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Suellen at The Bonanza Book Fair,
held in Laguna Woods on
Nov. 14 and 15, 2009

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What Readers Say... (excerpts, detailed following)

“Every time I picked up the book, I entered a different world.”

“The descriptions, especially of relationships, were so honest, sincere, and deep.”

“I like the hummingbird image – it’s light and airy, able to observe everything in a non-threatening way.”

“The book flows very smoothly. I felt like I was there, looking over the author’s shoulder.”

“It’s so enlightening, I couldn’t put it down.”

“The depth of the experiences recounted in the book surprised me.”

“I love the way the author uses the English language.”

“Every now and then I had to stop reading because of the tears in my eyes.”

“I am in awe of the detailed descriptions.”

“I hated to put it down. It is so well written! I felt like I was there in those situations in the different countries. It helped me think about Israel and China twenty or so years ago and now. The customs are so interesting. I’m recommending it to my friends.”

“I feel much more attuned to the people and way of life from the way the author described it.”

“I learned so much about Chinese culture from the book that I could talk to my Chinese acupuncturist about Shenzhen, the city where his relatives live.”

“I hated for the book to end.”

“I wish I had traveled like that.”

Detailed Reviews

This review by Zona Gale appeared in the Spring/Summer 2009 issue of the Pen Woman, a quarterly magazine published by the National League of American Pen Women. Suellen's book received the 2008 First Place in Non-Fiction award from the organization.

“At age forty, Suellen Zima began a personal search for fulfillment, certain that travel was involved. Moving first to Israel in 1983, she learned Hebrew, earned dual citizenship and worked with students. Next she traveled to Asia in 1988, feeling her first accomplishment was conquering the Tokyo subway.

“On to Hong Kong and China, discovering she had a talent for teaching English, she supported herself by doing so from then on, with growing self-esteem. Life for the Chinese was difficult and personal customs were different. Chinese agreed with the one-child-per-family law, keenly aware of over population and its problems. As a first-time western visitor to remote village homes of two of her students, Suellen had many treasured experiences. Though the villagers stared at her, they treated her with consummate hospitality. She was in Hong Kong when the Tiananmen Square massacre occurred in Beijing, June, 1989.

“Wherever like a hummingbird she traveled - Bali, Macau, Taiwan, Australia, New Zealand, Korea, Turkey, Iceland, Vietnam, Russia and other places - China was often a stopover or destination. Many stayed in touch and she remains a welcome guest in their homes and celebrations. Both foreign travel and teaching English satisfied her and gave her an amazing career.

“Her book ends in 2004-2005. China had changed with more freedom, opportunities, and prosperity. Other countries changed also. She now lives in the U.S.A.

“Read her book, written in vivid, lyrical language.”

“The Chinese have a curse, ‘May you live in interesting times.’ They seem to be living their own curse with drastic cultural changes, a rapidly expanding economy and the Olympic games approaching. China is certainly a fascinating place and a book I read recently, ‘Memoirs of a Middle-aged Hummingbird’, gave me some unique insights behind the former Bamboo Curtain. While the book's author related wonderful stories of life in Israel and Bali, it was her love of China and relationships with her students that captivated me by going behind the headlines into their homes, customs and culture.

“Suellen Zima's memoir can be found [online] and I highly recommend it.”

This review was written by a judge for the Writer's Digest 15th Annual International Self-Published Book Awards contest in 2007.

“This was a very well-written memoir of a woman who started late in life to live the life she felt she needed to live. It was written from her journals and her letters and that makes it an even better read. As she said, she didn't make herself smarter in hindsight. She traveled to places a lot of us would love to, but don't have that "thing" that makes you get up and do it. She saw so many changes in China, a country that she has come to love. Her writing takes us there as the things are happening and we witness these changes too. Some big, some small. It was a wonderful journey.”

“The wondrous descriptions and tremendous storytelling ability makes it like taking the journey along with the author. The book awakened my curiosity about the countries and cultures in it. I have especially always wanted to visit China and I've read a lot about China and its people. Memoirs of a Middle-aged Hummingbird brought it to life and made me feel I was in China along with the author throughout the last twenty years. It's a travelogue with a deep insight into vastly different cultures with delightful personal gems throughout. Fascinating, so interesting, and wonderfully written. The author's website adds more information and the opportunity to converse directly with Suellen Zima.”

“I was totally captivated by Suellen Zima's book, Memoirs of a Middle - aged Hummingbird. Since I have traveled to most of the places where she lived, I could visualize them again through her vivid descriptions. I found her observations and perceptions right on the mark. Best of all I enjoyed the descriptions of her relationships with her students. Since I was a teacher, too, I was very intrigued with the depth and longevity of her attachments to her students. They became her family. When I started reading such a large book, I thought that I might not finish it. To my surprise, it held my interest right to the end and beyond. I still want to know ‘what happened next’ to this fascinating woman, so I hope she will write another book.”

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