Atlantic City, NJ -- August 26, 2007

Reading Waiting for Snow in Havana: Confessions of a Cuban Boy, by Carlos Eire. It's for the University of Sciences' incoming Freshman program. She teaches ESL there to pharmacy students.

It's the fourth year of this incoming freshmen book program. All the books have been memoirs--The first year was The Color of Water, by James McBride; the second year, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, by Mark Haddon; and the third year, The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini. The idea is to get students to experience obstacles we all face at one point or another, explore universal themes in books. This year they've ordered over 700 books.

She hopes that in the future they will do When I was Puerto Rican by Esmerelda Santiago, which is (or which should be???) required reading in many high schools. In the book a young Puerto Rican girl goes to New York to live with her grandmother and learns how difficult life can be when you're Puerto Rican.

Her book—she’s writing an ESL textbook called Pharmacy: Oral and Written Communication. If she were to write a novel it would be about how events in lives transform our lives together, or sisters.

Her favorite book--The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho. She has required her students to read it--aloud! One of her Korean students had already read it in Korean.

She’s read almost everything Coelho has written. This summer she read his books The Devil and Miss Prym and The Witch of Portobello. She also likes Sherman Alexie, who writes about life on Indian Reservations, and, of course, Esmerelda Santiago.

She learns about the books she will read on C-SPAN's Book TV, which she watches religiously every weekend--the focus is on nonfiction and memoirs, politics.

She has been to the National Book Fair in September in DC on the mall. It was started by Laura Bush. They have writers and speakers--it's a great event. When she doesn't go, she enjoys the coverage by C-Span Book TV.

She told me, and her family, sitting around her on beach towels, seconded it, that she should own stock in Borders. But, she said, very penny, she said, is worth it. Her whole family loves to read. Her daughter recommended to her For One More Day by Mitch Album and, after reading a paper she wrote on Light in August, by Faulkner, she read that, too.

Recently she enjoyed reading Ralph Nader’s memoir, The Seventeen Traditions. All the values his parents taught him growing up in Connecticut, and his love of nature, his having immigrant parents—all these things are things she has in common.

She is an ultra marathoner and has read Dean KarnazesUltramarathon Man: Confessions of an All-Night Runner. His book is so funny and she could relate in so many ways.
In it he asks, why do we run? When in High School, before running a Varsity race as a freshman and he told his coach he couldn’t move his legs and his coach said that’s alright—you run with your heart, not with your legs. Another author she likes who writes about running is Pam Reed.

She can’t imagine what life would be without reading and writing. She gets a lot of ideas when running.

Her first marathon that she ran (not ultra) was the Atlantic city Marathon, right here, in 1993!

1 comment:

Paula said...

Dear Sonya,

Paulo Coelho got wind of your blog and found your idea of writing about readers fantastic! He wants to post this article on his blog.
Paulo Coelho's blog
In case you have any restrictions, do not hesitate to write me on my email :
Have a wonderful day!
And here's a quote to ponder:
No one knows what is going to happen
in the next few minutes,
and yet people still go forward,
because they have trust,
because they have faith.
(Brida) Paulo Coelho