Trends & Culture - July 7th, 2006
She said...

She said…
Aileen Gemma Fedullo
Printed Matter Press (2006)

Review by Owen Schaefer

After a decade of living in Tokyo, writer Aileen Fedullo has decided to leave Japan and return to her native New York. Her parting gift — more lasting than any sayonara party — is a solid collection of poetry entitled, She said… The book is her first, delivering 74 poems that are by turns sharp and soft, and frequently illumi­nate the beauty of the ordinary.

Fedullo writes with an everyday ease, and there is a deceptively casual feel to this book in both its con­tents and packaging. Printed on heavy paper in a wide, monospaced type with an abundance of white space, the collection feels like something hammered out on a manual typewriter in a spare room, assembled by the poet’s hands between cups of coffee and rounds of laundry. Unlike the matryoshkas in Fedullo’s poem Wooden Dolls that are “Hiding away, in finer and finer / details and increasing sizes, / the woman known as me,” each page you turn seems to bring you a step closer to the heart of her work.

Enhancing the feeling of intimacy, She said… in­cludes an audio CD featuring Fedullo reading 44 of her works. The audio production, like the book, is a clean and simple no-frills approach, and Fedullo’s readings come across immediate and fresh, like dinner-table chit chat, awkward admissions, or juicy gossip. “Poems should be / a spoken lover / not left wanting,” she explains.

The book is divided into four sections: Women, Challenges, Writing and Love, themes that overlap in any number of combinations. While a few offerings, such as Which Ferry are squarely rooted in specific lo­cations, most seem to occupy the space between desk and chair, between bedroom and living room, park and supermarket, “…the plain place / that’s here / you beside me.” Fedullo’s work rustles through moments that affect us without our even noticing — moments that mark the turn from a good day to a bad one, from antipathy to optimism — when the simple act of doing up a zipper can feel like the end of a long journey.

Gorgeous Skin in 30 Days

Gorgeous Skin in 30 Days
Erica Angyal
Lothian Books (2005)

Review by Alika Pushkina

How often have you heard the saying ‘you are what you eat’? I never really understood this phrase until I encountered Gorgeous Skin in 30 Days, a book that has changed my lifestyle and eating habits forever. Written by a renowned certified health practitioner and nutri­tionist, Erica Angyal reveals a quick and easy program that helps you achieve flawless, glowing, and youthful skin in 30 days!

Erica has developed a three-tiered plan outlining diet, boosters (including supplements and detoxifica­tion) and lifestyle (exercise and relaxation) to make not only your skin look fabulous but also slow down the aging process and improve your overall health. And the results are unbelievable. Though I have never had problems with my skin, after two weeks on the program I started to receive further compliments, even from friends who’ve known me for years.

As eyes are known to be a mirror to the soul, Erika believes skin is the window to internal health. Don’t miss your chance to improve the way you look and the way you feel! More information on Gorgeous Skin in 30 Days is available at

Keiko's Ikebana
Keiko’s Ikebana
Keiko Kubo
Tuttle Publishing (2005)

Review by Anna Mae

It was with great enthusiasm that I undertook the chal­lenge of reviewing this book — I’ve always wanted to try my hand at ikebana. It starts with a brief history of the art form, providing a good introduction and detail­ing the types of containers and tools that are needed to perfect the art. It proved slightly more difficult to find those same items within my local area, although eventually I found that smaller florists stocked all that was required and were more than happy to help.

When it finally came to creating my ‘masterpiece,’ the instructions in the book were clear and with some referral back to the basic techniques, I thought I did an admirable job (and I’m sure it would have been even better had I been able to source the correct greenery, allowing more ‘bending’ and less ‘snapping!’)

I found the book to be helpful and informative. In particular, the step-by-step guides were excellent and the techniques were easy to understand and follow, although it would have been useful if the book had contained al­ternative flower suggestions when those illustrated were not in season. In all though, a good book for beginners. For me, who knows, maybe this is just the beginning…

Cool Tools
Cool Tools
Kate Klippensteen
Kodansha International (2006)

Review by Suzy Small

Kondansha International specializes in beautiful glossy photo books, but Cool Tools is my favorite yet. Author Kate Klippensteen explains, “a major appeal of Japa­nese kitchen utensils is their organic quality, the result of being handmade.” The book showcases everything from bamboo steamers to ceramic wasabi graters and huge metal cooking pots, divided into sections by their use — preparation, cooking, presentation and cleaning up.

The text clearly explains the history and use of each item, as well as how they are made, but my favorite as­pect of the book is the photo spreads of kitchen items that are owned and used in real Japanese homes. Japa­nese cooking is something of a mystery to me, so it was interesting to be able to see and compare the metal saucepan that belongs to a 48-year-old housewife in a three person household as opposed to a 23-year-old single singer-songwriter.

As strange as it may seem at first, Cool Tools is a fas­cinating look into a unique aspect of Japanese culture, and would be a perfect gift for anyone interested in food or cooking, either in Japan or overseas.