Tag Archives: Greek American writers

Sneak Peek at My Goodreads To-Read List

8 Aug

GraceNotes

If you’ve been following along for a while now, you know I’ve been doing a blog series on Goodreads. Today I want to talk about one of my favorite Goodreads features.

I like that I can keep track of what I’ve read in the past (though I’m sure there are lots I’ve left off), but even better is that I can compile a list of books I want to read. So often I’ll hear about a good book and then forget about if I don’t get to the library or bookstore right away or if another book comes along that I want to read. A couple books on my to-read list right now are:

  • Brian Doyle’s Grace Notes. I heard him speak at the Festival of Faith & Writing in 2012 and loved his mix of humor, sentiment, and humanity.
  • Melinda MoustakisBear Down, Bear North: Alaska Stories. I came across her name when she was nominated in 2011 as a National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 fiction writer. On the one hand, she’s a young, female, Greek American author so I feel a kindred spirit; on the other hand, she’s from Alaska, which seems more foreign than Greece to me, yet, given my interest in the Lapland, intriguing.
  • Michael SimsThe Story of Charlotte’s Web: E. B. White’s Eccentric Life in Nature and the Birth of an American Classic. My love for literature bloomed when I read Charlotte’s Web, so when I heard about this book I knew I had to read it. I just haven’t gotten to it yet….

As you can see, I have very eclectic taste.

I’ve found a few books on Goodreads that I’ve added to my list, but mainly the books on my to-read list have come from stories I’ve heard on NPR, mentions on lit blogs, and random encounters with the authors.

Have you ever found a great book on Goodreads? How do you usually find out about books? What should I add to my ever-growing list of to-read books?

Shameless plug alert: If you’re looking for a book to add to your to-read list, perhaps you want to add Burning Furiously Beautiful: The True Story of Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road.”

Vote for Your Favorite Greeks!: GABBY Voting

20 Mar

gab

You, yes YOU, have the power to select the winners of the 2013 GABBY Awards. What’s that? You’ve never heard of the GABBYs? Where have you been, my friend? The GABBY Awards celebrates Greek America’s best and brightest:

The Gabby Awards were created to celebrate those Greek North Americans who strive to be the very best at what they do. Whether in business, philanthropy, the arts, education or other areas of interest that our awards cover, we celebrate the pursuit excellence as a core Greek ideal and are inspired by people who pursue excellence.

The name “Gabby” comes from the acronym “Greek America’s Best and Brightest Stars” and the Gabby has quickly become the top achievement awards for Greek North Americans. The awards are based on a purely meritocratic system that involves a 100-member Academy that determines the nominees, followed by a popular vote via the internet.

I attended the 2011 GABBY Awards on Ellis Island, which were AMAZING. Here are my recaps.

This year, the star-studded festivities will take place in Hollywood.

And the nominees are….

…Drum roll, please!

Business & Entrepreneurism

  • Sophia Amoruso, Founder and Owner, Nasty Gal (fashion)
  • George Kalogridis, President, Walt Disney Resort
  • Arianna Huffington, Journalist and Founder of the Huffington Post

Politics & Public Service

  • Andromache Karakastanis, Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada
  • Reince R. Priebus, Attorney, Chairman of the Republican National Committee
  • John Sarbanes, Maryland Congressman

Philanthropy

  • John Paul DeJoria, Co-founder of Paul Mitchell Systems, Patron Spirits, and JP Selects
  • Michael Lazaridis, Founder of Blackberry, Philanthropist
  • John Pappajohn, Entrepreneur, Philanthropist

Athletics

  • George Kontos, Professional Baseball Player
  • Christina Loukas, Olympian, Diver
  • Nick Markakis, Professional Baseball Player

Education

  • Nicholas Economides, Professor of Economics
  • C. L. Max Nikias, President, University of Southern California
  • Nicholas Zeppos, Chancellor, Vanderbilt University

Arts & Culture

  • Alexander Payne, Screenwriter and Director
  • George Pelecanos, Novelist, Writer and Producer
  • Greg Yaitanes, Director and Innovator

Performing Arts

  • Chris Diamantopoulos, Actor
  • Tina Fey, Actress
  • Zachary Galifianakis, Actor and Comedian

Science & Medicine

  • Paul Alivisatos, Ph.D., Professor of Chemistry and Materials Science
  • Dr. Peter Diamandis, Founder, Chairman & CEO of the X Prize Foundation
  • Constantine Stratakis, M.D. D.Sc., Medical Investigator

You can officially vote here. Let me know in the comments section, though, who you’re voting for. Also, is there anyone that didn’t make the cut that you think should have been nominated?

MFAism: Hosting Summer Writing Workshop

22 Jun

Even though the MFA writing program is officially on summer break — whoo-hoo! — some of us from the creative-nonfiction writing workshop decided we were having so much fun (or something like that) that wanted to keep on meeting.  Last Tuesday we had our first informal workshop.  It was so nice to catch up with everyone and to chat about our writing.

As I’ve alluded, everyone in my classes always recommends I read David Sedaris when they find out I write about growing up Greek American.  I do get a kick out of David Sedaris, but it’s his sister Amy Sedaris who captured my heart with her book I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence. There’s just something about us Greek women — we love hosting and feeding people.  I barely had anyone over during the semester so I was super-excited to volunteer hosting the writing workshop in my apartment.

Since my classmates have been giving me feedback all semester on the Greek American memoir I’m writing — and since I’m the Queen of Theme Parties — I of course prepared Greek meze for them.  I served feta cheese (imported from Greece!  I’m stimulating the Greek economy!), sliced tomatoes with sea salt, pita, red pepper & eggplant dip, dried apricots, and almonds.  The other writers graciously brought delicious homemade (!) scones and sumptuous red wine.  I pretty much gorged!

We had a great conversation about nonfiction vs. fiction writing and talked about the role of blogging in our writing.  Then we spent some time critiquing each other’s works.  I got helpful feedback on a short reflection I’d written about my experience at the 2011 Gabby Awards.  I really enjoyed reading their new pieces too.  Everyone has such interesting stories to tell!

Now I’ve got to get to work on the next chapter to submit!

In the meantime, if anyone has any tips on how to run a writing workshop, please post in the comments section.