Lifestyle/Entertainment Editor, Asia, Tokyo
Elaine's Feed
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.”

Jul 19, 2011

Learning the ropes at top U.S. chef school

By Elaine Lies

TOKYO (Reuters Life!) – Like many people who love to cook, Jonathan Dixon had long dreamed of going to culinary school for training. Unlike many, he actually did it.

“Beaten, Seared and Sauced” is the story of his two years at the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) and how he went from a passionate, but far from professional cook, to working as an intern in a noted New York restaurant and, finally, to graduation and a foray into cooking for private clients.

Jul 19, 2011

Solar ovens, renewable energy offer hope for Afghanistan

By Elaine Lies

TOKYO (Reuters Life!) – At first, she noticed Afghan children hauling brush. Then, in Afghan family compounds, she noticed women tending small fires and trying to cook over them.

But it wasn’t until U.S. diplomat Patricia McArdle realized how often it was sunny in Afghanistan that she put it together with a youthful memory of cooking with solar ovens and realized this was a low-tech option offering long-term hope to the war-torn nation, which is preparing for a draw-down of U.S. troops.

Jul 18, 2011

Finding out grandfather was an SS officer

By Elaine Lies

TOKYO (Reuters Life!) – Martin Davidson’s German grandfather was a loud, gregarious and difficult man who exuded a coarse, but infectious, bonhomie. He also carried a sense of secret intrigue and forbidden knowledge that he appeared to enjoy.

It wasn’t until after his death, though, that the UK-born Davidson finally learned the reason. His grandfather, the retired dentist, had also been an officer in the SS, the dreaded paramilitary unit that, under Heinrich Himmler, was responsible for numerous war crimes.

Jul 14, 2011

Book Talk: Tess Gerritsen turns to her Asian-American roots

By Elaine Lies

TOKYO, July 14 (Reuters Life!) – For 22 books, through
romances and thrillers and bestsellers, including the hit series
with homicide cop Jane Rizzoli and medical examiner Maura Isles,
Tess Gerritsen hid the fact that she was Asian-American.

But for “The Silent Girl,” released this month, Gerritsen
turned to her Chinese roots, weaving Chinese lore, a mysterious
female wushu grandmaster, and the myth of the Monkey King into a
tale of murder set in Boston’s Chinatown.