Under Blankets, Between Cultures

I'm back from Colorado, where I stayed up late reading under cozy flannel sheets and an electric blanket provided by my sister. She also stocked a candy basket for me. A top-ten luxurious indulgence indeed — staying up past midnight with a gripping story and caramels. What story was I reading? The Kite Runner — Khaled Hosseini's coming of age novel based in Afghanistan and California. Finally, a "grownup" book that ended on a note of redemption, grace, and hope, instead of dragging me into the depths of human depravity and leaving me there. (Because you will love the characters and terrible things happen to them, I wouldn't recommend it for younger YAs — definitely for mature older teens and above.)

In Colorado, for Mother's Day, I spoke at a tea for middle-school girls and their moms. Tulips graced the tables, we munched on cucumber sandwiches and cream puffs, and my sister poured cups of steaming Bengal Spice tea (it's delicious; check your grocer's aisle). I ruminated on the mysteries of mother-daughter relationships and read an excerpt about Jazz and her mother from Monsoon Summer and an excerpt about Sunni and her mother from The Not-So-Star-Spangled Life of Sunita Sen. I do this for a living? All I can say is: Awesome. This rocks, dude. (Guess I'm still a California girl, huh?)