Panov’s Wreaths: A Christmas Story

In our local writer’s group this year, it was decided that everyone would write a holiday story, in 1,000 words or less, to read at our Christmas party. Here’s mine. It’s 998 words, a modern interpretation of Tolstoy’s short story ‘Papa Panov’s Special Christmas,’ and my first attempt at fiction in many, many years. Based … More Panov’s Wreaths: A Christmas Story

Hygge Me: Design & Wellbeing in Denmark

I first encountered a Danish design interior in Romania, strangely enough. While volunteering there, I met a Dane working for the Danish embassy in Bucharest, and was absolutely amazed by how I felt after walking into her beautifully designed apartment. The environment was clean and modern, with Scandinavian furniture and lighting of higher quality and … More Hygge Me: Design & Wellbeing in Denmark

Book Review: Transatlantic by Colum McCann

One of the current literary greats of Ireland is Colum McCann. Having written seven novels and three collections of short stories, his work is thoughtful, expansive, and poetic. Currently living in New York, McCann has made a name for himself by writing for international publications such as the New York Times, The New Yorker, Esquire, … More Book Review: Transatlantic by Colum McCann

Book Review: I Must Betray You by Ruta Sepetys

Many years ago I lived in Romania for 16 months as a young American volunteer. It was in the mid-nineties; communism (as it only shortly before existed in Romania) was a thing of the past, but its shadows still loomed large. Huge, half-built ‘hunger domes’ — that had been intended as neighborhood mess halls — … More Book Review: I Must Betray You by Ruta Sepetys

Peace Like a River: How the Seine Feeds My Soul

One of my favorite songs is ‘Peace Like a River,’ an African-American spiritual that has brought me hope and peace in hard times. This song always carries me to a village on the banks of the Seine River, in France, called Les Andelys. My family and I have been visiting this little-known spot nearly every … More Peace Like a River: How the Seine Feeds My Soul

We Sang Our Way to Freedom: The Singing Revolution of Estonia

As part of our online book club, ‘Travel Europe Through Books,’ we’ve been reading The Last Train From Estonia, the harrowing personal story of Jaak Jurison. In it he describes his experiences, first growing up in peaceful Estonia, then witnessing first-hand the Soviet invasion, purges, and censorship in Estonia that coincided with the Second World … More We Sang Our Way to Freedom: The Singing Revolution of Estonia