TLC Book Tours: Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson

 

 

Another Brooklyn cover

Jacqueline Woodson is best known for her memoir in verse, Brown Girl Dreaming, which won the 2014 National Book Award, the Coretta Scott King Award, a Newbery Honor Award, an NAACP Image Award, and the Sibert Honor Award. 

Her latest book, Another Brooklyn, isn’t in verse but it somehow reads like it is. 

In other words it is lyrical and it is stunning. 

Running into an old friend on a train triggers memories, both good and bad, for August, who is in Brooklyn to bury her father.

In 1973, aged eight, August, her four-year-old brother and her father move from Tennessee to Brooklyn, New York, after her mother starts hearing the voice of her dead brother Clyde, who was killed in the Vietnam War. In a new city, a new apartment, August and her brother are friendless, unsure of themselves. But she soon falls into a group of three girls: “Sylvia, Angela, Gigi, August. We were four girls together, amazingly beautiful and terrifyingly alone.”

And they navigate their world of growing up as girls, trying to find their place in this world, in 1970s Brooklyn, with absent mothers, drugs, uncertainty, and changing times. 

Another Brooklyn is a collection of memories and a wonderful freeflow of vignettes past and present. 

I may not have grown up in 1970s Brooklyn but a story like this, told with such grace and power, with brevity and confidence, just carries the reader in, fills her with emotions, and doesn’t let go. 

 

 

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I received this book for review from its publisher and TLC Book Tours

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the tour stops!

Jacqueline Woodson AP

Jacqueline Woodson is the bestselling author of more than two dozen award-winning books for young adults, middle graders, and children, including the New York Times bestselling memoir Brown Girl Dreaming, which won the 2014 National Book Award, the Coretta Scott King Award, a Newbery Honor Award, an NAACP Image Award, and the Sibert Honor Award. Woodson was recently named the Young People’s Poet Laureate by the Poetry Foundation. She lives with her family in Brooklyn, New York.

Find out more about Woodson at her website, and connect with her on FacebookTwitter, and Tumblr.

It’s Monday and I’m eating a doughnut

 

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. This meme started with J Kaye’s Blog   and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date

 

 

Still busy working on my freelance writing project so haven’t had much time to sit down at the computer and blog. All my reading updates are happening on Litsy and Instagram and Goodreads these days. But I really want to write about some books I’ve recently read though!

The camp is held in the teen centre of the central park. After dropping him off it’s off for a two-mile walk around the lake

The 5yo was on a science camp last week. This week he will go to a dinosaur camp, but just for two days. And then I’ll have to figure out how to entertain him for the rest of the week!

We tried out a new-to-us breakfast place on Saturday. Fluffy pancakes, actually crisp Belgian waffles (sorry guys, but I really do think I make better waffles than most places here, even with a twenty-year-old waffle iron), a surprisingly good corn beef hash! And hey, coffee that actually has a taste. I keep drinking horrendous coffee that is more like brown water at diners across the state. I am really not a drip coffee kind of person. I am a drinker of flat whites (easily found everywhere in Singapore), so here I drink lattes but I dunno, I guess it’s cos I live in the suburbs, but even the lattes here are a bit meh. I suspect I will need to go into SF for better coffee!

And one great thing about this place was that it was opposite a nice park with  a nice shady playground. Then we popped over to the outlet mall after that, to pick up some new shoes and shorts for my almost-kindergartener.

 

 

Currently…

 

Reading:

parentingborders
Parenting without Borders: Surprising Lessons Parents Around the World Can Teach Us – Christine Gross-Loh
I’m actually reading this for the writing project, which is about parenting. It’s pretty interesting so far!

sugarbread
Sugarbread – Balli Kaur Jaswal
I hope more people read this! In the first place, I hope more people actually can find this book. I love how involved it is with Singapore food. Want to know about Singapore food? Read this book!

 

 

 

Watching:

Shameless! Love this show.

 

 

Eating:


Errr… maybe one of these?!?!

Drinking:

Decaf Nespresso

Cooking:

 

 

 

Browsing:

13 translated books by women (Lit Hub)

Speculative fiction in translation (Book Riot) – added so many to my list here!

Ted Hughes on how to be a writer (Brain Pickings)

Slow cooker jambalaya – yum!

Bookmarking these for future Singapore trips

Che’Rose Nasi Padang 

The Peranakan

(thanks imp!)

 

 

 

Last week:

I read:

Batgirl’s roommate is from Singapore!

The particular sadness of lemon cake – Aimee Bender
Batgirl Vol 1: The Darkest Reflection – Gail Simone, Sedan Syiaf
The Sundial – Shirley Jackson
The Amber Spyglass (His Dark Materials #3) – Philip Pullman

I posted:

Weekend Cooking: A two Michelin-starred meal in Singapore

 

Weekend Cooking: A two Michelin-starred meal in Singapore

I keep meaning to write a post about what we ate in Singapore. I mean to talk about all my favourite local foods that I gobbled up, but I think I will write that in another post. Instead, here’s a post about some fine dining dinners that I enjoyed when we were there for two weeks in July.

We happened to be in Singapore during the launch of the country’s first ever Michelin guide. Two hawker stalls, one selling soy sauce chicken rice and noodles, the other selling pork noodles (bah chor mee), received one Michelin star each! Of course these days one has to queue for several hours just to get a plate of Michelin-starred noodles. But hey, I guess nowhere else can you say that you had a Michelin-starred meal for less than US$5!

The Husband and I had planned a little couple time, a long-awaited get away at a local hotel in Singapore. One of his relatives is the general manager there, so he upgraded us to a lovely suite with its own private hot tub outside on the balcony. It was good to get away from the kids, with the added plus of free babysitting from both sets of grandparents!

Before we flew to Singapore, the Husband said, pick a restaurant! I had mulled over the choices. Singapore is full of good places to eat at. Should I pick that hot new restaurant in the National Gallery, Odette? Or was that just too trendy for me? In the end, that was decided as it was impossible to get a table! Even for weekday lunch.

So we went to Les Amis, which has been around since 1994, and supposedly the first independent fine-dining establishment in Singapore.

It was a quiet Tuesday evening, and we were the first table to be seated on the ground floor. A private function seemed to be going upstairs as the hostess brought quite a few people up, some dressed surprisingly casual, then again, this is Singapore. And this fine dining establishment didn’t require a jacket – the Husband had made sure to ask when he called to reserve a table.

The maître d’ was very pleasant and explained the menu to us. The sommelier was surprisingly young (the legal drinking age in Singapore is 18 and part of me wanted to ask if he was that!), and so was one of the waitresses, who brought us some light bites to savor while we perused the menu.

There were several prix-fixe menus to choose from, but we went for the six course menu. I was enticed by the lamb chops and the husband by the steak (which was the only course in which there were choices). So that was that. We decided to share a half-bottle of pinot noir, as we aren’t big drinkers.

I wish I had taken a photo of the bread basket. They had a lovely teeny tiny baguette, a really delicious tomato bread and some others that I cannot remember now, but oh, that French butter!

Hmm can’t remember exactly what this was. A cold delicate jelly-like dish with some thing sliced asparagus and some roe on top.

An intriguing dish of lobster puree, topped with what was kinda like spaghetti on top. And oh, those truffle slices!

 

The husband wasn’t fond of this, but I liked it. A kind of artichoke salad

But he really was impressed by this one, salmon done two ways. He said that he was stunned by how soft and moist the cooked salmon was. Before tasting the dish, I had assumed that we both would prefer the raw version of the salmon as we are both sashimi lovers, but I think the delicate cooked version won us over.

And those lamb chops! They were just finger-licking good. The waiter thoughtfully placed a wet towel by my side and I gleefully picked up the chops. Perhaps the best lamb chops I’ve ever had!

A lovely palate cleanser sitting in some fortified wine. 

I am a chocolate person. I am the kind of person who immediately steers towards the chocolate desert. So I was just thoroughly surprised and pleased by this upside down apricot souffle, which, had I been given a choice, I would never have picked. It was light, refreshing, and had several different textures, from the crispy noodle-like nest at the bottom, the grilled apricot, the souffle and the cake that it was sitting on.

It was the perfect end to the meal. But then came the mignardises, a lovely pineapple tart, canele and chocolate.

And more cookies to bring home.

The maître d’ stopped by to ask how our dinner was and asked if we would like to have a look at their wine cellar. The sommelier was happy to have us look around this pebbled cellar (as in, pebbles instead of a floor, apparently to have it feel like a vineyard!) and showed us some of their really expensive (and I mean six figure-expensive) wines, as well as some of their regulars’ private shelves of wines and wine menus. As he ushered us to the door, he remarked that we were smart to come in and eat there before the Michelin announcement (and I’m presuming, crowds and possible price increase!).

And of course, a few days later, it was announced that Les Amis received two Michelin stars. I think it was well deserved. It was an expensive meal but we were treated so very well, the food was exceptional and just delightful. And we had a wonderful time!

Les Amis Singapore
1 Scotts Road,
#01-16 Shaw Centre,
Singapore 228208
(65) 6733-2225

If you’re interested in the rest of the restaurants that made the rest of the Michelin Guide Singapore, check it out here

And here is what the food critic of Singapore’s main newspaper had to say about it

As well as some alternatives for places to eat in Singapore

 

weekendcooking

Weekend Cooking at Beth Fish Reads is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, beer, wine, photographs

It’s yet another Monday and I didn’t post anything last week

 

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. This meme started with J Kaye’s Blog   and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date

 

I’ve been doing some freelance writing for a project due next month. So when the kids are at school/summer camp, I’ve been writing, not reading all that much. And definitely not blogging. I have still been on Litsy and Instagram, mostly because I’ve been doing a book photo challenge and have been enjoying thinking up books that I own for the different topics. 

I’ve been having some trouble getting my 3yo to school. We have to drop him off first as the 5yo’s summer camp only starts at 9. And the 3yo is having trouble adjusting to preschool without big brother there! We’ve had to get the teacher to help out to bring him in. With this kid, bribes and all don’t work so I’m not sure what to do!

On the other hand, we had a busy weekend. We went to Gilroy Gardens again for more fruit and veg-themed amusement park fun. We have a yearly membership so we try to go a few times to maximize the membership! But it was SOOOOO hot…!!

Also I chopped off my hair when I was in Singapore!
They have a lantern festival at night. It celebrates Chinese culture!
Then on Sunday, after our usual farmers’ market stop, we went down to San Jose to the Mitsuwa supermarket for ramen (make mine spicy!). And to pick up sashimi and other ingredients for sushi dinner at home. Yum.

 

 

Currently…

 

Reading:


Over on Litsy, there’s a mini #bookisholympics that I’ve decided to join in. A bit ambitious I would say, but it’s always fun to aim high. Although a bit too high in my case as I’m aiming for the gold! (7 novels before the Olympics is over!).

I’m currently reading…
Ru – Kim Thuy

 

 

Thorn – Intisar Khanani

sugarbread

Sugarbread – Balli Kaur Jaswal

 

 

 

Watching:

ShamelessSeason5_605x403.jpg

Shameless.

Eating:

 Drinking:


I just had a nespresso at home

Cooking:

Oxtail stew!

Baked fish.

 

Browsing:

Salivating over this Rainbow Kek Lapis from i am a food blog

Something for foodie readers (or bookish cooks?) – a guide to Alice Medrich’s baking books

I’m not much of a colouring book fan (I do like it, I just don’t ever have the time to sit down and colour!). But I just adore this unusual colouring book, inspired by life in Japan

Swimmer Joseph Schooling won Singapore’s first ever Olympic gold medal in the 100m butterfly last week. And hey, it turns out we had the same swimming coach as kids. 

 

 

Last week:

I read:
Last train from Tanjong Pagar – Koh Hong Teng

 

I posted:

NOTHING…. GAHHHH

 

Hope you guys have a great week ahead! Let me know what you’re reading!

 

It’s Monday and I’ve been rereading!

 

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. This meme started with J Kaye’s Blog   and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date

 

 

What happened last week? The three-year-old (reluctantly) went back to preschool. The five is doing work at home for now and will start school August 31. He’s going in for a day camp, something to do with science and STEM stuff next week. I went for a twice-yearly checkup at the dentist and all’s good. The husband was away all week (yep, pretty much flew in from Singapore and flew out again!) in New Orleans for a work thing. And will be flying off to Denver later today!

On Sunday I made a raspblueberry pie that unfortunately wasn’t sweet enough despite that cup of sugar mixed with the fruits. Luckily ice cream came to the rescue. Otherwise the butter pie crust from Smitten Kitchen (which I had previously used in an apricot pie) continues to do well for me.


 

Currently…

 

Reading:




I’m rereading Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials because I took this photo for the book photo challenge (best bookish squad) and thought hey I will just reread it.

Also

 

sugarbread

missingservant

 

Watching:

I decided to give Stranger Things a try after watching the trailers.

 

Eating:

Pie

Drinking:

Water

Cooking:

Spicy eggplant with ground pork, although I will have to figure something out for the kids. Maybe wontons for them with the ground pork.

Oxtail stew

 

 

Browsing:

20 writers from around the world on the Olympics (Lit Hub)

The Straits Times names Balli Kaur Jaswal’s Sugarbread its Book of the Month. 

Hollywood keeps hiring white men to do an Asian’s job – on that horrendous show about The Great Wall (called of course, The Great Wall) in which Matt Damon is that white man who saves the Chinese people. Because of course, Chinese people need saving by a white man. Why Zhang Yimou? Why???

Indra Das on The Devourers (Signature Reads). Ok really need to read this!!

I really want to eat these S’mores Brownies (Bake at 350)

Last week:

I read:

 

Girl through glass – Sari Wilson

The Golden Compass – Philip Pullman

 

I posted:

What I read in Singapore (1): Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones

Top 10 books I would buy if you gave me a gift card

 

What I read in Singapore (1): Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones

I always have such plans to do all kinds of reading when I’m holidaying in Singapore. But the truth is, with two kids, with family and friends to see, with things to do, places to go, foods to eat, it isn’t an ideal reading holiday.

So every time I go, I load up my Overdrive app from the library on my Nexus 7 tablet, and also download a few Overdrive-Kindle books, and this time also, some Scribd books. All with good intentions to do lots of reading. I did manage to read a few books this time. Here is one of them.

 

Silver Sparrow – Tayari Jones

I loved this book. I loved loved loved this book. Tayari Jones is such a good writer. Why don’t we talk about her and her work more? Perhaps it’s because she’s just finished writing her new book, which I recently saw on her Instagram

Silver Sparrow opens with, “My father, James Witherspoon, is a bigamist.”

And that kind of explains it all. It is a story about two teenaged girls caught up in a lie of their father’s making. Dana is the secret daughter. The one whose story we first learn of, the one we sympathize with because we are reading it from her point of view. The one who only gets her father once a week. The one who has to be kept a secret and keep secrets.

Chaurisse is the ‘real’ daughter, the one who is publicly acknowledged. She lives in a different part of the same city as Dana. And she and her mother do not know about her father’s other family. We hear from her in the second half of the book.

Eventually the two girls meet and even become friends, but how can this be, with one knowing what the other does not?

While the book focuses on Dana and Chaurisse, the strength of Silver Sparrow lies also in the way Jones’ other characters are so fully developed. The two wives, the bigamist himself and even his best friend Raleigh. All of whom contribute to this unusual family. Even James’ mother, whom we only meet for a while, is fully fleshed out, that even now, it’s so easy to imagine her as a character.

Raleigh was, to me, an especially intriguing character. He’s an outsider but also part of the family, almost a second father to the girls. At the same time I am never entirely sure what he gets out of this, why he aids and abets in this deception.

Silver Sparrow is such a beauty of a book. It is elegant in the way the narrative is divided into the two girls’ point of views, not in a flitting back-and-forth way as many books are written, but how we hear the story from Dana’s viewpoint, then in the second half, the plotline continues but from Chaurisse’s side. It is mesmerizing in the lies, the half-lies, half-truths that envelop them all. And with its two young women at its centre, it is bold and full of life and youth and heart.

 

You can read an excerpt of the book and listen to Jones’ interview with NPR’s All Things Considered here

 

diversity

I read this for Akilah’s Diversity on the Shelf challenge and

Read-Diverse-Books-Year-Round-1

 Read Diverse Books Year-Round

 

Top 10 books I would buy if you gave me a gift card

toptentues

Ten Books You’d Buy Right This Second If Someone Handed You A Fully Loaded Gift Card

Well I am guessing here fully loaded gift card means buy any ten books you want regardless of price! Ok before we go into this, I will have to explain that I tend to get my books from the library or from library book sales. That is, I very rarely pick up books from the bookstore. I tend to buy books only when I really love them or their authors (or you know, if they are super cheap used books!)

mort

This fully illustrated version of Terry Pratchett’s Mort by The Folio Society. Because, well, look at it!!

zen

The British version of Zen Cho’s Sorcerer to the Crown. First because I loved the book, but also because it is just beautiful!

donotsay

 

Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien is long listed for the Man Booker and is probably the book on that list I want to read most.

makioka

The Makioka Sisters – Junichiro Tanizaki. I loved this book and have been meaning to buy my own copy.

handmaid

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood is another book I keep meaning to own (already read it). I like this cover by Vintage.

absolutely

I also want to finally read – and own – Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. 

firethistime
The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks about Race edited by Jesmyn Ward. It’s out today people!! If Jesmyn Ward’s name isn’t enough to make you all happy, here are some contributors:

Carol Anderson, Jericho Brown, Garnette Cadogan, Edwidge Danticat, Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah, Mitchell S. Jackson, Honoree Jeffers, Kima Jones, Kiese Laymon, Daniel Jose Older, Emily Raboteau, Claudia Rankine, Clint Smith, Natasha Trethewey, Wendy S. Walters, Isabel Wilkerson, and Kevin Young.

latehomecomer

Kao Kalia Yang’s The Latehomecomer: A Hmong Family Memoir. I loved Yang’s The Song Poet and want to read her first book, but the library doesn’t have it.

What books would you buy right now?