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The Chalk Circle: Intercultural Prizewinning Essays

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4.48  ·  Rating details ·  61 ratings  ·  20 reviews
In 2007, award-winning editor Tara L. Masih put out a call for Intercultural Essays dealing with the subjects of "culture, race, and a sense of place." The prizewinners are gathered for the first time in a ground-breaking anthology that explores many facets of culture not previously found under one cover. The powerful, honest, thoughtful voices-Native American, African Ame ...more
Paperback, 220 pages
Published May 2012 by Wyatt-MacKenzie Publishing (first published April 30th 2012)
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Cynthia
Mar 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
Living our past into our future….or not

What a wonderful smorgasbord of cultures and outlooks! While many of these essays are interesting and thought provoking though none of them are exactly enjoyable because they discuss such serious topics. Some are written by people who have been born in the USA with American parents but they themselves have grown up outside the country. When they eventually return they outwardly look like everyone around them but have almost none of the shared cultural refer
...more
Teresa
Apr 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Now I know why reviewers of this book said they wanted to reread it -- the essays are that good, and they almost beg to be reread. Each essay is by a very good writer: not only is that evident throughout the work here, but it also shows in the impressive credentials many of them have achieved.

The standouts for me were a couple in 'the color line' section, and those with a very strong sense of place, incorporating indigenous customs and food that both intrigue and challenge the writers. I was dee
...more
Tara
Mar 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
Recommends it for: readers interested in essays, memoir, culture, history, ethnicity and race issues, and travel
I'm very proud of this book and the authors' work within. Here is what others have been saying:

Tara L. Masih has assembled a stunning collection. . . . The range of cultural diversity and personal complexity packed into this slim, beautiful volume is staggering and far outstrips any other collection out there. . . . Each story is a polished, multifaceted gem of unprecedented color and clarity, which together form a glittering necklace that redefines what it is to be intercultural—that is, human—
...more
Sue
Mar 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Sue by: Tara Masih
Shelves: essays, read-in-2012
There is a reason these are all prize winning essays. Each, in its own way, opens up the window to some aspect of intercultural awareness and living, whether through use of family memory and story telling, travel and food, tales of personal and cultural identity, stories of racial division, reflections on war. There are so many approaches here, all strongly written, all thought-provoking as we live in a world that continues to grow culturally smaller.

The essays are organized well into compliment
...more
Eleanor
May 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Once started, I could scarcely put this book down. The editor assembled a collection of personal, deeply reflective essays into an extremely readable arrangement of seven sections, each loosely based on Maslow's hierarchy of needs- needs, belonging, etc. While the intercultural essays took me to a variety of interesting places on the globe, that's not the `glue' of this collection. It's the reaching into each writer's experience, and their interpretation of that experience that is the heart of T ...more
Katheryn Laborde
Nov 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
As a teacher of Creative Nonfiction, I have used this book to teach workshops (undergraduate level). Besides the fact that the essays themselves are so interesting, the other great point that recommends this book is that the essays are accessible. Not only is the student reader able to really get them... but they are not so pie-in-the-sky untouchable that their sheer greatness does not discourage the student writer. How can a student writer ever "compete" with the likes of Maxine Hong Kingston o ...more
Suzanne
Apr 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Masih has assembled an intelligent and eloquent collection of essays touching upon the complexities of intercultural relations. This book provides plenty of food for thought (fried locusts, anyone?) and fodder for meaningful classroom discussion, but there is much to engage the casual reader as well—a journey to Japan, the subtext of a song, art that burns, the confusion of being a Third Culture Kid, and much more. As soon as I reached the last page, I wanted to read it again.
M S H
Dec 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I found this book to be very interesting, giving understanding to different points of view.
Josh Stafford
May 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
When I opened Tara L. Masih’s “The Chalk Circle” I didn’t really know what to expect aside from knowing it was an anthology of intercultural essays, but as I delved deeper I started to feel what bush-pilot Jimmie Angel must have felt when he stumbled upon the majestic Venezuela waterfall that now bears his name. The more I read, the more I realised that the banner “Intercultural Prizewinning Essays” across the bottom of the front cover was not hype: it was later that I found out that the book ha ...more
Jieun Kim
Jul 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: your-known
After I heard of this book from postings, I began to think: so what can we learn from the Paula Deen episode? what's is my take on this in the intercultural nation? One day, this song helped me see how language including the n-word unidentifiably evolves with biased historical events throughout the world and South Korea. This music of Tasha (Mi-Rae, Yoon) who is a Black and Korean rapper reminds me of how we see the complexity of the intercultural identity told from dominant groups' perspective ...more
Gwen Lee
Jan 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The Chalk Circle is a refreshing and unapologetic departure from the politically correct non-fiction works so widely available today. By collating the essays of 20 writers who come from vastly different backgrounds, it addresses the "intercultural" phenomenon through their unique voices. From a lesbian Native American returning to her ancestors' land, to an African American reporter working in the racially homogenous Salt Lake City of the 1990s, the essays provide a holistic immersion into the i ...more
Jcken
Nov 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
An eclectic collection of cultural diversity, a small selection given that this tiny dot in the universe is a container for multitudes of races, beliefs, food and clothing, and you name it, pretty much everything, differences that make this a special planet. I was particularly pleased to read a couple of essays about Southeast Asian countries, and even Laos for very little information, it seems, comes out of this exotic land. And yes, I have eaten laab in the traditional style as I have been to ...more
Vincent
May 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
As I read the essays in this book, I couldn't help thinking I'd felt this way before too -- "different", isolated, estranged from everyone else in the room, odd man out on a shared joke. I could write a separate review for each story in the book -- each one a potentially latent memory in me -- funny how a book highlighting diversity to me is one about commonality of experiences and insecurities. I blogged about Tara's book here: http://cranialgunk.com/blog/2012/06/02/tara-masihs-the-chalk-circle ...more
Laura
Aug 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Full disclosure, the reason I bought this book is because my friend and neighbor is one of the contributors. And I really loved it, which was a surprise because I never expected to enjoy a collection of essays this much. The writing was so strong and the perspectives so thought-provoking that I looked forward to reading it as much as I would any novel.
Tilia
Aug 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
I can't pretend to be unbiased, since I am 1/19th of this project; but that aside, this is an outstanding anthology of readable, thought-provoking essays. The plethora of awards it has garnered in its short publication history speaks for itself. Check it out--you won't be disappointed. ...more
Anne
Feb 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
I really liked this book. I really loved some of the essays. The idea of otherness is so strong in our society now I think it would be very helpful for many people to read this. I loved the discussion questions at the end. It would be great for a class or book club. I read a library copy but will be buying my own to read again.
Jill
Jul 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
Periodically Americans of Anglo-Saxon descent decide it is a good thing to be more sensitive to “the Other,” even though they have systematically, throughout their 400-plus year history, insisted everyone not of their same background be classified as “Other.” These efforts at understanding have gone only so far, however, since this group not only continues, through its dominance in the media for example, to represent itself as the “norm,” but endeavors by a variety of means to retain its positio ...more
Tana
Dec 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A fabulous, thought-provoking selection of essays about identity. My favorites include: Gilwe: go home; Valentine and This Difficult World; Tongue-Tied; A Dash of Pepper in the Snow; and Israel: Devour the Darling Plagues.
Anne
Aug 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I love that this book introduced me to the "intercultural" concept. Notice she doesn't call it "multicutural," which means a group of disparate cultures, but "inter," meaning mixed up and working together. It includes a piece by a Nazi descendant, crushed by guilt and horror at what her family member had done, and who sought out a Jewish artist for a peace ceremony. Wow! Most of the pieces, short essays, are from at least a bicultural viewpoint. It's very eye opening about what it's like to be o ...more
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Literary Fiction ...: Goodreads Giveaway of The Chalk Circle 1 24 Mar 28, 2012 02:01PM  

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My Real Name Is Hanna, Tara's bestselling debut novel for young readers and adults set in WW II Ukraine, was a finalist in the National Jewish Book Awards and received the Julia Ward Howe Award for Young Readers, a Florida Book Award (YA, Gold), a Skipping Stones Honor Award, a Foreword Book of the Year Award (Historical, Gold), and it appeared on Shelf Unbound's 2019 Notable List, Goodreads' 2018 ...more

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