Newsletter | Sep/Oct 2005

OWA's August Book Exchange

by Hana Mori
For the August OWA Program, we decided to do something a little different from the usual format of a lecture, demonstration or tour. Instead, the event focused on OWA members themselves, and was an opportunity to exchange ideas and thoughts in the form of a Book Exchange. On the evening of August 9, the Spanish bookstore Casa del Libro in San Francisco's Mission district opened its doors again to us, allowing us to use their gallery room and patio area for our meeting.

As the event was lightly attended, we were able to have some great discussions about the books and our individual experiences with them. One could even say the book choices gave everyone else an insight into our personalities.

Including suggestions that were written in to us by people who could not make it to the event, here is a list of the books presented:

Ishmael by Daniel Quinn
Recommended by Deborah Coburn, who writes: "This story gives great insight into the way our culture is set up and why we are all asleep as we ride our beautiful Earth craft toward disaster. It changed my life!"

The Gardens of San Francisco by Joan Hockaday, photographs by Henry Bowles
Recommended by Merle Easton: "A beautifully illustrated guide to the many public and private gardens throughout San Francisco, with historical information about how many of them came about and have changed over time."

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia–Marquez, translated by Gregory Rabassa
Recommended by Inge Horton: "Much-loved and Nobel Prize-winning author Garcia-Marquez's epic novel about the events in the life of the Buendia family over six generations. William Kennedy of the New York Times Book Review says "One Hundred Years of Solitude is the first piece of literature since the Book of Genesis that should be required reading for the entire human race..."

Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie
Recommended by Hana Mori: "A lovely, easy-to-read book with skillful play-on-words, and truly beautiful imagery. One magical place in the story is the Ocean of the Streams of Story, described as being made up of thousands of different currents, each in a different color, each representing a story and which can melt and mix with each other, making the Ocean a sort of living library of stories."

Chronicles of a Death Foretold by Gabriel Garcia-Marquez, translated by Gregory Rabassa
Recommended by Sarka Volejnikova: "A shorter, lighter novel by Garcia-Marquez, which Sarka described as being so beautifully written as to "suck you in completely and you won't be able to put it down."

Virginia Woolf a biography by Nigel Nicholson
Recommended by Orit Yanai: "This is a particularly interesting biography of the famous writer because of the unique perspective of this author Nigel Nicholson—he is the son of Virginia Woolf's female lover. Having spent many years in close observation of her, he provides insights that few other biographers could."

Tracks by Robyn Davidson
Recommended by Alex Vondeling, who writes: "This travel essay describes the author's trek with camels and her dog across the Australian outback from Alice Springs to the coast in the 1970's. The odyssey is amazing both from what she battled externally with nature and mankind and internally, with her own thoughts. You see how she is transformed over the period from a young impetuous upstart to someone with a greater understanding and sense of responsibility. It is an especially appealing book for independent women with a yen for adventure. I highly recommend it."

SPECIAL NOTE: La Casa del Libro is offering Spanish classes starting soon. If there are at least 4 or 5 people, a group just for OWA members can be formed. The class will be held at the gallery of La Casa del Libro (973 Valencia St at 21st St. in the Mission district), once per week, one hour and 15 minutes, preferably weekdays after 5 PM (exact time can be determined to work with people's schedules).

Class fee is $120/month, and students receive a 20% discount on books, dictionaries, etc. at the store.

A short bio of instructor Anja Fulle:
Masters Degree in Translation and Interpretation from the University of Granada/Spain (Spanish, German, English and Portuguese). Licensed as a translator, interpreter and teacher up to College Level. Lived for 7 years in Granada, studying and working. Work experience (13 years) as a freelance translator and teacher in Spain, Germany, USA and Mexico.

Those of you who are interested, please email Anja at with the following information: 1) Name and contact phone/email, 2) Preferred time of class, 3) Your level (approximately).

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