Double Happy.gif Tony Brasunas -
The midday air is clear, sweet, and warm here in Alameda, California. It's a gorgeous day for a walk to the beach. The first steps of my walk reminded me of that feeling of freedom I write about at the beginning of Chapter 26, on the bright morning after arriving in Xiahe: "My senses feast on the vibrant colors as if to satiate themselves after all the months and miles of concrete."

Remember this part of double happiness: We're nearly always more free than we think we are. We're free to shape our experiences. If there's something troubling you or frustrating you, you have the freedom to do something about it – to change the situation in a rational way or to do something totally unexpected to assert and experience your own joy and autonomy in the moment.

Enjoy this blessed day,
Posted by Tony Brasunas on July 27, 2014 at 5:02 PM
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It's a delight to write this entry. Double Happiness has been winning or placing in most of the book awards it has entered.

I've already written about winning Best Memoir at the Paris Book Festival and attending the stateside awards ceremony (see video below).

ForeWord Book Reviews, one of the most prestigious magazines in the growing world of independent publishing, has just announced the winners of its Book of the Year Awards (recently renamed the "IndieFab Awards"). I'm honored to say that Double Happiness has been named Silver Winner in the Travel category, beating out hundreds of other titles.

Here are the awards Double Happiness has won thus far.

  • ForeWord Book of the Year
    Silver Winner (TRAVEL)
    "These are the best of the best, the cream of the crop, the cherries on top a metaphorical ice cream sundae of indie books. You’ve been waiting months and now here they are, the winners of the 2013 IndieFab Book of the Year Awards."

  • Paris Book Festival
    "Awarding general excellence and the author's passion for telling a good story, as well as the potential of the work to gain a wide audience in the worldwide market"

  • Indie Excellence Award
    Winner (TRAVEL)
    "A proud champion of small presses, independent presses, and self-publishers that go the extra mile to produce books of excellence in every aspect.

  • Eric Hoffer Award
    Honorable Mention (MEMOIR)
    "Established at the start of the 21st century as a means of opening a door to writing of significant merit. It honors the memory of the great American philosopher Eric Hoffer."

  • San Francisco Book Festival
    Honorable Mention (TRAVEL)
    "Considers entries in 18 categories. There is no date of publication restriction. "

I accepted the Paris Book Festival award at the stateside ceremony, at the Sir Francis Drake Hotel in San Francisco:
(apologies for the quality of the video).

If the video doesn't load visit This Post by Double Happiness.

Update July 21, 2014: Double Happiness has also been named a Finalist of the 2014 Readers' Favorite Award.

Posted by Tony Brasunas on July 17, 2014 at 6:51 PM
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For an author, there is no greater pleasure and no greater pain than to be closely read. Book reviews add to this closeness the incomparable spices of exposure, openness, and publicity.

Book reviews have the possibility of not only complimenting an author but of understanding and synthesizing a written work for the benefit of others; a good, perspicacious review can alert thousands of readers who will enjoy and benefit from a book. On the other hand, a bad review, a review that utterly misses the point or wrongly ascertains an author's underlying motive or message, can bring misery to the author and prevent a book from being discovered by its best or biggest audience.

Double Happiness has so far enjoyed mostly positive reviews, as well as a few that have missed the point. Pleasure and pain, then, for this author!

Here are some reviews of both variety, with excerpts:

  • Amazon There are already many reviews on Amazon (32 at last count), mostly of the five-star variety. Please feel free to add your own.
    "When I had to (reluctantly) put it down to attend to daily life, returning to it felt like reuniting with an old friend. I found his style of writing to be lyrical and evocative without being pretentious."

    "If you like travel related reading, this book will make you want to drop everything and travel to China. It is hard to read this book and not contemplate throwing on a backpack and taking to the road."

  • GoodReads This enormous worldwide community of readers also features many reviews.
    Excerpts: "Delightful... a striking journey that moves far beyond the usual travelogue or educator's perspective."

    "A very engaging read, one of the best books I've read in a while... The imagery is great and vivid and I felt like I was right there with him in China... The writing was often funny too – I found myself laughing out loud at several passages."

  • The Book Wheel
    "From the first few pages, it will sweep you across the ocean to another land and you will take a journey that will leave you forever changed."

  • Paper Breathers
    "The writing style is... like the written version of the music that accompanies a yoga session, and it provides a balance for the conflicts and struggles that are present along his journey. I also really enjoyed Estelle Kim's illustrations, which map Tony's routes across the country."

  • Readers' Favorite
    "A page-turner... an absolute delight from the Prologue to the Epilogue."

  • All R Media
    "This isn't just a memoir of a young man learning about himself; this memoir presents lessons in finding the courage to be yourself in a society that expects you to conform to expectations and about appreciating differences and accepting foreign cultures."

  • What is that Book About
    "If you have traveled the world, you know there is no greater beauty than experiencing these places first hand. For those who may never get the chance, when you read a book like Double Happiness... you get the opportunity to live vicariously through the author... I was really impressed by the detail of not just the physical aspects of the places he traveled but the in-depth comprehension of the culture, the people, and the history, considering this was his first experience abroad."

  • The Steadfast Reader
    "An excellent read and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys travelogues, memoirs, or journeys towards enlightenment."

  • I've Read This
    "There's a good balance of scenery description, inner reflection, historical reference and plot development in this book, and for that reason I devoured it in two days, eagerly diving back in to follow Brasunas on his adventures while safely nestled in my living room."

  • Rosie Writes
    "Part travelogue, part coming-of-age memoir, part poetry and politics, 'Double Happiness' offers fascinating insight not only into one man's personal growth in an alien environment but also into the people, culture and traditions of China."

  • Touch of Madness
    "This book is so well written that I could experience the things Tony was [describing]... and I could sense and relate to his confusion, anxiety, frustration, excitement and fear."

  • Book Bound
    "His journeys... are exciting and will motivate even the most lazy to want to visit this amazing country."
Posted by Tony Brasunas on July 11, 2014 at 2:51 PM
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My birthday is here, as well as the one-year anniversary of the Kickstarter funding. Wow, time has flown. We did it! It's published!

The book is getting great reviews and winning awards. It feels amazing.

Now, what might I like for my birthday? Here is my only wish, my Double Happiness Birthday Wish, and it won't cost you a dime. Accompanied by me on guitar:

The links:

Review now: >>

Review later: >>

Please do let me know if you're still reading the book and plan to review it soon. Click the "review later" link above. I'd love to count you in as a reviewer!

Thank you, and my best birthday wishes to you,
Posted by Tony Brasunas on June 24, 2014 at 8:20 PM
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The book tour now takes me to Oregon and Washington. This is the final leg of the tour, and as I get ready to set off I'm again filled with gratitude to my generous kickstarter backers. If you contributed a year ago and pushed me past my goal, you made this book tour possible. Thank you!

I'll be in Portland, Seattle, Olympia, and a town called Florence on the Oregon coast. Please come out and see me. The events offer connection to the essence and insights of Double Happiness. They're also a lot of fun. I'll read from the book and answer your many questions.

You can also show your support for local bookstores by visiting these indie stores where I'll be reading!

Most of all, I long to see you in person. It means so much to connect with you and share this life-changing story.

I arrive into Portland next Wednesday, June 11. Here's the full list of Double Happiness events:

Thursday, June 12 (PORTLAND)
7pm : Reading & Signing
Broadway Books
1714 NE Broadway, Portland

Friday, June 13 (SEATTLE)
6:30pm : Reading & Signing
Third Place Books
17171 Bothell Way NE, Lake Forest Park

Saturday, June 14 (OLYMPIA)
3pm : Reading & Signing
Orca Books
509 E 4th Ave., Olympia

Sunday, June 15 (OREGON COAST)
1pm : Library Reading
Siuslaw Public Library, Main Branch
1460 Ninth Street, Florence

If you don't live in the Northwest, please forward this to people who do, particularly those who might enjoy a story about China, about teaching English, about rugged backpacking, or about a spiritual coming-of-age tale in a faraway land.

And if you've finished the book and enjoyed it, great! Go review it > Your review will help others find Double Happiness.

Best wishes and my thanks,
Posted by Tony Brasunas on June 5, 2014 at 12:08 PM
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Today's Epigraph
"The time came when the risk it took to remain in a tight bud
was greater than the risk it took to blossom."
- Anaïs Nin

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