Tag: Asian American

A thing that drives me literally bananas, in the modern sense of literally which actually means figuratively, because GAAAAH

Okay, this is a thing that drives me literally bananas, in the modern sense of literally that actually means figuratively, because GAAAAH.

Not a Self Help Book by Yi Shun Lai, here listed as one of Book Riot’s summer picks from small presses, is totally working the Bridget Jones’s Diary vibe. It is fun and fresh and it is fiction that would make for a fun movie starring hot Asian and Asian American actors who we don’t get to see on the screen enough (or ever) because GAAAH.

Read its description in the library catalog:

Asian & Asian American Studies. Marty Wu, compulsive reader of advice manuals, would love to come across as a poised young advertising professional. Instead she trips over her own feet and blurts out inappropriate comments…

NSHB is also listed with the academic-sounding first line in the Amazon record. What are the librarians or whoever thinking???? “Asian & Asian American Studies”? I did some checking and found that most libraries that purchased it are academic libraries. Only a couple public libraries. Not a Self-Help Book is so totally NOT an academic book.

Granted not every library can buy every book, but I have to wonder if that initial line with the word “studies” in it made potential PL collection selectors think, hey this sounds academic. In fact, the New York Public Library has a copy, which is available for use in library, in the General Research room. Um, huh?

This is a book to read on the beach, or on their phone during their commute, or curled up with a glass of wine, or somewhere that is 100% not an academic library. Bridget Jones’s Diary doesn’t have a description that starts “English and England Studies.”

These things matter. Readers looking for their next read scan the first line of a book’s description; running into academic language on that first line will have them drop it before they even get to the actual description of Marty Wu and her zany life. (Library patrons, many libraries will let you suggest a purchase.) Public libraries will skip this book precisely because it sounds like “an academic specialty niche book with narrow appeal.” Which–did I already say this?–NONONONOPE.

Anyway. Maybe I am alone on this. Maybe I’m wrong. But I am super-annoyed that a book with extremely wide potential appeal is described as if it’s an ethnographic study.

Because GAAAH.

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Adaptation by Malinda Lo

Recommend this for readers of speculative fiction set in current or nearly current time. Compelling characters that crossover adult readers will enjoy.

Diverse content: Reese Holloway is the main character and a white girl. The dreamy heartthrob is Asian American David Li rendered in sizzling detail. That goes mostly unrequited (SPOILER ALERT, er, sorry kinda belated there) but meanwhile another dreamy heartthrob rolls in on a skateboard and her name is Amber Gray.

Study this for tight pacing, intriguing SF speculation, and believable romantic relationships, particularly the romance between Reese and Amber.

“Positive” Stereotypes. Asian Americans. Pressure. Invisible.

Good Enough

Good Enough by Paula Yoo is the story of Patti Yoon, a senior in high school juggling parents with (extremely) high expectations, a crush on a boy who’s sending (very) mixed signals, and a new awareness of how much her music–long thought to be a means to the Ivy League–truly means to her.

Recommend to readers who love gentle reads, who will enjoy the lively church setting of some of the plot. The novel is a quick read for any kid who knows all about parental pressure. The author’s note at the end indicates the novel is semi-autobiographical, and the warm tone that wraps you up in this story feels like home. Recommended for 6th grade and up.

Diverse content: The main character is Korean American. She’s is active in her church youth group, which doesn’t seem to be as common in kidlit as it is in actual life. She calls it “Korean church” to indicate the entwining of heritage and religion.

Study this for gentle humor and sly use of various literary devices — lists and recipes, schedules and test questions.