Archive - October 2011

1
Review of Charles A. Hobbie's The Time of the Monkey, Rooster, and Dog
2
Who is J. Larry Brown and why is the Peace Corps trying to shut him down, or so he thinks
3
When to Stop Working on Your Book
4
September 2011 Peace Corps Books
5
August 2011 Peace Corps Books
6
Tony D'Souza in St. Louis Reads from his new novel
7
PCV Stars in Bulgaria–Check out the YouTube Video
8
NPCA President and CEO Kevin Quigley (Thailand 1976-79) wants to align the Peace Corps with our "national interests"
9
Remember when the Peace Corps helped RPCVs find jobs?
10
New Novel from Tim Schell (CAR 1978–79)

Review of Charles A. Hobbie's The Time of the Monkey, Rooster, and Dog

The Time of the Monkey, Rooster, and Dog Charles A. Hobbie (Korea 1969–71) iUniverse 356 pages Hardcover $34.95, paperback $24.95, e-book $9.99 August 2011 Reviewed by Tony D’Souza (Ivory Coast 2000–02, Madagascar 2002–03) CHARLES HOBBIE’S RECENTLY RELEASED memoir of his Peace Corps service in Korea, The Time of the Monkey, Rooster, and Dog, is an engaging and gentle book. I’ve been accused of offering undue praise in these reviews, and while that’s been occasionally true, I’ll gladly put all my critical capital on the line when I say that this book deserves attention, and Hobbie, accolades for the quality of his writing. As with any reviewer in this day of too many books, the review stack waiting for me is always a small Tower of Babel, most of the voices within, tinny. Hobbie’s book is the reward for the chore, the diamond in the coal mine. I suppose my question . . .

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Who is J. Larry Brown and why is the Peace Corps trying to shut him down, or so he thinks

Several weeks ago I was contacted by J. Larry Brown who had written a Peace Corps memoir and wanted to attend the Library of Congress Luncheon for Peace Corps writers. The book is published by Lucita Press and available through Amazon, as a paperback and  eBook. It is  entitled, Peasants Come Last: A Memoir of the Peace Corps at Fifty. The author was an early PCV (India) and an assistant director of the agency under Carter during the ACTION years, and later a Country Director in Uganda during Ron Tschetter years as Peace Corps Director. I checked Amazon and read this description of his book written by Earl Shorris, who is a contributing editor at Harper’s Magazine: “In the tradition of popular activist scholars like Carl Sagan and Stephen Jay Gould, J. Larry Brown has spent decades linking the findings of science to the realities of human existence. He gives us a candid look at what it means . . .

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When to Stop Working on Your Book

By Jason Boog on October 11, 2011 3:47 PM published in GalleyCat Before publishing his new novel Mule, novelist Tony D’Souza made the toughest decision a writer ever has to make. He stopped working on a novel after years of work and started from scratch with a new book. In a short essay, D’Souza explained why he made this difficult decision, offering some important advice for all aspiring writers. Last week the production team behind Blue Valentine optioned the movie rights to Mule. D’Souza wrote: “The day we closed the deal on my first novel Whiteman (2006), my agent Liz Darhansoff gave me this advice, ‘Go to your room and start your next book.’ I took her up on it. I know that for many authors, the second novel is the hardest, but after a few months of failed starts, I quickly broke into the opening pages of The Konkans . . .

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September 2011 Peace Corps Books

Peasants Come Last: A Memoir of the Peace Corps at Fifty by J. Larry Brown (India late 1960s) Lucita Publisher $12.99 (paperback), $9.99 (Kindle) 174 pages September 2011 • Mule: A Novel of Moving Weight by Tony D’Souza (Ivory Coast 2000–02; Madagascar 2002–03) Mariner Books $14.95 (paperback), $9.66 (Kindle) 304 pages September 2011 • The Time of the Monkey, Rooster, and Dog: A Peace Corps Volunteer’s Years in Korea by Charles A. Hobbie (Korea 1968–71) iUniverse $24.95 (paperback), $9.99 (e-book) 355 pages August 2011 • Red White and Black and Blue (Novel) by Richard Stevenson (pseudonym of Dick Lipez Ethiopia 1962-64) mlrpress $14.99 (paperback), $6.99 (Kindle) 224 pages September 2011

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August 2011 Peace Corps Books

The Peace Corpse: Misadventures in Love and Africa by Andy Christofferson (Tanzania 2002–04) CreateSpace 362 pages $14.99 (paperback); $2.99 (Kindle) May 2011 • To the Far Side of Planet Earth: A Peace Corps Memoir by Jim McConkey (India 1967–69) Infinity Publishing 350 pages $17.95 (paperback) May 2011 • Burmese Refugees: Letters from the Thai-Burma Border Edited by TF Rhoden (Thailand 2005–07) and TLS Rhoden Digital Lycanthrope 112 pages $13.95 (paperback), $9.95 (Kindle) August 2011 • The Memoir of Jack Weedsong by Timothy Schell (Central Africa Empire 1978–79) Serving House Books 160 pages $15.00 (paperback), $9.99 (Kindle) August 2011 A Life In Time: A Woman’s Journey from Orphanage to Peace Corps by Kate Stone (India 1966–68) 204 pages August 2011

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Tony D'Souza in St. Louis Reads from his new novel

Tony D’Souza’s new novel is  Mule: A Novel of Moving Weight and he’ll be reading and taling about it  Tuesday, October 11 at Left Bank Books in St. Louis. His novel follows an underemployed writer whose pregnant girlfriend is laid off during the Great Recession. Unsure how to support a family, James and Kate move to a cheap cabin in northern California and become reacquainted with Kate’s high school friend, whose family grows premium weed. In the first two dozen pages of “Mule,” James learns how drug trafficking works. As a white guy, he doesn’t fit the official profiles. He details the tricks – and the dangers: “I read stories about people who’d been busted. I learned never to drive at night, to check that all my lights were working every time I stopped for gas, to stay with the flow of traffic. If a cop started to tail me, I would . . .

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PCV Stars in Bulgaria–Check out the YouTube Video

Peace Corps volunteer and Newark native Rafael Aguilar on X Factor Bulgaria. Photos (2) Photos Credit Courtesy Image  Videos http://o3.aolcdn.com/dims-shared/dims3/PATCH/resize/273×203/http://hss-prod.hss.aol.com/hss/storage/patch/496dbd1cab0cf8aa9545cc5a3454d8df Rafael Aguilar always wanted to make a difference, and for more than two years the Newark Memorial High School alumnus has done just that in eastern Europe. On Monday, the 25-year-old returned to Bregovo, Bulgaria, where he has been teaching  English to students in grades 1 through 12, to extend his stay for a third – and final – year as a Peace Corps volunteer. He plans to continue working toward improving his students’ understanding of the English language. Aguilar’s return to the village of 1,500 residents that he has called home since 2009 comes weeks after he made a star appearance on X Factor Bulgaria. Known to belt songs with a strong tenor voice, Aguilar publically made his decision to stay with the Peace Corps rather than continue on . . .

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NPCA President and CEO Kevin Quigley (Thailand 1976-79) wants to align the Peace Corps with our "national interests"

NPCA President and CEO Kevin Quigley (Thailand 1976-79) wants to align the Peace Corps with our “national interests” You might have read Kevin’s testimony at the Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee week on October 6, 2011 (I know you think you have more important things to do, but still…..). In his public testimony, Kevin’s second recommendation is that the agency should “Align Country Selection More Closely with Long‐term National Interests” In other words, what’s good for the State Department is good for the Peace Corps. Interestingly, former senator and early architect of the Peace Corps, Harris Wofford, made the point in his Q & A with Senator Menendez at this same Hearing that when establishing the agency Secretary of State Dean Rush told President Kennedy that “the Peace Corps is not an instrument of foreign policy, because to make it so would rob it of its contribution to foreign policy.” As . . .

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Remember when the Peace Corps helped RPCVs find jobs?

[Padraic (Pat) Kennedy, who was one of the first dozen or so people hired at the agency in 1961, started work reading the tremendous amount of mail coming into the new Peace Corps from people wanting to join, next he became the first Training Officer, as Pat says, only because he had just been at a university, and Shriver ‘associated’ universities with training for the Peace Corps. As Training Officer,  Kennedy would escort the first PCVs to Ghana. Then he was appointed by Shriver director of the Division of Volunteer Support (PCV/DVS in Washington lingo). After his five years in-up-and out at the agency he went to VISTA, and then went onto become President and CEO of The Columbia Association in Columbia, Maryland, i.e., more or less, City Manager/Mayor. Now retired, Pat recently sent me this short essay on establishing Peace Corps’ Career Information Service, which helped RPCVs find a life after their tours. Over the 50 years, this . . .

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New Novel from Tim Schell (CAR 1978–79)

Tim Schell (CAR 1978–79) taught English in the town of M’Baiki and would write about it in his novel, The Drums of Africa (2007). He won the Mammoth Book Award for that book. He is also the co-author of Mooring Against the Tide:  Writing Fiction and Poetry (Prentice Hall, 2007) and the co-editor of the anthology A Writer’s Country (Prentice Hall, 2001). His fiction has been nominated for a Pushcart Award and he was the winner of the Martindale Award for Long Fiction. Today he teaches literature and writing at Columbia Gorge Community College in Hood River, Oregon. His new book, The Memoir of Jake Weedsong, was a  2010 Finalist for the AWP Award for the Novel. It has just come out from Serving House Books. The Memoir of Jake Weedsong is about Jake and Estuko Weedsong who are living a bucolic life on their vineyard in rural Oregon. Having been forced . . .

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