Lifestyle/Entertainment Editor, Asia, Tokyo
Elaine's Feed
Sep 6, 2012

Secret life of an “ordinary” housewife in WW2 Berlin

TOKYO (Reuters) – Sigrid appears to be an ordinary Berlin housewife at the height of World War Two, stoically enduring air raids, food shortages and the absence of her husband at the Russian front as she slogs to and from her job.

But the heroine of “City of Women” by David Gillham, has secrets. Consumed by thoughts of her Jewish lover, a chance meeting with a girl in a movie theatre leads to her gradually being caught up in a network of people helping Jews flee to safety as she navigates between what is safe and what is right.

Aug 2, 2012

Book reveals softer side of Aaron Burr

TOKYO (Reuters) – Aaron Burr, a lawyer and politician in the early years of the United States, has long had a reputation as a villain, mainly due to his famous killing of political rival Alexander Hamilton in a duel in 1804.

But in his book, “The Heartbreak of Aaron Burr,” author Henry Brands paints a vastly different picture of a modern, progressive man who believed that women were the intellectual equals of men, and who was devoted to his only daughter, Theodosia.

Jul 26, 2012

Book Talk: Egypt, Montana and Evel Knievel focus of new book

TOKYO, July 26 (Reuters) – Khosi Saqr lives in Butte,
Montana, birthplace of motorcycle rider Evel Knievel, but he has
never felt quite at home. Then a mysterious stranger appears in
town, launching him on a path that leads to Egypt and the father
who abandoned him.

Khosi, the half-Egyptian hero of “Evel Knievel Days,” was
inspired partly by author Pauls Toutonghi’s own background as
the son of a Latvian mother and Egyptian father, and his desire
to reconnect with his Egyptian roots, which led him to Egypt in
March 2011 after the protests that swept President Hosni Mubarak
from power.

Jun 21, 2012

Book Talk: Antigone in a remote Afghan military post

TOKYO (Reuters) – A legless Afghan woman pushing herself in a cart appears outside a remote U.S. military outpost after a desperate, dusty firefight, demanding the body of her brother – one of the attackers – to take home for burial.

Her presence sparks fierce debate in “The Watch,” a novel by Joydeep Roy-Bhattacharya, as the soldiers take turns telling the story as they try to determine if she herself is a terrorist, someone come to destroy them, or exactly what she says.

Jun 14, 2012

Book explores racial integration of Armed Forces

TOKYO (Reuters) – On the night of July 17, 1944, an explosion with nearly the force of an atomic bomb ripped through the Port Chicago Naval Magazine north of San Francisco, killing 320 people – most of whom were African-American sailors loading weapons on ships.

Though the men had loaded ordnance essential to victory in the Battle of Saipan, which had just ended, the Navy blamed them for the explosion. When they refused to load the ships again, the Navy launched the largest mutiny trial in its history.

Jun 13, 2012

Spider-Man swings into Tokyo for “Amazing” premiere

TOKYO (Reuters) – Andrew Garfield and the stars of “The Amazing Spider-Man” swung into Tokyo on Wednesday, bringing the comic book crime-fighter back to the big screen in the world premiere of one of the summer’s most anticipated movies.

Fans swarmed around the red carpet in Tokyo’s posh Roppongi Hills area for a glimpse of Garfield, co-star Emma Stone and other cast members as a stuntman dressed as Spider-Man swung over the crowd, then scaled a wall into a large “web.”

Jun 7, 2012

Invisible women of “a certain age” fight back in book

TOKYO (Reuters) – Clover is over 50 and under appreciated, a housewife and mother of grown children whose life takes an unexpected turn one day when she wakes up invisible. Worse, her husband and son don’t even notice that she’s gone.

But the heroine of bestselling novelist Jeanne Ray’s “Calling Invisible Women” bands together with other invisible women in her town to fight back, gaining a new view of her town, her loved ones and herself.

Jun 5, 2012

U.S. author aims to bring vegan life to Main Street

TOKYO, June 5 (Reuters) – When Victoria Moran was growing up
in Kansas City, then home of the second largest stockyards in
the United States, the concept of eating anything but meat was
so unheard of that even the first salad bars were revolutionary.

“People confused yoga and yogurt, and both were just odd,”
said Moran, a long-term vegan. “It was a different time … more
difficult in that there simply weren’t accommodations for people
who didn’t eat very traditionally.”

May 24, 2012

Book Talk: Author explores Jewish sect she left

TOKYO (Reuters) – Like the characters of her book, Anouk Markovits grew up inside the strict Satmar Hasidic Jewish sect, where reading novels was frowned upon and she was expected to wed in an arranged marriage at a young age.

Markovits, a native of France, broke away from the community, as does Atara Stern, one of the daughters of the family in “I Am Forbidden.”

May 10, 2012

Book Talk: Memory and re-invention with Alison Winn Scotch

TOKYO, May 10 (Reuters) – A fear of flying inspired
bestselling author Alison Winn Scotch’s latest book, centering
on a woman who awakes in a hospital with total amnesia, one of
two people left alive after a massive plane crash.

“The Song Remains the Same” follows Nell Slattery as she
tries to piece together her former life even as her nearest and
dearest – her husband, mother and sister – all feed her
information about who she was in line with their own personal
agendas and issues.