A few months ago I received an email from a woman by the name of Karen Gooen asking me if I would like to read an advance copy of her book. Why not? Happy to do it, I told her. Little did I know that she would be sending me a book that is not only so much fun to read but also instructive and a mirror image of what I once had gone through as a novice Mah Jongg player. And so, I happily want to tell you about the very humorous, very engaging, and very educational new book by Karen Gooen, “Searching for Bubbe Fischer – The Path to Mah Jongg Wisdom” (isn’t that a fabulous title?!!!). 

indexAs the book is described on Amazon, “Part Mah Jongg manual/part memoir, ‘Searching for Bubbe Fischer’ tells the story of a novice player’s quest for the ultimate mentor. Author Karen Gooen hoped that, by meeting the mythical Bubbe Fischer and learning all of her tricks, she might become a better Mah Jongg player, and ultimately a tournament champion. What she found along the way was far more enlightening than just how to play the game. The book includes lessons for beginner, intermediate and advanced level players, as well as information on tournaments, etiquette and how to play a three-man game.”

I wrote a review of the book on Amazon and here is what I said,  “While reading Karen’s book I thought perhaps she had been sitting in on my life! Her experiences are universal (to the Mah Jongg player, that is), a delight to read, and a walk down memory lane as I was reminded what it was like in the beginning as a novice player or learning how to be a part of tournament play. Karen’s writing is sharp, focused, witty, and insightful. I read the entire book in two sittings and jotted down many quotes that I will use when teaching new Mah Jongg players. There is no other Mah Jongg book like this out there and I know every Mah Jongg player – young, old, new, or experienced – will see her/himself in Karen’s words.”

And from the back of Karen’s book: “Playing Mah Jongg is simple. Excelling at it is another matter entirely. Author Karen Gooen had a plan: if she could find the right mentor, the quintessential Mah Jongg maven, then perhaps she could master the game. ‘Searching for Bubbe Fischer’ is the story of her quest to become an expert, and the unexpected wisdom she learned along the way. The book includes instruction for intermediate and advanced Mah Jongg players, as well as information about running tournaments, playing three-handed games, etiquette, and more. Karen Gooen is a writer and Mah Jongg instructor in Randolph, New Jersey. She has spent years analyzing a ten-minute activity that is fortified by popcorn and M&M’s.”

And if all that isn’t enough to get you onto Amazon to order this fun, instructive, and quick read, Tom Sloper wrote an endorsement on the back of the book: “This is an easy read, clearly written in a way that can engage experienced players and enlighten novice players. All players can easily see themselves int he pages.” – Tom Sloper, author of The Red Dragon & The West Wind 

You have to know that I loved this book if I am taking up space endorsing it instead of my own book, Mah Jongg – The Art of the Game! However, if you do go to Amazon to buy Karen’s book, please don’t forget to write a review on my book while you are there!


  1. tobyalice

    Yesterday was my Monthly Mah Jongg Brunch, this time a HOLIDAY Mah Jongg Brunch. I stood for my monthly speech and again, endorsed your book AND gave it as a gift to the host. Heading out of town for a two week rest, Karen’s book is tucked away in my suitcase, ready for the country! Can’t wait!


  2. mahjonggandme Post author

    Hi Toby – have a great vacation! I love the photos that were posted from your most recent Mah Jongg event – may I post them and blog about your events? Thanks and BTW, thank you so much for your support on the book!!! Ann xxo


  3. Kate

    I downloaded the sample of the book and then bought the Kindle version, love it. Fellow North Jersey player here ☺


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