Off-beat Abroad

Watching TV with the Red Chinese

By Luke Whisnant

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Readers see themselves and their society through the eyes of three visiting Chinese graduate students who are perplexed by the difference between Tide, Cheer, and Biz; Monday Night Football; Dallas; and other American cultural phenomena as viewed through the tube in 1980s Cleveland.

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The Mammy

By Brendan O'Carroll

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"Chronicles with raw humor and great affection the comic misadventures of a large and lively North Dublin family in the 1960s."
Later made into the film, Agnes Brown--starring Angelica Huston.

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Parlor Games

By Mavis Cheek

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"Celia - housewife, mother, wonderful cook - lives in Bedford Park, London, where the major worries are dailies, private schooling and the misplaced zeal of neighbourhood watch vigilantes. She is celebrating her 40th birthday. The armpit of the English bourgeoisie never felt snugger."
(Known in the U.K. as Parlour Games)

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My Year of Meats

By Ruth L. Ozeki

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"When Jane Takagi-Little finally lands a job--producing a Japanese television show sponsored by BEEF-EX, an organization promoting the export of U.S. meats--she takes her crew on the road in search of all-American wives cooking all-American meat. Over the course of filming, though, Jane makes a few troubling discoveries about both. Meanwhile, on the other side of the globe, in Japan, Akiko Ueno watches My American Wife! and diligently prepares Coca-Cola Roast and Panfried Prairie Oysters for her husband, John, (the ad-agency rep for the show's sponsor).

"As Akiko fills out his questionnaires, rating each show on Authenticity, Wholesomeness, and Deliciousness of Meat, certain ominous questions about her own life--and the fact that after each meal she has to go to the bathroom and throw up--begin to surface. A tale of love, global media, and the extraordinary events in the lives of two ordinary women, counterpointed by Sei Shonagon's vibrant commentary..."

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A Case of Curiosities

By Allen Kurzweil

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In France, on the eve of the Revolution, a young man named Claude Page sets out to become the most ingenious and daring inventor of his time.

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The Lambs of God

By Marele Day

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"Three eccentric, secluded nuns live on a remote island, forgotten by time and the Church -- until a priest unwittingly happens upon them. He is as surprised to see the nuns as they are to see a flesh-and-blood man, and what follows is the strange, moving, and often hilarious story of their struggle -- a struggle of wills, and of faith."

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Like Water for Chocolate

By Laura Esquivel

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A #1 bestseller in Mexico in 1990, this charming, imaginative, and just plain fun novel of family life in turn-of-the-century Mexico includes unique recipes at the beginning of each chapter for a variety of traditional dishes.

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