Trilingual by Six is a cool little self-published book that I found at the library. Using the data that kids learn languages better and more easily than adults, Dippel writes about his quest as a monolingual older father to get his children fluent in at least three languages by age six. The book is part memoir, part advice on how to do it. Dippel is married to a native Spanish speaker, and he writes that his two children can speak Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, and English.
If you’ve got a boy who is approaching teen years, I highly recommend Michael Gurian’s A Fine Young Man. I’ve read and recommended his groundbreaking book The Wonder of Boys before. Gurian’s oeuvre on raising boys is the best I’ve read. He has a philosophy and method to teach boys how to become good men, a method which is grounded in tradition yet answers to and acknowledges the advantages of our changing culture. With A Fine Young Man, Gurian takes it further by focusing specifically on the adolescent years, breaking it down into three stages: Stage 1, the Age of Transformation (9-13); Stage 2, the Age of Determination (14-17); and Stage 3, the Age of Consolidation (18-21). Gurian explains that a boy’s body begins to develop before his mind, and that boys are dealing with chemical changes throughout their entire adolescence, changes that adults sometimes fail to understand.
Readers who like historical fiction might enjoy Lynne Kutsukake’s The Translation of Love. It’s a historical novel about life in post-war Japan following WWII. The novel focuses on a twelve-year old girl named Fumi who is trying to find her sister Sumiko, who has left home to become a hostess for American GI’s. Along with her friend Aya, a repatriated Japanese girl from the U.S., she writes a letter to General MacArthur in hopes that he will help her. Along the way, we meet several other interesting characters: Kondo, the girls’ homeroom teacher who moonlights as a translator; Matt and Nancy, two military translators who are Americans of Japanese descent; and Sumiko, the missing sister who is trying to make a living and support her family as best she can.
Today I finished the book The Supremes at Earl’s All-You-Can-Eat by Edward Kelsey Moore. It was really good. It’s about three older African American women in Indiana who are known in town as the Supremes (because they remind people of Diana Ross and her group). The book delves into their lives, their loves, their children, and their missed ambitions. The lives of all the characters revolve around Earl’s All-You-Can-Eat, a local restaurant where all the interesting characters in town hang out. I loved the small town feel of the story and how the characters were far removed from the politics of their time. Edward Kelsey Moore presents a cast of very interesting personalities, including people who see ghosts, cheating husbands, arrogant rich people, and slimy fortune tellers. Each character brings flavor to the story as they learn to coexist in their own small town.
I’m trying to do an internet detox, so I’ll keep this short. Instead of getting verbose, I’ll let Colin Flaherty, who is White, and Anthony Brian Logan, who is Black (and whom I found through Oshay Duke Jackson), speak for me. See their videos above, where they talk about a group of Black people torturing and beating on a mentally handicapped White kid while shouting anti-White and anti-Trump rhetoric. They cut him and force him to drink toilet water. I don’t even know how I’m supposed to refer to these four monsters. Logan, who is Black, calls them “savages.” I don’t know if liberals consider that racist, but it seems pretty accurate to me. It was so savage that I couldn’t even watch the whole video. Where do people channel the cruelty to torture a defenseless mentally handicapped man? What kind of savagery encourages the filming and dissemination of such lack of human decency? It’s sickening and despicable. And until yesterday, the story was almost completely ignored by the mainstream media.
Snoopy mentioned that he saw Ben Carson give this speech at Yale a few days back. Let me just say this: I’m terrified that we have a Putin-supporter in the White House who only gets security briefs once a week. I’m worried that our next Commander-in-Chief is a buffoon who has already shown signs of throwing the One China policy down the drain. I’m worried that he has so many generals in his prospective cabinet. But I’m excited about Dr. Ben Carson. I’ve written about him before, and I’m glad that he got an appointment. I think he’ll get confirmed too. I loved what he had to say:
A lot of my “liberal” Facebook friends posted about Lionel Shriver’s speech to the Brisbane Writers Festival. Read the entire speech here. Most of my friends were against the speech, basically saying that Lionel Shriver was acting like a privileged person and wasn’t empathetic enough to minorities. One commenter said that the speech was “worse than I thought.” While I’m not surprised at the objections to Shriver’s speech, I am surprised at the vitriol thrown her way. Some people even walked out of her speech. While I don’t agree with everything that Shriver said or the way in which she portrayed things, most of what she said is correct.
The Conjoined is the third adult novel of Canadian American author Jen Sookfong Lee. I reviewed her first novel The End of East years ago, and I am happy to see that she’s still writing. Too often Asian American writers write one novel before disappearing forever. I’m happy that Jen Sookfong Lee is still in the game and growing stronger as a writer. And growing she is. I couldn’t put this novel down. She has grown not only as a writer, but also as an observer and a student of life (which she describes in detail on her website). She was always a good writer, but in her new novel, she demonstrates her cultural bilingualism and keen understanding of humankind. It was truly delightful.
I’ve been spending way too much time arguing on social media with people over the Constance Wu thing. I posted about this three weeks ago, followed by a post on Cultural Attraction, which was my big breakthrough over the last couple of years. Anyway, yesterday Phil from YOMYOMF posted this: Yes, Constance Wu can have a White boyfriend and still advocate for Asian Americans. In the article, Phil says what lots of my Facebook peeps are saying, that a woman who dates White can still advocate for Asian Americans. I actually agree with them 100%. As long as there’s no logical discrepancy between action and words, it’s fine. Similarly, an environmentalist who owns two homes or drives a Hummer can also be an advocate–after all, in the grand scheme of things on a planet 7 billion strong, what’s one extra car or one extra home? Logically, it makes hardly any difference at all.
1. Ben, congratulations on your new book. Finishing a book is a major accomplishment, and I think the entire Asian American blogosphere is happy for you. Can you tell us a little about your book? What is it about?
Thank you, Byron, and thank you for your interest in my book.
The Legend of Fu is a historical thriller set in the late 19th Century. The main narrative happens in the San Francisco Chinatown, but the early part of the book takes place in Mexico. The story follows the protagonist, Fu, as he survives brutal treatment aboard a coolie ship and a brief sojourn in Mexico, and finally presents the main events that take place in San Francisco.