Oh man, I can’t believe I’m missing these events!

It is not too late to meet Stephanie Elizondo Griest and hear her reading from Around the Bloc: My Life in Moscow, Beijing, and Havana (Villard/Random House, March 2004). Catch her in SF, Santa Barbara, or Los Angeles!

The SF Chronicle gave conflicting reviews.

On March 21, 2004 the editors said:

“A spunky storyteller, Griest has written an extremely readable memoir that educates as well as entertains.”

But on March 14th they weren’t so kind. If you read her inspiring story of the climb to getting this book published, you will be as confident as I am that this won’t set her back.

I’ve been hearing great things about the book, and I can’t wait to read it when I get home.

Lee Azus over at Get Lost Books said, “you hope that the sequel is not too long in coming.”

Keep up the great work, Stephanie! I wish I could be there to cheer you on.

Saturday, April 17 – CORTE MADERA
— Book Passage “Travel Tales” Talk, hosted by Michael McCarthy at 51
Tamal Vista Blvd in Corte Madera, California, at 7 p.m. For more info, call: (415) 927-0960.

Monday, April 19 – SANTA BARBARA
— Book Talk at 10 – 11 a.m. at the Multicultural Center Lounge at the
University of California, Santa Barbara.

Thursday, April 22 – LOS ANGELES
— Book Talk at Imix Books at 5052 Eagle Rock Blvd in Los Angeles,
California at 7 p.m. For more info, call: (323) 257-2512.

Friday, April 23 – SANTA MONICA
— Midnight Special Bookstore reading & signing at 1450 2nd Street
in Santa Monica, California, at 7:30 p.m. For more info, call: (310) 393-2923.

Saturday, April 24 – LOS ANGELES
— Stephanie will speak on a panel about travel writing along with Pico
Iyer and Don George at the LA Festival of Books at 4 p.m. Details TBA.


  1. Ah man, Larry Habegger, Sean Keener, and Philip Blazdell were at Stephanie’s event at Easy Going last night.

    If I hate missing the actual readings, I hate missing the after show beer gatherings more!

  2. Hey Jen,

    Thanks for this! I was bummed that I’d miss the Easy Going event (although after reading of the people who showed, I’m still bummed). I didn’t bother to think there would be other events. So glad to hear there’s a Santa Barbara event. I’ll just go to that (bonus that I work on campus too!).

    And I’ll miss the LA Festival due to a wedding. Bummer! Luckily, Pico will be on UCSB campus May 5th at 8 pm (I believe). Feel free to pass that along.

    I’ve just started looking into author events to attend (just heard about Easy Going’s existence last week), and I appreciate the updates!

  3. I had to laugh at Olivia Boler’s review. She talks about Stephanie’s naivete in writing about Russia–what young writer isn’t naive, it’s part of the charm–and then goes on to illustrate her own naivete in discussing Cuba: “It is in Cuba, a country in which everyone has health care, no one goes hungry, a university education is guaranteed, yet the average monthly wage is $10, that Griest confronts herself rather than dogma. In Cuba, where racism barely exists and black, white and mixed-race people refer to themselves as puro cubano, she makes her biggest discovery — it’s time to turn inward for a change.” Ah yes, Cuba, that perfect land crawling with secret police, with prisons full of political prisoners, whose citizens cannot leave the country nor enter tourist hotels…Who is naive, Olivia?

  4. I -just- got out of the talk in Santa Barbara. Quite enjoyable, although this talk was for a Multi-Ethnic college class, so the talk was geared towards that topic and came with the requisite Q&A sesh. Steph was really enthusiastic and friendly, and she brought an energy that I don’t see at too many book readings/signings. Curious to see how her other talks compared.

    Anyway, a definite recommendation.

    (And she spoke highly of the TT group!)

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