Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Inspired by Reading September Blog Hop...

Today is the Reveal for September's selection of the Inspired by Reading Book Club!  We read, "Dogeaters" by Jessica Hagedorn.  It was met with mixed reviews from the participants, but I enjoyed it.  I think what may have turned some people off of the book was how edgy and graphic it can be.  Also, there is a huge cast of characters to keep track of (some with the same names) and it doesn't flow in a chronological order.  It is also told through letters, newspaper clippings, flashbacks, and through snippets of gossip.  But I think those are some of the charms of the book.  It details the lives of those who might otherwise go silent, their stories a rumor that live in the memories of the back alleys and slums.  The book shares glimpses of the lives of the extremely wealthy and powerful and those who are on the opposite spectrum. Her narrators are a collection of imperfect anti-heroes struggling with societal rules and familial expectations.  It's not a book that you can just skim through.  In a single sentence, she can kill off a character, marry the widower, give them several children and then remarry them to someone else.  It reminds me of sitting under the table when my mom and her friends were "catching up" about their friends.  With Hagedorn's surrealist storytelling, she shows how very connected everyone is and paints an all too vivid picture of Philippines.

My birthday is today, so to celebrate, Laurel brought party decorations and games to play.  (Unfortunately, we did not get a chance to pin the tail on the donkey.)  Terri came all the way from Ohio to join in on the festivities.  William also came to celebrate.  Above is a picture that Laurel snapped with her new camera.

In keeping with the theme of the book, I made a few Filipino classics mentioned in the book.  I made chicken adobo and bibingka.  The bibingka served as my birthday cake.  Candice Wakumoto sent an assortment of Asian snacks from Hawaii.  Here's a picture of Connie bravely dipping some of the adobo.  They were all dubious of the dish (and its dark brown sauce) until they tried it.  CLICK HERE for the recipe.

I think everyone had a good time.  I know I did.  I really love the little group that we've formed.  Each person brings a new perspective to the table and it's always interesting to see what someone will take away from the books we read.  It's more than that though... we've become friends that genuinely care for one another and I look forward to our meetings every month!

And without further ado... here's the REVEAL:

This bracelet was made by Connie.  Isn't it cute!  She was inspired by the title of the book.  (The author talks about the title and more in this interview with Ameena Meer that appeared in BOMB.  CLICK HERE to see the interview.)  The little sparkly bead is supposed to symbolize Imelda Marcos' shoes, the gift is meant for my birthday, and the dog... well, the dog is dinner!

This amazing necklace was made by our newest member, Allison.  She created this Asian looking piece using wood, pearls, and cinnabar.  In this piece, she wanted to marry the tribal aspects found in the book and the more urban influences.  I think she created a really stunning piece!

Laurel created these amazing shoes!  Imelda Marcos is a character in the book, even though she is not specifically named.  One of the things that Imelda was most known for was her sprawling shoe collection.  For the Inspired by Reading Book Club, you don't have to just make jewelry!  You can make anything you want.  Laurel took up this challenge and glued on hundreds of rhinestones to her Dansko shoes.  They were really sparkly!

This is the necklace that I made.  I call it, "Pink and White for Pucha".  It is made of wire-wrapped pearls and a mother-of-pearl inlaid bead which just happened to come from the Philippines.  It was inspired by a sentence near the end of the book, so I won't give anything away for those who didn't get a chance to read it.  I wanted to make a variation of the traditional pearl necklace and I definitely wanted it to be very feminine and showy, like the character Pucha.

But wait... there's more!  The fun isn't over yet!  Take a look at what these Inspired by Reading Book Club members made with the "Dogeaters" in mind for this month's blog hop:

The next book for the book club is, "My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me" edited by Kate Bernheimer.  For this year's full list, CLICK HERE.  The list for next year will debut at artBliss outside of Washington D.C. this weekend!  The in-person meet up is scheduled for Tuesday, October 29th!  The next blog hop is Wednesday, October 30th!  If you're interested in keeping up with what we're doing, CLICK HERE to visit our Facebook group page.  We also have a Pinterest board with supplemental inspiration.  CLICK HERE to view that.


Mary K. McGraw said...

Happy Birthday!!

Looks like you all had a great time. And the food sounds wonderful.

I like how you compared the book to "...sitting under the table when my mom and her friends were "catching up" about their friends." That is a really good analogy.

Everyone'e creations are wonderful. Connie's bracelet depicts the title in a more humorous vein. I like how Allison combines tribal with urban. And Laurel's shoes are spectacular.

I can really see the ladies in Dogeater wearing your "Pink and White for Pucha" necklace. It is fabulous.

Mary Harding said...

What a fun Birthday and book party Andrew. I love all the pieces. Your Pink and White for Pucha Necklaceis so fun and elegant and so fitting for the book. This book club is such a wonderful experience even if I don't live close enough for the meet ups. So many aspects to this reading experience which enriches us on so many levels. So glad you started this and plan on keeping it going. You give all of us such nurturing and fun attention and encouragement. Thank you!!