With I Am Not Alone, Francisco X. Stork has penned a powerful and poignant story. His protagonist Alberto Bocel is an undocumented Mexican in the United States working in order to send money back to Ticul, Mexico, for his mother’s medical bills. Alberto endures symptoms of a mental condition that leaves him oscillating between a cloud of forgetfulness or battling the voice in his head. As a result, he feels broken. When Alberto is accused of murdering Mrs. Macpherson, he wonders if he is capable of such cruelty. Did the voice in his head—whom he has named Captain America—use his hands to commit murder? AtRead More →

Three Keys

Try as I might, I was unable to limit my review of Three Keys by Kelly Yang to three keys to its greatness.  I started with It’s about a goat named Scape and the issue of immigration and how it’s easy to blame those in a weak spot; It proves that although most people don’t change, some people do; and It shares how small interactions have the power to change minds and to make a big impact for those vulnerable to exploitation, abuses, misinformation, and hopelessness. But I realized I couldn’t stop with that short list.  Yang’s book goes beyond any simple storyline to capture someRead More →

In 2008, Malcolm Gladwell published his New York Times bestseller, Outliers.  Based largely on the research of Anders Ericsson, Gladwell frequently refers to the 10,000-hour rule, citing it as the magic number that contributes to developing greatness.  Since the writing of that book, Gladwell has fallen under criticism for failing to adequately distinguish between the quantity of hours spent practicing, and the quality of that practice. The takeaway here is that practice may be important, but it’s not the whole story.  In authoring a personal story of success, a person needs to employ very specific, deliberate methods of practice. All of these details flooded back to me when I pickedRead More →