I found out about Martha McPhee’s novel Dear Money through her blog. I guess social media advertising really does work! Since I just finished reading Tom Wolfe’s Bonfire, I thought I’d follow up with another money book. The premise of Dear Money was interesting–a story about a novelist named India Palmer who transforms herself into a mortgage bond trader with the help of a banker named Win, who believes anyone can become a trader. I had read a NY Times review of McPhee’s book before picking it up, but despite the negative review, I moved forward anyway and finished the whole thing.
Interesting: Book Awards Seek a Bigger Splash, Red Carpet and All. The National Book Awards in recent years has been attended mostly by industry insiders, so in order to jazz up the party, they’ve decided to have a red carpet and invite lots of celebrities, including teen-idol-turned-author Molly Ringwald. They’re holding the party at an expensive restaurant, and they’re inviting the author of Sex and the City, as well as the editor of Vogue.
I thought some of you might like this: China’s Mo Yan wins Nobel Literature Prize.
I’ve read only two of Mo Yan’s works–Red Sorghum and the Garlic Ballads. His work, while well-written, is a bit too graphic for my tastes. I read his books years ago, and I still remember that disgusting scene where the butcher is forced to carve up one of his neighbors alive. It was probably the most sickening scene I’ve ever read. Unless Mo Yan writes a book about peace and happiness, I probably won’t be reading anything else by him.
bigWOWO rating: DO NOT RECOMMEND
“I lost all respect for Yul Kwon,” someone said to me earlier this year. “Why?” I asked. “He recommended China Dolls. This book had all the racist stereotypes in it. Yul Kwon proved to me that you really can’t trust Asian American celebrities to do the right thing. ” I was thinking to myself that if Yul Kwon recommended it, it couldn’t be that bad. So I decided to check it out.
I got this book from the library, and I thought it was an excellent thriller. It’s the story of a Japanese delivery driver named Aoyagi who gets framed by the government for the murder of the prime minister. The event is reminiscent of the assassination of JFK, which the characters reference often. The book jacket says that Isaka draws many comparisons with Haruki Murakami. I can see the comparison. I also saw a similarity with Ryu Murakami, who, like Isaka, often plays with double meanings in the Japanese language. (It made me laugh that the guy in Remote Control who is never at his apartment was named Inai, which means “not there.”)
The Reeducation of Cherry Truong by Aimee Phan was one of those books that I ordinarily would never pick up, but I ended up reading it because a friend gave it a strong recommendation. It’s the story of a Vietnamese American family that immigrates to France and the United States. The central character, Cherry Truong, is a young Asian American student who goes to Vietnam in order to search for her brother, who has been exiled for bad behavior by his parents.
bigWOWO rating: Literary Fiction GOLD
I need to begin by apologizing the Christos Tsiolkas, the Australian author of The Slap. Although I didn’t mention him or his book by name, a few posts ago I described his book as a great book but one not written in literary style, even though it was long-listed for the Man Booker Prize. I made that evaluation while being less than halfway through the book, and my reason for making that evaluation was that the language was straight-forward, there were lots of pop culture references, and I couldn’t yet see any deeper meaning. I said that I loved his book, and compared it to Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult, another book that I love. Let that be a lesson–never judge a book by its first 200 pages (and I say this even though I LOVED the first 200 pages).
TZ informed me about the 500 Project, where the Kartika Review is trying to get 10 Asian American readers of Asian American literature from each state in the U.S. to contact them. Check it out here. She wants you to send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and to list the following:
1. Full Name
2. Date of Birth
4. Residence (City, State)
6. Professional Affiliations (optional)
Then answer the following questions:
In the YA Literature thread, King, Kobukson and I had an interesting discussion with Oriental Right, formerly known as Asian of Reason. Some of you remember AOR–he is a “human biodiversity” proponent from Johns Hopkins who believes that black people on average are not as intelligent as White people, and Asian men aren’t as masculine as White men. With all due credit to him, he defended these views in a podcast with me, Alpha, and King (who is black), which we recorded here: Podcast. Although everyone disagreed with his views and the logical leaps he took to stand behind his beliefs, people respected him for having the courage to step up.
It’s been a LONG time since I’ve podcasted. Nearly a year. So I was happy to have been able to record a podcast with Kobukson. It was a great time, and I hope you’ll all give it a listen and hear what he has to say about literary sensibility and the values that come from religion. The podcast is 27.3 mb and runs for about an hour. Download it here, or play it here: