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Clarissa was born into wealth and privilege, as a child, shooting and hunting were the norm and pigeons were flown in from Cairo for supper. Her mother was an Australian heiress, her father was a brilliant surgeon to the Royal family. But he was also a tyrannical and violent drunk who used to beat her and force her to eat carrots with slugs still clinging to them. Clarissa was determined and clever, though, and her ambition led her to a career in the law. At the age of 21, she was the youngest ever woman to be called to the Bar. Disaster struck when her adored mother died suddenly. It was to lead to a mind-numbing decade of wild over-indulgence. Rich from her inheritance, in the end Clarissa partied away her entire fortune. It was a long, hard road to recovery along which Clarissa finally faced her demons and turned to the one thing that had always brought her joy - cooking. Now at last she has found success, sobriety and peace. With the stark honesty and the brilliant wit we love her for, Clarissa recounts the tale of a life lived to extremes. A vivid and funny story, it is as moving as it is a cracking good read.
How on earth did 'with bells on' come to express enthusiasm? What do chips on shoulders have to do with inferiority complexes? And who is the face that launched a thousand ships? Did you know that 'the rule of thumb' refers to the use of the thumb to make measurements, as the first joint of the average adult thumb measures one inch? Spilling the Beans on the Cat's Pyjamas provides us with the meanings of these well-worn and much-loved phrases by putting these linguistic quirks in context, and explaining how and why they were first used. Absorbing, diverting and fascinating - Spilling the Beans really is the bee's knees!
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Since the 1980s, a prolific "second wave" of Chicano/a writers and artists has tremendously expanded the range of genres and subject matter in Chicano/a literature and art. Building on the pioneering work of their predecessors, whose artistic creations were often tied to political activism and the civil rights struggle, today's Chicano/a writers and artists feel free to focus as much on the aesthetic quality of their work as on its social content. They use novels, short stories, poetry, drama, documentary films, and comic books to shape the raw materials of life into art objects that cause us to participate empathetically in an increasingly complex Chicano/a identity and experience. This book presents far-ranging interviews with twenty-one "second wave" Chicano/a poets, fiction writers, dramatists, documentary filmmakers, and playwrights. Some are mainstream, widely recognized creators, while others work from the margins because of their sexual orientations or their controversial positions. Frederick Luis Aldama draws out the artists and authors on both the aesthetic and the sociopolitical concerns that animate their work. Their conversations delve into such areas as how the artists' or writers' life experiences have molded their work, why they choose to work in certain genres and how they have transformed them, what it means to be Chicano/a in today's pluralistic society, and how Chicano/a identity influences and is influenced by contact with ethnic and racial identities from around the world.
Starting the day with a cup of coffee, reading an inspirational book, and focusing on family or friends is a positive way to gather the strength needed to face the challenges ahead. Once a person retires there is more time to spend reflecting on the things accomplished in life, and since the routine schedule changes there is time to finish all those projects on your “bucket list”. Questions surface about whether the relatives in your family really knew you as well as they thought. You wonder if children, spouses, and friends realized the importance they played in your life or knew all the things you learned from them. Writing your stories down is more than just a review of your experiences, but it is a picture of your emotional and spiritual soul. In searching through records, there comes a realization many facts are lost and details missing from family history. There are photos found in file folders without labels, dates, or names. You wonder why someone left this puzzle to be found unless these are special pieces in the mystery of someone’s life. So pour a cup of coffee, sit down with this book, think about things in your own journey on life’s path that you would like to pass on to others, and listen to your heart.
The Chicano artist and journalist presents nearly two dozen short pieces, including essays on the Mambo dance of el Diablo, the 1943 Los Angeles Zoot Suit riots, NAFTA, and a defense of the jalapeno.

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