Category Archives: Mah Jongg and Me


I have two best friends in this world – one lives in California – Alison – and one lives in Florida – Patty – and they are the dearest people in the world to me. Alison’s daughter, Logan Levant, just wrote a fabulous book – The Kitchen Decoded – and if you are looking for a wedding shower gift (or just a wonderful kitchen/recipe book), this is it. Logan was in town this weekend doing a cooking demonstration and book signing at the Broadway Panhandler. In between prepping all the food, she had a chance to sit down and read a certain book that is near and dear to my heart…


By the way, her friend Jason is reading the other book that I wrote this year, Advice for the Lawlorn, a career advice book…and it is not just for lawyers…it is currently available only on the ABA website but coming to Amazon (#1 New Release in Legal Education Profession) and Barnes & Noble and other bookstores in the new year.

And speaking of books, Just a reminder…if you like our book, Mah Jongg The Art of the Game, then please write a review on Amazon!

Lastly, I am hoping for a very happy, healthy, and delicious Thanksgiving for all of you!!



This past Saturday I gave a talk and did a book signing in Saugerties, NY at the Inquiring Minds Bookstore. I had such a great time meeting a group of really wonderful ladies – some are Mah Jongg pros and others are fairly new to the game. I hope to meet all of them again at various tournaments and Mah Jongg events – this was a really terrific group of people. Here is a photo of some of the newer Mah Jongg players who attended the event – with me peeking out from the back (back row, second from left).


Just a reminder…if you like the book then please write a review on Amazon!


So exciting – our book, Mah Jongg The Art of the Game, is mentioned in this month’s issue of Vanity Fair.

What a thrill!

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Just a reminder… and a big favor to ask of you – if you have received a copy of our book, Mah Jongg The Art of the Gameplease write a review on Amazon. I can’t begin to tell you how much I would appreciate it!


Last week when I was at K’s home for Wednesday Mah Jongg, I met a family friend of hers (from Michigan!!!) by the name of Jackie Suskin. This is a very talented young woman who has just written a new book called, “Go Ahead and Like It,” published by Penguin Random House.


HERE’S THE BLURB ON THIS BOOK: In our digital era of numbly clicking “like” as we impassively watch our friends’ lives scroll by on Facebook and Instagram, along comes an analog antidote: “Go Ahead & Like It,” a new art book/self-help guide by the Los Angeles poet Jacqueline Suskin. 

The 29-year-old is well known around town for Poem Store, a self-described “performance poetry piece” she sets up at farmers’ markets, events and weddings. To create each poem, she asks for a subject and then briskly pecks out evocative lines on a vintage Hermès typewriter in exchange for whatever amount the recipient deems it to be worth.

With “Go Ahead & Like It,” Suskin offers up a simple practice that she finds incredibly therapeutic: making lists of things you like. It began several years ago when a friend (to whom she dedicates the book) gave her a list. “It was kind of like a flirty ‘get to know me’ note,” she said. “That’s all it was, just a list of things he likes. I thought it was a fascinating concept to show someone this part of yourself, your interests, but in this really detailed way.” His original list of likes is included in the book, as are many of Suskin’s own. The project is part scrapbook — photographs collaged with a mix of type- and hand-written pieces of paper — and part how-to.

Her mission with “Go Ahead & Like It,” she says, is to help other people pause to take note of the good amongst the banal and quotidian. “To be able to look around and find beauty and inspiration in every little thing, that’s what makes me a poet,” she said. “I want to show anybody that they have that in themselves.”

So, what does this have to do with Mah Jongg, you might be asking. Well, I asked Jackie to create a poem right then and there about our beloved game. And she did! Here it is…


Here’s Jackie at work on the poem…notice the book on the table…!


Much thanks to Jackie for this wonderful poem. And here is one more look at the fun book she has written:



The Bird Wars have settled down a bit ( although I still have some more to show you!) but how about some equal time to showcase some dazzling Dots…

1598908_10153365514722222_2195409539138602150_oWow and wow! Much thanks to Katie for sharing these with us…along with just a few Birdie Bams…


Oh, okay – just one more…here’s another gorgeous one, courtesy of Caren:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAn aside here and a big favor to ask of you – if you have received a copy of our book, Mah Jongg The Art of the Game, please write a review on Amazon. I can’t begin to tell you how much I would appreciate it!


Gregg and I were interviewed last week about our book by Scott Miller from Mahjong News. I thought you might like to learn a little more about us…

Swain & Israel  <—-Me!

Ann M. Israel and Gregg Swain were after private Western mah jongg collections when they invaded many homes during their search, but they aren’t burglars! They are photo-archeologists, and private homes were their dig! Hidden deep in the dark of basements, closets, and attics all over this world are some of the most amazing mah jongg treasures people might never see; tiles carefully hand carved and painted by artisans long forgotten. Like skillful and patient archeologists, Ann M. Israel and Gregg Swain set out to unearth these lost works of art before they are forgotten forever.

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