINK.

Speaking of fabulous food, don't forget about the Lebanese Festival coming up this Memorial Day weekend in El Cajon. It is a limited affair on Friday night, but a full-stop food and cultural extravaganza on Saturday, May 27, and Sunday, May 28, from 11:00am-10:00pm. Check out the details here: LINK.

Lebanon has so much amazing culture, it's hard to curate just a few items for your enjoyment. Try glancing through The Culture Trip's website for a wide variety of subjects: LINK.

While Lebanon was officially only a French colony from after World War I until World War II, French influence in the country has hundreds of years of influence. (See this link for a concise history of the French Mandate of Syria and Lebanon: LINK.) Today, Beirut, the capital as well as the largest city in the country, still has a surprising amount of French culture woven into the fabric of the city. Enjoy this article for more:

Today, Lebanon is at the crossroads of the civil war in Syria and has a fragile relationship with Israel, yet it remains a key ally to the United States and the European Union. Read more about this fascinating dynamic here: LINK.

woman on stairs
May Book: The Woman on the Stairs
By Bernhard Schlink

Meeting: Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Land of a Thousand Hills

February, 2017

March Book - Land of a Thousand Hills: My Life in Rwanda By Rosamond Halsey Carr, Ann Howard Halsey

This month, we will travel to Rwanda. Book Club member, Paula H., has visited this amazing country many times for her dissertation, Business and Economic Empowerment: Stories from Women of Rwanda, and she will be showing us slides from her travels.

Synopsis: In 1949, Rosamond Halsey Carr, a young fashion illustrator living in New York City, accompanied her dashing hunter-explorer husband to what was then the Belgian Congo. When the marriage fell apart, she decided to stay on in neighboring Rwanda, as the manager of a flower plantation. Land of a Thousand Hills is Carr's thrilling memoir of her life in Rwanda--a love affair with a country and a people that has spanned half a century. During those years, she has experienced everything from stalking leopards to rampaging elephants, drought, the mysterious murder of her friend Dian Fossey, and near-bankruptcy. She has chugged up the Congo River on a paddle-wheel steamboat, been serenaded by pygmies, and witnessed firsthand the collapse of colonialism. Following 1994's Hutu-Tutsi genocide, Carr turned her plantation into a shelter for the lost and orphaned children-work she continues to this day, at the age of eighty-seven.

You can purchase the book at our Amazon link:
Land of a Thousand Hills
Kindle and paperback (new and used) are available.

We are trying out a new, bigger meeting venue for our monthly meetings. We have secured classroom space at DeVry University in Mission Valley, just east of Qualcomm Way, next to Dave & Buster's. Fortunately, they will allow us to bring food in, so we can keep up with our culinary delights.

February 22, 2017

March Book: Land of a Thousand Hills: My Life in Rwanda
By Rosamond Halsey Carr, Ann Howard Halsey

I hope you are enjoying this vivid memoir set in Rwanda. Ms. Carr's descriptions of this special place in the world make the country come alive. Here are some links to add to your reading pleasure and provide some background on her life in Rwanda:

For some general background and demographics, visit WVP's World of Cultures site: LINK
Many interesting facts about Rwanda: LINK
The Culture Trip website has many links on all the various parts of Rwandan culture: LINK.

Ms. Carr's life and work was centered around the Lake Kivu area. Lake Kivu is one of Africa's Great Lakes and is located between the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda. The countryside surrounding the lake is some of the most fertile in Africa, with coffee, tea and pyrethrum plantations dotting the slopes and making up most of Rwanda's agricultural exports: LINK. One of the reasons this land is so lush is the volcanic soil from the surrounding Virunga range of volcanoes: LINK. Here is a recent article about the lake and how Congo and Rwanda made metaphorical lemonade out of nature's lemons: LINK.
At the end of our book, Ms. Carr has survived the genocide that ravaged the country in only a few short months in 1994. As many as 800,000 Rwandans were dead--mostly of the Tutsi minority--by the hands of the Hutsi majority. For more information on the genocide, here is a good link and a few short videos from the History Channel: LINK. If you would like to know about this tragic time, you might consider renting Hotel Rwanda, or reading the book that inspired the movie, An Ordinary Man, by Paul Rusesabagina: LINK., or We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families: Stories from Rwanda, by Philip Gourevitch: LINK. Both come highly recommended by our Rwandan presenter, Paula Herring. Or you can search out a documnentary on the subject here: LINK.

Speaking of Paula, she recently wrote her dissertation on Business and Economic Empowerment: Stories from Women of Rwanda. Here is a link if you would like to read an abstract: LINK. If you would like to read the entire document, let me know and I will have her email you a copy.

Amazingly, Rwanda recovered reasonably quickly after the genocide, and the people of the country work incredibly hard to reconcile. Here are couple of wonderful articles detailing the power of healing: LINK, LINK, LINK, and LINK.

You can purchase the book at our Amazon link: LINK. Kindle and paperback (new and used) are available.

March 2, 2017

March Book: Land of a Thousand Hills: My Life in Rwanda
By Rosamond Halsey Carr, Ann Howard Halsey

If you've reached the end of the book, you know that Ms. Carr was an amazing woman who despite the horrendous genocide that happened around her, she remained steadfast in her love of Rwanda and its people. She repaid her adopted country with the ultimate act of gratitude and restoration -- opening an orphanage on her flower plantation for lost, abandoned and parentless children. Read more about her and her orphanage here: LINK, and here: LINK.

I love to end my last post of each country with food information, however, I've been informed that interesting food is not one of Rwanda's strong suits. Regardless, I did find a few articles to give you a small overview: LINK, and: LINK. If you want to just enjoy African cuisine, you might try one of these yummy restaurants in San Diego: LINK.

You can purchase the book at our Amazon link: LINK. Kindle and paperback (new and used) are available.

January 5, 2017

February Book: The Middle of Everywhere: Helping Refugees Enter the American Community
By Mary Pipher

Meeting: Tuesday, February 7, 2017, 2016
6:30PM—8:00PM - NEW TIME

Meeting Location:
The Survivors of International Torture location for tour and book discussion

For our February meeting, we have an unique opportunity to interact with an amazing organization here in San Diego, The Survivors of Torture, International, a non-profit organization dedicated to caring for survivors of politically motivated torture and their families who live in San Diego County. They are a word-of-mouth organization that provides mental health, social services and medical case management to traumatised refugees. You can read more about them here:

December 7, 2016

January Book: Kokoro
By Natsume Soseki

Meeting: Tuesday, January 3, 2017, 2016

November 2, 2016

December Book: Euphoria
By Lily King

Meeting: Tuesday, December 6, 2016

November 18, 2016 - Papua New Guinea - Taking it Deeper - Part 1

December Book: Euphoria
By Lily King

Hello readers,

As you know our book this month, Euphoria, is a novel loosely based on Margaret Mead

December 1, 2016 - Papua New Guinea - Taking it Deeper - Part 2

December Book: Euphoria
By Lily King

Hello readers,

Author Lily King paints a vivid and exciting picture of this place and time in history, using Margaret Mead's work and life story as a template. While the tribes depicted in the book are fictional, many of their characteristics are based on Ms. Mead's studies. The Library of Congress has many letters, manuscripts and photos from Ms. Mead's study in Papua New Guinea. Explore more here:

The Sepik River basin is a real place; it is the largest river in Papua New Guinea and the life force of the people. Here is a wonderful website that gives an overview of the region: LINK. Also, here is a great post on the plight of the crocodile and its spiritual significence on the Sepik River tribes: LINK. For a deeper look at one tribe along the Sepik River, I found this fascinating short profile of the Dani tribe, which appears to have similiar customs to the fictious tribes in Euphoria: LINK.

If you are interested in linguistics, I found an article on the languages of Papua New Guinea and its pidgin (phoenicly simplified language): LINK. As you can imagine, the native art of this magical country is fantastic. I love the color and texture of the items featured here: LINK. There are also a few articles linked in this site.

If you are ready to hop on the next plane to visit this exotic land, enjoy here for motivation, details and photos: LINK, here: LINK.

Last but not least, food! The closest thing I could find to Papua New Guinea influence in San Diego is the False Idol Tiki Bar in Little Italy...and even that was only because they claim to have masks from Papua New Guinea as part of their decor: LINK. However, between these three weblinks, you can piece together the importance of food in their culture and a few recipes to try at home: LINK,

eat tea
October 5, 2016 - China

November Book: Eat a Bowl of Tea: A Novel of New York

October 20, 2016 - Chinese-American Experience - Taking it Deeper - Part 1

November Book: Eat a Bowl of Tea:A Novel of New York's Chinatown
By Louis Chu

I hope you have had a chance to start our book for this month, Eat a Bowl of Tea: A Novel of New York's Chinatown. It's a quick read, but chock full of colorful language (yes, "wow your mother" is considered a watered-down version of an expletive), colorful characters and a fascinating slice of life. Hopefully your version has an introduction written by Jeffrey Chan, as it gives the reader some background to the circumstances of the book.

The book was originally published in 1961, but takes place just after World War II. The men featured in the story were part of a group known as the Bachelor Society. "In 1882, the United States passed the Chinese Exclusion Act which banned Chinese from entering the country. This law prohibited wives and children from entering the country. Consequently, the Chinese and Chinese Americans could not have families. This created a society made up of men who were bachelors only because of the law prohibiting their wives and children to enter the United States." For more information and photos, consult this great blog: LINK.

Backing up in history a bit, China and American forged a trade relationship in the late 1700's after the Revolutionary War. Soon after silks and porcelain arrived on our shores, Chinese migrants followed. From sailors to miners, railroad workers to field workers, fisherman to factory workers, over 35,000 migrants came to America in the 1800's, and Chinatowns sprang up around the country (primarily, in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago and New York). The New York History website has an excellent summary on the 230-plus years of Chinese immigrants: LINK. Further, here is a wonderful summary on rise of San Francisco's Chinatown: LINK.. Also, PBS has a great video series on Becoming American: The Chinese Experience: LINK, Part One: LINK, and Part Two:
LINK. (There is a Part Three, however, I can't seem to find a link.) Finally, here is an interesting perspective on how prejudice and stereotying contributed to creating America's Chinatowns: LINK.

Don't forget that on Saturday, November 5, 1:25 PM at the UltraStar Theater in Mission Valley, the Asian Film Festival will be showing the director's cut of the film, Eat a Bowl of Tea. Worldview Project has purchased a block of 20 tickets, available to our members and friends at $9.00 each (normally $11 each). Please let me know if you would like to purchase a ticket or two and I will bring them to our meeting on November 1st or we can arrange for a pick-up at the office. For more information on the film, visit: LINK. For the full festival details, visit: LINK.

You can purchase the book via our Amazon link: LINK, New and used paperbacks are available.

October 28, 2016 - Chinese-American Experience - Taking it Deeper - Part 2

November Book: Eat a Bowl of Tea: A Novel of New York's Chinatown
By Louis Chu

The Asian Film Festival is truly one of San Diego's finest cultural events of the year. 140 film showings in 18 languages over ten days in six different countywide venues...there is truly something for everyone. For a wonderful, comprehensive article on the festival and details, visit: LINK.

San Diego has a long and rich history with Chinese immigrants. Our own San Diego Chinese History Museum, located downtown, presents numerous opportunities to learn more about the Chinese-American experience right here in our backyard. Our San Diego Participant Observer e-magazine, has a fabulous feature article on the museum: LINK. Also, San Diego has it's own Chinese Historic District centered around the Museum. Their website has a bit of history about this little gem of hidden San Diego, along with photos of the buildings and artifacts represented in the district: LINK.

If you are interested in learning more about the game of mahjong, here is a great article on its influence on modern America: LINK.

Per usual, I love ending my posts with food information. San Diego has dozens of fabulous Chinese restaurants. San Diego magazine put together an "Ultimate Asian Food Guide" a few years ago: LINK. Book Club member, Maureen, highly recommends Dumpling Inn on Convoy: LINK, and Tom and Shari's favorite hot spot is Spicy City, also on Convoy: LINK.

Waiting For Snow in Havana
September 19, 2016 - Cuba (Otra Vez) - Taking it Deeper - Part 1

September Book - KPBS One Book, One San Diego selection:

Waiting for Snow in Havana

By Carlos Eire

Meeting: Tuesday, October 4, 2016
7:00 PM to 8:30 PM

Meeting Location:
In anticipation of a large crowd, location TBA. But expect a fiesta! Please contact Sharon Payne at to find out where we will be meeting.

About the book:

September 28, 2016 - Cuba (Otra Vez) - Taking it Deeper - Part 2

I was able to attend the KPBS launch of Waiting for Snow in Havana with author Carlos Eire. He is a fascinating man and gave a wonderful presentation about his life and work. He is clearly not a fan of any aspects of the current state of Cuba's government and reminded us to look beyond the lure of the new wave of tourism to the country. His story starts with the infamous "Operation Pedro (Peter) Pan," when 14,000 unaccompanied children were sent by their parents from Cuba to Florida to avoid indoctrination into the Castro regime. It was assumed that the children would either return shortly or parents would be able to migrate and families would be reunited. Unfortunately for many-- including our author--the Castro regime did not collapse as anticipated and many families were either fully or partially separated forever. Here is a view of this history from the perspective of the children evacuated:LINK and another from National Geographic:LINK

One of Cuba's true strengths is its recognition and emphasis on the arts.
I found this beautiful blog that is dedicated to connecting people to Cuba and Cubans living all around the world: "Featuring a wide range of contributors, the blog provides a place for poets, authors, personalities, scholars, and celebrities to share stories that lay bare the laughter and sorrow of being Cuban" ( Also in the cultural world, these indepth posts on the arts and beauty of Cuba will show you some of what makes Cuba unique: LINK,LINK and LINK.

Are you looking for something yummy to eat? I tried Havana Grill in the Clairemont Mesa area (Havana Grill) last week and it was good, but I also love Embargo Grill near the Sports Arena ( There is also time to rent or stream a few Cuban movies; here are two that look good, Chico & Rita: LINK, and Balseros (Cuban rafters): LINK



You can purchase the book at our Amazon link:
LINK Kindle and paperback (new and used) are available.

Up next: November 1, 2016 - China - Eat a Bowl of Tea: A Novel of New York's Chinatown, by Louis Chu (To coordinate with The Asian Film Festival showing of the director's cut of this film on November 5, 2016). You can purchase the book via our Amazon link: LINK, New and used paperback available.

December 6, 2016 - Papua New Guinea - Euphoria, by Lily King, You can purchase the book at our Amazon link:LINK Kindle and paperback (new and used) are available.

WVP Book Club information:

Mint Tea and Minarets
August Book: Morocco: Mint Tea and Minarets: A Banquet of Moroccan Memories
By Kitty Morse
(I will have copies for purchase at our July and August meetings)

Author guest speaker and Moroccan textiles presentation
Meeting: Tuesday, September 6, 2016
7:00 PM to 8:30 PM

Book Synopsis: Behold, a singular structure soars above the banks of the Oum er-Rbia, Mother of Spring River, within the ramparts of the 16th century medina of Azemmour, Dar Zitoun, erstwhile House of the Pasha. Into her late father's painstakingly restored riad, Moorish mansion, the author of Mint Tea and Minarets, an expert on Moroccan cuisine and heir to the property, warmly coaxes you. Generations of cooks and centuries of celebration there sweeten the invitation. Dar Zitoun has many delicious stories to tell. An hour south of the author's native Casablanca, scour the Azemmour souk for seasonal ingredients, then meet Dar Zitoun's gifted cuisinier/gardien Boucha

August 25, 2016 - Morocco - Taking it Deeper - Part 1

August Book: Morocco: Mint Tea and Minarets: A Banquet of Moroccan Memories
By Kitty Morse

I hope everyone has enjoyed their summer. I'm looking forward to our Moroccan event in a few weeks. We'll have a lot going on for our meeting, so I'm going to open a bit early so we can get it all in.

Author Kitty Morse will be our guest speaker and will be showing us a lovely photographic presentation and discussing her memoir and Dar Zitoun. Here is her website for more indepth information: LINK. Besides her memoir, Mint Tea and Minarets, she has written nine cookbooks!! Yum! She also writes a lovely newsletter, The Kasbah Chronicles, if you want to catch up on her issues and follow her adventures and musings: LINK. It includes more delicious looking recipes.

Also, we will have another guest, Michelle Huber, a local interior designer who has a passion for Moroccan and Tunisian textiles. All items in her cache of textiles are produced by local artisans in a fair-trade manner and financially supportive of education for Tunisian young women. She will have a table set up displaying her gorgeous textiles. For a sneak peak, visit her website at LINK.

Thank you, Zoraida, for doing research for me on Azemmour and Morocco. She found some great links. Here is a great little description and map of Azemmour, plus video of the Riad Azama, a jewel of a restored hotel located in Azemmour and a brief written description of town and the Riad Azama: LINK. (By the way, the term 'riad' means garden, but it is applied to town houses built around a central courtyard.) Also, here is a delightful, short video with beautiful music in the background that will transport you into the local culture; meander through traditional shops, spice markets, preparationsons of a bride for her wedding with embellishments, and images of transportation: LINK.

Here is another wonderful blog featuring Casablanca that includes a video "Salut Casa" that came out in 1954 and Jean Vidal shot it in the course of 1951-52: LINK. In the video at 12 minutes, 40 seconds, you can see what the old clock in the Place de France looked like in the early 1950s. You can also see a picture of the Place de France and the Clock Tower on the right side, below in the same post with a descriptive closed caption (mentioned on page 203). Here are some great photojournalistic pictures to peruse: LINK. Finally, here is a post from a Bulgarian tourist and his comments on his visit to Dar Zitoun: LINK.

Exciting news! The KPBS One Book, One San Diego book has been announced: Waiting for Snow in Havana, by Carlos Eire. It looks like an amazing book and although we have already read Cuba, we will delve into this fascinating country again. Read more about it here: LINK. The kick-off event is Tuesday, September 20, at the Central Library; however, the event already shows sold out. Follow the link within their website to keep an eye out on the event page in case you would like to attend and space becomes available, or I believe you can do standby that night for space available. They also have many other events scheduled over the next few months, so check those out as well.

We will read the book for our October 4th meeting. Courtesy of KPBS, I have some gratis copies of the book to give out at our September meeting. Otherwise, you can purchase it at our Amazon link: LINK Kindle and paperback (new and used) are available.

You can purchase this book via our link at Amazon LINK
Paperback, available, new and used.

September 1, 2016 - Morocco - Taking it Deeper - Part 2

August Book: Morocco: Mint Tea and Minarets: A Banquet of Moroccan Memories
By Kitty Morse

Author guest speaker and Moroccan textiles presentation

Our author, Kitty Morse, is looking forward to meeting our group. She has given me some great tips to help us delve deeper into Morocco.

Her first tip for food is -- of course -- to try her recipes from the cookbook! Next best is to try a cute little bistro in the heart of Hillcrest, called Kous Kous Moroccan Bistro and Lounge, which is owned by a Moroccan name Moumen. She declares that the food is quite authentic. The menu looks amazing. Check it out here: LINK. I tried it and it was fabulous!

For a visual treat, you might watch a movie this weekend set in Morocco. Kitty says that many movies with biblical themes are set in Morocco. Turns out Morocco is quite popular as a filming locale featuring the desert or North African city life. Worldview Project's newly redesigned web link to Netflix can help you find movies by region set in Africa: LINK. Also, I found this site that has 10 movies to watch set in Morocco: LINK. If you don't have a Netflix account, here is a an IMDb list of movies to search for: LINK. If you can't find a streeming version to your liking, search the database of our friends at Kensington Video to rent from their amazing collection of hard-to-find and foreign films: LINK. Andrew Zimmern's Bizzare Food has another great episode set in Morocco: LINK. I imagine that will motivate some of us to head to the kitchen or off to Kous Kous to try something new.

For a little more fun and ambiance, check out this website for gorgeous pictures and fun commentary on exploring the souks (markets) of Morocco: LINK. Last, I love to photos of the spice markets with all the rich warm colors and the fantastic conical shapes of the bulk spices. Here is a little photo blitz for your viewing pleasure: LINK.

I am remiss in providing some background history on Morocco. Kitty has done a great job interspersing history of the region within her story, but in case you are interested in a more concrete timeline, here is the Wiki page on the history of Morroco: LINK. I also found a post about the more recent history of French Morocco here: LINK. Finally, here are some basic facts to peruse: LINK.

Up next: Waiting for Snow In Havana, by Carlos Eire, KPBS One Book, One San Diego 2016 selection. You can purchase the book at our Amazon link: LINK Kindle and paperback (new and used) are available.

July 7, 2016

July Book: Teatime for the Firefly
By: Shona Patel

Book Synopsis: My name is Layla and I was born under an unlucky star. For a young girl growing up in India, this is bad news. But everything began to change for me one spring day in 1943, when three unconnected incidents, like tiny droplets on a lily leaf, tipped and rolled into one. It was that tiny shift in the cosmos, I believe, that tipped us together

June Book: The Mammy
By Brendan O'Carroll

Book Synopsis: "Mammy" is what Irish children call their mothers and The Mammy is Agnes Browne--a widow struggling to raise seven children in a North Dublin neighborhood in the 1960s. Popular Irish comedian Brendan O'Carroll chronicles the comic misadventures of this large and lively family with raw humor and great affection. Forced to be mother, father, and referee to her battling clan, the ever-resourceful Agnes Browne occasionally finds a spare moment to trade gossip and quips with her best pal Marion Monks (alias "The Kaiser") and even finds herself pursued by the amorous Frenchman who runs the local pizza parlor.

Like the novels of Roddy Doyle, The Mammy features pitch-perfect dialogue, lightning wit, and a host of colorful characters. Earthy and exuberant, the novel brilliantly captures the brash energy and cheerful irreverence of working-class Irish life.

You can purchase this book via our Amazon Affiliate Store: LINK
(Available as Kindle, Paperback, and Hardback available, new and used)

June 16, 2016 - Ireland - Taking it Deeper - Part 1

June Book: The Mammy
By Brendan O'Carroll

Dia duit, (Hello in Gaelic)

Oh, how I love the cover photo of our book this month. The photo captures that of a "mammy" looking over a mischievous young boy on a cobblestone street, and it warms my heart. It immediately sent me searching on Google for other images of Dublin set in 1967 (which is the time frame of our book). Enjoy this montage: LINK.

Our author, Brendan O'Carroll (born in 1955), based the mammy character, Agnes Browne, on his own feisty mother and on a woman he worked for when he was a young boy. As you can read here, O'Carroll's Agnes Browne is a well-loved character in Irish humor: LINK.

For background on Ireland, here are a few basics: LINK, LINK.

For more specifics on what it was like to be a woman in Ireland during the 1960's, read this fascinating article based on a study of readers' letters to the editor of a woman's magazine: LINK. For a more contemporary view of how the Irish see themselves, here is a lovely blog post: LINK.

June 30, 2016 - Ireland - Taking it Deeper - Part 2

June Book: The Mammy
By Brendan O'Carroll

The Irish sure do have quite a sense of humor and irony. Our book's Agnes is quite a character. Since humor is the theme, I hope you enjoy these cheeky Irish quotes: LINK. Or try adding a few of these delightful Irish sayings into your water cooler conversation this week: LINK. And here is some great myth-busting insights into the Irish people: LINK.

The Irish--bless their melancholic, yet witty souls--do tend to produce wonderful novelists. Here is a top ten list of Ireland's best novelists: LINK. Oscar Wilde, one of the top ten mentioned, certainly left the art world a better place. Here are a few of his legacies to the world: LINK.

While our book this month may not make it to any top ten lists for best Irish literature, author Brendan O'Carroll and his Agnes Browne are quite famous in their own right. O'Carroll wrote a trilogy on Mrs. Browne (The Mammy is the first), which is available on our website: LINK, and,
LINK. Agnes Browne was also made into a movie in 1999, starring Angelica Huston: LINK. Further, author O'Carroll not only wrote in a BBC series based on his character Agnes, titled Mrs. Browne's Boys, but he also starred in it--as Agnes herself: LINK. That might be a sight to see! And finally, Irish do have some of the best slang in the world. Here is a fun article with a definition list of a few of the favorites: LINK.

If you are up for a movie filmed in Ireland, here is a great list of ten favorites: LINK.

And, last but not least, food! Here is a mouthwatering artcile on twelve of the most delightful Irish foods: LINK. If you fancy an Irish Pub outing here in San Diego, visit Worldview Project's neighbor on Morena Boulevard, Dan Diego's (LINK.) or consider picking one from this list of the best Irish pubs in San Diego: LINK.

Help support Worldview Project via our Amazon shopping link for all your Amazon purchases: LINK

May 4, 2016

May Book: God Loves Haiti: A Novel
By Dimitry Elias L

April 5, 2016

April Book: The Tsar of Love and Techno: Stories
By Anthony Marra

Book Synopsis: This stunning, exquisitely written collection introduces a cast of remarkable characters whose lives intersect in ways both life-affirming and heartbreaking. A 1930s Soviet censor painstakingly corrects offending photographs, deep underneath Leningrad, bewitched by the image of a disgraced prima ballerina. A chorus of women recount their stories and those of their grandmother's, former gulag prisoners who settled their Siberian mining town. Two pairs of brothers share a fierce, protective love. Young men across the former USSR face violence at home and in the military. And great sacrifices are made in the name of an oil landscape unremarkable except for the almost incomprehensibly peaceful past it depicts. In stunning prose, with rich character portraits and a sense of history reverberating into the present, The Tsar of Love and Techno is a captivating work from one of our greatest new talent.

You can purchase this book via our Amazon Affiliate Store: LINK
(Kindle, Hardback new and used available)

turn right
March 2, 2016

March Book: Turn Right at Machu Picchu: Rediscovering the Lost City One Step at a Time
By Mark Adams

This month we travel to Peru to explore the ancient Inca site of Machu Picchu (translates to 'Old Man' in the Quechua language). Via our author's travelogue, we can experience the adventure of his re-creation of the "discovery" of this sanctuary.

Fortunately, this month's book coincides with the 23rd Annual Latino Film Festival. The festival runs March 10-20, with two of the films set in Peru: A Los 40 (full length feature), and Los Hijos de la Tierra (documentary short film). You can find more information and links to the films here: LINK

Book Synopsis: What happens when an adventure travel expert (who's never actually done anything adventurous) tries to recreate the original expedition to Machu Picchu?

July 24, 1911, was a day for the history books. For on that rainy morning, the young Yale professor, Hiram Bingham III, climbed into the Andes Mountains of Peru and encountered an ancient city in the clouds: the now famous citadel of Machu Picchu. Nearly a century later, news reports have recast the hero explorer as a villain who smuggled out priceless artifacts and stole credit for finding one of the world's greatest archaeological sites.

Mark Adams has spent his career editing adventure and travel magazines, so his plan to investigate the allegations against Bingham by retracing the explorer's perilous path to Machu Picchu isn't completely far-fetched, even if it does require him to sleep in a tent for the first time. With a crusty, antisocial Australian survivalist and several Quechua-speaking, coca-chewing mule tenders as his guides, Adams takes readers through some of the most gorgeous and historic landscapes in Peru, from the ancient Inca capital of Cusco to the enigmatic ruins of Vitcos and Vilcabamba.

Along the way he finds a still-undiscovered country populated with brilliant and eccentric characters, as well as an answer to the question that has nagged scientists since Hiram Bingham's time: Just what was Machu Picchu?

You can purchase this book via our Amazon Affiliate Store: LINK
(Kindle, Hardback/Paperback new and used available)

Peru - Taking it Deeper - part 1

March 11, 2016

March Book: Turn Right at Machu Picchu: Rediscovering the Lost City One Step at a Time
By Mark Adams

I have a feeling this book is going to conjure up amazing visual images of the majestic terrain of the Peruvian Andes. While the author's words are wonderful to savor, there is nothing quite like pictures to cement the images into our imaginations. Here is link to National Geographic with tons of images and great information on Machu Picchu: LINK

Did you know that Indiana Jones is in-part based on the explorer of our story, Hiram Bingham? There is a 1954 movie "Secret of the Incas"--starring Charlton Heston, Robert Young and lots of llamas--and is based on Bingham's voyage into the Peruvian mountains and his "discovery" of Machu Picchu. The movie is a bit cheesy, but it is filmed on location for more visual eye candy of the region. You can watch the whole movie on YouTube: LINK

Delving deeper into this "discovery," it appears that Dr. Bingham may not have been the first to uncover Machu Picchu. I'm sure we will hear more about this as the book unfolds, however, here are two fascinating articles on this controversy: LINK, and, LINK. For more background on Hiram Bingham, here is a nice biography on the man, his anthropology work and his path to the Senate:

Don't forget this month's book coincides with the 23rd Annual Latino Film Festival. The festival runs through March 20. Two of the films are set in Peru: A Los 40 (full length feature), and Los Hijos de la Tierra (documentary short film). You can find more information and links to the films here: LINK

You can purchase this book via our Amazon Affiliate Store: LINK

February 2, 2016

February Book: Noontide Toll: Stories
By Romesh Gunesekera

Hello readers,

Our next book takes us to exotic Sri Lanka (formerly known as Ceylon), described as: "a tiny island nation south of India in the Indian Ocean, is a rugged land of rainforest, diverse wildlife and endless beaches. It's famed for its ancient Buddhist ruins, including the 5th-century citadel Sigiriya, with its palace and frescoes, and the sacred city of Anuradhapura. It's flavorful cuisine reflects its history as a maritime hub and cultural melting pot." (sri lanka) In 2009--after 25 years of civil war--Sri Lanka is back on the map as an amazing destination with deep history and fascinating people.

Synopsis: The driver's job is to stay in control behind the wheel and that is all. The past is what you leave as you go. There is nothing more to it.

Vasantha retired early, bought himself a van with his savings, and now works as a driver for hire. As he drives through Sri Lanka, carrying aid workers, businessmen, and families and meeting lonely soldiers and eager hoteliers, he engages them with self-deprecating wit and folksy wisdom

February 12, 2016

February Book: Noontide Toll: Stories
By Romesh Gunesekera
Just hearing the words "Sri Lanka" conjures up exotic images in my brain. I'm pretty sure my first visions of this gorgeous jungle island were from the music video by Duran Duran, Hungry Like the Wolf, shot on location in Sri Lanka in 1984. Here is a YouTube version of this video: LINK. As it happens, Duran Duran also shot their music video for Save a Prayer in Sri Lanka also: LINK. There is some gorgeous scenery throughout each of these videos. For fun, in my search for Duran Duran information, I ran across this blog of a woman trying to retrace the steps of the music videos scenes. She has posted some lovely photos and information about the sights featured in the videos:
LINK. The island has had periods of Portuguese rule, Dutch rule and British rule over a period of 500 years. Here is a short presentation of the colonization periods and some of its influences on Sri Lanka today: LINK

The other major influence to Sri Lanka and it's people is from Buddhism. Here is a great summary of the history of this peaceful religion in this locale: LINK.

You can purchase this book via our Amazon Affiliate Store: LINK

Handful of Stars
January 13, 2016

January Book: A Hand Full of Stars
By Rafik Schami


With the civil war happening in Syria and hundreds of thousand refugees pouring out of their country to seek safer land, I thought we would highlight Syria this month.

Synopsis: Amid the turmoil of modern Damascus, one teenage boy finds his political voice in a message of rebellion that echoes throughout Syria and as far away as Western Europe. Inspired by his dearest friend, old Uncle Salim, he begins a journal to record his thoughts and impressions of family, friends, life at school, and his growing feelings for his girlfriend, Nadia. Soon the hidden diary becomes more than just a way to remember his daily adventures; on its pages he explores his frustration with the government injustices he witnesses. His courage and ingenuity finally find an outlet when he and his friends begin a subversive underground newspaper. Warmed by a fine sense of humor, this novel is at once a moving love story and a passionate testimony to the difficult and committed actions being taken by young people around the world.

The book can also be purchased via Amazon:

For your reference, I found a short and concise timeline of modern history of Syria: LINK. Currently, the civil war that is violently dividing Syria, is a three-way battle between the current regime, those opposed, and the Islamic State jihadists militants. This article lays out the nearly 5-year war in an easy-to-undertand format: LINK. Further, he was interviewed a few years ago at the beginning of the current Syrian civil war; his insight is fascinating and poignant as to how expat Syrians feel about their war-torn country: LINK

January 29, 2016

Syria - Taking it Deeper - part 3

January Book: A Hand Full of Stars
By Rafik Schami

Hello readers,

I'm looking forward to our gathering next Tuesday. I'm going to cook Chicken Kapsa & Salata Kheyyar Bel-Labban for our meeting, so come hungry. This is one of book club members Tom and Shari's favorite recipe, so it comes highly recommended. If you want to try it yourself, here is a link to this yummy dish: LINK

No international cultural reading experience is complete without indulging in food. Food was not specifically mentioned much in our read, but Arrack was quite a bit. It is a clear, colorless alcoholic beverage with an anise flavor and is a traditional drink of the entire Middle East region (with local variations). Learn more about it here: LINK. Also, I found an article in San Diego's locally produced food magazine, Edibles, about a woman in Lebanon who worked with famous chefs to create a cookbook of soup recipes, Soup for Syria. All proceeds will be donated to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees. You can view and buy the book here: LINK. And finally, there are numerous great Middle Eastern restaurants in San Diego. Here is a link to the top handful: LINK. While you are ordering the cookbook, you might consider one of Schami's other books. These two are both highly rated, Damascus Nights (which features Uncle Salim LINK) and The Dark Side of Love (LINK).

I've been reading Damascus Nights and am thoroughly enjoying it. It is said to be along the same vein as A Thousand and One Nights (Arabian Nights), famous for the legends of Ali Baba, Sinbad the Sailor and, Alladin: LINK. If you really want to get into A Thousand and One Nights, you can watch a comedy/fantasy version on Amazon Video: LINK or read an online version for free here: LINK.

Two quick links you can peruse are an overview of Syrian culture here: LINK and photo montage of what Damascus looked like in the 1960's: LINK.

Last, I've gathered a bit of information on Syrian refugees. I know it is a hotbed of political mess, I thought I would share a few links to review and keep in the back of our minds as this civil war in Syria continues:
Syrian refugees coming to San Diego: LINK
Germany Proposes jobs for 500,000 Syrian refugees: LINK
Lebadon is turning back Syrian refugees: LINK
Canada welcomes their first 10,000 refugees: LINK


You can purchase this book via our Amazon Affiliate Store: LINK

January 21, 2016

Syria - Taking it Deeper - part 2

January Book: A Hand Full of Stars
By Rafik Schami

I hope you have been able to start the book as it is a delightful, smooth reading experience. Our young man protagonist and his beloved friend, Uncle Salim, are a wonderful pair of wise Damascenes who love their city and their people, yet are struggling with their growing erratic and oppressive government.

Damascus is called the City of Jasmine, as the scent fills the air nearly year-round on every street and in every garden. The city is home to the Jasmine Festival each April, when this luscious smelling plant is given away and planted in parks and other public areas. (I was unable to confirm if the festival continues during their current civil war). Here is a lovely short clip on Damascus from better days, showing some of the beauty and peace this city once knew: LINK

Also, Damascus is thought to be one of the oldest continually inhabited cities in the world. The Ancient City of Damascus is a World Heritage site and their website has a great summary of Damascus' deep history as well as some lovely photos in the gallery section that are worth a look: LINK. Of course, Damascus is famous for many unique facts, like having a beautiful railway station and the intricate silk Damasks we know and love: LINK

In the book, our unnamed journal writer is Catholic. Damascus--as with much of the western side of the Middle East--has had many periods in history where Christians and Muslims lived side by side in harmony. However, after the fall of the Ottoman Empire, Great Britain and France split the Middle East between them and more tension ensued. Syria and Lebanon (once the same country) were under the French mandate, hence the Catholic influence in this region. You can read more about the plight of Christians in this region and the tension from the Great Britain/French mandate here: LINK, and

Have you heard or used the phrase "The Road to Damascus"? It originated from the Bible story, when St. Paul (known as Saul at the time) had an epiphany while traveling on the road to Damascus which led him to convert to Christianity. Today, the expression is used to describe a moment of great insight or dramatic transformation of attitude or belief.

You can purchase this book via our Amazon Affiliate Store: LINK
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