Lifestyle/Entertainment Editor, Asia, Tokyo
Elaine's Feed
Sep 21, 2011

Book Talk: Exile sheds new light on home for Somali author

TOKYO (Reuters) – For Somali native Nuruddin Farah, the author of 11 novels, exile — with all its pain — has enabled him to turn storytelling into an art form, distilling the complications of his tortured homeland into something people understand.

His latest book, “Crossbones,” is the final volume of a trilogy and follows Malik, a half-Somali war correspondent based in New York, as he arrives in Somalia in 2006 to a precarious calm just days before Ethiopia invades the country.

Aug 29, 2011

You don’t get older, you get better — really

TOKYO, Aug 29 (Reuters) – Jokes about creaky knees, thinning
hair and spreading — or vanishing — waistlines have long been
an inevitable, if unwelcome, part of watching the birthdays pile

But it shouldn’t be that way, argues Wendy Lustbader, who
maintains that youth, with all its insecurities and confusion,
is more of a burden than the golden age society says it is, with
ageing far from a gloomy decline.

Aug 25, 2011

Book Talk: Suspenseful mystery of sisterly love

TOKYO (Reuters) – Practical, bossy Beatrice has always taken care of her sister, Tess. So when she learns that Tess has disappeared, she goes to London to sort things out — only to find out that she appears to have killed herself.

But Beatrice, the narrator of Rosamund Lupton’s “Sister,” refuses to accept the verdict. She digs into her sister’s life and discovers not only that Tess was pregnant, but also that she was taking part in an experimental, and mysterious, medical trial.

Aug 23, 2011

Some chilis with your cabernet? In Asia, sure

TOKYO (Reuters) – What wine should be drunk with a spicy, silky green Thai curry, accompany a Korean stew laden with fiery chili and garlic, or, perhaps, a delicate sliver of raw sea bream dipped ever-so-lightly into soy sauce?

As economic growth brings more Asians into the middle class and the ranks of wine-lovers, sampling the fruits of the vine — mainly for prestige — has become more widespread, purely as something to drink because it tastes good.

Aug 22, 2011
via FaithWorld

Book asks question: what if Jesus had been a woman?


(A mosaic portrait of Jesus Christ above the main entrance of Saint Mark's Basilica in Venice March 18, 2008/John Goh)

As a child, Kristen Wolf set up a makeshift altar in the driveway of her home, decorating a desk with a white cloth and a crucifix before proceeding to conduct a Mass and causing a stir that resulted in a reprimand. The move came, she now says, from a sense that she was left outside the center of Catholic tradition and spirituality by her gender, a feeling that led her decades later to write “The Way,” a re-imagining of the story of Jesus with a woman in the central role.

Aug 11, 2011

Book Talk: From tigers to dragons, with the sea in between

By Elaine Lies

TOKYO (Reuters Life!) – Jaffy Brown is a boy of eight, minding his business in the crowded streets of 19th century London’s Ratcliffe Highway, when he comes face-to-face with a Bengal tiger, pats him on the nose, and promptly has his head seized in its teeth.

Rescued, the impoverished Jaffy — hero of Carol Birch’s “Jamrach’s Menagerie” — is given a job tending animals by the tiger’s owner, Jamrach, and discovers that he has a way with living things. He also meets the handsome, confident Tim Linver, who becomes a friend and a bit of a rival.

Jul 28, 2011

Book Talk: Secrets behind the thin blue line

By Elaine Lies

TOKYO (Reuters Life!) – Georgia FBI agent Faith Mitchell stops at her mother’s house to pick up her infant daughter after work — but her daughter is locked in a shed, there’s blood on the front door, and no sign of her mother.

“Fallen,” by Karin Slaughter, follows Mitchell as she goes in with her gun drawn, finds a hostage situation, shoots and kills one man, and ends up a suspect in the investigation that follows. The investigation stretches deep into her past and that of her mother, a former policewoman who resigned due to a corruption scandal.

Jul 22, 2011

Mountain-hiking adventurer turns hand to new venture

By Elaine Lies

TOKYO (Reuters Life!) – Australian adventurer and documentary maker Sorrel Wilby blames her passion for the unusual, which has taken her through much of Asia on a bicycle, across Tibet, and through the Himalayas, on magazines she read when she was young.

Now she hopes to share that passion with the children of today, who she sees as far too urbanized and tied to computers, through the eventual creation of a virtual world that will give them a taste for the natural environment she loves.

Jul 21, 2011

Desire to rewrite history for friend inspires book

By Elaine Lies

TOKYO, July 21 (Reuters Life!) – The hope of being able to
rewrite history for a friend who died unhappy decades after the
shattering of a youthful romance inspired author Tom McNeal to
start his latest book, but completing the tale was far from

In the end, “To Be Sung Underwater” took the prize-winning
McNeal some seven years to complete, though that was partly due
to him also working on other projects at the same time.

Jul 20, 2011

Evel Knievel: showman, rogue, reality TV Star

By Elaine Lies

TOKYO (Reuters Life!) – U.S. daredevil Evel Knievel, known for his spectacular motorcycle stunts and equally outrageous crashes, was a flamboyant showman, a master salesman, and perhaps even the forerunner of reality TV.

What he wasn’t, says biographer Leigh Montville, was all that likable.

“He was an outrageous character, an interesting guy to figure out. He’d been a thief, he’d been an insurance salesman, he’d been a bad guy,” Montville said in a recent phone interview about “Evel: The High-Flying Life of Evel Knievel: American Showman, Daredevil and Legend.”